By Sophie Beal
Gateway’s staff-nominated Employee of the Month this July is Megan Tolbert, our 2nd Floor CSA (Client Service Aid)! On any given day at GWC you can find Megan at her desk on the 2nd Floor answering questions for clients and staff, assisting with program intake, helping clients find the resources they need to end their homelessness, and so much more. I was lucky enough to sit down and talk with Megan for 20 minutes this morning and during that time alone she was approached at least five or six times by people with questions to be answered, needs to be met, and metaphorical fires to be put out. Yet, of course, Megan responded each time with the positive energy and radiant smile we’ve come to expect and love from her.
Congrats Megan and thank you for your hard work! Here are some highlights from our conversation:
Where are you from?
Jonesboro, Georgia. Born and raised.
Where did you go to school and what did you study?
Paine College. I have a degree in Psychology.
What led you to Gateway?
I always knew I wanted to help people. A past co-worker told me about Gateway, so I just put in my resume and here I am!
What inspires you most in your job?
Positive stories. When clients come back and tell me “Oh miss Megan you helped me do this or that,” it makes me want to do even more.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Telling people no. When someone asks me something with a sad face—sometimes I can tell if they are genuine or not, but other times I can’t really tell—I have a hard time telling them no because it makes me feel bad saying, “No, sorry, you can’t do this or you can’t have this right now.”
What is your favorite thing about Gateway?
I like the staff on my floor. I like working and collaborating together to try and make good things happen for a client. We work together really well from floor to floor and as a whole we do a lot of good, but I love my team. I love working with Amanda, Kayla and Miss Tonya. It’s cool.
When you get discouraged, what keeps you going?
My mom. My mom is my best friend. If I’m having a sucky day I’ll text or call her and she’ll always remind me, “Baby, just remember when you didn’t have a job two years ago. Some people don’t have jobs.” She keeps me going.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to eat. I try a lot of different restaurants—I’ll try anything once. I like to do adventurous stuff. I enjoy skydiving. I’ve gone twice and it’s a lot of fun. I like to read and color also. Coloring makes my stress go away. I’d love to go to Art Therapy sometime because it always looks like they’re having so much fun.
Do you have a favorite spot in Atlanta? (Restaurant, shopping, park, etc.)
I kinda like the Midtown area because there are so many different faces and energies. When I’m down there—besides eating really well—I like to see the diversity of people. I could just sit and watch and not doing anything all day. I love people watching.
If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?
Never let anybody get in your way. There are certain things you want to do in life, but if you listen to people and they get in your head saying “You can’t do it.” I would say just push it aside, go ahead, stay positive, and don’t let everybody in your business. Not everybody is going to be for you.