Moving to Houston from Pennsylvania in 1980 was a major stepping-stone for Linda Head, who, at the time, was a recent college graduate migrating to the South to work as a recruiter for an oil and gas company.
In 1986, Head began working for the Lone Star College System. Now, she has been the associate vice chancellor of workforce education and corporate partnerships at LSCS for eight years, and she was named chairwoman of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce in August.
Head and her husband, Steve, the chancellor of LSCS, have been involved with The Woodlands chamber for several years. The couple also served as honorary chairwoman and chairman, respectively, of the Interfaith of The Woodlands Gala.
Additionally, Head has been involved with Montgomery County United Way, UpSkill Houston, Houston ISD’s advisory council and the National Council for Continuing Education and Training.
What are your main responsibilities at LSCS?
I [oversee] all of continuing education at all six campuses. So I’m in charge of the low-skilled, fast-track certificate programs like truck driving, law enforcement academy and phlebotomy as well as all the summer youth camps and the senior programs like the Academy for Lifelong Learning.
The newest area I have is English as a second language and GED. We have a couple thousand students in that area. On the other end, I have high-end professional development if you want to take Cisco Networking or Oracle or project management certification.
How has your department grown since you stepped into your current role?
I have had bits and pieces of this [department] in my job [since] I started here in 1986. I believe that people that come to college are coming for a job. It’s all kind of career education. I don’t know what part to let go of, so I kind of grab all of it.
How did you first become involved with chamber?
From [my husband] and his role in The Woodlands chamber first, and then when my job about 13 years ago brought me to The Woodlands, I of course got involved professionally with this chamber. I’ve also been involved with the Greater Houston Partnership for a number of years in my job, so I knew this chamber from them.
What do you want to accomplish as chairwoman of The Woodlands chamber?
One [goal] is working with J.J.—I have a lot of respect for [chamber president] J.J. Hollie. The Woodlands has their founding fathers, and we want to capture that history. Then, these two younger generations than me; what great ideas these new young professionals have. [We can] bring those people together. The second thing is there are about four or five key business and community leadership groups in this area, so [I want to] be sure the chamber is tied in with them really well.
The third thing is, I have made my mistakes in my life, and part of why I’m in education is mentoring people. [I want to do] anything I can do to help these young female professionals skate around and not make the same mistakes I did as a young professional. In that same vein, they can help me because I’m not ready to retire. I think I have 10 good years left, so I need to stay current.
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing the business community in The Woodlands?
Oil and gas affects everything. Yes, we have a diverse economy in Houston and in Texas, but we’ve always been [oil and gas] heavy.
In my professional life, we have access to some state money that will pay for full-time employees of small businesses to come to college. While companies are trying to reduce costs and watch their margins, that’s a struggle, too, because they need their people trained and ready to go. They don’t have 5,000 employees. It’s harder, I think, in a small business.