Life in Its Rawest Form

About the Author

Qiana grew up as a disadvantaged youth where her parents battled with drug and alcohol addiction, and poverty, which caused her to live through tumultuous growing-up years. In addition to her childhood challenges, Qiana became a mother at the age of fifteen years old. She didn’t let her circumstances stop from dreaming of better. She used her growing-up years as an example of what she didn’t want for her future. She worked tirelessly to overcome her past and not to follow in the same path as her parents.

Today, Qiana Hicks is a mother, college graduate, a career professional, and an author. She began her career with a Financial Institution as a Customer Service Representative. In addition to working full-time, she attended junior college where she obtained an associate degree in Applied Science, which landed her a job in technology as a Helpdesk Analyst. After serving in this capacity for a couple of years, she realized that in order for her to grow and advance, it would require a higher education, so she achieved a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. While pursuing her bachelor’s degree, she advanced to a role in Software Engineering.

In this capacity, she learned how IT could be a competitive advantage. She increased her knowledge and skills by learning to program in various software languages. This opened the door to more responsibilities, where she advanced into a leadership role in Data Management and Quality Assurance (QA).

Qiana wanted to take on more business challenges and IT opportunities. She knew that in order to do so, she had to have a well-rounded education, combined with real world experience. For those reasons, she furthered her education by achieving a Masters in Business Administration, which led to her to a senior leadership role in Software Engineering of a Fortune Twenty company. Qiana has received numerous STEM awards, and Women Of Color In Technology throughout her career. As her life and career continues to progress, she is reminded of how far she’s come. That alone is what keeps Qiana striving for better each day.

Qiana’s mission is to empower disadvantaged and at-risk youth and young adults to overcome obstacles and break the cycle of impoverished thinking and behaviors so they can make better choices to create a brighter future for themselves, and be an example for others to follow.

About the Book

This is the story of Qiana - a young girl whose body and soul are battered by abuse, neglect, and abandonment. She grows up in an environment impoverished by drug- and alcohol-addicted parents. She dreams of and hopes for a better life, wishing she could morph into a life of pure peace and happiness. But extenuating circumstances throughout her childhood and young adulthood prevent her from enjoying that life.

Instead, the adversity and oppression she and her siblings frequently endure keep that nostalgic dream tucked away in a far-off place. This young Qiana often wonders why she was born into these circumstances, and why others, perhaps more deserving of such circumstances, were not. She questions whether God is punishing her for being born. She has a hard time understanding why anyone, especially a child, must endure so much pain and hardship.

Eventually, the young girl is separated from her family and placed in foster homes, group homes, and shelters.

When she becomes a mother at the age of 15, her hopes for a brighter future diminish somewhat, yet she continues to believe that future will be possible. Her journey is riddled with struggles. Nothing comes easy. She perseveres, scars from the past being the only real help she has. Somehow, she figures out how to use her scars and experiences as opportunities for the future she’s dreamed of for so long. Regardless of the odds, Qiana relentlessly searches for the future of her dreams – and she triumphs.

Qiana understands that in order to have a better outcome for the future, she has to think differently. Among her toughest challenges are not allowing her mother’s addictions and poor choices to affect her own choices, and not following in her mother’s footsteps and those of others around her.

With a sliver of hope, with cuts, bruises, and a wounded spirit, Qiana is fiercely determined to persevere in conquering her past and to exceed society’s expectations. Her misfortunes inspire her to forge a better future. Though not a single day is easy as she pursues her dream, she never stops dreaming, and she never gives up. She works tirelessly, she overcomes old obstacles—and, early on, she achieves success. Qiana’s journey for a better life ends in triumph!

Qiana’s marvelous story of hope, inspiration, determination, and her tested formula for success can help others who want to beat their own odds—regardless of what has come before—to triumph over the impossible.


“I couldn’t give up or look back, because no one else had my back. The more I understood that, the more I pushed myself to work harder each day.”

“As overwhelming as it could sometimes be, failure was not an option.”

“Regardless of how dark the past may have been, there is always hope for a brighter future.”

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