As the child of a politically active teacher and a pharmacist, Carmen Cauthen grew up in a household with high expectations and she didn’t back down from meeting them. At an early age, she was exposed to the community through working at the drugstore and in attending meetings with her mother. That is how she began to discover her voice. She learned to speak up quickly because she was often the only African American in her space and her caring nature looked for all to be treated justly. Carmen's early career was writing the Journal for the North Carolina House of Representatives. Having to proofread every day's journal, out loud and with a red pen, honed her ability to find errors in spelling, content, and consistency. As she often had to answer questions from members of the public, she became an avid researcher as well. From her work with her mother, she also learned how to navigate the community and engage people in telling their truths in a way that could shine a light on issues that needed solving. She continues that work today.