Jackson Countian Dorothy Shaw wears a bumblebee on her left shoulder as a mission statement that all things are possible. It is no wonder that Shaw has been named one of the state’s Most Influential African Americans.
“According to the theory of aerodynamics, bumble bees aren’t supposed to be able to fly because their bodies are heavier than their wings. In spite of that, they lift themselves up and fly. It is my philosophy that if bumble bees can fly, I can do anything,” Shaw said. “I use this to encourage others to be all that they can be – to lift themselves up and soar.”
Shaw is one of a select group of 25 individuals who have impacted positive change to make Mississippi a better place for all. She and the other 2019 honorees will be recognized Aug. 23 in Jackson. Shaw has always been active in her community, volunteering for organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs of Jackson and George Counties, the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Jackson and George Counties, St. Paul United Methodist Church of Moss Point and many, many more groups. Her greatest passion, without a doubt, is children. “They deserve so much and we owe it to them to help in any way that we can,” Shaw said. “That’s why I have spent so many years with the Boys & Girls Clubs.”
Shaw wears the bumble bee on workdays, but not on weekends when you might catch her in a tee-shirt and jeans. She has worn the symbol 30-plus years. A long-time Ingalls Shipbuilding employee, Shaw currently serves as director of Compliance, Ethics, Community Affairs, EEO/Diversity and Inclusion.
“I work for a company that takes its corporate citizenship seriously. In my various roles with Ingalls, I have been afforded the opportunity to be engaged on many fronts. That level of engagement has brought me face to face with those in the business community, the non-profit sector, politicians at all levels and many citizens who care about this place they call home,” Shaw said. “I was actively engaged in community affairs before I came to work at Ingalls and my time here has only broadened my level of participation.”
Shaw has worked at Ingalls Shipbuilding since 1972, when she returned to Jackson County after working a couple of years at her alma mater, Jackson State University. A native of Shubuta, Shaw moved to Moss Point when she was eight. She has had opportunities to live in other places but chose to remain in Jackson County because “this is where I have been challenged to be my absolute best. Jackson County is a place where you can definitely be all that you wish to be,” Shaw said. She and her husband, Kevin, reside in Gautier.
Shaw was aware of her nomination earlier this year but said she never imagined she would be selected. “Actually, I had forgotten about the nomination until I received the notification that I had been selected,” she said. An independent panel of statewide business and community leaders named the winners based on nominations from the public. Shaw said she is “deeply honored and humbled to have been chosen for this award. I am in awe that I am included with such a prestigious group of honorees.”
Mississippi’s Most Influential African Americans is sponsored by the Tupelo-based magazine Our Mississippi. Recipients were announced earlier this week by publisher Wesley Wells. The select group includes college presidents, attorneys, banks heads, chief executive officers and community activists. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to pay homage to them for all their contributions to this state. These are the kind of people society will be talking about 50-100 years from now,” Wells said of the award winners.