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Lila Westmoreland

What is your passion?

Easy….RELATIONSHIPS! I love people. I thrive when I am connecting with others! It is vital to my mental and emotional wellbeing.

Why do you love this community?

I grew up in a very small town. I felt like I knew everyone and that became a huge part my identity. Moving to Gainesville in 1990 gave me that same small town feel. Even though I do not, I still feel like I know everyone. Feeling that sense of belonging empowers me to give back.

Why go the extra mile for it?

This is really the only community I have lived in as an adult. I am sure all towns offer many volunteer opportunities, but I cannot imagine any community that advocates or supports each other more than Gainesville, Hall County. This community is where I found my voice as a woman! This community has given so much to my family and me! This community gives so much to each other! How could I not go the extra mile to give back when and wherever I can?

How in the world do you juggle family and pandemic and still find that fire to serve?

Honestly, I’ve only acknowledged this thought to myself. Prior to Covid 19, my world was a total juggling act.  Anyone who is married, has children, a career (or like myself – two) and spends lots of time volunteering lives the life of a circus. In March, I had just finished a huge project when I was required to work from home. To say the least, it was traumatizing. I struggled to function for several days and I could tell something was wrong. I was depressed. However, I quickly realized that my new norm was exactly what I needed, a moment to pause and catch my breath. I would not trade the past six months for anything. I spent valuable time with my children. My husband loved coming home to a prepared dinner. My pets did not leave my side. I learned to focus on wellness and health for myself. For all my other relationship needs, I managed to get very creative with social distancing with family and friends. What I know without any doubt is that this six-month pause has given me a renewed energy to work harder giving back to who and what I love!

Where does the fire come from?

For me personally, my desire to volunteer comes from gratitude. Life is a journey and it is not always easy traveling. I have been very fortunate to receive help along the way. Giving back is my way of paying it forward.

Who inspires you and why?

I would have to say my parents. My father and stepmother are the rock that ground me. I could not ask for better role models as parents, working professionals and citizens. They are my biggest cheerleaders and my harshest critics. They have always had the highest expectations and pushed me to excel. Yet always there to catch me when I failed. Both came from extremely humble beginnings and managed to become first generation college graduates with multiple degrees. They have both spent their lives sacrificing for others hoping their efforts would have a positive impact on the lives of others. They both have giving hearts and a never-ending supply of love and compassion.

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