People of Etowah: Leslie Harp

September 21, 2018 chris
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Name: Leslie Harp

Where were you born and raised?

“I was born in Atlanta and raised in Leeds.”

What is your occupation?

“I’m the Marketing Director and Nurse Recruiter for Gadsden Regional Medical Center.”

What made you decide to work in your field?

“Working in healthcare marketing was not something I planned or even knew existed. I always knew I wanted to be in healthcare, but was not aware of the opportunities available. I graduated from UAB and found a position at a hospital in Cullman in marketing, and found what field I was meant to pursue.”

Tell us about your family and pets.

“I have two children, Natalie (19), who is a sophomore at the University of Alabama majoring in Communications and Political Science, and a son, Drew (17), who is a senior at Southside High School.”

Describe an average day in your life.

“My daily routine is never the same day twice, and I believe that is why I enjoy my job so much. I could be in several meetings during the morning discussing marketing, recruitment, or physician, employee and/or patient experience processes and then have outside events to attend like open houses for new companies, Chamber activities or civic club events. I may have two to three nurse candidate interviews in the morning and then switch gears midday to discuss marketing efforts with our corporate office for the following year. I spend time creating newsletters, flyers and promotional items trying to implement the best way to communicate hospital services to each audience so people know what we offer so they will choose our facility for healthcare.”

What school or schools have you attended?

“I graduated from Leeds High School in 1989 and then went on to the University of South Alabama in Mobile. I transferred to UAB and finished there with a Communications and English degree with a concentration in Public Relations. I am currently attending Ohio University’s online MBA program and hope to complete my masters in December 2019.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I am a crafty person. I enjoy chalk painting old furniture and bringing it back to life, in a sense. I enjoy using my creativity as an outlet for stress. I enjoy being around people – they give me energy!”

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

“To date, my children are absolutely my greatest accomplishment. When you are young, you think that having children means that you have to teach them so much in life, or at least I did. The ironic part of that is that they have taught me so much about life and myself. Once I realized that this huge burden did not rest solely on me, I was relieved and found out that these two have my heart and attention and I cannot wait to see where God takes them in life. And, I get to be part of this!”

Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?

“Oh, my. So many people have been so influential in my life. God has blessed me with amazing people who have surrounded me with guidance and support and unbelievable love. I have to say that the most influential of all of the blessings I have encountered would be my mother, Barbara, and for so many reasons. My mom was a business woman back in the day where men dominated the workforce. Not only that, she was a single mom with four children. I was able to know the human side of my mother – gentle, unconditional love, generous, humble, kind, and so much more. I then got to see her business side. She sold real estate, so she was always working. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, we must have moved a dozen times in the Leeds area so that we would be in the newest subdivisions so she could monitor “looksies” or potential buyers driving through the neighborhoods. I was able to witness her kindness in business as well.  So many times, she would reduce her commission or not take one at all so that families could afford a home to raise their families. She grew up in an apartment in Birmingham, and she always wanted others to have a home of their own. Her heart was huge, but she had a business savvy and a strong work ethic like no other. She would negotiate contracts with the best of them. Her strategies were incredible. She kept up with everyone in town and had her finger on the pulse of any new industry, business or company in our area. We jokingly referred to her as Lady Townsend, because if there was something to know, she was your go-to! She had Alzheimer’s for about seven years before passing away in 2012. She was just the most loving and generous person you would ever want to meet.”

To what do you credit your success?

My definition of success means being able to contribute to my community, including my family and hospital, in the best way possible and putting their needs as a priority. I credit any success to God, who has provided me with the best siblings, children, family, friends, coworkers and community I could ever hope for!”

Are you involved in any service organizations?

“I am a past president of the Rotary Club of Gadsden as well as the Family Success Center.”

What is your favorite thing about this community?

“I moved to Gadsden in 2007 and immediately felt like I belonged here. I love that I could see everyone at the local grocery stores, malls, etc., and felt a sense of community from the start.  I enjoy that my kids went to school, church, played sports, took dance, etc., with the same kids and could have their own community in that. I could depend on other moms to help guide my children with the same love and respect I would offer theirs if I wasn’t around.” 

What would you like to see change in the community?

“I think one thing our community would benefit from is a recycle pick up service. Our community has such an opportunity to recycle and opening Gadsden Recycle Center was fantastic. The downside is that families have to travel to drop off their plastics, glass, aluminum, cardboard, etc. I hope that we move forward in our county to offer this progressive step to pick up recyclables. Making it easy for our community to recycle will make a huge impact on our environment in years to come.”

What are three words that describe you?

“Happy, smiling and energetic.”

What is something surprising that many do not know about you?

“I was a traffic reporter in Birmingham for a while. One of the many aliases I went by was “Stella Propella.”  It was fun!”

What is your favorite quote?

“If not me, then who?  If not now, then when?”

What is on your bucket list?

“To write a book or blog.”

What is your hidden talent?

“I can crochet.”

If a movie were made about your life, who would you want to play you?

“Annette Benning.”

What advice would you give yourself as a child?

“You have so much to offer this world! God has so many wonderful things in store for you! Things you cannot even imagine!”

If you would like to nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, email speters@gadsdenmessenger.com or call 256-547-1049.