Montevallo Main Street Director
This third-generation Anniston native considers Montevallo her hometown in many ways because it’s where she has lived almost her entire adult life. She earned her B.A. in English and Sociology from the University of Montevallo in 2011. After eight years in Montevallo, she struck out for a big adventure out west. She was recruited as Montevallo’s new Main Street Director after just under three years in Pueblo, Colorado. She’s had a diverse career so far, with experience in non-profits, small business, civil service, higher education and retail. In her spare time, she likes to sing and play guitar and accordion. She also makes fiber art, including quilts and upcycled T-shirt skirts. She loves to travel, explore and try new things.
What led to your being named executive director of Montevallo Main Street?
I’ve worn many hats in Montevallo, and have worked with several of our community leaders in the past on establishing programs such as the Montevallo Art Walk and ValloCycle: the Montevallo Bike Share. Working as the Executive Assistant for the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce during its time of leadership transition acquainted me with much of our business community, as well as their goals and struggles. I also have experience with marketing and event planning through these roles.
What is your vision for Montevallo in the coming years?
I’d like to see every single storefront filled with small businesses, with folks walking around downtown and bikes on every bike rack. I’d like to see a brewery and more living spaces downtown. Maybe a farm-to-table restaurant or a bakery too. We have a local entrepreneur working on building a makers’ space with retail in the front right now, and I can’t wait to see what she does with that. I want Montevallo to be a good place for independent entrepreneurs to make their mark and for creativity to flourish in an economically viable way.
What past experiences do you think prepared you for this leadership role?
In addition to my past work in Montevallo, I have merchandising and customer service experience as the former manager of El Pueblo History Museum’s Store, where I focused on offering Colorado-made goods and authentic items at a wide range of price points, as well as through my time as an Artist in Residence at Artisan Textile Co. in Pueblo, where I sold custom-made upcycled T-shirt skirts alongside other Colorado fiber artists.
What attributes does Montevallo have working in its favor for this ongoing project?
In Montevallo, people really care. I’ve never seen so much civic engagement anywhere else. Even though we don’t always agree, the fact that people show up and they care what’s going on in their community is one of the best things about us. Our community leaders are our best asset, especially the ones who don’t see themselves as leaders.
What’s your favorite spot in Montevallo, and why?
I love the beautiful green spaces—there are too many to name just one! The Parks Trail, and of course Orr Park, Shoal Creek Park, Ebenezer Swamp—places where you can (almost) escape civilization and enjoy the unique natural beauty that only Alabama can offer.
Who’s one of your role models, mentors or inspirational figures in your life?
It’s hard to choose just one, because I am blessed with several strong women in my life who inspire me! Hollie Cost has been one of my role models for many years because she lives out a model of leadership that empowers others to be leaders. “It takes a village,” as the saying goes, and Hollie is able to see people’s strengths and put together a great team. Her energy and enthusiasm is infectious.
What’s the last book you read?
I re-read one of my old favorites, American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I love how he uses magical realism to connect the mysticism of old folk tales with the modern world.
If you could have lunch with anyone tomorrow, who would it be?
Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation!
Why do you love Shelby County?
With its stunning natural beauty and amazing people, Shelby County is a wonderful place to make a home!