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40 Under 40 Edition

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Shelley Bettis, 35

The WARM Place, Executive Director

Shelley Bettis began her career at The WARM Place as the part-time volunteer coordinator in 2012, became director of events and public relations two years later and executive director in 2017.

“Shelley Bettis has excellent communication and leadership abilities,” said Peggy Bohme, who with Dr. John Richardson founded The Warm Place.

She cited the plan Bettis put together during the pandemic for her staff and volunteers so the families and children could still benefit safely from the organization’s services.

“She had other similar grief centers from across the state asking for her advice,” Bohme said. “As a founder, I could not be more proud of Shelley and all she has accomplished.”

“Shelley is part of the next generation of Fort Worth’s great leaders. She is honest and graceful, even when dealing with some of life’s hardest challenges. She spreads joy wherever she goes. She is dependable and always willing to serve,” said Mary-Margaret Lemons, president of Fort Worth Housing Solutions.

– Paul K. Harral

Where did your first paycheck come from?

From a summer camp where I worked as a counselor during the later parts of high school and beginning of college. I learned many life lessons and skills that I still use to this day. Camp taught me to lead and be part of a team as well as how to be flexible and to think on my feet.

What movie, TV series, play or video game influenced you growing up?

Little Women. I am the youngest of four girls and my sisters are my best friends. They served as my playmates during my childhood and now as sounding boards for some of life’s biggest decisions during my adult years. I never take for granted the relationship I have with each of them, and I am so grateful to my parents for instilling rich family values in each of us. We still do big family dinners almost weekly!

Tell us about an influential person in your life, how they influenced you and why he or she was important.

I would have to say my mom, Marlys Spikes. I just recently had my first child this past year. I think that now that I am a new mom myself, it has made me even more grateful for all that she taught us growing up.

My mom taught me that hard work can make anything possible, she taught me how to care for others, and how to achieve my goals. My mom went back to school for her second degree after having four children. With the loving support of my dad, she was able to make that dream a reality.

She graduated from TCU Nursing school as an RN in 1992, all while continuing to raise her 14-, 11-, 9- and 7-year-old children. She went back to school again to become a Certified Nurse Midwife and eventually went into private practice in Fort Worth.

Watching her follow and succeed in her dreams showed me that you can have it all and do what you love. The passion that she had for her work is something that influenced me significantly.

Shortly after I began volunteering at The WARM Place at the age of 25, I lost my dad. It was then that I learned first-hand how important it is to have the support of your peers after the death of a loved one. My own grief journey and experience drove me to get further involved in The WARM Place and eventually join the staff.

What is your favorite song?

I’m Alright, Kenny Loggins

Tell us about your photo shoot prop.

My props are a framed photo of my dad, Mac Spikes, whose death led me to my career at The WARM Place, and my 9-month-old son, Mac Bettis, named after my dad!

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