Welcome to the New Year of Women and Community Politics. We are starting out with uplifting the voices of rural Virginia. Joining us today are:
Finale Johnson Norton was born and raised in Exmore, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. She will be a tireless advocate for working families in the General Assembly because her own family had to work hard to make ends meet. Her mom cleaned homes before earning her cosmetology license later in life, and her father shucked clams and laid ground cable. In the hard times that followed her father’s death in a truck accident when Finale was in eighth grade, Social Security helped her family get through. Through high school, Finale worked various jobs before and after school to make ends meet. Thanks to Virginia public schools, Finale had a chance to further her education. After graduating from Northampton High School, she attended Hampton University and earned her Bachelor of Science degree.
For the next 20 years as a Navy wife and businesswoman, she resided in Norfolk, remaining close to her family members in Norfolk and on the Eastern Shore. Finale began working at Bank of America (FKA) Sovran Bank in 1988. Always advocating for inclusion and equity, she served on Bank of America’s Diversity Council and was an executive sponsor for the company’s Lead for Women initiative and LGBTQ initiative. During her 26-year tenure at Bank of America, Finale worked her way up to becoming an executive responsible for more than 3,500 employees. She then worked at a global consulting company before retiring from corporate America. She has since moved back home to the Eastern Shore to be closer to her family.
Over the years, Finale has given back to the community through United Way campaigns, a Junior Achievement mentorship, Habitat for Humanity builds, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, March of Dimes fundraising, and the Urban League
Lynlee Thorne lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley on a small farm with her 2 young children and a menagerie of livestock. She has served as Chair of her local Democratic committee and as campaign staff for multiple local and statewide campaigns over that last 5 years, including multiple statewide coordinated campaigns and local races. Both farming and being a rural Democrat require a long-term commitment to hard work, perseverance, and cultivation of resilient communities, which Lynlee brings to her work with Rural GroundGame.
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