September 5, 2017

Top 5 Nuggets of Wisdom for Success

If I knew then what I know now: A look back into my undergrad days

By: LaTonya Bynum, MPH, CHES

  1. You can do whatever you put your mind to.
    LaTonya Bynum

    LaTonya Bynum, MPH, CHES

I was the first in my immediate family to graduate from an accredited college. I attended the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) and graduated in 2004 with my Bachelor of Science in Health Education with an emphasis in Community Health and Spanish. I then earned a Master of Public Health with an emphasis in Health Policy and Management at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. In undergrad, I changed my major several times before finding out about the field of HEALTH EDUCATION – teaching people about behaviors that promote wellness. Save lots of money by documenting what you love to do the most then go into a field that aligns with what you love to do. This is your calling or PURPOSE. Your job should be fun and not work. The health care industry is projected to add over 4 million more jobs between 2012 and 2022, making it the fastest growing industry. There’s a lot of opportunity in this field!!!

  1. Find your niche and carve out a space for yourself – Find a Mentor to GUIDE you to SUCCESS.

Use what makes you different to be a stand out in the crowd. I always loved math, language and science in high school.  I used my skills to put me into places where most of my peers could only imagine going, seeing, and doing. Upon graduating from UCA, I took my first job as a secretary with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH). The supervisor that hired me loved the fact that I could interpret language. This later helped me to excel in learning SAS programming language which is a software program that ADH uses to analyze health data to report statistics. These skills helped me to move from secretary ($6/hr) to senior rural health analyst ($25/hr). The youngest and highest paid analyst in the department. It is not only about who you know BUT more so about who knows you and your work!

  1. Stay focused and write down your plan A, B & C GOALS for SUCCESS.

You are most like the 5 people you hang around the most. Their behavior, attitude, and spirit will rub off on you. If you want to be an EAGLE you must hang with EAGLES. If you want to live in a chicken coop then hang with chicken’s every day. If there are no EAGLES in your circle – be that ONE EAGLE and SOAR HIGH. Stay focused and write down plans for your success.

  1. Use every project or class assignment to develop a new experience & skill then NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK.

Employers are looking for employees who have experience and skill. Be sure to use your class assignments to network with local businesses and organizations in the community who are potential employers. Always introduce yourself and tell people what you are learning in school, then explain how what you know can help them with their business – GOOGLE ELEVATOR SPEECH. YOU ARE AN ASSET TO THE COMMUNITY.  Always look for ways to develop or improve your skillset. This will pay off in big DIVIDENDS soon. THINK BIG and DREAM BIGGER.


Use what you know to do what needs to be done to solve local and statewide problems- use your job and school as a foundation to build your network. Knowledge is power only if you learn to apply it. For the longest time, I always thought I needed to graduate so that I could get a good job. Now at the age of 35, I am thinking differently about the importance of building grassroots initiatives that provide solutions for what I see as constant problems in the communities I am a part of. Take what you have learned and use it to your benefit. Currently, I own acres of land and one day soon I plan to become a healthy housing properties manager. It is important to generate multiple income streams for early retirement purposes and overall life enjoyment.