She Works to Inspire, Encourage & Support Others to be the Best they can! Meet Charlotte Junior League President & Author of Black Boy Joy, Charlitta C. Hatch
Charlitta is a passionate advocate for women and children, she’s always looking for opportunities to inspire, encourage, and support others to be the best they can be at home, work, and in the community.
Q: For those in our audience not familiar with the Junior League, can you tell us what its purpose is about along with your role as President?
CH: The Junior League of Charlotte is an organization committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and impacting the community through effective leadership and action of trained volunteers. As President, I serve as the chief spokesperson for our 1600-member organization and Chair our Board of Directors which focuses on the strategic direction of the league. This year is also special as we commemorate 95 years of service to the Charlotte community.
Q: How is Junior League different from other volunteer organizations?
CH: Where do I begin? One of the unique things about the Junior League of Charlotte business model is that we provide our non-profit partners trained volunteers in addition to dollars. Our volunteers are committed, seasoned civic-minded women that know how to roll their sleeves up and help with some of the most complex problems in our city. We are a part of the Association of Junior Leagues International which boasts nearly 300 chapters and 130,000 women that have played a key role in providing vaccinations for children, educating for healthy food for families, securing the right to vote for women, establishing museums for children, and supporting victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and cyber bullying.
Q: How does the Junior League of Charlotte support and improve the community?
CH: For the last 95 years the Junior League of Charlotte has provided more than 1.6 million volunteer hours within the Charlotte community and more than $13.7 million dollars in contributions to the Charlotte Community. Significant projects include: The JLC WearHouse, The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Discovery Place, The Charlotte Nature Museum, Baby Home, The Council for Children’s Rights, Charlotte Speech and Hearing, Thompson Child Development Center, Levine’s Children’s Hospital Family Resource Center, and Reid Park Academy Community School.
Q: What can you members expect when they join?
CH: If you are interested in joining the Junior League of Charlotte there are Open Houses held in the Spring where you can come and learn more information about the requirements. While you need a sponsor to join, there is a process to match you with a sponsor if you do not have one. The sponsor is someone that can serve as a mentor for you as go through your first year and beyond. The first year exposes you to the organization so that you can find which way you would like to impact the community. You also get placed in small groups where you can meet and connect with like-minded women. Many members reflect fondly on their experience in joining the Junior League of Charlotte. Feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to get you connected.
Q: How did you get involved with the Junior League?
CH: I joined the Junior League of Charlotte in 2007. My mentor, Dr. Debra Smith was a member throughout my high school and college days. I was impressed with the impact that the league had in the Charlotte community, the city that I call home and I knew I wanted to be a part of that history. Dr. Smith was my sponsor and helped me understand the organization in great detail prior to applying to join. I was honored to have been selected as a new member of an organization that had such a great impact in my hometown. I never imagined that one day that I would be leading the organization as President.
Q: Tell us about the book you wrote, Black Boy Joy.
CH: In late 2017 after the birth of my son, I looked through our home library to find a specific book featuring a young black boy. I heard the stories told with a variety of other characters, but this was missing for me. I decided to look on-line to see if I could find a book to order because I thought maybe we did not have it in our library. To my surprise, I could not find it. After research, I found that less than 10% of children’s books featured people of color. I also found that less than 3% of all children’s books were written or authored by an African American. A fire ignited in me and within 90 days with the support of an amazing team, Black Boy Joy went from concept to publishing and was gifted to my son for his 1st birthday.
In a world where raising a young black male can be difficult due to stereotypes placed on black boys, I wanted to change the narrative that surrounds them. I want black boys to have the chance to be a kid and do kid things while remaining safe in the community. My goal is to saturate the media, our homes, schools, and communities with positive images of black boys.
Q: When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
CH: I wanted to be the first black woman President of the United States of America.
Q: What’s one lesson you’ve learned in your career that you can share with our audience?
CH: We often stop ourselves from pursuing opportunities for challenges that do not exist. For example, I can’t go for that promotion, I might have a baby. I can’t apply for that job; I might get married. I shouldn’t ask for a raise; I may need to take a leave. As you navigate your career, continue to press forward and deal with the challenges as they come. You will be surprised at what adjustments can and will be made if you deal with the challenges when it’s real-time and not a hypothetical. You may also be surprised that what you think is a challenge, may actually not be a challenge.
Q: Which woman inspires you and why?
CH: I am in awe of my mother. She is the epitome of strength, patience, and grace. She has given me a life that I would never have had if she didn’t choose to love and invest in me. She is now also helping to raise my son, while my husband and I work outside of the home. Thank you, Mama!
Q: What are some of the challenges you feel women face today?
CH: As a black woman, there are still many challenges that are faced as we continue to push forward the woman’s agenda in the working world including equal pay and access to opportunities for advancement. Black women are often forgotten in the movements that advance the woman’s agenda at work and in society. Yet often, black women are the most vocal and/or leading the charge of the movements that leave us behind.
Five Things About Charlitta C. Hatch
1. If you could talk to one famous person past or present, who would it be and why?
Oprah – She has overcome a traumatic childhood, met so many people, been afforded many opportunities, and still appears to be grounded.
2. If you could bring back one TV show that was canceled … which one would you bring back?
Clarissa Explains It All
3. If you could learn the answer to one question about the future, what would the question be?
I have too much faith in God to answer this question. I know that God knows the future and the plans He has for me. Jeremiah 29:11
4. What topic could you spend hours talking about?
In college, I was called Chatty, Charlitta, from Charlotte so I have several topics: Governance, Leadership, Project and Time Management, Building Connections, Racial Inequities in Education, Real Housewives (any franchise), and Beyoncé!
5. What’s your favorite holiday movie?
The Preacher’s Wife