Winifred Quire Giddings


My Journey

“My deepest passion for personal freedom provides the stamina I need to succeed! The most inspiring moment for me as a Coach is I am growing more every moment in my journey, walking my own talk, being the change I want to see in the world and being that teacher who is authentically living her truth through her teaching.” Coach Winnie

I arrived in Winston Salem during the Fall of 1988. I had to get on my feet quickly, so I worked the third shift of a factory job, got an apartment and started college all over again. My previous units from the University of Liberia did not transfer. Also, not having financial aid meant I had to work extra hard.  I soon married a Liberian and we relocated to Detroit, Michigan. I continued my undergraduate studies and obtained a Master’s degree in Counseling.   Between work, raising a son, taking care of the household and being a “preacher’s wife”, I had little time for myself.  Also, I helped take care of my family in Liberia.  It felt like I was taking care of everyone else except myself.  In 2002, my husband and I divorced.  We created two worlds for ourselves, though we lived under the same roof.

While in Detroit, I helped my family flee the fighting in Liberia and relocate to Ghana. We could not find my brother, Natupi, for years, until a former student of my father recognized my brother and helped him escape from his captors. My family was always close. I was the eldest of 7 children.  As the eldest, at age 5, I helped take care of my siblings and perform various household chores. I learned how to play several roles at once: caregiver; child; big sister; and daughter. My father, however, was my refuge.

Next to God came my father. He taught me how to be true to myself. He believed in me and encouraged me to dream. He constantly told me I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.  He taught me how to think independently. Though I did not realize it at the time, my mother also taught me valuable, life lessons.  She taught me perseverance.  Though I worshipped my father, I came to realize that my father was very controlling over my mother. It had everything to do with the cultural tradition, unjust structures and manner in which women were and are treated in Liberia as property. I helped my mother, father and 2 siblings resettle to the Maryland, a 3 year ordeal that cost a small fortune. The other family members chose to return in Liberia after the civil war subsided.

I returned to Winston Salem with my son, Joel. I felt Winston Salem would provide me an opportunity to re-invent myself and a safe and decent environment for my son to grow into a man. I did some soul searching and decided I wanted to work with women by providing life coaching.  I took a number of training courses, obtained life coaching certification and started Perception Matters Coaching in 2009.My friends and family questioned the wisdom of starting a company in coaching women when I could work in my field of study. I continued to build my business. From a faith perspective I felt that if I could help one woman, then that would be worth more than anything in this world.

And my own journey continues.  I take time to love and nourish myself.  I set up healthy boundaries for myself and my relationships with family, friends and colleagues. I learned that as I heal, I can help others heal.  As I grow, I can help others grow.  If I were to name 3 things that have sustained me in my journey it would be my faith in God, my father’s love and teachings and my determination to make a difference in the lives of women.  Though I am a long way from my first flight, these are the values that help me soar.