“You Have Somewhere to Go” - CEO Charlotte Site Supervisor Jalisa and Her Path to Success

Mar 26, 2024   |  By Jason Kahler

Jalisa, a site supervisor at the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) in Charlotte, not only uplifts herself but also empowers the individuals under her wing to reclaim their lives and get back on track.

“I’ve never had a job before where I was excited to be there,” Jalisa says.

Jalisa’s journey with CEO began as a participant, where she attended CEO’s workforce preparation classes, advanced through the program, and worked transitional jobs with a crew of fellow participants. From beautifying landscapes to maintaining public spaces, Jalisa's dedication shone through, earning the admiration of her fellow workers and the public.

“People there were always so supportive,” she says, “and we always got such great feedback from our contract partners.”

Jalisa’s enthusiasm and exceptional leadership qualities didn’t go unnoticed by her supervisor, and eventually, she was promoted and became the first female site supervisor for CEO Charlotte.

“I was amazed,” Jalisa says. “I had stuff I wanted to get back on track, and when they offered me the job, it was life-changing.”

Now, Jalisa leads her own crew keeping the streets clean as part of a contract CEO has with the City of Charlotte.

She takes pride in being a mentor and is quick to acknowledge the efforts of her crew, who, like her, are excited to have another chance.

“I have good people, good, motivated people who get the job done.”

Jalisa’s gratitude extends beyond her team to CEO’s partners, whose support makes their work possible. She understands the significance of maintaining these relationships to pave the way for future opportunities.

As a woman in leadership, Jalisa sets high standards for herself and her team. “I’m like their mama,” she laughs.

While it’s funny, it also highlights that many people who find themselves needing CEO’s services haven’t had the support or encouragement of family or other role models. Jalisa takes this responsibility seriously and appreciates the structure and opportunities CEO and its partners make possible.

“You can come somewhere in the morning,” she says, “and not worry about getting into something bad. You have somewhere to go. To be safe. Get a meal. Earn an income. Provide for your family.”

Jalisa explains that her involvement with CEO’s programs opened her eyes and helped her see that her options weren’t as limited as she believed. Her horizons are broad, and her opportunities are multiplying.

“I thought I would have to settle, but thanks to CEO, I have different opportunities. A challenging background? It doesn’t have to be the end of the road. The future is open for us.”