Our Mary Poppins

Tanya Briner is our very own Mary Poppins. She glided into The First Tee of Greater Charlotte Learning Center when the fall winds were changing. She took on our “front office woes” and urged us all take our medicine (with a spoon full of sugar). Not to mention, she has quite a beautiful singing voice.

Always the first one in the door each morning, her tasks range from bookkeeping and budget management to being our in-house IT guru. Everything she does is with an efficient and confident hand. Honestly, I do not know how we got on without her. Sensible, witty and kind, Tanya keeps our checkbook balanced and the office on task to be the best The First Tee chapter.

Tanya Briner

Tanya, why did you pursue this role with The First Tee?  The position here was fate. I applied for an HR Director position on Beyond.com. There apparently was a misdirection in the link that was supposed to forward my resume to that company and instead sent it to The First Tee. When I received the invite to pursue, my husband got very excited. He was extremely familiar with The First Tee and thought that at this time in my life, I should love what I am doing instead of doing what makes me the most money. I came to the conclusion that perhaps he was right (not that I would ever tell him that). After my interview, I decided that I would love to be here no matter what. I have always believed that God always puts the right path in front of you, you just have to choose to follow it. I am so grateful that I did. I love the kids, the mission and the game of golf and consider it an honor to have had this an opportunity to be a part of it. 

Which of The First Tee Nine Core Values is most important to you? Why? “Integrity – It is a personal choice to continuously hold yourself up to the highest moral and ethical values. In my opinion without integrity none of the other core values can possibly be achieved.

tanya young
Tanya in second grade

Describe a moment when you were working with children (your own or other) that made an impact on you.  When my son was very young, he was diagnosed with ADD and a short term memory deficit. School was a struggle because he had such a hard time with rote information. If it didn’t engage the higher brain, he couldn’t remember it. Needless to say spelling words and math tables were a challenge because you can’t get any more rote than that. I spent a great deal of time working with him to find ways to make this information easier to handle. We developed all sorts of games and songs to elevate these assignments to a higher brain function. One day after a successful spelling test, he came home very excited and proud. In the middle of our conversation, he very casually told me that I was his guardian angel. I think I cried for a week. All he needed was for someone to take the time to help him find his way of learning. When I see kids today that struggle or have behavioral issues, I think back to that time and remember that most kids only need someone to care just a bit.

Tanya Family
Tanya with her husband and children

Why do you think it’s important for girls to play sports? Girls who play sports feel better about themselves. It builds confidence when you know you can practice, improve, and achieve your goals.  It also helps develop social skills that otherwise might not be so easy to develop.  

What projects are you currently working on to improve our organization?  I wish I could say something really cool or glamourous, but I am a numbers geek.  I have taken over the bookkeeping for the organization and therefore it has been brought in house.  This will allow for more up to date information with regards to our financial status.  While not glamourous, it is important because the funds we raise allow us to do all the wonderful things that The First Tee does for the kids.

Ok, fun stuff now…

  1. High heels or tennis shoes? Six months ago, I would have said high heels, but tennis shoes are really growing on me!
  2. What is one thing you can’t live without? My husband, who is the greatest guy in the world (another, don’t tell him that kind of moment) LOL
  3. Beach or mountains? I love both, but I would rather be in the middle of the woods on a mountain.  I feel so at home there.
  4. What is your go-to, feel-good song? Wow, this is embarrassing and you probably haven’t even heard of this song, but secretly and only when I am alone, I burst out into an old song called, “Happiest Girl in the Whole USA” by Donna Fargo.  My mom used to walk around singing it when I young and it stuck with me.  How can you not feel better when singing that?
  5. Rory McIlroy or Jordan Speith? Rory all the way!

Finally, what makes you come to work every day?  I never know what I am going to encounter.  I meet some of the sweetest people as well as some of the funniest.  That being said, it is the possibility of seeing the kids come by that is the main attraction.  They always have a smile or a story to share and that is what makes it all worth it!

mary poppins


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