Neelie Carroll joined Dotted Line in Richmond in late 2021 as the agency’s chief of staff, after spending several months as a Charleston-based virtual assistant for our CEO, Lauren Sweeney. A year later, she moved into a new assignment as a project manager dedicated to the agency’s Worksite Labs account. Her optimism and organizational mind are essential fixtures of the DLA team.
Not to be too literal, but I’m a wife, a dog mom, a sister and a daughter. I’m also a friend. And I feel like friendships the past couple of years have become super important – and I’d rather have two to three to four really, really good friends that are more like family, instead of just having tons of friends, period.
We lost my mother-in-law a year and a half ago. She had COVID-19, so it wasn’t really expected. And I literally couldn’t have gotten through it without my friends. I have a couple of close girlfriends in Charleston, and they were lifesavers – just there every time I called. They became really important to me – and then I ended up moving away. It was interesting that I was the one who chose to leave Charleston, because I never thought I would be the one to move away.
When we were there, I was trying to start my own business: a fully mobile coffee bus. I love coffee and I love food: I think they have a way of bringing people together. That’s how you get to know people. I feel like a lot of people get to know each other over drinks, but I’m for coffee or a good meal with somebody. That’s how my family bonded growing up. We always went out to dinner together, and we would just sit for hours and talk.
I managed a coffee shop in Charleston for a couple of years, and that’s probably my favorite job I’ve ever had. The coffee bus is still my dream – it would be amazing. It’s on hold for now, but who’s to say it’s not in the future?
While I was trying to get that business off the ground, I started with Dotted Line as Lauren’s assistant part-time, just to make some money. Then Lauren said, “I’m interested in hiring you full time. Would you be willing to move to Richmond?”
And so my now-husband, Travis, and I just started having a conversation, and he’s so beyond supportive with everything that I do. We owned a house there, but, other than that, we thought, why not? Let’s do something new, go on an adventure. We’d grown all that we could in Charleston. So I moved up here literally one week after we got married.
Those first couple of months, my friends were really great about reaching out and just checking in, and I made sure I connected with them and called my family on a regular basis. Travis and I are still kind of figuring it out, being in a new city and because he works from home. I have people here at the office, but he doesn’t have a social outlet, so I’m trying to get creative and figure out what that looks like.
Through Dotted Line, I try to be very vulnerable and open and kind and see what relationships I can build here. My desk neighbors, Casey and Claire, are amazing. They’ve been a really good support system, and we’ve hung out a couple of times outside of work and gotten to know each other. We all work very hard, but I think it’s important to have laughter and not take work too seriously. I think that working really hard can coexist with having a good time.