Behind the Scenes: Kathy Hargis
by Mark Jent, Director of Missions Outreach
It takes many people on and off campus to help facilitate the ministry of Lipscomb Missions. We are fortunate for a dedicated group of nearly 130 men and women who serve as team leaders. We are blessed to have over 40 host partners scattered in cities, communities, churches and villages across the country and around the world. We are privileged to work with a generation of students who are desperate to serve a broken world. We are thankful for the financial supporters who sacrificially give to those students so that they can have the opportunity to serve in this capacity. Finally, we are humbled by the community on campus who pour countless hours of energy into their job behind the scenes - from the staff who process thousands of donations every year, to the faculty who quietly encourages that one student who is searching for a place to serve. The old adage “it takes a village” is just as true in the facilitation of Lipscomb Missions as it is in raising a child.
Amidst the thousands of people who help make it possible for us to mobilize 700 people on 50+ trips a year, there is someone who works tirelessly to ensure that our teams are safely prepared for what lies ahead on each trip. Since 2005 Kathy Hargis has been serving as Lipscomb’s Director of Risk Management. Having been the first person at the University to hold that title and position, she has done a marvelous job positioning Lipscomb to be an innovative leader in institutions across the country in the field of risk management.
Jim Thomas, Executive Assistant to the President, has worked closely with Hargis on many strategies and initiatives and has witnessed first hand, her calm demeanor under pressure, “As an administrator who shares the responsibility for over 5,000 students enrolled at Lipscomb, there is a tremendous responsibility to be certain that we have the safety of all the students, staff, and faculty at the forefront of each new trip, program, and event on campus,“ says Thomas. “To fill this role, you need a risk management person who has a professional knowledge of the field, compassion for others and a vision to function in problem solving at an extremely high level. Kathy meets all of the desired qualifications in a highly professional manner. Equally significant is that she is a good friend.”
Hargis was instrumental to in spring 2007 when missions was tasked with developing our own incident management plan. Since then she has helped lead our missions incident management team. We have had to rely on her expertise numerous times when a team finds themselves in a precarious position of dealing with an incident or crisis on the field. “Our offices have worked closely together over the years to develop a comprehensive program to protect and assist our students as they travel around the globe. We start the process before they leave campus with training and information gathering on each and every trip,” says Hargis. “I feel a true team spirit with everyone in missions and am so privileged to be a small part of their great work to spread the love of Christ both domestically and around the globe.”
When one is charged with managing the overall risk for a vibrant university, no two days are ever alike. “One of the things I love most about my role as Risk Manager is the diversity it offers,” says Hargis. “My role allows me the opportunity to work with virtually every department within the institution as we strive to mange risks from an overall enterprise standpoint.”
Some people find themselves for most of their professional career, punching the proverbial time clock Monday through Friday and their daily work is nothing more than a job - not Kathy Hargis, “Lipscomb is a special place filled with great people from colleagues to students. The mission of the institution makes it more than just a place to work, but one in which you feel you are truly making a difference in people's lives.”
Many people make it possible for our teams to serve in the manner and in the locations in which they do. Few people have as great an impact on making it happen as Kathy Hargis.