Author, Business Woman, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Educator, Lecturer, Seminar Presenter, Publisher, Radio Talk-Show Host, and Legislator
Author Barbara A. Robinson has pursued her dreams down many paths of life’s highway on her journey to success. She has gone from homelessness to hope, from welfare to faring well, from the outhouse to the State House, from the projects to politics, from poverty to progress, from hopelessness to happiness, from sexual abuse to success, from the basement to the boardroom, from domestic violence to victory, from rape to recovery, and from discrimination to discovery of self.
Barbara has over thirty years experience working with special populations of people. She has seen firsthand the negative impact of stereotyping people. During her career she has provided services for several populations of people such as single mothers who are head of households, senior citizens, individuals with developmental disabilities which include physical disabilities, mental retardation and emotional illness, recovering addicts, ex-offenders, individuals with criminal records, African American and women owned and operated small businesses, and welfare recipients. Her companies provided people a chance to turn their lives around and empowered them with skills to begin a positive career. Barbara said she wants the accomplishments she has made in life in spite of the odds against her to send the following message:
“Never let anyone define your limitations and never sell yourself short. Believe in yourself, and believe in your dreams. Don’t make excuses for not realizing your dream, excuses are tools of incompetence used to build monuments of nothing. Success is the sweetest revenge for the naysayer who speaks negative thoughts against you and say you’ll never amount to anything.
Because my mother was an alcoholic, my stepfather abused me, molested me, beat my mother, and put me out on the streets at the age of sixteen, it was automatically assumed that I would be a failure in life. However, I did not allow my condition to be my conclusion. My message to the generations of future leaders coming behind me is to put Christ first and move on in pursuit of your definition of success. If you can dream it, design a plan to achieve it, then just do it. You only go around once in life and this is not a practice run so stop procrastinating and follow your dream NOW!”
Although Barbara was homeless at age sixteen, she was determined to get a high school education. She slept on the floor at a relative’s house, and worked in a boarding house in exchange for a place to sleep. After completing high school in Columbus, Georgia, she received financial aid to attend college at a time when it was rare for African Americans, especially females, to receive such assistance. After one year at the then, Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland, Barbara’s funding was depleted and she was forced to search for employment and a place to live. During that time, she met the man who would become her husband and the father of her children. After giving birth to four babies in one year — a daughter in February 1959 and a set of triplets in November, 1959 — and her husband spending a year in the hospital fighting for his life, circumstances forced Barbara and her children to seek public assistance. After spending a year on welfare, Barbara worked in local factories for several years before securing a job filing parking tickets in the Traffic Division at the Municipal Court for Baltimore City which later became the District Court.
For over twelve years, Barbara, her husband Jerome (Jerry) and their four children, — one deceased — lived in Flag House Courts, an inner-city projects development in downtown Baltimore. Trying to earn enough money to purchase a home, Barbara worked two jobs and her husband worked three jobs. Finally, in 1969, Barbara, her husband and their four children, moved from the projects to a home in the suburbs of Baltimore.
Always aware of the racial discrimination that existed, for eighteen years Barbara worked her way through different positions in the court system, becoming the first woman and the first African American in the history of the Maryland Court system, to hold positions of Chief Administrator of the Traffic Division, Deputy Administrator of the District Court and Deputy Administrator of the Supreme Bench, which later became the Circuit Court.
Barbara didn’t allow excuses to be obstacles blocking her path to success. According to Barbara, “It was taking the first step of pursuing my education that was the hardest.” She and her husband spent forty-seven years together until his untimely death in August 2004.
Starting her college education at what was then Morgan State College in Baltimore, eighteen years later Barbara earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from the University of Baltimore, the first of many degrees to come. She earned a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Coppin State College, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Education from the Johns Hopkins University, post graduate credits in education from the Johns Hopkins University and nineteen Certificates of Completion in management, supervision, and counseling from various institutions including the Maryland Management Development Institute. In 2005 Barbara graduated from the FBI Citizen’s Academy. In 2013 she completed a Conflict Resolution Fellows program at the University of Maryland School of Law.
In 1985, Barbara resigned from the court system and from the laundry room in the basement of her home, financed with an unemployment check, a dream, perseverance, persistence and prayer, she started her first business, a human resources development, training and transportation company.
Five years later in 1990, Barbara founded her second company, an organization that provided community-based residential facilities for people with developmental disabilities and troubled youths. In 2002 she founded her third company, BeuMar Publishing, to market her growing writing business and products associated with her writing.
Barbara’s combined companies employed and retained more than 162 people, trained more than 2,000 people, hired over 850 people, and assisted over 75 people to advance to management positions in the health care industry. Utilizing the training obtained from Barbara’s programs, some individuals advanced their careers becoming health care providers, hiring other individuals who were trained in her programs.
For twelve years Barbara hosted and produced a two-way talk-show on WEAA-FM public radio that focused on business issues. In 1993, she published her first book, And Still, I Cry, an autobiography depicting her turbulent past. In 1998 her second book, Yes You Can, which focuses on entrepreneurship was published. Her third book, Eyes of the Beholder, a novel, was released in 2002. Also, in 2002 she recorded And Still I Cry on CD. Her fourth book Someday Is Now was released in 2004. It sends the message to stop procrastinating and follow your dream. Her fifth book, Mind Bungee Jumping: Words of Life, Love, Inspiration, Encouragement and Motivation, was released in 2008. This book contains 55 original poems and a collection of 2,000 motivational quotes. Barbara’s sixth book, Bend in the Road, a book about reinventing yourself after the death of a loved one, was written after her husband’s death and was released in 2014. Barbara’s seventh book will be released later this year.
Having personally experienced the problems and negative impact of welfare, Barbara devoted her time and energy to developing job training and placement programs, to reduce welfare dependency. Her programs were designed to move women into career paths that provided a secure future for themselves and their families. Her focus was to create job opportunities that provided medical benefits to employees, further supporting an individual’s ability to remain off of welfare rolls.
Barbara is acknowledged as a "trailblazer," in her gallant efforts to prevent drug and alcohol abuse. She has been called a pioneer, a woman of substance, a woman of distinction, an over–comer, and a survivor. For seven years Barbara was a teacher in the Maryland prison system working with male inmates whose past included the use and distribution of drugs and alcohol. She has extended herself into many facets of the community and has founded or been a member of numerous organizations. She is the recipient of more than one-hundred awards to include the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Woman of Enterprise Award; the Key to the City in three different states, Memphis, Tennessee, Alexander City, Alabama, and Watertown, South Dakota. She was also inducted into the Maryland Women Hall of Fame. Barbara was honored at the White House by President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore for her work in welfare reform and was featured in the book, “Women of Achievement in Maryland’s History.”
She has been the keynote speaker for over 100 organizations, at conferences, retreats, college commencement exercises and high school graduations, often with repeat performances. She has delivered sermons and been the Women’s Day speaker at several churches nationally and internationally. She has developed and facilitated hundreds of seminars across the country. Barbara is indeed a woman who has made it against the odds sending the message that the only limitations you have in life are those you impose on yourself.
Utilizing her business savvy, community involvement and the ability to overcome obstacles and achieve success against the odds, Barbara has taught economic empowerment to women across the country including Africa. As a business owner for more than thirty years, a radio talk show host for over twelve years, an adjunct college professor, a motivational speaker, a lecturer, and the author of six published books.
Barbara has been featured in several magazines and newspapers. She has been interviewed on more than thirty radio and television stations, nationally and internationally, including Africa. She is considered an expert on what it takes to achieve success.
Barbara served in the Maryland General Assembly for twelve years, ten years as a State Delegate and two years as a State Senator. She also served two years as chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland. She knows what it takes to succeed in spite of your past. “Only crabs walk forward while looking backwards,” says Barbara.