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Barbara Hager
Class of 2019

Name: Barbara Hager

Hometown: Little Rock

Title/Position: Arkansas Response and Coordination Center (ARCC) Manager, Arkansas Division of Emergency Management (ADEM), Arkansas Department of Public Safety

Briefly describe your role:I am in charge of the ADEM staff who document incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.   I supervise staff and make sure that we are able to tell the story of what is happening in Arkansas concerning emergency hazards in Arkansas.  We report on an average of 2,700 incidents a year.

The staff distributes two daily reports that summarize incidents.  Our distribution list includes technical and non-technical personnel so it is important to write our reports for understanding by diverse groups. 

Q: Is what you’re doing now what you always pictured you would do?
 I always saw myself as being in public service.  The further I moved up in government leadership, the more I felt out of touch with the people programs were supposed to serve.  I never would have seen myself in emergency management having spent the majority of my professional career in public health.  It has been a great fit for my servant's heart philosophy.  I feel like I am working at a level now that I am making a difference on behalf of the citizens of Arkansas.
Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges for women in your chosen industry? What are the greatest opportunities?
I think it is a great time for women to be in government.  Within Arkansas state government, there is a push for equity between the sexes.  Governor Hutchinson transformed (reorganized) state government this past year and fully half of his new cabinet is comprised of women. Within ADEM, I have had opportunities to mentor staff members.  In addition to staff learning how to collect, document and report important information, they have learned about all aspects of emergency management on local, state and federal levels as well as the private sector.  I am proud that the majority of staff, when they leave the ARCC, promote to other positions within ADEM.  Agency leadership recruit ARCC staff for vacant positions in their administrative units.  I hire staff with their emergency management career potential as a priority.
Q: Who has inspired you in your life/career?
A: My career inspiration has always been my mother.  She modeled "women's lib" before it was cool.  She did not stay home and raise her children in the 1960s.  As soon as my brother, sister and I were attending public school, Mom was completing her undergraduate degree.  She did not stop there.  She earned many master degrees in education and served in leadership positions in our school district.  When she retired, she tutored students.  In her eighties, she successfully ran for town mayor.  Mom showed me the value of public service.My children have followed me into public service.  They want to make the world a better place too.  They inspire me as much as I may have inspired them.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring professional?
A: Keep your eyes and ears open to new ways of doing things.  Trust your instinct.  Do what you love and love what you do.  Do not be afraid to fail because that is how you learn to be successful.
Q: What’s been your secret to success?
A: A confession - I have not always been successful.  I have failed a lot and have finally accepted that failing is part of succeeding.  I recognize those who have helped me succeed. I try to treat everyone the way I would like to be treated.  I give back more than I receive.
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