In celebration of Women’s History Month, North Gwinnett Voice staff members reached out to women whose accomplishments have been influential and impactful in several areas, including education, politics, media and business. We asked each woman about other women throughout history they admire, the most influential women in their own lives, advice they would share with women and girls on achieving their own goals and dreams and the importance of celebrating women’s history. The NGV has compiled their responses in celebration of Women’s History Month and in honor of these incredible women leaving their marks. 

Andraya Carter is a Buford High School graduate making her mark in sports broadcast media as a host, analyst and reporter for the SEC Network/ESPN.

Deanna Allen: Is there any particular woman or are there women in history you admire? What do you admire about her or them? 

Andraya Carter: I admire LaChina Robinson. She is so incredibly humble and takes so much time to help others. Selfless doesn’t even seem to cover how open she is when it comes to lending a hand and giving her time to people. She has such a big heart. I’ve learned so much from Lachinna not only about who I want to be as a broadcaster but who I want to be as a woman. She is the most incredible listener and has an amazing ability to see things from different perspectives. She will FIGHT AND CLAW for the people she loves and for anyone that is treated unfairly in general. She isn’t “in history” right now but she will be.

I also learned about Ethel Payne last year when Pepper Persley (up and coming reporter!) asked me the same question. Ethel Payne was known as the first lady of the black press because she was the first African American Woman to join the white house press corps. She had honest and straight forward writing, asked hard questions. She began writing for the Defender at 40 years old which I admire because its an example of what it means to stay the course. She also broke another barrier and became the first African American woman to appear on a national network as a radio and television commentator. She worked for CBS from 1972-1982. I really admire Ethel for her story and I don’t think enough people know about it.

Pat Summitt would also be someone on the list of women I admire. She, of course, paved the way for women in sports and strong and fierce women on the sidelines leading the way. One of my favorite things about Pat was how she never seemed too busy for anyone. Whether it was a fan wanting to take a picture or me, a ninth grader, wanting to talk about who knows what for an hour on the phone. She was so humble and caring but VERY determined and headstrong as well. I feel the same way about Dawn Staley in todays game: humble, gives people her time selflessly, but fierce and determined to stand for what she believes in as well. To be legends but also be able to connect to so many people through humility, authenticity and care is really special to me- and something I admire.

DA: Who has been the most influential woman in your life and why? 

AC: My Nana, My Mom and my “Big Sister” Christi Thomas. My Nana, Gloria Carter, because she was and always will be the most incredible woman I’ve ever known. She is the personification of unconditional love. Unfortunately my time with her was cut short when she passed away while I was in college but she loved and cared for so many people. She had the best laugh and gave the greatest hugs.

My mom, Jessica Lhamon because she is a fighter. She always has been. She had me at a very young age and went to great lengths to make sure I was provided for and that I was safe and cared for. She has been through so much, similar to my Nana, and always keeps going. She loves the phrase “fall down seven times stand up eight” and I think that defines her. From being a young mom taking care of her daughter, to a stay at home mom of four always there for me and my siblings, to going back to school to get her degree and start her career as a nurse- she just keeps going with whatever life throws at her and I love that about her.

My “Big Sister”, Christi Thomas. My dad took me to watch her play at buford high school when I was really young. I followed her career through college at UGA, wrote her letters in elementary school and she wrote me back. What started out as a pen pal/mentorship relationship has turned into a true friendship and sisterhood between us. She was the reason I fell in love with basketball. I wanted to be her when I was younger. She has always been so supportive of everything I’ve done and the woman I have grown into (even me going to Tennessee, haha). Again- like my mom and my Nana, Christi is also so resilient. From her pro career to life in general, nothing can stop her. She is determined, fiercely loyal, humble, honest, and selfless.

These three women shaped who I am so much.

DA: What advice would you share with women and girls on working to achieve their goals and dreams?

AC: Try to find and create a solid support system around you. There are going to be amazing days and also very hard days and having support will make all of it so much easier to handle. It is so important to have people that you can trust and lean on. People that know you, know what your goals are, and can call you out or keep you in line when you lose yourself or lose your will to keep going (which happens sometimes!) I feel like I have the greatest support system.

DA: What do you think is the importance of celebrating women’s history? 

AC: It’s important because we must remember how far women have come and recognize the women that helped pave the way. It is also inspiring to look back and see what women did before us to get here so that we can look ahead and be intentional about what WE can do to continue making progress in the right direction!

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