What is the one piece of advice you wish you had heard when you were starting your career?
Don’t second-guess yourself. Go with your heart and trust your gut feelings. I have found over all these years that what I truly believed and felt about something or someone, from the beginning, were usually correct. Our instincts should be listened to and followed.
What has been your greatest achievement so far? / Your greatest regret?
I don’t know that I have one achievement that stands out. I am proud of my life and the various things I have done. I am most proud of raising three wonderful daughters that have all become such caring and compassionate young ladies and are doing so well in their lives and also making a difference in the lives of others. I don’t really have any major regrets; I am totally blessed with the life I have had and what I have accomplished.
When did you feel you had “made it?“
I don’t know that I ever will feel like I’ve made it. Perhaps, when I get to retire, I can take a breath and say, “It’s done” and “I’ve made it.”
How do you define success?
Real success is in the eyes of what others see in you. If you are well-respected and have made a difference in other people’s lives or in your community then you are a success. I don’t think success is based on how much money you have made, but on the good you have done and how you have done it.
What job or position have you previously had that helped you get to where you are today?
I think all of the jobs I have had have played a part in who I am and what I have become. My family business, The Fun Shop in Middleburg, has given me a lot of experience in dealing with people and giving excellent customer service. My many years as a volunteer medic taught me compassion and respect for others. My years on the Middleburg Town Council, and as mayor, have helped me to understand there is so much more to running a town than it appears. One must make extremely thoughtful and educated decisions and look at all of the pieces to the puzzle.
What do you do after a disappointment?
Move on! Life goes on and things will mend and heal. I try not to dwell on the past and what went wrong, but to use those bad times as learning experiences and turn it into something positive. There is always some good that comes with the bad, even if it isn’t immediate.
Give us an idea of your work/life balance philosophy.
It is not healthy to be all work and no play. Of course, this is easy to say and not always do. I have had many years in my life where I have not followed this and have paid for it with my health. What are we all working towards? A good life. So if you don’t allow time to enjoy it, then what are we doing it for? We must allow ourselves some down time and to be happy.
What is the one thing you do for yourself every day, or at least once a week?
I now try to have a “me day” once a week—whatever I choose to do, even if it’s doing absolutely nothing all day. I used to feel quite guilty if I wasted a day, but now I am learning that I’m giving myself back some of these many days I had lost.
What’s one thing you still want to do with your life?
I want to see and enjoy my grandchildren more. I have not done nearly enough with them; I’m always too busy.
Any advice for those who are going into your field?
No matter what field anyone is going in to, if you have compassion and respect for others, you will go far. I feel so strongly that those are such key ingredients to a successful life. Don’t lose sight of where you have come from and always help others to do the same.