Hometown: North Little Rock, AR. NLR is certainly not where I was born or spent my childhood years or even where I graduated high school but after moving to Park Hill in 2011, North Little Rock has been the city in which I’ve lived the longest and rooted myself the deepest. I’ve been fortunate to reside in multiple communities across Arkansas and each represents a portion of my life that is precious to me.
Title/Position: Current Vice President of Development and Incoming Chief Operations Officer (COO). I am currently transitioning jobs, wearing two hats for the next few months.
A: Yes and no. I waited until my Junior year of college to choose a major because I could not decide between education, psychology, sociology, health and human services, all the things! Embarrassingly enough, I wasn’t even aware that Social Work was an option. I actually thought I invented it! When I finally settled into my Human Services major, I prepared to enter the Social Work field and spend my career directly working with families or children. “In the field”, as it is called. I expected to forever juggle both the sense of fulfillment that comes with direct service and the weight of walking with others through their challenges. My goal was always to serve in whatever role would allow me to impact others and hopefully connect them with resources to improve some aspects of their lives. Though not how I pictured, that is exactly what I have my hand in now.
A: I would imagine that other women in the non-profit sector share the challenge that I face personally: the balance of being both a compassion-driven and business-minded professional. This is fully self-inflicted in my case. I’ve been fortunate that no one has accused me of being weak because of my consideration of others, but I certainly worry about how that is being perceived. In my mind, that is a concern mostly females bear. I often struggle with infusing empathy into business development and compassion into assertiveness, but I find extreme value in leading through connection. I challenge others to find opportunity in this challenge. I look forward to the day when traits can be viewed as purely positive or negative and not be gender-specific.
A: I have been so fortunate to have a different mentor for every pivotal phase of my life. My grandmother, Clara Metcalf -an actual domestic goddess, taught me all the things I use to express myself creatively. My college mentor, the lovable and approachable Beverly Quillin of Henderson State University, left me dreaming of reaching her level of intelligence and patience while devoting my career to serving others. Also, I cannot stress enough the importance of the television show the Office (U.S.) and what it teaches us about budget surpluses, how workplaces actually look, and the importance of HR.
A: My advice is to explore your strengths and assign value to your interests while absorbing as much knowledge as you can. I think the one good thing I’ve done is follow the thread of what fuels me. I’ve made a career out of being creative, relational and instinctive. All of the other important details I just learned along the way! Be open to the different avenues that could lead to your goal. All I knew was that I wanted to help others. What I learned was that there are many ways to do just that. I’ve helped people in their homes and their schools but now I get to help behind the scenes in a supportive role, which turns out to be the perfect fit for me.
A: My secret to success, in all the ways success can be defined, is surrounding myself with the right people. For me, I truly lucked into working for leader after leader who championed my interests and strengths. From my current boss, CareLink’s CEO Luke Mattingly, I have been continually invested in, motivated to pave my own way and trusted to make the decisions that I see fit. Just as important as having a good leader is building your support system. For someone completely and utterly athletically defective, I sure do believe in the power of a team!