Natalie Willis is the first smiling face you see when you emerge from the elevators at Hammock headquarters. As manager of administration, she handles ad sales, production and circulation for various publications, assists the CEO and COO, manages accounts payable, helps with budgeting and expenses, is responsible for events … basically she keeps the office humming in every way imaginable.
Where are you from originally and where did you grow up?
I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. My parents were missionaries during the few years of my life, and we moved around during my preschool years. I lived in Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee before we settled in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas, where I started second grade and attended college.
Where did you go to college and what was your degree?
I graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in business administration. Hopefully, I can start on an MBA degree when my children are older.
What did you do before coming to Hammock?
Before Hammock, I worked for the GM at Bass Pro Shops in Nashville. Prior to that I worked as an office manager for a custom home builder. After college, I moved to Nashville and worked in the legal profession for a few years.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up and/or get in the office each morning?
I’m a planner and like my morning routine to go as planned. That happens about 5 percent of the time. Often, I wake up around 5:30 a.m., pack lunch for my kids, do a load of laundry, tidy the kitchen, plug in various electronics for charging, shower and get the children ready to leave for school by 6:50 a.m. Around 7:30 a.m, I force my sweet lab from my bedroom to the garage before traveling 23 miles to work. At some point, I arrive at work and immediately log into my computer, check email, make a pot or cup of coffee and have a Greek yogurt for breakfast.
What was your most memorable day at Hammock?
My most memorable day at Hammock was when I went into pre-term labor with my first pregnancy. I drove myself to Baptist Hospital and was surprised to see another coworker, who was also pregnant at the time and attending a birthing class.
If you could switch places with any other Hammock employee for one day, who would it be and why?
I would switch with our sales director, Steve Sullivan. I don’t have many opportunities to be away from the office and it might be interesting to meet new people outside of the normal faces I see on a daily basis.
If you were to win the lottery this week, what is the first purchase you would make?
I would buy my husband his dream bass boat and a Ford F-150 pickup to haul it so that he can fish his first spring tournament in pro-style.
What’s your favorite travel destination?
If I were to fly, my favorite destination would be San Francisco or Key West. Otherwise, Atlanta is always a fun weekend getaway for my friends and family. On a hot summer day, I enjoy traveling to Center Hill Lake.
How do you spend those precious few hours when you’re not in the office?
I spend very little time at home. My children and very outdoorsy husband keep me occupied. They love to hike, fish, boat, kayak and spend time at the family farm in Watertown when they aren’t playing softball. Little League softball is currently occupying most of the “precious hours.”
What’s one thing your coworkers probably don’t know about you?
In June, I’ll “learn a lot about livin’” while I’m tube-floating “way down yonder on the Chattahoochee” in Helen, Georgia. I might even try sliding down the dual waterslides located along the river.