How did you end up here in Visalia?
I grew up in the countryside a few miles outside of Terra Bella, so I’ve always been familiar with Visalia. I went to college in southern California and planned on staying there long-term. But, the older I got, the more I wanted to be closer to my family, so I accepted the position of Media Specialist with the County of Tulare Health & Human Services Agency in 2007. I’ve called Visalia home ever since.
How did you get your start in this line of work?
When I entered college, I knew I wanted to study radio, television, and film. Before I graduated, I was working for Reveille, LLC, the production company behind “The Office,” “The Biggest Loser,” and other television shows. From there, I went to Paramount’s entertainment news show Entertainment Tonight, working everything from shoots to production and even archiving. The 24/7 environment was exciting and exactly what I had hoped for. It was during my time at Paramount that media started really evolving, and I decided that I wanted to combine my experience and skillset to help bring that evolution and progression into the public sector.
Why are you passionate about your work?
I’m passionate about my work because I’m passionate about people, relationships, and my community. I knew fairly early in my career that I wanted to work in public service and give back to the community that has given so much to me. I grew up seeing it in my family, particularly my parents. My dad was in the Navy and spent 30 years in law enforcement, while my mom was always involved in community organizations and service clubs. One day a light bulb went off and I realized I could marry my love and appreciation of the Central Valley with my passion for media and communications.
What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Information moves so fast today that it keeps us connected in a way we’ve never been before. I have to make sure that I’m keeping my finger on the pulse of those connections, constantly staying abreast of what’s happening in our community and across the nation. Whether it’s Visalia being mentioned in a politically motivated celebrity tweet or disseminating vital information during an activation of the Emergency Operations Center, it’s a 24/7 job that requires full dedication. The reward of being able to serve the community pales in comparison to the challenges.
If you had to choose another career, what would it be?
I would be a museum curator, preferably one that specialized in ancient antiquities. I absolutely love history and am fascinated with the work done in research, conservation, and preservation. I love visiting museums and traveling exhibits, I was so ecstatic when the treasures of King Tut came to the US again.
Tell us a little about life outside of work:
My husband, Matt, and I tied the knot in December of last year. It’s been a lot of fun having the opportunity to travel and enjoy married life together. I love antiquing, old fashioned arcades, and concerts. He’s a golf professional, so I’m also refining my caddy skills.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I really like wax museums. Which, admittedly, sounds bizarre. Since elementary school, I’ve been fascinated by Marie Tussaud and her work. Although Madame Tussauds in London is the ultimate, I’ll visit any wax museum. The good, the bad, and the downright scary; I think it’s such a wonderful and weird art form.
What about Visalia makes this a great community to live and work in?
It’s the people, hands down. I knew I wanted to put down roots in Visalia when I had been here a few years and had started to meet so many of the people who make Visalia special. My mom passed away unexpectedly a few years ago, and we lost my dad to cancer last July. To say it’s been a rough couple of years would be an understatement, but, in both my personal and professional life, there was an immense outpouring of support from not only my hometown community, but of my adopted hometown community, Visalia. For that, I will be forever grateful.
If you were stranded on an island, what three objects would you take with you?
An extra pair of glasses for when I inevitably lose or smash mine, sunscreen, and a machete, just in case. Nothing too terribly practical, as I would plan on channeling my inner Jack Sparrow and finding a ridiculous, yet entertaining, way to escape.