5 Women Who Influenced Me: Chalarra A. Sessoms

Occasionally, we ask one of our Top 100 Women or Leading Women winners to name five women who have influenced her, personally and professionally. Do you know a Top 100 Woman or Leading Woman who should be featured here? Email Special Products Editor Patrick Brannan at PBrannan@TheDailyRecord.com.

Chalarra A. Sessoms

Chalarra A. Sessoms

The five women that have influenced, supported and loved me are Elnora, Linda, La’Kenya, Temeko and Alexandra. These women have poured into me traits that laid the foundation for me to become a kind person, a dedicated servant leader, an advocate, a Christian woman, a wife for 20 years and a seeker of knowledge. Thank you for giving me the significant titles of granddaughter, daughter, sister and aunt.


Elnora Savage Snead, grandmother

My maternal grandmother, Elnora Savage Snead, was born on Sept. 10, 1932, and raised on the eastern shore of Virginia. She is known to me as “Ganny” and to her friends and family as “Nonie.” Ganny departed this life on Earth on July 7, 2012. From this remarkable, loving and giving soul our family gained its roots. She excelled in her academics as a high school graduate and stressed the importance of education to her family. She always shared with us how she wished she pursued her dream of being a teacher. As a result of her unwavering support, I earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology (cum laude) and a Master of Social Work (summa cum laude). I recall her love for giving back, serving the community and love for Christ. She showed me the value in helping others no matter how small the gesture. She loved to work in her yard and cultivate flowers. I will always remember her abundance of energy and love for her church, family and friends. From her I learned sophistication and service to others. I have learned how to be FRUITFUL from this woman.


Linda L. Walter, mother

My mother prides herself on being the mother of four strong women and grandmother of three beautiful girls. She is a high school graduate and an example of high scholastic achievement. She retired from Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital where we were all born. She has a love for her church and takes great pride in being a deaconess. My mother is loved and respected in her community. She is always nearby to support my endeavors and I see the joy in her eyes to know I am well and cared for. I have learned how to be AGREEABLE from this woman.


La’Kenya S. Walter, sister

We are six years apart in age and I remember when she came home from the hospital. Our bond is one that is so strong. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in business management with a minor in marketing. She is employed as a financial and loan business specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. We have many things in common, such as we both are alumni of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and active members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. I admire La’Kenya’s calm spirit, financial savvy and philanthropic heart. She epitomizes loyalty and this trait is immeasurable. I have learned how to be POISED from this woman.


Temeko Walter Elder, sister

Temeko is the sister with a heart of gold. She is a high school graduate and employed in the home health care field. Temeko is our athlete, bookworm and lover of animals. She is filled with strength and humility. I can depend on this sister to bring out the kid in me, dance like no one is watching and for being financially astute. She is a compassionate wife and mother of one daughter. I am forever grateful that she allows me to spend quality time with my caring niece whom I adore. I have learned how to be ENDEARING from this woman.


Alexandra Walter Knox, sister

This is my baby sister, Alexandra. She is the definition of determination and creativity. Alexandra continued in our grandmother’s calling and became an educator. She holds a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, certified in grades PK-6.  She is employed as a third-grade language arts and social studies teacher in the school system where we all received our education. She is a devoted wife and loving mother of two daughters. I have learned how to be TENACIOUS from this woman.

Women Who Lead This article is featured in The Daily Record’s Women Who Lead: A Woman’s Guide To Business. The mission of the Women Who Lead (formerly Path to Excellence) magazine is to give our readers the opportunity to meet successful women of all ages, backgrounds and beliefs and learn how they define success. Read more from Women Who Lead.