Lives in: Bel Air
Children: Daphne (12), Juliet (6)
Occupation: Assistant Provost, Towson University
You’ve worked in academia for over a decade. As a mom, how is higher ed as an industry?
I had worked in private industry previously. The demands were a little bit greater. I thought: It’s time to go back to higher education. This is a warm, supportive, nurturing environment. Everyone’s an educator.
What does your role as assistant provost entail?
I lead communication and engagement initiatives, foster collaboration between the Office of the Provost and university divisions, direct undergraduate research activities and oversee Commencement, which happens nine times a year. I also cultivate opportunities to integrate curricular and co-curricular experiences that support students’ academic success.
What’s your biggest challenge as assistant provost at Towson University?
I’m part of a care team. We meet every Monday to talk about students who may be experiencing some sort of crisis or concern about their well-being. It can take an emotional toll. Our decisions could possibly change the course of a student’s life, in a positive way. Fortunately, most of those cases resolve well.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your job?
I keep every thank you note students give me. When students or even colleagues express gratitude to me—that is the most rewarding. It gives me insight into the impact that I made.
How do you keep things flowing smoothly on the home front when work kicks into high gear?
The most demanding event is commencement in the spring. I do feel very “AWOL” in the week leading up to it, and the week of. I’ve learned to prioritize and ask for help, whether it’s from my spouse or, sometimes, I’ll call in a favor from another mom. When commencement’s over I’m exhausted but happy to be back in the cocoon of my family.
How have you changed as a professional since having children?
If I didn’t have children, I would likely work until 8 or 9 o’ clock every night. Becoming a parent has definitely helped me prioritize.
What does it mean to you to be a professional mother raising daughters?
I’m very cognizant of the fact that I’m raising future women. I want them to see that a woman’s strong professional identity can exist alongside that of a caregiver, a friend, a parent. I also want them to know that their talents and strengths are wonderful things that they should put to use to the best of their ability.
You’re involved in a lot of community service activities. What’s the one most near and dear to your heart, and why?
My membership in the Baltimore chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. It’s a membership organization of mothers with children ages 2–19 dedicated to nurturing future African American leaders. I get to serve others in a range of ways alongside my children, a group of especially dynamic women and their children.
What’s the most hectic part of your family’s day, and how do you manage it?
The morning for sure. Thank goodness for uniforms; I shudder to think what it would be like if we had to pick out outfits (says with a hearty laugh). Because we have a long commute it makes it a little more hectic. But on the way home we’re having fun, singing songs from “Hamilton.”
Who do you lean on for support, and how?
I’m very fond of quoting Carrie Underwood’s saying: Jesus, take the wheel. My faith is my primary support; after that, my spouse, Damon. We’re also very fortunate to have extended family here in Baltimore, and friends that have become like extended family.
Are there any leisure pursuits that, since becoming a mom, you’ve given up, fiercely protected, or taken up?
I still go to thrift stores. I love the hunt—and the find. It’s great alone time. I’ve always loved being creative, doing crafts. I do that with the kids.
What’s on your bedside table?
“Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood” (Lisa Damour, Ballantine Books. The Anthropologie catalogue. And a bottle of sparkling water.
A colleague is pregnant. What advice do you have for her?
Enjoy every stage of motherhood. And remember that you’re not raising children; you’re raising adults. Eventually, they need to be independent. BC
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