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Education, helping others fuels Hare’s success

Janice Hare #1

Friday, Jan. 13 is a lucky day for Janice Hare. It will be her 57th birthday and another moment for the longtime TRiO administrative assistant to count her blessings.

“I walked through the doors of ECC in 2001 as a single and divorced parent with the intentions of attending college and receiving a college degree,” Hare said. “I had no idea that 16 years later I would be the first of nine children to enter college and successfully receive a degree. That walk changed my life forever.”

After receiving a certificate in 2004 from ECC, Hare received associate degrees in human services mental health and mental health generalist in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Hare later received her bachelor's degree in human services and interdisciplinary studies from Columbia College of Missouri in 2009. She didn't stop there, continuing her educational journey at Capella University and earning her master's degree in counseling and general studies in 2012. She also remarried five years ago.

Hare is now working to earn her doctorate in public administration and leadership from Capella and intends to complete her dissertation in 2020. She credits ECC with her success.

“I walked through the doors of Elgin Community College and enrolled in a life-changing experience that has no ending,” she said. “I not only learned how to help myself, I learned how to help others.”

We caught up with Hare to ask her some questions about herself and her work at ECC. Here are her answers.

In your words, what do you do at ECC?

I do whatever is needed for TRiO each day. I meet and interact directly and indirectly with a variety of different individuals on a daily basis. I greet visitors, receive phone calls and take students to other departments to receive services. I support all three TRiO programs and each relies on me to keep them organized, which is a great responsibility.

Aside from the basic clerical functions, my job also requires a lot of interaction with high school students and their parents, college students and their parents, and ECC staff. I provide support services for students to promote retention and academic success, while engaging students in a variety of student services activities to ensure progression towards graduation, which leads to career or transfer goals.

I am not easily flustered and there is a large human element within my position. When problems arise, I am able to think quickly on my feet.

What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been here?

Gaining the admiration, trust and respect of the students that I come in contact with. When students share a problem or concern of any kind that they have, I am honored that I am the person they seek out to listen to them. I find it to be one of the greatest compliments I have ever received. I admire, respect and trust them just as much. 

What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?

Send out a policy that makes it mandatory for teams to indulge in some creative icebreakers before a meeting begins. It is bound to put everybody in a light-hearted mood and set the pace for the agenda.

Also I would block all non-business critical emails for two hours each day. If anybody needs to communicate, they can simply walk up to the person and talk face-to-face. Not having to stare at your computer screen once in a while would delightful!

If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you? 

The actress that I would like to play me in my life story is Taraji P. Henson. She's a go-getter with class and style. Taraji demonstrates determination, fire and a drive that won't stop. She's also a single parent wanting the best for her child.

Taraji attended North Carolina A&T University and Howard University, and she worked two jobs-one of them being a secretary at the U.S. Pentagon. I believe like Taraji, we have to create our own lanes in life and always remember that life is a journey that will help you reach your destination.

What's on your “bucket list?”

I would like to be a counselor, mentor and coach to help others. I really believe this is my calling and I can impact lives for the better. I would work towards protecting vulnerable children and support families in need of assistance (housing, food, clothing, etc.); providing families with community outreach services and programs that can change their lives; and creating and collaborating with other resources that can assist individuals with problem-solving techniques that will allow them to become productive citizens in their homes and communities.

What's one fact we should know about you?

I am passionate about helping others to elevate themselves in seeking higher education. I am motivated and driven to be the best I can be. I have the drive, motivation, zeal, and a self-driven attitude that will help others as it has helped me to become a successful leader and student who is now a candidate for her doctorate in public administration and leadership. I enjoy helping individuals find solutions that meet their specific needs.

What's something about your job that others should know?

 I work in the most exciting and encouraging environment! My job offers the unique marriage of a typical workday combined with all the abundant opportunities available for personal transformation and empowerment. I love how each day at TRiO offers new and exciting opportunities for growth.

What was your favorite class in school?

My favorite subject is definitely English. In grammar school my English teacher's name was Ms. Mullen and she embedded in me that I could be anyone I wanted to be. She would tell me that I would make a difference in people's lives because I was a leader and not a follower. She saw courage and determination in my eyes and felt it in my writings.

I hold on to her words near and dear to my heart, especially when the going gets tough. I'm reminded of Ms. Mullen holding my shoulders and looking me straight in my eyes as she would remind me to never give up or give in.   

What was your first job out of school?

My first job out of high school was working at the National Safety Council in Chicago-which works to save lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes, and in communities. I started as a file clerk for several years and then became a sales coordinator. I would speak to large corporations and businesses all over the world to sell safety products.

As I spoke to others about being safe on their jobs and in their homes, it helped me to identify and take safety precautions in my everyday life.

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … “

Because it is not only fun, rewarding and gratifying, but every day it is an opportunity to learn and grow. Each day ECC gives me the opportunity to learn and make an amazing difference not only in my life, but in the lives of others I come in contact with.

I am truly blessed to be a part of such a wonderful learning institution and to work side-by-side with such caring people. I do not view ECC TRiO as my job; it's just another sweet part of my daily living.



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