In Transition: Ms. Jeannie Wright

In Transition: Ms. Jeannie Wright

As the child of a United States Army solider and as a denominational employee, Jeannie Wright has lived in many places, from Panama (where she was born) to Hawaii, to (in no particular order), Alabama, California, Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She has worked in corporate America, in academia and for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She has worked in the mail room, as a secretary, an Administrative Assistant, a junior accounting specialist, a training coordinator and a design engineer. She has a Master’s of Business Administration degree and a black belt in taekwondo.

In each job that she has taken on, she has impressed her supervisors and administrators with her strong work ethic and her personal philosophy of not just “doing your job”, but “to do whatever is needed.”

A prime example of that came in one her very first jobs. As an Oakwood College (now) Oakwood University 1997 graduate, Ms. Wright received a one year internship from the North American Division to work in the Oakwood Development Office under Dr. Timothy McDonald. Shortly after her arrival, Dr. McDonald moved on to another responsibility at Oakwood and Elder Auldwin Humphrey became Development Director.

Ms. Wright left at the end of her internship to pursue a Master’s Degree, so her time with Elder Humphrey was short-several months. But so impressed was Elder Humphrey with Ms. Wright’s work ethic and commitment that over a decade later, when he was elected Executive Secretary of the South Central Conference in late 2009 and needed an Administrative Assistant, he remembered the young lady who worked as a Development Office intern and requested that Administration invite her to return to the South.

Ms. Wright served as the Administrative Assistant to the Executive Secretary of the South Central Conference for five years, serving with her usual dedication and strong work ethic. In March of 2015, the position of Director of Human Resources of the conference became vacant. As there is some connectivity between the Conference Executive Secretary and the Human Resource Department and the Conference Administration had decided to open up that position first to current employees of the conference office, Ms. Wright was urged by some who knew her to apply. On the very last day before the deadline to apply, she applied and Administration and the Personnel Committee of the Conference recommended that she be offered the position of Director of Human Resources for the South Central Conference.

Though she had no previous experience as a Human Resource Director, Ms. Wright quickly took charge of the position. She moved her office downstairs, into a larger office that allowed her department to have all its records in the same office where she was, thus increasing efficiency. Her secretary, Mrs. Dayami Valdespino, exhibited much of the same strong work ethic and drive of Ms. Wright, and Ms. Wright intentionally began pouring into Mrs. Valdespino. This spring, Mrs. Valdespino will graduate with a Master’s Degree in Human Resources.

One of Ms. Wright’s dreams recently came to fruition when the Lord blessed her to complete the conference’s first Human Resource Intranet site, where all forms and conference policies, benefits, etc., are all available to the employees of South Central in a “one-stop” (on-line) shop.

Recently, the position of Associate Vice President of Human Resources came open at Washington Adventist University (WAU). WAU is located in Takoma Park, Maryland and is home to 1,000 students and employees. Once again, Ms. Wright was urged to apply and once again, the Lord-Who used all of her previous job and life experiences to prepare for this position-directed in her selection. We know that she will exhibit the same work ethic and commitment that has caused her to be promoted in most of the positions that she has held and that the Lord will again bless.

Given her eclectic background, it is not surprising that Ms. Wright has different hobbies than most. In addition to the aforementioned taekwondo black belt, she has a love for aviation. Given all the Lord has blessed her to accomplish, do not be surprised one day to see Ms. Wright flying the airplane that you are on-or, running the airline.

Ms. Wright assumes her new position on March 1.

Submitted by Elder Dana C. Edmond