2002 Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumna Award
Joy E. Paige ’85
While she was in college and her 20s, Joy Paige’s motto was “Life is Not a Dress Rehearsal.” Stop the vivacious and elegant Joy these days – that is, if you can slow her down – and she’ll tell you her new favorite saying: “As we get older, it is those things that we didn’t do that will cause us pain.”
Indeed, tomorrow’s not promised to any of us, which makes Joy all the more focused on making a difference today.
Joy has spent her entire career working in banking and is now vice president and community development officer for Wachovia in Charlotte. In her job and numerous volunteer and board positions, she is making a difference in people’s lives with her message of financial literacy and economic empowerment.
Joy has helped organize an annual economic development seminar for “Strengthening the Black Family Inc.” and worked to create the group’s Youth Entrepreneurial Program, which encourages teenagers to become interested in business. Her sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, honors a Black Business of the Month. Over the years, Joy’s passion for and commitment to the University, through the Black Alumni Reunion and other affiliations, has also made her a standout. She’s a former member of the UNC Board of Visitors and a member of the advisory board of the Sonja Haynes Stone Black Cultural Center.
“As an alumna, she’s always finding ways to help, by promoting the University, with her own gifts, or by offering her talents no matter what the cause,” says he friend Rosalind Fuse-Hall. “When Joy tells you she’s going to do something, it gets done.”
At Wachovia, Joy’s role is to identify business opportunities and leverage the bank’s resources to help the community. She works to make sure the bank meets or exceeds lending and investment goals for low to moderate-income residents and communities. She partners with community organizations to provide affordable housing, and presents workshops and information on financial literacy, money management, and affordable home mortgages. She believes financial literacy and economic self-empowerment are determinants of physical well-being.
This is what Joy considers one of her most rewarding moments: Last year, she gave a seminar at the Mission House for Women in Raleigh. The Mission House is a way station for women recovering from drug dependency, abuse, mental illness, or for those who have been incarcerated. It’s a place where they can get valuable skills needed to make the transition back into society.
The following Sunday, while Joy was at Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh receiving an award from the Raleigh/Wake PanHellenic Council, she scanned the audience. There, in the audience, were some of the women from the Mission House. Decked out in their Sunday best, they had come to see Joy win her honor.
Joy graduated in 1985 with a degree in industrial relations and psychology. Her role models are many. They include Harvey Beech, whose strong will, dedication and commitment she so admires., and her parents. Her father, James, demonstrated his commitment to the Fayetteville State University alumni association, and the alumni house was renamed in his honor. Joy’s mother, Dr. Jane Paige, gave her daughter a passion for art, culture, music and the pursuit of excellence.
As many of you know, we have Joy to thank for spearheading this gala celebration. It was Joy’s idea that you receive the limited edition print by artist Eric McRay. In 1995, Joy commissioned and inspired Eric to paint this poignant portrait. The image has deep meaning to her, as I’m sure it will to you.
In 1987, Johnnie Southerland invited Joy to a meeting of the Black Alumni Reunion. He told her she had something to contribute. “He saw something in me, I guess,” Joy says. Indeed he did. The rest is history.
Joy joined the group, becoming chair in 1995. As always, she elevated the role to new heights. She attracted more young alumni and got countless more “seasoned” alumni involved. These days, Joy’s one of the first people Johnnie calls when he’s searching for a leader.
With that, we say thank you, Johnnie. And thank you, Joy, for all that you do.