The member diversity in the WNBA makes our goal of connecting, educating, advocating, and leading possible. As bookwomen, we believe “Books Have Power.” The Bookwoman welcomes Tabitha Whissemore (WNBA-DC) to the “Power Behind the WNBA” interview series!
Tell us about yourself.
For three years, I have been president of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the WNBA. At my day job, I work as an editor/writer for the American Association of Community Colleges managing the bi-monthly Community College Journal.
As a writer, I have a story about young sculptor Vinnie Ream published in the graphic anthology District Comics: An Unconventional History of Washington, D.C. I also have a story about the 1913 Women’s Suffrage Parade published in the online comic ReDistricted Comics.
Why did you join WNBA?
A former co-worker was treasurer of the D.C. chapter. She invited me to a brunch where I met the amazing women of the WNBA. I was hooked. Subsequently, I quickly became the membership chair and then the chapter president.
Being a part of the WNBA gives me networking and professional development opportunities that complement the work I do at my day job. It’s also fun to meet cool authors and talk about books with people!
What value does the promotion of books bring to your community?
Washington, D.C., is an industry town, full of political hacks and policy wonks trying to set policy for the country or lobby for change. People here can be fairly single-minded (just look at sales figures for political books). That’s why it’s so important to promote books of all genres with diverse characters. The more people learn about the world outside D.C., the better they can advocate for change.
What book has had a lasting impact on you?
When I was in sixth grade, I read The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. It was one of the first books I read that had some grown-up situations. Gritty and heartbreaking, it was something I hadn’t experienced in The Baby-Sitters Club books I had mostly read up to that point.
It might also have been the first book I read that had a male perspective. The novel showed me that books have the power to put me in unfamiliar situations. Books help me to empathize with people who are very different from me.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve focused on expanding my horizons. I read more books that tell diverse stories or are by authors with diverse backgrounds.
Stay golden, Ponyboy.
Interview compiled by assistant editor Pam Ebel (WNBA-New Orleans).