Family: Daughter and two grandchildren
Why I’m Passionate About What I Do: We chose to reside in Columbia County, relocating back to Georgia from Birmingham, Alabama. I became involved in the area as I attended Leadership Augusta, Class of 2001. I learned a lot about our entire community, and I’ve met some wonderful people living here. A friend, who knew I enjoy food and wine, shared details about a culinary event held at Hilton Head Island. I attended the event and was convinced that we needed to have a food and wine event here. I felt that if I could create an event it would accomplish two things.
First, the event could raise funds and give back to a nonprofit organization or entity. Second, it could bring diverse people together for a common cause. That was my focus as I began developing the wine festival event in a volunteer role. As the event has grown, this has allowed us to provide funds to the Culinary Endowment Scholarship at Augusta Technical College. Looking forward, I want to see the event grow and have more educational components. I also want to invite local top chefs to be a part of this process.
Community Groups and Charities I Love to Support: It’s important we contribute to making our communities better. Through the CSRA Wine Festival, we have given back to the American Cancer Society, CSRA Humane Society, the arts and primarily, the Culinary Endowment at Augusta Technical College. We added Easter Seals to the event this year, and we’re happy to help this wonderful group to continue and support its mission.
Both causes help support individuals who are productive and are a contributing component to the economic impact in our area. If you haven’t toured the Easter Seals facility, make a call and do so. If you haven’t observed or attended an event at Augusta Technical College conducted by the culinary class, you are missing out on a wonderful treat.
I also have been a volunteer on Leadership Augusta and Leadership Columbia County, assisting the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce in developing its first leadership program. I am passionate about economic development, and I was honored to serve on the Development Authority of Columbia County as chair of the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau for several terms. I also have served the Augusta Chamber of Commerce, volunteering with the Red Carpet Tour, and as chair of the Capital Campaign Planning Committee and as chair of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Augusta. Currently, I am serving as secretary of the Columbia County Chamber and as a member of the Government Affairs Committee.
Biggest Career or Life Obstacle I’ve Overcome and How: It’s always a challenge to be able to change and adapt at any given time, and to stay calm and think through the what if’s. With the wine festival, I shared the concept with a local distributor, who laughed and told me I would never be able to make it happen. We both laugh about it now. I admit, I doubted myself at first. But as I did my research, I found that there were many obstacles and old laws on the books in Georgia. As a project manager, this helped pave the way to communicating with people and learning what I could and couldn’t do legally
Accomplishment I’m Most Proud Of: Always learning from each life experience and involving others. I previously worked at Southern Company for 29 years and at the Medical College of Georgia for 13 years, and I’m thankful I have been allowed to hire employees that have great potential and watch them grow. Today, I am appreciative of helping mentor younger leaders to become more involved and to give back to their communities.
What Your Childhood Self Wanted to Be When You Grew Up: An airline stewardess
Favorite Way to Spend Saturday Afternoon: I have worked as a Realtor at Blanchard & Calhoun Real Estate Company for four years, and I love conducting open houses and meeting people.
Favorite TV Show: I’m a Food Network and HGTV junkie.
Favorite Movie:Sleepless in Seattle
Favorite Sports Team: Atlanta Falcons – whether they win or lose
Favorite Comfort Food: Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
Favorite App: Intuit Quickbooks Mobile for my iPhone
Last Book Read:The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann
Dream Vacation: I would love to go on a California wine tour. It’s just an experience I’ve always wanted to do, so I’m adding it to my bucket list.
Something That Has Changed My Life: My faith, children and best friend.
Best Thing I Ever Learned: Have faith in people and in yourself. There are strengths and positives in each person, and you need to know them first to help guide and mentor them where they can be successful. In other words, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”
One Word You Would Use to Describe Yourself: Persistent
Favorite Hobbies: Traveling
Secret Aspiration: To become a food writer or critic in my spare time
Reality Show I Would Totally Win: “Wheel of Fortune”
Something People Would Be Surprised to Know About Me: I knew nothing about planning a wine festival, and before I started doing that, I only knew there were two types of wine – red or white.