Name: Dr. Jacqueline D. Wilson.
Company: Three Rivers Adoption Council
Industry: Child Welfare
Years in this Industry: 35
1. Why did you choose this profession?
The field of social work actually chose me. I initially wanted to be an educator, but circumstances led me to a Major in social work. It didn’t take long for me to realize that working with hurt children and struggling families was my calling. As I began to recognize that the majority of children involved in the child welfare system were Black, I knew it was my ministry to be an advocate for them.
2. What role has the support of other women played in your success?
Maya Angelou wrote, ‘Now you understand just why my head’s not bowed. I don’t shout or jump about or have to talk real loud. When you see me passing, it ought to make you proud’. This line epitomizes the most significant woman in my life; my mother,who is celebrating 95 years of age. She is the guiding force that pushes me to reach beyond boundaries, and to do so with dignity and passion.
3. What does receiving this award mean to you?
I am truly humbled to receive this award. There is no greater accolade than to be recognized and celebrated by other women of color. It not only validates the work I am doing on behalf of children and families, but also serves as a reminder that there is still much work to be done. Because of this honor, my strength is renewed to continue making an impact on the lives of those I serve.
4. What would you tell other women about overcoming obstacles?
We must remember the question is not what happens if I encounter obstacles; but rather, how do I respond when obstacles occur. This is not to say that we walk around paranoid about what might happen, but we must be emotionally, physically and spiritually prepared for the inevitability. For women, we must acknowledge that we are not super women and include other women in our circle who can lift us up and understand that iron sharpens iron.
6. What was the bravest thing that you have ever done that got you where you are today?
One of the bravest things I’ve done was returning to school to obtain my Ph.D. at the age of 51. Joining a cohort of individuals the same age as my children, plus being the only person of color in class, initially made me question my sanity for attempting this endeavor. Following my own advice, I pulled ‘I Can Do It’ strength from family and friends, and the memories of those who endured the struggle before me to persevere.
On May 4, 2019, we will be honoring Dr. Wilson along with 18 other women who have been selected for their contributions to other women. For early registration, go to: https://onyxwoman.com/vip-onyx-woman-leadership-award/