Clarksville, TN – Stories about people thriving in the world are rare these days. And how will they cope with a post-COVID-19 Coronavirus society. Businesses continue to struggle, and many Americans are still unemployed. Students and workers will need the right place to sharpen their professional toolset.
Patricia Hammock, an Austin Peay State University (APSU) alumna, founded The Launching Pad amid the pandemic as just such a place.
Launching Pad was founded on May 11th, 2020. Hammock is a one-woman team. She took a leave of absence from her job in October 2019 to follow her calling: training adult learners.
“I was happy serving as the ‘light behind the veil,’ helping my superiors become successful,” Hammock said. “Then I realized I didn’t want to continue the employer/employee relationship. I figured if I was ever going to blow my life up, now was the time to do it because it was the first time in my life that no one else was depending on me.”
Hammock bought her business license in the fall of 2019, months before the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. Launching Pad was never meant to be a response to COVID-19 Coronavirus. Hammock always has wanted to help people. The business was designed to teach clients how to get hired for the job they want and how to advance in their careers.
“Is there ever a right time to start a business? Why not now? I guess I approached the startup of my business the same way I approached motherhood at 17 years of age. I did not know how, but knew that I must,” Hammock said.
‘Life-affirming for me to have played a small part’
The services Hammock offers her clients are increasingly relevant to remote workers. Clients range from graduate student hopefuls to veterans of the workforce looking for advancement.
On her website, Hammock offers her 30-years of experience to consult clients on finding their career path in a digital age, aiding institutions implementing professional development initiatives and empowering corporations to enhance staff development.
Dentist Joseph Braud Jr. was one of the people Hammock has helped. He graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. She helped the best parts of him shine in his writing.
“We worked collaboratively on letters, residency personal statements and applications that became important to his career,” Hammock said.
Hammock says Braud “did the heavy lifting.” She helped him become more comfortable speaking confidently about his expertise.
“Dr. Braud now owns eight dental practices in Louisiana and is one of only three endodontic/orthodontic practitioners in the nation,” Hammock said. “It is life-affirming for me to have played a small part in his success story.”
‘If you ever have to eat crow, eat it all and eat it while it’s hot’
Hammock began her 30-year career at Austin Peay, receiving her Bachelor of Science in Communications Arts and Journalism, magna cum laude, in 1990 under the tutelage of Dr. David von Palko.
“Doc V was the first person to demonstrate faith in my professional abilities,” she said. “He shoved a microphone in my hand and turned me loose one AP Day before I could object. He pushed me to serve as the news director for WAPX-FM where I produced a public affairs talk show and into serving as assistant executive editor of The All State.”
Being tossed to the wolves led to Hammock working as assistant news director at WHOP Radio in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Then Hammock left to ingratiate herself in the economic sector, obtaining gainful employment for community members in the Hopkinsville area.
“There was a whole press conference announcing my role as executive director of the Minority Economic Development Initiative,” Hammock said. “Doc V Called me right before I took the mic and gave me some of the best professional advice I’ve ever received: ‘If you ever have to eat crow, eat it all and eat it while it’s hot.’ My career is a tribute to his legacy.”
Hammock, like the rest of us, cannot wait for COVID-19 Coronavirus to subside so she can offer in-person training. She also hopes to hire a bigger staff to serve more people. She hopes Launching Pad touches the next generation of learners.
“Of course, I have fear but my faith is stronger. I believe my professional experiences can serve as a light along the path of others,” Hammock said. “My motivation is pure. My goal is to serve others. I believe that will be rewarded.”
Uncertainty and fear reign in our country. Patricia Hammock is proof of the human spirit and that ingenuity is still well within our grasp.