0

Businesswomen share stories of persistence, positivity

Photo by Jim Massara
Georgia Power’s June Wood fields an audience question while Debbie Walker of Blankenship & Walker Printing listens at Thursday’s Clayton County Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

Photo by Jim Massara Georgia Power’s June Wood fields an audience question while Debbie Walker of Blankenship & Walker Printing listens at Thursday’s Clayton County Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

COLLEGE PARK — Four Clayton County businesswomen gave their sisters — and a few brethren as well — pep talks Thursday at a chamber of commerce luncheon spotlighting their achievements.

The speakers were Clayton News Daily publisher Bonnie Pratt; Atlanta Technical College President Alvetta Thomas; Blankenship & Walker Printing owner Debbie Walker; and Georgia Power Metro South External Affairs Manager June Wood.

If there were common threads to the four women’s stories, they were persistence and positivity.

Pratt, for example, landed her first job with the News Daily while still young, even though they wouldn’t hire her at first. She eventually became the News Daily’s first female publisher.

A native of Atlanta’s south side and a graduate of Forest Park High School, Pratt also gave a shout-out to fellow alumni.

“If there’s anybody here from the Clayton County school system, stand proud,” she said to audience applause.

Thomas, the first African-American president of a Georgia technical college, worked her way up through the ranks of teaching even though initially she was reluctant to enter the profession. Her path, she said, “was always guided by an urge to help people.”

Thomas advised the audience to always do your best “because you never know who is watching,” to not let “perceived obstacles” get in the way and to “believe your contributions matter.”

Walker — who joked about ingratiating herself to her colleagues by baking for them — gave perhaps the most animated presentation. Raised by a single mother, she worked for the Federal Aviation Administration before moving to Blankenship & Walker. She said passion for her business always came first and the money would take care of itself.

“I love what I do,” said Walker.

Wood, who credited her faith and mentoring from others for her success, also thanked Georgia Power’s parent The Southern Company for supporting women and minorities.

“Serve others more than you serve yourself, and everything else will fall into place,” said Wood.

The luncheon was sponsored by the Women in Business Council of the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce.