Krepela voted Woman of the Year

Readers of the Oakland News have voted Pattie Krepela the 2015 Woman of the Year. As Executive Director of the Oakland Regional Chamber of Commerce, Krepela works to support and enhance the economic environment and quality of life in Oakland.
She recently sat down to answer to a few questions for our annual Readers’ Choice edition.

1) Why did you move to Oakland?
My husband and I moved to Oakland 18 years ago. We moved here because of the affordability of Oakland. We could get a lot more house for our money in Oakland than in Shelby County. That is still true today and one of the many meanings of the Oakland Chamber’s tagline, “It’s well within your reach.”

2) What are some of the ways you give back to the community?
I am passionate about education. As a mother of three awesome kids, I know how important it is for them to have a good education. I serve on education committees, volunteer at the schools and am on the board of the Fayette County Education Foundation.
I feel very strongly that every child in Fayette County deserves a good education. I believe in school choice and that parents have the right to decide the education path for their children. I believe that our public school system should be at such a high standard that parents would have no qualms sending their children there.
I love our community and want to see it thrive and prosper. I also want it to be pretty. I have organized downtown clean-up days where volunteers donate their time to clean up the old downtown.
My own family is the biggest help. I could not do it without their support. The chamber job is a family job, my husband and kids work right alongside me.

3) Why is public service rewarding to you?
I think to be a good leader you have to be a servant. In my position as the Executive Director of the Oakland Chamber I am here to serve Oakland. There is no job too small. I pick up trash, rake leaves and hay or do whatever else needs to be done.
I want to lead by example for my children and people in the community. It’s pretty cool how this is contagious.
It is very rewarding to help a new business open and see it prosper. I have mentored and counseled many up and coming entrepreneurs on what it takes to open a business. It is very rewarding to see several of these businesses doing so well.

4) If I weren’t doing this for a living, I would probably be…
I would probably be a stay at home mom volunteering in our community. The best part of my job is that I get to do what I love, in the community I love. It is so rewarding to work and make a difference in the community you live in.

5) What is something you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love CrossFit and am quite addicted to it. I am a member of CrossFit Penance in Oakland.

6) Who is someone that taught you the significance of serving the community?
My late grandfather, Ed Horner Sr., who started All American Sporting Goods in Memphis. I truly respected the way he lived his life and am blessed to have had him as my grandfather.

7) What is something many people don’t know about Oakland?
Oakland is consecutively voted as one of the top towns to live in in Tennessee.

8) A typical weekday for me goes like this…
I get up around 5:15 a.m., pack lunches and see my husband and oldest out the door. At 6 a.m. I am at CrossFit Penance. I get back home at 7:15 a.m., get the two youngest ready for school, drop them off by 8:45 a.m. and then usually get to the office or start visiting businesses around 9 a.m.
My job is about half spent in the office and half out in the community. I work all day, in the afternoon pick up kids from school. At 5 p.m., my husband and I go to CrossFit Penance. Most nights the kids have activities; soccer, baseball, basketball or football.
Depending on if I have an evening meeting, I’m usually home after that. I like to go to bed early, usually by 9:30 p.m. each night.

9) What are a few exciting things on the horizon for Oakland?
As part of Oakland’s Economic and Community Development Committee we have been orchestrating the development of Oakland’s Master Plan. This will be an extensive plan that will take Oakland where it is today to where we want to be in the future — 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years down the road. I am excited to see where this leads and the opportunities that will arise from Oakland having a Master Plan. I really want to see this come to fruition in 2015.

10) What are some goals you have for 2015?
Professionally, I want to see the Oakland Chamber grow. Over the last two years we have had over 100 new members. This year, I want us to keep up that pace and bring on at least 50.
I want our community events to expand. Last year, our events were the biggest ones we have ever had. I want that to continue.
I would love to see Fayette County work together more, this county is very polarized and there is no reason for that. What is good for Oakland is good for Fayette County and what is good for Fayette County should be good for Oakland.
Personally, I have lots of goals, too. One of them is to spend more time with my husband without kids. We need more date nights. And I’d love to travel more.
I have CrossFit goals, too. Still trying to conquer the all elusive pull-up, climb the rope to the top and master the Olympic lifts. I won my first CrossFit competition earlier this year which was just an online competition. I won the scaled division. I won’t count it as a real win unless I go Rx. So, that is a goal.