- Who is Toneal?
- Literary Extraordinaire
- Social Activist
- Coming Soon
This is such a seemingly simple question, right? However, I always say that the answer depends on who you ask!
To my girls, I’m just, “Mom or Momma”. Many consider me a friend or confidante. I’ve served on the LSC for over a decade and am called, “Madam Chairperson”. In the church realm, I’m known as “Evangelist” or “Missionary”; some say that I’m a great choir directress.
Professionally, there are those who look to me for guidance and mentorship, and they refer to me as, “Coach”. Those who read my books look to me as, “Author”. Those who I’ve helped to transform their manuscripts to books call me, “Publisher”. Within the last couple of years, “Actress” and “Producer” have been added to my resume.
I was almost 9 pounds – my mother’s biggest child. My childhood was very interesting because we were always on the move.
I attended six different grammar schools, and despite the instability was able to make a double from fourth to sixth grade, allowing me to graduate a year early. I attended Fenger Academy on Chicago’s south side and graduated valedictorian in 1997. I went on to attend DePaul University and graduated in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Communication and a minor in Spanish.
I originally planned to take a short break, do some traveling, and come back to start grad school, but life had other plans. A few months after graduating, I learned my mother had Stage 4 cancer and only a few months left to live. I’d gotten engaged earlier that year and decided to get married sooner than our appointed time because I wanted my mother to see me walk down the aisle before she passed away. So, Friday, December 6, 2001, at the age of 21, I got married. Soon after, I found myself pregnant and gave birth to my first daughter, Autumn Nicole, in November 2002. I found myself on an emotional roller coaster, for the next six years, as every year either someone was dying or I was giving birth. My second daughter, Areana Elizabeth, was born in December 2004, just four days after the death of my aunt. Then, in January 2006, I was giving birth to Angele Alexis, my third daughter – just months after my uncle died. Finally, in October 2008, a year after the death of my 18-month-old nephew, my youngest daughter, Jeriah Monique was born.
Very traditional in my beliefs, I enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom taking care of not just my biological children, but my bonus daughter, goddaughter, nephews and pretty much any child in the neighborhood! In 2009, I got an opportunity to return to the classroom to pursue my Masters degree in business administration. Learning how to balance home and school, I was able to receive my degree in 18 months.
All these years later, I find myself yet helping others – not just personally and professionally, but also spiritually as six years ago, I transitioned into being a “First Lady” responsible for mentoring and providing guidance to those in the church.
I unapologetically wear many hats. Regardless of the title, despite the industry or assignment, I consciously and intentionally walk WITH purpose, IN purpose, ON purpose. I exist to educate and empower!!!