By Sabie Crowder
Admiration. That’s my first thought when I meet someone who has always known what they wanted to pursue. The dots connect, they see the path, and they start walking it.
I admire Alese Taylor for uncovering her calling and taking steps to cultivate it through extensive education, smart career choices, and deep extra-curricular involvement.
Alese is currently a graduate student at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and splits her limited free time between being a graduate assistant in the Office of Multicultural Affairs at UTC and the Administrative Assistant at CWLI.
Originally from Memphis, Tenn., Alese comes from a family of four and is a shining product of the public school system. It was during high school where she found her passion for nonprofits and community outreach. Alese credits her career path to her involvement in Youth United Way from ninth grade until high school graduation.
“I gave up many days including every Saturday to serve the Memphis area through programs like Bountiful Baskets and, my favorite, Shoebox Christmas Operation Christmas Child. We would deliver the boxes to the kids and the looks on their faces were priceless.” Alese reflects.
The group volunteered at sporting events like professional basketball team the Memphis Grizzlies, thus spurring an interest in the community outreach within professional sports management teams.
“I loved being a part of the whole process like setting up before the game and seeing everything that goes on behind the scenes. I decided I wanted a Sports Administration degree because of that experience.”
By senior year, Alese had been named Co-Chair of Youth United Way and received a scholarship for her commitment to the organization.
Unlike many students, Alese had decided on her major before her high school senior year, so when looking at schools, UTC was the only university to offer her specific requirements: a bachelor’s degree in Nonprofit and Sports Administration with a minor in Business Administration.
After quickly settling into the pace of college life, Alese was ready to get back into her passion–community service. She became a member of Kiwanis’ collegiate organization Circle K, and became the president in her junior year, and grew its membership from five to 35 in a short four year timeframe.
Alese took a student organization left by the wayside, Black Student Alliance, stepped up as president, increased membership, and doubled event attendance.
Taylor played a pivotal role in Step Up, a bystander intervention program teaching and training other campus organizations about recognizing and solving issues such as hazing, racism, and sexual assault. Add on top of her list of responsibilities: mentor to freshman through the Office of Multicultural affairs, member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, InterVarsity, Student Government Association, Gospel Choir. She found time to do all of these activities while keeping her grades up.
The young woman said it best, “I thrive on being busy and having a full calendar.”
Previously an intern at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee for two years and prepared for a postgraduate change, Alese applied and was hired as CWLI’s third staff member. She assists with programming, evaluations , scheduling, finances, and other administrative tasks.
“My first introduction to CWLI was attending Impact. I was brought as a guest through my position with Student Government Association at UTC. So when I saw the job posted online, I was excited and familiar with the great programs that CWLI brings to Chattanooga women. I am excited to dig into the diversity and inclusion aspects of the organization, as well as building awareness among young women and college students.”
Next time you are at a program or stop by the CWLI office in The Edney, introduce yourself to Alese. You will be impressed with her professionalism and peaceful persona.
Want to learn more about Alese? Read her Q&A here!