Pam Ballard is Executive Director of United Way of Enid and NW Oklahoma and has served as a commissioner on the Oklahoma Community Service Commission for 18 years.
How did you get to where you are today? The grace of God and hard work.
What has been your best moment so far serving with your state commission? After serving 18 years with my state commission, my best moment is occurring now in watching a successful succession plan come to life. We had a knowledgeable Executive Director who served us well for many years, and our Deputy Director stepped in after her retirement and is performing the job remarkably well. The transition has been seamless for our commission, but more importantly for our programs.
What advice do you have for others at commissions? Or what is the best advice you’ve received? The best advice I have for a commissioner or a member of any Board is, “be engaged!” Know your programs! Know your mission. Know what you do…what you don’t do. Know your staff. Be able to explain your role to others in a way so when you’re finished talking they say, “That’s really cool!”
What keeps you motivated? I am motivated by results. At each meeting, our staff shows at least one program video clip or invites an AmeriCorps member to share their testimony. Seeing firsthand how our tax dollars are spent and the positive difference we are making in lives across the state not only keeps me motivated, but also helps me share our story more effectively.
In one word what would you describe as your greatest strength? Enthusiastic!
How do you prepare yourself when you know something is going to be controversial or challenging? If I know something is going to be controversial or challenging, I gather as much information possible about the topic to be discussed, educate myself on the matter and rely on the facts. Often, it’s easy to get caught up in the emotions of a controversy; however, if individuals can keep referring to the facts or the mission of the organization, it helps maintain clear thinking and level heads prevail.