Forrest Knows UM is a Great Place to Work

Published 2:59 pm Monday, August 12, 2013

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

Barbara Forrest has a true appreciation for the University of Montevallo recently being named “One of the Great Colleges to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Barbara Forrest (contributed)

Barbara Forrest (contributed)

Forrest, who was diagnosed with for breast cancer in September of last year said, “If you have to have a serious illness, UM is the place to work because you don’t have to suffer alone – people here go through it with you.”

She is quick to point out that her personal story was not a part of the 40-page award-winning nomination she completed for the university, but it makes the fact that she wrote it special to her and all the UM Family.

“When we talk about the Montevallo Family, it’s not just words, it is reality,” said Forrest. During her illness she had college deans, maintenance staff and co-workers who came to her home and office and coached her through cancer. She gave so much credit to so many people I can’t place them all in this article.

Though her journey through breast cancer was not taken alone, it was her determination and strong will that kept her at work most of the time during her illness. “I did what came natural to me. I kept going. That’s the way I was raised.” She said she knew from the beginning that cancer was just a detour and that it would not sideline her.

“When you are isolated from a job you love, it adds insult to injury,” said Forest, who worked from home when she was unable be at her office.

Her colleagues sing her praises including UM President John Stewart who wrote a nomination letter that got her awarded as one of the Top H.R. Executives by the Birmingham Business Journal.

If anyone knows what a great place UM is to work for, it is the person who wrote the winning nomination application. Congratulations to Barbara Forrest for being a cancer survivor and for sharing her story with me of what a great place UM is to work.