Alicia Atkins is a current Henrico Public School Board Representative candidate for the Varina District. With a background in health care and a passion for education, Alicia wants to affect positive change in academics, health, and familial relationships.
We were honored to interview Alicia to better understand how she has combined her educational background, her love for her community, and her visionary spirit for her candidacy.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I’m from Richmond, Virginia and lived in Henrico County for over 25 years.
Q: What are you passionate about in your personal life?
A: I am passionate about education, my family and families in my community. My goal is to be a better person than the person I was yesterday and to make my community proud of me and the work I am putting in for positive change.
Q: Where did you go to college?
A: I went to California Coast University.
Q: What did you study?
A: Education has always influenced my future and is the key to opening doors for our children. I earned my Associate of Science in Business Administration degree from California Coast University then pursed my Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration degree.
Q: Tell me about your career before becoming a candidate.
A: I enjoy helping others. I selected a career in the health care industry and was consistently promoted. Within the Health Care Industry, I started as a Marketing Specialist, promoted to a Process Improvement Consultant and was then offered an opportunity as a Health Information Consultant.
Q: If elected, what is the biggest goal you want to accomplish?
A: Our schools should engage every single student in the kind of rigorous learning that prepares them for good citizenship, college, work, and life. Every school board member has the ability to change individual students’ lives. My objective includes partnering with HCPS current school board representatives (Tuckahoe, Three Chopt, Brookland, Fairfield) to successfully implement the cornerstones of the Henrico Schools’ 2018-25 Strategic Plan. In addition, I have a set of personal goals and strategies designed to address achievements and challenges in our schools. My slogan is "Let’s F. A. C. E. the Future Together!" F. A. C. E. is an acronym for Facts, Action, Change, Educate. This process will be guidance for achieving my personal goals for providing more academic opportunities, improving health and safety, and increasing family engagement.
Q: Tell me about the transition from your career to your candidacy.
A: With over 10 years in Health Care Administration for a major Health Insurance Company, I understand the many battles families face with health care (access to health care, affordable prescription drugs and drug abuse). It is important to have a good education and good health and to feel safe in order to fully enjoy all that life has to offer. Education, health, safety, volunteerism, and civic engagement are important to me. They are also the driving forces for creating change and making a positive impact in Henrico County. I've been a volunteer for many organizations: Meals on Wheels, Junior Achievement, Women Inspired Network, Children’s Hospital, ROSMY, Here2Hear, and Habitat for Humanity to name a few. As my children began moving up in HCPS, I became more involved in the PTA. I’ve served in many roles for many different schools (PTA President, Secretary, Communication Chair, Yearbook Chair, After School Enrichment Coordinator, and Special Programs Chair) Additionally, I coached the Varina Recreation Cheerleading team and Highland Springs Recreation Cheerleading team. I have so many wonderful memories and developed long lasting relationships while serving families in Henrico. These experiences exposed me to many achievements and challenges facing our children. The opportunity to learn the behind the scenes of Henrico Public School System and a clear understanding of school administration encouraged me to be a valuable champion of change. Lastly, being a mother of three children through my womb and hundreds more through my heart, I will use my education, professional skills, and life experiences to benefit the community as the next Henrico County Public School Board Member serving the Varina District.
Q: How long have you been in business?
A: I worked for a major health insurance company for over 10 years.
Q: What was the biggest surprise as a candidate from “normal” employment?
A: The biggest surprise is the kindness and generosity of people wanting more for our children and helping me to win the election. I am often humbled by folks that I have never met but want to help me in so many ways. They give their money, time, and resources for the greater good.
Q: What have been the biggest challenges in growing your campaign? What have you done differently as a result?
A: The biggest challenge has been raising money. I am reaching out to organizations with similar interest to gain endorsements and donations.
Q: As a current candidate, do you have work / life balance? How have you managed to improve the joy and fulfillment in your life?
A: Yes. I have a great support system to encourage me and keep me grounded. They often remind me that I have to take care of myself in order to take of others.
Q: What can we and others in the community do to help your campaign grow and be more successful?
A: Spread the word about my candidacy. Information about me is located on my website - aliciaforvarina.com or I can be contacted at 804-836-3201. Donate. Individuals can donate online at aliciaforvarina.com or mail donations to Alicia for Varina, PO BOX 7588 Henrico VA 23231.
Q: What advice would give to future candidates / people in your field?
A: Have a vision along with a plan. Know your strengths. Be true to who you are and your values. Stay focused.
“How I Got Started...” is a blog series that spotlights the entrepreneurial and life journeys of various small business owners and professionals. The content of this blog was curated by members of the CreativeMktGroup team.
Alicia Atkins for Varina