Finding value on her own time

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Kara McKinney

There are those who are happy staying in their lane, never asking too much of themselves and content with their stationary position. And then there are those who have long bid farewell to an idle, tranquil mind.

One of these determined persons – who, on a daily basis, zooms around like a bee in search of pollen – is Kara McKinney, director of financial planning and ground handling. She’s been with Envoy, and its predecessor American Eagle Airlines, since graduating from the University of North Texas in 2009 with a degree in finance.

Yet, her current duties don’t end at the spreadsheet and calculator. For instance, Kara is directly involved in two committees at Envoy Headquarters that foster comradery and team-building through special events.

“I think it’s important for coworkers to build a connection that helps them work well together and have a team feel,” says Kara. “I’ve always thought Envoy is like a big family, and I want keep it tight-knit like that here at headquarters.”

On My Own Time Art Contest

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Most recently, Kara has been nominated to use her galvanizing and planning talents to contribute as Co-Chair on the annual On My Own Time (OMOT) art competition, which showcases artwork from various companies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including American Airlines. The competition has been hosted for 25 years by the North Texas Business Council for the Arts (BCA).

Kara says that she treated the interview for the co-chair position like she would any job interview. She was dressed in proper business attire with portfolio and resume in hand, because, as she says, “it’s better to be over-dressed and over-prepared than sorry.” Her infectious energy and wherewithal to be sufficiently prepared landed her the nomination, she says.

Kara’s OMOT involvement begins with organizing the main exhibit from August 21 through September 1 at American headquarters with the submissions sent in from employees across the company and its subsidiaries, including Envoy. The BCA will bring in judges to nominate contest winners out of American’s pool of artists.

Once the winners have been chosen, Kara and the other co-chairs will organize a formal ceremony on August 31 to introduce the winners from American and its subsidiaries. From there, the OMOT team will send the winning art pieces on a roadshow from September 4 through September 22 that travels from various American Airlines facilities and the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Finally, the winners’ artwork will be gathered with other North Texas companies’ winning artists in an exhibit at North Park Mall in Dallas from September 26 through October 7. There, the public can view the best art from area businesses in a distinguished gallery setting.

“I’m curious to see all the art and what people will submit,” Kara says. “I’m not an artist myself, but I have a huge appreciation for it. It will be really cool to see how all of these different people from a broad system will represent their talents.”

Making the difference

The amplitude of Kara’s ambitions knows no limit, hence her aspiration to join the Leadership Arts Institute (LAI) – a program developed by the BCA to provide training in leadership and the tools to begin serving on a board of directors for a non-profit organization. Her sister-in-law is the founder of Embrace Grace, a non-profit that assists young, single women during pregnancy.

Kara sees the opportunity to learn from the BCA and LAI to help earn her a position on the Embrace Grace board of directors. Already a volunteer with the group, Kara wants to become a leader in the organization.

Since 2010, Kara has also volunteered with the Dallas-area Junior Achievement organization. She and other business professionals visit schools and teach for a day with a curriculum tailored from their business expertise.

At Envoy, there are numerous employees who go beyond their daily duties either to help our customers or volunteer their time to a meaningful cause. Kara definitely fits that mold, and her lengthy resume of work experience and volunteerism can attest to that.

“I want to be dedicated to something outside of work,” says Kara. “I want to know that with my free time I’m adding value, and doing something that makes a difference in someone’s life.”

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