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Bobbi Wardlaw-Brown Posthumously Honored with 2019 John R. Larkins Award Honor announced during North Carolina State Employee’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Day Program


Raleigh – Bobbi Wardlaw-Brown, a former employee of the Office of State Human Resources, was posthumously honored today as the recipient of the 2019 John R. Larkins Award in recognition of exemplary commitment to justice and equality in the workplace and in our communities. The award was announced during the annual North Carolina State Employee’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Observance Day Program at First Baptist Church.

A career state employee at OSHR’s Learning and Development Center, Wardlaw-Brown died in September. The award was accepted on her behalf by her brother and sister-in-law, Ricardo and Renee Wardlaw.

Other nominees for the Larkins Award include:

  • Tanya Bass, Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities
  • Elisa Chinn-Gary, Clerk of Superior Court Mecklenburg County, Judicial District 26
  • Angelina Harvey, Department of Revenue
  • Michelle Lanier, Department of Natural & Cultural Resources, State Historic Sites
  • Michael Lockamy, Department of Public Safety, Correction Enterprises
  • Terry Miller, North Carolina School for the Deaf
  • Susan Newton, Department of Public Safety
  • Tina Riley-Humphrey, North Carolina Legislature
  • Tish Singletary, Department of Health & Human Safety, Office of Rural Health
  • Tonya Smith, North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics
  • Vicki Teem, District Attorney’s Office, District 30
  • Louis Trosch, Jr., Administrative Office of the Courts
  • Arin B. White, Durham County Office of the Public Defender

The Larkins Award was presented by Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks, who praised Wardlaw-brown as “someone who used every opportunity to build bridges between people.”

“For more than 20 years, she served the people of North Carolina as a member of the Office of State Human Resources, with a particular interest in Equal Employment Opportunity,” Hooks said. “Her co-workers view her dedication to EEO law and guidance as more of a passion than a career, reflecting her commitment to diversity and equality in the workplace for all North Carolina state employees.”

Outside of the office, Wardlaw-Brown volunteered in her community, especially in roles that allowed her to advocate for and engage with issues facing African American women.

“Bobbi’s loss was deeply felt by everyone in our agency, as well as the many people she trained and mentored during her 20 years at OSHR,” said State Human Resources Director Barbara Gibson. “We are grateful that her extraordinary commitment to human and race relations has been recognized with the Larkins Award.”

Wardlaw-Brown also was recognized posthumously in October at the graduation ceremony for the North Carolina Certified Public Manager Program. As part of the rigorous leadership program, she completed a new supervisory training program as her capstone project.

Note: Bobbi Wardlaw-Brown’s brother and sister-in-law, Ricardo and Renee Wardlaw, are seen in the attached photo with other 2019 Larkins Award nominees. Photo by Jayce Williams, Department of Administration.

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