Carol Parker Walsh, 2009 Woman of Achievement
Since childhood, Carol Parker Walsh has been an achiever.
Raised in Menlo Park, California until she was 12, then in Chicago’s South Side, she graduated from high school with honors, was listed in the “Who’s Who Among American High School Students,” was in the National Honor Society, served as Managing Editor of the yearbook, was first chair in the flute section and lettered in volleyball. Additionally, she was in the honors college preparatory program and took college classes during her senior year.
Carol has continued to advance her education as she strives to be a “catalyst for change.” She has earned master’s degrees in organizational and human development and doctorates in human and social systems and employment law.
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She is currently pursuing a certificate in public health at the University of North Carolina. Carol cites her education as her proudest professional accomplishment. “Achieving the highest degree in the land, when my mother believed a college degree for herself would be an impossibility, makes me proud,” says Carol. “In my lifetime, African Americans had few educational options. I feel proud to represent the shoulders and backs upon which I marched to get that degree.”
Her interests have led her to career paths as a lawyer, certified mediator and educator. Carol is a professor in the doctoral program at the OHSU School of Nursing and has served as interim director of the Oregon Masters of Public Health Program for the past year. Her work there resulted in accreditation for the program through 2012. She is the owner of ParkerWalsh Consulting which provides training and consulting services on issues of diversity, communication and leadership.
When she moved to the Pacific Northwest after a divorce, Carol found herself being “either the only one or one of a few” as an African American woman. She had to “redefine myself as a single mother” and realized “that issues of oppression, systemic prejudice, racism and sexism were social ills that I had to take part in eradicating.”
In February 2008, Carol married Thomas Walsh. With their three children – Nicholas and Madelyn Terhune and Xoie Walsh – and their beloved lab Rocky, they have formed a strong blended family. Carol says she strives to raise “conscientious, kind and socially aware individuals who will one day give back what they have so graciously been given.” Her children consider her a role model. When she asks what they want to be in life, their answer is, “Just like you.”
Carol, who studied opera at Chicago Conservatory of Music in Chicago, is the lead soprano in her church choir at Bible Fellowship Community Church where she serves as a mentor and volunteer for young women and seniors.
A natural leader, Carol is a teacher, student, lawyer, author, activist and mother. Her nominator wrote: “The common thread that exists, among the many hats she wears, is that all serve the purpose of helping underserved and diverse populations. She is tireless to help those with a silenced voice or maybe just a whisper. She is a defender of those that have been deemed defenseless.”
Carol says she is “motivated and inspired by helping people realize their own dreams, goals and potentials.” She says, “We were all placed on this earth for a purpose. If, in my lifetime, I can fulfill mine and make this world a better place for my children and their children, then I will not consider myself to have wasted the many blessings bestowed upon me….I try to do as Ghandi said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’”