by Cheryl Cumings
Stephanie Watts is an African-American woman who lives in California. Stephanie is married and strives to have an active and healthy lifestyle. Prior to the closure of everything due to the pandemic, she set a goal to participate in one 5K race a month.
Stephanie began her professional life in banking, worked for many years in vision services, and retired a senior official in transportation planning. She was successful in her career pursuits and, after retiring, decided that she would like to give back. This led Stephanie to join the CCB Capital Chapter early in 2020. Aware of Stephanie’s breadth of skills and commitment to diversity and inclusion, the local chapter’s leadership soon called on her to get involved with different committees.
Today, Stephanie is active in her local legislative and community affairs committee, the access and technology committee, the inclusive diversity committee, Next Generation and the statewide governmental affairs committee led by Jeff Thom. Stephanie lends her knowledge and skills to creating guidelines for the chapter’s email listserv, drafting a constitution and bylaws for the Inclusive Diversity Committee, finding a sponsor for a bill and advocating for accessible and affordable housing in California.
What does she contribute to her chapter? Stephanie stated, “I bring an approach of actively listening to people and to really hear what is being said in order to facilitate good communications. By facilitating good communications between people, we can achieve goals which are mutually beneficial.”
Advocacy is one way of growing stronger. Yet, as Stephanie mentioned, not everyone knows how to do legislative advocacy. Therefore, she believes it is important to take steps to help all members learn how to advocate locally and nationally. In addition to demystifying advocacy, Stephanie hopes that for the future her chapter and ACB national will continue to do the outreach needed to further diversify membership. “I hope we can promote a welcoming space for everybody.”