Executive Vice President for Member Services/Strategic Relations at Tennessee Valley Public Power Association

College/University attended? 
University of Evansville (B.S. Political Science), Texas Tech University (Master of Public Administration)

Tell us a little about you. 
Born in Indiana, I grew up in a suburb of Dallas, TX, and have called Chattanooga home for 22 years. Prior to joining the Tennessee Valley Public Power Association (TVPPA) in 2001, I worked in university administration, corporate staffing and the manufacturing industry. In my 20 years at TVPPA, I have had the pleasure of wearing many hats and learning the organization from top to bottom. That prepared me for my current role which includes oversight of TVPPA’s strategic partnerships, government relations, communications, conferences, and education and training programs. I also serve as vice president of Distributors Insurance Company (DIC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of TVPPA. Professional involvement includes the Women’s International Network of Utility Professionals and various roles with the American Public Power Association. I am also a member of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Regional Resource Stewardship Council and serve on the board of the Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence and its Board of Examiners.

What motivates you?  
I am a quote junkie and have one in particular that is prominently displayed in my office: “There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart…pursue those.” I am driven to pursue the things I am passionate about and strive to identify how I can use my skills and expertise to support them. 

When you’re not working, where and how do you spend your time?
Baseball, baseball, baseball. But, in all seriousness, my son plays baseball (middle school and travel team), we have season tickets to the Lookouts and I am in the process of touring all of the Major League Baseball ballparks (I have been to 22 out of 30 at this writing). So, much of my “leisure time” does seem to revolve around baseball. Besides baseball, I love to travel, listen to live music, camp, hike, cook, exercise and read. 

What advice do you have for women aspiring to be leaders in their field?
Don’t be dissuaded by those who underestimate you and your capabilities. Rather, demonstrate perseverance in your capacity to lead and succeed with patience, grace and integrity. It may not be a strategy rich in instant gratification but, the lasting effects and rewards are worth the wait.

Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Why and how did this person impact your life?
Identifying just one person who has had an impact on me as a leader would leave too many mentors unacknowledged. I have been very fortunate to have a series of champions that have recognized in me potential and skills that I didn’t see in myself.

In every case, the mentors referenced above have given me opportunities to learn and grow, while their support and encouragement gave me the courage to take risks and push myself. Back to my addiction to quotes, I regularly remind myself of what Simon Sinek said, “Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.” As a result, I try to pay forward the leadership lessons I have learned by mentoring and guiding others.

What has been your proudest moment in your career? 
Receiving the Robert E. Roundtree Rising Star Award from the American Public Power Association in 2012.

What strides do you think members can take to make more of a difference in women’s leadership issues in the local community? 
Start by identifying and equipping the next generation of leaders. Ensuring there is bench depth and succession planning in leadership, filled with those with the passion and drive to accomplish shared goals, will provide continuity and sustainability to achieve the mission and vision of the organization for years to come.

How would you best describe the benefit found in joining this organization? 
As a new member, I’m just beginning to fully appreciate its benefits. That said, one of the most exciting things so far has been the growing understanding that CWLI is positioning itself to be a mechanism through which I can be involved in making positive change in the community, especially as it relates to women who seek continuous improvement for themselves and those around them