How did you come to live in Sunflower County?
After I graduated from Indianola Academy in 2006, I moved to Ridgeland to attend college and would often return to Indianola to visit friends. In 2010,
I was in town attending a graduation ceremony and decided to meet up with a group of friends for a casual dinner in Inverness. When I arrived at the restaurant, I sat in the only seat available, which was beside a guy that I did not know personally, though we knew who the other was, due to it being a small town.
Once we started talking, I was convinced that he was the funniest person I had ever met. So 3 years later, I married him.
Who are your biggest female influences?
I have had several strong influences in my life, but the most influential has been my mother and maternal grandmother.
My mother balanced raising me and my brother, taking care of the home, working a full-time job, and somehow managing to be present at every school activity and sporting event. She has never allowed me or my brother to quit when things get difficult, always making us finish what we started. She has taught me to always stand up for what is right, even if I am the only one standing.
My grandmother’s bravery has always been something I have been inspired by. She has been through so much, and yet she keeps fighting everyday living life to the fullest with her enormous amount of faith and spunk.
They have taught me morals to live by, been my biggest cheerleaders, and encouraged me to pursue my dreams while challenging myself to be the best I can be. Together, they have instilled values that have made me who I am today.
I have also had many mentors who have given so much of their time and resources to support my goals. For that, I am incredibly grateful that they believed in me even when I did not.
What would you describe as your biggest accomplishment so far in life?
My greatest accomplishment, which is also the most rewarding, is being a mother to my 2-year-old, Ruthie, hands down. I am extremely fortunate that I have been allowed the opportunity to pursue an interesting, high-quality career that has a positive impact in our community, all while maintaining a happy and healthy family life.
I have experienced so many meaningful moments, both monumental and small, that have represented proud accomplishments in my life. However, the vicarious thrill I feel when I help others succeed and enable their progression is like no other. I feel that it is a privilege to be in a position to help develop others.
I have endured several setbacks, from not being chosen for a particular position or having a project proposal turned down to conquering my fear of public speaking. Even though those moments were far from accomplishments, I feel a sense of pride knowing that I got up, dusted myself off, and tried again. It is also a good reminder of how hard I tried.
What is the best piece of advice you can give young women looking to become leaders in their communities?
Ask for advice from leaders within your organization and take advantage of mentoring opportunities that are readily available to you. Seek out a variety of mentors with diverse backgrounds to ensure that you have no blinds spots. You will accelerate your path to fulfilling your purpose, and grow into an even better version of yourself.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned about leadership?
Leadership is not just found at the most senior levels; it is equally vital in the day-to-day operations. Every employee can exercise leadership capabilities by recommending a way to better streamline processes, going beyond your job requirements, looking for opportunities to make your department operate more effectively, and