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Name: Thelma PickensThelma Pickens

Title: Donor Services Representative

Location: HQ-Little Rock, Arkansas

How long have you worked for Heifer? 13 Years (1999-2000 Temp; 2000-2012 Regular Employee)

What attracted you to work for Heifer? I used to travel a lot from my home in Ashdown, Ark., and from the interstate, I could see all the wonderful flags from different countries (when Heifer was on Louisiana Street). I started asking questions and learned it was Heifer International. Later, I started working as a temp with an employment agency. They sent me on three assignments, and the last one was at Heifer International. When I found out what Heifer's mission was, I knew this was the place I'd like to be. The job was just supposed to be for the busy season, but a year passed and no one said anything, so I just kept coming to work. One day, the director told me they wanted to hire me permanently.

What has been the most memorable experience you have had while working for Heifer? In 2005, the entire Donor Services department went to Honduras. Working at headquarters, you get a glimpse of the work we do in the field, but actually visiting the projects and seeing firsthand how Heifer makes a difference in people's lives really made a difference in my life. We visited a bee project where a family started with five beehives and had turned that into 20. We also went to a dairy project. For some children, it was their first time drinking milk.

My education includes: I graduated from A.A. Wilson High School in Malvern, Ark., in 1967. I graduated from Brian's Business College in Hot Springs, Ark., in 1968.

My hobbies include: I love to visit antique malls all over the place. East Texas is supposed to be the antique mall capital of the world. I once had a booth at the Blue Suede Shoes Antique Mall in Bryant, Ark. After I retire, I will probably get another booth. I also enjoy reading, traveling, and, of course, spending time with my grandchildren.

My family consists of: my husband, two daughters, a son-in-law, a granddaughter (Madison, 7), and a grandson (Miles, 1).

Something about me that you might not know:
In 1968, I was the first African American person to be hired at Kmart in Hot Springs, Ark. I worked part-time as a cashier while I was in business college. When I moved back to Malvern after graduation, I was the first African American to be hired at Gibson's, where I was also a cashier.

What is the best thing about working at Heifer HQ?
First of all, the best thing about working at Heifer HQ is the interaction I have with my co-workers. I've been blessed to work with some wonderful people. Another great thing about working here is Heifer's mission and knowing that I play a small part in that every day. Heifer changes lives of everyone it comes into contact with, including donors. At the end of the day, it's a good feeling to be a part of it.

Author

Erin Snow

Erin Snow joined Heifer International in 2007 after earning a degree in Mass Communication from UALR. She lives in Sherwood with her husband and daughter. Passionate about cultivating positive and healthy relationships with her family, friends and the planet, Erin enjoys yoga, meditation, music, creative writing and travel.