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October 4, 2021

CABLE Member Profile: Katina Beard

Katina Beard

Name: Katina Beard
Age: 48
Company: Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center, Inc.
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Brief description of your job responsibilities: To ensure the financial, strategic and clinical goals are met to provide quality health care to the communities served by MWCHC

Why did you decide to join Cable? I joined Cable to interact with professional women who represent the diversity of our community. As with any area, you tend to stay focused on the people in your area of expertise. By joining Cable, I knew I would meet women whom I would not otherwise have an opportunity to connect with who would help me grow personally and professionally.

What have you gained/learned from joining an organization like Cable? My personal and professional network has grown, and I have more resources to reach out to for help.

How would you describe the benefits of Cable to someone thinking about joining the organization? Cable helps you grow your professional network. For new careers, you get to meet women in your area, for mid-careers, you get to reconnect with women you’ve crossed paths with, and for end-careers, you get to see there is light on the other side.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges professional women face in the business world today? The biggest challenge professional women face is the feeling of isolation. Many believe the struggles, fears and self-doubt they feel are only happening to them and no one else. The challenge is to create safe spaces for women to have real conversations of compassion and solidarity.

What advice would you give to a young woman just starting her career? My advice to a young woman starting her career is to take it slowly. Build relationships for the sake of really getting to know a person and not just because you believe it will benefit your career. I would also say to stay in learning mode; it helps renew your mind.

What was your very first job? McDonald’s. And, yes … I loved it! I worked there when I was in high school, and I still remember the sense of independence it gave me to say, “I have to go to work.” But it also gave me a different work ethic because, at that time, the “no-call-no-show-you-get-terminated” policy was in full effect.

What is a catch phrase that absolutely drives you crazy? “I’m just living the dream.” Really? My dream is to live on a beach and be able to eat doughnuts without regret.

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September 27, 2021

Cable Member Profile: Alisha Smith Haddock

Alisha Smith Haddock

Name: Alisha Smith Haddock
Age: 42
Company: The Housing Fund
Title: Vice President, Director of Community Impact
Cable Member Since: 2020

Why did you decide to join Cable? I’ve been engaged with Cable for many years from the outside. I’ve known many members and have attended numerous luncheons and events, and then I finally decided to join.

What have you gained/learned from joining an organization like Cable? I’ve learned that there is power in numbers, especially women coming together to encourage, support and learn from other women.

How would you describe the benefits of Cable to someone thinking about joining the organization? The benefit of Cable to someone thinking of joining is to begin looking at your career and your relationship with other women differently. You feel empowered and energized to share what you know with other women, as well.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges professional women face in the business world today? Women continue to deal with sexism in the workplace. Continuing to navigate and deal with biases that attempt to hold you back in new ways is a challenge – but not impossible.

What would you say has been the single most defining moment in your career so far? Having the courage to make bold career moves and decisions that are in your best interest.

What would you say has been your biggest career achievement? Helping push a community forward in a strategic way that has had decades of challenges through no fault of their own.

What would you say has been your biggest career setback, and how did you get through it? I was in a predominately white institution that penalized me for not being white. I was unprotected and unsupported, left to fight on my own. But my biggest career setback turned out to be my biggest career setup. I thought I had failed; but what I learned was what an unhealthy executive position was really like, and then I was able to know what a healthy executive experience was once the opportunity presented itself again.

What is your ultimate career goal? To become president/CEO of an organization that serves ordinary people and helps them reach their goals.

What advice would you give to a young woman just starting her career? I advise women to truly get to know themselves through much self-reflection, work diligently on their craft, and always extend a hand-up to the next woman or person.

Who is your professional role model/mentor, and how has that relationship benefited you? My mother, Abonda Smith, and grandmothers, Nora E. Ransom and Maxine J. Smith, are my role models. All very smart and capable women whose strength and belief in God made me who I am. My mentor, Sharon Hurt, inspires a fearlessness in me that helps me to push myself out of my comfort zone to help my community in new and innovative ways.

What was your very first job? Kroger on Clarksville Highway.

If you had unlimited funds and could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? I would freely travel the continent of Africa.

If you could have one super power for a day, which one would you choose? I would unify the world.

What is a catch phrase that absolutely drives you crazy? “When praises go up, blessings come down” – we are all incredibly blessed, we just have to choose to see it. Waking up is a blessing, and no matter how hard life gets, if we wake up, we get another chance! We are blessed.

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September 20, 2021

Cable Member Profile: Jill Spry

Jill Spry

Name: Jill Spry
Age: 55
Company: State Farm Insurance Companies
Title: Agency Recruiter
Brief description of your job responsibilities: To attract new talent to our agency and guide candidates through our selection process.
Cable Member Since: 2010
Current or past Cable committee or board role(s): I have a dual membership with RUTHERFORD Cable. I have been a part of the Networking Committee for Nashville Cable and PowerConnect Brentwood and Donelson. I currently serve on the Member Services and Retention Committee and Programs Committee for RUTHERFORD Cable.

Why did you decide to join Cable? As a recruiter for a Fortune 50 company, networking with professional women was a high priority. Though my initial decision to join Cable was for business purposes, I have grown and developed both personally and professionally. The biggest benefit for me is that I have gained lifelong friends and mentors.

What have you gained/learned from joining an organization like Cable? By attending monthly meetings, I have gained insight and acumen into industries, organizations and charities that I might not normally be exposed to. The mentoring and relationships I’ve gained through Cable are priceless.

How would you describe the benefits of Cable to someone thinking about joining the organization? Joining Cable can be life-changing. The connections I’ve made have improved my business, provided me with growth and development, and exposed me to both issues and opportunities in my community.

What would you say has been your biggest career achievement? As a recruiter, I literally get to change the trajectory of individuals and their families. The increased income, freedom and flexibility our career provides is just the tip of the iceberg. My job satisfaction comes when an agent I recruited calls to thank me for changing their life for the better. In one recent letter I received, the agent thanked me for providing her with a career opportunity that has allowed her to send her daughter to medical school debt-free!

What would you say has been your biggest career setback, and how did you get through it? A couple of years ago, I was not selected for a promotion that I highly anticipated. What helped me get through it was viewing the bigger picture. In my past, I’ve been guilty of being a workaholic and placing a great emphasis of my identity on my career; not being selected for the promotion allowed me the freedom and flexibility to spend the last two weeks of my mother’s life at her bedside. Seeing the bigger picture and focusing on what is truly important has been the biggest blessing.

What advice would you give to a young woman just starting her career? Know what you value and what you believe, and act accordingly. Let your values and your beliefs drive every decision you make, even when it’s hard.

What was your very first job? My dad owned a construction company, and my mom would enlist my sisters and me as the cleanup crew on job sites to prepare for the various inspections required. I cleaned every toilet in Stones River Manor assisted living facility addition! My boyfriend (now husband) also used to pay me 50 cents a bucket to pick pimento peppers on his farm. My first “big girl” job was as an accounts payable clerk for our local pharmacy.

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April 28, 2021

Cable Member Profile: Ylonda Banister

Name: Ylonda Banister
Company: State of Tennessee Government
Title: HR Program Manager, Recruiting
Brief description of your job responsibilities: I create strategies for the recruiting team within DOHR and ensure proper sourcing and marketing to support high-volume diversity recruiting. I establish and manage reporting and key performance indicators and support internal and external stakeholders. I have accomplished my division’s strategic objectives in multiple areas of department activities.
Cable Member Since: 2020

Why did you decide to join Cable? I joined Cable to broaden my network of like-minded individuals who are committed to their personal and professional development while also making a positive impact in the community.

What have you gained/learned from joining an organization like Cable? As a new member, I have attended two sessions hosted by Cable. One session was extremely helpful in the area of personal finance. The second session helped me professionally in my role as a governmental recruiter. I was able to utilize the job board to announce essential jobs in state government. 

How would you describe the benefits of Cable to someone thinking about joining the organization? Cable is a unique organization assisting women at all levels of their professions. Cable has designed programs and sessions for women that empower, educate and engage. Cable is a diverse group of women, multi-generational women, ready and able to help you in your personal and professional development. 

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges professional women face in the business world today? One of the biggest issues I see and have experienced is the lack of succession planning. As a woman who served for 27 years in the military, including as an officer, I coached, led and trained soldiers. I also had the privilege of preparing new leaders and officers. Due to my continued advancement, I was required to relocate to various sections of the country and recognized this challenge of insufficient succession planning. We are not adequately preparing the next generation of female leaders in business, government or our organizations. We as leaders must prepare the next group of leaders, and not just on how to be effective in their jobs and positions, but on those social skills necessary to advance their personal goals, strategic group agenda and organizational mission. 

What would you say has been the single most defining moment in your career so far? As a Recruiting Station Commander, I was responsible for all candidates joining the Army from my area. I had a candidate who was preparing to join the Army, and I requested a copy of his high school transcript along with his high school diploma. When I contacted the school, they had no record of a student by that name attending their high school and let me know the diploma was a fake. Once I found out that information, I made the decision to have the candidate “pulled” from the enlistment process. That decision cost my team the mission and jeopardized my credibility as a recruiter. This was the moment I knew who I was “when no one was looking”; I was a person of character and integrity. 

What would you say has been your biggest career achievement? My biggest career achievement was fulfilling a promise made to the families of soldiers I recruited. As a recruiter for the Army Reserve on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I recruited soldiers for the Active Army and Army Reserve. Joining the military at any level is a process, and the families are always involved. Many times, when I explained the recruiting process to mothers and fathers, they would ask why I wasn’t in Iraq or Afghanistan, and I answered, “I will get my turn.” In 2014, I fulfilled my promise to those families; I served nine months overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Soon after returning from this final deployment, I retired from the military knowing I had served my country well. 

What would you say has been your biggest career setback, and how did you get through it? One of the most challenging times in my career was when I worked for someone who did not trust me. While I was on vacation, and after working as an office manager for about six months, the senior manager told everyone during a staff meeting that I was going to be “fired.” When I returned from vacation, I asked some of my co-workers if I had missed anything, and they informed me that the senior manager told them I would be fired when he returned from vacation. I was shocked by the news, as I thought I was doing a good job. I contacted my senior manager, so I could find out what was happening. He explained his point of view, and I explained my point of view with the facts and proof of how I was doing my job. Once he returned to work, he verified my proof and apologized for not speaking with me in advance. After that incident, I changed the way I communicated my accomplishments and projects. I started sending him weekly reports, so he would know what I was working on and would not have cause to doubt my job performance. I did not get fired. But it was from that experience that I learned to always ask my leaders how they wanted me to communicate with them. I recommend everyone read “The Speed of Trust” to understand how important trust and communication are to performance. 

What advice would you give to a young woman just starting her career? Join a professional organization connected to your profession. Professional organizations are a great way to learn about your profession, make friends and gain experience. Professional organizations keep members up to date on skills, knowledge and trends in their profession. I did not join an organization until after I left the military. If I had joined an organization early in my career, as I moved around the country, I would have had a ready-made community of people who shared common goals and aspirations. These organizations are a great place to find mentors and make friends while still developing as a person and a professional. 

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