Dorothy Leach Wood
208 Ash Avenue Suite 108
Virginia Beach Virginia 23452
Madison College (now James Madison University) Home Economics Major
Professional/business/civic/nonprofit organizations in which you are/have been involved and positions held:
Commonwealth of Virginia Board of Contractors 2003-2011
Hampton Roads Economic Development City of Virginia Beach Representative 2008-2011
Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Board 2008-2009
Virginia Beach Planning Commission 2000-2008
- Chairperson 2004-2006
Virginia Beach Performing Arts Theatre Task Force Chairperson
Virginia Beach Performing Arts Center Foundation – Vice Chairperson
Center of Women’s Research Board member 2004-2007
Virginia Beach Meals on Wheels Co-founder; president and board member
Virginia Beach Foundation Past board member
Virginia Beach Rotary Past president
Virginia Beach Forum Past President; board member
National Association of Women Business Owners Past President Southeastern Virginia Chapter
Women Impacting Public Policy Founding Partner
Commonwealth of Virginia Small Business Advisory Board 2002
Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Business Assistance Women’s Business Task Force 2003
Who were the important mentors you have had and how did they impact your career?
My husband of fifty years has been my most important mentor. He has given me the faith in myself that I could accomplish my goals and has been my biggest cheerleader. He is secure in his own right and has given me guidance and love through the years. When I have had financial problems he has stepped in and made everything “all right” for me.
What do you consider your biggest personal and/or professional accomplishment and why?
A professional accomplishment would have to be starting a successful commercial construction company thirty years ago when my educational background was home economics and when women were not accepted in the field of construction. My first trips to borrow money ended in the banks calling my husband to report they had “lost” my loan documents and would he please come in the sign them although he did not work in my business.
I am proud to have co-founded Virginia Beach Meals on Wheels with former Congressman Owen Pickett. This is a MOW that has been successful for the last thirty five years without accepting any government money. It has just been people helping people.
I am also proud to have worked for the last five years
with former City Councilman Linwood Branch in working to raise the private donations required to fully fund the city’s performing arts center. With the Foundation’s Board of Directors, we surpassed the Capital Campaign goal of $12.5 Million, raising nearly $15 million to set the Center on a firm foundation
What advice would you give to a young person graduating from college this spring?
A very easy question for me as my oldest grandson will be a member of the class of 2010 from Hampden Sydney College. My advice to Jim and to all of the class of 2010 would be to follow your dream and to have a career that will bring joy to your life while enriching the lives of others. It has been such a pleasure to see the diverse, intelligent faces and sense the energy, drive and passion in his class. It is reassuring about the future course of Virginia and the rest of the world.
I would suggest to keep a zest for life and to be optimistic and enthusiastic. I would ask him to continue to learn and to continually ask questions and to seek to expand his information bank by listening to others. I would like for him to view life as a series of choices not sacrifices and be willing to take risk and risk failure. He must be willing to work hard…to put in extra hours when necessary and to do what it takes to get the job done.
How do you achieve a balance between your professional life and your personal life?
My family has always come before my professional life. When my children were younger I worked from home so that I would be with them at the end of the school day and to have the opportunity to be involved in their lives. When my oldest grandchildren were small I kept a crib in my office for their visits and made sure I had little hard hats available for them.
I feel most fortunate to now work with my two adult sons. My husband and I burst with pride when we see their accomplishments.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
When I was growing up there were few choices for women. I always knew that I would go to college but beyond those four years I never had a dream that I could have a successful career. . Our career choices were very limited and the dream was always to find a husband before graduation.
What is your favorite book and why?
I found the Pillars of the Earth a stimulating read for the information of the time period, the harsh role of the church and the riveting plot. I never thought the building of a cathedral could hold my intense interest.
It is my all time favorite book.
The last few months I enjoyed The Help as it was a true reflection of the early 60s; it was a period of unrest for not only the black people but also for the white people.
Shanghai Girls gave an insight to many aspects of Chinese life that I was unaware. The life in China during much of that period was life threatening to the girls; their life in the United States was almost as dire.
Each month the book that I am reading is my favorite!!!
What are two things about you that not many people know?
I would think it would have been my struggle in first grade with teachers who thought no one should write with their left hand and the many hours they tried to make me right handed.
Also, my love of working in my garden and trying to grow vegetables with little success!!!
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