Simone Talma Flowers

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  • What does your organization do?

    Interfaith Action of Central Texas' (iACT) central mission is to cultivate peace and respect through interfaith dialogue, service and celebration. The idea of shared public service lies at the very heart of our mission: We are People of all faiths doing good together. Our day-to-day work is service to the most vulnerable in our community. iACT has three major programs: Hands on Housing repairs the homes of low income homeowners who are elderly and/or disabled making their homes safe and accessible; iACT for Refugees teaches English as a Second Language courses and cultural orientation to newly arrived refugees from around the globe. The Red Bench program provides a platform to have safe conversations where people of all faiths can share their beliefs and acquire a deeper understanding of each other.
  • How did you become interested in this work?

    I have always been a humanitarian at heart. When I first came to the U.S. as a college student, I realized that I came from a culture that embraced and celebrated diversity. However, here I realized that we were more afraid than curious about what each other had to offer. I wanted to ensure that all people had access to opportunities and to break down the barriers that divide us.
  • What drives your passion?

    I believe that everyone should have an opportunity to live a life of meaning and purpose, and reach their full potential. Therefore, providing access to education, safe housing and supportive services are ways to assist our brothers and sisters along this journey of life.
  • Did you have a mentor or a role model?

    I have many people that have supported me on every aspect of my journey. I feel I learn from so many people around me, who are always gracious with their wisdom and guidance. I know I could not be where I am today without their support.
  • What's the biggest challenge in your work?

    To address the ever-growing divide in our community between the people who have and the people who are struggling to survive. It is very sad to see the disparities, yet very joyful to see others who have abundant resources so generous in giving to the causes they believe in.
  • What's the best advice that you have ever received?

    You want to see the big picture, but remember, to be present and do what is in front of you.
  • What are your top tips for new Executive Directors?

    1. Meditate: Take a deep breath. Then take another and another.
    2. Surround yourself with people who love what they do.
    3. Set some boundaries for yourself. Give yourself permission to take time off. Remember we are all in this together; work with your colleagues, collaborate, share and strengthen each other.