Turning Life Lessons into “Blessons”

Apr 17, 2024

Everything is a matter of perspective for successful executive and author.

As a young child growing up in the Jeffries Projects in Detroit, Michigan Elena Neely was surrounded by big dreams. The Projects were created as a safety net for the poorest among us but that didn’t mean they were without family unity, love and values.

“We were at the bottom rung of the economic ladder. But I knew in my heart that I had bright future ahead of me. I had tremendous faith and a caring family and church. I knew that power was going to help me make the most of life’s opportunities.”

The road out of the projects can be bumpy. Peer pressures and expectations can get in the way of dreams. Elena pushed through those influences and entered junior college to study broadcasting. It’s no wonder broadcasting was her choice. Her charisma can be captivating.

“I believed from my youngest days that I should always strive to ‘do the right thing.’ It helped to keep me focused and avoid bad decisions.”

With her educational background established, she joined CBS in a media production role for a short time. She continued with her schooling and completed a Bachelor’s degree and an MBA while working full time at the United States Postal Service.  With education and experience Elena climbed the corporate ladder. Elena had a 36-year career holding such roles as Headquarters Manager Strategic Accounts Operations where she was responsible for maintaining and growing billions in revenue.

“Life was wonderful. I was working with some amazing colleagues and customers throughout the United States. I was helping companies grow and creating media and marketing programs for our customers. I had just became an empty nester after a long 8 years of raising my daughter alone, as I lost my husband, Amaya’s dad when she was nine.  Amaya was off to college in the East and I had made my way to DC and found a stylish apt. in Arlington VA near Crystal City.  But then, life threw me a curve ball.

My sister got very sick and passed away, leaving her grandchildren, my great niece and nephew as orphans. They were too young to be on their own and foster care was not something I would allow, so I signed up for another round as ‘mom.”

When someone tells you that they will, “Do the right thing,” it doesn’t mean only when it’s convenient. It means “whatever it takes.” Such was the case with Elena. She had to move into a larger home and then adjust her life to attend to these new responsibilities.

“I knew this was the right thing to do so I had to do it,” she said. “I’m a big fan of Nike’s phrase, ‘Just do it!’ And that’s what I did. I didn’t expect life to put me here, but here I am and I am thankful.”

While Elena was adjusting to her new role, she also began working hard to pass her many life lessons and teachings to the next generation through her line of books called, Blessons. 

She said, “It’s been my life’s dream to become an author of children’s books. I needed to continue working toward this goal…even though life was becoming more complicated. The purpose of Blessons is to understand the life lessons that are often blessings in disguise. My goal is to help inspire young children and adults to make good life decisions and become stronger and more confident.”

Elena is up to six books now with a seventh on the way. She is staying busy professionally with her position consulting with companies on their media and marketing decisions. She shows no sign of slowing down.

She reflected, “I have been blessed for sure. We all have an inner voice to follow that is telling you what you are supposed to do. I’ve been doing my best to follow that inner voice my entire life. Despite what might get in the way, I know that I have to find a way to move forward. I like to say that If you adjust your attitude as life gets complicated, you will continue to see the gifts you are being given.”

Note from Mark: Elena’s books are available on Amazon and the Blessons for Living website. The series includes: Planting Seeds of Greatness, The Best of BEING, Always Remember and Never Forget, Victorious Verbs. Her latest book, A Girl Name Amaya is focused on helping girls finding their inner strength.