Welcome to our new series, which features posts from staff members at the ATPE state office. First up is Jennifer Canaday, Governmental Relations director.
What drew you to working at ATPE?
Before I moved to Texas, I worked for the Louisiana Dental Association as Director of Communications and Public Affairs. When I was invited to interview with ATPE and started researching the association, I found many similarities between it and my former association, including the member-owned/member-governed philosophy. Working to advance public education also appealed to me. As a high school senior, I had served on Louisiana’s state board of education in a student role. Standardized testing was just starting to take off, and there were already concerns about its impact on students. I was able to be their voice in those policy discussions. Here I am, still fighting those battles!
How long have you been working at ATPE? What was your first job here?
I was hired in Nov. 2004 as a lobbyist. I later became senior lobbyist, then Governmental Relations manager, and now Governmental Relations director.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned while working here?
The value of listening. There’s always something new to learn or another perspective worth considering.
What is your favorite part of working at ATPE?
Without question, the people! My co-workers are phenomenal, and I always enjoy getting to visit with our members.
Share something fun about yourself that ATPE members might not know.
I was a contestant in the Miss USA pageant in 1993. Dick Clark was the host. It was before Donald Trump bought the company. Miss Michigan Kenya Moore won that year, and now she appears on The Real Housewives of Atlanta.