In 2001, after attending a women’s conference with two good friends/colleagues, we came to the realization that we had the combined gifts and talents to start our own business, but we weren’t sure what that business should be. As soon as I read about virtual assistance in The Cary (NC) News, however, I knew this was the path I was destined to take!
A year later, I blazed my own trail by enrolling in AssistU, the premier Virtual Assistance training program. I graduated in October 2002 and soon thereafter opened virtualme, inc. The rest, as they say, is history.
My VA career prologue.
Prior to becoming a VA, I was employed for more than two decades as an administrative professional in both the private and public sectors. Much of my corporate work was focused on customer service, public relations, marketing and communications, and I excel at providing support in these (and many other) areas to my clients. As I mentioned on my home page, I have a passion for all things food- and wine-related, and have a particular interest in working with people/organizations who have a connection to food (including food advocacy) and wine.
My past employers include the North Carolina Department of Transportation and First Flight Centennial Commission (in Raleigh, North Carolina); the law firm of Fox, Bennett & Turner and The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (in Washington, DC); and BellSouth Corporation (both in Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, DC).
Throughout my career, I have acquired and honed many valuable skills that I bring to my clients as their VA. They include:
Communications. I have excellent written and oral communication skills. I’m adept at asking the right questions to build consensus and don’t shy away from confrontation. As is often said, most arguments are not 95%/5%, they are 49%/51%. This means that consensus—and the best solution—is often just one question away.
Event Planning and Coordination. I have planned and coordinated numerous significant events involving thousands of people, including federal, state and executive branch officials, international political figures, and members of the media. My experience has taught me how to work under deadlines with a limited budget and that no detail is too small to be overlooked, from invitations to handouts to dynamic presentations and memorable finales.
Leadership. I am skilled at building consensus among diverse groups and able to effectively lead and inspire others to accomplish their best work. I believe that anyone is capable of being a leader and I enjoy bringing out this quality in others.
Organization. I’m a true believer in the importance of organization and am a strong proponent of Florynce Kennedy’s philosophy of “Don’t agonize; organize!” With early and solid organization, no project is insurmountable.
Technology. I enjoy learning new technologies and have the perseverance necessary to put ideas into practice. I’m known as a problem-solver with a reputation for solid results. I have a proven knowledge of HTML and experience in WordPress Web design and maintenance.
My other hats.
Here are a few other tidbits about me:
- I’m a Georgia Peach—born and raised in Atlanta—who attended Georgia State University. I now live with my husband in the lovely town of Cary, North Carolina.
- For the past several years, I have been honing my skills as a digital photographer and am pursuing the goal of sharing my work in an exhibition setting. A sampling of my photos can be found on my Instagram feed.
- I have served in numerous volunteer positions, including Chair of the Office Administration Advisory Committee for Wake Tech Community College from 2007 – 2017. In May 2013, I concluded a two-term board position as the PR Committee Chair for the Friends of the Page-Walker Hotel, a cultural arts/historic preservation organization. Prior to that, I held the positions of Vice Chair for the Town of Cary’s Sister Cities Commission, and founding board member/Secretary for Chix in Business, Inc., a grassroots group of Triangle-area women business owners.
- I was a contributing wine columnist for BOOM! Magazine, a lifestyle resource for active baby boomer adults, until it changed ownership in 2014. I spent lots of time researching the topic, much of which involved sampling numerous wines in the best interest of my readers ;). Now I just do it for my own enjoyment.
- Being the foodie that I am, I spend some of my leisure time watching food and cooking shows. “The Great British Baking Show” is one of my newly discovered favorites.
- I’m a gardener and an herb gardener. There’s something very therapeutic, and gratifying, about putting your hands in the dirt… and producing something as splendidly fragrant as rosemary and basil! I’m also the caretaker to a vast array of houseplants.
- I’m somewhat of a world traveler. Thus far, my travels have taken me to Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Spain (the Canary Islands), and Switzerland. I still have many more destinations on my bucket list—including my ancestral heritage of Scotland. Having visited Italy twice, I consider myself a bona fide Italophile.
- On this side of the pond, I’m a Maineophile… having met my husband aboard the Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch in 1989. We now spend as much of our summer vacation time as possible exploring Maine’s spectacular coast.
- I’m an aviation buff and am totally fascinated by flight, so much so that I pursued an undergraduate degree in Aviation Administration. Although I didn’t end up working for an airline or at an airport, I still hope to pursue my private pilot’s license some day. Flight is freedom in its purest form.