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Tlie AC Phoenix
Woman Pushes For
by Terry King
P *■ I'
Michelle Carter hopes to work herself out
of her job. No, she doesn’t want to be fired
and has no intentions of quitting, but she
holds a front row seat to the biggest room in
the house: The Room for Growth.. This room,
she believes, is a must-see for anyone trying
to succeed in life.
At the young age of 29, this Human
Resources Generalist for Lowes Food, head
quartered in Winston-Salem, agrees if the sky
is the limit, then what are you sitting around
waiting for. Reach for it
Carter, originally from Lexington,
Kentucky, majored in business management
with an emphasis on human resources at
Radford University in Virginia. After gradu
ating she worked her way around different
retail food chains, finally earning a place at
Lowes Food in 1994 as co-manager of its
Silas Creek Parkway store.
She believes in being disciplined and fair,
but is the first to say everyone should spend
time developing their compassionate side.
Carter will admit the past four years have
truly been a training ground that has helped
her blend her strict style of management with
her hidden passion for people.
“I came here like anyone else, thinking I
could change everything,” she recalls. She
credits her supervisor, John Jarvis, for helping
her to settle into a position that requires an
open-mind and an ear for the other person’s
“I had to realize that there was more than
just my perspective,” she said. “And when I
did, I became a better person. I’m truly
blessed that my supervisor has enough confi
dence in me to let me stretch.”
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Lowes Foods stands in the foreground of a
new millennium as one of the three food
chains to have a female president, which
Carter sees as an opening for opportunity.
Blacks in management positions are still few
and far between, a statistic Carter hopes to
see improve. “Are we where we need to be?
No,” admits Carter, but the door is open for
As part of her responsibilities. Carter han
dles 56 of the 102 food stores in Virginia and
North Carolina. She conducts sensitivity
training for store managers and handles
employee grievances. Part of her manage
ment style includes “A Day of Listening.” On
that day, she reports to a store location and
allows employees to visit with her and share
some of their concerns. During that time she
makes assessments and ultimately uses the
information to help the manager make
improvements. “When morale is down, pro
ductivity is down,” she said.
“We often forget the human piece that is
necessary for businesses to operate,” Carter
Carter firmly believes that success depends
on happiness. “You will only be successful in
what you do if you are happy. Don’t forget to
have fun when you get a new career.” This
prescription applies to whatever endeavor you
enter, she said, including your religious life,
family life and personal life.
“You have to develop and keep that inner
peace with yourself. Peace of mind helps you
organize and organization helps you suc
ceed.” Her inner peace comes from a rigorous
five-day-a-week workout schedule. “My job
keeps me busy and sometimes on the road. So
I had to adjust my life to include what I like
doing most You can find me at the gym prac
tically every morning at 5:30,” she said.
Carter is also active in otlier community
activities. She volunteers at Independence
High School and is in the process of joining
Big Brothers/Big Sisters. She works with the
All-American Athletic Union and is a mem
ber of SL Peter’s World Outreach Center.
“Whatever you studied in college, you
have an opportunity to apply it here,” she
said. Carter also spends her time recruiting
for Lowes Foods. She hopes to continue up
the corporate ladder and welcomes others to
Daydreaming for Real
by C.L. Corbin
One day in the dead of winter, I walked outside into the snow. As I became aware of the
quiet crunch beneath my boots, I heard a voice inside of me crying out for warmth. Still, I
continued to walk, now faster. I turned about after a few minutes and stood at the end of this
long experience. There traced in the footsteps of my quickened pace, I caught a glimpse of it
It sparkled like flint rocks glancing off of each other. My heart raced and I was glowing.
Then, in the middle of that very breath, I turned about and kept on walking.
Sometimes we are taken to places where the emotion and imagery are so vivid that we think
the experience of reading is not only enlivening, but all too familiar. We recall how some
thing so near to our own experience had occurred to the writer and it maps exactly the feeling
we had. Sometimes it happens inside of a good book or an evening at ^e theater enjoying a
drama unfold on stage. Sometimes it is the sudden awareness that the cloud formation in its
indescribable array of winter pastels, though precious for the moment, is but a passing thing.
When this moment arrives, when we are suddenly aware of how the life we share is but a
glimmer, the tiny spark of flint stones measured against an enormous backdrop of time; at this
precise moment, we can truly appreciate art.
Each year during the month of February, communities throughout the country celebrate
Black History Month. Schools and municipalities schedule events and place particular empha
sis on celebrating the contributions of African-Americans in the growth and development of
our nation. In almost every case there are activities which are specifically intended to focus
upon aspects of cultural awareness. Often these activities become plays, poetry readings, pro
grams and exhibitions acknowledging the creative genius of persons of African descent One
of the principles of the recently completed Kwanza celebration, which takes place during the
week following Christmas is called KUUMBA, which means Creativity. Many of us attend
these festivals, programs, concerts and exhibitions and treat ourselves to the beauty and inge
nuity of African-Americans and Africans alike. We have the opportunity to appreciate our
creativity. With self-assurance and pride we are able to sustain for the entire month the joy
and gladness of looking at ourselves through artistic expression in its many and varied forms.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines art as, “1. Human effort to imitate, supplement,
alter, or counteract the work of nature. 2.A. The conscious production or arrangement of
sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of
beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium...”
Whenever I interact with children, many as young as three and four years old, I tell them that I
am an artist I ask them if they know what an artist does or if they know what we mean when
we talk about art The most frequent response is that art is drawing and painting. In fact
when I tell adults that I am an artist their response is essentially the same as that of the chil
dren. The immediate connotation is that I am one who draws and paints, but as we can easily
see from the definition, art involves much more than that Art also includes such things as
poetry, drama, sculpture, dance and other expressions, and the fact that one can draw and paint
does not automatically insure that one is creating art Mechanical and schematic drawing
readily come to mind. This is not to demean or in any way cast aspersions on the highly
developed skills needed for technical drawings, but it is to take into consideration the funda
mental aspect of art which deals with the concept of beauty.
This whole notion of appreciating and experiencing beauty is the essential element of artis
tic expression, therefore, art becomes a means of defining the relationship between who we are
and who we say or think we are. What does it express about us when we have no sense or
concept of beauty? What does it say about us when we do not appreciate or value art; that we
do not appreciate beauty or find ourselves to be beautiful? Art is a reflection of our ideals, a
barometer which measures our level of self-esteem and it expresses the character of our Identi
Something which immediately catches my attention when I walk into a building is whether
or not there are paintings on the walls. When I visit a private residence, I notice if there is art
displayed. I appreciate landscapes, seascapes, paintings which depict human figures and
abstract paintings. I notice if the genre expresses a certain cultural identity. If I am visiting a
private residence, I notice if the paintings
Continued on page 18
An Associate Consultant's Newspaper
Rodney J. Sumler, Publisher
Ann F. Sumler
Dwight A. Jones
Ideas expressed in this publication are not necessarily
those of the publisher or staff.