You Need to Meet
Tell us the basics: Who are you, what’s your company’s name, and how long have you been at this company?
My name is Linda Bailey Owens and I am the Executive Director of Hughes Memorial Foundation. I began working for Hughes on February 1, 1988 as the Business Manager of the Residential Treatment Facility for adolescents that they had at that time on Franklin Turnpike.
Describe your business — what do you do?
Hughes Memorial began as a bequest of John E. Hughes who owned and operated John E. Hughes Tobacco Company in the early 1900s. When he died in 1922, Mr. Hughes left the bulk of his estate to build and help support an orphanage for children in Virginia and North Carolina. In the mid to late 1970s the need for an orphanage was no longer a viable option for the facility. It became a Residential Treatment Facility for abused and special need adolescents. In 1999, after the retirement of the then Executive Director, Angus McQueen, the Board of Hughes Memorial made the decision to discontinue the program and become a Private Foundation. I have remained with Hughes through this transitional phase and became the Executive Director on January 1, 2010.
How did you get into this business?
: When I interviewed and tested and received the position with Hughes Memorial in 1988, I had no idea what an impact it would make on my life. I have been blessed to work for an organization that has always helped children.....from giving them a place to call home, to awarding funds to help them fulfill their dreams and maximize their potential.
What’s the market like for your business?
Hughes Memorial Foundation awards scholarships to traditional students who are in financial need with a academic g.p.a. of 2.5 or higher. They also award grants to 501(c)3 Non-Profits for programs or services that benefit children in need or with special needs.
What’s a lesson you’ve learned during the recession?
I am seeing a significant increase in the number of students who are in financial need because of the economy. Parents who were once employed with prominent employers have been victims of lost jobs. More and more parents are having to re-train to try to find a new career in a very tough economic market. As a result, money to send children to college just is not there. Academically good and gifted students are having to find scholarships or take loans if they are going to college.
Is there a secret to your personal success? Perhaps a piece of advice you’ve always remembered?
When I started my employment with Hughes Memorial, I had my Associates Degree from D.C.C. Mr. McQueen encouraged me to go back to college. I was not at all sure if I could work, raise my children and go to school. I graduated with honors with a Bachelor's Degree in Business from Mary Baldwin College. It made me realize that it is never to late to fulfill your dreams. It also makes me sympathize with the students and the struggling decisions that they may be facing regarding their educational goals and the possibility of reaching them.
What’s coming up in the next year for you and your company? What about in the next five years?
In the next year to five years, I hope that Hughes can be of assistance to a larger number of students and be involved in helping to fund even more programs that will be a direct benefit to special needs children. We may not be the largest foundation in the area, but I feel that the impact we can make on the lives of those most in need is immeasurable. To see children get assistance to learn and develop to their full potential and see the smiles on their faces can not be measured in dollars but results. In the next year, personally, I will be working on my Masters Degree in Business from Liberty University.
What’s the part of your job you dread the most?
What’s the part of your job that excites you the most, the thing that makes you want to hurry to work? : The best part of my job is to see the positive results that comes from the awards that are made. That can be in the form of thank you cards and calls from students who have received scholarships. A group of children who are receiving the benefit of programs or services that Hughes has help to fund. I never get tired of seeing the difference that so many organizations are making in the life of children.
If you weren’t in this career, what would you do for a living?
I like the Non-Profit field, so I would still be doing something that would helpful to others. Whether that would be something child related or just special needs persons, I'm not sure.