By Linda S. Morris
The Macon Telegraph.
Paula Sims discovered her career by following her heart and passions along the way.
Sims, 49, is the CEO of Community Development Systems Inc. in Macon, which she founded about nine years ago.
The business has a team of clinicians and professionals including social workers, behavioral specialists, substance abuse counselors and others who primarily work with children and adolescents. The specialists work with crime victims, do child and family assessments and offer workshops and training affecting the workplace.
Sims “is very driven, but she’s driven in a very compassionate way,” said Alan Lischer, with Alan A. Lischer CPA Inc., who began working with Sims one year after she started her business. “She has an intense desire to take care of those around her.”
Sims’ brother Will Butler is the chief operating officer and marketing director of the company and has worked with her from the beginning.
“When we are at work, it’s a very business relationship,” he said. “I do report to her, and I carry out the duties and responsibilities. … It’s not really tough to work for her simply because I believe in what she’s doing.”
Sims was born and raised in Macon as the oldest of three children and the only girl. Lots of aunts and uncles and other relatives were close by.
“I grew up in a strong family environment,” Sims said. “My mother was very, very active with children in our community.” Her mother was a pastor, “so we were heavily involved with the church all our lives.
“I would say my relationship with Christ was really important, and I would say education was always a very huge factor in our family.”
Her first job was working at the Dairy Queen on Pio Nono Avenue when she was in high school. She was a cheerleader and played a little basketball. But her favorite sport was recreational league volleyball.