CHARLESTON – The YWCA has named Kanawha Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit as an honoree for the Women of Achievement award.
She will attend a ceremony next year in March and begin her journey in becoming an ambassador for the YWCA’s cause.
Each year, YWCA Charleston honors four Kanawha Valley
women for their remarkable personal and professional achievements and their
contributions to the community and Tabit has certainly done her part to
help the community.
“I feel humbled and honored to be the recipient along with a wonderful group of women I look forward to getting to know,” Tabit said..
Tabit, a native of Charleston, earned her bachelor’s
degree in business administration from Marshall University in 1983 and a law
degree from West Virginia University College of Law in 1986. She launched her legal
career in 1986 as a personal law clerk to former Supreme Court Justice Thomas
E. McHugh. She served as an assistant and then deputy attorney general of the
Appellate Division in the Office of the Attorney General from 1989 to 1992.
In 1992, Tabit joined the law firm of Steptoe &
Johnson PLLC, where she was a member attorney until October 2014, when Gov.
Earl Ray Tomblin appointed her to the bench. West Virginia Supreme Court of
Appeals appointed her to the state Business Court District in March.
Tabit has worked as an adjunct lecturer teaching summer
Appellate Advocacy at West Virginia University College of Law. She served as co-chairwoman
of the Campaign for Legal Aid of West Virginia, served on the board of
directors for the YWCA of Charleston; acted as chairwoman of the Access to Justice
Foundation; served as a member of Board of Governors of the West Virginia State
Bar; and served as a commissioner on the City of Charleston Human Rights
In 2009, Tabit received the Outstanding Private
Practice Attorney award presented by the Women’s Law Caucus at West Virginia
University College of Law. She was also recognized as Charleston’s Finest by
the Kentucky/West Virginia chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for her
charitable work for the organization. She is currently a member of the Juvenile
“In my courtroom, I see the true benefit of the Y programs every
day," Tabit told The West Virginia Record. "From child development to homeless and domestic violence programs, we face
those problems every day in the courtroom.
"I can see the real value offered by
their programs aimed at helping the community."
Tabit is a former board member of the YWCA; she
explained how she has seen so many gifted women nominated in the past for the
“I have been going to the YWCA luncheon since the inception over
20 years ago," she said. "It’s an inspiring event. You listen to the women nominated and
their stories and you walk away feeling so inspired.”
Tabit said the most moving speeches usually come from
the empowerment award winner. The YWCA selects an honoree who has overcome
tremendous difficulties and challenges in life who then her story of strife and
triumph during the ceremony.
“I have been very fortunate to have strong women in my personal
and professional life; from my mom to past recipients who have inspired me. I
believe women need to work to help and promote other women,” Tabit said.
The nomination is just the beginning of her journey as an
honoree with YWCA. Tabit will take part in YWCA’s ambassador program
where honorees mentor school-aged students identified as at-risk but
intelligent and motivated young women.
“I’ve heard great
response from this newer part of the program and I’m looking forward to it. Everyone
you talk to that is a part of this program is about giving back. To quote the late
great Whitney Houston, I do believe children are our future. I’m excited and
honored to be a part of this.”