Honest, inspirational, compassionate

February 12, 2013 · by Alvarez Porter Group · Filed Under Choices, Lives of Leaders · Leave a Comment

April VerrettApril3

b. 1974 Chicago, Illinois

The Executive Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana is carrying on the family tradition of a long line of strong willed women from the Southside of Chicago by saying the things that need to be said.


 1. What three words describe your leadership style?

Honest, inspirational, compassionate

 2. What are you best at?

I like to believe I am best at saying the things that need to be said when others cannot or will not – my “big mouth moments,” as a colleague recently described them.

 3. What is the most important thing you do?

Living my values and standing up for what I believe in. When I’m not true to myself I can feel it all over.

 4. What do you know to be true about leadership?

Good leadership is as much about being comfortable with leading from the middle and the back as it is about leading from the front.

 5. What is your earliest memory of injustice?

I grew up on the South Side of Chicago so I learned about segregation, racial injustice and income inequality at a young age. One thing that really sticks out to me is the ugliness that ensued during Harold Washington’s first campaign for mayor of Chicago in 1983. I was only 9 years old but I remember my grandmother shaking her head while watching the news on television and overhearing her talking with friends and family afterwards.

 6. What traits do you possess that are typical for your family?

I come from a long line of tell it like it is, strong willed women who love without holding anything back. They are just as quick to tell me things about myself that I don’t want to hear (but need to) as they are to hold me close and tell me how much they love me just the way I am. I have always felt loved, supported and important. I strive to give people the same honest, unconditional love that I have known my entire life.

 7. What accomplishment are you most proud of?

For the last year or so the staff in my union have been having conversations and doing work to build a more equitable organization. In many ways we’ve only just begun but I’m so proud of us for the honesty and commitment we have shown thus far. I’m certain we will continue to make progress and we will be a better organization for working people as a result.

 8. What are you afraid of?

I am terrified of disappointing anyone. People in my family made the ultimate sacrifice for me to be where I am. I have chosen to live my life in honor of their sacrifice and I don’t take that lightly. I am also keenly aware that the members of my organization trust me with their union. The worst thing I can do is disappoint them and lose their trust.

 9. What is the last thing that made you really angry?

The senseless shooting death of Haydia Pendleton, a bright and promising 15 year-old who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time on Chicago’s South Side last week. Her death made me really, really angry and really, really sad. I love my city and I love my fellow Chicagoans. We all deserve better.

 10. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Though I have grown to be okay with it I wish I didn’t cry so easily. I cry when I’m happy, sad, angry – name the emotion and it’s likely to bring on the waterworks.

 11. What do you do for fun?

I am a total sports nut. There’s nothing better than spending a Sunday in front of the television watching professional football except going to the game. There is not a sport I won’t watch. I even like curling.

 12. What is the best advice you ever got?

Plan your work, and work your plan (Thank you, B, for the advice and everything else).

 13. What failure or success taught you the most?

I will never forget the first losing union election I was a part of. I was so disappointed in myself for letting the workers down I vowed to work as hard as I could from that day on so that I would never feel that way again.

 14. How would you like to be remembered?

I want to be remembered as a woman who owned her own power and fought for what she believed in, inspiring others to do the same, especially other women.



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