Kay Manley was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. She has been an educator for most of her career, working with preschoolers to adults, and retired from A-B Tech after 20 years of service. She sees herself as a life-long learner and currently takes classes in Spanish, genealogy and photography. She loves to travel both in the United States and internationally and particularly enjoys visiting family in Florida and throughout the southeast. Kay enjoys reading and spending time outdoors and a variety of volunteer activities in Asheville.
She's also a member of Women's Leadership Council, a network of passionate and influential women focused on supporting the Middle School Success initiative. We get to know her a little better in this month's WLC Spotlight.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned during your career? "Keep your eye on the prize. Maintain a balanced view. Listen to other perspectives. Remain curious. Be assertive and speak up, but do so with respect. By all means, keep a sense of humor. Try to end each day with a thank you."
What is your favorite quote or motto? "There are many, but here is one I keep returning to by poet Mary Oliver: 'Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?'"
Why do you volunteer and donate to United Way? "I have been a United Way donor for many years, but became more involved in 1998 when I worked at AB Tech and came on as a Loaned Executive. Since my time as a Loaned Executive, I have served as a volunteer on several different United Way funding councils."
When did you join WLC and why? "I joined WLC right away! I liked the concept—the power of women working collectively to accomplish great things—and I like the service component that is offered to WLC members. I have enjoyed getting involved, especially working with the Girls in Charge club at Enka Middle School."
What is the best advice you have ever gotten? "Use your heart and your head in making decisions. Reserve judgment until you have all the information. Learn to not take things personally."
What qualities do you most admire in business professionals? "I admire a leader or professional who shows respect for all kinds of people and who sees the value of individuals."
Which qualities do you dislike? "Duplicity."
What is the best advice you can offer to young women and young men as they start their careers? "Maintain integrity. Do your best and give 110% at work, then take care of yourself away from work. Nurture and restore yourself with family and friends. Find a balance.”
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why? "I often think of my sister Robbie, who passed away two years ago, as a model of how to handle adversity with grace and dignity. She had a difficult and long illness which caused her to retire early from a successful career. Until her illness made it impossible to be engaged in volunteer efforts, she was still giving back to her community in many ways."
Who are your real-life heroes?
"During my years at AB Tech, I was often amazed by what some of the students accomplished in the midst of major barriers and life challenges. They are everyday heroes achieving success in spite of the odds."
Each month, we shine a spotlight on a member of Women's Leadership Council. If you are interested in being highlighted, please contact Elizabeth.Allen@UnitedWayABC.org or call (828) 239-1048.
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