Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Governor
1111 East Broad St.
Richmond, VA 23219
A.S. General Studies – Tidewater Community College
B.S. Political Science – Old Dominion University
Professional/business/civic/nonprofit organizations in which you are/have been involved and positions held:
Secure Commonwealth Panel – Chair
Virginia Military Advisory Council – Vice Chair
NGA Governor’s Homeland Security Advisor Council – Member
National Capitol Region Emergency Preparedness Council – Member
Virginia Area Maritime Security Executive Committee – Member
National Capitol Region Senior Policy Group – Member
Navy League of the United States – Member
Virginia Beach Vision – Former Board Member
Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce – Former Regional and Executive Committee Member
Contemporary Art Center of Virginia – Former Board Member
ODU Alumni Association – Former Board Member
Virginia Mortgage Lenders Association – Former Member
Hampton Roads Realtor’s Association – Former Affiliate Member
Tidewater Builder’s Association – Former Member
Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate – Former Member
Virginia Maritime Association – Former Member
ODU Center for Real Estate and Economic Development Advisory Board – Former Member
Leadership Hampton Roads – Former Chair of the Board of Trustees
Virginia House of Delegates – Former Member
Virginia Housing Commission – Former Chair
Who were the important mentors you have had and how did they impact your career?
Bob McDonnell, Governor – He gave me the courage to run for political office in 1999, stood with me through contentious political battles, and always made me believe in myself.
Deborah DiCroce, President Tidewater Community College – She convinced me I could still complete my college education at 40, and then she made sure I did.
Thelma Drake, former Member of Congress – She proved to me that women in political office can be tough but also compassionate, and she led the way.
Tom Frantz, CEO Williams Mullen – He demonstrated to me that true leaders genuinely care about the people that work for them, look out for their best interest, invest in their success, and have patience as they grow to their full potential.
Tom Suit – He taught me about love of country and true patriotism. He supported me in the lean times, he helped me reason through my toughest decisions, he picked up the slack when I couldn’t carry the weight, and he has always had my back. He is my hero.
What do you consider your biggest personal and/or professional accomplishment and why?
I have two: 1. Serving the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is truly rewarding. 2. Working at Williams Mullen as a non-attorney. The firm did an incredible job of integrating me into a unique law culture that most non-attorney’s never have a chance to enjoy. It was a phenomenal experience.
What advice would you give to a young person graduating from college this spring?
Fate doesn’t happen to you, you make your fate. Decide what you want both short term and long term. Seek out advice from those who have already accomplished similar things. Use that advice to make your plan. Diligently work your plan and you will accomplish the goals you have set. Don’t let the risk of rejection or failure prevent you from pursuing success. These are risks you must be willing to take if you are going to achieve great things.
How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?
That has always been a challenge. I don’t know that I have found the perfect solution yet. I try to compartmentalize. When I am home, I try not to work. I set aside time to focus just on family and personal activities. Luckily I am in a line of work that my husband also enjoys so we often find that our family time and work interests overlap in a positive and constructive way.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
I wanted to be an actress and Broadway singer. But there was also a phase where I wanted to be a career woman like Mary Tyler Moore. I was conflicted between the two.
What is your favorite book or movie and why?
All of the Star Trek movies. They make us expand our imaginations and think beyond what we know today. They make us believe that extraordinary technological accomplishments are possible.
What are two things about you that not many people know?
I love to cook and someday I would like to attend a culinary school.
I overcame dyslexia as a child