Born: I was born in Albany, Ky., but I was not raised in Kentucky. I was actually from this town called Byrdstown, Tenn.
Education: B.S. in geology and MBA from
Tennessee Technological University
As a child, what did you want to be?
Not a geologist or a CEO of an engineering company. I wanted to be a singer, but I couldn’t sing. Then I wanted to be a dancer, but I’m only 5-foot tall. Once I got past that, frankly, I just wanted to be able to take care of myself. Probably another piece of advice from my mother was to select a major so that when I graduate, I could actually get a job. I tell some of the women a story of when I was in high school, a typing teacher walked up to me and said to me, ‘Ann, are you not going to take typing? Every girl needs to take typing.’ Without missing a beat, I looked up and said, ‘Why would I want to take typing? I’ll have someone typing for me.’ I ended up taking typing in college because by that time computers were the thing. Now I’m a very good typer.
What was your first job?
It was a very small town, so the only employers in the area were shirt factories, so they announced over the speaker at my high school that if anyone wanted an after-school job that you could be excused at 2 o’clock instead of 3 o’clock and go to the shirt factory and apply for an after-school job. We decided that was a great way to get out of school an hour early, so we all left to apply for a job at the shirt factory.
Unfortunately, when my parents found out that I had left school an hour early to go apply for the job, they thought it would be a good idea for me to work in the shirt factory for six weeks, so my first job was working in the shirt factory, sewing collars. It was the most miserable job that I’ve ever had in my life to this day. I feel such empathy for all the people that worked there that have to sit there hour after hour, but I learned a lesson that was the last time I left school early without a good reason.