Community leader strives to be influential and make a difference.

photo by Sadie Thibodeaux

Age: 42

Years in Columbia: 24

What advice would you give a younger version of you?
You will be a product of your decisions. Decide wisely.

What are five things that inspire you?
Learning something new, a good book, listening to music, a good movie, and traveling to a fun place.

On a typical weeknight, we could find you doing what?
At home decompressing from the day or attending a board meeting or community event.

What would we be surprised to learn about you?
I’ve always loved the water, just never knew how to swim. I took lessons about four years ago. It was a goal I set for myself, and I can now check it off of the list.

What does it mean to be a strong woman?
A strong woman is confident but not arrogant; she isn’t afraid to share her opinions and speak the truth. She is busy and has goals and works to achieve them. She doesn’t need validation, she knows when she needs a hand, and she’s confident enough to ask for help. She is self-aware and has patience, she has been hurt but keeps going, she loves herself first so that she can love others, and she gets s*** done.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Keeping the employees of Providence Bank safe in my role as bank security officer or supporting my staff of three in day-to-day retail operations as banking center manager.

How do see your role in local race relations?
My role as it relates to race relations is to be a positive influence no matter what position I’m in. My goal is to be an influential, strong woman and to help pave the way, especially for young women, so they can feel like they too can step up, be involved, have their voices heard, and make a difference.

Describe yourself in one word.
Relatable.

Tell us about your family.
I have been married to Erskine for 17 years and have two children: Jaerien, age 21, and Emree, age 8. My stepdaughter, Cindy, is 23. Erskine and I have owned a remodeling business called Unlimited Handiworks for more than 13 years. He loves being self-employed. Jaerien is going to be a senior at Central Methodist University in Fayette. He was named to the Heart of America All Conference Team last year for the triple jump. Emree is going into third grade this fall. She is currently keeping us busy with softball and swimming. Cindy has given us our first granddaughter, named Kodii.

What is a moment in your life that defined you personally or professionally?
We had Jae at a very young age. That moment when I became a mom was the scariest moment of my life. I had someone to take care of and I wasn’t sure I could take care of myself. We knew it was time to move our lives forward in a positive way, so I finished my undergraduate degree and then pursued my MBA. That whole process has helped shape me into the person I am today.

Favorite candle scent?
Lemongrass.

What are your biggest passions?
Traveling, good food, helping people, and working out.

Where does your strength come from?
This quote from Amber Dawn Hunter sums it up: “I don’t sweat for pounds or inches or dress size. I sweat to make my outside match my inside.”

 

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