Dr. Andrea Christian Parks knew what she wanted to be when she grew up from the tender age of 5 or 6, but her parents didn’t push her in one direction or another.
They only stressed putting in the utmost effort, no matter what.
“They said to me, whatever you choose to be, you need to be the best you can be. If you’re going to sweep the streets, be the best street sweeper. Don’t half-do anything,” recalled Parks, 36, OB/GYN with Kaiser Permanente in Snellville.
Not only did the Boston native heed her parents’ words and excel -- finishing undergraduate studies at Hampton University before moving on to Duke University’s School of Medicine – but she also earned her MBA.
“I thought about doing some administrative work eventually at some point in my life,” she said, explaining the reason for pursuing the post-graduate business degree, also from Duke.
Perhaps one day that opportunity will arise, she said, but until then, Parks, who has been with Kaiser since 2006, said enjoys what she’s doing: “I like to be around people and I like to solve problems. I think the best part is when I’m able to actually fix something for somebody. I have a lot of patients who come in with a particular problem. It’s really gratifying to be able to have somebody come in with issues and you can go in and fix it for them.”
Parks has a full life outside of her professional work. She is married and the mother of three children – one four-year-old and a set of two-year-old twins.
Her support network includes a nanny, who is a member of her church, Atlanta Church of Christ in Gwinnett, and a friend. It also helps that her work is fairly predictable, she said.
As for juggling all her responsibilities, Parks said, “I think it’s a work in progress.”
Along with others in her congregation, Parks is also committed to helping supply her church’s food pantry for people in need. Over the last few months, some serious couponing has helped her fulfill that goal: the self-professed bargain shopper recently was able to get 16 toothbrushes for free through coupon deals. She also picked up packs of soap.
Staying on the lookout for specials and discounts also has benefited her own busy life and young family. Parks isn’t particular about places to shop, it’s “wherever I can get the best deal,” she said.
Being budget-conscious is one of the many things she learned from her inspirational mother, Lesley Christian, who is executive director of the Crispus Attucks Children’s Center in Roxbury, Mass.
Christian showed Parks all that was involved in taking care of a family, working outside the home and being active in the community.
“She’s a member of multiple community service organizations and she does it all with grace and poise, and she makes it look easy,” Parks said.