By Kim Hasty
The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.
Even when the going was difficult, uncomfortable and frightening, Angela Martin was inspired by a simple motivation.
She knew she was right.
“Shining a light in the darkness,” she said, “is always worth it.”
Martin will tackle the subject of gender discrimination when she serves as keynote speaker at the second annual women’s conference Oct. 9 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center.
She’s addressed the subject before — in front of a congressional committee in Washington.
Martin, a former Sanford lawyer who works as senior enforcement attorney with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, recently settled her gender discrimination complaint against the bureau after a two-year saga punctuated by an investigator confirming her charges.
Members of the House Financial Services Committee described her as a whistleblower last spring.
Though she was the subject of discrimination herself, she was motivated to speak up when other women were targeted.
“When I saw someone else crying, I said, ‘That’s it,’ ” she said. “Even when I was little, I just wanted people to be nice to each other.”
Martin earned her law degree through the Army after enlisting at age 19.
She served as deputy chief of legal assistance with the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg from 2005 to 2008. Under her tutelage, the 18th Airborne Corps’ Legal Assistance Office operated the only consumer law program in the Department of Defense.
She entered private practice as a consumer attorney in Sanford, leaving in 2011 after being recruited by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a consumer lawyer.
“She’s just amazing,” said Sanford lawyer Sara Harrington, who helped enlist Martin as this year’s speaker. “I’m amazed that she’d been going through all this.”
In 2012, Martin charged that a supervisor mistreated her and other female employees. After she filed a complaint, she was given the lowest possible performance rating and was removed her from supervisory duties.