New position: president, Virginia Early Childhood Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps the state's young children achieve lifelong success through partnerships and initiatives.

Previous position: director of state services for the Build Initiative, a national organization providing advice to states for policies supporting young children and their families.

Birthplace: Memphis, Tenn.

Education: bachelor's degree, University of Georgia; master's degree, Virginia Commonwealth University

Career: Prior to Build Initiative, she served in Virginia state government, including as executive director of the Governor's Working Group on Early Childhood Initiatives and director of the Office of Early Childhood Development.

Best career move: "Coming full circle to lead the (Virginia Early Childhood Foundation), the organization that I helped to establish in 2005."

Career goals: "I've had the opportunity to gain expertise in early childhood policy from a variety of approaches — as a volunteer, an advocate, a public servant, a consultant and now a private foundation leader. … Some remaining goals are to establish a leadership development initiative for the field and to reflect, research and write about the ethics of early childhood policy."

The best advice she ever received: "Listen first, speak later."

The most difficult situation faced on the job: "In a past position, … needing to implement agency staff cuts by laying off members of the team."

Career tip for students: "No one else is quite like you. Embrace your unique character as your best asset in determining career directions and the contributions you can make."

What motivates her? "The chance to bring about change by working with good ideas and great people."

Role model: "I have learned most about character and integrity from my parents and my sons."

Family: sons, John and Trip; dog, Phoebe.

Pastimes: "Spending time with a favorite friend, reading, gardening and both viewing and making art."

The most memorable book: "Most recently, the book 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.' "

Favorite restaurant: The Black Sheep and Bacchus

Ideal vacation: "The warmth and serenity of any beach."

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