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Project Access director 'humbled' by helping others

Robert Houk • Jul 18, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Brooks Blair is executive director of Project Access, a local non-profit that coordinates donated specialty medical care for the uninsured. 

To date, the organization has facilitated more than $65 million in donated medical care.

The Carter County native has been with Project Access for 10 years, beginning as an intern. She has a bachelor’s degree in human development and learning from East Tennessee State University, where she also earned her master’s degree in social work.

Blair lives in Elizabethton with her husband, Chris, and their two dogs, Maverick and Poppy. She is also a member of the Johnson City Evening Rotary Club.

Fast Facts

Dog or cat: “Dog for sure.” 

Favorite way to relax: “Creating, crafting and painting. I am also a bit of a movie buff.” 

Favorite book: “I most enjoy books in a series. Harry Potter will always be a favorite.”

WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT PROJECT ACCESS?

I am responsible for overseeing operations of the organization, such as fund procurement, data reporting, marketing, organizational development and strategic planning.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THIS PROFESSION?

Since childhood, I wanted to be in the medical field and I have always been sensitive to the needs of others. When you experience hardships in your own life, you are driven to help improve the lives of others.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR WORK?

So many things. I love having the opportunity to learn and grow in this position. I enjoy being able to share my knowledge and passion with others. I take pride in the organization and the staff who so selflessly give to ensure the vulnerable people in our community are accessing health care in a meaningful way.

Seeing the patients access services is incredible and keeps you humble.

WHAT'S THE BEST PROFESSIONAL ADVICE YOU HAVE RECEIVED?

They are simple, but so on the nose ... “Get out of your comfort zone.” “Work smarter not harder.” “There is always room for improvement.”

Pulling all of these together has pushed me to think outside of the box and question why something "is the way it is."

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH STRESS AT THE OFFICE?

Self-care is a habit to establish early. When immediate stress strikes, I take a deep breath and re-prioritize (self talk and Post-its are my go to). I manage long-term stress by regularly scheduling "me-time" doing something that brings me joy and committing to not let work seep into that time.

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