Traona, affectionately known as Mrs. King by the children she nurtures, is a local salon owner and a North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University graduate. Her story is a testament to the power of following one’s passion and the profound impact of mentors and community support.
Traona’s fascination with hair was evident from a young age. She recounts stories of “bald Barbie dolls that fell victim to haircuts and heat styling that often melted their hair more than it curled” and styling the hair of the children she babysat. It was her sister though who planted the seed of her future career. Admiring her sister’s ability to transform women’s looks with various hairstyles, colors, and haircuts, Traona found herself drawn to the world of hairdressing.
However, as she grew up, she felt societal pressures that limited her perception of what constituted a “reputable” career path. The prevailing belief was that professions such as doctor, dentist, or lawyer were the only paths to success and financial stability. Thus, Traona set her sights on becoming a dentist, pursuing a degree in biology in college, and working in the dental field for some time. Despite her successful career in dentistry, the embers of her true passion for hair never faded.
Ironically, it was during her time in the dental field that Traona learned a valuable lesson from her elders—the key to true success lies in doing what you love. This realization sparked a renewed desire to pursue her lifelong passion for hair. She became a licensed haircare professional and, in short order, purchased a salon from her former mentor, which she named SHINE! Beauty Studio—a testament to Traona’s dedication and passion for her craft.
Throughout her journey, Traona has been blessed with supportive mentors who have guided her at every crucial stage of her life. Their influence and encouragement have inspired her to give back to the community, especially to the youth, just as she was once supported on her path to success. Traona seized every opportunity to assist the youth within her reach. Whether through her salon, community initiatives, or sorority, she recognized the importance of empowering young minds.
The ACGG’s Community Elevation Grant marked a turning point for her, allowing her to make her dream a reality on a larger scale. With the grant’s support, Traona has been able to use her creativity and expertise in hairdressing to cultivate and inspire the youth in her community. She passionately shares the message that the beauty industry is not only a trending field but also a realm of self-expression, confidence-building, and endless possibilities for a successful and respected career. Traona’s journey is a testament to the importance of following one’s true passion and the profound impact that mentorship and community support can have on shaping lives.
The Community Elevation Grant Program (CEG) represents an investment in the community. In 2022/2023, grants were made in the East Greensboro neighborhoods adjacent to Renaissance Plaza on Phillips Avenue. In 2023/2024, the CEG will be in the Warnersville neighborhood.
Cone Health Foundation, Cone Mills Charitable Trust, Duke Energy Foundation Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, Mary Lynn Richardson Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, The P&G Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Truist Foundation, and VF Foundation provide funding for the CEG Program.