Kforce Employee Spotlight: Tawanda Norton
After starting as a Kforce consultant 17 years ago, Tawanda Norton set a goal to serve Kforce as a leader. Today, she lives out her dream as a support services manager, empowering others to succeed. Learn about Tawanda’s Kforce journey, her motivations and the advice she shares for professionals looking to expand in their careers.
You’ve been a part of the Kforce family for over 17 years now. How has the firm grown since you started here?
We’ve grown leaps and bounds. In addition to growing in our number of offices, we’ve grown in our business efficiencies from starting with a very manual process to now having automated systems and tools. I’ve also seen an evolution in how we serve our community. It’s become the core of our mission.
What roles have you held at Kforce?
I started as a consultant and have been here ever since. I’ve held positions in accounts receivable, accounts payable, treasury, procurement and the corporate help desk. Currently, I’m in a leadership role managing the customer solutions center. I’m truly grateful to be so familiar with the back-office processes and build phenomenal relationships at Kforce.
Can you describe your day-to-day as a manager of support services?
As a support services manager, I oversee the consultant experience and ensure that our support teams are providing exceptional service that supports our core values. Daily, we ensure we deliver exceptional service by responding in a timely and efficient manner, identifying trends and actively resolving situations that arise for our business partners.
What is your favorite motivational quote?
It is inspired by a Martin Luther King quote. He says, “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
That is part of my motivation for life. It removes personal limitations causing you to believe you can. You have to use the tools that are available to you to the best of your ability within whatever confines you have to make it work. All things are possible if you believe.
What are some valuable lessons you have learned at Kforce?
Be true to who you are and trust your instincts because it will pay off. I’ve also learned to be skillful and knowledgeable about what you say and do. You have opportunities to grow. You must seize those opportunities and take full advantage of it. When you don’t know something, find out the individuals who do know and build a relationship with them to gain that knowledge and fill in the gaps.
How would you describe the culture at Kforce’s headquarters in Tampa?
Working in the corporate office, you get the opportunity to get to know leadership on all levels. I think the benefit of that is understanding the heart of our leaders and their vision for the organization. You can see firsthand the authenticity of our leadership desiring to be integral in every way and our core values being represented.
Last year, you were awarded the Performance Incentive Program "PIP" trip to Atlantis which was an honor given to the top 10 percent performers at Kforce. What did this achievement mean to you?
That was a goal and milestone of mine because it validates my heart and my desire to serve those around me. For many years, I have seen individuals gain that honor, and when provided that opportunity, I was beyond words. I was so grateful to participate in that. The most exciting thing for me was bringing my mom, who is my mentor, on the Atlantis trip. For her to see me recognized in such a manner of excellence was exceptional.
During Kforce’s nationwide Day of Giving event, you had the opportunity to volunteer with the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa Bay. Why do you feel it’s important to serve the community?
Through simple gestures, we can improve the quality of someone’s life, even with the Boys & Girls Club. Volunteering is an opportunity to contribute and find simple ways to make people’s lives better. If we capture and inspire our youth, it will benefit our next generation.
As we serve the Boys & Girls Club, I think that we are making life better for our future politicians, doctors and lawyers. Today, he or she may be in kindergarten. But tomorrow, he or she can be our president.
What are some other ways you give back to the community?
Most recently, I have gone on two mission trips to Haiti. Right now, I am passionate about seeing the basics of necessities provided for individuals who have nothing. One of my long-term goals is to live in a third world country for a long period so that I can help inspire, encourage and offer my natural skills and abilities to make their environment better.
I sponsor a 9-year-old child in Haiti named Berdina Augustin. My passion is to continue to sponsor her education, so she has a better opportunity to be successful later on. I have the desire to sponsor more children and provide a quality education that will give them a better life.
I also serve every week at my church by praying and encouraging people that may be facing life challenges and are hurting.
You also served on a panel of inspiring female leaders at Kforce and shared career advice with women on overcoming the fear of failure. Can you expand on the importance of taking risks to succeed in the workplace?
What we perceive as failure is the best teacher. The ability to take a risk and put yourself out in a situation that may present you as vulnerable will be your greatest life lesson and your greatest teacher. It will develop strengths that you didn’t know you had. It will also develop creativity, innovation, faith and perseverance. All those things can be birthed from simply taking a risk.
How was it to serve on the panel with Retired Army Gen. Ann Dunwoody?
Being on a panel with Gen. Ann Dunwoody was a phenomenal experience. I met her once before when I worked part-time at a banquet hall many years ago, and there was a dinner honoring her. She was very gracious in how she treated the staff that evening.
To come full circle from serving her in the banquet that was honoring her to sitting next to her on that panel was a moment which made me so grateful and blessed beyond words. It just reinforces that your dreams can take you anywhere.
Are you looking forward to any personal or career goals in 2019?
I plan to further my education. Our Chief Operations Officer Kye Mitchell has a habit of saying “Every day you either become better or you could become worse. But, you never stay the same.” So, every day I try to further my education through things like podcasts, books and articles.
In my new role, I find opportunities to grow in my knowledge of IT and Kforce business processes. I also have some goals for developing how I inspire and encourage others. I would love to be a motivational speaker.
So, your three daughters also work at Kforce. What drove them to begin their professional careers here?
Because of my love and passion for this culture and environment, I recommended that my daughters consider this as a great opportunity to work and they have. I think it speaks volumes to the culture if I would trust this organization with my pride and joys.
Kforce is home for me. I have developed relationships with individuals, and our children have grown up together. They understand the Kforce family and the legacy.
Do you have any parting words to share?
Work hard, believe in yourself and believe in this organization. Where there is an opportunity, take hold of that. Don’t be afraid to reach out and develop relationships with individuals that you may or may not know.
If nothing else, care about the people you work with. If you care about them, you will be able to collaborate more effectively. Our mission is To Have A Meaningful Impact On All The Lives We Serve℠.