Tell us about yourself.
My name is Juanita Epps and I serve as the Chief Executive Officer for Pathways-VA, Inc. I am a historian who entered the non-profit sector after teaching and working with youth through group homes and in home counseling.
What is the focus of your work?
My work focuses on providing individuals with opportunities to address their barriers in ways that allow them to be competitive in the job market and/or live productive lives. These individuals are high school drop-outs, at or below the poverty level, uninsured or underinsured, and having various other barriers to success
What do you find most rewarding about your work?
The most rewarding thing about my work is the opportunity to see individuals break down the barriers that have traditionally held them back. Seeing individuals succeed beyond their own expectations and in some cases society.
What are some major challenges you have faced and how you handled them?
The greatest challenge is sometimes getting individuals to believe that they can succeed. In my work, I have used my own life story to motivate others to succeed. Additionally, I have continuously encouraged individuals to help them reach small goals so that they could experience small wins that ultimately open doors for them to bigger successes.
What’s coming next for your organization that really excites you?
My organization completed its 20th year anniversary in 2015. So, what excites me is the opportunity to lead the organization into its next 20 years in our work towards leveling the playing field towards success for individuals and a communities we serve.
How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?
ConnectVA provides us a resource to get our message out to other organizations and entities who would be interested in supporting our work.