President of the Charlotte Business Guild
Teresa Davis, 50, has been involved as a community leader in Charlotte for years. She’s served on the board of the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte and founded the GayCharlotte Film Festival and Series. She currently serves as president of the Charlotte Business Guild. She’s a great, fun-loving community organizer and chats with Teresa are never boring. I thought it’d be great to catch up with Teresa and ask her to share a bit about herself with you. And, it seemed it was perfect timing! She had plenty of time to meet up, since, as a lawyer for the federal government, Teresa was furloughed during the partial government shutdown.
So, what kind of work do you do?
Well, right now I am furloughed. I’m writing an article on what its like to be furloughed day by day. The first day is, like, great. The second day is, like, cool. And, the third day is, like, ummm.
So, lawyers are not essential?
Some lawyers are essential and some are not essential. But we don’t call it non-essential anymore. We call it non-exempt. So, my boss is exempt which means she is doing the work for three people — herself and two non-exempt people.
Well, the media didn’t get the memo on “essential” v. “exempt,” did they?
Yeah, they don’t like “essential” and “nonessential” because it might hurt our feelings. But, trust me, it’s not. If I’m not essential, fine. Call it what it is.
How long have you worked for the government?
I became an Air Force lawyer — JAG — in 1993. Then, did that for a number of years before working for the Department of Justice for Janet Reno for five years. Then my spouse, Victoria, and I, we moved here in 2003. I’ve worked for my current agency ever since.
Are you originally from Charlotte?
No, but all of my relatives on both sides of my family are from Rutherfordton County.
Where did you move here from?
From Washington, D.C. That’s where Victoria and I met each other. We hung out for a while. After 9/11, the anthrax, the sniper and everything, Victoria, even more than me and she’d lived in D.C. for 30 years, she said it’s time to move.
Time to get out of Dodge, huh?
Yeah, time to get out of dodge. She asked if I could find a federal government job some place else, maybe down in the Southeast where my relatives lived. So, we moved.
What was your favorite children’s TV show?
It was Captain Kangaroo. It taught me to say the Pledge of Allegiance when I was two.
And, your favorite childhood toy?
Barbie. I loved playing Barbie dolls. Some of my friends and I, even when we were in junior high, we would sneak around and play Barbie dolls covertly. We knew our reputations would be destroyed if anyone found out that in junior high school young women were still playing with Barbies. But, we did.
When did you and Victoria marry?
We were married in August in Annapolis. We highly recommend it. If you’re looking for an awesome place that’s inexpensive, easily located and very easy access in and out. It’s charming. A charming courthouse. It was so romantic.
How long have you been together?
15 years. And, Victoria’s 90-year-old mother was our wedding witness.
Are you soap opera or sitcom girl?
Sitcom. Although, I used to watch plenty of “Guiding Light” in my day.
Radio? Or, CDs and MP3s?
It’s changing. Ever since I moved to Charlotte, more and more I’ve listened to the radio. I never used to do that.
I have a bachelor’s and master’s in piano performance, so that’s a loaded question. Because, at one time, it would have obviously been classical. But now, we love Bluegrass.
What’s your favorite season of the year?
I love everything. All seasons are God’s seasons. Fall, summer. Spring, not so much. Winter, not so much.
Do you like any sports at all?
I love the Panthers.
That’s who you’ll always root for? Even if they always lose?
So, what’s up with all these losing seasons here lately?
Well, it’s nice to have a team. When you grow up in Johnson City, Tenn., and you don’t have a team, it’s nice to have a team. When I lived in St. Louis, I was a Cardinals fan. That’s just the way it is. You have to be loyal. You have to be loyal to your team.
What’s the biggest difference between Charlotte and D.C.?
The biggest difference to me is the activity of the LGBT community. When we moved to Charlotte, we were amazed that we could be involved in the community here every single day of the week. In D.C, it is hard to even find how you can do anything gay unless you just go to bars. When I moved to D.C., and I wanted to start getting involved in LGBT organizations, it was a complete roadblock. Nothing. And, the safety. We don’t worry about snipers or anthrax now.
What are you most proud of?
If you look at the ethnic and age diversity of the Charlotte Business guild right now, being a part of that has been my number one, crowning glory, although I didn’t do it. My board did it. It’s a board of diversity. The fact that I have been a part of a board where I can say, and I challenge you if you can prove me wrong, I truly believe that if you look at our board of directors and our ethnic and age diversity right now, I challenge you to find a more diverse board that has ever existed in Charlotte’s LGBT community. Maybe there is. I’d like to know what it is. I don’t think there is. I think we’ve got it. We’ve nailed it! I’m so proud to be a part of that. : :