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Spotlight On: Angelia Williams Graves, Norfolk’s Vice Mayor Is A “P.K.” (Preacher’s Kid)

Norfolk Vice Mayor Angelia Williams Graves is a proud “Booker”; that is, she is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, Va., Class of 1990.
Williams Graves identifies herself as a “P.K.” – that is, a “Preacher’s Kid,” She is the youngest daughter of the late Bishop & Mrs. I. Joseph Williams of the Antioch Baptist Church in Norfolk. She has two siblings, Rev. Pamela W. Castellanos and Rev. Anthony M. Williams.
Just last year, she married the “love of her life,” Tommy Graves, a distinguished former professional football player, and owner of Graves Funeral Home in Norfolk. She has two stepsons by marriage.
The Norfolk native entered school at St. Mary’s Academy (K-8) and after high school, received her A.S. in Business Administration from Tidewater Community College in 2004. She graduated from the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership in 2005 and from the Alpha School of Real Estate in 2008.
Today, she serves as the city’s Vice Mayor, having been elected to Norfolk City Council to represent the citizens of Super Ward 7 on November 2, 2010 in a special election. She was selected Vice Mayor by her peers on Council.
She also worked for the City of Norfolk in the Office of the Commissioner of the Revenue and the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office.
When she’s not working to positively impact the quality of lives of the citizens of Norfolk, she sells real estate. She holds a current Real Estate license and is a Realtor© with Prudential Towne Realty©. Williams Graves is a member in good standing with the National Realtors© Association (NAR), Virginia Association of Realtors© (VAR), Hampton Roads Realtors© Association (HRRA) and the Real Estate Information Network (REIN). She holds designations of Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource (SFR) and Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR). She is also a member of the Real Estate Buyer’s Association Council. A certified VHDA Home Ownership Education Trainer, she teaches home ownership education classes monthly for the House of Hope Foundation.
Williams Graves is the Co-Chairperson of the Committee for Communities and Public Safety and a member of the Committee for Health, Education and Families. She serves on the Lambert’s Point/Park Place Task Force, Fairmont Park Task Force, Greater Norview Task Force, Southside Task Force and the Greater Wards Corner Task Force.
Williams Graves is a member of the Ingleside Civic League and the Norfolk City Democratic Committee, where she is a former Assistant Precinct Captain for the Ingleside Precinct. She was appointed to the Norfolk Public Libraries Board of Trustees in 2003 and served until being elected to City Council in 2010. Since 2004, she has been a member of the Young Leader’s Society of the Hampton Roads United Way.

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If you were not a real estate agent and member of council, what else might you be doing?
Probably either a motivational speaker (which I do some of now) or an attorney.

Would values of your father, Dr. I. Joseph Williams, do you use in your role as an elected public official?
He taught me to “say what you mean and mean what you say.” He also taught me to trust my own judgement. My dad taught me to weigh the consequences of my decisions, look at the facts and all the possible outcomes and then to OWN my own decisions. Lastly, he taught me to love and be kind to people. It doesn’t matter if it’s the POTUS or a homeless person on the street, being kind, saying “hello” and smiling will NEVER hurt you but it may mean the world to the other person.

What is your favorite thing about being a public figure? Your least favorite thing?
I LOVE interacting with people and having an opportunity to impact their lives in a positive way. My least favorite thing is that people forget that public figures are human beings who have feelings, family members and friends.

As one of three women on Norfolk City Council, do you tend to look at issues differently compared to your male colleagues?
I don’t think there is a difference, based on gender…we all care about the citizens of Norfolk and want to do the very best job. I would say that difference is in the generation gap more than gender.

What do you do to relax and get away from work?
That is a hard question because I love BOTH of my jobs and because of that, I tend to work a lot! There are evenings when I go home and turn my phone off and just binge watch Family Feud w/ Steve Harvey or Flip or Flop and when I get home early enough, Judge Judy is always my favorite. Past that, I enjoy my time at the hair and nail salon; I like to go when it’s quiet. I also like to go dancing with my friends; it is so relaxing and fun! Line dancing is my favorite.

How does marriage impact you as vice mayor?
I don’t believe that God could have blessed me with a kinder, more loving or better husband than Tommy Graves. Because we both have crazy schedules, we are very flexible in the time we take to spend together. The one thing we still do (most nights) is have dinner together and I like that!

What is one thing that few people know about Angelia Williams Graves?
That bungee jumping is really on my bucket list!! And I intend to check it off the list!

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What is the greatest challenge you face in juggling your day’s activities?
Time management. I am not a true morning person so I get started late and I work late into the night. Sometimes things on my “To Do” list roll over for three days because I get sidetracked during the day with phone calls, emails and text messages. If I text you at 10 p.m., I apologize in advance and I don’t mind if you don’t respond until the next day

How do you start your day?
I start my day with “Thank you Father for this day!” Those are the words I say when I first open my eyes in the morning. Then I get out of bed and get my cup of coffee, have my morning meditation (this year it’s Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts). I have my prayer time and then I get moving. If I don’t have morning appointments, I will check my email and FB pages and listen to Kelly & Michael and see what Rachel Ray is cooking for dinner before I leave the house.

What have you learned as a member of Norfolk City Council?
There are a lot of moving parts that make the city work. I have learned that I cannot fix everything and I have learned to be ok with that. I have learned that most people don’t really know what we do and that is why it is even more important that we do our jobs with integrity. I have learned to appreciate the fact that everyone has a story and that everyone brings something of value to the table.

What are you passionate about?
My love for Christ and living a life that glorifies God. I am passionate about being the very best person I can be and encouraging others to do the same. I am passionate about walking through doors of opportunity and learning new things. I am passionate about my marriage, loving my husband and being the best life partner I can. I am passionate about adding to the lives of my family and friends in a positive way. I am passionate about leaving the City of Norfolk better than it was when I came on council. I am passionate about doing both of my jobs well!

Person who influenced you the most?
My mom and dad. I was fortunate that my role models were in my house growing up; I didn’t need TV.

What led you to become involved in public service?
I thought I could do the job; I wasn’t sure what the job entailed but I was confident that I could do it. Never in my wildest dreams did I realize the impact that I could have on the lives of people.

What do you hope to accomplish in 2016?
I hope to be more like Christ. I hope that the citizens will see fit to re-elect me in May. After that, my husband and I can take our “real” honeymoon. I hope to be a little more consistent and manage my time better. I am a glass half full type of person and I will make the best of whatever 2016 holds for me.

Where would you like to travel that you have not been?
I would like to travel to Hawaii, Italy and South Africa.

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