GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Dorothy Wilson has a passion to tell stories not just for entertainment, but also for empowerment.
And, while she likes to tell stories of other people, she has big one of her own that she doesn't often share. It's one of survival.
"I think all of this worked out well for me because through journalism, my goal to help people and to bring people up, journalism has allowed me to do that," Wilson said.
Wilson is the founder of DWilson & Associates, publisher of Gulf Coast Woman and Gulf Coast Bride. She wants to make good first impressions and lasting impressions.
"I want them to see I have a smile on my face, no matter what's going on - good or bad, bad day good day. I'm smiling."
Kathy Rogers is a friend and business partner.
"When I see Dorothy, I just see a friend of mine," Rogers said. "Someone that I care about and she cares about me. There's no racial divides with Dorothy."
Most people know of her positive attitude, but it wasn't an easy path to get there. Her childhood was rough. Wilson grew up in rural Georgia. Her father lost his job and became both an alcoholic and abusive.
"We'd wake up in the middle of the night my parents would be arguing," said Wilson. "My dad would have a gun in my mom's stomach or have a gun to her head. Very traumatic things that would happen."
But, she calls these events "markers" that made her what she was to become.
"If you grew up the way I grew up, where your life could have ended on any day, any moment, any weekend, you begin to really cherish - truly cherish - what life is," noted Wilson.
Writer Elaine Stevens has worked with Wilson for many years.
"She had done so much not just for the women of the Gulf Coast, but the diversity of the Gulf Coast," Stevens said. "Bringing us together and showing us that we don't have any differences, we have similarities."
Businesswoman Karen Sock, says Wilson doesn't want to be known as a success story just for black women, but, rather, for anyone faced with early hardships.
"I think Dorothy has transcended race because she's a wonderful and skilled performer at the end of the day, people want to associate with people that are winners," said Sock.
Through her magazine, Wilson also runs the Success Conference, planned for August.
Wilson expects the third annual training and recognition program to have 700 to 800 women participate in 2017.