Checking In

WILMA voices throughout the decades

Checking In Main

Through its magazine, digital stories, events, and leadership programs, WILMA has shined a spotlight on thousands of women in the region over the past twenty years.

Here are just a few who have been highlighted, starting with the woman who started it all.

2013joyallennowJOY ALLEN

February 2013 – “ONE DECADE LATER: A Founder’s Reflection”

THEN: WILMA magazine founder

NOW: Allen remains in Wilmington, serving as head of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in The State of North Carolina

ALLEN started the magazine in February 2003 to share stories of the community, and more specifically, the stories of local women and their successes and talents.

“Of course, I hoped that WILMA would endure, but what is surprising to me about this anniversary is how old it makes me feel to have a child who is twenty,” she said earlier this year.

During the magazine’s tenth anniversary coverage in 2013, Allen recalled that she and her staff spent hours brainstorming and developing the magazine’s concept.

Their initial vision called for a magazine “for women, by women, and about women.”

Each cover featured artwork by a local female artist. Each issue aimed to celebrate the diversity in age, race, and socio-economic background of women in Wilmington.

“We were very adamant that it not be fluff but serious, well written, and not like national women’s magazines,” she said in 2013.

In 2007, Allen sold the magazine – and sister publication Greater Wilmington Business Journal – to Rob Kaiser, who remains the current publisher.

After leaving WILMA, Allen became the first executive director of the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of North Carolina.

Ahead of the publication’s twentieth anniversary, Allen, who still lives in Wilmington, recently took stock of WILMA’s continually evolving role.

Starting out you wanted to not only highlight women but also the diversity that makes up that population, looking back why was this important?

“The simple answer is that it was the right thing to do, the just thing to do. I grew up during the civil rights movement and the feminist movement and was strongly influenced by both. I would say I am keenly sensitive to the injustices inflicted on women and on people of color, especially Black Americans, and am motivated to do what I can to help our society evolve and become more enlightened and just. WILMA provided a platform for me to do that and hopefully have an expansive impact.”

In 2015, WILMA magazine grew to include its Women to Watch Leadership Initiative helping mentor and grow women leaders, what were your thoughts on the creation of this program?

“Kudos to WILMA for launching this brilliant program. While the magazine continues to influence hearts and minds, this program offers a more direct and concrete means to elevate the status of women. It also takes celebrating the success of local women to a new level.”

Anything else you would like to mention about your time with WILMA, the past ten years, or looking ahead?

“The years that I was publisher of WILMA were some of the most exciting and stimulating of my life. Through the magazine, I became acquainted with some truly remarkable women, not only those about whom we wrote, but also the talented writers and staff with whom I worked. … I feel confident that WILMA has secured her place in the local community. The magazine is part of the very fabric of Wilmington life now and it is my hope she will be carrying on long after I am gone.”


December 2010 – “At Work”

THEN: Assistant director for Cameron Arts Museum

NOW: Executive director for Cameron Arts Museum

Brennan was named CAM’s head in 2011, helping to see over its continued growth in exhibits and programming. After working with the museum over thirty years, Brennan plans to retire March 31. Deputy director HEATHER WILSON will serve as interim executive director.


December 2011 – “Behind the Scenes”

THEN: Played the role of Brooke Davis on One Tree Hill

NOW: TV and film actress, producer and activist

On the heels of the drama series One Tree Hill wrapping up its final season, Bush sat down with WILMA to talk about her time filming in Wilmington and becoming active on issues affecting both the area’s environment and North Carolina. “A long time ago, someone told me I could make a difference and I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to try.’ And even if you change one person’s world, that counts. You don’t have to change the whole world,” she said in 2011. “To me, I look at it as a ripple effect.”


March 2012 –“10 Tips on How to Get What You Want”

THEN: Regional director of the Small Business and Technology Development Center at UNCW

NOW: Principal of Scarlett Ink Media

For the cover story in 2012, Scarlett shared negotiating tips with readers including knowing your priorities and reviewing each negotiating situation to reflect on how to improve for the next time.

“(People) tend to take each one singularly and don’t realize that it’s a process to get better, because it’s not an overnight skill. We, as women, have an advantage because some of this stuff is innate within us. So, we just have to bring it out and utilize it in a way we’re not accustomed to,” she advised at the time.

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Categories: Features