Virginia Wadsworth ’86 remembers playing on the Marygrove grounds and in the woods when her family lived on Ohio Street behind the campus. Years later she chose Marygrove to complete a degree in Computer Science and was an outstanding student and selected to be commencement speaker for her graduating class.
She followed up by earning a Law degree from Wayne State University in 1990. She joined the Office of the General Counsel’s Office at the Ford Motor Credit Company in 1990 where her practice areas included litigation, insurance, regulatory compliance, governmental affairs, employment law and contract drafting and negotiations. Virginia managed Ford Motor Credit Company’s Regulatory Compliance Office, which provided regulatory compliance and legal support for Ford Motor Company’s Extended Service Plan warranty sales worldwide.
In June 2004, Ford Motor Company appointed Virginia as the General Counsel & Corporate Secretary of the Automobile Protection Corporation (APCO), a Ford subsidiary located in suburban Atlanta, Georgia. In 2007 in connection with Ford’s divestiture of APCO, Virginia was named APCO’s Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary by new owners, Stone Point Capital, a private equity group. APCO markets extended service contracts and warranties, designs customer relations management, advertising and communications services for automobile dealerships and administers private label extended warranty programs for Honda Motor of America, Jaguar Land Rover and Mazda Motor of America, Inc.
As a member of APCO’s Executive Leadership Team, Virginia and her staff manage all aspects of APCO’S regulatory compliance, legal and corporate governance matters. APCO’s recognition for ethical business practices by the Better Business Bureau in May 2011 was confirmation of Virginia’s insistence on absolutely honest and ethical performance within APCO.
Virginia is the current and first African American President of the 790 member Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), Georgia Chapter. With a membership of 28,000, ACC has chapters in every state and is the world’s largest organization serving the professional and business interests of attorneys who practice in the legal departments of corporations, associations and other private sector organizations around the globe.
In February 2011, the ACC- Georgia Chapter held an art-based fundraiser and silent auction for Haitian relief. The $11,000 raised was contributed to CARE to fight the country’s cholera epidemic that followed Haiti’s earthquake. In June 2011, the success of the ACC-Georgia Chapter Value Challenge Event yielded a landmark $30,000 contribution to the Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, a charitable based organization that provides pro bono legal services for non-profit organizations. In 2005, as Vice President of Outreach Initiatives for the ACC-Georgia Chapter, Virginia helped to establish a Summer Law Internship Program for first-year minority law students who intern for the summer in Georgia-based corporate law departments such as The Coca-Cola Company, The Home Depot and the American Cancer Society. The internship has awarded $80,000 to eight students since inception.
Virginia’s professional accomplishments are matched by her volunteer and community service record. Not reluctant to put on jeans and pick up a hammer, Virginia has worked on six Habitat for Humanity homes since relocating to Georgia. She finds real satisfaction in the opportunity to meet and work alongside the new homeowners. “You’re able to put a face on the work you’ve done and participate in helping to stabilize families and neighborhoods.”
While still in Michigan Virginia served on the State Bar of Michigan Character and Fitness Committee. She was appointed by then-Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer to the Elected Officials Compensation Commission and served four years as chair.
She is a frequent speaker at business and legal forums on such issues as “Defending and Managing Employment Discrimination Litigation” at the American Conference Institute in New York. Last year she served on the executive planning committee for the Just the Beginning Foundation’s annual conference, then hosted by Atlanta. The foundation introduces promising high school students to careers in the law, emphasizing the judicial area.
Virginia is proud to fund the James E. Wadsworth, Jr. scholarship, awarded annually by the Fellowship Chapel United Church of Christ in Detroit, to high school seniors who excel in academics and community service. The scholarship is in honor of her late husband and founder of the church, Rev. James E. Wadsworth, Jr.
A nature lover, Virginia enjoys working in her garden and walking and jogging in the lovely parks in the area. She is immersed in a course of Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), a program of study that will cover the entire Bible during its eight year agenda. Now in year four she says BSF has enriched her faith and understanding of the Bible immeasurably. A global non-denominational program, each year’s course is 20 weeks long.