Family: Spouse, Kris; children, Klairese, 9; Karliana, 7; Joseph, 4; and Issac, 9 months
Occupation: Director of Camp Rock, Christian Youth Athletics, Rock Church Academy
Tell us about your work and how you got in this field.
I currently work as director of several nonprofit in Baltimore: Camp Rock, Christian Youth Athletics, Rock Church Academy and the Rock City Church Unoffendables Children’s Ministry. I also serve as partnership coordinator liaison for two additional nonprofit organizations, Adopt-A-Block and The Hiding Place. I love serving others and working with the next generation.
From an early age, I’ve actively pursued volunteer opportunities in the community through my church, college and other nonprofit organizations. This July will mark my 20th year of working with children and families. In 2012, I was given the opportunity to serve as executive director for Camp Rock, Christian Youth Athletics and Rock Church Academy.
As a child, I grew up playing softball, basketball and volleyball for Christian Youth Athletics, so it is a great honor to now manage and supervise the league where I learned to play competitive sports for the first time. I’ve always loved planning events and logistics, so serving as a camp director became a natural niche. But I am most excited to be the director of Rock Church Academy. I attended this school from kindergarten through eighth grade and couldn’t have asked for a better educational experience! This great academic start really gave me a good foundation and opportunity to learn leadership skills and how to serve others.
What’s one thing that helps you maintain work-life balance?
Overseeing multiple nonprofit organizations definitely keeps me from ever having a dull moment. My family decided to purchase a home near my office, so I can maintain a good balance between time at work and home. It’s great to be able to stop home for lunch and visit my baby, Isaac, or pop in during the evening before meetings to cook dinner, hear about school days and play with my older children. Living close to work also makes it easier to transport my older daughters and son to soccer, gymnastics, dance or basketball.
Do you have mentor or role model?
My role model is Bishop Bart Pierce. He is my pastor, but he is also like my father. My biological father passed away from cancer when I was just 16 years old. Bishop Pierce has taken the time over the years to teach me how to serve others, give endlessly, serve with integrity, and believe that what may seem impossible is possible. He has shown me through example that investing in others is the greatest investment we could ever make.
What advice can you give working parents?
I would advise parents to be fully present in every moment and develop a strong support network of family and friends. Be intentional about the time you have to spend with your family and choose to make the most of those moments. Laugh at yourself and laugh at each other. Forgive each other when they fall short of meeting your expectations and extend grace when needed. Always create space to talk to each other about anything that may be making you feel upset.
Be sure to tell your children that you love them every day and look for ways and moments to express that love. I think that sometimes one of the greatest mistakes we make as parents is that we separate our families from work and compartmentalize areas of our lives. In as many ways as you can, bring your children alongside your journey as you come alongside theirs.
What is the best advice another parent gave you?
The best advice is the advice I just shared: Be present when I’m with my children. We live in an age where both adults and children can be glued to their electronic devices: cellphones, lap tops, Netflix, etc. Choose to unplug every once in a while, and just enjoy the present moment. Talk to each other face to face and scroll your devices less. Be grateful for those who are in your life, because life is short and this could change at any moment.
How do you stay on top of things?
It is important for me to plan, both long range and short term. I must plan for each area of my life, each nonprofit, and the family calendar. Planning using a journal helps me keep catch moments of overbooked commitments and keeps me from forgetting little moments that if forgotten could have a big impact on our family.
In those moments when it is not humanly possible to be in two places, I can plan to have a family member or friend step up and be present or assist. I find that it is best to have a morning or evening quiet time where you can reflect on what went well and what needs to be done for the next day. Journaling during these moments about what I am thinking and feeling really helps me unpack my mind and gain a fresh perspective for each day.
How do you de-stress?
I enjoy going to the gym with friends, taking my children on little excursions to the park, hiking or bicycle riding, little day trips to new places or a night out with my husband or friends to Harbor East or anywhere with a waterfront view.
What’s next for you?
I will continue to learn how to become a better leader and teach those around me to lead by reading leadership books, attending leadership classes, and receiving mentoring from those who are experts in the field of administration and leadership. I am enrolling in school again to receive my master’s in administration. I am excited for the present moments and opportunities before me and equally excited for those that lie ahead.