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Local Woman Spotlight: Jeri Matheney

YWCA Charleston board chair tackles big projects and small edits.

Name: Jeri Matheney

Hometown: Columbus, Mississippi

Age: 63

Occupation/Title: 2021-2023 President, YWCA Charleston & Communications Director, Appalachian Power, Retired

The part of the YW’s mission that I’ve embraced most is eliminating racism. For me, I simply want to learn and understand. For much of my life I’ve been naïve about the prevalence of racism, and I now see how it permeates every facet of life and affects people’s outlook, and their ability to succeed and live a good life. I’ve also learned a lot about how racism can hurt the success of our communities as a whole. My involvement with the YWCA and especially the Racial Equity and Inclusion program has helped me learn so much.

I also chose this part of this mission to talk about because right now, we’re working extra hard on it. Compared to our other YWCA programs, our REI programs are relatively new, and we’re still figuring out the best way to achieve our mission.

In one sentence, can you tell me what you're most known for?

It seems like other people should answer that question instead of me, but … I have a sneaking suspicion that I might be known as a grammar cop. I’ve always been an editor, and I admit I like things to be right. I want anything coming from my team to be accurate, well-written and compelling.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I spent my career in public relations in the utility industry. I was with Verizon for more than a decade, and then moved to Appalachian Power/AEP. I worked there for 25 years and retired a little over a year ago. I had a small but incredibly talented team, and together we accomplished great things. Now, I’m able to focus my time on the YWCA Charleston, which always has a lot going on!

What makes you passionate about what you do?

Many things make me passionate, but as far as work, I’ve always gotten most excited when I had a really big project, with lots of complex moving parts. I like to do things big!


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