Linda K. Whitley-Taylor
4425 Corporation Lane
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
B.A. Psychology, Radford University
Professional/business/civic/nonprofit organizations in which you are/have been involved and positions held:
I am currently serving on the Board of Visitors for Radford University as well as Chairman of the Nominating Committee for the Radford University Foundation; a member of the Steering Committee for Amerigroup’s “Real Caring” volunteerism initiative; a past volunteer for the Fan Free Clinic in Richmond, the United Way, and Tuckahoe Junior Women’s Club.
Who were the important mentors you have had and how did they impact your career?
I have always operated my career with what I call my “Personal Board of Directors.” In doing so, I have sought out leaders throughout my career who I felt were strong in a variety of personal development areas. I approached one about helping me grow my strategic capabilities, another for financial acumen, and a final mentor to help me solicit feedback and become a broader leader. All have shown tremendous support and encouragement for my career by pushing me and helping me see paths that I may not have taken, as well as boosting the confidence level about my potential.
What do you consider your biggest personal and/or professional accomplishment and why?
My proudest personal moments would have to be the birth of my two children, Whitley and Harrison. I probably don’t tell them enough how lucky David (my husband) and I are to have them in our lives. They are what keep me going every day, and they bring me more joy than I ever imagined possible.
On the professional side, I would pinpoint my year working for GE abroad in Tokyo, Japan, and Bangkok, Thailand, where I spent a tremendous amount of time building relationships to help shift the culture for women in business. I helped them and their leaders see that they could become far more in their careers than what they were currently doing. After my departure back to the U.S., their leaders continued to share the successes of these women with me. It meant a lot to hear of their accomplishments and that they had broadened their horizons – and altered perceptions! – as a result of some initiatives we’d put into place.
What advice would you give to a young person graduating from college this spring?
Being in Human Resources, career and individual development represent an area of both personal and professional interest to me. It’s a topic that I am very passionate about, so much so that I have spoken to a number of students/universities already this year. It’s important for them to understand they will have many jobs in their lifetime, and the first job they assume will likely not make or break their careers. They should focus on getting a role with an organization where they can learn and grow. They need to be constant learners; don’t let their egos get in the way of success by focusing on optics and stature rather than results and team play. They need to be accountable to their results. Finally – an element I firmly believe in – never shy away from the roles that no one else wants to take, as those are the ones that will lead to bigger opportunities down the road after they have delivered results.
How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?
My family would probably tell you I don’t; however, I am acutely aware that this will always be a constant challenge for me. I am a firm believer that there are times when the company will “win” more, and times when the family will “win” more. My children are great about keeping me in check, and they don’t hesitate to let me know when too much time is being invested at the office or on the computer at home. I listen to them, as I know they are only going to be young once. I am an organized person and try to make sure that I plan ahead as much as I can to juggle where I need to be, but I also communicate with my children about why I am doing what I am doing and can’t be everywhere. In the end, I have found that they often understand more than we think, and through an honest but realistic approach, I hope that I will serve as a role model for them both.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a school teacher because I enjoyed helping people and having them “see the light bulb turn on” about a specific topic. While it might appear that I have waivered vastly from that path, I still possess a strong desire to coach and develop our talent to be constant learners and further enhance their careers by putting a variety of programs in place that will support their ongoing growth, as well as the company’s.
What is your favorite book or movie and why?
Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go! It demonstrates not only the possibilities, but also the confidence in each of us to succeed – no matter where you’ve been or where you come from – in order to get to where you want to go.
What are two things about you that not many people know?
I rode on the elephants while I was living in Thailand.
Also, I have a passion for photography, and if I thought I could make a living of it, I would be a professional photographer…maybe when I retire?
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