An Interview with Goodwill Marketing Manager Niketa Hailey-Hill
Ever since I started getting Reiki, I've gotten super witchy. When I met Niketa earlier this year, I knew we knew each other in a past life. There was no getting to know each other, or slowly building a trust - it was already there. We were either the same dinosaur who became two people, or two dinosaurs who were best friends and reconnected as humans in 2017. (Please know that as I typed this, I made a pterodactyl noise.)
Recently, I've been able to watch Niketa work and the way she does her job is like nothing I've ever experienced. She is compassionate, thoughtful, and intentional. When you're in her presence, you feel valued. I've never worked for anyone like that and I can only imagine it feels amazing. It's even more amazing to be her friend. Meet today's bitch, my Mesozoic friend, Niketa Hailey-Hill!
What is your job title and where do you work?
I'm the Marketing Manager for Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee, Inc.
When did you first learn about this field of work? How did you know it was what you wanted to do?
I decided to switch majors to PR and advertising my sophomore year after an English Lit class nearly drove me insane. My best friend was a PR major in college and loved it. I was an English/Education major and didn’t love it. I knew the switch was the right choice when I was asked to create and manage a fundraiser for the local United Way. I loved being a part of an organization that was doing good work and having a positive impact on the community. I still do.
What is the best piece of business advice you’ve been given?
Invest in and learn about yourself. Having a clear understanding of your personality, strengths, weaknesses, triggers, motivations, beliefs and emotions helps us be at peace, act consciously and be compassionate with ourselves and others.
Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned or that helped improve the way you work?
Relationships matter. Take the time to get to know people and know that everyone has something to teach you.
What would you do with 2 more hours a day?
What is your greatest success, or something you’re most proud of related to what you do?
I am proud of my time (2006-2012) serving on the Hands On Nashville board, specifically the year of the flood when I served as the communications chair. The mission of Hands on Nashville is to meet community need through volunteerism. The work we did together as a board and organization that year was especially inspiring, uplifting and important. Being a part of a community coming together to help one another during such a hard time was something I will cherish forever.
How do you decompress at the end of the work day?
My husband, Adam, and I cook supper together most nights. It’s a stress-reliever and way to catch up about the day.
What’s a fear that keeps you up at night?
At this time, I do not have any fears that keep me up at night, and, for that, I am extremely grateful.
What is one thing everyone gets wrong about what you do?
That’s tough. I don’t know that I care to even ponder that. Who can know!?
What does self care look like in your life?
Morning walks at Shelby Park, listening to music (anything from 70s) or podcasts (love OnBeing, The Moth, and Death, Sex & Money), cooking/baking, dry brushing, lavender anything (hello, Thistle Farms), laughing, sage smudging, GlamGlow masks, and reading Rumi, Pema Chodron or Brene Brown.
What helps when you’re stuck? Do you have a motto or quote that inspires/motivates you?
The trick is not to get stuck! Acknowledgement of when you are triggered about something is key to understanding yourself better. Instead of giving yourself a hard time about feeling a certain way about someone or something that happened, you simply acknowledge that it is there and take a deeper look. Move closer to it versus fleeing. That’s the hard part! There is something to learn from the moments that inspire you and bring you joy just as there is something to learn from the moments that bring you sadness and anger. It all comes and goes. Both are needed and necessary. I try to remember this daily.
I do love this Pema Chodron quote: "Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.” Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron.
Are there any women who helped pave the way for your success?
I feel so fortunate to have several webs of women who have weaved such supportive, nurturing, positive environments around me. In my younger days, I would say that my mother, my Aunt Patty, my grandmother Opal, and my high school yearbook adviser Lana Jackson kept me on track, challenged and encouraged. They are all good, strong, humorous women born and raised in Western Kentucky. I’ve been fortunate to stay friends with a core group of women from high school who I go to for advice, sanity and jokes at any time of the day or night. Our near daily text conversations keep me going some days, and I mean that wholeheartedly. I also have a personal “board of directors” who help guide and support me spiritually, professionally, and mentally. They have no idea that I call them that, but I am pretty sure they know who they are.
Lastly, and most important, what is your favorite TV show and what is your favorite snack?
It’s hard to name just one favorite TV show! Some of my faves include Catastrophe, Game of Thrones (I love Khaleesi!), Frazier, Call the Midwife, and Finding Your Roots.
My favorite snack is guacamole and tortilla chips. Lipstick Lounge’s guacamole and honey jalapeno salsa are divine! Yum!
All photos courtesy of Niketa Hailey-Hill