NEA Women in Business: Bevin Hunter

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Class of 2019 Women in Business Bevin Hunter Director of Economic Development The Lawrence Group, Wilson

Residence: Wilson
Education: University of Arkansas
Professional background: Hunter’s first job out of college was working for Enron in their government affairs office for Texas and Oklahoma. She went on to work on a coordinated campaign in Arkansas. In 2003, Hunter began working with the Delta Regional Authority, where she started out as the communications coordinator and ended her career there in 2017 as the senior adviser and chief administrative officer. In March 2017, she joined the Lawrence Group.

What inspired you to pursue the career you are in? I have always liked finding the solution to community problems thus helping others around me.

What has been the most fulfilling moment of your career so far? Completing any project is fulfilling, but one of my favorite projects during my time at DRA were the Innovative Readiness Training missions we hosted throughout the Delta region with the military. Through this program, military reservists who are spending their required two weeks of medical training each year come to a high-need community and provide about 10 days of basic free healthcare for the local population.

I saw how these trainings benefited everyone involved: the residents, reservists, community leaders, and volunteers. To see folks in our region getting dental work for the first time in years or someone getting eyeglasses who never had them before and the gratitude of the residents and happiness of the members of the military to help somewhere close to home will always be one of my favorite experiences and achievements.

What’s the next big personal or career challenge you plan to take on? We are about to start building a 16-room, Airbnb-style hotel here in Wilson. I have a personal and professional stake in the building and success of this project, so I would think this counts as both.

What qualities do you feel are most important in a company leader? I believe that when you are in a leadership role, how you treat others really matters, and you can see it in the work product and attitudes of your employees. I often find those in a leadership role who need to feel important and throw their power around tend to have the worst work product and commitment from those working for them. People respect leaders who are authentic and don’t need extra pats on the back. I have the example of a strong leaders in my current company. Our CEO trusts that those who are put in charge of projects can and will succeed, allowing us to complete great projects for the company and citizens of Wilson.

Of all the mentors in your professional career, who has been the most influential and why? I would say that my current boss, Gaylon Lawrence Jr., has taught me more about leadership and what it takes to run successful businesses in the past two years than most get in a lifetime. He has a passion for business and life that makes you want to excel and do your best work. He will never ask you a question he doesn’t already know the answer to, and I often feel sorry for those who are opposite him in negotiations.

He gave me the push I needed to partner with him on the lofts project, and I see him encourage others to find what they are passionate about and pursue it.

He is the ultimate big picture guy, and he does not micromanage you but empowers you to find the professionals needed for any given project. Gaylon also makes a point to make sure you know that he appreciates your work and that taking time for yourself to recharge is something all employees need.

What’s your favorite app at the moment? Facebook/Instagram. We use it to talk about Wilson through pictures for our music series, the farmers market, the festivals, and Monday night community dinners at the Grange.

If you have a bucket list, what are the top three things on it? Go to Paris, France, see the Northern Lights from Iceland, and road trip from L.A. to Seattle.