Devin Gambler – RESILIENT A.F.: Stories of Resilience


Born of poverty, homelessness, & multiple failures in academia, I still achieved my dream, my MBA.

Navigating the journey to achieve my MBA was as if the odds were stacked against me. You see, I wasn’t an academic and came from humble beginnings. Coming from a background marked by poverty & struggle, my early years were spent navigating the challenges of being homeless and moving through the foster care system as a youth. These experiences gave me a resilience that was both a necessity for survival and a foundation for future endeavors. Despite this, I held true to a dream of being someone who would one day lead & make a difference.

The role of a single parent to two boys, at times relying on the support of my mother, added layers of complexity and responsibility to my life. A single mom raised me, so I see how hard that could be. Therefore, the endeavor to pursue higher education was not just a personal goal but a beacon of hope and a testament to the possibility of transcending one’s circumstances.

Balancing fatherhood with the demands of an MBA program was a profound challenge, particularly when my youngest son was born in the early weeks of my studies. The nights spent caring for him, followed by exhaustive study sessions, epitomized the relentless drive and perseverance that had become second nature to me. “Embrace the grind” became more than a mantra; it was a lived experience reflecting my journey from the streets to the academic halls.

My family’s support and understanding were crucial, especially my wife’s unwavering dedication. This journey was a collective endeavor, with every sacrifice and achievement woven into the fabric of our family’s blanket. Pursuing my MBA was imbued with the weight of my past and the aspirations for my family’s future, driving me forward against all odds.

They’re watching everyone who is counting on you, from your kids to nephews, nieces, family, people who want to see you fail & tell you “Good luck.” I knew I couldn’t fail & so I dedicated more time and attention to courses that were tough and leaned on my classmates in areas that were weaknesses of mine. The one course, Business Finance, was one of the reasons why I never achieved a business degree. I worked so hard and eked out a B-. You are only allowed one; it was my make or break & it didn’t break me.

My cohort started with 20 students. I saw some really good people, and that life happened for them, and they dropped out. We became a close group & helped each other out. One student saved me on one of my weaker courses. I phoned her up & was at my wit’s end and so frustrated on a final assignment. She was patient, explained everything on how to do the assignment, and followed up with the outline she used in an email. I would have failed that course. She passed away two months before the program ended. I realize now that she was in a lot of pain with Chemotherapy and still answered the call. I owe her what she did and am inspired by her selflessness. I am currently working for her nation.

Reflecting on this arduous path, resilience shines through not just in enduring but thriving amidst adversity. For those navigating their own challenges, my story is a testament to the power of unwavering determination and a positive outlook. It underscores the importance of embracing every hurdle as an opportunity for growth, a step toward transforming dreams into reality, regardless of one’s beginnings.
My people’s watchful eyes fueled my resilience; failing wasn’t an option – this was always bigger than me. I would like to leave you with this piece of advice: never lose sight of your vision and the gifts you have been given.

Are you ready to share your story of RESILIENCE? You can do that HERE.