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I have been with the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision since August 8, 2014.
This job just kind of “fell” in my path. I was on vacation, and met some people on the beach who told me about the job. I was in a time where a career change was good for me. So once I found out about the job, I called to inquire and was then brought in for an interview.
My life has never been affected by blindness or low vision. So my first week here at the Center was interesting. My first day, I made the mistake of touching one of the guide dogs…I got in trouble by the student for doing that. But over months, I quickly learned the ropes and feel like because of the Center, I have grown in many ways. I have to say…I was uncomfortable for a while interacting with the clients, etc. Only because I had never been around it or affected by it.
I am from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Murfreesboro is located in Middle Tennessee. Home of the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raiders. Where the Battle of Stones River took place….country music capital of the world.
The most challenging part of my job is probably event planning. Event planning is like juggling…seems like I’ve got different pieces of events flying around all the time. It is exciting though on the day of the event and you sit back and see everything coming together. Always been very interesting to me to draw something out on paper and then see it all come together life size. As an example: I used to create/build floats for the parade (in Tennessee). I would create my idea on paper…then find all the materials I needed to create my float…then get volunteers to help me create the float in life size. Such a great feeling when the parade starts and to see all the faces of the parade goers. Event planning is the same…but here it seems like I’m working on multiple events all the time. Not that I don’t love it…just a challenge sometimes.
I have a pretty outgoing personality, so handling stressful situations for me is merely taking a step back and looking at the whole picture. Sometimes I just have to confide in my supervisor to assist me in thinking some matters through thoroughly. She’s great with supporting me, so it helps during the stressful times.
I am totally hands-on. I never mind rolling up my sleeves and getting dirty…whether I’m in heels and a dress or jeans and boots. It’s all the same to me.
Event failures aren’t fun…especially when you have to report a loss to your Board of Directors. My boss is great in working with me to smooth those times over, so that I’m not left feeling like a failure. It can be a fine line. But life’s lessons are the best teachers.
The most successful year that I’ve had since I’ve been here was in 2014-2015. Building relationships is something that I really love doing, and at that point in time, I was doing a lot of that. It’s really what has gotten us to this point, because I feel that the Center has come so far since that time.
I really don’t work with the clients at the Center. However, I do make an attempt to build relationships with most of them. I feel like it’s crucial in job to know what our clients feel, their struggles, their successes in order to build the awareness in the community. I also, try to give our clients a voice in the community by using them for radio interviews, community meetings to build awareness, commercials, television spots, etc. One other thing I try really hard to do is to keep our clients in mind when I’m planning events (i.e. shooting, golfing, speaking). I think it’s important for them to be able to experience whatever it is that we are doing in the Center to help raise money. As an example: We were contacted by Flight Safety, a company that is affiliated with GulfStream to train pilots, etc. The company wanted to do a small fundraiser and donate it to the Center. I took that relationship a little further…I set it up for our students to go and fly the flight simulators that pilots use to train. Some of our clients have never been on a plane…so this was certainly an experience for them.
Each year I plan six events. When I originally started we only had two events on the schedule. So you can see that it gets a little hectic around the Center from time to time.
My favorite event that we do is Dining in the Dark. It’s not only a fundraiser, but also is a huge awareness campaign for the Center. A big part of my job is branding the Center. This event truly gives attendees a chance to give to the Center, but also the chance to FEEL what our students deal with every day.
I enjoy being outside…love kayaking, hiking, camping, gardening, spending time with friends and family. I’m very social…so anything where there is people…I’m going to excel and enjoy. That part is easy for me.
I did not go to college. Before I left Tennessee to move here…I was finally enrolled at MTSU to finally start that path. After I got out of high school, I was working for State Farm, got married, and began a family. My parents never “guided” us in that direction, because they didn’t complete high school. Not their fault, I just was ready to start a life with my high school sweetheart. College is important and I really see that now. And the great thing is that it’s not too late…and that is probably something that I will consider for the future. I’ve done well without a college degree, but my career could have been different with it.
I was visiting Tybee Island on vacation and met some people, one of which was a board member. Just through casual conversation, he mentioned that the Center was looking for someone for Public Relations. So I just decided to give them a call. I went in for an interview, was offered the job, and went back to the beach to finish my vacation. That was in June/July and I moved to Savannah permanently in August.
Wow…great question! I’m not sure that I have an answer. I moved here because I felt like this is where the good Lord wanted me to make a difference. I’d like to say that I will still be with the Center, but am a believer that God puts you where he needs you. I feel like that’s why I’m here. This was my next step in life to make a difference here. Where I go next? I will just continue to believe that when it’s time for me to go…I will know. Until then…I love what I do, the people I work with, the friends I’ve made in Savannah, and where I’m at in life.
I believe that my accomplishments so far for the Center have been great. The Center has a better following, more donors, we’re in a new location, more students, and a great staff. I want the Center to be financially secure with lots of students. I also would like to see growth for this Center to be able to offer overnight accommodations to students who live farther away so they don’t have to travel. I would also like to see the Center grow to have satellite locations to offer services to those people who can’t make it to our Center.
I worked as a Public Affairs Assistant for State Farm Insurance for 18 ½ years. In that job, I worked with the community to build relationships, helped to raise awareness in the community for Teen Driving initiatives, educated people on how to prevent losses in their homes or business, and worked with Executive Office on various projects. I left State Farm because I was so tired of the corporate world. When I originally started with the company, they cared more about their employees and their families…then that all changed.
Because of the relationships I had formed working with the City of Murfreesboro and the school system, my next job came to me just out of the blue. Wasn’t something I was looking for…the Director of Schools knew of my skills/work ethics and offered me a job. The timing was perfect, because I was ready to get out of the Corporate world. I started with the school system as a Programs Coordinator until a position came available in Communications. Once some changes were made, I moved up to Communications Coordinator. My job duties were relationship building, working closely with the School Board, event planning, working closely with the Director of Schools. After 3 ½ years and budget cuts from the state…my position was being cut. They offered me another position within the school system, but I went on vacation and was hired by SCBLV and here I am today. I’m a true believer that God puts you where he needs for you to make a difference. Every day I’m making a difference…with the help of a great staff and a wonderful boss.
Least favorite thing about working with SCBLV???? I feel blessed every day that I am here in Savannah, working for a wonderful organization that makes a difference in the lives of so many people. It’s a great organization that cares about the people it serves. My least favorite thing about working with SCBLV? There is absolutely nothing that I dislike about working with SCBLV. Is every day perfect? No, but every day is a lesson and a reward. Because I get to be a part of something so amazing…a service that those in our community need…a service that allows our clients to be independent and have hope for their future. with my high school sweetheart. College is important and I really see that now. And the great thing is that it’s not too late…and that is probably something that I will consider for the future. I’ve done well without a college degree, but my career could have been different with it.
Because of the relationships I had formed working with the City of Murfreesboro and the school system, my next job came to me just out of the blue. Wasn’t something I was looking for…the Director of Schools knew of my skills/work ethics and offered me a job. The timing was perfect, because I was ready to get out of the Corporate world. I started with the school system as a Programs Coordinator until