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Oh, the places you can go: Meet Maggie Porter, ‘01, ’05 (Alumni Interview)

On today’s blog, meet Maggie Porter, Willingway Hospital’s Director of Human Resources.

Maggie Porter

In addition to offering insight on her career paths, Maggie shares that her English major “helped [her] become a great communicator,” and she encourages us all to “never underestimate what you can accomplish with great reading and writing skills.”

What are you doing now? What paths led you to this point?   

I am the Director of Human Resources at Willingway Hospital in Statesboro, Georgia.  Willingway treats patients with alcohol and substance abuse issues. It has been in Statesboro for over 40 years. 

What got me here? I was tired of working in jobs where I didn’t have the ability to truly help people. Working at Willingway allows me to help my co-workers, and I truly love it! 

Before Willingway, I worked in local government for 11 years, and it just wasn’t a career that I could be passionate about. 

Can you say a bit more about working in the local government? How did you get there?

So, I got into local government through the GSU Master’s of Public Administration program.  I met a Statesboro Police Officer in one of my classes, and he helped me get an internship with the Finance Department at the City of Statesboro.  I am NOT a numbers person, but I took the internship because I felt like it would be a good way to network and get my foot in the door.

My internship started during budget season, and I started to help by writing a departmental introduction for each department’s budget section.  The City Manager took note that I was a great writer and when my internship was over, he created a full-time position for me. I became the first and I think only official Public Information Officer (PIO) for the City of Statesboro.  It was quite an honor and I loved my three years as PIO. 

I created content for the website, created a newsletter, developed a marketing plan for the Natural Gas Department, created a cooking show with GSU and the Natural Gas Department called “Cooking with Gas,” and I was even interviewed by FOX News when we had a hostage crisis.

After working as a PIO, I left the City of Statesboro and started an 8-year career with Bulloch County Board of Commissioners.  I served four years as Clerk of the Board and Executive Assistant to the County Manager and four years as the Director of Human Resources.  However, I realized that the government was not for me and I moved into the private sector.

I was Director of Human Resources for two years at Cordele Intermodal Services and I have been Director of Human Resources at Willingway Hospital since April 2, 2018.

Wow! This is quite a journey. Would you mind reflecting on how your English education shaped you?

 As an undergraduate, I majored in English.  My education in English helped me to become a great communicator.  It taught me how to research and then communicate that information to others.  That education is just incredible in the business world. A lot of working adults will send emails that are difficult to understand, which hurts communication in the workplace. 

We’re thrilled that you’ve used both research and communication skills in your everyday work environment. With that in mind, what advice would you give to current English students or students considering English as a major or minor?  

With an English degree, you can literally do anything you want in your career path.  You can get a master’s degree or go straight into the workforce. The key to success in the workforce is having a great work ethic and being able to express your thoughts or research clearly from start to finish. Being a great writer will help you in any career. It is one of the things most employers will take notice of on your resume.

I would like to stress that a degree in English is extremely versatile and valuable.  Never underestimate what you can accomplish with great reading and writing skills.

With that in mind, I would suggest this: practice writing and learn to write for a professional environment.  Practice summarizing everything you read into a few sentences. Learn to be able to break down a paragraph into one sentence. 

Whew! One sentence! That’s a tall order, but it is really sound advice. To be clear and concise is important–and we’re so glad those are some of the skills you honed while you were here. Can you indulge our readers? What are some of your must-reads?

I know it is a cliché, but I love Pride and Prejudice. I have several different copies on my bookshelf.  I also have all of Mary Kay Andrews’ books. Now that I think about it, I must really love women writers.  However, Pat Conroy is also a favorite. The Lords of Discipline is a fantastic novel.  

We’re so grateful to Maggie for joining us today!

Are you an alum with an English degree? Would you like to be featured on our blog for the 2020-2021 academic year? Email us! We would love to hear from you!


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