Executive Spotlight: Carolyn McKnight
Hometown: Montgomery, Ala.
Describe some of your most important professional experiences, in terms of preparing you to lead BREC.
My most important experiences are my educational achievements, including a master's degree, and serving the City of Dallas and the United States Air Force in various executive level positions for over 30 years. I have 27 years of parks administrative experience.
What are the most important changes you would like to make at BREC during your first year?
I would like to create at BREC an atmosphere of excitement and a "we can do anything" mindset on the part of all team members. I want to create an environment that helps spark the best and brightest ideas and innovations to keep BREC on the leading edge in the leisure profession. Finally, I want to reposition BREC as the "Leisure Service Provider of First Choice" for East Baton Rouge Parish.
I would like to establish new and creative programs while leveraging available resources, with strategic alliances to operate, maintain, and develop parks, programs and facilities. I want to assist the parish in providing quality recreation programs to prevent and significantly reduce the serious obesity problem and crime rate. We need to continue to construct modern, diverse recreation facilities with a wide array of amenities for all.
It is time to update the Imagine Your Parks long-range strategic plan. We will continue to involve the entire community and key stakeholders in the process. We will continue to collaborate with East Baton Rouge Parish's school boards, city-parish government, private schools, libraries, colleges and members of the faith-based community to develop innovative programs such as ecological education programs, learn-to-swim, and healthy lifestyle initiatives.
What are your hopes for the children's museum planned for City Park? How will the money for the project be raised?
The Knock Knock Children's Museum will be one of the jewels in East Baton Rouge Parish's crown. BREC is wholeheartedly committed to work closely with the Knock Knock Children's Museum fundraising team to generate the necessary funding support to make this awesome facility a reality.
What is BREC doing to provide more biking and walking trails in the parish?
BREC is working closely with the BREC Foundation and others to plan, design and construct a comprehensive hike and bike trail network, including the Wards Creek trail and the Medical Mile near the Mall of Louisiana. This trail not only provides recreational value, but also will help with alternative forms of transportation.
BREC is currently evaluating the potential opportunities for golf courses with low attendance. We will examine the feasibility of creating partnerships with other public and private sources to determine ways to maximize revenues not currently considered. We will work closely with our junior golf "First Tee" program initiative to expand play on some of the challenged courses.
What, if anything, can BREC do to put together a coalition to save the LSU lakes?
BREC will continue to work on ways to improve the LSU lakes that provide recreation and visual relief to so many people each day.
Why do you do what you do?
I was created to serve and lead, and inspire others to do the same.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
Balancing work and life to achieve many significant promotions in my civilian and military roles, while at the same time raising two sons who are highly functioning, professional young men.
What was your first job?
I was a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force , programming targets for the Minuteman III missile system.
What is the best advice you've ever received?
Eat your five fruits and vegetables each day, and always pray without ceasing.
If you could have any job other than your own, what would it be?
A commercial airline pilot.
What is the greatest personal obstacle you've overcome?
I have learned to listen and consider all points of views, even when I strongly disagree.
If you started over, what would you do differently?
I would learn the value of play and rest earlier in my life.
What is your prescription for life?
Prayer, Patience, Perseverance and PLAY!
What book are you currently reading?
Dr. Stephen Covey's The 3rd Alternative.
If you could have dinner with any three living people, who would they be?
Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.
Who would play you in a movie?
What do you do to unwind?
Take a good nap.
What is the most expensive purchase you've made for yourself?
What is your favorite weekend activity?
Cooking newly discovered gourmet recipes with friends and family.
What's your favorite spot in Baton Rouge?
Everywhere BREC parks and facilities are located.
How do you take your coffee/tea?
Sometimes straight and other times with hazelnut crème, raw sugar or Splenda.
What is your favorite movie?
The Shawshank Redemption
What is your favorite TV show?
The Dr. Oz Show
What is your favorite band?
Alabama State University's Marching Hornets
What is your favorite gadget?
My cappuccino maker.
What is something that you can't live without?
Spending quality time with my grandchildren.
If you could change one thing about Baton Rouge, what would it be?
Reduce the childhood obesity rate.
What is your greatest hope for Baton Rouge?
That we keep supporting BREC, so that it will maintain its nationally recognized status.
What is your greatest fear for Baton Rouge?
Another natural disaster.
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