Meet Bailey Dahl!
“I’ve always been the little black sheep of my family,” Bailey tells me, with a chuckle, after talking about her school days and interests through college.
Bailey grew up in Nashville which, when she first said this I didn’t think anything of it. But when she got to explaining how much of her immediate family was in the music industry it started to make sense.
“I remember spending a lot of time on tour buses. Both of my parents were talent agents, and now my brother is in the business as well. I was the only one that went a different direction.”
Ten years younger than her closest sibling in age, it makes sense that Bailey had a unique opportunity to carve out a different path. Though your other siblings are still around, there’s enough of a gap to have a sense of solitude as you develop your own interests, I could imagine.
“It made each school year a fun time to head back – I was excited to see my friends and be around peers again.” And it was even this early that Bailey started to notice her interest in government and policy.
“I was not a math and numbers person,” Bailey laughs, “My best subjects were in more of the language arts – reading and writing.” She tells me she found herself, even at a young age, keeping up with elections and wanting to join her school’s student government.
“Definitely no one in my family could relate to this interest of mine. They were all music buffs, and here I was focusing on my run for student council.”
It seems that, for Bailey, being considerate about the policies and rules we have in place – who is making them, how they affect everyone, etc – is important.
“Have you always had a heart for others, or the whole?” I asked.
“Oh yeah,” she says, quickly attributing the learned nature of it to her mom, “My mom never met a stranger. Our house was an open house for everyone.” I imagine in the music industry especially, you come across people on their own who cherish moments of kindness and warmth.
I ask her how her education, or experiences with teachers, formed her interests or created pathways to explore what she might like.
“In high school I had a Spanish teacher that really focused on the cultural nuances behind the language. For the first time I wasn’t learning the standard vocab or verb tenses void of the culture behind them. It really got me interested in engaging with other cultures and stepping outside of my own. That really pushed me in the direction of International Relations.
“Then, just before college, I took a trip to Uganda. It wasn’t specifically a trip focused on the medical industry, but we did get to visit and tour hospitals and public spaces. That got me thinking about how policy can make a difference long term. Seeing a hospital fully operational was the culmination of the right decisions being made and taking action to get it done.”
Bailey made the decision to attend Baylor University for college, and it seemed like a perfect fit that she would double-major in International Relations & Public Health. “It was so much fun. The most memorable part was getting to write policies that actually took effect in Waco.”
I was surprised by this and thought I would be just as excited about an experience like this. Sometimes it’s easy to box up education into a “theoretical exercise.” This isn’t undeserved, many educational practices are stuck in a theoretical realm and therefore lack the real world obstacles that come along with many endeavors. It is refreshing to hear about work on a project that takes effect in the real world.
“It just solidified that you can enact change no matter who you are or where you come from. If you have a good idea, write it down. You don’t have to be a politician to be close to change and decision making.”
I asked Bailey some of her takeaways from not only her college education, but her primary schooling as well; no small question. “I think the most important thing in any education is learning to look at things from different perspectives, or using critical thinking to find all possibilities and takeaways. You’re around people that challenge you and push back, allowing you to learn team skills, delegation, and leadership. And also, it teaches you to do things even if you don’t want to do them. There were countless days I didn’t want to go to class or do homework. But it was a responsibility.
“I was very privileged to be able to attend college. It is not something accessible to everyone, and I’m very grateful for what I was able to learn in my four years at Baylor. But there have been just as many impactful moments in my primary education. Each school year can be extremely valuable if you put your mind to making the most of it.”
I couldn’t agree more that the “soft skills” learned throughout my years in the education system were the most important. Did I have a class in “Critical Thinking” or “Teamwork?” No, but each day is filled with moments that require communication skills and thinking outside the box to solve problems.
Fast forward to today, and Bailey is a critical part of our Human Resources team. “I started working for a large corporation as a paralegal after college. While it was technically in the realm of what I majored in at Baylor, I didn’t enjoy it. When you’re at a large corporation it can be hard to really help people on a smaller, individual level. Everything is about profit and efficiency. I wanted to be in the legal field to help others, and I felt so far away from it.”
I asked her how Archway has presented a different experience. “I’m on a team that deals with people directly. We are doing things everyday that affect others. My goal is, hopefully, affecting others for good. I’m not currently on a path that my college education would have carved out, but I’m in a position to enact change in a setting where I can see the difference because I know every person in the organization around me.
“Plus, it makes it even better working in an organization that supports you in putting people first, not the profit.”
We’re certainly happy to have Bailey on our team, and we are better because of her presence! Through everything she has been unwavering in putting others first in how she works with others and makes decisions involving others. It is amazing hearing how her educational years have formulated different outlets for this mentality and landed her here with us!