Introducing Leasha Ogle

Q & A with Leasha Ogle, SPARC Foundation's new People and Culture Coordinator

Let's start at the beginning, what should people know about you? 
I was born and raised in Asheville. I attended TC Roberson High School. Go Rams! I went on to get my Bachelor's in Psychology from UNC-Asheville and my Master's in Human Resources from Western Carolina University.  I currently live in the Fletcher area with my husband, Jordan, our three daughters (Maya-11, Marjorie-6, and Mercy-3), our two toy poodles, and my mother lives with us as well...so we've got a pretty full house!

Why did you choose to specialize in Human Resources? 
I've always been intrigued by relationships and human behavior, which is what prompted me to pursue my degree in Psychology.  After finishing that degree, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do with it, so I spent some time working in various industries, like banking, retail, even working as a server-- which is something I would encourage everyone to do at some point!  Pick up a couple shifts at your local diner, and see what you learn about yourself and others! As I worked, I began to realize that work relationships were extremely interesting, as well.      
     I began to observe the way certain groups of workers seemed to receive different treatment than other groups of workers, and I watched the turnover rate at certain organizations and within certain departments. I was fascinated by work culture and an employer's ability, or inability, to retain certain workers. I realized that folks spend more time at work than they do at home with their families, and I decided that I wanted to be a part of helping to make the work experience become a more positive experience for people. This is when I found that Human Resources was the niche for me!

What do you hope to achieve in your role as SPARC's People and Culture Coordinator?
     For me, "success" at SPARC would look like sustaining a genuine culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  When SPARC is mentioned in our community, I would hope that people associate us with truly loving our community and all the diverse people in it and wanting what's best for each person we serve, including both our staff and our clients. I would like for SPARC to be known as a top employer, a place where people truly enjoy coming to work every day.

 What do you like to do in your free time? 
     Most days, you can find our family in our backyard swimming or hanging out.  We enjoy biking together as well.  Personally, I love to read. Historically --and largely because I've been raising small children for the past 11 years-- I would start a book and never finish it, and then I'd end up restarting it like 50 times and still never finishing it! So this year, I set a goal to actually finish one whole book each month. Then 2020 said, "OK, I'll make sure you have all the time you need to do just that."  Needless to say, we're eight months into the year, and I'm ahead of my goal with a total of 10 books completed already! I even wrote and published a book of my own this year, but that's another story for another time!       
     Aside from reading, I LOVE traveling. Clearwater Beach, FL and St. Lucia are a couple of my favorite places. I can't wait until it's safe to travel again!    
      I love roaming around downtown Asheville and the R.A.D. I got married downtown at On Broadway/Celine & Co., and our engagement photos were taken in the R.A.D. I love those areas!     I also love food (but I do NOT love cooking, and my family would likely starve if not for HelloFresh.), which is one reason I love Asheville!  Some of my favorite local restaurants are Zia Taqueria, Mountain Madre, Cocula, and Taco Billy...I'm sure you can see the trend there! I love local beer and cider, too.    
    So, living in Asheville is fun! I live near Sierra Nevada, so my family spends a lot of time there...well we spent a lot of time there before COVID. It's a great place for families.  
     Finally, I'm a big coffee drinker, and I'm looking forward to the grand opening of Grind in the R.A.D. later this month!

Do you have a favorite quote?
     "There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in." -Desmond Tutu

What would you like to "SPARC" more of in the world? 
     I would like to SPARC more courage and more love, the courage to speak up for what's right and the love that allows us to care enough about each other to want to do what's right.  I hope that the people I encounter will walk away from me feeling better about themselves and empowered to step into the role they play in the future of our world. 

Thank you, and welcome to SPARC, Leasha!