Shana is our service manager here at Leafscape, which means she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of our team. She works with our on-the-ground teammates to help them serve our clients well and keep our plants happy! We sat down and asked Shana some questions so you all can get to know the woman “behind the curtain!”
If you’ve met any of our teammates while they are out and about caring for our plants, you’ve seen a little bit of Shana. She trains and supports them to make sure you get the best possible quality of service.
Question: How did you start getting interested in plants?
Shana: When I was 14 years old, I started working at Dunbar Community Garden – it’s been renamed since – here in Little Rock, as part of a life skills class. We grew food, learned to cook a little and I learned about planting. During the second year of the two-year program, we were supposed to train the new life skills students that came along – but I ended up staying for six years! I became the youth supervisor of sorts, even though I was the same age! After I graduated high school, I knew I didn’t want to work in an office setting and I knew I loved plants. I thought maybe I’d open my own community garden.
Question: So what did you study in college?
Shana: I started at the University of Arkansas – Pulaski Technical College with a scholarship for two years. After that, I went to the University of Arkansas and got a horticulture degree and everyone thought I was nuts. They kept telling me, “You’re not gonna make any money! You’re crazy!” I worked as a paid student with the horticulture department where I was responsible for taking care of our landscape areas around campus. I got experience with blooming plants, weeding and I grew to love making things pretty!
Photo courtesy of Shana Ricks
Question: How did you connect with Leafscape after graduation?
Shana: Right when I graduated and my son was very little, my plan was to hit the ground running and work in a nursery or for a landscape company. I never imagined doing what I do now! A college professor had mentioned Leafscape to me and I actually saw Tina (the former owner of the business) working indoors during my summer internship and didn’t connect the dots. I felt like I would never work indoors after so much experience outside!
I started sending out applications but nothing turned up so I thought about Leafscape. I actually got lost on my way there and called them. Robin (current owner) actually answered and they weren’t hiring but they would take my information. Three hours after I met her, she called me and asked me to officially interview the next day! God had a different plan. I was 21 years old when I started and kind of worked without a title as I was getting to know the staff and getting my feet wet as a service manager.
Question: What was it like to be fresh out of college in this role?
Shana: I was still learning all about indoor plants and still meeting everyone, so, honestly, it was challenging. Everyone I managed was older than me and more experienced at that time. I have come a long way! I didn’t think I’d be there long but I’m not a quitter. I knew I came there for a reason and I was going to stay my course – and I’ve been here for eight years!
Question: What’s one of the best parts of your job?
Shana: One of my favorite things that I get to do is engage with my team. I love to be hands-on. If they have an issue it’s my issue, too. Sometimes I fill in when they’re out. I feel like I’m the grandmother and they’re the parents and I get to take care of my “grandplants!” I try to let them figure things out and not always tell them the answers so they can learn and problem-solve. I love our team – they’re eager to learn and happy to be here.
Question: Why should someone choose Leafscape as their plant provider?
Shana: We really do care. We care about the quality of the plants and our interactions with our clients. We want to build relationships and we often become family! We get asked to lunch and become part of their team, too. When I do quality assurance checks on plants, our clients will often ask where their usual teammate is. Our clients respect and love what we do. And they know that if something’s not right, we are going to do our best to make it right.