Life Beyond the Sheets: Interviews with 3 WOC Doctors

After the dating, proposal, wedding planning, and that magical moment when you say, “I do”, what happens next? Usually, it’s children, a house, cars, and maybe a pet or two. Within and surrounding today’s family units, WOC are boss-bad, and holding it down in business, marriage, and family.

It’s amazing how women can multitask multitasking, keep up with appointments, kid’s education, and still be the wife her husband needs. W2WT celebrates those women who have managed to be successful in their careers beyond the marriage sheets.

C’mon Sis, let’s acknowledge the death of barefoot, pregnant, and waiting for nothing to happen. Instead, let’s celebrate the truth that women are unstoppable; especially beyond the sheets, which defines a Boss-Bad Queen.

Dr. Patty

W2WT: Tell us who you are and what it is that you do?

Dr. Patty: My name is Patrice Stephanie Renee and I am a scholar, educator, business owner, investor, and God-fearing family woman and friend. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland to an amazing mother of three. I earned my doctorate in Higher Education Leadership Management from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I currently serve as the Human Resources department head for a local University campus in Philadelphia. My primary professional interest focuses on minding the employment gap during cultural changes and diversity and inclusion within faculty and executive administrators in higher education. A Human Resources professional with over 15 years’ experience within non-for-profit organizations. I also serve as an Adjunct Faculty member, teaching both in the classroom and online at several Universities in the Pennsylvania region. 

A first-generation doctoral graduate, I earned both a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts at Temple University as a dual major in Kinesiology and Psychology with a focus on physical and mental health. I later earned my Master’s in Organizational Development and Leadership at Saint Joseph’s University with a concentration on Organizational Psychology.

In 2021, I founded P.S. Renee, LLC Creative Consulting and Management Firm specializing in small and minority-owned businesses to create unparalleled value in the areas of Human Resources, Higher Education, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Grant Writing, Executive Coaching, property Management, Creative Strategizing, Notary and corporate event planning/ coordinating. My mission is to help small and minority-owned businesses thrive by helping them understand and manage employment-related issues, strategizing, coaching, problem-solving, and helping them find funding.

The above may explain what I do, but does not define who I am. I am a Black woman, created by a Black woman, hoping to create a Black woman. I am a daughter, sister, niece, Soror (Delta Sigma Theta), public servant, friend, and cat mommy. My faith has been tested over and over but has never wavered, I am still here, writing my own story and paving my own lane.

W2WT: Tell us about a time that you didn’t know how you would handle, marriage, business, and family?

Dr. Patty: Going into my third and final year of course work for my doctorate program, I was overwhelmed due to changes at my job with a merger, and the resignation of my boss, having mixed emotions about my progress in life as I was turning 34 years old and out of nowhere, my husband tells me that he “isn’t in love with me and no longer wants the life we have created together”. After four years of marriage and 6 years of being together, he didn’t even want to work on our relationship, moving out of our home just two months later. I was shocked, devastated, confused, and in denial. I just knew my husband would eventually come home. In the midst of my storm, I didn’t know what else to do besides press on. I threw myself into my work and school, leaving the house at 6 am and not returning until after midnight to not deal mentally with the thoughts of my failing marriage. I worked myself into promotion after promotion at work, while earning my doctorate two years later. I defended my dissertation on a Monday and unexpectedly lost my Mother that Saturday. It was truly the best and worst week of my life, as the events of that week still seem surreal, changing my life forever. Three months later, my divorce was finally finalized. Reflecting on that time in my life, I realized that as Women of Color, we don’t get a moment to live in our depression, there is no timeout to deal with our emotions, and no one shows up for our pity parties. It’s ingrained in us that we must continue to rise, grind and succeed despite our trials and tribulations because rest is not a privilege normally afforded to us.

W2WT: Sometimes marriages end, but they don’t end us…

W2WT: What are some secrets you can share with other WOC who struggle with managing marriage business and family?

Dr. Patty: My biggest secret has always been ownership, owning who I’ve been, owning what I have done, owning who I am, and owning who I want to become. And I celebrate my ownship. I decided a long time ago to not let my failed marriage own me or future relationships. I’m successful within my career because of the freedom that I have built as an owner, entrepreneur, and self-made businesswoman. I believe happiness is what you make of it and I choose every day to own my happiness, joy, love, and peace.

Dr. Harris

W2WT: Can you tell us who you are and what it is that you do?

Dr. Harris: My name is  Dr. Dira D. Harris. I am a minister, public speaker, educator, author, and TV Broadcaster. I am also the founder of a non-profit organization entitled 99&1 Ministries. 99&1 is inspired by the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:12-14. The mission of 99&1 ministries is to help women and young girls build stronger relationships with God and healthier reflections of their inner selves. The vision of 99&1 is to build a global “Noble Network” in which women and young girls can empower one another to find their purpose by sharing Christ through the spirit (BEING), testimony (SPEAKING), and experience (DOING).

An initiative of 99&1 that I hold dear to my heart is entitled God, Girls, & Gab. This forum seeks to “counsel through conversation, “and is featured on Preach the Word Network each Monday night at 9:30 pm Eastern Time.

W2WT: Tell us about a time when you didn’t know how you would handle marriage, ministry, and family?

 Dr. Harris: Oftentimes those who are called to ministry can find themselves overworked, outcasted, and ostracized. When this happens, if we are not careful we can find ourselves following a path where we are trying to please man more than we are doing the will of God. Those who suffer the most tend to be those closest to us like our spouses and children. This is exactly the situation I found myself in a few years ago. I was selected to be a part of a ministry at a fairly large church. I initially took on the assignment to serve after speaking with the ministry leader about other obligations I was responsible for. However, not long after, I began to feel the spirit of exploitation. A feeling in which I believe the church was more concerned with their personal advancement than the advancement of the kingdom of God.

I was being pulled in several directions and guilt-tripped when I could not partake in particular activities. I had become increasingly tired and thus my life at home suffered. After speaking with God, my husband, and ministry leader I made the decision to step down from that role. The Holy Spirit reminded me that as a wife my first duty to serve is serving my family. 

W2WT:  What are some secrets you can share with other WOC who struggle with managing marriage, ministry, and family?

 Dr. Harris: A very special prophetess in my ministry circle reminded me that there is a difference between opportunity and assignment. Every opportunity to serve, sing, minister, pray, etc. is not necessarily a part of your assignment. In the kingdom of God we should not be concerned with opportunity, but instead focused on our assignment. When we focus on our assignment, we are better equipped to manage our lives as wives, mothers, disciples, and daughters.

Another special nugget I always reflect on is that marriage is a relationship ordained by God with God-given roles and responsibilities. This relationship creates covenant protection over our home and our children’s lives. This is a constant reminder to me that my decision to be wed to my husband directly impacts my children’s future.

Dr. Dawn

W2WT: Can you tell us who you are and what it is that you do?

Dr. Dawn: I am Dr. Dawn Gullette Crosson, Licensed Psychologist, Certified Trauma Therapist. I am the founder and Clinical Director of the Harrisburg Area Learning Academy, Inc. (HALA Inc), a non-profit that is dedicated to building trauma-informed communities. HALA provides trauma-informed training to local school districts and agencies in the Central PA area. We also provide intensive in-home trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy through our family base program. We also launched a trauma center on April 7, 2021; the Central PA Center for Trauma and Healing (CCTH). It’s the first Trauma Recovery Center (TRC) in all of Pennsylvania and the 34th in the country.  Lastly, I am the sole proprietor of Petra Psychological Services, LLC est. 2008. Though I specialize in trauma, I serve the full gamut of mental health disorders.

W2WT: Tell us about a time when you didn’t know how you would handle marriage, business, and family?

Dr. Dawn: When my sons were younger, I can recall a time when I struggled significantly with managing all of it. At that point, I had to remind myself of my priorities (which was GOD and my family) and the fact that I make my own schedule; meaning, I can modify as needed.  I began to express to my husband my needs and then developed a plan to hire support. I scheduled family time daily and I increased devotional time and self-care. The increased time with GOD really was a stress reliever and provided direction. As the business expanded, I eventually invested in a business coach.

W2WT: What are some secrets you can share with other WOC who struggle with managing marriage, business, and family?

Dr. Dawn: I would first recommend prayer. Then take time to examine your priorities and your passion. Make sure that your business lines up with them both. If not, consider investing in a business coach. I would recommend a business coach either way. A quality business coach can really add clarity to your mission as an entrepreneur and strategize on how to streamline and automate processes. In regards to family and marriage, pray, pray, pray, and express to your partner your needs. In a healthy relationship, communication is important. Together, the two of you may be able to develop a plan to support one another and to ensure that both needs are met. Lastly, when it is all said and done, your family and spouse can’t be replaced. They are often our cheerleaders and there for us through the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. We don’t get “do-overs” with the ones we love and we can’t ever get that time back. Invest first in your family. The return is priceless.


 “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” 

~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Harrisburg Area Learning Academy, Inc. (HALA Inc.)

Dr. Dawn G. Crosson, Psy.D, CEO

Licensed Psychologist, Certified Trauma Therapist

1301 Derry St. 3rd Floor

Harrisburg, PA. 17104