“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

That quote from American author, disability rights advocate and political activist Helen Keller can be used as the testimony of Orangeburg County Deputy Clerk Ashley Banks.

She is a professional who assists in all levels of legal matters, including processing warrants and subpoenas and creating and maintaining records of courtroom proceedings.

It is a job in which she has, for example, developed and drafted a trial rotation roster/work schedule that has significantly reduced workloads and improved training.

Banks has also implemented a library-style file system to ensure the proper storage of case files.

She also works to ensure that the Court of Common Pleas, General Sessions Court and grand jury are fully equipped for trial and court terms.

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Her ability to lead and complete her duties with unmatched versatility, while also developing a team-building spirit that helps her and her staff face daily challenges with a positive outlook, has led the Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative to honor her for displaying optimism.

She’s grateful for the honor.

“It made me happy to see that someone is looking and noticing the things that I’m doing,” said Banks, who assists Orangeburg County Clerk of Court Winnifa B. Clark with her duties.

“I’m mainly down here in General Sessions. We deal with everything from court scheduling to putting the warrants in the system. We’re putting in the paperwork for attorneys, putting in their motions, their orders. Whatever you need in the courthouse, you come to me or our other deputy clerk, Ms. Yojuana Williams. We deal with General Sessions and Family Court,” she said.

“I just believe whatever the situation is, it’s going to be a positive outcome. I’m just grateful for the opportunity and thankful for Ms. Clark and what she saw in me. I’m grateful she gave me the chance,” the 31-year-old Denmark resident said.

She said being the “new kid on the block” presented its own set of challenges, but she was determined to prove her work ethic.

“I’m coming on three years. I came in and I took the courthouse by storm. I wanted to learn, I wanted to show them that I was ready. If you needed help, I was there. Each job, I took the time to learn it. I came in working hard. I was determined,” Banks said.

She continued, “If I see my staff burned out, I’ll take it. I’ll do it myself because I’m here to help you. I can’t have you burned out because then you can’t help me, so I’ll take it, and I’ll run with it.”

Being an optimist helps the deputy clerk prepare early for the day and whatever it may bring.

“It makes my job easier because I’m going to think ahead. I’m always sitting at my desk, asking, ‘What could go wrong?’ If this goes wrong, this is my game plan. If Plan A goes wrong, here’s Plan B. If Plan B goes wrong, here’s Plan C. In the morning, I always brief my staff to see where we’re at, to see what we can do to make it better. If you’re comfortable, then my work is going to get done,” Banks said.

She said being a leader, and particularly one with a positive mindset, is part of who she is.

“I credit my family because that’s how I was brought up. I just give all honor to God because without him, I would not be the person that I am today. I am big on faith and family and prayer. It works. I’m 31, but every morning I’m going to pray. My son, he’s 3, and I’m teaching him to get down on his knees and pray. I don’t care what it is. … This is how you get through,” Banks said.

Working together as a team with other staff members produces good, positive results across the board, she said.

“If we can do it together, our numbers are better, our work is better. If people see you working together as a team, they’re going to want to come in and are going to want to join your team. They’re going to say, ‘OK, I want to work with her. She’s interested in what her staff is saying. She’s putting her all into her staff.’

“If my staff is happy, I am happy. If my staff is happy, their work is going to be excellent. I’d rather build a team and we grow together. If we fall together, we’re going to get back up and do it again,” Banks said.

She praised the Community of Character initiative for its efforts to spread good character throughout the community.

“I think this is a good platform because you can actually see the people that are out here working for you in your county and in the community. It’ll give you a chance to know that we have good people working for us. We have good people pulling for us,” Banks said.

Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow “Good News with Gleaton” on Twitter at @DionneTandD

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