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Introducing the 2019 Notary of the Year and Special Honorees

The National Notary Association is proud to announce the 2019 Notary of the Year and Special Honorees, who have all demonstrated exceptional dedication to Notary professionalism and community service.


2019 Notary of the Year Judy Chapman

A Pillar of the Notary Community

State: North Carolina
Occupation: Owner, Appleseed Realty LLC, former Notary instructor (retired)
Years as a Notary: 40

Judy Chapman started her journey to becoming a powerhouse Notary in 1978 when her disabled grandmother’s dedication to serving the public inspired her to do the same. Chapman devoted 40 years to both serving the public as a Notary and working tirelessly to ensure the community of Notaries is the best it can be.

Chapman worked with the Secretary of State’s office as a member of the Notary Rewrite Committee to modernize Notary laws. She spent 35 years of her career educating Notaries as an instructor in North Carolina’s mandatory training program. She was instrumental in founding and leading two organizations to foster ongoing networking and support for Notaries: the Southern Piedmont Notary Society and the North Carolina Notary Association.

In August 2018, Governor Roy Cooper recognized Chapman with the state’s highest civilian honor — The Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award — for her decades of unmatched dedication and support to Notary professionalism. Previous recipients of this prestigious award include Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey.

Chapman continues to participate in numerous local philanthropic activities, such as helping families in need during the holidays and providing food to an assisted living facility. She contributes shoes, pencils and supplies to local students. She helps organize lunches to honor the local sheriff’s department, firefighters and other first responders. Chapman also served as a committee member on a criminal justice panel tasked with researching ways to improve rehabilitation success rates for drug convicts.

Her charity knows no borders. As a member of the Rotary Club, she helps raise funds for water projects in underdeveloped countries.

Chapman lives to serve those around her in any way, shape or form possible. She embodies everything a Notary of the Year should be. For these accomplishments and her continued dedication to the Notary industry, the National Notary Association is pleased to honor Judy Chapman as the 2019 Notary of the Year.


2019 NOTY Special Honoree Catherine Colón

A Passion for Public Service

State: Florida
Occupation: Notary Public, Assistant Property Director
Years as a Notary: 6

In her early 20s, Catherine Colón earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal investigation and was ready to begin her career in forensics. But that hard work and aspiration was dashed when she was first diagnosed with cancer and, as a result, experienced a high-risk pregnancy. Unable to pursue that passion, Colón set her sights on a new professional endeavor: Becoming a Notary and a wedding officiant.

Today, Colón is a successful Notary who co-leads a local focus group that meets once a month to examine new Notary laws and regulations, discuss professional practices, share stories and offer advice, serving as a mentor to help train, enlighten and inspire up-and-coming Notaries. She has also coordinated a breast cancer awareness 5k fundraising event and rallied 35 friends and family to join her, organized food drives to benefit the Human Crisis Center in Orlando and every year she participates in an annual food drive to feed the homeless on Thanksgiving.


2019 NOTY Special Honoree Sonita Leak

Making a Difference in Her Community

State: South Carolina
Occupation: Owner,
Years as a Notary: 9

A decade ago Sonita Leak was living in a domestic violence shelter with her children after escaping an abusive relationship. Faced with moving forward on her own, she sought a profession that would allow her flexibility with her time, and enough income to support her family. She did her research and chose to become a Notary, and that decision changed her life. Today Leak is one of the most accomplished Notaries in South Carolina, and an influencer of Notaries nationwide.

As the owner of, which provides notarial and wedding officiant services, she has performed more than 4,500 notarial acts. She coordinates community center events to help people with powers of attorney, wills, trusts, quitclaim deeds, HIPAA authorization forms, declaration statements and advance directive forms. She also performs free notarizations for veterans and the underprivileged. Leak also consults with businesses on Notary issues, is a contributor to the Notary Bulletin, and shares knowledge of business development, marketing and entrepreneurship through her blog and podcasts.


2019 NOTY Special Honoree Roger Rill

Defender of the Public Trust

State: Ohio
Occupation: President, Ohio Society of Notaries
Years as a Notary: 41

A third-generation Notary first commissioned in 1978, there’s not much Roger Rill hasn’t seen in the signing world. A U.S. Navy veteran, Rill founded the Ohio Society of Notaries in 2009 to address the lack of resources for the state’s 240,000 Notaries. Rill writes articles and presents Notary seminars statewide as well as for the Ohio State Bar Association. He also created telephone and email helplines to assist with questions regarding signing situations, unusual documents and best practices.

In his most recent, and possibly most influential accomplishment, Rill conceived and co-authored the Ohio Notary Modernization Act of 2018, that was signed into law by former Governor John Kasich in December. This landmark legislation provides the most sweeping reforms to Ohio Notary laws in over 60 years, including a complete overhaul of the state’s antiquated commissioning system, and the advent of remote online notarization.

Join us in celebrating our 2019 Notary of the Year and Honorees at NNA 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri, May 5-8.

View All: NNA News


Add your comment

Michelle Riley

20 Mar 2019

Congratulations to Judy, Catherine, Sonita and Roger for all their hard work and community service. I'm looking forward to meeting all of you in St. Louis and celebrating your accomplishments.

Jamie Liggins

23 Mar 2019

CONGRATULATIONS TO EACH OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! In reading your profile, accomplishments and contributions to the Notary Public role I was touched! Each one has a story AND I'd say you four have made a recipe for success: A PILLAR, A PASSION, A DIFFERENCE AND A DEFENDER... all for the Notary Industry. I look forward to meeting you and being encouraged by your personal story of success!!!!!!!!!!! Look for me too, Jamie Liggins

ILA Penny

24 Mar 2019

Congratulations to Judy Chapman who is one if the best and most informed notaries I know. I have known Judy since she worked with SOS, professionally and personally. She’s honest and wants the best for notaries. Judy is an asset to the association. Also congrats to the honorees for such an outstanding achievement.


25 Mar 2019

Ms. Chapman was my Notary instructor and I am so happy to see her recognized by the National Notary Association. What at honor it is for her and each of the special honorees, especially when you take into consideration the large number of Notaries in the U.S.. The best of the best.

26 Mar 2019

Hello I'm new at this and I was wondering is there any one in Louisville KY that I can shadow under to watch and learn from them without being charged for that. I want to be the best I can be to help others in their time of need. Please list some people and areas of town I would truly appreciate your help. Thx either way in advance.

Jeannette Ramcharan

30 Mar 2019

Congratulations to each one of you!!! Each of you embodies the knowledge and leadership to progress our profession into the next level and beyond. Cheers*

Janet Lepley

03 Apr 2019

Congratulations to Roger Rill, my friend who has always been able to assist me with my notary questions. You have been a true asset to the Notary community with your knowledge.

Frances Jane Bovee

04 Apr 2019

Congratulations to all Honorees. A privilege to share Notary Services with all United States ~ ..."Protect Your Space. Protect Your Truth. Protect Your PEACE. Protect Your Craft." ... Duties: Protect Against Fraud. ~by Frances Jane Bovee

Angela Harris

01 May 2019

How is the market for notary public in Charlotte NC

Delores Evans

02 May 2019

To all of the Honorees, Congratulations.

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