Up & Coming Weekly

February 18, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1211973

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Page 14 of 32

14 UCW FEBRUARY 19-25, 2020 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM COVER STORY Leadership: Five women to watch in 2020 by JENNA SHACKELFORD The fabric of our community is made up of a diverse group of people who bring their indi- viduality, skills, hard work and determination to the table. These contributions that each offers create a bounty of opportunities for anyone seeking them. A constant influx of new ideas, ex- citing entertainment, excellent educational op- portunities, innovative business ventures, medi- cal advancements and more make Cumberland County stand out. In a transient community, the importance of having people who consis- tently invest their time and energy into the area is magnitudinous. Whether working quietly behind the scenes or from a larger platform, the movers and shakers here deserve recognition for the difference they make every day. Among these people are Marge Betley, Kenjuana McCray, Tisha Waddell, Elizabeth Blevins and Diane Wheatley — five extraordinary women to watch in 2020 who are making a difference in our community. Marge Betley Major Gifts Officer at the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation Q. Tell our read- ers about yourself, including how you came to be in Fayetteville. A. I arrived in Fayetteville on the night of April 26, 2019 — less than a year ago. I followed shortly on the heels of my husband, Greg Weber, whose role as the new CEO and president of the Arts Council began last March. I pulled into Fayetteville late on a Friday night, and the next day we went to the Dogwood Festival. It was a great introduc- tion to my new city. Q. There are so many ways to serve the com- munity we live in. What made you choose the route you did? A. Greg and I are both very committed to community service and volunteerism — it's part of what gives us a sense of belonging, and it is also how we have made some of our deep- est friendships over the years. My job at Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation is my primary way of serving the Fayetteville community. I've been fortunate to have a very rich working life in the nonprofit sector, so when we moved here, I looked for some way to make a meaningful impact. Cape Fear Valley Health and the Health Foundation provide a huge amount of community benefit every year — from charity care and free health screenings to free mammograms for uninsured women, financial support for our cancer patients in financial need and so much more that many people are really unaware of. As I learned more about them, I knew I wanted to be a part of their impact in this community. And now, Cape Fear Valley's residency program is creating a pipeline to bring hundreds of new physicians to our region — an impact that will be felt for generations to come. How could I resist? Q. What do you love about this community? A. Where do I start? Fayetteville is friendly, it's welcoming and there is always something to do. I love to explore foods and cultures from around the world, so I've really enjoyed the festivals here — from the Caribbean Festi- val — best jerk chicken ever — to the African World Peace Festival and, of course, the Inter- national Folk Festival. I love the vibrancy of the arts community here — there's terrific theater, music and visual arts. I even started taking a silversmithing class at Fayetteville Tech from jewelry artist Gail Ferguson, which I am really enjoying. Another thing that I love about Fayetteville is that when people see a need, they just step up and take action. Last August I attended an event called Cut My City — stylists from all over Fayetteville volunteer their time to pro- vide haircuts and scalp checks for kids before school starts. A haircut sounds like such a simple thing, but it's so important for a child to feel confident and optimistic as they start a new school year. There were hundreds of kids there and they were all buzzing with energy and enthusiasm! I love that I live in a city where someone sees a need and creates the path to deliver a solution. Kenjuana McCray Hope Mills Mayor Pro Tem and full- time professor at Fayetteville Tech- nical Community College Q. What's some- thing about our com- munity that you want more people to know about? A. I wish more people knew about the arts, services, activities and programs that are available in our commu- nity. I think we operate in a lot of silos, which prevents us from taking advantage of the many opportunities provided throughout the town of Hope Mills … I also wish more people knew about the stellar post-secondary opportuni- ties in our overall community to include FTCC, Methodist University and Fayetteville State University. The Local FSU Hometown Alumni Chapter hosts an annual Little Mister and Miss Pageant each year. This pageant not only is a fundraiser to award scholarships for FSU stu- dents, but the pageant committee works with the children well beyond the pageant to help to promote emotional, social and leadership skills. I operate a small food pantry at FTCC to help serve students who suffer from food insecurity on campus. Food insecurity on college cam- puses is a growing concern, and I would like to help decrease this issue as much as possible. My hope is to widely expand this effort by creat- ing programs that provide more healthy meal options for college students. We Are the Arts, which is an Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County initiative, strives to increase tourism, economic develop- ment and innovation by promoting the vibrant arts and cultural happenings in the community and in our region. There is also a newly cre- ated Hope Mills Creative Arts Council and the town of Hope Mills staff also has an Arts and Culture Committee to help generate ideas for more cultural opportunities in our local com- munity. Examples of these efforts in Hope Mills include the monthly food truck rodeos on the first Thursday of each month in the spring, which usually has a theme tied to community engagement. Hope Mills also hosts a farmers market on every first Saturday of the month in the spring and is geared toward not only engag- ing local produce farmers but also providing our citizens with more healthy food choices. Our communities are stronger when we con- nect together! Tisha Waddell District 3 City Councilwoman Q. Tell our read- ers about yourself, including how you came to be in Fayetteville. A. I am a very optimistic person who loves a great project! I'm thought- ful, creative and full of wonder. I collaborate easily and recognize the value of partnerships. I've experienced my greatest success as a result of positive connec- tions. I came to Fayetteville as the daughter of the military. My mother retired here, and this became our final "home of record" and my lon- gest home of choice. Q. What do you love about this community? A. I love the people in this community. They are so intricately woven together in the most unique ways. When I ran for office I began to learn about the history of the city first hand from the stories of the people I started interact- ing with and noticed that Fayetteville's history is truly a part of the fabric of its present. I also love the pace of our city. It isn't so slow that I'm bored, but it isn't so fast-paced that it's uncom- fortable. Our former slogan really summed up the community perfectly, "History, Heroes and a Hometown Feeling." That's what I love about this community! Marge Betley Kenjuana McCray Tisha Waddell

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