HUNTINGTON — Judy Watters has spent the past 45 years of her life dedicated to the Marshall University School of Medicine.
As an administrator at Marshall Health’s department of family and community health, Watters said she has been with the program since it began and has enjoyed seeing it grow.
“It’s been a great journey with Marshall University School of Medicine. I came when they were just developing, it was just the chairman and myself, and so we hired our first front desk, our first nurse, we developed a residency program in family medicine, or Family and Community Health,” she said.
“So we started out with just the chairman and myself and we now have over 200 employees in our department alone.”
Originally from Wayne, Watters came to Huntington to study at Marshall and ended up moving to the city soon after marrying her husband, Keith Watters, just months after starting with the School of Medicine.
It was during her time at Marshall that she was approached with the opportunity to work in administration with the School of Medicine.
Her daily tasks include scheduling, payroll, filing and some networking. But she said her favorite part of the job is helping people and talking with people.
She credited her role with the School of Medicine to a former boss at an employment company no longer in business, who, when the School of Medicine opened at Marshall, encouraged her to apply.
Watters said she is grateful to the former boss, who has since died, for telling her to take a risk in this new field. She recalled walking into work one morning and her boss telling her to not bother putting her bag down, but to walk back out and apply.
“I said, ‘I’m happy here,’ and she said ‘No, I see more potential so I want you to go and apply.’ So I went on and put my application in, I got called back, went into an interview and got the job, and the rest is history,” she said. “The reason why I am here today is because she did see something in me, and also she let me leave when she felt I was doing a good job. She could’ve just kept me.”
Watters loves her job so much that at one point, she actually left to work with another company, but returned only six weeks later.
“An interesting fact is I actually left here after about 10 years and went to another position to make more money and thinking ‘the grass is greener on the other side,’” she said. “It wasn’t busy at all, though. It wasn’t innovative, it wasn’t challenging.”
When she came back, Watters said she felt the short job change was meant to be, because now she is the one who hires people, and she has been around to see some people leave and then return again as she once did.
Since she went through the same experience, Watters said she feels a sense of understanding when people return and is able to welcome them back with compassion.
When she’s not working, Watters spends time with her family and her church.
She has two daughters, Brean Stewart and Bridget Rowsey, and five grandchildren — from Brean, Brycen, 13, Rowan, 12, and Baylen 7; and from Bridget, Cullum, 7, and Shadyn, 4.
Between the five of them, the grandchildren participate in basketball, soccer, dance and football. Judy and Keith Watters are their five grandchildren’s biggest fans, and Judy said the children know their Mimi and Pawpaw will always be cheering them on.
“They know Mimi and Pawpaw will be at every game,” she said.
Watters is also the director of the Women’s Ministry at her church, Christ Temple, for approximately 30 years, and her husband, Keith, is an assistant pastor.
At church, Judy said she is grateful for the people who work with her through outreach and various missions.
“I have the best team around me, I just can’t believe God has brought women who want to serve alongside me,” she said.
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