Interview by Shannon North
As the executive director of The Lovell Foundation, Lovell leads a family foundation focused on social, educational and mental health issues for at-risk youth. She is also the founder and director of the Valley Foundation, as well a member of Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Women’s Leadership Board. Lovell’s daily commitments are passionately centered on enhancing the lives of everyone in our local community.
Give us a little bit about your background?
I am a Certified Public Accountant with thirty years of business and finance experience. I grew up in an atmosphere of community. Given my business background and community focus, I now direct two private foundations and serve on a number of boards, all in an effort to meet the needs of my communities – local, national and international. My current focuses range from participating in strategies that have the power to eliminate problems, such as transforming our medical system to one that is patient-centered, as well as utilization of microcredit to eliminate poverty. I’m also committed to the mobilization of resources for women and girls as agents of global change.
What or whom inspires you?
The women of Liberia-market women, seamstresses, wives, mothers who, tired of war and against incredible odds, gathered together in peaceful protests to end that county’s civil war. The neighbor without the slightest thought for their own safety runs into a burning house to rescue its occupants. The citizens of Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011 inspire me. These people shielded others with their own bodies and ran towards gunfire to assist the wounded. I believe that within each of us is this fire, this glimpse of the extraordinary. It comes forth when called upon. These are my heroes, those who inspire me.
What would you consider your greatest accomplishment to date?
Raising my fabulous children was the greatest job I have ever had; the most difficult and most rewarding.
Where do you find yourself most at peace?
Hiking in the glorious mountains surrounding Tucson, or at my home. I enjoy either sitting outside in my backyard in the morning with my puppy and a cup of tea or in my family room in the evenings with my puppy and cat curled up around me while I read or watch an old movie.
Your children are grown now. What are their names and ages?
You might run out of space.I have six incredible children, one daughter-in-law and one son-in-law: Sandra (39), teacher; Ken (36), officer of the law; Kendra (36), dental hygiene; Kim (30), advertising student working in marketing;Kim’s husband, Preston, student in Chef program; Rich (26), mechanical wiz; Brandon (26), diesel mechanic specialist; Brandon’s wife, Anna, returning to school in medicine.
Where is your favorite place in the world to travel?
I have visited 46 of the states in the United States and enjoy my continued travel here. I did not travel much abroad until after my children were grown, but loved Italy and Ireland. England is fascinating for us American siblings. I have fallen in love with Liberia and its people, was amazed in India, traveled back in time when in Egypt, and did not have enough time in Kenya and look forward to Jordan later this month.