Partner Client to CEO

Angela Tollett and her son smiling for a podcast episode about her journey from partner client to CEO.

NOTE: After you enjoy this story about Angela Tollett’s journey from partner client to CEO, hear Angela share her story at tauw.org/podcast or in the embedded podcast below.

Eight years before Angela Tollett became executive director of the TAUW partner agency, Wagoner Area Neighbors, she desperately needed its services to receive school supplies and clothes for her then 9-year-old son.

Wagoner Area Neighbors provides food, clothing, and financial assistance for prescriptions, utilities, gas vouchers, and rent. It also offers fresh produce available every day from Walmart and Feeding America.

When Angela arrived at Wagoner Area Neighbors eight years ago, she was a single mother living with her son in low-income apartments.

“I didn’t have any aspirations,” Angela said. “I was just living paycheck to paycheck day-by-day.”

But then she struck up a conversation with a Wagoner Area Neighbors staff member working in the clothing department. They both realized Angela would fit perfectly in with the nonprofit. Not long after, Angela got a job working in the clothing department, too.

Eventually, Angela worked her way up from handling clothes to handling client intake.

“I have a particular way of talking with the clients and relating to them,” Angela said.

During her first three years at Wagoner Area Neighbors, Angela’s son was among the children who had a holiday wish list on its Angel Tree.

“The one thing that he got from the Angel Tree that I was most excited about — I don’t know about him — was he got a really nice coat and a set of coveralls,” Angela said. “That was something that I could never afford at the time, so that was a real blessing.”

To improve her one-on-one client intake skills, Angela enrolled in college. She’s now in her third year working toward a degree in sociology and a minor in psychology.

“Working at Wagoner Area Neighbors has completely changed my life,” Angela said. “I want my son to know that no matter how bad things can get, no matter how it feels like you have no opportunities, and you’re going nowhere, there is a chance, and there is hope, I mean, if I can go back to college in my forties and get through it and excel, then he can do anything.”

Hear Angela Tollett’s journey from partner client to CEO by listening to the podcast below!

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