Operations Manager, Tate & Lyle
Who was your first mentor in life?
My father has been a source of inspiration, knowledge, and guidance throughout my life. He is a retired mechanical engineer and worked his entire career in power generation for General Electric. Growing up in Missouri, I watched him work long hours to provide for our family to then turn around and put in more time with my sister and me working on the farm or trying to support us at our school and sports events. This instilled in me the value of hard work and dedication to family and friends. He is intelligent and a great problem solver; he taught me it is important to have a questioning and inquisitive attitude. Always try to learn and understand what you don’t know.
What was your most memorable lesson?
Early in my career, a former boss quoted Maya Angelou,“ people will never forget how you made them feel.” Those are words I try to live by. I learned that our best resource is the people in our community.
What does community mean to you?
Over the last 21 years of my professional career, I have had the opportunity to live all over the country. Each one of these places have a unique culture that is special to our country and highlights our rich heritage and diversity. Community is not defined by a city limit sign, for me it is the place where we live, work, and play. A place where many people share common interests and goals. Being from a small town, I appreciate living in a community like Decatur where it feels like you know so many people and can count on them to help when needed.
Why are you involved in the community?
A couple reasons. First, I felt it important to give back and serve others where our community needs support. Since returning to Decatur, I have been involved in youth athletics as a coach and I joined the United Way board. Participating in the Chamber of Commerce Decatur Leadership Institute help raise my awareness and exposed me to so many of the wonderful leaders in our community. It was at that point when I knew I wanted to do more and give back. Second, I wanted to set a positive example for my children, to show them that serving others and giving of your time is rewarding.
What advice would you give to people who want to do more?
It is important that we give back. You cannot make a positive impact from the sideline. We each have the ability to contribute in different ways. Being an active member in our community is a very rewarding and positive experience.