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Tracey Bravant

Categories: Community Stories

Two Ten Footwear Foundation partnered with Footwear News and their FN Labs to celebrate our 80th anniversary with a series of opinion pieces written by footwear people from across the industry.  

The Power of a Hand Up.

Tracey Bravant, former footwear executive.

Life is a journey. It’s filled with stumbling blocks and sharp turns, bridges, and paths of uncertainty. But life is also filled with “hand-ups,” as opposed to handouts – those moments when the power of humanity and human spirit combine to change life for the better. To offer hope when perhaps you thought there was none.

If not for a hand up in my own life, I shudder to think that I may not be writing this. At a very low point, when I was dealing with both personal tragedy and unemployment, I sat in a job interview with my heart pounding nervously as the hiring manager scanned my resume. Little did they know that, 18 months earlier, my brother and only surviving family member had taken his own life. It affected me so deeply that I subsequently lost my job, my confidence, my relationship, and nearly my house. I hoped my desperation was not obvious during my interview. I landed the job at Marc Fisher Footwear and life began to change.

As a part of the footwear community, I had access to our very own Two Ten Footwear Foundation, which helped me navigate some difficult times. Realizing the number of hand-ups the Foundation has provided over eight decades – the millions of dollars in financial assistance, counseling services, scholarships, and programs – has helped inspire my own journey.

Standing on the other side of some difficult life challenges, I reflect on the power of giving a hand up. As a human resources executive, I have offered a hand up to fellow employees by providing advice, support, guidance, and compassion. As a volunteer at a local hospital, I have counseled patients who experienced tragedies similar to mine. And at Two Ten, I have raised money to help fellow colleagues facing their own life crises.

Life is a journey, but not one you have to take alone. Especially when you have Two Ten.

More Two Ten Heroes.