Citizen of the Year

On Monday, November 19, the Kernersville Chamber of Commerce, 2019 Citizen of the Year Award recipient Rishado Robinson and the Kernersville News stopped by the Town of Kernersville to surprise Rochelle Joseph with the Chamber’s 2020 Citizen of the Year Award.
The Citizen of the Year Award recognizes an individual for the contributions made to the community during the current year.
After presenting her with the award, Chamber of Commerce President Chris Comer shared with Joseph why she was selected for the award.
“The committee spoke about all that you have done for Onward Kernersville and the impact that you make at the Town of Kernersville. Every time we call, you are handling everything for us. We appreciate you. Congratulations,” Comer said.
Joseph, who is the community development manager for the Town of Kernersville, has been with the Town since 2016. Her team is responsible for growth management planning and overseeing the development proposals that implement the Town’s plans.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Spelman College and Master of City Planning and Economic Development from Georgia Tech. Joseph is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.
She has worked in the private and public sectors in Arizona, Virginia, and Washington, DC. Prior to accepting the job in Kernersville, she had her own private consulting firm providing planning and development services to District of Columbia developers, homeowners, investors, private companies, and public entities for successful completion of pre-development activities.
Since arriving in Kernersville in 2016, Joseph has immersed herself into the community. She completed Leadership Kernersville in 2017, served on the Chamber’s Governmental Affairs Committee, and currently serves on the Körner’s Folly Board. Joseph is heavily involved in Onward Kernersville, which is the community’s strategic plan for the next decade.
Joseph shared what she enjoyed about being involved in the Governmental Affairs Committee.
“It was really nice to bring current and relevant topics to the Kernersville community during the Lunch and Learn events,” she said.
Working with Onward Kernersville, Joseph said she finds it interesting to see how things have changed over time.
“Seeing some of the same players still involved and engaged is a tribute to how civically minded the Kernersville community is,” she said. “And to be able to get a steering committee of upward of 50 members is really tremendous. I enjoy the opportunity to meet so many people from the business community and citizens that are long time members of the community, all with the same intensity for seeing long-term development and opportunities for the town.”
Joseph came to Kernersville in 2016 when her husband’s job relocated him. She added that it was also to move closer to family, who live in NC.
“We have family both in NC and Texas,” she said, noting that she grew up in Texas, just outside of Dallas.
Joseph mentioned that she and her husband, Jaymar, are both urban planners.
“He works in affordable housing,” she said. “We have a daughter who is 12 and she is into dance, theatre and basketball. It’s a really cool dynamic with the two of us because he’s always worked in the public sector and I’ve always worked in land use, environment protection and community development – the arms that would be directly impacting the community and long-range growth.”
She continued.
“It’s interesting the discussions we have around the dinner table. A lot of people don’t know what planning is and what it entails, but we have a 12-year-old that can explain it to you perfectly.”
When presented with the Citizen of the Year Award, Joseph said she was very surprised.
“I was super surprised. I had no idea,” she said. “It’s a really good feeling. It’s nice to see that your contributions are acknowledged and appreciated, and I know there is a team effort that goes between the Chamber, the Town and a lot of businesses.”
Being involved in long-range planning with the Town of Kernersville, Joseph said she enjoys being a part of developing the plan, seeing the implementation and then seeing it come to fruition.
When she isn’t working, Joseph said she enjoys reading a good book and watching movies with her family, as well as doing a little interior designing.

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