By: Staff Writer.
Haines City - For this month's community leader of the month, we had the pleasure of interviewing Lana Stripling, and this is what she shared with us:
NEPG: Tell us a short story about yourself and how that experience inspired you to become who you are today.
Lana: As a little girl, I have always loved helping others and fundraising. I remember having a little game day/carnival in my backyard when I was in Elementary school in Alabama to raise money for Jerry's kids to help fight Muscular Dystrophy.
I had lemonade stands, bake sales, and anything I could do to help raise money for a cause. When I was 12, we moved to Haines City Florida and all through my junior high and high school years, I was involved with many service organizations and my church to help within the community. I love making people smile and trying to make a difference in my community. I am involved with Rotary and Kiwanis and serve as a Pre-K teacher at Heartland Church in Winter Haven. I have always felt it was important to be a part of your community, to give back, and help others.
NEPG: What are your main responsibilities as the Executive Director of the Chamber? Lana: I manage a staff of 3 part-time employees. Edee, who is the glue that holds it all together. She knows everyone and is such a beautiful person and does the work of a full-time employee during the 3 days she is in the office. Mary Jane, our membership coordinator, is also an amazing addition to our chamber. We have seen such growth in our membership since bringing her on. She, as well, knows everyone and is such a pleasure to work with and know. Then Olivia, who is a full-time student, does our social media advertising. She is young, enthusiastic, sweet and keeps us current with the trends of this social media age we live in. I am responsible for all office management, new memberships, event planning, accounting, ribbon cuttings, grand openings, making sure our members are happy and working with our cities and communities to provide quality events that are family-friendly and bring people together.
NEPG: How do you manage the different personalities among the people you work with to be able to make an impact not only in their professional lives but also in their personal lives?
Lana: Growing up I was taught to treat people the way you want to be treated. Respect their opinion even though you might not share it. Love them when they might not be loveable because I am not always lovable, but Jesus commissions us to love one another.
NEPG: Tell me a little bit about your family and how you manage your professional and personal lives without allowing one to affect the other.
Lana: My husband Mike and I will celebrate 29 years in March. I have three great kids, Laura, Adam, and Savanah. A beautiful daughter-in-law, Bonnie and three wonderful Grands, Harrison, Easton, and Harper. Mike and I share our home with two dogs and four cats. Family means everything to me. I am a mama bear with my kids, my grands, and my fur babies. Chamber life is extremely busy with events and meetings, which can take me away from my family a lot, but I make family first. We make sure to plan quality time with one another and never let a job come before family.
NEPG: What message would you like to pass to other leaders, who like you, are trying to make an impact in our community?
Lana: To be passionate about what you are doing. Love what you do. If you don't, then find what you are passionate about and go for it. Find the good in everyone and everything. Today only happens once, Make it amazing.