Brittany Evans, 29
Hometown: Louisville, GA
Attended: Georgia Southern University
Family: Mother Elizabeth Ann Evans; older sisters Shria Evans, Ebony Evans-Belson, Natashia Bodel; father William Evans
Pets: Ginger, a boxer-pit mix dog
Brittany Evans was named the new director of the Conyers Main Street’s new Director last fall. Evans comes to Conyers following four years in Sylvester, Ga. where she acted as the executive director for the Downtown Sylvester Main Street Program. Her time spent in southwest Georgia included successfully completing the two year process of Sylvester earning designation as an official Main Street Start-Up City by the Ga. Department of Community Affairs. Evans also launched a downtown local farmers market and coordinated other special events and festivals. She previously served as the Better Hometown director in Metter, Ga. Evans holds a 2007 Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and a Master of Public Administration degree both from Georgia Southern University.
Tell me about your background. How did you get started working in community organizations?
(Grew up in) Jefferson County, which is close to Augusta, I graduated high school there. A small country town. From there I went to college (Georgia Southern University), to the City of Metter to the City of Sylvester.
After I got my sociology degree, I knew I wanted to pursue (something in) my education. I knew I did not want to be a social worker. I decided what if I was to pursue working for the public sector and nonprofit organizations.
The first nonprofit I worked for was Keep Bulloch Beautiful, when I was in Statesboro. That’s when I became aware of public education. Going out into the community, doing surveys. That face to face contact that I got to have with my neighbors and people in my community, that is what made me feel like I like my job. I wanted to stay in Metter, not go to the state or federal level, because we are the front line, working for the people. I enjoyed that.
Actually going out, meeting the people, finding out what they offer, what do they do, what do they specialize in, find out what they want to do. Do they actually have a voice? From there I learn this is an issue, or this is something we can work with. I think this is how the ball keeps moving. You have to have input and feedback from the community, so that stakeholders are invested.
I’ve always been willing, if I don’t know how to do something, to find someone who does and get them all together so we can accomplish this mission. I think it’s all about being a good people person and being able to adapt and communicate with people from all different walks of life.
I’m a small town girl - Louisville, it’s very, very, very small…. It’s those values of saying “Hey, how are you doing?” That’s one thing I had to get used to up here; not everybody waves.
I really like it here in Conyers. I think we have so much to offer here; I can find anything I need here. I’m grateful I don’t have to go into Atlanta traffic everyday.
What are some of the things you see that you’d like to try and tackle and move the ball forward?
As part of the (Main Street Conyers board) economic restructuring plan – we’re in the beginning stages of our plan – we’d like to see more retail here. There’s some vacant spots in downtown that need to get filled. We’re trying to develop a list with property owners. A lot of merchants have expressed they’d like to see more events in downtown. So I’d like to hit the ground running this year. Next year, maybe add a twist to it. Some people have expressed they’d like a community garden or a farmer’s market here.
The objective is to bring people to Olde Town, tourists for shopping and dining. If we can create jobs along the way, that would be awesome.
Another thing would be more aesthetically pleasing signage. Develop our own branding that all looks the same. That’s something we could accomplish through our Main Street Program.
I feel like it’s all coming together. We have this big elephant. The only way to eat that is one bite at a time. Also you have to know, yeah, there’s all these other issues out there, but you can’t bite off more than you can chew. Sometimes you have to focus on one or two things at a time before you spread yourself out and you’re not able to finish anything. That, I’m trying to be realistic on.
Who are some mentors you’ve had in your life?
I wouldn’t get this far without mentors. The first boss I had, the city manager of Metter, Joseph Mosley, he saw something in me and took me under his wing and taught me everything. How to talk, dress, all the soft skills, how to be professional, how to handle a situation, period. He was a great inspiration for me. I have to thank him for a lot.
My mother is also a big mentor for me. My mom’s a teacher. I was taught to serve, to give to people. That’s what you’re supposed to do. Without getting tied up in personal beliefs, I like to serve and help. Putting others first, not yourself, is a big deal to me.
I have three sisters. I’m the baby. I take it as a blessing being the baby because I got to learn from all them. They all had a hand in raising me up. They’re great sisters.
I have a great boss here, Jennifer (Edwards). She’s a really great coach and mentor. She shows me the ropes and she steps back. I feel like I’m in good hands.
What do you do in your spare time?
I have a sister here and a cousin. And I’m only two hours away from home. I have a dog, Ginger; she’s my baby. She’s a boxer-pit mix. She’s so pretty... I have a cosmetology license. I love to do hair on the side. I love being in a salon.