The Interview – Bette Hickman


Briefly describe yourself and what you do/did.

I am an artist and an art teacher. Over the years I have focused on programs that help children, such as a mentoring program for children in need that recruited over 600 caring adults who made a difference in the lives of the students. Later I helped create a statewide international Business Education Entrepreneur Program for young people who had advanced skills. The paid positions I have enjoyed included being an education advocate, which allowed me to travel the world taking legislators and teachers with me. Today I serve on several non-profit boards and call myself a professional volunteer. The young artists of Newnan and Coweta County keep me very busy and I love being surrounded with creative and lovable students and supportive parents. Many of these parents I taught as children. I am truly blessed.

Best piece of business advice you’ve received.

My father gave me sage, well repeated rules. He was a boss that was respected. He told me to celebrate the accomplishments of others before yourself, and don’t ever take credit for others work even if you feel you did the most. This is leadership. He told me to “never lend what you can’t afford to lose.” He also taught me that work comes before play. I have never forgotten this advice.

You are going on an extended solo trip. What three albums and three books would you take?

Music: Anything Beatles, U2 and Christmas Music. White Christmas Bing Crosby my favorite

Books: Mothers, Leadership and Success by Guy Odom. I love this book because it started my beloved book group. We have been meeting almost 40 years! The book is scholarly but has a lot of truth. Probably out of print. Necessary Losses by Judith Viorst. I read it first in 1975 and have reread it at least 10 times. Important life lessons. The Bible travels with me in my luggage and in my heart. I need to read it more but teaching Sunday School since I was 25 years old makes me lazy. Thanks for making me think about that!

If I had it to do over …

If I had a second time around I would want to have more resources to share. Time and money. I would have been a great philanthropist.

Tell us one thing about yourself that few people know.

One thing few people know about me is that I have stood on the Great Wall of China five times. It takes my breath away every time.

You are hosting a dinner party for six. What five people, living or dead, would you invite and why?

I love to feed people and I would have many more than five guests. Anyway, I will follow the rules and prepare a feast for six.

Departed ones: Mary Cassatt, because I love her art and I love her amazing life of breaking the rules. Eleanor Roosevelt, because she fought for human rights. Audrey Hepburn, because I loved her films and she used her celebrity for UNICEF. My own Mother Agnes Frances DuBois because she would love the conversation. The living ones are me and my heart friend Julie Chapman. Why Julie, because she gets it!

Name an as yet unfulfilled dream

To find the time create enough of my own art to leave my sons so they remember that I was an artist.

If you weren’t doing what you are, you would be …

No change for me just would want to do it better.

Your go-to food?

Great Pizza. Fabiano’s Mediterranean, my favorite.

Favorite movies(s)

Goodby Mr. Chips

Forrest Gump

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

I love film. These three are about the three things I love, being a teacher, kindness and fashion!!

Dogs or Cats

Love Both and have always had them. Right now I have Harvey a 120 lb. Labradoodle who is on a diet by order of his beloved vet. We also have a lovely outdoor cat named Madeline who eats whatever she wants.

Your favorite quote and why

“Onward and Upward.” Paraphrased from Philippians 3:14 English Standard. We must keep moving forward and be thankful every day. It is my mantra.

Name something that you are extremely glad you did or accomplished

Being a part of programs that offered opportunities for children in the arts and education. I get to touch the future and I am a part of the village that makes it possible.

What advice would you give your younger self just starting out on their own

My younger self needed to know that every person has personal challenges. I needed to be less judgmental. I work on that every day.

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