General District Court, City of Richmond
400 N 9th Street
John Marshall Courts Bldg.
Richmond. Virginia 23219
BBA- College of William and Mary (1979)
J.D. – College of William and Mary (1982)
Professional/business/civic/nonprofit organizations in which you are/have been involved and positions held:
Chief Judge – 13th Judicial District (1994-1996); Member National Advisory Board- Hardcore Drunk Driving Judicial Education Project; Virginia Association of District Court Judges – Board of Directors; Old Dominion Bar Association; National Bar Association; Richmond Bar Association; Virginia Association of Black Women Attorneys; Order of the White Jacket – College of William and Mary; Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity – Wythe Chapter; Virginia Heroes – mentor; Richmond Public Schools – volunteer; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – past President; Richmond Chapter of Girlfriends, Inc. – past President; Midlothian Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. – past President; James River Chapter of the LINKS, Inc.- Program Chair.
Who were the important mentors you have had and how did they impact your career?
My grandmother, Birdie Spencer Hairston and my parents, Irvin and Ida Hairston are my most important mentors because they taught me to always strive for excellence. They actually made me believe there was nothing I could not accomplish if I set my mind to it. Throughout my life, I have been blessed to have many other family members, teachers, and friends who have also provided encouragement and support for my education and career. Two significant mentors from the legal field are the Hon. Margaret Spencer – Richmond Circuit Court and the Hon. Aundria Foster – Newport News Circuit Court. Both of them have offered invaluable friendship, guidance and inspiration to me ever since I was in law school.
What do you consider your biggest personal and/or professional accomplishment and why?
I consider my volunteer work on the National Advisory Board for the Hardcore Drunk Driver Judicial Education Project my biggest professional accomplishment. The Judicial Guide is a comprehensive resource outlining judicial challenges, effective strategies and model programs for handling driving under the influence cases. It has been recognized nationally as an effective tool for judicial education and offers a practical guide for judges in all fifty states.
What advice would you give to a young person graduating from college this spring?
I would tell young people graduating from college to maintain their integrity As they strive for success. Always look for opportunities to make a positive difference in someone’s life and you will be surprise at how it will enhance your own life.
How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?
I always start every day with a positive affirmation to strengthen my spirit. As I prioritize all of my many responsibilities of the day, I strive to keep my core values of family, hard work, integrity and respect as the cornerstones of everything I do. It is amazing how everything works together when you identify and maintain your own personal values.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a lawyer. Growing up I loved to watch Perry Mason and as a child I played “Court” with my brothers and sisters and our friends.
What is your favorite book or movie and why?
My favorite movie is the Wizard of Oz. As a child I would wait with gleeful anticipations when the Wizard of Oz came on T.V. once a year. I still watch it all the time because it teaches you everything you need to know about life. If you have a brain, a good heart, and courage you can accomplish the incredible. As my daughter recently told me, you can chase your dream “somewhere over the rainbow, but there is no place like home”!
What are two things about you that not many people know?
Many people do not know that I have been a volunteer tutor/mentor continuously since I was a freshman in high school. I won’t say how many years that has been!