Octavia Seawell Named Charlotte’s Woman of the Year


Octavia Seawell, a Charlotte leader who has focused on community and organizational change, leadership development, and building access, inclusion, and equity during her multi-decade career, has been named the 2018 Charlotte Woman of the Year.

This prestigious award, now in its 63rd year, is given for exceptional community service and exemplary leadership. Seawell will receive the award at a private luncheon on March 20th at The Duke Mansion.

“Octavia has been a force in creating learning opportunities and facilitating conversations in our community around inclusion, race and racial equity,” says Charlotte Women of the Year President Cyndee Patterson.  “The Women of the Year are pleased to recognize and honor her work and leadership as a teacher and guide in addressing issues of access, inclusion, equity and trust in Charlotte/Mecklenburg.”

Octavia Seawell has been a process and organization development consultant for more than 30 years working with nonprofit, public and corporate sector clients supporting systemic and culture change work.

“I cannot think of a more deserving individual for this recognition,” says Robert Bush, president of the Arts & Science Council (ASC), who nominated her for the honor.  “It is impossible to narrow the impact of Octavia Seawell on the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community to just one year. She has been a force to be reckoned with in Charlotte for over two decades. Octavia’s energy and passion have inspired us. Her love of this community and commitment to making this a better place for all to live, work and play is evidenced across numerous local nonprofits, corporations and public-sector organizations. Before “opportunity” was a topic at almost every public forum, she asked the tough questions about access, inclusion, equity and trust.”

Seawell’s company, OZS Consulting, offers services in strategic planning, process design and change initiatives for organizations and communities. Clients have included a variety of organizations, including national as well as Charlotte-based non-profit, public and business organizations.

She is a culture change consultant with a number of key Charlotte organizations in strengthening their commitment to systemic change internally and in their work in the community. She is intentional about addressing equity in varied aspects of diversity….race, gender, LGBT, age, national origin, economic status and others.