Women to Watch: Public Service Finalists

Meet the Women to Watch award finalists in the Public Service category

Catrecia Bowman

YouthBuild Director/Coordinator | Wilmington Housing Authority

Catrecia Bowman has built her career around the impact that stable housing can have on a person’s life.

With a nearly two-decade career in the public service sector, Bowman now oversees the Wilmington Housing Authority’s YouthBuild program, working with low-income young people. In the program, youths aged sixteen to twenty-four work full-time for nine months toward their GEDs or high school diplomas while learning job skills by building affordable housing in their communities.

In her role, Bowman’s helped more than a hundred young public housing residents in the program during the past two years.

Besides other positions with the housing authority, Bowman also was previously the housing development manager at Southeastern Center for Mental Health, now known as CoastalCare.

Bowman received a degree in English from UNCW and a master’s degree in counseling from Webster University.


Kerri Leonard

Victim/Witness Legal Assistant | New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office

Kerri Leonard draws on her caring and compassionate nature as part of her work, which involves dealing with people in difficult situations.

In her position with the New Hanover County District Attorney’s Office, Leonard  maintains contact with crime victims throughout the legal process to ensure that they have a better understanding of the court system and access to the prosecutors assigned to their cases.

She ensures that victims and their families never feel forgotten as their personal stories are told publicly.


Ashley Loftis

Finance Officer | Town of Burgaw

Burgaw’s finance officer for just two years, and Ashley Loftis has already made an impression with town officials.

When she started with the town, Burgaw was in the middle of several large capital projects that involved the administration of grants, funding agencies, and state and federal reporting requirements. Town officials say she hit the ground running, and the projects never skipped a beat. Loftis also led refinancing most of the town’s existing debt to gain significantly lower interest rates.

In the community, she serves as treasurer for the North Carolina Blueberry Festival, which is held annually in Burgaw.


Linda Reece

Enrollment Research Analyst | UNCW

Linda Reece looks at student enrollment trends at UNCW to help the university figure out its future enrollment strategies. She also works with academic advisors and student affairs officials to develop intervention strategies with freshman and identify the students most likely to have issues transitioning to college.

Reece, who has worked in higher education for more than twenty-two years in North and South Carolina, also is active in several on-campus activities at UNCW.

She serves as the Hillel advisor for Jewish students, gives presentations on conflict management to student organization leaders, and is a National Coalition Building Institute-certified presenter on the topic of “Prejudice Reduction”.


Noreen Slattery

Commissioner | Town of Belville Commissioner

A paralegal for more than twenty years, Noreen Slattery recently entered the political realm.

She had served as a member of the Brunswick Riverwalk Citizens Advisory Board, and because of her work on the board, she was appointed to the Belville Board of Commissioners to fill a vacant seat.

In November, she won a full term after running as a write-in candidate.

For more about the awards and other category finalists, click here.