I was a stay at home mom with a history of community involvement when I entered the Leadership Montgomery County class in 2002. In some ways that is the beginning of my latest leadership journey, but it started years before. I held leadership roles in high school and college. I was active in my children’s schools, eventually being hired to lead a development program there. That led to six years service on a local school board, where I served as president.
Some of us are called to leadership, and I believe I am one of those.
When I entered that Leadership Class in 2002 I was on the school board. That was my ticket into the class. Shortly after graduating, I was divorced after 19 years of marriage. I was going back into the workforce and wanted to work with community. This was the calling of my heart. I looked into Chamber of Commerce work, among other things. There were some challenges getting hired. I was 48 years old and a stay at home mom for 14 of the 18 years of child raising.
I eventually interviewed with the tiny City of Montgomery, Texas (population 500) for City Administrator. They were looking for their first administrator. I wasn’t even remotely familiar with the job, and really, neither were they. I interviewed with the City Council in the gun room of a 1950’s era ranch house in the middle of a pasture. That was City Hall. I left convinced that this was NOT for me.
The Mayor called me the next day. She and I met again at her home. She wanted to lay out for me the severe challenges this small historic city faced. She was trying to be transparent, but trying to scare me. It had the opposite effect. She spoke directly to my desire to work with communities to solve problems. I felt like I could, armed as I was with my background in community relations, development programs and education.
Fast forward nearly four years and together we built a new City Hall, built new sewer and water plants, started a tourism program including a wine festival and antique show, and began the revamping of the City’s historic downtown. I had the opportunity to begin hiring professional staff in critical roles and mentoring them in their leadership. I met people along the way who mentored me.
Now, 13 years and three cities later, I have been part of the development of the communities I have served. The experience of seeing communities realize their dreams has been exhilarating. As I have matured in this role, perhaps the most rewarding success has been to watch people of all ages come into a new environment, a new job with the City, and find their calling; just as I did back in 2003. This mentoring and nurturing of talent has become primary with me as, at 62, I enter the last years of my career.
To be part of nurturing and leading human and community potential has been the greatest blessing.