Women’s History Month celebrations

March 2018


March is nearly over, and Women’s History Month celebrations are ending. The NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement (NCCFWYI) has recently received nominations of outstanding women in our state who have made contributions in a variety of areas.

North Carolina women and youth are doing amazing things in our state! Did you know there is a museum in Asheville dedicated to the history of women in NC? Did you know the angel portraits displayed in the movie, Same Kind of Wonderful as Me, were done by a North Carolinian named Anne Nielson who lives in Charlotte, NC? I certainly didn’t know that Rocky Mount is home to a 99- year old, Ms. Mae Woods Bell, champion and founder of the Rocky Mount Children’s Museum. These are just a few of the many names that were nominated by Council for Women Advisory Board for their contributions to our state.

As the advocacy agency charged with assessing and communicating issues and needs of women and youth in North Carolina, NCCFWYI will uplift and celebrate our state’s heroines year-round. That’s right. Effective immediately, we are launching NCCFWYI’s Salute to Women and Youth Achievers.

To kick off our program, I am highlighting the following individual achievers, who are dedicated to improving lives and their community!


Heide Swann and Gems Ouizad are a mother/daughter team that started aSHEville Museum, a premier women's cultural museum in the southeast and one of only a handful of women's museum in the country. The museum supports the talents, stories, and legacies of women and girls. You can journey through their collection of intimate exhibits to experience the accomplishments and stories of women and girls in narratives ranging from historic to contemporary, and from local to global.






Kierrah Keaton has been in the Fayetteville Cumberland Youth Council for three years. She is the perfect example of an adolescent who came into the youth council unaware of the high impact this organization would have on her personality and leadership abilities. Kierrah is what you call a female youth trailblazer who sets the tone for her peers around her. This leader was once a normal youth council member who came to meetings and went to volunteer events. However, as time passed she has strayed from being a part of the group to becoming a more independent member. Kierrah takes the initiative to come to the office and help in any way she can to further insure the future of FCYC. She doesn’t wait for anybody to tell her to get any work done, and because of this, she has been promoted to Student Advisor. The job of the Student Advisor is to be the overseer of the other council members. If I’m not available, the Student Advisor symbolizes that line of communication between me and the council, while making sure everybody knows their responsibilities. Also, an unsaid job is to help develop closer relationships in the council, because in order for us to come together and carry out the work we do, we need to feel like a family to make things more natural. Kierrah juggles all these duties surpassing my expectations each and every time with a nonstop humble and gracious attitude. Being a trailblazer means being an innovative person who finds new methods to reaching accomplishments while paving the way for others to follow suit. Showing leadership through taking initiative, communicating and cooperating with other council members, and reaching the goals of FCYC through various creative methods without letting any hardships get in the way is how Kierrah Keaton represents being a trailblazer. Influencing current and future youth council members will be the result of her hard work and dedication for making our community a better place for everyone.





Carrie Peele is President of Mako Documents. A document management company that stores, scans, shreds and freeze dry wet document. In 1990, with no capital other than three credit cards, Carrie Peele bought her first limousine on credit for $15,000. That was the start of Blue Diamond Limousine & Sedans & Bus , a Raleigh-based, worldwide transportation company that she built into a multimillion-dollar business. She sold that business in 2014. Named as a Top 50 Entrepreneur for the Triangle Region, Carrie is exceptional at taking a project from strategic to tactical. She has a reputation for strategic vision, calculated risk taking, and sound business capabilities. A networking guru, Carrie is one of the most recognized and influential business persons in the Triangle. She has received several awards for her philanthropic efforts with charities and non-profits. To help other women find success in business, she founded the Triangle Power Lunch, which draws approximately 225 attendees to its networking luncheon meetings. She is the Chair for Raleigh-Durham Woman's Advantage® Forum for over 3 years. A forum of woman owned business’s that has a structured format to build their own Million $$ company.



Thanks to all the contributions these women have made to our state. I truly believe women deserve to be recognized and celebrated for more than one month.  Take a minute now and thank that parent, sister, neighbor, teacher, co-worker, boss, librarian, mentor and other women who do their best every day to make our lives better. We will celebrate the contributions of women and youth every month.

Mary Williams-Stover

Executive Director, NC Council for Women and Youth Involvement