Courtesy Candace Sanders Images
Violet Edwards, an alumna of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), a portion of The University of Alabama Procedure, has been elected to the Madison County Fee as the Commissioner for District 6. Edward’s victory is historic, marking the initial time an African-American girl has been elected to the County Fee.
Edwards took business office officially on November 11 following the general election. “I took a few of times to just soak it in,” she says when requested how she celebrated her acquire. “I am usually ahead considering. I want what’s following! But with so lots of people actively playing these types of a good portion in this historic victory, I had to gradual myself down and say, it is not about me, it truly is about anyone who aided, the volunteers, the individuals in my local community, the minor outdated lady who donated 10 dollars, permitting them choose the time to rejoice. But I have been accomplishing this occupation for a thirty day period now, and I’ve been happy to get down to function.”
And it looks the kind of do the job that suits Edwards finest has usually involved serving others in a person capability or a different. The 44-yr-outdated alumna is president of the North Alabama Coalition for the Homeless and a previous executive director of Xmas Charities 12 months Spherical. Assisting many others is a enthusiasm that evidently runs in her genes.
“It’s a existence!” Edwards says. “My mom generally volunteered and experienced us doing anything, and I’ve really by no means known a time in which I wasn’t someplace in a volunteer function. Company has generally been a huge element of my daily life, no matter whether with agencies that empower females, do the job with youngsters or helping the homeless. I am generally anxious to remain concerned.”
Functioning to make her group greater proved to be a organic in good shape for a particular person with Edward’s vitality and push, while also supporting to establish recognition in her district. “I love my neighborhood, love my neighbors, she suggests. “It is really surely dwelling now. In my time of nonprofit and volunteering I would constantly volunteered in my district and my neighborhood. Supporting out at Christmas time, encouraging out at the soup kitchen, I previously had a truly good grasp on the community and the people all over me, and that served me very well.”
Jogging a marketing campaign for the duration of a pandemic proved to be a challenge. “We experienced to be inventive and modern,” Edwards notes. She and her volunteers appeared to find new ways to distribute the phrase though helping her district at the same time. “I questioned myself, what does the community need to have? How can we put that into the community’s fingers and get both equally individuals matters performed at the exact time? So I spent marketing campaign cash obtaining masks with our emblem, and they had been genuinely, actually required in that April and May timeframe, and that grew to become aspect of my brand name.”
For anyone whom general public services operates so deeply, did Edwards ever aspiration of finding into politics sometime as a youthful lady?
“It never crossed my mind!” the new commissioner states with a smile. “I never ever imagined I would be sitting listed here. But I did study it. As a reporter I lined so quite a few strategies, and I would say, ‘I would by no means do this,’ or ‘they need to never ever do that.’ But as considerably as me remaining in that function, no I under no circumstances, ever considered that!”
In its place, the alumna received a diploma in communications from The University of Alabama and later extra an MBA from UAH. She moved to Huntsville in 2002 to perform as a tv journalist, and her working experience also includes stints in media careers in Arkansas, Memphis, Birmingham, and Tuscaloosa.
“I did some sort of media for 13 a long time,” Edwards claims. “I thought I often preferred to be an anchor on tv. I utilised to practice in the mirror applying a hairbrush!” But finally, as her marketing campaign biography describes, she discovered “she did not want to inform the story, as a great deal as she desired to be a part of the dialogue and provide about modify.”
From there it only designed perception to blend her intensive communications and company expertise with her volunteerism to map out a vocation in public assistance that has carried her to the place she retains currently.
“Some things are for a season,” Edwards says, reflecting on the journey that has brought her to this second. “It was a massive determination for me to fall the media to go into non-income administration. Then I ran Christmas Charities total-time for five several years, and it genuinely blossomed, but I remaining that as properly, and it experienced my relatives scratching their heads! But it was crucial to target on my family members and household at that time. Having back again into the functioning globe was a gradual create up immediately after that, functioning as a pupil expert portion time at UAH, then internet marketing for the College of Business, and as an adjunct lecturer of business enterprise communications for the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. It comes from not being afraid of adhering to your passion, subsequent wherever it sales opportunities you.”
That enthusiasm shortly directed Edwards into advocacy for the homeless inhabitants in Madison, Morgan and Limestone counties as president of the North Alabama Coalition for the Homeless.
“I form of fell into taking my mother’s direct, who was operating in the kitchens at the time with the homeless in Florida,” she claims. “I begun out in a volunteer capacity, and then the option to become a board member arrived together, and it just grew. And now I have been president for one more year. In my district I have 4 shelters for the homeless, and we also have camps. This is where by I realized I was wanted. And now I am in a place to provide about improve in a unique way.”
The most recent commissioner carries that identical spirit and generate to her new position every day.
“I’m teaching and discovering there has been no time to sit back and relax,” Edwards claims. “Going right into the getaway time, we are performing vacation packing containers for constituents. These days I went to a center school and sent holiday getaway bags to a specific requirements class. I am meeting an individual new and listening to tips each and every working day. Now’s the time to see what is functioning, what’s not. There are a good deal of visionaries in the district. I have a Wellness Middle for seniors, and it really is shut proper now, so we have been truly fast paced with that. When it reopens we want to open with a bang! We also have a local community back garden, 50 acres, and volunteers are coming out to assist with that.”
Typically when individuals imagine of the purpose of their County Commissioner, they could possibly picture an individual generally worried with bulldozers and paving roadways, but Edwards reports that her occupation duties go a great deal even more than that.
“We all have fully distinctive wants [each district],” she suggests. “We have our street gear and folks in this article in District 6, but we only have 14 miles to retain. My desires in this article are thoroughly various from some of the other commissioners. But I still have to make decisions on items like culverts. Previous week I got to oversee the cleansing of a culvert and the laying of some pipes. Some times I have to use a costume, other days, outdoor garments!” she states, laughing. “But we often have to concentration on the folks.”
It can be that target that lets Edwards know she has arrived at the put the place she is necessary most. “Folks have thoughts about items like starting to be a county seller or how to go about publishing bids. A whole lot are fascinated in grant revenue. And I admire them. All the things I have ever performed in daily life has well prepared me for this. Issues like operating with the SBA and investors and microloans, just the complete approach of it, heading for a business personal loan and currently being turned down. I have empathy for them since I have been there.”
So what does it feel like to abruptly have 58,000 constituents based on you?
“It really is thrilling!” Edwards claims. “I really don’t genuinely truly feel the weight of it most times. I know that there are surely men and women at the rear of me, doing everything to support me triumph. I crack it down to the cellphone phone calls. All of these persons are not heading to contact me, but Ms. Robinson is heading to simply call! Let us make Ms. Robinson pleased!”
Edwards laughs with pleasure at the considered of aiding many others. “I realized on my very first day here that each individual career I have at any time experienced about the past 25 decades has been planning me for this. The perform with media, marketing and advertising, in the classroom at UAH. I am pulling from every single job I have ever had. This is wherever I am intended to land.”
And what does she have to say about getting a position model for some others who would like to stick to in her footsteps?
“I feel about my times in the classroom at UAH, when I would see my pupils who are 19 and hyperventilating mainly because they you should not know what to place down for a main,” she recollects. “You will not have to have your whole existence figured out currently! Choose it just one step at a time and have no doubts and no concern. And then if change will come, embrace it. Never be frightened to improve. I have improved professions about 4 occasions. I did not have it all figured out at the age of 19. My dad experienced the identical position for 35 decades! So he did not recognize whenever I would fall what I was executing and go into a little something new. I had a good deal of theater lessons. I have stepped out on stage a number of moments, and I have not regretted it a single little bit. I have a loved ones member that claims I never have adequate sense to be frightened.”
Does she at any time pause to just take a peek into her very own long term?
“Five many years back, this is not where by I noticed myself,” she says. “But I am not worried to pivot. Then just one day it becomes as clear as the nose on my facial area, and my household says, ‘Oh that is what we’re executing now? Alright, seize your coat!'”