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Rising Stars: Meet Tiffany Collins

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tiffany Collins.

Hi Tiffany, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I am the Executive Director of Girls on the Run of Coastal Georgia and the Lowcountry, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential. I began my professional career teaching in higher education after graduating with a Master’s Degree in Literature from Georgia Southern University.

I love teaching literature, but I began to notice many of my first-time college students were struggling with confidence and having the tools they need to be successful in their independence. In an effort to help target these issues before young adults are in crisis, I began working in the non-profit sector in 2016, when I became the Youth Development Coordinator at EdVenture Children’s Museum in Columbia, SC.

There, I focused on Future Leaders, a program that teaches middle school students soft skills and helps to build their personal confidence as they mature into young adults.

My passion is for targeting at-risk children and helping them gather the tools they need to build a successful future, a role I get to see played out every season as Girls on the Run coaches inspire young girls to boldly pursue their dreams.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Of course not.

I grew up in a really small town and thought that life was pretty straightforward–you go to college, get out making loads of money, get married, have kids, and live happily ever after, right? However, with age comes wisdom–I did go to college, find a professional job (sans loads of money–ha!), and get married.

The first time I realized that life wasn’t as easy as it seemed in our youth was when I experienced pregnancy loss and infertility issues. At this point, I began to realize just how much the world isn’t always set up for professional women with big ambitions.

We want it all–the career, the happy marriage, the super involved kids, but it’s REALLY hard. Given, that we have made much progress in this area, we have a long way to go.

The first time I went through IVF, was in 2017, and I had a female supervisor–I felt incredibly comfortable talking to her as she verbalized her support of the process. I have always been professionally driven to work hard, yield results, and perform at a high level. Anyone who has gone through infertility treatments will tell you, though, that some things suffer along the way.

Although my supervisor verbalized her support, her actions made it clear that my work was not to be one of those things that suffered along the way. I am a pleaser, so I just powered through and pleased everyone around me. When I got the call that IVF had failed, I was on a lunch break at work–afterward, I fixed my makeup and went back inside to finish my day and then returned the next.

I told myself I was a “badass bitch,” but in hindsight, I was broken. I needed time to reflect and heal, but our world doesn’t always make exceptions for the pain they do not understand.

As a reflect back on my healing process since then, part of what I want to achieve in my life is helping girls from a very young age understand that they will face struggles that are unique to them, and it is okay if that means they need to take a different approach than what society deems is “normal.” There is no normal.

We can work hard, perform at a high level, and still take the time we need to heal when things go awry.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
As one of the professionals who has influenced me the most in my life likes to say, I get to make my work my fun! I am the Executive Director of Girls on the Run of Coastal Georgia and the Lowcountry, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential.

We operate in an after-school format and help girls in 3rd-8th grade gather the tools they need to live a healthy life–physically, emotionally, and mentally. I get to work with hundreds of AMAZING volunteers each year, who lead GOTR teams in their schools and areas.

I am most proud of the relationships I have formed in our communities–these relationships help us deliver the program, fund the program, and, ultimately, show the girls in our area that anything they want to achieve is possible, even if it isn’t easy.

I value each of the people I get to connect with every single week, and I hope my genuine appreciation for them, their time, and their commitment helps set me apart.

What do you think about happiness?
My nephews, niece, and dog make me the happiest. The genuine love that children and pets give us is unmatched.

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