City of Residence: Roberta
Occupation: City administrator, Fort Valley
Q: How long have you served as city administrator for Fort Valley?
A: Fourteen years. I went to Tift College on a basketball scholarship then to work for the Crawford County Sherriff’s Department. Later I became administrator for Crawford County, then 14 years ago began work for Fort Valley.
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Q: A demanding job?
A: It’s a full load. It’s easy to the point we have really good department heads who know what they’re doing and handle their stuff really well, so for me my job is more problem solving and public relations. I help work on city problems and help a lot of people who come by City Hall. The city doesn’t have a dedicated finance director, so I handle the majority of that. It all takes time, but it’s the sort of thing I’ve done for 30 years now.
Q: Administration isn’t your only work. You’re a bit of an entrepreneur, aren’t you?
A: I guess I have a lot of energy. I’ve always been athletic, loved dancing and like helping people.
Q: And you have a dance school, right?
A: I have a business called Corps d’Elite Initiatives that includes dance instruction, event planning, business consultation and fundraising.
Q: And that includes a studio in Roberta?
A: Right. It’s sort of on the downtown square. Mondays we have Zumba and line dancing there in Roberta. On Tuesdays, during basketball season, I’m usually refereeing a game -- basketball is still a passion. Wednesdays it’s Zumba and dancing in Roberta and Thursdays I teach a class at Your “D” Zone Fitness in Byron next to Freshway Market, then a class I do with the people who taught me, Ken and Karen Hicks, at the Warner Robins American Legion on Moody Road.
Q: Do you rest on weekends?
A: Sometimes I referee or have fundraising events or dance demonstrations. Sunday it’s church and maybe some rest.
Q: How does the fundraising fit in?
A: Usually connected with dancing. It started that way, anyway. I volunteer with Alzheimer’s patients and the Peach County Association for the Mentally Retarded. They needed funds and I thought we could raise funds with a dance event. I enlisted banking, business and government officials to help and we raised $12,000. The second event brought in $19,000.
Q: That led to similar things for others?
A: Yes. I’ve made a lot more money for others than I ever made for myself. I’ve helped Deanna Moore and her I Think I Am Foundation, helped individuals needing medical funds, worked with fraternities and sororities and others.
Q: Even with boundless energy, that’s a lot of work. What keeps you going -- and how old are you, anyway?
A: I’m 52, and I guess it all comes from giving purpose to passion. I’ve taken what I love and tried to help others. I’ve done it with my education to help communities and elected officials. I’ve taken what I love to do and put it to use as a businesswoman and as someone who likes to help.
Q: What crystalized that for you? Put it in action?
A: I guess a lot has to do with growing up in church and learning to have a servant attitude. Another was at the beginning of the economic downturn, I read an article saying you should take what you love and find a way to make it profitable. I’ve tried to do that for myself and others.
Q: How can people interested in what you’re doing contact you?
A: Call me at (478) 957-5673, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/corpsdeliteInitiatives.
Answers may have been edited for length and clarity. Compiled by Michael W. Pannell. Contact him at email@example.com.