Laurinburg lawyer to speak at women’s summit

By Mark Locklear - For the Exchange

Judge Ola Lewis

PEMBROKE —A Laurinburg attorney will be among those taking part in the third annual Women’s Empowerment Summit on Wednesday.

This year’s event, titled “Women and the Law: Same Game, Different Rules,” will feature a mix of speakers and networking opportunities. The summit will take place at UNCP’s Office for Regional Initiatives, 115 Livermore Drive in COMtech business park.

Brandi Bullock, managing attorney of Jones Bullock in Laurinburg will take part in a Q&A panel also featuring Shelena Smith, clerk of Superior Court in Robeson County; Jennifer Fincher, a real estate attorney in Fayetteville; and Candace Harke, managing attorney of Legal Aid of North Carolina in Pembroke.

The keynote speaker is Ola Lewis, senior resident Superior Court judge for the 13B Judicial District. The day-long event begins at 9:30 a.m. and will wrap up at 4 p.m. The cost is $45 per person. A table of five is $200. Lunch is included.

Lewis has 27 years of legal experience. She has served in her current role since 2003. She previously served as a District Dourt judge and assistant district attorney for Bladen, Brunswick and Columbus counties.

A native of Boiling Springs Lake, Lewis in 1993 became was the youngest District Dourt judge in North Carolina. She was the first female African American District Court judge and one of only two female African American Superior Court judges in the state.

Lewis has presided over many complex civil and criminal cases across the state, including capital homicide cases. She has earned several special recognitions and honors including the “Old North State Award,” a prominent state award given by the governor.

Mary Beth Locklear, director of Regional Initiatives, said the goal is to provide a platform for women of all ages and backgrounds to connect with peers and become informed on timely issues that are valuable to today’s women.

“We look forward to this event every year,” Locklear said. “It brings women together from all backgrounds and enhances their quality of life. The messages delivered throughout the day truly make an impact on the audience, thus our communities, and that’s powerful.”

A breakout session exploring equality in the workplace will be led by Rosalynde Fenner, a retired special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Antoinette Hurtt, a detective with the Hope Mills Police Department, will present a session titled “Respect Yourself, Protect Yourself.”

“There are moments in our lives that change everything,” said Dr. Cammie Hunt, associate vice chancellor for Engaged Outreach. “The UNCP Women’s Empowerment Summit began as a vision of women supporting each other, of women learning together, of women uplifting others and the ripple effect of that could be felt far beyond our little world.

“Over the past few years, it has been a catalyst for growth, change and possibility for women,” Hunt said.

To register for the event, call 910-775-4000 or visit

Judge Ola Lewis Ola Lewis

By Mark Locklear

For the Exchange

Mark Locklear is a Public Relations specialist at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

Mark Locklear is a Public Relations specialist at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.

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