We had the good fortune of connecting with Carine Rice and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Carine, do you have any habits that you feel contribute to your effectiveness?
Perseverance. I think it is important in life to keep pushing for the things you believe in, regardless of what stands in your way. You cannot take no for an answer, you must continue to persevere and fight for the ideas and beliefs you believe in and I think building perseverance up as one of my habits has made me a stronger and more effective leader. I am also a huge believer in the power of multitasking. The fact of life is nothing ever happens just one isolated incident at a time – things come at you fast and they don’t care if you have something else on your plate. Learning to multitask and prioritize has helped me immensely in both my personal life and my professional life. As the Program Director at Junior Players, I run programming for over 15,000 North Texas youth annually while also hiring and staffing over 100 qualified teaching artists and helping out with Junior Players’ events and productions. In addition to multi-tasking daily at Junior Players, I also am currently signed with the Kim Dawson Agency, own and run my own photography studio, Carine Odette Photography, and am mother to two wonderful boys. The ability to multi-task is an absolute necessity for me and helps me keep all the plates spinning so I can continue to pursue my dreams. Finally, one of the most important habits for success is kindness. I make it a habit to practice kindness in everything I do, whether it be work, personal, or anything in-between. Kindness is something you have to continually work on – life gets hard, work gets stressful, and it’s so easy to just slip into a mindset where you’re locked onto your own problems and ignore the world around you. But it is important to realize that you never know what someone else is going through and holding an elevator door or giving a simple “thank you” can make a huge difference. I believe that practicing perseverance, multitasking, and kindness has helped me grow and find my success in life. Well, that and copious amounts of coffee of course!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am most proud of being able to make the climb from part-time Administrative Assistant intern to Program Director. I have loved being able to grow with Junior Players and, more than that, being one of the key reasons Junior Players’ has been able to grow to where it is today. I love being a part of the team that has turned 7,000 youth served annually into 15,000 youth served annually and am incredibly proud of all of the work and growth I have accomplished professionally. I am most excited about being able to continue growing our phenomenal programming department! We have big goals at Junior Players to continue to expand our reach and I’m most excited to be able to lead the team to bigger and brighter things. Without a doubt, the largest challenge along the way has been how small our organization is, especially compared to our reach. Having one person running programming for over 15,000 youth, 100+ teaching artists, and numerous recreation centers, public libraries, and school districts is a challenge to say the least. Along the way, however, I have learned the value of patience and trusting the process. I have had tremendous growth in my abilities, and I have to have faith in myself, my training, and my team and know that just because something goes wrong (and things always go wrong) does not mean that we are failing. Through challenges, we continue to grow, learn, and improve. I have also learned it is important to be able to learn how to turn it off when you get home. There is a saying we have in the office, “there’s always going to be work”. Sometimes, it can be challenging for us to go home and relax with our families, or take vacation time without feeling guilty, because we have such a small staff, we do so much, and we are all truly so passionate about what we do! But we must remind each other – there is always going to be work, there will always be things to do, it’s okay to take the time you need, and it’s important to enforce the work/life balance! I have found myself laying awake in bed thinking of all the things that have gone wrong or all the things I need to do the next day and I think that is definitely something I am working on improving. It is important to be able to go home, shut it off, and enjoy the good things outside of work. I most want the world to know just about Junior Players! If they know anything about me and my story personally, I want them to know about how much I love Junior Players and what we do for our community. I want all the kids all over to know that we have free arts programming, that we care about them and their dreams, and that we are doing everything possible to bring the arts to them.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m a mom, I hang out at home, ha! But, when I do venture out into the city, I do love the Dallas Arts District and the Bishop Arts District – they are both full of yummy eats, theater opportunities, museums, just all the best things when you’re trying to have a good time or show someone around! As for food, there are a couple of places that definitely make my list. First up is Fadi’s in Knox Park Village – they are a Mediterranean restaurant that I have been going to ever since I was young with my family. Their food is so good and it always makes me think of Lebanon (where my family is from) so I highly recommend it! If you’re in the Bishop Arts District, I recommend Lockhart Smokehouse BBQ! But truly, I’ll really go anywhere in Dallas if they have good queso!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Rosaura Cruz is truly a force to be reckoned with and is who I would like to dedicate my shoutout to. In 2015, she became the Executive Director and interviewed me for a role as a part-time Administrative Assistant intern for college credit. It was a terrible interview by all conventional standards, I had no idea I was about to sit in for a formal interview, had no prepared answers to her questions, and left the interview thinking there was no way I would be getting this position. But Rosaura took a chance on me and my life has not been the same ever since. When I was still a part-time employee and Junior Players was left without a Program Manager she took a chance on me again and allowed me to learn and grow into an entirely new position, even though I had been working in a completely different department. And when Junior Players had grown to the point where we needed a Program Director? Rosaura once again took a chance on me. Rosaura has always been in my corner and having someone who has so much faith in me and my abilities has allowed me to grow my own faith in myself and my abilities. She helps me to grow and learn, she allows me to make my own mistakes and successes, and I can say with full confidence I would not be where I am today without having her as my mentor. I have had the privilege of watching her grow the organization leaps and bounds in the past 5 years. She has trained me, pushed me, and encouraged me from an intern to a Program Director. I am constantly learning and growing as she leads our organization to bigger and better things each day, and I am so grateful to be on a team with her following a mission that fuels our passion.

Website: www.juniorplayers.org
Instagram: www.juniorplayers.org/instagram
Linkedin: www.juniorplayers.org/linkedin
Twitter: www.juniorplayers.org/twitter
Facebook: www.juniorplayers.org/facebook
Youtube: www.juniorplayers.org/videos

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