At the age of five, Dana McQueen knew that she wanted to become an interior designer and her passion has helped her continue a family legacy.
McQueen earned a degree in interior design in 1992 and decided to return to her family’s business at McQueen’s Interiors in Morehead City. She admits a family business can sometimes be complex but said the knowledge gained from earning her degree helped with a successful ownership transition.
“My passion for my clients and interior design coupled with my staff have kept this long-standing business alive,” McQueen said. Since taking the helm, McQueen has improved business practices including adding a barcode system for inventory and hiring additional designers. She has also expanded the showroom, adding 4,000 sq. ft. of space.
Named Business Women of the Year in 2014 by Crystal Magazine, McQueen said her favorite class at ECU was space planning. “I still use this knowledge every day,” she said. “I know the world of computers has opened up so many opportunities with computer-aided design, but it is always best to know the basics with a pencil, paper, and a scale.”
As a successful business owner, McQueen knows firsthand the time involved in building a clientele and communicating with them regarding their wants and needs. The best part of her job is seeing a project completed and a happy client she said.
Another successful College of Health and Human Performance alumna is leading the largest mobile crisis management service in the state.
Mona Townes, who earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in social work, oversees mobile crisis services to 23 eastern North Carolina counties provided by Integrated Family Services, PLLC.
“My passion is intervening when people are at their worst and to help them see that things can get better,” Townes said. Her team delivers integrated crisis response, crisis intervention and prevention 24/7 to any location in the community, according to the website. Townes said crisis intervention is challenging.
“The reward is when you work with a person who admits that without our support, without our ability to provide them with hope, they had planned on taking their life,” she said.
It was Townes’ time at ECU that helped shape her leadership skills. “I learned that no matter what my background is or where I came from, I could be successful,” said Townes. “I saw several highly educated and experienced women that looked like me.”
Her favorite course was Human Behavior and Social Environment taught by Dr. Lessie Bass.
Among her many accolades, Townes received the ECU School of Social Work 2015 Rising Star Award. She serves as a member of the National Association of Social Workers and assists as a training instructor for the local Crisis Intervention Team. She is a licensed clinical additions specialist associate and is certified by the National Council on Behavioral Health as a facilitator for Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid.