“Might as well,” White thought to herself. “I need a job.”
Sixteen and a half years later, White is still with the organization. Her temp job became a permanent administrative assistant job. From there she moved through the ranks as a coordinator, manager and vice president before becoming the Chamber’s senior vice president of economic development.
“I don’t think there’s a better place to become assimilated into a community than the Chamber of Commerce,” White says. “My role is to sell Jackson and Madison County to industrial companies looking at either locating a new operation somewhere or expanding.”
A native of Ashland City, Tennessee, economic development wasn’t in her plans when she came to Union. She majored in psychology, graduating in 1998.
“Union was the only college to which I applied,” White says. “I knew when I walked onto campus, I felt at home.”
White says Union provided her a tremendous amount of leadership opportunities through the Greek system and other student organizations. Since she didn’t know anyone when she began as a student, White had to learn how to network.
“Through those leadership roles, through the activities on campus, that helped prepare me for what I do every day now,” she says. “I talk with people every day that I don’t know.”
White originally planned to work for a social service nonprofit, because she enjoys helping people and giving back to the community. While that wasn’t where her path led, she still finds her work in economic development rewarding.
“When I drive by a plant and see a car sitting out there, and I know I might have had a little to do with creating that job and that disposable income for that family, that’s just as fulfilling as what I thought I might have ended up doing,” she says.