Liz Cervantes: 2018 Community Strong Person of the Year

LizCervantes is currently a Graduate and Professional Studies Student SuccessCoach at Averett University where she produces a podcast called “Ask aPro.”  She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication from North Carolina State University and is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Applied Data Analytics.

Liz is a co-founder of Collidescope, Danville’s newest LGTBQ+ organization. She is actively involved in the local theatre community, most recently appearing asGillian in Bell, Book and Candle withThe Little Theatre of Danville.  Her hobbies include travel, camping, hiking, board games, listening to podcasts, reading, and learning as much as possible about everything. 

Previously, Liz has been a taproom manager, a marketing director, and a camera operator.She is a proud member of the Danville community and is happy to call Danville home. Liz looks forward to continuing to build meaningful relationships with the people of Danville.

We caught up with Liz to discuss the effects a positive presence has on communities.

SC: Why is community involvement so important to you?

LC: To me, a community is a series of relationships you build with those you share your city with.  Relationships are vital to vibrant living.  Positive relationships create an atmosphere of love and caring.  As social beings, relationships are good for growth and longevity.

SC: What inspires you to volunteer?

LC: You never know what other people are going through.  Everyone suffers, and I feel that if I have the ability to help someone feel less pain whether it is through entertainment or support, then I am willing and able to do what I can. 

SC: How do you balance life, work, and community involvement?

LC: It is tough.  Time-management is absolutely critical.  Also, having a solid support system around you is vital.  I surround myself with good people at work, in community involvement, and in whatever other challengesI have the ability to turn into opportunities.

SC: What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you? 

LC: This is a tough one.  Dr. Tiffany Franks and Christine Baggerly told me the same thing, and that is to never miss out an opportunity that is presented to you even if you doubt your ability to tackle it.  If someone thinks highly enough of you to present you with an opportunity to be greater, seize it.

SC: Who are your real-life heroes and why?

LC: My real-life heroes are those people who live their lives for real.  They are people like my dad who came from a different country and worked up from nothing to achieve their dreams and create opportunities for others.  They are people like Diana Schwartz with RDA who dive head first into challenges and create beautiful things out of nothing.  They are artists and moviemakers who are able to craft a story and move people.  Heroes are everywhere; you just have to open your eyes to see them.

SC: What is it about Danville that makes it special to you? 

LC: I love the size and community ofDanville.  It is so easy to get involved with the volunteer groups or have lunch with a city councilman or interview the mayor, it is incredible the opportunities that Danville can create for anyone willing to spend their time and share a laugh or idea with those around them.

SC: Do you have a favorite quote, and if so, what is it? 

LC: Yes, “Not all those who wander are lost.”- JRR Tolkien.  First, I love anythingTolkien!  And, I love to wander.  I have travelled the country and seen how others live, seen beautiful sights, and met wonderful people.  But it is more than that.  They say people who let their minds wander are the most creative, and while I don’t always feel creative, I encourage naturally creative people to imagine. And, that is what it is going to continue to take to see Danville grow to its full potential.  Let our minds wander on the possibilities of what Danville can be.

SC: How do you recharge? What do you like to do outside of work and volunteerism?

LC: I love brunch and hollandaise sauce.  I can recharge anytime with that.  I enjoy laughing with friends.  Laughter is one of my favorite things.

SC: What is your idea of happiness?

LC: Happiness is a mindset.  Yes, we should always strive to better.  I always say I am a work in progress, but we should also enjoy the adventure.  Finding joy in the moment, joy in the little things, and joy in the journey – that is my idea of happiness.

SC: What are your favorite things to do in Danville?

LC: Danville always has new things to do.  I like walking downtown, the food truck rodeos, Brewfest, Averett Homecoming, trivia at 2 Witches, eating at any of the local restaurants, and bowling at Riverside Lanes.  But also, I enjoy the activities put on by the Young Professionals, the Chamber of Commerce, River District Association , and the Boys and Girls Club and so on and so forth.  There are so many opportunities to go out and enjoy the city and its people.

SC: What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

LC: 2019 is going to be a wonderful year.  It will be my second full year in Danville, and I am so ready to further my education, get more involved, see . Danville continue to grow, and aid in the blossoming of Collidescope.

SC: What are your visions for the future of Danville?

LC: Just what the sign reads when you drive in:  Diversity and Inclusion.  I think we talk about it more than we doit.  This is a diverse community, but it is segmented.  I think we need to improve on neighbor relations, education, and unity. With those things at the forefront, great things will follow.