More than a Manager
PROVO, Utah – Jun 25, 2020 – Cheryl Crockett, assistant office manager at the Ballard Center for Social Impact, first recognized the diversity of the human condition while reading National Geographic as a girl. “Looking through those pages, I learned that there were others in the world who not only lived differently than me but had so much less opportunity and material abundance. Early on I felt love for the people in those distant places and longed to travel and help in some way,” she remembers.
As a college student, Crockett’s early interests led her to study art and geography at BYU, which taught her about the physical development of the world and its cultures. Although she looked for a social impact or humanitarian work program to further develop her passion for helping people, BYU was not equipped with any such options at the time. She decided to serve an eighteen-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and prayed for an opportunity to serve people. Crockett received her mission assignment to South Korea, a place with a rich history and cultural differences she found “fascinating.” Recalling her first day in South Korea, Crockett says, “I remember feeling like I was walking around in a National Geographic magazine with the traditional clothing, beautiful temples, street vendors, rice fields, strange smells, smiling faces, and unfamiliar language. My mission only fueled my desire to travel and serve more.”
After raising a family, Crockett looked for ways to fulfill that desire, ultimately turning her sights to Kenya. She had a goal to help local Kenyan communities by teaching women to make soap. Of her instruction sessions, Crockett noted, “The women in Kenya were fully engaged and anxious to learn how to make soap. They eagerly took notes and jumped up to help as soon as we began the soapmaking process.” Crockett remembers being impressed by their ambition and kindness. Later, she learned that the women she had taught were also able to teach others in their community, beginning a ripple effect of learning.
For a woman with Crockett’s interests, the decision to re-enter the workforce was a complicated one. “I didn't want just any job,” Crockett explains. As luck would have it, she happened to see an opening at BYU Marriott’s Ballard Center for Social Impact and decided to apply. On the way to her interview, Crockett had an impression that a specific question would be asked, and she was able to formulate an answer ahead of time. Once she arrived at the Ballard Center, she was blown away when her interviewers asked that very question. “I have felt it was providential and a blessing that I have been able to work at the Ballard Center,” Crockett says.
In her role at the Ballard Center, Crockett provides a wealth of knowledge and strong support to students, faculty, and staff alike. Since joining the Ballard team in September 2019, she has taken charge of planning Ballard Bonding events, providing a chance for student employees to socialize and build a caring workplace culture, and created the Ballard Bulletin, a newsletter that keeps employees informed on things happening in the Ballard Center.
Of her time at the Ballard Center, Crockett says, “One happy discovery has been how many amazing young adults are out finding ways to change the world. The positive energy and compassion found in Ballard Center students is inspiring and gives me hope.”
To students who are interested in social impact and serving others, Crockett offers the following advice: “Follow your heart and go for it! The opportunities to learn and be supported in those desires are open to you at the Ballard Center. Sometimes our life paths may not take us directly to the dreams we have in mind, but it is never too late. If you have a desire to serve and make a difference, make it a lifelong passion, and opportunities can come at any time.”
Today the Ballard Center is made better through Crockett’s expertise and wisdom. The center has a place for you too—and it’s a spot no one else can fill.
To research opportunities available to you, please visit the Ballard Center's webpage.
Media Contact: Alicia Gettys (801) 422-5283
Writer: Zelle Harris