Dr. Joan Cartwright — The Next League Chapter
By Virginia Franklin Campbell
In celebration of NLAPW’s 120th anniversary, several issues have highlighted a retrospective of our League’s Legends and Legacies. We have looked at some of the members from our magnificent history and gained a better understanding of how the organization has arrived at where it is today. In so doing, we have barely touched on the enormous treasure of accomplishments of our many past members. Nonetheless, for this issue we are turning to the future, and focusing on an individual who serves as an example of what the coming years may portend.
Dr. Joan Cartwright, our newest music member, Boca Raton Branch, Florida, lights a path on our horizon. A quote from Dr. Diva JC expresses the feeling that is conveyed when speaking with her, “When you are a joy to yourself, it is easy to be a joy to others.”
Dr. Cartwright presently is a professor of speech communication at both Keiser University in Pembroke Pines and Southeastern College in West Palm Beach, Florida.
When she was asked how verbal communication skills have a major impact on, or in, a person’s life, she responded, “During my speech communications classes, I emphasize moral implications present in disciplines examined as an integral part of the teaching of that discipline so that the entire educative process is directed toward the whole development of the person. Many of my students expressed surprise that learning speech is tied up with morality, justice, fairness, and honesty. They learn that good researchers avoid plagiarism and cheating.”
In July 2017, she completed her doctorate degree in business administration/marketing (DBA) from Northcentral University in Arizona. She is a composer, lecturer, poet, author, and historian, primarily on women musicians and composers.
“After 30 years (1977-2007) of performing with hundreds of musicians worldwide, I realized that I had only performed with six women. So, I began to research and contact women musicians. I developed a jazzwomen directory to catalog women in jazz and blues. That became a lecture and a book titled ‘Amazing Musicwomen.’”
In 2007, Dr. Cartwright incorporated Women in Jazz South Florida, Inc., as a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes and advocates for women musicians globally.
“My doctoral dissertation, ‘Women in Jazz: Publishing and Marketing,’ outlined the challenges faced by women musicians and composers in the male-dominated industry, highlighting the business skills women must hone to be successful in this very difficult industry,” she said.
Dr. Cartwright is not only a performer in the United States, but has also traveled to five continents and 20 countries. She is the author of 14 books. Her “Joan Cartwright Song Book” was submitted to the Guinness World Records, as the ”first woman in the world with a jazz and blues song book.” She was truly a worthy Pen Woman before she actually was one.
“Aside from the fact that music heals people, my objective (when performing) was always to have fun. I loved entertaining people and making them laugh a lot,” she said. “The songs I sang mostly came from the ‘American Songbook.’ But I penned many blues songs, like ‘I Don’t Want Nobody’s Husband’ and ‘Treat Me Right and You Don’t Have to Marry Me,’ written the day I divorced my third of four husbands. That brought a lot of laughter and joy out of others.”
She has written 60 songs, 11 of which are recorded; 41 of those are found in her aforementioned song book.
There is no space to list her many accomplishments in several genres, but she covers a broad spectrum. Interestingly enough, for 25 years, she worked as a legal secretary, legal assistant, and legal file archivist in New York and Florida. In that time, she owned J J Fast, a legal secretarial service.
A woman of many talents; a person of moral standing, seeking truthfulness and authenticity — that is Dr. Joan Cartwright, and she represents the next chapter in our history. If we can continue to attract women of such character, diverse interests, capabilities, and insights, our organization faces an exciting future.