BUSINESS / ORGANIZATION:Little Rock, AR
ABOUT THE BUSINESS / ORGANIZATION:
I have committed myself to a number of nonprofits over the past years, specifically by serving and/or leading on the Board of Directors.
Women Lead Arkansas is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to empower women and girls to engage in politics, policy, and leadership.
Disability Rights AR Inc. is a private, nonprofit, federally designated agency in the Protection and Advocacy network that ensures civil rights for persons with disabilities are enforced.
Arkansas Single Parent Fund (ASPSF) enables single parents to attain self-sufficiency through post-secondary education by way of scholarship opportunities that meet both their educational and personal needs
THE STORY:My journey to nonprofit service and leadership came by way of an attempt to resolve my grief and loss.
At one point I was trying to decide whether to have a large wedding or small ceremony to my college sweetheart because he was about to be deployed. I was earning millions for a company who wanted me to relocate for a better position. I was also months away from completing my graduate studies. I had a small list of organizations that had touched me from a distance and I told myself I would volunteer for "someday."
Ten months later I was burying my grandmother, who raised me. My 11-year relationship was over. I was a single parent of two young children and their father was also deployed. I had a graduate degree, but my company had lost its contract, and the previous opportunity that I was offered was no longer available. I was left to literally start over with no core support system.
I was mentally and physically debilitated from depression, and my daily accomplishment was bathing myself. Soon I got a job as a therapist. I could "fix," my clients and they praised me religiously. When they left their sessions, I cried after each one out of anger for not being able to fix myself.
After about three years of crying and not eating, I decided the healthy thing to do was to acclimate myself to healthy environments. I decided to do that volunteering thing I had promised myself before.
A friend sent an email invitation to join my number two choice on my list. Several persons interviewed for the opportunity with the founder and current members. By the end of the day, I was extended an invitation to serve. I then served with DRA for seven years.
I revisited my list again and started calling numbers on the internet. One call led to speaking with the CEO, who just so happened to be the founder, and after a discussion of my intent, I waited a year, and I was elected serve. I served with ASPSF for four years.
I quickly served in a leadership capacity on several committees of both agencies. But my greatest accomplishment came the year I was elected as Board President for both agencies (Note: I chose to serve on one in this capacity.) Both were going through a full organizational transition and rebranding, from hiring a new CEO down to choosing new logos in the same year.
After finishing off with ASPSF, I chose to prepare myself to run for political office. Women Lead Arkansas holds an annual training for those interested in either running for political office or working on a political campaign. I felt a connection so strong with its mission that I decided I could be better used to help other women by supporting the agency in its current focus to expand its reach. I've been serving now for five months.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS / ACCOLADES / AWARDS:
I was chosen to serve on a five-person committee within the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) to provide training and support to other agencies across all 50 states and 7 territories.
I developed a public policy platform where I committed to an 8-hour day meeting with all members and staff of my state's Congressional delegation to address the civil liberties of persons' with disabilities in Arkansas
My foundation was all things church. Even as young as age 8, I was actively involved in church missions. It is still a running joke that I did everything in high school but teach by my senior year.
Personal Interests: I have two daughters 16 and 19. We are a household of art. When I’m not at an exhibit or our repertory theatre catching a show, Im fostering their love for painting and photography.
Looking back I was a jack of all trades. I was not only interested in doing everything, I was good at it when I tried.
I still have this spontaneous zest to touch everything and check it off the list.
I would tell my younger self, "Just chill out girlie. You don't have to look so hard, your purpose will find you."
CONTACT INFORMATION:Women Lead Arkansas
Little Rock, AR 72225
Disbility Rights Arkansas
400 West Capitol, Suite 1200
Little Rock, AR 72201
Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund Inc.
614 East Emma Ave, Suite 119
Springdale, AR 72764