20 Under 40 – Andrea King

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To Be Like Me
Education: West Virginia University

Andrea King’s passion for helping people started in high school when she saw how a physical therapist helped improve her grandfather’s quality of life.

“The (physical therapist) obviously enjoyed his job, and my grandfather enjoyed his time in therapy (mostly!) and made improvements in his quality of life,” she said. “Seeing that win-win situation where the (physical therapist) and patient benefited and had fun inspired me to go down the road I’ve been on.”

King worked as a physical therapist herself before she started her current job with the new Park Cities-based To Be Like Me. The nonprofit provides interactive experiences meant to increase understanding and awareness of those with different abilities.

“The support To Be Like Me has had from community members has been tremendous,” King said. “It makes me proud to be a part of a community that so often goes above and beyond to help.”

King gives back to the Park Cities community, in turn, by serving as a deacon at Highland Park Presbyterian Church and on the University Park Elementary PTA. In the fall, she’ll be the PTO president-elect for Highland Park ISD’s fifth elementary school, Boone Elementary.

Q: What was your first job, and what did you learn from it?

A: My first official job ever was as a hostess at Texas Roadhouse in my small hometown in West Virginia. I never imagined I would actually end up in Texas, though. Being a hostess at a restaurant that often had an hour or more wait taught me how to be organized, how to manage people’s expectations, and to genuinely smile. It’s harder for people to get upset with you when you genuinely are smiling and enjoying your job.

Q: If you could buy a book (or rent a movie) for your neighbor, what would it be and why?

A: Our neighbors have twin girls like us, though theirs are several years younger. I remember those days well, so first, I’d offer to babysit so they could actually watch a movie. I always enjoy storylines involving twins, and The Parent Trap is a classic. It shows how special that twin bond is but that we parents should be aware of the mischief that close bond could result in.

Q: Where do you see yourself and/or your career 10 years from now?

A: I hope I’m still doing work that I find rewarding, both personally and at the greater community level.  I hope I’ve seen success and growth with To Be Like Me so that the message of kindness, compassion, and inclusion reaches as many people as possible.

Q: What, to date, has been your most impressive or rewarding accomplishment in both your professional and personal life?

A: Professionally: Being a part of a team that created a nonprofit with such an important mission has been incredibly rewarding. To see where we started and how far we’ve come in less than two years has been amazing. Being able to use my knowledge and experiences as a healthcare provider, a mother, and as a “connector” has been incredible.

Personally: My kids. While my whole “village” contributes to their development, it is incredibly rewarding to me when another parent goes out of their way to comment on the kindness of my children.

Q: Where is the best place in the Park Cities or Preston Hollow for a power lunch – what do you order?

A: I always try to get whoever I am meeting to pick the spot, partly because I want them to be happy with the choice and partly because it’s hard for me to make a decision when there are so many good options! I do really like the Curry Shrimp Wrap (sauce on the side, half the rice) at Dive though!

Q: Which leadership skills were the most challenging for you to develop and why?

A: I would say I am definitely still developing, but the hardest one for me sometimes is to slow down and just allow silence. I am a talker and like to fill any quiet space and keep things moving forward. Sometimes, you just need to slow down, enjoy that moment, and digest the information.

 

 

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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