Essays Group 4

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Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

89

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

At the heart of civic engagement is a desire for the betterment of the community. Engagement can encompass political involvement, volunteering, and advocacy, to name a few. Civic engagement can provide personal gain, but the goal should be for the betterment of others, not only oneself.

I am excited about my next five years in Tyler. I moved to Tyler from Henderson two years ago. I am established in my career as a Banking Officer, CRA Analyst at Southside Bank, my two children have made friendships at school, we are active in our church, and I have a network of friends. I live, work, and play in this community. My heart is to support those who desire better for themselves and to advocate for abused and neglected children. I am privileged to use Southside’s resources to support Tyler and East Texas through financial empowerment classes and events.

With my personal time, I will join the Rotary Club, and I am on the decorating committee for the Child Advocacy Center’s Bling-O event. I will lead a 12-week employment readiness class at Christian Women’s Job Corp and become a CASA volunteer, advocating for a child in foster care. As I continue developing my community service experiences and my network, I aim to become more involved through board service in a local nonprofit.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

I will utilize my Leadership Tyler experience to grow my roots in Tyler. Through the classes of the Core Program, I will learn more about my community, its needs, resources, organizations, and key companies that work together to build the City of Tyler and the surrounding areas. I am looking forward to building relationships with service-minded people. I believe the leadership training that Leadership Tyler offers will prepare me to serve my community. I want to serve local non-profits in a meaningful way, and I believe Leadership Tyler can show me how to do that.

I bring my full heart to this Leadership Tyler class. I am kind, and passionate, and possess a deep desire to serve those who can’t help themselves. I live with intentionality. And I choose to serve. I am naturally an administrator; I organize, connect, and develop. In my lifetime I have received kindness, grace, and love, and I want to share the same with my community. Through my work at Southside Bank, I have the opportunity to organize financial empowerment events. My favorite event to date is a financial fair similar to fall festivals hosted by churches, but all the games provide financial education. Families play the games together, have fun, and take the lessons home to impact their lives.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

I have the opportunity through my career at Southside Bank to engage in financial empowerment education. Over the last two years, I have seen a lack of financial knowledge among students. Personal finance concepts are taught in Texas schools in kindergarten through eighth grade. In high school, students can select a half-credit elective class that covers personal finance and economics but there is no requirement for personal finance education. Community volunteers, banks, and credit unions step in to fill the gap in our students' education.

I hope to implement programs to prepare the next generation of Tyler and Smith County students to feel empowered to manage their finances well by providing knowledge so they can avoid the pitfalls and make choices that will move them toward their goals. Alongside the financial literacy curriculum we developed, are events designed to engage students. I was the organizer for a Family Financial Fun Night at Chapel Hill ISD for the last two years, and I am looking forward to the event this fall. We are working with a community partner to extend this event to a larger audience this summer. Additionally, I am developing a Small Business Workshop to share the knowledge and skills needed to advance businesses to the next level.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

I have felt pressure to stay as I am, to not grow, to not push forward. I am already a good, kind person, why strive for more? But I have a deep, driving desire to live a full, impactful life. When I was twenty-one years old, I attended my grandmother’s 90th birthday party. There we over 150 guests, many had traveled long distances to celebrate my grandmother, Mattielene Powell. She was active and vibrant, and greeted everyone with a smile and a hug. She was not a person of political or social influence, she was a woman who cared about other people. Without a grand stage, she made a grand difference. I am deeply impacted by her influence; I have seen the difference one life can make. My marriage ended in 2021 and I am settled in Tyler. I am now restless to fulfill my potential, to be all of whom God created me to be. I am shedding myself of habits that hold me back. I want to follow my grandmother’s example and build a life where my life and my work improve other people’s lives. I am excited about the opportunity to join Leadership Tyler because it is known to comprise a group of people who also want to make a difference. I want to build working relationships and friendships with individuals who positively impact the people of the City of Tyler and East Texas.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

90

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

I define civic/community involvement as participation in the community to make a positive difference. This is the main reason we moved from Dallas to Tyler late last year. I expect to be involved in the Tyler Area Builders Association and the Chamber of Commerce to meet like minded individuals. I'm passionate about making our community better for ourselves and our future generations. My wife and I established the Allen Charitable Fund in 2019. Our expectation here in Tyler is to award top candidates college scholarships in conjunction with the Darrell Allen Golden Shoe award that Fresh Racing club established. My father was an avid cyclist that passed away in 2020. The award is presented by the racing team to the top youth cyclist each year.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

Having moved from Dallas to Tyler, I don't know our civic leaders yet other than reading their bios on the websites. I want to use this experience in Leadership Tyler to make those connections. I want to help make a difference and we are all stronger together. I'm a very humble person, so it's challenging to list unique qualities, but if you ask anyone I'm enthusiastic and compassionate. I'm confident and authentic at all times. My friends say I'm always dependable and one of the nicest people they've ever met. I follow the golden rule and live my life by it. I plan to use my life experiences to make other people's lives a little bit better.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

Having grown up in a small town, and lived in some of the largest cities in the US, I feel Tyler is perfectly situated in between. I have two small children myself and would love to find a way to bring a wider range of arts and cultural opportunities to Tyler. Specifically, a museum or symphony, in order to expose the children in our community to these elements commonly found in larger cities. These platforms enrich minds and I think families would really enjoy convenient access to these venues without driving to a major city. I'm friends with one of the board members at the Dallas Symphony and know together we can find a way to bring access to classical music to Tyler. Getting a museum in Tyler that caters to children will be a major task, and hopefully, another civic leader has ideas on this and can help in the execution of this personal dream. Strategically, there may not be enough words to convey how this can come to be, but it will require donations, land and construction, along with buy-in from the community.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

Recently, due to the current market conditions, at the company I sold my business to, they are not honest about their financial situation and are not being truthful with employees. I was told not to discuss the situation even if asked. I could not support this and I cared too much about our employees to be untruthful to them. I resigned from my position in April and started a new journey with one of the most ethical companies in the world (literally they won an award for it), In my mind, if there is a problem, we need to discuss it and find a solution, not bury it and hope it works itself out. A company is made up of individuals and together we are stronger!

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

92

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

Being involved in your community means actively taking part and helping to make your local area or society better. This can happen in different ways, like volunteering your time, working on community service projects, joining local organizations or groups, or speaking up for causes that benefit many people.

In the next five years, I want to continue to do more to help single mothers and their children in our local area.

I want to work together with other organizations, schools, businesses, and the government. We can create mentoring programs and training to teach useful skills to single mothers.

I would like to also create an influence for the single moms to give back to the community and to volunteer in different projects and areas. It's giving back.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

I look forward to strengthening my leadership skills in the Leadership Tyler class. I will fully take part and apply what I learn to help make my community better. From leading local groups before, I know how important it is to work together, communicate well, and get people working towards the same goal.

One unique thing I can offer is how I empower others to step into leader roles by creating a supportive learning space.

My background with many cultures allows me to connect with diverse groups of people. I can bridge differences by understanding varied communication styles and uniting people around shared goals.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

In Tyler, we have many great non-profit groups helping the community. But these groups are not working with each other. I think they could do more good if they teamed up and worked together.

If I had the chance, I would bring all the non-profit leaders together. We would talk about the ways our work overlaps and how we could join forces. When groups trust each other and are open, they can share ideas and resources to get more done.

My goal is for the non-profits to partner up on projects they both care about. They can share spaces, supplies, volunteers - whatever helps stretch their budgets. Combining efforts means helping more people in need.

I also want a website where every non-profit lists their services and volunteer needs. This way, groups don't double up efforts. They can promote each other's work to the community too.

With teamwork, Tyler's non-profits can make a bigger difference together than alone. Getting to know each other and working as partners, not competitors, is the key. United, we create a stronger community for everyone.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

As a breastfeeding peer counselor supervisor with WIC, I once faced intense pressure to compromise my integrity. We had discarded a large amount of moldy, damaged breast pumps per safety protocols.

A friend who knew I worked at WIC approached me after, pleading to retrieve the discarded pumps from the dumpster to distribute to mothers in need struggling to access pumps. Her intentions were good, but I recognized giving out contaminated pumps risked infant health.

Maintaining high safety standards was a core ethical obligation in my WIC role. As much as I wanted to help those mothers, I stood firm in not retrieving the pumps. I explained we could never reuse or distribute moldy or broken pumps - it simply wasn't sanitary or safe, no matter the need.

My friend tried convincing me some risk was better than no access, but I held my ground resolutely. Compromising safety violated my duties as a peer counselor supervisor.

Ultimately, while she didn't agree, she respected my stance. Upholding integrity sometimes means making difficult choices to prevent potential harm, even when expediency seems appealing. This solidified my commitment to ethical principles.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

94

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

Community and civic involvement means you are actively playing a role in the betterment of your community through participation in local government and local organizations. It is not enough to sit passively by and just expect that your community will improve, you must participate in the daily activities that are geared towards improving the lives of others. Most of my work has been in the improvement of medical care provided to athletes in our area. By providing access to medical care for athletes in our area, we can improve participation in physical activity. Kids who participate in school sports are more likely to graduate high school, more likely to go to college, and more likely to have a high paying job. Removing barriers of entry into those activities such as the ability to recover from an injury can allow us to have a long term impact on our community. I also hope to participate in SportTyler to bring more sporting events to our area. Working to bring more sporting events to Tyler will allow for a better community experience for the people of Tyler but also bring in families into Tyler to visit and invest in our area. I also hope to continue work with Special Olympics North Texas.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

I am very excited about the possibility of being in a room of people who are from all different walks of life in Tyler but all have the goal of improving our community. The hardest part of making meaningful change in a community is being able to organize multiple groups from different areas towards accomplishing one goal. The relationships made during Leadership Tyler will hopefully remove communication barriers between groups and help to multiply efforts. Tyler is not where I grew up, but it is definitely my home. My wife and I moved to Tyler and knew nobody and really knew nothing about this town. We were blown away at the start of the hospitality and kindness that we were met with. Over these past 8 years we have been shown over and over that the heart of this community is in caring for one another and making sure people feel welcome. I believe that my outsider perspective of Tyler will allow me to see the places that Tyler excels at that those who have been here longer may overlook. I believe I have the ability to connect with people from many different walks of life. I would use my ability to connect to help our group grow closer together and be more effective. I also have an understanding of the resources that CHRISTUS has available to help the community.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

An issue that is rampant in our community but may not be on the front of many peoples mind’s is the food insecurity of people in our community. This is especially true for the young people in our community. Not knowing where your next meal will come from or having to make financial decisions daily on whether you will eat or not can create extreme stress and lead to low quality of life. There are many student’s in our community that dread weekends, holidays, and summer break because they depend on those school meals for their daily nourishment. I believe most people in our community are unaware of this issue but would be passionate about helping solve this problem. Tyler has shown me over and over how generous the community can be when they believe in a cause. I am confident that if the city could come together and deliver a clear message about food insecurity in our town that we could eliminate it from our community. There are many great groups who are fighting the good fight of this issue, I would like to be a part of a group that could get these groups working together to multiply their efforts and help to raise funds for them.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

As a young athletic trainer working for a high school, I was faced with a scenario that nobody ever wants. I walked into a convenient store as one of the star football players was walking out the other side with a case of alcohol. I didn't know the athlete very well but I did know that we were in the middle of a playoff run and that me turning him in would cause major issues for our football team. I called one of the football coaches who explained that it would probably be best if we just kept quiet about it since the kid would have to miss a game if he was caught. I realized that regardless of what it would cost the team, I couldn't live with myself if something happened to that kid that night. So I had to call the school leaders and explain to them the situation. The result was as expected, some coaches were frustrated but most had my back. In the end, the kids safety had to take priority over my desire to keep people happy. I would make that decision again and it has helped me make decisions after.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

95

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

In order to truly be involved in the community, a person has to understand local issues and dynamics. To be involved in the community is to show up at community events, welcome others, help to bridge gaps if there are challenges and/or differences in opinion, and be a leader or support role in community endeavors that you are passionate about. My profession requires a working knowledge of issues that affect all of us – designing and/or assessing infrastructure (water, wastewater, roadways, drainage, etc.), reviewing and addressing zoning matters, design of parks and open spaces, etc. I plan to be involved with local jurisdictions (City, County, TxDOT, etc.) and the community as Tyler grows. This will most likely be via participation at Planning and Zoning and City Council meetings, as well as day to day interaction with City staff. Additionally, I am an active volunteer at my children's' school (a Tyler ISD elementary school). Over the next five years (and beyond) I will continue participating in these opportunities. Educating the next generation, leading by example, and providing a positive role model for them is extremely important to me.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

Based on the program format and topics, I expect to learn a tremendous amount in a short time about the history of Tyler and the dynamics of the diverse local economy. In addition to the ‘academic information’, I expect to sharpen leadership skills and most importantly, build relationships. I am keenly interested in the Community Trusteeship portion of the program; Tyler is a unique place due to an intentional and continued effort by previous generations. It is important that those who wish to be leaders in the community understand the groundwork that has been laid, so that we can carry it forward and constructively build upon it. As far as unique qualities, I have had the opportunity to work on many diverse and unique projects – public infrastructure, private development (commercial, residential, mixed use, redevelopments, etc.) – and I’ve worked on these projects thru due diligence, zoning and entitlements, design, and construction. The location has varied from small municipalities (including Tyler!) to large cities in multiple states. Some projects have been welcomed by all and some have not. I have a strong understanding of City requirements and processes and understand how the pieces and parts of Cities work together (land use, utilities, traffic, etc.).

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

As Texas continues to grow, I think there is a tremendous opportunity for East Texas to grow together with a more collaborative than competitive spirit (although I recognize that healthy competition sparks innovation). As someone who grew up in a nearby City, moved away, and subsequently chose to live in Tyler, I have been reminded that the Cities of East Texas tend to be disjointed and operate independently of each other. As our world becomes smaller and more intertwined, I believe that the Cities of East Texas could improve partnership with each other to drive connectivity and economic growth in a controlled manner. There are some incredible assets in East Texas including lakes, amazing trees and parks, and great access via highways and airports. As a consultant working with many of the decision makers in East Texas - both on the public and private side - I will be able to connect the dots and facilitate conversations that could lead to positive impacts for all of East Texas.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

My team was responsible for the design of a commercial project. We finalized our design, submitted it to the City, and it was approved for construction. Construction of the project had started when we noticed that a portion of the design was not compliant with City code; we had missed this during design and it was not identified or brought up during the permitting process. This situation was challenging because if I didn’t bring it up it most likely wouldn’t be noticed by anyone. Additionally, the necessary design change would result in a significant increase in construction costs.

The first thing I did was to take ownership at the team level; I let my team know that at the end of the day, I was the one who should have caught the mistake. I encouraged everyone to learn from the mistake rather than chastising them for making an honest mistake. On the outward-facing front, I had to bring this up to both my client and to the City. The change resulted in additional cost (both time and money), but both our client and the City understood and appreciated the professionalism with which we handled the issue.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

97

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

I define Civic/Community involvement as committing my time and skills to groups that are working to improve our community and quality of life. It is important to me that I believe in the organization’s mission and that it aligns with my values. My involvement must require some sacrifice of my own time to help others. If I don’t give of my own time, how it can it be meaningful? Also, I believe that the skills and talents I have been blessed with can and should be utilized to help others. In the next five years, I would like to become more involved with Habitat for Humanity, and/or similar organizations, where my architectural knowledge and construction expertise can be used to help enrich the lives of our community.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

Although I have lived in Tyler for many years, until now the focus of my service has been outside of our community. I have been on many mission trips outside of Texas and have served on the board of a Christian camp in New Mexico. I recently realized that I need to focus on the community I live in. I will utilize the experience gained from Leadership Tyler to form new, local connections to help me engage in local service opportunities. The leadership skills and the knowledge of our local organizations learned through the Leadership Tyler class will give me these new opportunities locally.

One unique quality that I possess is the ability to guide the discussion in a group of people toward the outcome needed. For example, I had the opportunity to serve as a jury foreman and I used this ability to keep the jury focused on the subject and efficiently guide the group to a verdict. Another application of this is the ability to keep a client group focused on the meeting topic in order to draw out what the client needs in relation to their project.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

As with many cities, we have a community of homeless people. As professional officing downtown, I am confronted with this problem regularly. I don’t believe that this is an issue that is our city government’s problem to deal with alone. Change can be brought about more effectively if the burden is shared by our churches and our citizens, working in conjunction with our civic leaders. As an architect, my knowledge of the built environment could help facilitate either temporary solutions, or permanent solutions, for those individuals who are seeking assistance.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

My father taught me from an early age to act ethically and with integrity in my dealings with people, both personally and professionally, and as I grew in my faith, I found Dad’s teaching to be directly from the Bible. I have had to learn through experience how integrity can be built and how it can be damaged. Several years ago, I mistakenly authorized some work for one of our clients before he intended to have that work done. When he confronted me about who made the decision to move ahead, I had the choice to take responsibility or pass the blame. This pressure to choose came from within myself in this case, not from an outside source. I chose to take responsibility for my actions and maintain my integrity. In the end, this choice strengthened the relationship with the client.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

98

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

It can be defined as becoming a link. Our city is an ever-evolving organism, shaped by the diverse communities within it. By bridging the gaps between the communities, we can foster a more unified city.
As an immigrant, I've personally experienced the challenges of a new culture. With the help of ESL programs, I was able to bridge that gap and integrate within the community. I would like to become a link within my community and work with organizations that facilitate the sharing of resources, collaborations, and strengthen the fabric of our community.
My employer focusses on economic impact, primarily job creation. Unfortunately, the small businesses we help are not necessarily small. Within the next 5 years, I want to utilize my expertise in accounting/finance to help truly small businesses reach their full potential by creating avenues to meet their needs. Strong accounting practices can be the difference between a strong successful business and one that must lay off employees or even close. In my free time, I help minority owned small businesses with their bookkeeping needs and understand the importance of having structure operations so they can continue to grow.
By acting as a link between businesses and resources, I can help empower them to achieve their full potential.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

It will provide a valuable opportunity to learn from established leaders in the community, particularly those with experience in economic development. The program's focus on educating members about community issues and equipping them with tools aligns perfectly with my desire to become an effective leader. It will help me develop communication skills, collaboration strategies, problem-solving approaches, and build relationships that I can leverage to make an impact.
As the senior underwriter, I act as a link between small businesses and the resources they need to thrive. Over the past 3 years, I have had the opportunity to work with a broad range of businesses from the underserved to the sophisticated business owners and the people these businesses serve.
Tyler has a large quantity of small businesses that could utilize my expertise in commercial lending, especially the most vulnerable business such as the underserved businesses. Through Lending Avenue, we were able to help one local business that due to its situation and lack of knowledge was taken advantage of by predatorial lending practices. The note had very unfavorable terms that depleted essential working capital. After refinancing the note, they were able to relieve the pressure and even hire new employees.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

The lack of representation of Hispanic and other growing immigrant communities on boards and service positions in Tyler presents an opportunity for change. These communities are vibrant and contribute significantly to our social and economic fabric. Increasing their representation in leadership positions would foster a more inclusive community and ensure diverse perspectives are considered in decision-making processes, particularly those impacting financial security and economic mobility. Equipping these communities with financial literacy is crucial for them to thrive. It empowers them to make informed financial decisions, build wealth, and contribute more fully to our local economy. This aligns perfectly with Leadership Tyler's focus on building a stronger and more inclusive community.
My background as an immigrant allows me to understand some of the challenges faced by these communities. Additionally, my experience as underwriter has equipped me with a deep understanding of financial products and services that could be of help to these communities. Furthermore, my bilingual skills and network of professional contacts can be a valuable asset in addressing this opportunity. I can become a link by connecting businesses with resources.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

In my role as senior underwriter at Lending Avenue which is a non-profit supporting underserved businesses, I navigate a critical balance between efficiently approving loans and ensuring responsible lending practices. While our mission is to provide funding to underserve businesses, responsible lending practices are a priority as well as our commitment to truly help businesses and our limited grant funds. Sometimes, companies seeking loans are in a desperate situation, but approving a loan could ultimately hurt them. In these challenging situations, I have faced pressure to compromise my standards. However, a prudent recommendation to decline funding, even when it impacts others, internally and externally, is ultimately the most ethical course of action. A reckless approval could harm everyone involved, especially the small business owner that potentially has invested their life savings into the business.
While I prioritize helping businesses, I am also a responsible steward of our grant funds. Therefore, I work directly with struggling business owners to offer coaching and guidance that can help them secure funding in the future. This experience has solidified my commitment to clear communication, critical thinking, and a steadfast dedication to ethical lending practices.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

99

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

For most of my life, my community involvement revolved around the church I attended, with its members spread across a large area. However, living in downtown Tyler has significantly shifted my perspective. Now, I find myself caring about and getting involved with the people I see every day – whether it’s walking to a coffee shop, visiting a bar, or chatting with my local neighbors. It's been a beautiful journey, transforming from believing my choices didn't matter much to witnessing how my participation in local events makes a tangible difference in my life and the lives of those around me.

One of my primary focuses is Heart of Tyler. There are so many incredible aspects of downtown Tyler that I want others to experience and be a part of. Sometimes, I see the empty seats outside The Porch ETX on a beautiful spring day and realize there are people who would love this community if they just knew it existed.

Although I’m not quite ready yet, I'm also eager to connect with a nonprofit in Tyler that will challenge me to face some of my own fears. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is at the top of my list.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

I recently transitioned from managing four developers to leading a team of almost thirty. By participating in Leadership Tyler, I aim to develop the skills needed to manage and inspire others effectively. There is so much to learn about successful leadership, so I make it a point to pursue opportunities to learn from the leaders around me.

While my technical skills are valuable, I am most proud of my ability to listen to people with different views and help them connect with others who may have opposing perspectives. This often starts with asking good questions and listening impartially. Sometimes, it’s as simple as making a light joke to ease tension. In my workplace, this skill is especially useful when bridging the gap between technical and non-technical users.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

If there's one thing that stands out about Tyler, especially the downtown and Azalea districts, it's the opportunity to meet people, engage with others, and build relationships more easily than in bigger, busier cities. The sense of connection and community here is truly unique.

So, what opportunity do I see for change in Tyler? I would focus on enhancing anything that can bring people together more easily. Imagine more walkable sidewalks, inviting community spaces, and vibrant events that help neighbors get to know each other. I recently started volunteering with Heart of Tyler, fueled by the hope that my technical skills in websites and advertising can help promote the life and culture of the downtown area. The community spirit is already here, and I want to help people discover Tyler and get involved to make a difference.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

The true test of my integrity has always come when there's no quick fix and ignoring a problem seems easiest. When I started working for my current employer, their staff was very homogeneous. In my own journey, I know how much more creative and inspired I am working with people who don't think or look like me. Initially, I suggested hiring more diverse candidates, but nothing changed. So, I took action, finding strong candidates from different backgrounds and helped them get hired. Now, we have multiple people from different backgrounds in leadership roles, diversifying and strengthening the company overall.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

104

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

The saying "you get what you put in" resonates when discussing civic and community involvement. Simply put, by taking ownership of your community through volunteer opportunities, civic support, and community building, you can make a meaningful impact. Tyler, already a beautiful city, is further enhanced by local leaders who invest their time and efforts in engaging with its people and planning for the future. Creating a well-rounded community requires commitment, adaptability, and time. As someone born and raised in Tyler, I'm excited about exploring additional ways to contribute and invest in the city's future. I aim to deepen my involvement in community engagement while focusing on personal and organizational development through relationship-building. While Tyler offers abundant educational opportunities for students, I believe learning shouldn't stop when you graduate. I envision a community committed to enhancing our organizations, welcoming individuals of all ages and backgrounds. There's immense potential to enrich Tyler's business sector through comprehensive training and development programs tailored to each organization. Imagine Tyler deemed as not only a great place to live but also a thriving hub where people find value in both their homes and workplaces.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

As a young girl, I dreamed of changing the world- who doesn’t? But who actually believes that they can? I do. I believe that we were each made for a purpose that goes beyond ourselves, requiring confidence and boldness. My passion lies in supporting people in the workforce. I dream of making an impact in organizations that bridges the gap between a job and meaningful work, a career and a fulfilling lifestyle, a passion and your mentally restricted reality. Business offers a beautiful way to put our hands and minds to work exercising our talents and gifts and impacting others. The idea that a job detracts from life instead of adding value to it is heartbreaking, and I want to work to change that. As a Generation Z professional, I value and respect the input and wisdom of experienced generations and am optimistic and determined to bring a refreshing perspective of purpose in culture to organizations and individuals. Leadership Tyler plays a pivotal role in my personal development and understanding of my community- the people, businesses, needs, structure, and network. Every aspect of this experience contributes to my dream, which I suspect may align with yours- changing the world.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

The generational divide. Tyler has a unique position of college-to-elderly ratio. Presently, there are approximately 17.3 thousand individuals aged 20-25 and around 14.3 thousand aged 65-90 reside here, constituting 29.7% of the population. With the completion of the University of Texas Medical School, the number of college-aged young adults can be expected to rise. Simultaneously, Tyler's growth as a medical hub and recreational destination suggests a continued increase in the elderly population. However, bridging the gap between these two generations is crucial for community engagement. It is dependent on civic leaders to engage both ends of the workforce or be faced with stunted growth. My role in this endeavor could range from guiding and inspiring college-aged young adults to contribute meaningfully to their community, to developing programs aimed at fostering intergenerational connections. These initiatives would promote community engagement, mutual understanding, respect between generations, and enhance intergenerational health and purpose. Currently, I hold positions at both the Boathouse Ministry, where I volunteer, and Express Pros Training, where I am employed. In these roles, I find myself with the opportunity to contribute to bridging the gap between generations,

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

Everyone has a unique story and perspective that holds value. Personal integrity is crucial, but it's also essential to understand the integrity of those around you. I encountered a challenge with an organization I was part of. Following a recent buyout, tensions were high within the team structure. During a weekly leadership meeting, I highlighted areas for growth that we needed to focus on as we continued to expand the business and its impact on our customers. However, my boss disagreed, taking the opposite stance. Despite feeling a surge of anger, bruised ego, and embarrassment, I made a conscious effort to understand their viewpoint. I attempted to set my emotions to the side. Later, I discovered that my boss was attempting to force me to quit to avoid firing me and paying unemployment benefits. It was a shocking revelation, but I resisted the urge to dwell on the why. Instead, I remained focused on performing my job to the best of my abilities. My commitment was to the team, not to appease my boss's tactics- as our personal integrity differed. I refuse to give up, especially on people. I hold myself to the standard of maintaining composure, empathizing with those around me, and taking the best possible step forward for the team.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

105

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

I define civic and community involvement as a means of bringing people together to encourage the common good. I expect myself to continue the First Time Home Buyer classes I've been hosting quarterly in Tyler, free to the community. I also wish to continue volunteering for the City of Tyler with my family during their park clean up days. And when my children are older and a little less dependent on me, I'd like to volunteer with either Hospice of East Texas or Habitat for Humanity. I have interest in helping those that are grieving and are lonely, And with my real estate background, I have interest in helping remodel homes in an efficient way.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

By nature I am a connector. I love meeting people and learning what they do for a living. I like to find people's personal strengths and learn about the professional services in order to connect them with those that need them. I also love brainstorming solutions one-on-one or in a group, helping to solve problems and offering different ideas. I am someone who is friendly to all, very inquisitive, a connector, and collaborator. I can see myself bridging gaps between people in both the Leadership Tyler Class, and in life.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

Since I work in real estate, I see a lot of segregation in Tyler. This is something every city has, different pockets of town reflect different socioeconomic statuses, and you're left with "desirable" and "undesirable" areas of town. Tyler though is especially segregated. When I was a 16 year old kid, growing up in Jacksonville, I made it a point to go down every road in town just to see everything - the good, bad and the ugly. I wanted to know the full scope of my town. As an adult who now lives in Tyler, I have gone down almost every road - both out of curiosity and for my job. When I talk to friends about different boutiques or restaurants I've been to for instance, in North Tyler they have no clue about it. I've come to realize that many people don't venture out of their own zip codes or even surrounding neighborhoods. In my opinion, there's very little commute between the different pockets of town, and this further segregates our community. How could I help change this? I'd like to commit to sharing different shops, restaurants, restored homes, parks, and anything unique in unfamiliar areas of town on social media and in everyday conversations. When people are familiar with something, their perception changes. When their perception changes, their behavior does too.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

I am 1 year and 5 months sober from alcohol. I didn't choose to get sober after a happy night out. I chose to get sober after years of difficulty with it. There were times I felt tempted to drink while dealing with serious work or family matters. I always got the job done, but not to the success I could have achieved. Alcohol affected my outlook on life and personal integrity, and wasted my energy level and time - leaving me unfulfilled. Looking back, I squandered many opportunities. Thankfully, I chose to get help and in many ways have made up for lost time. I'm happily sober today and have a built a strong support system around me to keep me on the right path.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

109

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

I believe that as members of the Lord’s kingdom we are part of a greater community and have a responsibility to serve our “neighbors” wherever they are located. I believe that serving others makes us more whole and we gain fulfillment from getting outside of ourselves. As an educator, I am particularly interested in modeling a commitment to serving the community. As a representative of Grace Community School, I am eager to serve as an ambassador for the school and for the church in trying to learn more about how the school, and me personally can serve the Tyler area. One of the reasons my school wants me to do this is because we are looking for more ways to make an impact on the community at large.

We have recently begun a program called “Inspire” where students apply to be apprentices in a field where they feel they are being called to serve. We are trying to give them an opportunity to learn more about the profession in a practical way so they are not relying on perceptions that may be glamorized or misrepresented in the media or by other influences. One thing I hope to accomplish by participating in this program is to find meaningful experiences for students in the community where they can serve and become more familiar with the actual needs in the community.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

I participated in a similar program in Nashville and hope to replicate parts of the program at our school. I like the idea of the designated days and themes for each one. I envision using a similar format for students who participate in the “Inspire” program. We have a great desire to instill in our students a desire and commitment to serve our community and to develop a mindset of service and calling rather than a mindset of career and “success” as the world defines it. By learning more about the inner workings of the civic community in the Tyler area, we can better expose our students to opportunities that they would not otherwise encounter in a mostly middle class, white, mostly Christian environment.

As a leader on our campus, I want to model an interest in the greater community and pass it along to our students where they can become more civic and servant minded, not for selfish reasons but for altruistic reasons as we focus on them wanting to be and make disciples for the kingdom.

I believe that I bring the unique qualities of being an educator and a Christian school perspective that might be distinctive from other applicants. My experience from a similar program in Nashville and the fact that I am being sent by our school to learn more about opportunities

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

I see Tyler as the hub for the entire East Texas area. It is the fulcrum by which everything in this area rotates. I think we have the opportunity to expand our concept of diversity and be more united as a community in this polarized country of ours. I think Tyler is more of a kind community than most and we have the opportunity to be a beacon of positivity in the state. Tyler is a clean, attractive, tradition rich city that is seen to be progressing and improving all the time. I sense there is a population increase all the time.

One of the things I would like to learn more about is the truth about the demographics of the community and growth trends. I assume it is a city on the grow but don’t really know. I would also like to learn more about growth trends and areas in decline just so we can teach these types of things to our students where they are more informed. I think the city is on the precipice of greater things and would love to see our school be more of a part of it. We are not interested in seeing growth for the benefit of our students financially or as a career step but rather as a platform to communicate and a vehicle to serve.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

I have served as a Christian school administrator for 31 years. During that time, there have been numerous times when I have felt the pressure of compromising my personal integrity. I have been the president of three different schools where I reported directly to the board of Directors. One time I received pressure to choose a board members child as valedictorian when the more appropriate decision, in my opinion, was to name co-valedictorians to two students who had the same basic GPA. Ultimately, that is what I did but the board member never forgave me. Another time, I had a board member's child who intentionally damaged another student's vehicle as a prank. I suspended him from school which meant he was unable to participate in a state playoff game. The wife of the board member called me and aske me to "be a hero" and not suspend him so he could play. When the Dean of Students and I rejected her request, she never spoke to me again. At another school, the chairman of the board's son did not meet the eligibility requirements to return to our school because of failing two classes. They wanted me to make an exception. In that situation, it ended up all right because the student did not want to be in school anyway but I did not know that at the time.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

111

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

Civic / Community involvement feels essential. It involves being present enough locally to assess your community's values, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities for development, needs, etc. We then have the privilege of identifying how we best align and fit into that framework. Asking ourselves, "how could my giftings contribute to the vitality of this place and it's people?" This could look as simple as voting. Or serving with existing groups such as the local schools, businesses, health systems, etc. - or as involved as spearheading a new, needed non-profit or committee. We just have to care enough to invest in this place we live and steward what we have as well as we can.

In the next 5 years (starting right now), I'd love to become more politically educated and competent (as simple as knowing how to vote effectively - this is a weakness of mine I'm excited to grow in).
Alternatively, I'm passionate about connecting with people and helping them identify their giftings, create goals, and cultivate plans to develop on the right path. I'd like to gear this toward volunteering with orgs who serve young adults who lack direction (hopeful there is opportunity through TJC and UT Tyler to assist with this).

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

Ultimately, I care about people and the things those people care about. One of my more natural bents is to connect with people and then to connect people with each other. I love being attentive to needs and issues and then point the right people with solutions and value in that direction. On many occasions this has looked like connecting strong candidates with companies looking to fill a hole or solve a specific problem. This brings satisfaction to both parties and it's really gratifying getting to be part of that. When it's made sense, I've found myself being the person diving head first into some of these opportunities. As downtown began revitalization, I was compelled to contribute. At one point this looked like jumping in with the Cafe 1948 staff (very part time) during Covid to help them open their doors. I later left my full time development role to help open and manage Thomas Hotel for a short time. Both instances, I met so many community members and learned about their stories when I wouldn't have otherwise. I think being part of LT would allow the chance to be an advocate for fellow members, their workplaces, and our city in general.

Hope to also continue growing in how to be an ambassador between our city's needs and the development Genecov drives.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

There are so many incredible improvements being made around our city and it seems like there's endless opportunity to be part of it all. At the same time, the younger generation in Tyler (and so many of my peers) are pretty out of the loop. Tyler is on it's way to becoming a premier place to establish a home and move to. I think a key element of continuing on this trajectory is to get as much buy in with the current residents first. Then there is a foundation to build on with incoming and prospective Tyler residents. It seems like the older generation is already invested but there is a lacking with the younger. Any initiative to bridge this gap feel like it'd be a huge win! As more people begin to move here and Tyler faces inevitable growth, there is a lot of value in as much of our population as possible having pride and understanding of our community.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

The most recent example I can recall was in a former job. I was being onboarded and trained by a 3rd party recruiter /consultant. This person, while very friendly and effective at their role, tended to bend rules and policies when it felt convenient. And suggested I take the liberty to do the same since in a management position. In my personal and professional life, I've sought not to set standards for those I am leading if I'm not willing to abide by the same ones. This is actually alot more challenging to uphold than I'd like to admit. In the mentioned scenario, it looked like my trainer using the company card for "work meal / network" expenses more often than needed, taking advantage of company benefits and amenities, and drinking during regular work hours. All violations of policies we were in the midst of training new staff members on. I found myself in a difficult situation because I honestly didn't want to make our consultant feel uncomfortable (although there was some clear abuse of authority going on). Eventually I was able to initiate a conversation explaining that I needed to address some of these items that felt problematic. They were immediately receptive and respected my thoughts. My takeaway was that I should have leaned into that conversation earlier.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

114

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

I think of civic involvement as the participation of people in any activity working to make a difference in a community. Voting, volunteering, educating, serving in elected positions are all paths for civic engagement. When people volunteer their time, skills, knowledge, and enthusiasm to promote the quality of their community, they exhibit civic leadership by finding ways to positively impact their communities.
As a child, I loved to make potholders out of strips of cloth and a plastic loom. I was fascinated by all of the colorful pieces of cloth, that alone didn’t keep my hand from burning if I grabbed a hot pan with them, but when woven together they created something strong, something that kept my hand safe. When I think about community involvement, I think of these potholders. Individually, we are all colorful and great, but when interwoven and working together toward a common purpose we are stronger and more effective.
I’m excited to grow personally through this experience and have the opportunity to increase my awareness of our communities various organizations and programs, while building relationships with like minded individuals. I plan to utilize these skills and connections to increase my civic engagement and identify areas where I can support community enrichment

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

My life has been enriched from interacting with people from various walks of life and throwing myself into wide-ranging learning opportunities. Bee-keeping? Thai cooking? Drumming? Yes to all! Not only do I enjoy learning, I appreciate discomfort and the knowledge that when I’m uncomfortable I’m growing. In addition to being passionate about learning and pushing myself to grow, I am a highly empathetic and open-minded person. I have a particular awareness of needs for those with physical and emotional differences and feel I am a cheerleader for those with less of a voice. I work every day to support individuals that access and engage with the world differently, those that struggle to find independence at home and in their community. I want to share the knowledge I’ve gained through these work experiences with others to move Tyler toward a more inclusive community.
I have had leadership opportunities professionally and have started dipping my toe into leadership roles in the community, but I’ve had limited learning opportunities to grow in ways I feel will expand my skillset. I look forward to developing my communication, strategic thinking, and inter-professional skills while also growing my awareness of our community needs and opportunities to best apply these skills.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

I would love to see a thriving community garden program across our city. I believe a garden has the power to transform a neighborhood, delivering beauty and escape while producing healthy food. A garden creates a shared sense of purpose that empowers a community, creates environmental awareness, and improves public health. Creating gardens across the whole of Tyler brings access to fresh produce to a wider range of community members while also providing opportunities for neighborhoods to work together toward a shared goal. I’ve long been passionate about growing produce at home and love to share with my neighbors. I hope to support the development of a community garden program through organization, planning and implementation along with a team of fellow community members. A program like this would take relationship building with individuals in various neighborhoods to identify locations and develop support and excitement. Community gardens will require resources to build beds, invested people to plant and maintain the gardens, and neighborhoods with space and excitement for the project. I could help with relationship building and growing knowledge of the program in different areas while providing ongoing planning and fundraising support.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

My first year teaching I was encouraged to keep my special education students quiet and out of sight of the rest of the students and faculty. I asked “What about lunch in the cafeteria? The gym for pep rallies and assemblies?” I was told, the students in my class don’t leave the room. I believe strongly in an inclusive world. The students in my class deserved an opportunity to sit in the loud, stinky cafeteria as much as anyone else. Mostly, I believed they had a right to be a part of their school community.
One of my mom’s foundational teachings was you catch more flies with honey. I wanted my students included and I wanted to make that happen without causing animosity. I know that change is uncomfortable for people and lack of knowledge makes us hesitant. Over the course of the first semester of that school year, I found ways to slowly incorporate my students into school life, giving them a chance to show what they were capable of, while also taking advantage of opportunities to educate my colleagues on presumed competence and the value of diversity. By the end of the year they ate lunch in the cafeteria, attended all school programs, went into other classrooms for inclusive education, and exceeded all expectations.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

115

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

Civic and community involvement to me means leading and serving to enhance my community, drawing on over 20 years of experience in education at Tyler Independent School District and as an educational consultant. These roles deepened my insight into our education system’s challenges and opportunities and my commitment to intersectoral collaboration.
As Executive Director of The Arc of Smith County, I advocate for the full inclusion of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in all aspects of community life. Additionally, I volunteer with our local CASA and serve on the board of Tyler Family Circle of Care, driven by my belief that everyone deserves quality care, whether at the doctor’s office, classroom, or when getting ready for the day.
Over the next five years, I aim to broaden my impact by pursuing leadership positions within the City of Tyler Boards and Commissions, specifically the Tyler Public Library Board, the Traffic Safety Board, and the Disability Issues Review Board. These opportunities will allow me to utilize my educational and advocacy background to advance Tyler's development, ensuring all community members have the necessary resources to succeed. My commitment is to improve Tyler continually, considering roles such as school board member.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

Through my Leadership Tyler experience, I aim to enhance my community engagement by leveraging the skills gained from various roles, including nonprofit director and educational consultant. These positions have enriched my understanding of Tyler's diverse needs and expanded my network, enabling me to serve effectively.
In the last four years, stepping back from my educational leadership roles provided time for introspection and personal growth, allowing me to transform challenges into opportunities for improvement and innovation. This period of reflection reshaped my approach to leadership, emphasizing adaptability and resilience.
In the Leadership Tyler class, I will bring a commitment to continuous learning and the ability to apply theoretical knowledge in practical ways. My goal is to share these attributes with my peers, enhancing our collective leadership skills. More than just participating, I aim to contribute actively, providing valuable learning opportunities to others in the program. This collaborative environment will help further our community’s development and success, embodying servant leadership and continuous improvement.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

In Smith County, we have opportunity for transformative community development with a focus on boosting public safety and traffic management to promote inclusive growth. I am committed to reforming public safety and education policies that disproportionately affect our youth, wanting to work with local school boards to transition from punitive responses to proactive behavioral support in schools. This shift is crucial for reducing juvenile delinquency and fostering inclusivity.
Addressing the mobility and employment barriers faced by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) or other impairments is also a priority. My priorities include enhancing public transportation and advocating for employer practices that recognize the unique problem-solving skills of people who have had to adapt quickly to diverse challenges.
By implementing these strategies, I am dedicated to not only supporting our constituents but also enhancing Tyler/Smith County’s overall safety, inclusivity, and prosperity. These efforts align with my goals, The Arc of Smith County's mission to ensure that all community members, irrespective of their abilities, have equal opportunities and rights, and the values that are deeply cherished by the people of Tyler.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

At a previous job in education, my supervisor persistently invited me out for my birthday. Despite preferring to spend time with my family, I agreed after consulting my wife, setting a firm boundary to leave by 5:30 PM. At the outing, my supervisor made inappropriate comments during a phone call, unaware I could overhear. Later, a female colleague informed me that she was on the other end of the call, stating that there were multiple other calls during the evening after I had gone home and that such remarks were typical for him.
Faced with a dilemma about addressing his behavior directly or escalating it, I chose to report the incident to human resources. Despite facing resistance and accusations of prejudice during the HR process, I stood firm on the integrity of my complaint. My actions led to my supervisor being removed from his position, although not terminated. This experience was a profound test of my integrity, reinforcing my commitment to ethical conduct regardless of the personal or professional costs.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

116

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

Civic and Community involvement to me means caring about and giving back through your time to the community that has supported you. I have grown up in Tyler and have seen first hand the impact this organizations can have on people's lives including my own. I anticipate with my background has a Certified Public Account to sit on nonprofit boards in the Tyler area.

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

I plan to utilize my Leadership Tyler experience to be better versed in being an asset to not only my work organization but to nonprofit organizations I will be apart of. I would bring a unique set of abilities to adapt to be both a leader and follower, provide a fresh perspective, but still bringing a collaborative environment to foster teamwork among my peers.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

One thing I believe is an opportunity for change in the Tyler area is getting more people involved in community events and organizations. I have not participated in as many events or organization because I was not fully aware of all the opportunities. The ability to reach others and be a greater resources to explain service opportunities in Tyler would be something I want to participate in.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

Before my current profession, I was in the automotive sales industry. That is probably all that needs to be said about compromising personal integrity. I found myself in a situation where I could have withheld information from my client and was suggested in being very vague so that it would not raise further questions. I had a firm belief that people do business with those they know, like, and trust. Despite my superiors encouragement to not be completely upfront, I was completely honest with the customer which caused the sale of the product to be pushed out a few weeks. This caused contention with my superior because this pushed the sale past the month end closing and the dealership was trying to reach its sales goal. The client in return appreciated and complemented my honesty and referred multiple people to me in the future. This event further solidified that maintaining my integrity would always be the right decision and that is how I wanted people to remember me.

Applicant Essay ResponsesEssay Repsonses

Entry ID

118

Essay Question 1: How do you define civic/community involvement? What civic/community volunteer experience do you expect to be involved in within the next five years?

From the lens of professional engineering and sustainability, I believe civic or community involvement can be defined as actively contributing to the development and implementation of sustainable practices and solutions that benefit the local community and the environment. It encompasses a range of activities, such as participating in local initiatives and organizations focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, green building practices, and environmental conservation. I believe that being close to the community and bringing people together at various events is key to achieving this.
Within the next five years, I expect to be actively involved in various civic and community volunteer activities related to sustainability and the built environment. One area of focus will be collaborating with local organizations and initiatives that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy adoption in commercial and residential buildings. This could involve volunteering my expertise in conducting energy audits, providing consulting services, or leading educational workshops and seminars on sustainable building practices,

Essay Question 2: How do you expect to utilize your Leadership Tyler experience? What unique qualities will you bring to a Leadership Tyler class?

As a professional, I expect to utilize my experience to drive positive change towards a more sustainable built environment, in the Tyler area.
1. The program will equip me with essential leadership concepts and strategies, which I can apply to effectively communicate, collaborate, and lead initiatives focused on promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy adoption, and sustainable building practices within the local community.
2. Through the program, I will establish connections with diverse stakeholders, including community leaders, organizations, businesses, and policymakers. These connections will enable me to facilitate cross-sector collaboration and leverage collective resources to implement sustainable solutions in the built environment.

As a person with a passion for people, I will bring a unique combination of qualities that can contribute to an impactful experience:
1. With my professional background in engineering, energy, and sustainability, I can provide technical insights and practical knowledge to address challenges related to the built environment.
2. I possess a solutions-oriented mindset and a passion for exploring innovative approaches to sustainable design, construction, and building operations, fostering creative problem-solving within the class.

Essay Question 3: What do you see as an opportunity for change in the Tyler/Smith County area? Why? How could you be personally engaged in this opportunity?

Given my background in professional engineering, energy, and sustainability in commercial and residential buildings, I envision a significant opportunity in the Tyler area to promote energy efficiency and sustainable building practices. The built environment has a substantial impact on energy consumption, emissions, and environmental footprint. Implementing energy-efficient strategies and sustainable design principles can not only reduce operational costs for businesses and homeowners but also contribute to environmental conservation efforts. Several factors highlight the need for this change, including aging building stock, lack of awareness about energy-efficient technologies, and limited training on incentives or regulations promoting sustainable practices.
To capitalize on this opportunity, I plan to take collaborative approach involving various stakeholders as follows:
1. Engaging with local authorities to develop and enforce building codes that prioritize energy efficiency and sustainable design.
2. Partnering with educational institutions to offer training programs and workshops on green building practices for professionals and homeowners.
3. Collaborating with local businesses and organizations to conduct energy audits and implement energy-saving measures.

Essay Question 4: Discuss a time when you felt pressure to compromise an element of your personal integrity. How did youhandle it?

As an engineer focused on sustainable building design, I once faced pressure to compromise my personal integrity regarding energy efficiency standards. A client requested modifications to a commercial building plan that would significantly reduce the structure's energy performance, citing cost concerns. However, I knew these changes would undermine the project's sustainability goals and my professional ethics. I felt torn between accommodating the client's demands and upholding my commitment to responsible engineering practices. Ultimately, I decided to stand firm on my principles. I thoroughly explained the long-term financial and environmental implications of the proposed changes, emphasizing the importance of energy efficiency in reducing operational costs and carbon footprint. While the client initially pushed back, my unwavering stance and evidence-based arguments eventually convinced them to reconsider. We collaboratively explored alternative cost-saving measures that did not sacrifice sustainability. By respectfully yet firmly advocating for sustainable solutions, I was able to navigate this challenge while preserving my personal integrity and delivering a project that aligned with my values and expertise in energy-efficient building design.

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