Women's History Month Spotlight : Maya Feemster-Jones

Mar 20, 2023   |  By Fiona Denton

This month the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) highlights Maya Feemster-Jones who has served as the site director for two years at the CEO site in Charlotte, North Carolina. She is a leader in the justice-impacted space and is hard at work to build a more just, equitable future for us all.

Maya shares her thoughts on Women’s History Month and what it means to her.

What part of CEO's work has had the most impact on you?

The opportunity to live out the mission and values daily, in front line service to participants who are fighting to thrive and navigate systems that are not always designed with equity for success and upward mobility.

What does Women's History Month mean to you?

Women’s History Month is a time where women reflect on the advancements of those who have trailblazed and sacrificed for us. A time reserved across the world for women to unite and seize possibilities and seek opportunities for equal treatment and representation. Personally, it’s a clarion call for me to introspectively visit the corridors of my heart, purpose, and passion…to ensure I am serving and representing the advancement of women in excellence to the most esteemed capacity. I am grateful for this opportunity, and to work for an organization that internally celebrates everyone.

Who is a woman from history that more people should know about? How does her story resonate with you?

Corretta Scott-King, a classical vocal performance graduate from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, MA. She was married to civil right activist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and dedicated her life to the advance of perpetuity of his legacy, and more specifically the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for nonviolent social change. Now known as the “King Center”. She successfully raised their children post his assassination, and created forward impact in women’s movements, traveled internationally lecturing on racism and economic injustice in the United States and abroad. Her focus on legacy and hard work eventually materialized in a federal holiday in honor of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr; which was signed into law in 1983.

Is there a woman in your life who has inspired you to get to where you are today?

My Mother is the woman in my life who has inspired me the most. She is one of the most soft-spoken, poised, amazing, Christian, loving persons created. She gives so selflessly of herself in service to her family and anyone she meets. When you engage and depart from her presence, you always leave filled with love, empowerment, and a physically filled with the best southern food you could ever eat. I pray daily to exhibit those same attributes so that my heart always speaks the universal language of love to anyone I meet, serve, or engage.

What advice would you give women who want to follow in your footsteps?

Being self-full is not being selfish! Give, serve, work…but leave a reserve for yourself. An empty cup sits pretty, however, one filled with an overflow on its saucer, is enough to serve and reserve. Also, the sky is not the limit, you can do whatever you desire. Societal norms are not your attributes, you receive words about yourself that you believe ascribe to you. Finally, never be afraid to ask for what you want…no isn’t eternal, it’s another route on your journey to obtain your YES!

More about Maya Feemster-Jones

She received her B.S. in Psychology at Gardner-Webb University, and earned a Master’s of Education specializing in Educational Leadership and Administration from Concordia University Portland. Before working at CEO, Maya worked several different positions at Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. Before that, she worked as a Victim Advocate for the Rape Crisis Center of Gaston County, and as a Program Counselor at Lingston College.

Maya’s education didn’t stop at her college degrees. She has gone on to earn many different certifications, including four different coaching certifications from the Capp Institute and a certification in Nonprofit Management from Duke University. In addition, she also holds a core competency certificate from Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Program, and a Victims Service Practitioner certificate from the North Carolina Victim Assistance Network.