2018’s Fierce Five Women of Lake Highlands

Photo by Danny Fulgencio

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When Vicky Taylor relocated from Kansas City, Missouri, to Lake Highlands, she noticed that her children’s new elementary school didn’t have as many opportunities as their previous school. So she decided she’d volunteer, and her tireless efforts transformed into a full-time job. Now the Lake Highlands Public Improvement District’s public safety coordinator, Taylor organizes community events and works with apartment owners, police and residents to reduce crime.

Why she started to volunteer: 

I moved here about 17 years ago. We were zoned to go to Northlake Elementary School. Coming from Kansas City, Missouri, the volunteer level was totally different. It made me take more of a leadership role and get involved. It started at Northlake, where at one point in time I pretty much worked at the school as an unpaid worker.

How her childhood shaped her:

I’m the youngest of 12. I have nine brothers. I had to tell them what to do. I was the boss growing up. 

How she started working for the PID: 

My involvement with the PID comes from Kathy Stewart. She used to own Highlands Café — I worked at the restaurant for about 10 years. Kathy sold the restaurant when an opportunity for her [to become executive director] became available. She knew, as a good team worker I am, that she wanted me on her team. Within a year, I ended up coming to work for Kathy because she’s such a great person and role model for me. All the things I was doing in the community that I feel passionate about, I have the opportunity to get paid for.

Her third neighborhood home: 

That answer would have to be Lake Highlands High School. This is my fourth child to go through Lake Highlands. It’s pretty much my other home. When I’m there, I wear several hats. In August, I was in charge of scheduled pick-up. Also, I’ve been football parent advisor. This was my third time around, my third football player. Year-round is crazy busy. It’s just organizing anything from meals to senior activities to pictures to all-sports awards to the Red and White game.  It’s a lot. That’s what I like to do, though.

What makes her proud: 

What I’m most proud of, personally, is my family. I have four handsome boys who have all graduated. I have a wonderful husband who has tolerated me giving so much time to the community, and we are still together and love each other. They are why I do this. It’s seeing what I can provide to them, and seeing other kids do not have that. On a business level, I feel like there are so many obstacles for kids in this community and people in general. The fact I can bring something to this community that can better build it, that makes me very proud. 

My biggest challenge: 

I’m an overachiever. You might not believe that. When my name is attached to things, I feel like I have to go above and beyond.

When my name is attached to things, I feel like I have to go above and beyond.

Best advice she’s received:

I think the best advice I’ve received would probably be from my mom, Gladys. She always told me to be myself, be strong, believe in myself and don’t let anything defeat you. I think that brought me into the world I am right now. I totally live by those words. It’s always been: You’re the best. Never think anybody is better than you, and if they do, prove them wrong. That’s what I do. 

How she handles gender discrimination: 

Truth: I have not. I think it’s because of my personality; it’s because of my tone; it’s because the way I speak. I just don’t think I give the vibe you can talk to me any kind of way. You can look at me crazy, but you can’t say anything. I have a presence when I walk around. I think people recognize that.  As a woman, I just feel like my upbringing has been a plus. I get a lot of respect, and I give respect. I don’t ask for anything I don’t give.