Our Childcare Services Department has a new director – meet Tricia Gooden! Read and discover more about the latest addition to the Guardian Angel family:
Share a little about your background, both personally and professionally.
I have a soon-to-be 16-year-old son, and I really love most is being with him and spending time with family and friends; traveling, and listening to music.
My first real job in education was as a parent educator in the city of St. Louis. It was a part-time position, but it allowed me to get my feet wet in what I studied at Stephens College. From that, I worked at various centers. My first preschool teacher experience inspired me to want to go into management because of two ladies I worked with. Looking at their relationships with staff and the families and children made me think, ‘I can do that.’ No matter what jobs I took on throughout my career, I always ended up coming back to education since that’s what I’m truly passionate about.
Why are you so passionate about education?
Although it sounds cliche, knowing that you’re making an impact on someone’s life – and to have them come up to you and tell you that you made a difference – is huge. In essence, I can give you information, but if you’re not able to take heed and run with it, that information is null and void. Just knowing that I helped people make a difference in their own lives is what drives me. It motivates me.
How did you first encounter Guardian Angel and what were your impressions?
The previous director is a good friend of mine. She is a die-hard supporter and loves this organization. Everything I’ve seen on social media and through my own research has shown me that people who know the Guardian Angel name are very invested in helping this organization.
How did you come to work in your current role as Director of Childcare Services?
When I was told about the position, I wasn’t interested in being a Center Director. In my previous role, I was the Headstart and Family Outreach Coordinator. When I talked to Jessica, she let me know that Guardian Angel is a part of HeadStart as well. So this type of role is the epitome of where I wanted to take my career, but on a larger scale – and I felt the time was right for me to welcome this type of challenge. That’s how I ended up here!
What are you most excited about in your new role?
I value getting to know others and I really pride myself on establishing a rapport with people. I think relationships are so key because they allow me to do so much with families to help them and even develop a mentorship relationship with them, whether they’re coming to me for advice or even just to vent. If people don’t feel like you’re approachable, it’s not going to work for anyone. I know that being new here, building relationships can’t be rushed but that’s something I look forward to doing overtime. I want to make it easy for someone to ask for help.
Is there anything you’d like to say to the Guardian Angel community?
Again, I’m looking forward to building relationships with my new family. I consider them an extension of my family because I know I’ll spend a lot of time here. I want people to know I’m very transparent and genuinely invested in what I’m hoping to accomplish here. I know it may take time and people need to see me in action first, so I want people to take the time to get to know me.