Energetic leadership and motivational speaker Pegine inspires students
November 16, 2022 – Bestselling author and award-winning businesswoman Pegine shared her inspirational journey from a rough upbringing on the streets of New York to an advisor to US Presidents and CEOs during Wednesday’s Simpkins Speaker Series event on the Cocoa Campus.
Pegine spoke about her teenage years, when she lost a sister to a drug overdose and became part of a gang.
She knew in that moment that she wanted to get out, change her life and find out who she was supposed to be.
“In my head, in my head, this was going on: I’m not going to be like my sister. And in my head I said just show me who I’m supposed to be,” Pegine told the crowd.
With just $1,000 in her pocket, she boarded a plane and moved to Spain at the age of 17.
She went to several kindergartens looking for a job, but because she didn’t speak Spanish well, everyone turned her down.
Since she wanted to earn money quickly, she had the idea of opening what she called the first bilingual preschool in her place of residence in Spain.
“I remembered that bilingual education was happening in the United States,” she said. “I finally decided to open a bilingual English-Spanish kindergarten and with the help of a local investor I was able to make it happen,” said Pegine. “I knew then that I could do anything.”
An introductory video showed how far she’s come, featuring Pegine as a consultant to US Presidential Task Forces, international organizations and numerous Fortune 500 companies. Her focus is on teaching leadership skills and the importance of dealing effectively with people and stakeholders.
Pegine, who lives in Jacksonville, is the founder of Power Women Worldwide and goes by a name while joking that if it’s good enough for Oprah and Beyoncé, it’s good enough for them.
Her latest book is Called to Lead: Success Strategies for Women.
Pegine shared many tools, tips, and techniques that helped her grow into the entrepreneur she is today, including stories of influencing, influencing, and inspiring others to increase profits, productivity, and positivity.
“You have this beautiful buffet of life ahead of you, and you must find what you love and take the lead. Whatever it is – what you are meant to be. You feel much happier when you follow your passion and live your purpose.”
Pegine interacted with the crowd, which was made up of EFSC students as well as students from Brevard County High Schools including Viera, Rockledge, Space Coast, Merritt Island, Titusville, Astronaut, Cocoa and Emma Jewel Charter Academy.
At one point, she asked if there were any teen entrepreneurs in the crowd and singled out one young woman who said she made custom t-shirts. Pegine then guided them through an engaging exchange on how to build a personal brand, which resulted in laughter and lessons that every student could draw on.
The Simpkins Speaker Series is the legacy of highly successful Space Coast entrepreneur and Brevard County executive Bernard W. Simpkins, who created the event to bring the nation’s top business innovators to Eastern Florida State College.
At each event, an EFSC student will receive a $1,000 Simpkins Scholarship from the Eastern Florida State College Foundation for their excellence in teaching and their true entrepreneurial spirit.
The fall 2022 honoree was EFSC student E’ala Burgess, who is currently pursuing a Business Administration Associate degree and would like to pursue a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
“Because of the life I was privy to as a youngster, the entrepreneurial spirit now runs through my soul and I am determined to succeed in my business no matter how long it may take or what obstacles arise,” Burgess wrote in her application essay for a scholarship.
“I’m a committed and ambitious young woman who knows what she wants in life and in business,” wrote Burgess, who also works full-time and is building a local pet and house-sitting business.
Pegine encouraged this type of entrepreneurship from a young age, emphasizing that entrepreneurship means being powerful, strong and impactful.
“Just because you’re where you are doesn’t mean you’ll end up there,” she said. “Be brave. Be brave. Be seen. Be heard. Get paid well. If you don’t do it, only you have decided you can’t. Decide you can because you’re worth it.”