SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Given the opportunity, Courvoisier "CiCi" Malone tends to shine. Yet one youthful mistake almost derailed her potential for life and career success ... until Goodwill Manasota gave her a chance. And on October 17th, during Goodwill Manasota's Community Ambassador of the Year Awards Dinner, Malone will be recognized as Goodwill's 2019 Team Member of the Year.
Malone was a straight-A student at Booker High School but, during her senior year, she was forced to drop out when her mother got sick so that she could help take care of her family. Unfortunately, she fell in with the wrong crowd. At one point, she borrowed a friend's car that had drugs in it, was pulled over and arrested for possession with intent to sell. Her charges were exacerbated as she was busted within 1,000 feet of a church.
Malone served her entire 2-1/2-year sentence. While incarcerated, she passed her GED test – without any supporting coursework. After her release, she moved back home to Sarasota to help care for her ailing father. Ready for something better than the jobs she was being offered, she went to Goodwill’s Selby/Newtown Job Connection office. In the end, she decided to apply for a job at Goodwill's Honore location and, while she found the job interview to be somewhat intimidating, she got the call that she got the job while walking to her car.
It didn’t take Malone long before she began her ascent with the organization. She started as a dressing room attendant, became a cashier, then a pricer; at this point, she was encouraged by management to move into a leadership role. She became a keyholder and currently is an associate manager. By year’s end, she’ll complete her store manager training.
All of this training, to help Malone develop her job skills and advance within the Goodwill organization, has been done while Malone was on the clock. She is thankful to the numerous managers who took time out for her, advocated on her behalf, and pushed her when she became nervous about seeking further advancements.
"I'm very grateful because not a lot of companies do what Goodwill does. Other places looked at my past conviction and said they weren't interested in me. It was discouraging," she said. But Goodwill was willing to give her a chance, which she called "Empowering! I feel as though no goal is too big for me to accomplish now."
She initially didn't believe her manager when she was informed that she had been selected as Team Member of the Year. "But then I started thinking about it and realized I have accomplished a lot in the last four years,” she said. “Being picked for this is an honor and a privilege, and I'm very excited."
Someday Malone would like to own a hair store. Before pursuing her dream, though, she would like to go to college and study business administration.
Malone would tell others who experience life challenges never to give up. "There's always a light at the end of the tunnel," she said. "Things might be dark, you might feel like it's unfair, but don't give up – keep pushing for what you want."
She is especially grateful for the on-the-job training and the significant time and energy that others in the Goodwill system invested in her – even when she doubted herself.
Tickets for Goodwill's Community Ambassador of the Year Awards Dinner, which takes place at Michael's On East (1212 East Avenue S., Sarasota) are $150/person; proceeds support Goodwill’s programs and services throughout the community. For more information or to reserve seats, call 941-355-2721, ext. 163 or go to experiencegoodwill.org/events.
PHOTO ID: (From l-r) Goodwill Mecca store manager Jeff Motchok, Goodwill’s Team Member of the Year Courvoisier ‘CiCi’ Malone, and GoodPartner Coach Diana Olivieri
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.