A testament to resilience and determination, Jill Lossiah is dedicated to creating a brighter future not only for herself but also for her five children and many others.

Raised in a blend of Cherokee and non-Cherokee cultures, Jill currently serves as the senior office administrator for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Public Health and Human Services (PHHS). She’s also on her way to earning her Master’s in Management and Leadership (MSML) through the Adult and Graduate Studies (AGS) program at Montreat College. In addition to those demands, she’s raising her five children, ranging in age from 19 to three, on her own. Yet, through it all, her focus remains on others.

“My main goal and aspirations are simply to help people, as we try to guide the community through social needs. As an admin, knowing all the services we offer can really help fulfill a person’s needs,” she said. “I try to tell people that their situation won’t last forever. That’s what I tell myself every day. It may feel like a struggle now, but you know the final outcome will be worth it.”

Although she became a single parent at a young age, Jill didn’t allow that to deter her from prioritizing her education. Since 2008, she has accumulated four associate degrees from Southwestern Community College and a Business Administration and Law Bachelor’s (BSBA) degree from Western Carolina University. Now, she’s taking the next step by pursuing a master’s degree from Montreat College.

On track to graduate with her MSML in 2025, Jill hasn’t waited until the completion of her degree to apply her new knowledge from her master’s courses.

“Within the first week that I started my job, I was prompted to help create charters for a committee meeting that we have started,” she said. “It just stuck with me because I had just learned how to do it and before my class, I had never heard of it. It just tickled me because I could instantly use the knowledge that I gained.”

Often created in a group setting, a team charter is a document that outlines the team’s objectives, resources, and constraints they might experience throughout a project. The purpose is to ensure that all team members are committed and understand their roles in the project.

When you have a team, you have to figure out what your objective is and what you’re working toward,” she explained. “Then, you list out any project cons or obstacles you might face and try to remedy those. You also assign job titles for different people to accomplish what the team is pursuing.”

Balancing work, family, and education is no easy feat, but Jill faces these challenges head-on. Whether it’s working late into the night after her children are asleep or dedicating weekends to homework, she remains focused on her goal. Despite setbacks and disruptions along the way, Jill has persisted and remains determined to achieve her dreams.

“Life doesn’t stop for anything, and it’s just how you overcome it,” she said. “In the back of my head, I know I have a goal set and it requires a certain commitment in time. I’m always hard on myself, and there have been times I’ve needed to reach out to my advisor at Montreat, but he’s always been very understanding.”

Following the completion of her master’s in management and leadership, Jill intends to continue her educational journey. Her plan is to pursue an MBA or MPA while continuing to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those her program serves.

“I want to indulge in the Cherokee language and history. I want to be a leader and hopefully one day obtain a managerial or director’s position within our program,” she said. “I want to continue to do great work and identify needs for the tribe because there are a lot of different lives this program touches, and I just want to ensure that I’m doing my best.”