WLC Spotlight: Renee Walker

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Renee was born and raised in the Asheville area and has always lived in Buncombe County, spending nearly 30 years in Swannanoa. She now lives in Leicester with her husband, Steve. She has a son, two stepdaughters and five grandchildren who all live in the area. She has worked at Padgett & Freeman Architects for 15 years and prior to that, Renee was with Beacon Manufacturing for 11 years.

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.

Renee Walker United Way Asheville Buncombe CountyWhat’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned during your career? "Always do your best, even if it is not what others expect or anticipate. You can’t please everyone, but as long as you do your best that is all you can do."

What is your favorite quote or motto? "I have two. If at first you don’t succeed, try again. And there’s more than one way to skin a cat."

Why do you volunteer and donate to United Way? "I have been a donor for many years and support the work of United Way. I was a single mom for nearly six years, so I have a full understanding of the trials and tribulations of being a single parent and the services that are available when families face challenges. I appreciate what United Way does for our community."

When did you join WLC and why? "I was contacted last year about being part of Women’s Leadership after making my gift to United Way in the fall. I didn’t know much about it but was interested once I learned more. I’ve been involved in some of the activities for middle school students and feel it is good initiative."

What is the best advice you have ever gotten? "Treat others as you would want to be treated. Don’t get complacent. Strive to do better & learn from your mistakes."

What qualities do you most admire in business professionals? "Honesty, integrity, morals, ethics, looking out for and achieving goals that benefit all involved (not just the owners of business), reliability, and trustworthiness."

Which qualities do you dislike? "Pretty much the opposite of what I admire. Dishonesty, deceitfulness, people who only look out for themselves and not for others, short-term satisfaction/goals that only benefit a few and not the overall, and those fraudulent and untrustworthy."

Renee Walker United Way Asheville Buncombe CountyWhat is the best advice you can offer to young women and young men as they start their careers? "Always do what is right even if it goes against the grain. Be diverse because everyone doesn’t have the same view and values. Learn from others who have been in the business. Be honest and forthright and uphold high professional morals and ethics. Be sure to remember the uphill climb if you achieve the top—how you got there and who supported you….you didn’t make it to the top all by yourself. And remember that there is no 'I' in TEAM."

If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why? "Bette Midler or Reba McIntyre. Their careers portray strong-willed, independent women who are patient to an extent, but can definitely put others in their place when out of line. They are also extremely involved in their communities & charities that help others."

Who are your real-life heroes?
"My hero is my maternal grandmother: she is hardworking, always loving and caring regardless of what anyone did….good or bad, dependable, trustworthy."

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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