There is no other way to approach life and its challenges than to hit it head on. At least, if you’re Mae Killebrew-Mosley that’s what you do.
“I was raised by a strong-willed mom and dad,” Killebrew-Mosley said. “I was raised to dream, achieve and not leave anything half done.”
Killebrew-Mosley is the president and CEO of Markets Demand More LLC, a consulting firm. She’s the director of human resources at Oak Ridge Associated Universities. She is also one of the founding members and current president of the Greater Knoxville chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. Her role in the latter is a continuation of a lifetime spent in community service and what is currently keeping her busy.
The stated mission of the organization is to advocate for women of color on leadership development and gender equity in the areas of health, education, STEAM and economic empowerment.
“We have goals to meet to stay in the national organization,” she said. “We’ve got to submit what we’ve accomplished in the last year, we have to meet certain criteria. The Covid situation made that difficult, but we still got things done.”
Events were taken off the calendar and all hands were on deck to figure out how to disperse information on the group’s initiatives.
“Honestly, when Covid first happened, our Facebook page and website weren’t quite where we wanted them,” Killebrew-Mosley she said. “But we had a lot of good stuff we still needed to deliver to the community. We had to step back and figure out how to make things happen.”
WJBE radio came to the rescue. One-hour, educational discussions were pre-recorded over the phone and went out over the airwaves. Topics ranged from colon cancer and HIV awareness to financial literacy, what the organization calls “Sisternomics,” just to scratch the surface.
Killebrew-Mosley, in her 60s, was born in the Jim Crow south in Mississippi, just southwest of Memphis. College took her to Wisconsin.
“If your grow up in an environment that doesn’t offer you a lot of opportunity, you have to seek other places,” she said. “Get enough education and you will find your way.”
That said, she added she loves the south and still owns her parents’ home in Mississippi.
Life brought her and husband Terry to Knoxville in 2008 where they settled in Farragut. With their five children grown and out of the nest, she decided to venture into consulting. But one incomplete task kept nagging at her.
“I have a thing about seeing things through to completion, and I had started work on my doctorate before we moved here,” she said. “It was on my bucket list: I deserved to complete that.”
So, she enrolled at Lincoln Memorial University and earned her doctorate in business administration.
Killebrew-Mosley was also moved to act last summer in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer that sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the country.
“I supported the marches in Knoxville and also in Oak Ridge,” she said. “It was important to put that physical voice to it. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Racism, sexism, all those ‘isms’ carry harm for our country, our society. We have to be better.”
Beth Kinnane is community editor for KnoxTNToday.com