On Wednesday, July 12, CCETN celebrated Lisa Ingle and bid her farewell on her retirement. During her time with Catholic Charities, Lisa held many positions including front line, case manager, program manager, administrator, director of programs, facilities manager, and special projects. While each of those roles carried different responsibilities, the human dignity of the clients we serve remained at the heart of her work. Lisa’s career is a shining example of how to live our mission.

We sat down recently with Lisa to reflect on her time spent at Catholic Charities:


When did you start working here?

June 1994. Front line, 3 pm-11 pm, when we had the Children’s Emergency Shelter at Columbus Home. The whole upstairs was the shelter. So, at any given time we could have up to 21 kids. It was amazing.


What did you do prior to working at Catholic Charities?

I taught kindergarten for 8 years. Prior to that I did preschool. And I was a security officer and a janitor. When I was a janitor, I worked my way through school.


What drew you to Catholic Charities originally?

I moved to Knoxville in August or September of 1993, and I started working for Head Start; but that was not the place for me. I just kept searching and found the ad for a position at the Children’s Emergency Shelter in the paper, and so I went and applied. Something about that program just drew me and when I started finding out more about the mission and what they did and why they did it and who they served, I really wanted to be a part of it. So, I kept hounding and hounding and finally they said: ‘Hey, do you want a job?’ And I said “yes!”


What do you like most about Catholic Charities?

So, it has to be the mission. That’s what drew me and that’s what’s kept me. And then the service that we give to the clients. We’ve always had a good team….really dedicated and wanting to get things done in a professional way and yet have a lot of fun.


What roles/positions have you held at Catholic Charities?

My first one was front line, working directly with the kids. From there, I was a case manager. Then I became the program manager of the shelter, and we had a role called administrator and I did that for several years, and then I was director of programs, and then I was facilities manager, and now I’m in special projects. So, several hats.


What are one or two of your favorite/best memories?

I have a lot of favorite memories and I’ll cherish them forever. The changes in the lives of the kids and the clients that you touch, I think are some of my best memories. And then the fun that I have with staff and getting to know everybody individually and so, those memories will never leave me.


What has been your favorite project/most challenging project?

Oh…I don’t know, I mean there’s been a lot of projects and a lot of them were challenging, but to work through them and see what can be accomplished and there’s been a lot…I can’t really put my finger on one.


What does Catholic Charities mean to you?

Well, it’s taken 29 years and a few weeks of my life, so it has been a huge part in my journey. It means a lot…it will be hard to leave. But I’ve loved it. I wouldn’t change it. And I get little nervous when I think about the day after. That’s going to be hard. But I know there are a lot of folks here that can carry the torch and move it right along.

I don’t know if you’ve ever read this poem…it’s called “The Train of Life” and it talks about how when you get on the Train of Life you meet your parents, and they’re only with you as long as you need them and then they may exit the train. Then, you meet your siblings, friends…they may leave. Somebody may sit next to one and there’s no room for you to sit and you’re going to have obstacles and things like that. Then, there’s the day that comes for you to go ahead and leave the train. You hope that you’ve left memories so people can remember who you are, who you’ve touched and then thanking the people who’ve joined the train with you along the journey. So that’s kind of where I am…just another train ride.


What advice would you give to employees at Catholic Charities?

So, I’ve thought about that because there’s some like Kim Cook who have been here a couple more years than me, and I wish for her to sustain and carry on. Then, there’s the ones who have been here like 10 to 16 years…you know, they’re rooted…for them to keep those roots planted. And then, there’s younger folks who are bringing this vivaciousness to the agency that we really need. So, for those who are grounded to be able to support others and their work, and what they do to continue to make Catholic Charities the best it can be. And yeah, there are going to be trials, ups and downs, joy, failures, and a lot of changes. But, together as a team, we can make it through it. And that’s what my hope and prayer is for Catholic Charities….five years down the road I come back and look how much you’ve grown, look what you’re doing now, and look who you’re serving.


Plans for retirement?

I think right now I just want to take some time and really think about the future…it’s a little scary…okay it’s a lot scary. But probably do some work around the house. I’d love to travel and visit my sister a lot.


Providing Help | Creating Hope