Gwyneth B. Davis was a past president and board member of NCAWA.  She died in 1988, following a three-year fight with cancer.  In the time that she lived and worked in North Carolina, she served as a staff attorney with Legal Services of Northwest North Carolina in Winston-Salem, and devoted her considerable energies and talents to founding the Forsyth County Women Attorneys Association and working toward the objectives of NCAWA at both the state and local levels.  As Attorney Ellen Gerber, who was a founding member of NCAWA, described her, “Gwyn was my comrade in arms against the forces that would oppress women... The strongest image is of Gwyn the peacemaker... Gwyn always seemed the neutral party that could thread her way through the warring factions... Another one of Gwyn’s accomplishments was her work to improve the condition of women throughout North Carolina. Gwyn contributed an important effort to write and lobby for the passage of the state’s first equitable distribution law... She was unfailingly generous in her view of people... She cared deeply and had a great commitment to helping her clients. She also was dedicated to improving the lot of women in general and women attorneys...”

Each year, NCAWA presents the public service award in memory and honor of Gwyneth B. Davis, for the promotion of the participation of women attorneys in the legal profession and the rights of women under the law. 

Nominations are open until September 1st, 2022.  Nominate HERE.


2021 Gwyneth B. Davis Award Winners

Susan Strayhorn Barbour

Susan Strayhorn Barbour was a longtime member of NCAWA and the WNC chapter, a dedicated advocate for women lawyers, and a champion of women’s rights. A North Carolina native, Susan practiced real estate law in Asheville for more than 30 years, including two decades with McGuire Wood & Bissette. She served on the Board of NCAWA for several years, as Education Chair (2012), Secretary (2013), and Nominating and Public Service Awards Chair (2014). Susan was a phenomenal board member, incredible mentor, and true friend. She was always working to improve the participation of women in the legal profession. Among her many contributions to NCAWA, she undertook a nominating campaign for women attorneys after noticing the lack of women being recognized for various professional awards.

Susan was a Board Certified Specialist in Commercial Real Property Law. Her practice focused on the purchase and sale of industrial and commercial sites, as well as residential and commercial developments. She received the 28th Judicial District Bar Professionalism Award and was named “Lawyer of the Year 2020” for Real Estate Law in Asheville by Best Lawyers in America. Susan also volunteered and served with distinction with many organizations, including the Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont Charitable Trust and the Asheville Humane Society.

Family was the most important part of Susan’s life. She was a devoted daughter, and loving wife and mother. Reading was her favorite free-time activity. Susan enjoyed cooking for family and friends. She also loved the outdoors and was an avid walker, hiker, and boater.

Susan passed away on May 26, 2021 in Asheville.


 Judge Wanda G. Bryant

Judge Wanda G. Bryant was appointed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in February 2001 by Governor Michael F. Easley. She was successfully elected in November 2004, re-elected in 2012, and recently retired from the bench. Judge Bryant received her B.A. degree from Duke University and her law degree from North Carolina Central University.

Prior to taking her judicial oath of office, she served as Senior Deputy Attorney General in the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office where she led the newly created Citizens’ Rights Division, which oversaw the advocacy and protection of interests of citizens in a variety of areas, including victim’s rights, child and elder abuse, hate crimes, domestic violence, open government, health care and consumer protection. Prior to that, she was an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in Washington, DC where she focused on the prosecution of child and adult sexual assault cases. She began her legal career serving as the first female and first African American prosecutor in the 13th Prosecutorial District in eastern North Carolina. She also was the first staff attorney for the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) in Washington DC, before becoming an AUSA.

Judge Bryant has served continuously on many boards and commissions. She was appointed in 2014 by Chief Justice Sarah Parker as the first female Chairperson of the NC Judicial Standards Commission where she served until her retirement. She has given many presentations in legal, civic, and religious communities. For her professional and community service, Judge Bryant has received numerous honors and awards, including the Order of the Long Leaf Pine from the Governor of NC. Just after retirement, in January 2021, Judge Bryant received the Friend of the Court Award from Chief Justice Paul Newby, and in June 2021 she was a recipient of the 6th Annual Legal Legends of Color Award from the NC Bar Association.

Judge Bryant resides in Durham, NC with her husband Ronald Douglas, a former Assistant Dean at North Carolina Central University School of Law.



Gwyneth B. Davis Public Service Award Winners

  • 2020 Betsy Martin
  • 2019 Ashley Huffstetler Campbell, Yolanda L. Taylor
  • 2018 Judge Christine Walczyk, Diane (Dee) Wallis
  • 2017 Judge Lori Christian, Kate Woomer-Deters
  • 2016 Beth Posner, Chris Brook, Julie Klipp Nicholson
  • 2015 Suzanne Chester
  • 2014 Justice Cherri Beasley, Leah Broker
  • 2013 Harriett Smalls
  • 2012 Lisa Grafstein
  • 2011 Susan M. (Smitty) Dotson-Smith
  • 2010 Barbara (Bonnie) B. Weyher
  • 2008 Justice Robin E. Hudson
  • 2007 Stella Boswell, Judge Joyce Hamilton, Sally H. Scherer
  • 2006 Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson
  • 2005 Robin L. Ames, Michelle Frances Robertson
  • 2004 Sorien K. Schmidt
  • 2003 Anne R. Slifkin
  • 2002 Senator Ellie Kinnaird, Anne Winner
  • 2001 Elizabeth F. Kuniholm
  • 2000 Hon. Catherine C. Eagles
  • 1999 E. Ann Christian
  • 1998 Bertha (Bea) Holt
  • 1997 Melinda Lawrence, Senator William Nelson Martin, Jennie Leake Hemrick
  • 1996 Rep. Eva Clayton, Hon. Linda McGee, Elaine Marshall, Suzanne Reynolds
  • 1995 Marcia H. Armstrong, Lynn Burleson, Allyson Duncan
  • 1994 Hon. Janice McKenzie Cole, Jane Madden, Ellen Gelbin
  • 1993 Dorothy Bernholz, Sharon Parker, Kathryn Jones-Cooper
  • 1992 Hon. Patricia Love, Hon. Jacqueline Morris-Goodson
  • 1991 Brenda Campbell, Mary Wright
  • 1990 Ann C. Barnes, Charlotte Brody, Anne Mackie
  • 1989 Russell Walker, Judith Wegner
  • 1988 Mary Margaret Flynn, Pamela Gann, James B. McMillan
  • 1987 Hon. Jane Harper, Pam Silberman, Sharon Thompson
  • 1986 Gwyneth B. Davis, Annie Brown Kennedy, Hon. Sarah Parker
  • 1985 Brenda McGhee, Sue Perry, Leslie Winner
  • 1984 J. Ray Elinburg, James B. Hunt, Carol Spruill, Wilma Woodard
  • 1983 Katharine Robinson Everett, Elreta Alexander Ralston, Carolyn McAllaster
  • 1982 Ruth Easterling, Karen Galloway, Rachel Gray, Jane Patterson, Ellen Gerber
  • 1981 Meyressa Schoonmaker, Carolyn McAllaster