By Juanita Gambrell Floyd
As a 14-year-old girl, I recalled walking into Mid-South Packers years ago and observing my mother (Mrs. Bernice Gambrell) with this beautiful smile on her face as she stamped hog after hog.
I remember thinking “What does she have to smile about with this horrible stench and blood everywhere?”
I angrily asked her, “Why do you have a smile on your face?” She said, “Life is about choices and I choose to be happy when I come to work. This is the only job I can do. You have a chance to do better. Go to college and make something of yourself.”
I graduated from Northeast Mississippi Community College and the University of Mississippi.
In February, I celebrated 25 wonderful years working at CREATE, a local community foundation. Condoleezza Rice said, “When you find your passion, not just what you like to do but that which makes you want to get up every morning, you too, will have a life-changing experience.” My life changed in 1985 when former Executive Director David Crews hired me as the secretary/receptionist/bookkeeper for CREATE Foundation.
Currently, I serve as vice-president of finance/administration. Like my mother, I too, have tried to make a conscientious effort to be happy each day that I walk into CREATE. Not only has it been a great place to work, but because of this job, I have had the opportunity to develop relationships with people from all walks of life.
One enjoyable responsibility of my job is working with donors. I fondly remember the late Mrs. Marion Rogers who had an advised fund. Our relationship started out as the typical donor/employee, but in the end, we were friends and confidants. For 10 years Mrs. Rogers and I had weekly conversations. I was out on maternity leave three times during those years, yet we never missed our weekly calls. Mrs. Rogers personally made a difference in my life, as well as the many charities she supported.
Mrs. Lorraine Wesson, retired executive director of Faith Haven, just this week, invited some other people and me to an Easter lunch at her home. She said to the group, “All of you hold a special place in my heart. In some way each of you made a difference in my life when I was at Faith Haven.” I thought about another life lesson from my mother. She always said, “Deal with the hand you have been given – whether it’s good or bad. Make the most of it, and after all of that – still try to make a difference in someone’s life.” In any job, whether it’s dealing directly or indirectly with people, all of us have the power and ability to influence the people we come in contact with daily.
Laundress and philanthropist Oseola McCarty said, “Hard work gives life meaning. Everyone needs to work hard at something to feel good about themselves. Every job can be done well and every day has its satisfactions.”
I have been very blessed to work for an organization that has made a difference in the lives of many since it was founded in 1972 by George and Keirsey McLean. George McLean said, “It is our desire to serve God and our fellowman not only with our time and our talents, but also with material possessions…” I have had the opportunity to witness the tremendous impact of gifts and the importance of giving – whether it’s small or large. I’ve seen the tears of joy on the faces of the people that have been served and helped. I’ve witness the gratitude of people.
I am grateful that the Lord aligned my path with CREATE.
Mama said, “At the end of the day you should be able to lie down at night and sleep with a clear conscience, knowing you’ve worked hard, done what’s right on your job and treated your fellowman right. I recall a passage of scripture, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters…not with eyeservice…but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart…doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” I can truly say that during my 25 years of employment, I have gone to sleep with a clear conscience.
Friends, have you made a difference on your jobs and with those working with you? Have you made a choice to be happy? Can you sleep at night knowing you have done your best? You be the judge.
Juanita Gambrell Floyd is vice president of finance/administration for CREATE Foundation, Inc. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.