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Meet Trailblazer Allison Mercer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Allison Mercer.

Allison, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My name is Allison Mercer and I am a first-generation American whose family hails from the British Virgin Islands. Growing up, my sisters and I were constantly treated differently because our family was vastly different from the culture that we were raised in. As a result, I constantly found myself trying to fit in with my peers by running away from what made me-me. The rejection and the lack of truly appreciating who I was lead me to a life of seeking affirmation in partying, drinking and other methods to fill voids.

While on the brink of being faced with getting kicked out of school, my principal at the time identified in me something I never saw in myself. He saw that I was a natural-born leader and with the right channeling of my energy, I could impact my school for good. He gave me a leadership opportunity that would keep me in school if I kept up my bargain of the deal. His willingness to take a chance on me helped me realized that I was created for more and now years later, I am working in one of greatest leadership roles one could ever ask for. I am now a Youth Pastor for the largest Church in San Diego and it is my mission to empower students to lead lives of impact in their schools and in our city. Had it not been for someone taking a chance on me I wouldn’t be where I am

Today- leading students but also being a trailblazer for other women in leadership. The best is yet to come and I am truly grateful to have this opportunity and prayerfully help others find their way too!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The road getting here was super unconventional to say the least (Lol). I dedicated my undergrad and graduate years to pursuing a life in government. When I moved back to San Diego, I had it all set up to work for an agency and I thought I had it made! As soon as I started working there, I began to realize that God had other plans for my life and the path to getting there required an immense trust in him! Along the way, doors that should not have been open became available to me as I stayed faithful in serving my church and city.

When it was time to apply for the current role I am now, my resume garnered little experience to what I was seeking, but by God’s grace, they took a chance on me. Often times, I am the only woman in the room which is honoring but also at the same time shows how much work still needs to be done. I am so grateful that I work for an organization that champions women in leadership! Now the task is to help other women realize that they can do the same thing too! One of the biggest challenges that I faced early on was internal more than anything else. I often found myself feeling like a needed to validate my place at the table- when it was not necessary and I really had to learn from that and let the work speak for itself.

Please tell us about The Rock Church San Diego.
I am the Director of Student Ministries for the Rock Church Point Loma. The heart of our organization is to be a source of hope for students, families and any individual throughout our city. We host Rock Your City Events where we dedicate time to beautify areas of San Diego, Yearly Toy drives where we give away over 20,000 toys to families in need and much more. We are so much more than just a church, we are large family who seeks to provide pervasive hope to our city and beyond.

As a youth ministry, we seek to equip, engage, and empower students to live lives of impact for Jesus and our world. We believe that students do not have to wait until they are an adult to lead or do things that are meaningful – they can start now! We provide spaces for students to speak, lead, create throughout our organization and as a result, we have seen our ministry grow tremendously over this past year. Above all else, one of the things I am most proud of is that we provide a space for the student’s voices to be heard and as a result, they have responded!

Do you recommend any apps, books or podcasts that have been helpful to you?
My schedule is pretty crazy so planners and apps help me keep things organized. I am a huge fan of Wunderlist to keep my task in order. Another app that I use frequently to communicate to all of my team members is an app called BAND- great source for communication and team engagement!

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