Tell us about yourself.
My name is Gerry Howze and I am the Executive Director of PEARLS for Teen Girls. PEARLS is a partner of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, and both organizations have a special place in my heart – I am a product of United Way funded programs, and PEARLS has partnered with United Way over the past 10 years. They have supported us and partnered with us through some tremendous new chapters and we are so grateful we have such a community builder here in Milwaukee to bring so many fabulous organizations together.
What’s the last great book you read?
I just finished Start with Why by Simon Sinek. Talk about a powerful invitation to look deep down inside and ask ourselves, “Why do I do what I do?” and carry my beliefs into all areas of my life. On the fiction side, please take a few nights and read The Shack by William P. Young. You will laugh, cry and be so inspired.
Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Who is your favorite villain?
In the grand world of storytelling, my favorite heroine was Cinderella. Her persistence and firm beliefs in herself through adversity-literally rags to riches-speaks to me. I had a difficult first chapter in life, but as my story continues I am extremely fortunate to have a strong foundation of support from the community surrounding me. I keep that in mind as I think of my favorite “villain” The Wiz from the Wizard of Oz. He tried so hard to exert control and power over everyone and yet, he wasn’t happy and was left with nothing.
What was your favorite book as a child?
Growing up, my love for reading began with the works of Dr. Seuss - specifically, Green Eggs and Ham. It taught me about starting adventures and not doing things the way they’d always been done. If you are open to new ideas, you can become your best-self.
Is there a particular story you heard in your childhood that still sticks with you today? Whom would you want to write your life story?
If I could share one story that I have carried with me, it is not a published written piece but a “moral of the story” from my father. When I was young, he said, “You will have one to two real friends in your lifetime, so when you get one make sure you are one.” It is with that sentiment of staying true to me and my beliefs that I would probably write my own life story. Who knows me better than me? I would love to be able to share the lessons I’ve learned so far and my excitement about my many new chapters yet to come.