HR Expert Dishes on How to ‘Employ Your Gift’ and Operate in Your Purpose

Having hired and trained over 800 people over the course of her career, she knows exactly what it takes to successfully connect people with opportunities and equip them with the tools they need to excel professionally. But she does more than simply foster successful employment; she helps people walk into their purpose.

Vonciel M. English, founder and owner of Perfect English Development Solutions, LLC, firmly believes employment isn’t just about finding a job that provides a steady income; it’s about finding the right opportunity that allows your God-given gifts and talents to flourish. Hence her motto, “don’t just work…employ your gift.”

Early on in her career, English realized her personal commitment to great customer service.

“Before I got into human resources, I was a big customer service advocate,” English told The Weight She Carries. “I truly believed that people who go out to purchase products and services should receive the best customer service possible.

Soon she discovered her passion for human resources and for training people to have the skills that can help them find a job.

With this new-found love, English set out to show people how to polish up their resumes, write effective cover letters and interview well.

“I felt like that was what God was calling me to do. One of my foundational scriptures is Romans 11:29 that says the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable,” she said. “I was called to help people find their gifts, to connect with who they are in order to provide service to others, and more importantly, to be able to find the position in which they can thrive in.”

English originally launched Perfect English in 2009 and developed a concept called Service Linguistics, which is defined as the language of service and how it is “communicated” or delivered to customers.  

In 2017, Perfect English evolved into Perfect English Development Solutions, LLC which takes a faith-based approach to recruiting and development by connecting people to their purpose and helping them develop their natural gifts and talents.

Establishing her business was one of many ventures English set out to accomplish at the time. In addition to building her business, she worked a day job and completed two degrees along the way – a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration concentrating in Entrepreneurship and Hospitality Management and a Master’s degree in Human Resource Management.

“I was doing all of these things – I was a Manager, I was an intern – and yet I was still an entrepreneur,” she said.

“You have seasons in your life, especially if you are an entrepreneur that God gives you to learn from. The positions that you are in are designed to fully equip you to work in your purpose.” – Vonciel M. English

In 2012, while obtaining her undergraduate degree at Central State University, English signed up for an entrepreneurship competition.

“I went up against 15 other students, and I had to present my Perfect English business plan in front of CEOs of various companies,” she said. “I remember praying so hard about it, and I was blessed to win first place and $1,000.”

There was something unique about English’s innate ability to develop a concept and execute it effectively. Following the competition, she received a lot of praise from various dignitaries, corporate leaders, and university staff who had seen her presentation.

That experience served as confirmation that she was on the right track.

“When I was spiraling out of control, no one would have imagined that I would one day have a bachelor’s or a master’s degree. No one. The grace of God did that.” – Vonciel M. English

In her current position as Employment and Advancement Coach for Miami Valley Works, English was hired as the first ever Advancement Coach for the program over 200+ candidates who had applied. Working primarily as an Advancement coach – she helps people living in poverty who have been consistently employed for 12 months, trying to become self-sufficient, and are ready to “level up personally and professionally.”

Prior to this, English had told herself that she wouldn’t work for another employer. She was so passionate about focusing on her business exclusively and felt ready to finally leave the corporate world and operate fully in her purpose. But as events unfolded, she quickly realized that it wasn’t time yet.

“When I left my previous job as an HR specialist, I had hired and trained over 800 people, and that was a precursor. When I came to my current position, many people asked if I’d gotten a pay raise, and I said, ‘No, this is a spiritual promotion.’ I know exactly why God has me here,” she said.

One of the things English struggled with when she initially received the call on her life was wondering what to call herself based on her gifts. Before becoming a Coach professionally, she had obtained success as a Recruiter and New Hire Trainer.  Now she was ready to take her training and development skills to the next level.  Since 2015, she wanted to spiritually coach and develop others to help them build a foundation of faith, persevere past life’s obstacles, and employ their God-given gifts.

“I remember asking God…I’m not a life coach, I’m not all these other things that people are getting certified for. What am I?’ And He said, clear as day, ‘You’re my Encouragement Coach. You are to encourage people during their transition from tests and trials and tribulations, into their purpose.’” – Vonciel M. English

Having dealt with people from various backgrounds, English said some of the barriers that often hinder people from seizing employment opportunities are failing to commit fully to the job search process, not having patience, not believing in themselves, and being unaware of their personal and professional skill sets.

“I’ve had a lot of people who were gung ho and said they were committed. And then after a while, they lost faith in themselves,” she said.

When it comes to women specifically, English has seen some common issues that hold many of us back from securing the kind of employment we desire.

“Some of the women I worked with didn’t love themselves. Some of them had been abused whether as ‘a child or a teenager,” she said. “When you have gone through something like that and you’re trying to look for a position and are interviewing, it’s hard to present yourself in a positive light if you do not love yourself.”

“Women have to embrace where they are. Even though so many things happen to women that are detrimental to our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health, learning to embrace the trials brings a truth to your spirit and to your life. When my clients tell me about a mistake they made, I try to always remind them that they didn’t make a mistake, they just made the wrong decision at the wrong time.” – Vonciel M. English

English is gifted in connecting with people, particularly with those who have experienced devastation, because she can also identify with tragedy.

Her biological father left her and her mom when she was 3 months old, and when she was 16, she lost the father she knew – her step-father who officially adopted her and raised her as his own.

“He had a heart attack after a barbeque at home,” English said. “I had to give him CPR, and I knew he was dead. I was certified in CPR because I was in school for Allied Health, but when that happened to me, I spiraled downward.”

He was the only father she had known.

“I couldn’t stand the sound of a ringing phone for years because, when the ambulance took my mom and my father’s body to the hospital, I stayed behind and had to make sure family and friends knew how to get to the hospital, and the phone was constantly ringing,” English said. “I suffered from alcoholism and I became promiscuous in my twenties. I self-medicated to deal with the depression and anxiety I was still experiencing years after losing my father.”

In addition to experiencing trauma at a young age, she also helped take care of an ill mother who spent years in and out of the hospital during her childhood.

In 2002, her mother Vanessa was diagnosed with Lupus and she was devastated. English, who was raised in a non-denominational Christian church, found herself struggling to cope and ultimately departed from the path she once knew.

English continued down a destructive path for about 10-12 years until she met her boyfriend, Bryant L. White, who put his life on hold to help restore her faith and bring her back to her spiritual roots.

In addition to losing three fathers in a lifetime, including the loss of her second step-father in 2017, English has lost many close family members over the years. Though it has been painful, she has drawn strength from each experience – strength she readily lends to others dealing with similar tribulations. She proclaims that the calling God has placed on her life is a direct result of the tragedies she has overcome throughout the years.

While she has been blessed to be in leadership roles where her wisdom and experience were valued, there have been times when she has had to prove herself because of the colour of her skin.

“In professional environments, I have found that people are intimidated not only by my education but the fact that I am an educated black woman.  I still face challenges to this day with people who don’t want to validate my experience or my education, let alone any spiritual wisdom or insight that I have gained over the years.” – Vonciel M. English

But English has learned to rise above those challenges and has chosen to believe in the wisdom and ability God has placed within her.

When she looks back over her life, English says her greatest achievement has been stepping into her purpose and allowing God to direct her and use her gifts to inspire others. She is also very thankful to have been a member of 3 successful opening teams over her professional career, playing a critical role in the mass hiring, training, and development efforts of a Marriott hotel, a retail store, and a Gaming establishment.

To anyone out there trying to find out what their purpose is, English says the key is connecting with your Creator, focusing on His guidance, and listening to His direction.

“Find out what your gifts are and develop them. God will take you through seasons to prepare you, but you’ve got to be patient, faith requires patience” she said.

“He is the one who placed the dreams inside your heart,” she said. “Once you discover who you were created to be, you won’t just work…you will employ your gift.”

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