It is often stated that our life’s experiences are what determine who we are and what we will become.  This theory holds true for Tracy Riley. She was raised in a small community in rural Mississippi during the 70s and 80s.  At a very early age, her mother taught her the value of an education as she worked on the family property to grow food. They sold the surplus produce to bring extra money into the home for utilities and clothing.

Tracy became a mother at the young age of sixteen but instead of falling prey to the social expectation to drop out of school and live on welfare, she worked hard and graduated on time with honors.   As a means to earn money for college, she joined the US Army Reserve while a junior in high school.  At the age of eighteen and while a freshman in college, she was called to active duty in support of Operation Dessert Storm.  After serving a one-year tour of duty, she immediately re-enrolled at Meridian Community College and earned an Associates Degree while working as a part-time secretary.

Tracy enrolled at Dillard University, where she majored in Business Management with an emphasis in Marketing. She also became a member of Dillard’s ROTC program, which enabled her to gain a military commission as a US Army Officer.  While a student at Dillard, she worked on campus, served as a cadet in the Army Reserve, and earned an internship at Ford Motor Company.  The internship with Ford Motor Company opened the door to her direct recruitment into Ford Motor Company’s Sales and Marketing Division in Dearborn, Michigan. She excelled in sales and marketing and was promoted into Management level positions within seven years.  She was also selected as Ford’s virtual reality representative on the World Wide Web until her departure from Ford Motor Company in 2005.  Tracy joined the sales team of W.W. Grainger, one of the world’s largest industrial supply and distribution companies by Fortune 500. Tracy has successfully balanced a civilian career while honorably serving our country during two tours of duty for Operation Iraqi/Enduring Freedom.

There is no doubt that her life has been shaped by the many experiences she has encountered thus far.  She has overcome tremendous obstacles and hardships yet she remains a positive role model to her children and youths in her community. She is happily married to fellow US Reserve Officer, Major Dale Riley, for over fifteen years and she is the loving mother of two talented children.