One From the Heart
There are jobs and then there are jobs. Most are ways to make a living or help with expenses. Once in a while a very special area of "business" will open, and a woman who is not about either one of those things will fill that spot. Such a woman is Brittany Tarleton and such is the nature of her job. She is the new director of development for Cross Schools in Bluffton.
Although born in Michigan, Brittany and her family spent every summer and holiday at their beach house in Charleston and moved there permanently when she was nine. She is a graduate of College of Charleston and has an MBA from Charleston Southern University. She started her career as an investment adviser with Dean Witter. Next she moved to compliance, where she was a manager in the investment division of a national bank. (Her husband, Huntley, was, and still is, a financial advisor for Bank of America Investments.) "Needless to say, we have some interesting conversations about the financial industry!" said Brittany.
Brittany met Huntley at a wedding party for her sister. It turned out that both of her sisters and her best friend had known him for years, but their paths had never crossed. Once they did, as Brittany says, "The rest is history!"
The couple moved to Bluffton when their son, Caldwell, was 10 months old and Brittany was pregnant with their daughter, Blythe. When Caldwell began kindergarten, and Blythe was in pre-school three days a week, Brittany began actively seeking meaningful volunteer projects to fill her time; among them was Cross, her children's school. As time went on, they created a new position at the school-director of development. She was a natural for the job. She had just the right combination of dedication to the cause and business experience, with her community involvement as an added bonus.
Her position has recently become full time because of the phenomenal growth of the school. Founded 10 years ago with seven students, the enrollment has grown to 430. The school is in the process of adding 17,000 square feet for a lower school. Brittany says that amazing things are happening at Cross Schools and that she feels blessed to be a part of it.
Asked to describe a typical day on the job, her answer convinced me that this is not an ordinary job and she is no ordinary employee.
"There is no typical day for me," she said. "I am in the process of planning our various events for the year and finding parents to chair and volunteer for the events. I am working with parent volunteers on our Annual Giving Campaign and getting ready for our third annual Pearls to Pluff Mud BBQ, Oyster Roast and Auction, to be held November 15 at Shell Hall. I will be pulling many pieces together including the auction items, food and even entertainment.
Another part of the job of development director is not clearly defined but is absolutely essential. That is the gift of interaction. Brittany must be on warm terms with parents who volunteer their time and talents to Cross Schools. She must also interact with the board of directors, headmistress, and school staff. She also walks a fine line with parents who are her dear friends and who are also responsible for volunteer commitments.
In addition, she oversees and helps with food collection for Tuesday Food Bank at The Church of the Cross as well as Relay for Life and Hilton Head Heroes as community service avenues. The school stresses the value of volunteering, not only for community good, but as an example to the students of adult responsibility.
Brittany and Huntley hope and pray that their children will grow up to be responsible, happy, and well-educated adults and they will have faith in God and see the importance of helping others. What a great hope for future generations, and what a great lady you are, Brittany.
Q. Do you have a favorite restaurant for a romantic dinner?
A. Yes, we really love The South Carolina Yacht Club
Q. What is your best tip for being a working mom and keeping it all together?
A. Be organized and above all, plan ahead.
Q. Do you have a favorite quote?
A. "Don't undermine your worth by comparing yourself to others. It's because we are different that each of us is special. Don't take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them life is meaningless."
Q. Do you and your family have hobbies?
A. We love to go boating and be on the water. What better place for that than Bluffton?
Q. What is your favorite way to relax?
A. I love to read. I also do needlepoint. I make belts out of needlepoint for Huntley!