Today’s post comes to you as an interview from our  Database Manager, Neese Blackshear.  Neese does an amazing job and was recognized for this by her peers last month when they voted her as the Employee of the Month.  We’re very proud of Neese and the great work that she does. 


Jason: Where are you from?

Neese: I am a native of Atlanta.  I grew up in Southwest Atlanta and I very proud of where I came from.


Jason: Where did you go to school and what did you study?

Neese: I graduated from the historic Booker T Washington High School, the same school that Dr. Martin Luther King attended.  I then graduated with highest honors from Georgia State University’s College of Business with a Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA).  I am also a Certified Resource Specialist and received a certification in Project Management.


Jason: What kind of experience led you to Gateway?

Neese: After a successful internship at United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta, I landed the position of Community Resources Manager for United Way right before I graduated from Georgia State.  I was with United Way for seven years prior to accepting a position with Pathways Community Network, Inc. to manage the data and reporting for the HUD funded Homeless Prevention Rapid Rehousing (HPRP) program.  That program was funded for three years and I then came to Gateway Center to manage the data and reporting.


Jason: You love data.  Why?

Neese: I wouldn’t say that I love data.  I love the aspect of creating a process; implementing that process; and continuous monitoring of said process.  That is what ensures that we have accurate data and thus accurate reporting.  I think my love of project management combined with my database background, continues to lead me toward the data field.


Jason: What inspires you in your job?

Neese: I am inspired by staff!  When I see staff striving hard to produce quality data, I know I am doing something right.  Many staff are excited to attend my trainings and are engaged during the trainings, and that shows that they are learning something new and willing to learn from me.  As I continue to have staff members ask me questions and continuously strive to have the highest quality data, I am encouraged to keep pushing us further and further along.


Jason: What do you find challenging?

Neese: The ever-changing rules and regulations from funders.  Sometimes it seems we get one rule or process implemented well and then more changes come along.  Actually, there will be new HUD data standards in 2014 so I have to prepare for that….


Jason: Tell us about your family?

Neese: I have been married to my husband Michael, a chef, for nine years.  We have three children – Jahmila (9 yrs.), Mya (6 yrs.), and Michael (4 yrs.).  All three are very smart, straight A students in fact, but quite a handful!


Jason: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Neese: I love to read – my favorite books are There Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.  Spending time with my family is of the utmost of importance as well.  We love to go the park and make homemade pizzas!  I have also served as a mentor to young inner city girls to share my story that it does not matter where you came from, it is about where you want to go.


Jason: What’s something that you still  want to accomplish in your life?

Neese: I will and must attend graduate school soon!  I am researching grad school as we speak and I think I have made a good decision on where I want to further my education.

Jason: Neese, thank you so much for the work you do on a daily basis for ending homelessness in our city.  You are greatly appreciated!