Empowering People Through Mentoring

Darryl Rhymes Photo: Urban News

Darryl Rhymes Photo: Urban News

By Johnnie Grant

Asheville native Darryl Rhymes is the son of Harriett and Clifton W. Rhymes.

After graduating from Asheville High School and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, he earned a BS in Business Management and Administration from UNC Asheville.

Darryl worked several years in the Human Resources department at the Asheville Citizen Times before accepting the position as Human Resources Assistant at A-B Tech in June 2008. After a few years he was promoted to Employment Specialist, and he is also currently an Adjunct Instructor teaching Job Interview Skills, People Skills, and Human Relations (Supervision) classes at the school.

In 2009, Darryl was selected as the A-B Tech employee of the month, and last year was nominated to be employee of the year. In 2012 he successfully completed the college’s Executive Leadership Institute. Darryl says that teaching the jobs interview skill class “puts him in the stratosphere” by empowering people through his teaching methodologies.

“About four years ago, when the economy was deplorable, I taught the class at the library on Merrimon Avenue,” he says. The free class was well-attended, and now he shares his knowledge by teaching employment skills at Jubilee, Green Opportunities, and high schools throughout the community. In May, he taught at the Western Carolina Rescue Ministries.

Darryl notes that Kaye Waugh, Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development at A-B Tech, was instrumental in the start-up of his teaching at the school. “She has been great as a mentor and supervisor,” he says, and continues to be supportive. During her term as president of the Western North Carolina Human Resources Association in 2013, he was elected to serve as its Diversity Chair. Now he is on the steering committee for the WNC Diversity Engagement Coalition, a network of anchor institutions dedicated to engaging a diverse and inclusive workforce in the region.

With all his educational skills and community volunteer work, when asked about his true passion Darryl says, without any hesitation, “Singing.” He wanted to be a singer since he was a teenager. He recalls that he struggled trying to hit notes on sheets of music, and soon discovered his personal methods of singing were not moving his voice in the right direction.

When he enrolled at UNC Asheville, he took several semesters of voice classes as well as private lessons with voice teacher Paul Templon. He soon realized his dream was achievable, as he began to hear his voice ripening and getting stronger—as well as growing to a range of 4-1/2 octaves. In addition to the teachers who shaped his voice, Darryl acknowledges his mother for her support of his aspirations—and her endurance. Now, he says, she is very proud of all his achievements.

Darryl Rhymes has a well-developed philosophy of life: “We must embrace and help people. Too often the trend in our society is for people to be separated from each other, to be cut off from the greater mass of humanity, and in doing so is to be dehumanized a little bit more with each step.

“I have been gifted with opportunities and forums to truly embrace and advocate for people and causes I believe in. So I ask that you take just a few minutes each day and do a kindness for another person. While it can be a temporary inconvenience, it has many humble advantages. It can be something small, or the start of something big. Then ask them to pay it forward.”

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