36, Director of the Academy for Nonprofit Excellence at Tidewater Community College, Norfolk
Business community involvement:
tHRive Young Professionals, LEAD Hampton Roads Alumni Board, American Association for Women in Community Colleges, Tidewater Community College Women’s Center Advisory Council and Board, Longwood University Alumni Board
Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach President; City of Norfolk, Norfolk Public Library Board of Trustees, Appointed by Mayor and City Council; Commonwealth of Virginia Historical Records Advisory Board, Appointed by Governor of Virginia; Southeastern Virginia Association for Volunteer Administration
Something that sets you apart from the crowd?
Through previous positions in local and state government and community volunteer roles in the nonprofit realm, I have acquired a unique skillset that makes me a well-rounded and versatile individual. It is because of those skills I am able tackle issues with a wide perspective. I have learned how to work with individuals of diverse work styles as well as knowing when to use different leadership styles. My overall genuine desire to help others and always seeking ways to be more efficient and effective help me stand out in the crowd.
Something that keeps you motivated?
The gratification of overcoming obstacles and challenges in my career and personal life as well as my volunteer efforts in building a better community through innovative collaboration keep me motivated. It is extremely rewarding to be a part of positive change and to see the impact it makes in our region each day.
Tell us about a recent accomplishment that you’re proud of.
Recently, finishing my 10th doctoral class with a 3.8 GPA in my Ph.D. Higher Education Management program—so close I can taste it! Very proud to say, I am a mom who has a full-time career, an adjunct professor and an active community leader all while completing an accelerated doctoral degree.
What’s a challenge you’ve had to overcome to find success?
As the product of teen parents, there was much adversity to overcome in my life. I watched my family struggle to make ends meet and provide the basic necessities. There was no money saved to attend college or guidance for other paths. I truly had to figure it all out for myself in order to achieve success. I am a testament you don’t have to be a product of your environment. If there is a will, there is a way.
Most important aspect you look for in a workplace?
Work-life balance. As a working mom, life happens, and having a work environment that understands and supports that is crucial. There isn’t any dollar amount that can replace it. This has been an important life lesson for myself over the last few years of my career.
What would you be doing if you weren’t in your current position?
My passion for higher education over the last decade led me to my doctoral program. If I were not in my current role, I would be generating and implementing reforms in higher education (state and federal) from cost to accountability measures. Higher education must keep up with the changing culture of society in order to remain viable.
What new idea or development are you most excited about in Coastal Virginia right now?
The expansion of the Port of Virginia; this is huge for our region—a real economic gamechanger for the commonwealth. This will bring increased jobs and revenue to the region, and the impact will have a ripple effect throughout the entire state. Their 2065 Master Plan is a good read, highly recommended!
What do you think is Coastal Virginia’s biggest challenge?
We don’t have a uniform distinguished identifier as a region. This is something we have struggled with for many years. What do locals refer to our region as? What do others outside of our region call us? You hear very different answers, all over the place.
Where is your favorite place in Coastal Virginia to go on the weekends?
As a mom of two little boys, we find ourselves at the Virginia Aquarium, Virginia Zoo, Children’s Museum and the Botanical Garden regularly. We have so many options right here in our backyard—opera, theater, festivals, special events, sports and recreation, museums, historical sites, beaches, restaurants and shops—there is something fun for everyone to explore on the weekends.
From her nomination:
“Amanda is a servant leader and empowers others to succeed to their fullest. Her energy, passion and love for our community is evident the moment you meet her. She is a true game changer!”
—Tiffany Williams, community volunteer (and friend), Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach