University of Southern California

Marshall's Tonii Brady Featured at the Festival of Books
The Staffer Celebrated her Newest Book at the Annual Event
May 5, 2014 • by News at Marshall

Longtime Trojan family member Tonii Brady, operations manager of the MBA Career Resource Center at the USC Marshall School of Business, wore another hat—that of published, book-signing author —during this year’s Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, held April 12-13 on the USC campus. Tonii shared her thoughts on balancing a rigorous career with a busy home life, including as a Trojan Mom, and still find time to write, write, write!

Q:   Tell us about your book projects. What motivated you to undertake such a commitment, and how did you do it?

A:   I like to call my projects “books with a message” because they tackle the real- life issues that children face on a daily basis. The motivation behind “The Daddy-Daughter Dance” was my former boss, Steve Adcook [Director of Human Resources]. When he first came to Marshall, he arrived at the office one morning talking about needing something to wear to the Father-Daughter Dance at his daughter’s school. I had never heard of this event, and I asked what it was about. Steve was shocked that I had never heard of this event, so I explained to him that where I come from we don’t have dances like this. This was in 2008 and I held on to the idea of writing that story until 2012.

My motivation for “Jeremy Has No Dad” was simply the need to have a book for a boy, since I already knew that I would have one for fatherless girls. Jeremy was written in 2010; I had to write it before I could write DDD. I really enjoyed writing this book.

I wrote both of these books at home on the weekend and in the evenings. Once I finished my master’s degree I had even more time and began writing “Chameleon Blues”, which is the sequel to a young adult book, “Midnight Blues”, that I wrote in the ’90s.

Q:   How did you stay motivated while managing a busy full-time career, your family and all the other elements of busy life?

A:   To be honest, I have been a student while maintaining a full-time job and having three kids for many years, so I have become accustomed to working, going to school, raising my kids and being a wife. I really don’t know anything else. I finished my MPA in 2009, so that left the door wide open for me slide writing in its place.

Q:   Who were your favorite authors as a child and/or reading to your own kids?

A:   As a kid my favorite authors were Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary! I loved “Fudge”, “Super Fudge” and “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing”. I spent hours reading and re-reading “Ramona the Brave”. One of my favorites was also “The Cat in the Hat”. In fact, even as an adult who hasn’t read that book in years, I still know the first five pages, word-for-word, by heart. I read a plethora of books to my kids. Of course, Dr. Seuss was on the list!

Q:   What was the most rewarding part of the process?

A:   The most rewarding part of this process was actually seeing, feeling and touching the books. They were delivered on April 10. When I saw them, I could not bring myself to open the boxes. In fact, I sent Tonisha Jester [Recruiting Coordinator] a text asking her to go to my office and look at them because I was afraid to look. I had had a dream the week before that the books were all wrong, so I just couldn’t do it!

Q:   You are a Trojan Mom—what was your daughter’s reaction to having an author-mother?

A:   My daughter was very supportive and excited. She reposted my facebook post and even had some of her friends come and purchase books.

Q:   What advice do you have for other budding authors at USC?

A:   Do not let those big publishing companies squash your dreams or make you feel like you’re not good enough. Follow your dreams and stay focused and dedicated—you can do it!

Q:   What's next for you? Another book?

A:   I have two more children’s books that I’d like to write this year—they are great ideas and I cannot wait to put my ideas on paper!

Q:   What books do you most enjoy reading?

A:   Don’t judge me, but I most recently completed the Fifty Shades trilogy…the books were simple, but the story was pretty good.

Q:   What is your life’s motto?

A:   Don’t expect anyone to pat you on the back for your accomplishments; pat yourself on the back and follow your dreams.


About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.