Wayne-Duplin BPW names Woman of Year
By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 10, 2009 1:46 PM
District Court Judge Carol Jones, left, of Kenansville, was honored Thursday night as the Wayne-Duplin Business and Professional Women's Club Career Woman of the Year. Presenting the award is Marsha Lewis, chairwoman of the Career Woman of the Year Committee.
MOUNT OLIVE -- District Court Judge Carol Jones of Kenansville was honored Thursday night as the Wayne-Duplin Business and Professional Women's Club Career Woman of the Year.
Ms. Jones will compete on the state level where the local club has captured the honor for the past two year.
Marsha Lewis, chairwoman of the Career Woman of the Year Committee, said Ms. Jones well represents the spirit and intent of what the award stands for
Mrs. Lewis is the current state chairwoman for the Career Woman of the Year program. Catherine Tripplet won the state honor last year and Sandra Torrans, who is president of the local club, won two years ago.
"A lot of people are up on a pedestal and they can't seem to do anything but look down when they have a role like she (Ms. Jones) has," Ms. Lewis said. "But she does reach down to students in schools, to children, to people in her church and to adults. She is that role model because she wants the best from everybody and that is, I think, very commendable for her.
"She is willing to come and be involved in things especially when youths are involved."
A Duplin County native, Ms. Jones was graduated from James Kenan High School in Warsaw. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned her law degree from the North Carolina Central University School of Law.
She returned to Duplin County in 1994 and served six years as an assistant district attorney before being elected to the Fourth Judicial bench in 2000 for Duplin, Jones, Onslow and Sampson counties. She was the first woman to be elected to the bench in the district.
She was re-elected in 2004.
Ms. Jones comes from a family of 13 siblings, most of whom still live in Duplin County. She is married the Rev. Victor Wilson.
"Being nominated and chosen as their Woman of the Year is a great honor, especially here in my home county (Duplin)," Ms. Jones said. "It is a great honor these women have chosen me. I didn't know I would be nominated. I know my mother (who died in Sept.) would have loved it.
"This encourages me to keep going. This recognition, although that is not what I was doing it for, it encourages me to keep going."
Ms. Jones said her interest in law goes back many years.
"She (her mother) was so proud," she said. "She loved to campaign with me, the parades, fundraisers, church and civic events. She loved campaigning. She loved to push me out there. She was very proud."
In thanking club members for the honor, Ms. Jones said she wanted them to know that she was "just trying to do the will of God. I try to be professional when I am in the courtroom, treat everyone with fairness, respect and not talk down to them just because I am a judge and everywhere I go I try to encourage young people."
Ms. Jones said she would never forget one time when she was at an elementary school.
"They had all the little kids sitting cross-legged and I was standing there by the teacher," she said. "They knew a judge was coming, but when the teacher said this is the judge this one little girl came up on her knees like she was shocked. So at least she saw that a female could also be a judge."
Ms. Jones said she would not call herself a motivational speaker, but that it is something she is working toward.
"I mostly stay busy outside the courtroom in speaking engagements, whether it is at churches, schools," she said. "I have spoken several times in Wayne County and all across my district."
Ms. Jones is active in the Women's Forum of North Carolina, the Boys and Girls Club of Onslow County and works as a volunteer with teen courts in the district.
"We have teenagers who served as the lawyers and jurors and I volunteer as the judge," she said.
She also is active in her sorority and church.
In awarding the honor the club looks at a person's involvement in the community, what they see as a woman's place in the business world, advice they would give to young women starting out and in what way women can contribute the most in their community, Ms. Lewis said.
"Those are some of the things that we look for," Ms. Lewis said. "We also are looking for ways we can elevate the standards in business and the professions. We look for bringing about the spirit of cooperation among business and professionals, especially looking at women, leadership ability and behind-the-scenes workers that are busy making a difference in promoting the interest of business and professional women everywhere. We are looking at opportunities for women through education."
"The whole goal is to promote women in the professional world and to make sure we are doing things that do that and that we have people in place are those career women who can make an impact for others. So they can see what they are doing and they will want to be involved in that professional role of women. We want women to be involved in their communities promoting professionalism and being that professional."