Note: This is part of 5QS, our series of interviews with Forest Park Forever staff. Today, we check in with Tamara Sheffield, part of the senior leadership of the organization.
1. What is your job description?
As Senior Vice President of Finance and Operations, I oversee processes and people who are committed to financial stewardship of all contributed capital as well as operational excellence in several functional areas: Education, Visitor and Volunteer Services, Building Maintenance and General Park Operations.
2. What is it about FPF that draws you in personally?
Forest Park Forever and the City of St Louis have worked collaboratively to sustain a park that is show-ready at any time. St Louisians expect no less. I find it personally gratifying to work in an organization that is not only committed to the professional appearance of the Park, but the professional growth and development of its people. To that end, we hire highly professional people who are held to high standards of productivity. I am energized by our team of employees, their creativity and commitment to serving the community and the Park, so that the mission of Forest Park Forever goes forth.
3. What is your favorite place to visit in Forest Park?
One would think that this is an easy question to answer. However, after working here for nearly four years, I can honestly say that my favorite place shifts daily based on my mood. Each corner of the Park has a distinctive character, making it difficult to esteem one over another. However, If I must land on one, Murphy Lake would be it. Murphy Lake is my respite on a hectic day. I welcome the quiet and serenity offered by the lake any time I need to relax and reflect. Additionally, Murphy Lake holds fond memories of walks in the Park years ago with my then infant daughter. The lake was nice then, but it is magnificent now that Forest Park Forever has transformed the area with landscapes, tree enhancements and carefully thought-out bench placements.
4. What parts of your job do you find most challenging?
I enjoy my job because I have the opportunity to wear a lot of hats. As a result, every second of every day holds a new adventure. My principal role is to provide leadership over Finance while making sure I give ample attention to all operational areas including Land Management, Education Services, Visitor and Volunteer Services, Building Management, Information Technology and, of course, Human Resources. This can be challenging, but it is all possible because I have a terrific team who is committed to excellence in their respective areas of discipline.
5. What are the benefits of working at Forest Park Forever?
I have the privilege of coming to work in a place that is beautiful all year long and see the community enjoying one of our region's greatest assets. I am blessed to have a role in keeping it that way.