First earning a Bachelor of Arts in business administration from Paul Quinn College in Waco, Texas, in 1981, Doris Laverne Jackson-Hardwick was inspired to a career working in veterans affairs by her father, who worked for a hospital for 43 years and did influential work with labor unions. Her father taught her that “it’s not about you” and encouraged her to be of service to others. She began her career with the local Veterans Affairs Regional Office in 1983, where she served in a variety of roles, including accounts receivable clerk, veterans’ benefits counselor and veterans’ service representative. Moving to El Paso in 2007, she attained the role of military services coordinator with the IDES program in 2008, a position she held until her retirement in 2015.
Throughout her 32-year tenure with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Ms. Jackson-Hardwick also spent the last 10 of those years working with the Department of Defense in Virginia. Noting that her favorite part of her job was the learning opportunities she had, she pursued further education at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, ultimately graduating with a Master of Arts in management and leadership in 2015. Attributing much of her success to the lessons she learned from her father, Ms. Jackson-Hardwick also credits her own ability to pause and listen to her clients, as well as her innate empathy for others as reasons behind her many accomplishments.
Ms. Jackson-Hardwick is proud of the results she has achieved through her hard work, tirelessly advocating for veterans to help them get the benefits they deserve. Throughout her career and into her retirement, she has been motivated by her desire to help others and she is always gratified when she can bring a smile to the face of the person she is working with. One moment that stands out to her was a time where a veteran was having an argument with one of the other employees in her department. Ms. Jackson-Hardwick stepped in, because she knew the veteran, and was able to get to the root of the problem, which was issues with his health and medication, and refer him to a patient advocate.
Looking toward the future, Ms. Jackson-Hardwick hopes to continue helping others, one individual at a time, noting that if she can help somebody then her labor is not in vain. To that end she has put thought toward plans to network with a variety of agencies and companies to put together a summit for younger adults who are struggling to adapt to life in the workforce. Furthermore, she is a life member of the EL Paso chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, a role she attained in 2007. Above all, Ms. Jackson-Hardwick would advise young and aspiring professionals that the best things they can do are believe in themselves and understand the importance of other people.
Happily married to her husband John, who served in the military for 22 years, since 2007, Ms. Jackson-Hardwick’s family also includes her three nieces and nephews and several grandnieces and grandnephews. She came to treat her nieces and nephews as her own after her sister passed away from lupus, and her grandnieces and grandnephews all call her “Aunt Granny.” In her free time, she has been active with Sigma Beta Delta, an international business honor society; her local Community Baptist Church; and the First Baptist Church in Horizon City, Texas, where she spent time as the youth director for the vacation Bible school.