Five Questions with Charletta Sims Evans

Charletta Sims Evans is seeking harmony.

Name: Charletta Sims Evans
Position: Associate dean for student affairs, Office of Student Affairs
Time at the Gillings School: Last week was my 6-year anniversary!

 

Charletta's had a good life, from her baby years (at left) to where she is now.

Charletta’s had a good life, from her baby years (at left) to where she is now. (Contributed photo)

What I do at UNC Gillings (and why I love it): I oversee the Office of Student Affairs (OSA), where we provide support, resources and services to prospective and current students as well as alumni. I serve on a lot of committees, too, which gives me a chance to offer my perspective on student-related issues to the rest of the leadership at the School.

My favorite thing about my job is knowing that the team in OSA helps students get the support they need to thrive here. Two of my top character strengths have always been my positivity and my focus on harmony, and I like to think my work here builds on those traits. I also love that I genuinely have fun when I’m in my office. On a Monday morning, you might walk in and find us singing and dancing, and we socialize with each other outside of the office, too. These folks are my second family – not many people get to say they leave one family at home and come meet their second family at work! What that really means is that I get to be 100 percent myself all the time. I never have to switch to a “work persona.”

 

My family has some interesting connections: Who told you that? They’re in trouble! But yes, it’s true. I’m first cousins with Star Jones, and we try to hang out whenever she comes back to the area. I grew up as family friends with Cecil Exum, and he used to bring Michael Jordan and a couple other UNC basketball players to stay in my mom’s beach house at Topsail Island during the summers. I remember my girlfriends and I trying to sneak over to see them when we were in middle school – we thought it was exciting!

Truth be told, though, most of my family members are educators. We’ve got teachers, principals, librarians, administrators and School Board members. We’re also all musicians; I used to play the piano and clarinet, and I love to sing. When we all get together, like at the holidays, we sing all the time. Trying to harmonize on the spot is kind of our thing. We also play trivia games!

 

My first job ever: was as a candy striper at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Back then, I wanted to become a hospital administrator – I guess I’ve always had public health on my mind! I ended up moving to D.C. to work as a therapeutic recreational therapist in a mental hospital, and then I went back to school to get a master’s degree in guidance counseling.

 

After winning a championship, UNC basketball players gifted Charletta's mom a commemorative Coke bottle as a thank-you for letting them use her beach house. These days, it stays in Charletta's office.

After winning a championship, UNC basketball players gifted Charletta’s mom with a commemorative Coke bottle as a thank-you for letting them use her beach house. These days, it sits in Charletta’s office. (Contributed photo)

Something I’m looking forward to: is getting into better physical, mental, spiritual and financial health! I really need a life overhaul. I’ve been working with BRIDGES, a program run through the UNC Friday Center that helps women in higher education strengthen their leadership capabilities. This year’s theme is all about transformation. I’ve been thinking about questions like, “What is my personal narrative?” The truth is, I don’t know, but I want to find out! This kind of internal work is hard and time consuming, but I can already feel things starting to shift. It’s phenomenal to sit in a room with strong, smart women in many different life stages, all asking, “What comes next?”

 

My perfect day: would start with me waking up in a clean house with everything in its place. Then I’d go to Brigg’s and have a nice breakfast and then I’d get a long massage. I’d go to the movie theater, head home for a nap, and wake up just as my husband and son were coming in the door to greet me. It’d be a “treat yourself” kind of day for sure!


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