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Monday, September 30, 2013

10 Questions with Candice Harold - Candidate 2013 Hickory City Mayoral Election

Candice Harold is a Candidate in the upcoming Hickory City Mayoral race. She will first face an October 8th primary against incumbent Mayor Rudy Wright and fellow challengers Dr. Joseph Inglefield, Ernie Masche, Jeff Brittain, and Terry Revels. If she succeeds in being one of the top two vote getters, then she will move on to the November 5th at large election. The questions posed here are available for all candidates to answer. I have agreed to post them without critique and there will be no critical comments allowed in this article. There will be a "Candidates" Hickory Municipal Elections tab to the Right of this article. It will show anything related to these candidates as we move forward in this process. Anyone who wants to participate is free to do so. Please feel free to contact me at

1)      Can you give us some background and a history of yourself?  (Where were you born? What is your educational background?  Why did you come to or stay in Hickory?  Tell us about your professional accomplishments.) 

Yes, I was born in Hickory, NC and lived here up until I was 21.  At that time I moved to Raleigh, NC for a job opportunity and joined the United States Army Reserve.  I lived in Atlanta, GA for over a decade, initially prompted by a visit to help out an Army buddy of mine.   I relocated back to Hickory to my childhood home that I have been renovating.  Unable to find local work, I have worked as far as Wilkesboro and now I drive daily to Statesville to work as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) business consultant.

I was educated in Hickory Public Schools and had many academic and sports successes.  I am a National Beta Club Alumna.  I lettered in track & cross country at Hickory High School.  I have my undergraduate degree in Business Administration with a concentration in human resources management from Strayer University.  I am a member of Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society.

I am in the application process for Masters in Public Administration programs, as education has always been of prime importance in my life.  I consider myself a lifelong student and plan to attend law school as well.
Professional accomplishments
~   Running a grassroots campaign for mayor of Hickory
~   Mentoring young ladies that are college bound
~   Managing a major women’s athletic chain store at age 18
~   General Manager of major retail chain business with $1.3 M annual revenue at age 25
~   Increasing quarterly revenue from $220,000 to $330,000 upon taking over leadership.
~   Successfully managing a staff of 40 employees
~   Managing a high volume retail coffee chain store with $2.1M annual revenue
~   Successfully managing the call activity of 200 phone agents remotely
~   Chairing the Headstart Parent Advisory Board
~   Junior Achievement Consultant
~   Being a Parents for Public Schools Member
~   Being a PTA Treasurer
~   Being a PTA Secretary
~   Running a successful consulting company
~   Running a successful transportation company
~   Power of One Achievement multiple times, based on doing the right thing as it relates to shareholders, customers and peers

2)       Tell us about the accomplishments you are most proud of achieving in your life?  Something besides having a family or raising children.  We all recognize that those are common goals that we all aspire to.  What’s the most exciting thing you saw/did/experienced were a part of in your personal life?  In your professional life? 

The accomplishments that I am most proud of are all of the ones above.  Each one of those accomplishments has shaped me into the person I am.  My work ethic and values shine in the work that I have done.  I find great joy in serving others.  The most exciting thing I have ever experienced was an Outward Bound excursion.  That wilderness excursion solidified through learned skills/tasks and the observation of how others deal with situations, that I am a survivor and not afraid to tackle new challenges.

In my professional life, the most exciting was seeing how my leadership and actions affected the P&L of the store location I was managing.  Increased revenue, sales and customer base because I was determined to be successful, treat people right and win no matter barriers that I faced.  Being so young at the time and achieving such high levels of success remains amazing. 

3)      If I were to ask people that know you to describe you what would they say?  
Candice is passionate, resilient, has a diverse point of view, knowledgeable, loving, determined, hard worker, helper, a leader, tenacious, strong character, analytical, thoughtful, great listener, open-minded and puts the needs of others first over her own.
4)      How much bearing do the opinions of the people around you have on your decisions?  
I am one who weighs the pros and cons when making decisions.   Input from others is valuable from others and necessary. I make decisions based on facts not opinions, emotions or peer pressure.

5)      Can you tell us of a professional mistake that you have made that may have had an impact on who you are today?  Does it still bother you?  Can you share with us how you came to grips with that error? 
A professional mistake that I made that has had an impact on the woman I am today would take us back to managing the retail store at 18 years old.  I was being recognized for top sales in the company, but the verbal accolades always came from my peers that were out of the region and/or state.  This bothered me at the time and I wondered why the District Manager never made mention.    It does not still bother me because as I continued to manage people, I realized what being a great manager meant.  It meant praising people when you catch them doing a great job and never taking the job they do for me for granted.  I learned to tell and show my employees they were doing a great job.  When I received bonuses, I have given each staff member an equal share of my bonus.  It is important for employees to know that they are valued and how much you care.

6)      If you were given enough money to tackle one project (think nearly unlimited) that you felt was important to the Hickory Area, what would that issue be? 
Wow! There are so many projects, so little time and so little money.  Homelessness and Jobs come to mind.  I am going to look at jobs/wages together which will affect the homeless as well.  I would increase the minimum wage of all Hickory Citizens.  What?  I would supplement the hourly wage gap to bring the hourly wage to $12.00/hour. We would also start a push for Made in the USA factories manufacturing everything from socks to furniture. I would provide a free 2-year education to all the citizens. Startup funds would be provided to all entrepreneurs.

7) Let’s say there is no money available for the foreseeable future.  What one project (priority) would you push as part of your agenda that can be done with little or no money?  

If there was no money available for the foreseeable future, my project would be a “Get Fit Initiative.”  Health is one of the areas mentioned in the Gallup report naming Hickory on the list of “Most Miserable Cities.”  Being a lifelong runner, I stick to that as a method to maintain my weight and stay healthy, plus I do not frequent fast food restaurants.  There are many residents suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.  People are faced with these issues due to heredity, socio-economic reasons and lack of healthy food choices in their communities.  
As a city, we can get fit together. The Downtown Farmers’ Market will accept the government electronic food benefit cards, so those living in poverty can have access to such treasures as fresh foods, instead of the current convenience foods.   We will partner with the NC Cooperative Extension to provide free healthy cooking and nutrition classes, plus gardening tips/assistance to the community gardens to be placed throughout the city in the areas that are not within walking distance to grocery stores.

Some cities have experienced much success with “Biggest Loser” events and it becomes annual or semi-annual.  Entrants pay a small fee ($20 for example) and the health measures such as blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose levels and/or weight are tracked for 6,8 or 12 weeks.  Winners receive the proceeds from the entry fee.  Workouts can be completed at community recreation centers and local health clubs to ensure no matter the area one lives, one can participate.  The collective focus on health could be something to catch on in Hickory!

8) What is your overall philosophy of the development of this area?  Where would you like to see us in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?

My philosophy for the development of this area is growth.  In 5 years, we will be well into recovery from the economic downturn that we are facing present-day.  Unemployment has dropped substantially and growth can take the front seat.  There are more vibrant small business throughout the city because we have been investing in our most valuable resource, our people!  We continue to listen to the needs of the people and pride and morale are increased.  There is less disparity in the development of communities within the city.

There are more homeowners than ever before because people have the tools they need, such as knowing about down payment assistance programs and resource centers such as the Family Guidance Center to explain the process, plus there is more affordable housing for renters.  Public housing is stepped to where residents that do not want to be lifelong residents can have a managed plan to becoming homeowners or renters outside of public housing.  

Economic growth and equitable disbursement of funds throughout the city is prevalent.  Long-term 10-20 year goal is to ensure all these measures and others are in place in order for us to have sustainable communities that will stand the test of time and rough economic times without crippling to repeat what we have experienced during the economic downturn. 

9)  If you could define your Personal Legacy what would you like it to be?  What would you like to be remembered for? 
I would want to pass a legacy along of tenacity, honesty, respect for others, and love for diversity, purpose-driven, mentoring, entrepreneurial spirit and leadership.  I want to be remembered for empowering people with the education and courage to achieve their goals, aspirations and dreams. 

10) How do you define Leadership? 
Leadership is the ability to guide others to a common goal.  Leadership is making the tough call, when others wouldn’t.  Leadership is not about popularity, but solidarity.  Leadership is being able to empower, encourage and energize others.  Leadership is about getting the job done.  Leadership is balancing power and delegating effectively.

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