07/03/11 — Helms: BPW State Woman of the Year

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Helms: BPW State Woman of the Year

By From staff reports
Published in News on July 3, 2011 1:50 AM

Joanna S. Helms, president of the Wayne County Development Alliance, has been selected by the N.C. Federation of Business & Professional Women's Club as its 2010-11 State Career Woman of the Year.

Mrs. Helms was selected by a group of three judges from a field of seven candidates representing local clubs across the state. The award was presented during the organization's recent state conference in Wilmington.

She was sponsored by the Wayne/Duplin BPW Club.

Ms. Helms was the first female in the history of Wayne County to be selected to lead the county's economic development agency, and also the youngest, serving since 2000 as president, and prior to that as vice president.

During this time, she has revised job descriptions to create equality for candidates, encouraged staff to be formally trained in economic development basics, and to have pay reflect the work. She has been a mentor to a number of young women both at the Development Alliance and at other organizations, volunteering her personal time to talk one on one with young women about her experiences.

She has encouraged her own employees and other women to apply for the "Leadership Wayne" program sponsored by the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, which is a year-long program to groom and expose rising leaders in the community to all aspects of the County.

She has worked tirelessly and effectively to elevate the standards for women in business and the professions, BPW officials said.

BPW/NC and its local member clubs strive to provide "professional and personal growth opportunities and to promote equity for North Carolina women in the workplace," the officials said.

Mrs. Helms is a graduate of Western Carolina University with a bachelor degree in planning. She also attended graduate school at N.C. State University and is a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at Oklahoma University.

She has completed other courses, such as N.C. Rural Economic Development Institute, Leadership N.C. and Leadership America N.C.

In June 2008, she was named the North Carolina Economic Developer of the Year. In Wayne County she is involved in many activities including Goldsboro Rotary Club, Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation, Military Affairs Committee, Meals on Wheels and Wayne County Young Life Committee.

She is married to James Timothy "Tim" Helms and has two sons, Adrian and Lucas.