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Calendar MARCH 10 7pm-9pm  Appalachian Highlands Twenty under 20 Gala Event  Milligan College  Johnson City, TN  423-579-4083 streamworkseducation.org MARCH 13  6:30pm  St. Patrick’s Day Bash  MeadowView Conference Resort & Convention Center  Kingsport, TN  423-975-5437 www.rmhsa.org   7pm  Shamrock 4-Miler  Abingdon Farmers Market  Abingdon, VA  www.werunevents.com

MARCH 2020

6pm Savvy Scrabble Social  St. Paul’s Episcopal Church  Kingsport, TN  423-392-4643 literacycouncilofkingsport.org MARCH 21  10am Abingdon’s 2nd Annual Contemporary Art Bazaar Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center Abingdon, VA 276-698-8818 ttilley105@gmail.com 6pm  Big Boys Toys and Casino Night  Johnson City Country Club  Johnson City, TN  423-677-1515 dancingwiththetricitiesstars.com

MARCH 23 Noon Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kingsport Golf Tournament MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center Kingsport, TN 423-230-4160 www.kbgc.org MARCH 27 6:30  Wine and Chocolate Festival  Glenrochie Country Club  Abingdon, VA  276-645-5867  www.highlandscbs.org/cac   

Music and Lyrics by

6pm 2020 Music on the Square Gala  McKinney Center  Jonesborough, TN  423-753-1010 www.jonesboroughtn.org   MARCH 28  10am  Joggin’ for the Noggin! 5K Run/Walk  The Crumley House  Limestone, TN  423-257-3644 www.crumleyhouse.com

Book by

DOLLY PARTON

PATRICIA RESNICK

Orchestrator

Arrangements & Additional Orchestrations

BRUCE COUGHLIN

Based on the 20th Century Fox Picture Originally produced on Broadway by Robert Greenblatt, April 2009

STEPHEN OREMUS & ALEX LACAMOIRE

9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI. www.MTIShows.com

MAY 1 TO MAY 30

BARTERTHEATRE.COM | 276.628.3991


PUBLISHER’S LETTER

She Says... S

everal months ago, I received an email from Chloe Meade asking about featuring her Mom in the Power Women 2020 issue of VIPSEEN. At first, I was a little hesitant, but I couldn’t help admire her persistance. She called, emailed, and found any way to get through to us in order to and give her mom this special dedication for her 50th birthday. I finally caved, because I cannot pass up a good story. I lost my mom almost 15 years ago and wish every day, I could have spent a little more time telling her how special she was. Tracy, I hope you know what a special and wonderful daughter you have. Enjoy every moment and VIPSEEN wishes you a very happy 50th birthday! (see Page 26 for story) At VIP, we want to always tell your story. We ALL have a story to tell and, through storytelling, we can both be inspired and inspire others. Looking back at the years I did have with my Mom, I see now that her story was being woven through me. She came to the United States from Cuba, when she just 11 years old. She was sent to live with her Godparents in New York and had to create her own story here in the United States. She learned to speak English pretty quickly and never looked back. Her parents eventually came to the U.S. and moved her to Miami, but her story had already begun. She perservered and eventually graduated from high school and went off to Community College. She was a go-getter, someone who didn’t take “no” for an answer. She didn’t finish College, but was hired at the phone company as a draftswoman in the early 70s. Later she became a Bookkeeper and would go on to work at one of the major international banks of the world. Her story ended sooner than I would have liked, but in her short time here on Earth, she was a light to many and her love of life, people, and family truly inspired and shaped who I am today. This issue is dedicated to, not only my Mom, but all the moms, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends, and mentors that are true inspirations to us all.

VIPSEEN

Did you know?

Ballad Health cares for all patients regardless of their ability to pay.

MARCH

Angelica Ares As a not-for-profit health system, angelica_a@vipseenmag.com

For-profit organizations

have no such

Ballad Health serves

to care for those

who needs care.

who are unable to pay.

In fact...

• Uninsured • Insured • Low-income

Our largest competitor for diagnostic services in the region provided less than $3,000 in free, or charity care to the poor last year. So, Ballad Health cared for those people who were without insurance and were unable to pay.

Ballad Health provided free care to the poor costing more than

$82 million

$37 million charity care

+

$45 million

unreimbursed Medicaid

If you have insurance and a high deductible, Ballad Health also has programs to reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

on the cover

At least

85%

discount Fiscal year 2019

Dec-Mar20-CoverFNL.indd 1

SPECIAL FEATURE

2020

POWER WOMEN

Call Ballad Health to learn more about financial assistance options.

MODEL Be alert Ruth King, Bristol

Some for-profit organizations are wrongly advertising, or distributing information, based on published full pricing comparisons. This information is misleading, and could end up costing you more money.

PHOTOGRAPHY For a price quote on a specific Nathan Mays Photography

balladhealth.org

procedure, please call 423.431.1776.

2020

on services for those without insurance, likely making Ballad Health the lowest cost option.

Ballad Health provides award-winning service and care to people who are uninsured, to those on low-income programs like TennCare and Medicaid, and to people who have insurance.

CREATING A SENSE OF COMMUNITY THROUGHOUT THE APPALACHIAN HIGHLANDS

obligation

everyone

ALSO INSIDE: Annual Kingsport Chamber Dinner, Freezin’ for a Reason, Red Shoe Gala, The Tebow Foundation’s Night to Shine, and much more

3/8/20 11:11 AM

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Contents

MARCH 2020 FEATURES

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VIPSEEN SPECIAL FEATURE 2020 POWER WOMEN

10

COVER STORY 2019 UPDATE DR. ANGELA CAMERON

72

57

VIPSEEN SPECIAL FEATURE CELEBRATING 15 YEARS OF RACE FOR THE CURE IN THE TRI-CITIES

DEPARTMENTS

46

VIP BEAUTY

51

VIPKIDS

Kids making a difference in our region.

57

VIP HOME TURNING THE PAGE...

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contents

VIPSEEN

EVENTS

FOUNDER/PUBLISHER Angela J. Baker CO-OWNER Mickey J. Baker

KINGSPORT 48 11th Annual Red Shoe Gala 50 United Way of Greater Kingsport’s Leadership Giving Event 52 Kingsport Chamber Annual Dinner

ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER CREATIVE DIRECTOR Angelica Ares angelica_a@vipseenmag.com EVENTS COORDINATOR Allison Galloway allison@vipseenmag.com SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER Nathan Mays

JONESBOROUGH 61 Cookie Creations 62 United Way Campaign Dinner JOHNSON CITY 67 Tri-Cities 4th Annual Adult Prom 70 Tri-Cities 5th Big Give 66 Freezin’ for a Reason 68 My Little Valentine: Daddy Daughter Dance 64 Roan Scholars Leadership Program North Star Dinner ERWIN 71 Daddy Daughter Dance

COPY EDITOR Lucy Honeychurch

74 SULLIVAN COUNTY 74 Puppergram Fundraiser

BEAUTY EDITOR Sherri Jessee ACCOUNT MANAGERS Lark Adams lark@vipseenmag.com Katie Cronk katie@vipseenmag.com Kirsten Hall kirsten@vipseenmag.com

BRISTOL 77 Bows & Bowties Father Daughter Ball ABINGDON 78 The Tebow Foundation Night to Shine 80 Barter’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights

Cody Woods cody@vipseenmag.com

Whitney Carr whitney@vipseenmag.com Morgan King morgan@vipseenmag.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rachel K. Burrus Crystal Dawn Carter Linda Coffey Eric Donahue Allison Galloway Casey Keeley David Mallory & Todd Fields Beth Street Cody Woods PHOTOGRAPHY Rachel K. Burrus Crystal Dawn Carter Linda Coffey Eric Donahue Allison Galloway Casey Keeley Mike Hensley, Johnson City Aerial Photography Cody Woods DIRECTOR OF DISTRIBUTION Barbara Werner

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52 march 2020

DISTRIBUTION Charles Kilgore Martin Kilgore Mark Kilgore Leslie Morgan VIPSEEN, Inc., Tri-Cities 423.398.5321 vipseenmag.com


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Table of Contents INTRO BY ANGELICA ARES

T

his issue is one of my favorites, not only because the pages are filled with strong, intelligent, passionate women, but because of their stories. We, as women, have fought harder and have sometimes given up more to be in the positions we are in. When you ask a woman about being a “Power Woman,” her first response is usually that she doesn’t want to talk about herself. Tell any potential power woman that his issue is a platform used to inspire other woman, and especially young girls to achieve their dreams, and these women jump at the chance to tell their stories. Throughout the following pages, you will read about financial advisors, creative minds, philanthropists, presidents, CEOs, and many other women that have fought for their dreams. Follow your dreams and don’t let anything stop you from fulfilling them.

8

10 2019 COVER STORY UPDATE: DR. ANGELA CAMERON Sophisticated Smiles

14 SAMANTHA CULBERTSON ASHLEY SHUTT ARO Creative Inc.

12 2020 COVER STORY: RUTH KING

16 LORA BARNETT Kingsport Chamber

march 2020


18 JESSICA TAYLOR COOK Foundation Title & Escrow

30 KIM KIRK Tennessee High School

20 SHELIA FERGUSON & THE POWER WOMEN OF HAIR • BENDERS SALON Hair • Benders Salon

32 EMILY LEE Carson Wealth

22 KRISTIE HAMMONDS Frontier Health 24 JOHNSON CITY COUNTRY CLUB 26 TRACY ADDINGTON Happy 50th Birthday! 28 BELINDA KIENER Bravissima! Women Sponsoring the Arts!

34 AMY BOSHEARS ROBINETTE & BETH JONES CUNNINGHAM Sweet Blessings Boutique 36 BARBARA THOMAS Food City 28 ASHLEY GRINDSTAFF & THE WOMEN BEHIND GRINDSTAFF AUTOMOTIVE GROUP Grindstaff Automotive Group

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VIPSEEN 2019 Power Woman COVER UPDATE STORY BY SERINA MARSHALL

DR. ANGELA CAMERON

D

r. Angela Cameron of Sophisticated Smiles in Johnson City has been an admired and respected part of the business and entrepreneurial scene for many years. Born in Morristown, TN and a graduate of Morristown West High School, Dr. Cameron attended Furman University located in Greenville, SC, where she received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biochemistry and also a Master of Science Degree in Biophysical Chemistry. From there, she attended the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry located in Memphis, TN. “They are nationally known for excellence in training in clinical dentistry,” says Dr. Cameron. “It was a rigorous program but well worth it.” She also achieved four post-doctoral Fellowships with: Dental Organization of Conscious Sedation (DOCS), Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies (LVI), and most recently with the Pierre Fauchard Academy. An active member in the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), she was named to the President’s Honor Roll in 2006. “I am an active member in the above organizations, as well as, the American Academy of Facial Esthetics (AAFE), International Association of Physiologic Aesthetics (IAPA), American Association of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), American Dental Association (ADA), Tennessee Dental Association (TDA), First District Dental Society (FDDS), TN AGD, TN AACD, and several other organizations,” says Dr. Cameron. “I have been blessed to receive numerous awards and recognition during my career, including being a guest on the nationally televised TV show called, ‘Moving America Forward.’ I strive to be an active member in our community and attend Central Baptist Church in Johnson City.”  Dr. Cameron is married to Dr. Jason Cunningham and is blessed to have two children, Andrew and Alexis, both of whom attend Providence Academy in Johnson City. In her spare time, Dr. Cameron loves to read and to treat herself to time at the Spa.  Dr. Cameron is the owner and lead dentist at Sophisticated Smiles and the TMJ Treatment Clinic. “Our motto is, ‘We improve lives and we do it with a smile.”

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Begins Dr. Cameron, “I took over a well-established dental practice in Johnson City from a retiring dentist in 2002 and transformed it into Sophisticated Smiles. In 2009 we relocated to our state-of-the-art facility in Med Tech Park. In 2012, I took over the TMJ Treatment Clinic from a retiring dentist and relocated it inside of the Med Tech Park facilities. Each day our team focuses on keeping the main thing, which is providing excellent patient care in a relaxing and caring environment.”

When it comes to her achievements before, and after we last caught up with her in her feature story, success continues to follow Dr. Cameron in life and in business. “Success by definition is achieving a desired aim. The question is what is your aim or desired goal for this minute, this week, this month, this year, and for your life?” Dr. Cameron explains, “Because people’s (including my) desires, aims, and goals change, the definition of success is a very fluid and changing construct. For me at this point in my life, success is about having a healthy and happy family life and a thriving professional career where I can help take care of people and make their lives better through the services that I provide and through being a positive impact for them. It is also nice to have the respect and recognition of my peers.” Last fall, Dr. Cameron was inducted as a Fellow into the Pierre Fauchard Dental Honors Academy. She has the distinction of being the only female dentist in the Tri-Cities region to ever receive this honor. With anything in life, there are times when you will face setbacks or adversity. When asked about this, Dr. Cameron states, “As the saying goes, it is not how many times you get knocked down. It is how many times you get back up. To overcome adversity one must have perseverance, a positive mindset, constant prayer, and the tenacity to never give up. The difference between ‘try’ and ‘triumph’ is the extra “umph’.”  Every day, young women all over the world are starting out their dreams and goals of becoming entrepreneurs and starting their own businesses. When asked what advice


she would give these young women, Dr. Cameron had this to share: “Stay positive and avoid toxic people. It is important to surround yourself with fellow professionals who have the same high value systems as you do. Remember that success leaves clues, make sure to follow the clues,” advises Dr. Cameron. “I would encourage any young entrepreneur to keep learning and growing and to become what I call, ‘a lifelong student.’ Always, remember that people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. It is important to focus on having a loving and a caring spirit/heart in all endeavors. No amount of talent can compensate for a lack of preparation. It is important to be prepared and to ‘do your homework.’ You don’t know what you don’t know. Therefore, it is always important to keep your eyes and ears open for new knowledge.”   Women within the arena of leadership are something that diversifies the business world. But what would be the biggest difference between male and female leadership? “This is an interesting question. I feel the biggest difference is the perception of male and female leaders. The same behavior and same words can be seen differently. Women are often more caring and nurturing. This can sometimes be seen as weakness, but I think it adds great strength to any leader when they truly care about the people they are leading and are not simply focused on achieving a task.” Dr. Cameron says, “From a very young age, I was always told that I was a ‘born leader,’ and so leading people has always come very naturally to me. It has less to do with me being a woman, and is more related to my natural personality type.” Dr. Cameron didn’t arrive to her position and place among successful business entrepreneurs over the years without pushing herself and understanding advice from others. One word that stands out to Dr. Cameron is a unique one, but one we should all follow, “It is a Japanese word, ‘kaizen,’ which when translated into English loosely means, ‘Constant and never-ending improvement’ explains Dr. Cameron.“ Each day I strive to be a better person, a better professional, a better mom, a better wife, a better business owner, a better boss, a better friend, and a better human being. There is always room for improvement in all that we do.” One way that Dr. Cameron has achieved the title of a good leader is by seeking the advice and inspiration of other leaders, such as Jim Rohn, Tony Robbins, Les Brown, and Louise Hay (just to name a few). So, what makes a good leader according to Dr. Cameron? “John Maxwell wrote a book titled, ‘The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader.’ This book is a wonderful resource and I have read it many times. Character,

commitment, generosity, servanthood, teachability, and vision are my top six favorite leadership qualities from his list. I recommend that anyone in a leadership role read this book.” Since we last spoke with Dr. Cameron, she has been making a difference in a variety of ways, inside the office and outside. Being involved in the community and with those in it is something that Dr. Cameron absolutely believes one should do, “Get out there and stay active. I would encourage everyone to take a spiritual inventory test to see where your strengths are and to also make a list of your available resources,” begins Cameron. “Next, find community activities that utilize your talents, strengths, and available resources. There are so many good causes to contribute to. Each year my office donates thousands of dollars worth of dental supplies to various community groups for local charities, as well as, foreign mission projects. Access to dental supplies is one of my resources and so I use that available resource to help those in need.” Dr. Cameron is also naturally gifted at leadership and organization. That is why most recently she was asked to be on the planning committee for the FDDS (First District Dental Society) where they raised almost $40,000 to create and open an exhibit on Dental Health at the Regional Hands on Museum. “This will be a wonderful way to help educate children on the importance of preventative dental care and a way to give back to our local community. It is the first health related exhibit at the museum. I am also active with several other charities including St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and several local organizations that help with homeless families and at-risk youth population.” Now that we have caught up on what Dr. Cameron is doing now, what is next for her? “I see myself living in Johnson City, taking GREAT care of my dental patients using the latest technology.” Dr. Cameron shares, “In the next 60 days alone, our office will be integrating about $150,000 worth of new equipment and new technology that will aid in treatments we already provide for patients with chronic headaches, TMD, neck pain, jaw pain, and bite issues. I was recently invited to go to New York City to film a segment for a Fox Business News Show that will air later this year. I see myself surrounded by wonderful family, friends, and coworkers. I see myself on the cutting edge of treatments. I see myself working towards leaving a positive impact on my community and the world. I am going to do as much good and do as I can to help as many people as I can as long as I am able.” Dr. Cameron is a wonderful asset and part of our community and plans to be for years to come. Dr. Cameron did offer one last morsel, “Life is a banquet and I plan to lick my plate clean.”  vipseenmag.com

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Ruth KING

STORY BY SERINA MARSHALL

1953, a force entered the city of Bristol that would Intransform and reinvent the way the community

looked at business and humanity. That force came in the form of Ruth King, an educator, philanthropist and visionary. The director of Student Activities at Sullins College, and later Dean of Women from 1969 to 1973, King led by example and showcased strength and resilience for the younger generation of women, and in some cases, older ones as well. Her encouragement and support helped guide women on their journey in whatever way their heart took them. That is one shining attribute King possesses, to follow your heart on whatever path you go down, and to live and lead with honor and dignity. Eventually, King took over to serve Sullins College from 1976 to 1978 after the unfortunate passing of the founding principal. By doing so, King ensured the continuation and perseverance of the school, proving her determination and willingness to take on obstacles to protect legacies. Now called Sullins Academy, the school still flourishes and students continue to grow and learn there. Education is not the only transformation King has led Bristol through. Serving on the Board of Directors for six years at the YMCA of Bristol, King established an outreach program for the youth of the community where 2nd graders from Bristol, TN and VA were able to come to the YMCA and learn to swim. A devoted swimmer herself, King noticed the lack of opportunities for the youth of Bristol and made sure they were given the chance to pursue such activities. King was also Associate Chairwoman of the 1988 Capital Campaign, where she continued her impact on growth and health education. Bristol is known for its rich history concerning the arts. Being the birthplace of country music, many look to Bristol to provide entertainment in many different ways and, as we have learned, where there is opportunity to give and contribute, King will be there. The opportunity presented itself to King to take center stage and assist in the enrichment of the arts of Bristol. Throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s, King introduced talent to the area in the form of musicians through the Community Concert Series. As a member of the board for the Paramount Chamber Players, founded in 2004, King helps keep music alive in the mountains with the regional chamber music

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cover story VIPSEEN

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: HONORED AT TRIBUTE TO WOMEN, READING AT ANDERSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FOR READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY FOR THE JUNIOR LEAGUE OF BRISTOL, HOSTING RALLY DAY FOR EMMANUEL EPISCOPAL CHURCH, AND FLAPPER FUNDRAISER FOR THE PARAMOUNT.

ensemble. Continuing her contribution to the performing arts, King transformed the arts community by her support and service to the Paramount Center for the Arts. When it looked as though the Paramount was going to be taken away, King was one of the first to stand up and refuse to hand it over. Due to her conviction, the Paramount went from chopping block to pedestal through a multi-year fundraising campaign to ensure the theatre would be safe from destruction. Instead of being reduced to rubble, the theatre was renovated and reopened in 1991. King didn’t stop there with her love and passion for the Paramount stage. Her steadfast involvement earned her a place as an emeritus board member, where she continues to make sure the show goes on. Not only did King transform the community piece by piece, she did it building by building, street by street, and person by person. The transformation of downtown Bristol was an undertaking that could not have been completed without the tenacity of King and her desire to make the town the best it could be. When King retired from education in the late 1970’s, she started a new adventure by way of a consignment shop, which ended up blossoming into an antique store at H.P. King Company. The ultimate success and respect for that department drove King to open her own store called Ruth King Antiques, which was located at 618 State Street. The fact that King was a woman and could not get a loan, almost hindered the process of opening the much-anticipated store, but King has never known the meaning of giving up. Her husband Bill co-signed for her to receive the loan, and she began her goal of becoming a leader in business for women, which was unheard of during that time. King knew this, but didn’t let it deter her or her mission for other women and future generations. King and her husband Bill travelled the world in search of the perfect inventory for the shop. The courage and willpower King exhibited only helped to grow her antique business even more in a time of economic trouble in 1980’s downtown Bristol. Over the years, the antique store grew and thrived, bringing in numerous clients and fine pieces to be sold. In addition, King became known nationally for her business skills, knowledge of English antiques, and gained a presence through the south. Her success and

admiration for love of antiques and people, kept downtown Bristol from falling apart, and instead, ended up bring it together in more than one way. Over the years, King has been honored with many different awards and nominations for her commitment to Bristol and the people within. In 1994, Ruth King Antiques received the much sought after “Business of the Year” award in the 2nd Annual Greater Tri-Cities Business Awards. This prestigious award was given to the store because of its incredible impact and rejuvenation of downtown Bristol. King was honored in 2008 as one of the inaugural recipients of the Bristol Mayors’ Award of Distinction. The Blue Stocking Club of Bristol, TN/VA nominated King for the YWCA Tribute to Women Award for her leadership, bravery and initiative in various areas, highlighting her position as a woman of esteem and grace. Not only had King been building legacies, she was creating her own through her various achievements and tireless contributions to education, health, arts and business. However, she is also a legacy in her history of kindness, selflessness and humbleness. Her lifelong devotion to Bristol and its revitalization inspires and encourages all that hear her story of triumph and fearlessness. Ruth King hasn’t just taken the past of Bristol under her wing, but also the present and future. Her vision for Bristol extends and exceeds far beyond 2020. King encourages more women to become entrepreneurs and to gain the knowledge needed to succeed and continue to do so. A woman of service, faith and humility, King has not only transformed the outside of Bristol, but even more importantly, the inside, by getting into the heart of the city and its people. King knows that you have to love where you live, and that when prayer is hand in hand with work, anything is possible. “You have to work harder than you want to work” King says, and that statement is one that she lives her life by. To make things work, you have to work yourself, and by doing just that, King has taken an entire city, and transformed it into one that believes in the power of growth, education, determination and love. Combining all these, you not only get the recipe for a successful city, but a successful human, and that is what Ruth King embodies. vipseenmag.com

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Samantha C UL B E R T S ON

TITLE: CO-FOUNDER, ART DIRECTOR COMPANY: ARO CREATIVE INC. WIFE, SISTER, ARTIST, INFP

Ashley S HUTT

TITLE: CO-FOUNDER, CREATIVE DIRECTOR COMPANY: ARO CREATIVE INC. WIFE, ENTREPRENEUR, EXPLORER, INFJ

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TEL L U S A L I TTLE A B O UT Y O UR S ELF .

HO W AND W HY DID Y OU BECOME

AS: I always find this to be the most diffcult question to answer. I am a mixture of contradictions. An extroverted introvert, a cautious risk taker, a type-A creative ... the list goes on. Mostly, I like to think that I’m a cheerful and curious woman that loves her family, her friends, and her clients.

AN ENTR EP RENEUR ? WAS I T

SC: Creative, dedicated, and kind of on the quiet side. Never quite the center of attention, always listening to others, and trying my best to make people smile. I’m an introvert who has now found a love for building relationships with new connections, traveling to new places, and accepting new challenges that I never thought I would be taking on. My craft drives me to learn and try more, and the values instilled in me by my loving family guide me daily.

WHA T D O YOU T H I N K I S T H E MOS T S I G N IF I C A N T B A R R I E R T O FEM A L E L E A D E R SH I P? AS: The female brain. I think, as women, it can be hard to establish our place in leadership. We often are our own biggest barrier — lacking the confidence it takes to stand up for ourselves and the amazing, unique qualities and perspectives we bring to the table. It can be hard to breakthrough that mindset and find our voice. On another note, it’s phenomenal to see companies and corporations placing an emphasis on female leadership and working with woman-owned businesses. Kudos to them!

DE FI N E A G R E A T L E A D E R . W H AT ARE S O M E T R A I TS Y O U TH I N K GRE A T L E A D E R S PO SS E S ? SC: I believe a great leader is someone who has the following traits: the ability to listen, the ability to see potential in individuals and opportunities, and the ability to work hard. By listening to their team, a great leader can identify strengths and weaknesses, as well as note client and potential customer needs and goals. By keeping an eye on the future, a great leader can lead and guide their team to the best possible outcomes while avoiding pitfalls and errors. Lastly, by working hard, they set a strong example for their team, inspiring each individual to do their best as well.

WHA T HA V E Y OU L E A R N E D A BO UT LE A DE R S HI P, E N T R E PR E N E URS HIP , A N D M E N T O R I N G OTH E R S ? AS: Here are some highlights from the past few years: I am fully capable of stepping, and staying, outside of my comfort zone. What a revelation!

S O M ETHING Y O U ALW AYS I NT ENDED F O R Y O U Y O UR S ELF ? AS: I can vividly remember saying, “I would NEVER start my own business. It’s too risky.” However, I always knew that I wanted to be in a leadership roll. Taking the leap was a mixture of wanting to have more control and higher standards for the work that I was producing, combined with a [fleeting] moment of fearlessness… SC: I always knew I wanted to work in the arts. I’ve loved drawing since I was very small, and have studied art and music at ETSU. While learning these creative skills, I didn’t foresee that my path would lead me to become an entrepreneur. With the guidance of key mentors and colleagues, I realized that to bring my full potential to my clients, and myself, I would need to build a company to support my values, artistic direction, and future goals.

HO W DO Y O U P US H THROU G H Y O UR W O RS T TIM ES ? SC: It is no secret that the life of an entrepreneur can be challenging. During these tough times, I believe that keeping your sights locked on the following things are key: Your blessings in life. Being thankful for the things that are going well, the people that support you, and the accomplishments you’ve achieved. That, and remaining focused on the original goal, which in my case is to do great work with, and for, great people. With a heart of thankfulness and a focused mind, you can push through challenges that may arise.

AS A M ENTO R TO US AL L , WH AT IS O NE P IECE O F ADVI CE T H AT YOU W O ULD GIVE TO READERS? AS: My greatest piece of advice is to always believe in yourself and know your worth. And if you find that hard to do, surround yourself with people who will believe in you, for you. Oh, and always, always encourage, uplift, and celebrate other women. We’re all in this together. SC: Work as hard as you can toward your goal, then make time to rest. By balancing your work life with personal time to physically and mentally rest, spend with loved ones, and pursue personal interests, you stay fresh and motivated. This is what will make the difference in your long-term career.

The people, mentors, and creative partners I surround myself with are invaluable. I owe them everything The best kinds of leaders are the ones who take what they’ve learned/achieved/observed and give it back, whenever possible. vipseenmag.com

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Lora

BA R N E TT

TITLE: EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT COMPANY: KINGSPORT CHAMBER

TEL L U S A L I T TLE A B O UT Y O URS ELF . I was born and raised in Bristol, TN and come from a loving family whose foundation was built on our faith in God. I graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. I worked in the legal field for 15 years for several attorneys and was also a court administrator for Judge Beck in the Criminal and Chancery Courts. I am currently the Executive Director of Government Relations and Workforce Development with the Kingsport Chamber. I have served on several boards and been involved with several non-profit agencies throughout the years. I am a sustaining member of the Junior League of Kingsport, I currently serve as a member of the Leadership Team with United We Read under the umbrella of United Way of Greater Kingsport, and my husband and I are currently the Presidents of the Dobyns-Bennett Band Boosters. My husband Phillip and I have been married for 20 years and we have two sons, Nikolas and Mason.

H O W M U C H I M PO R T A N C E D O Y O U

P LAC E O N V O L UN T E E R I S M A ND GIVI N G B A CK TO Y OUR C O M M UNITY ? Volunteerism is very important to me and was taught to me at a very young age. My mother was my example growing up. She volunteered a lot in our church and our community. She gave of herself and was always willing to help in any way she possibly could. That has always stayed with me. The first few years I lived in Kingsport, the one thing I noticed was that Kingsport truly is the “volunteer” community. We have so many people in this city that volunteer and are always willing to give of themselves and not ask for anything in return. That is one of the many things that truly makes our community great.

WH A T W O U LD Y OUR PE R S O N AL MOT T O B E ? My personal motto has changed over the years but at this point in my life, my motto is “You’re never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” CS Lewis

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TE L L U S A BOUT H OW Y O U G OT INTO

W HAT ARE S O ME S TR A T EG I ES T H AT

YO U R L I N E OF W OR K.

CAN HELP W O MEN ACH I EV E A

I started volunteering with the Kingsport Chamber in 2015 after I completed Leadership Kingsport. I served on the Legislative Affairs Committee representing Junior League of Kingsport and was on the Leadership Kingsport Council. I also worked with the chamber through fundraising for the chamber’s annual dinner for two years. When a position became available at the chamber, I was given the opportunity to apply and then subsequently offered that position. Government relations was something I was comfortable with, but with workforce development, I had a larger learning curve. The relationships I have built, collaborations that have been established and the skills I have learned has made workforce development a favorite part of my job.

M O R E P RO M INENT R O LE I N POL I T I CS?

HO W DO YOU A C H I E V E W O R K LIFE B A L A N C E ? I am not sure that I have totally achieved work-life balance, but it is something I strive for. The older my children get, the more I try and spend as much time with them as I can. I had a friend once tell me when my kids were toddlers and struggling with working full-time and being a mom that my children would need me more when they got older. That is something I did not understand at the time but stuck with me. She was right. Teenage years are very difficult, and I am glad that my job is flexible enough so that I can be there for them when they need me. My oldest son will be going to college very soon and I am trying to make as many lasting memories as possible with him. One of the aspects of my job that appealed to me the most was that my boss, Miles Burdine, encourages the “family first” concept. He encourages us to attend any activities, programs, etc. that our children are involved in. That to me is priceless and I am grateful for that type of work environment.

WH A T ’ S A GO A L Y O U H A V E F O R YOUR S E L F T H A T Y O U W A N T T O A C C O M P L I S H I N TH E N E X T Y EAR ? My personal goal this year is to be present. My sons are getting older and I am realizing that they will be leaving home soon to start the next phase of their lives. I want to be present in every aspect of our lives. I want to enjoy each moment as it comes and not constantly be thinking what comes next.

There are really no specific strategies that can help women achieve a more prominent role in politics per se. I do wish more women would run for political office but one of the major challenges I feel is when your family also gets brought into the political arena. It can be very difficult for family members to deal with the negative side of politics and as a woman, that would be difficult for me to see how that would affect my family. With that being said, we do need strong women to have prominent roles in all aspects of government (local, state and federal).

W HAT AR E Y O UR S UCCESS H ABI T S? I multi-task most of the time and can easily switch from one task to the next with relative ease. I do not usually get flustered when I have multiple things going on at one time. Also, whatever task or project I am working on, I can look at it from a “big picture” angle. I can see the task/project from all angles and can vision all possible scenarios.

HO W DO Y O U P US H TH ROU G H YOU R W O R S T TIMES ? My personal relationship with God is what I lean on during my most difficult times and well as the love and support of my husband. There have been difficult times in my life where the only thing I can do at the time is pray. I have to believe that everything will work together for my good and that God is in control even thought I may not see it at the time. My amazing husband is also my source of strength. He has always supported me no matter what crazy idea I come up, whatever the next project is I want to work on or whatever volunteer opportunity comes along that I want to get involved with.

AS A M ENTO R TO US AL L , WH AT IS O NE P IECE O F ADVICE T H AT YOU W O ULD GIVE TO R EAD ERS? Be involved in things you are passionate about. Learn to say no to things that do not bring fulfillment in your life and set boundaries for things that are most important. While that is easier said that done and something I have to work on daily, I feel the older I get, the more I want to achieve that balance in my life for the things that are most important.

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Jessica

T A Y L O R C O OK

TITLE: ATTORNEY

COMPANY: FOUNDATION TITLE & ESCROW

TEL L U S A L I T TLE A B O UT Y O URS ELF . I am, first and foremost, a child of the King. I am a wife to the man of my dreams and fellow attorney, J.R. Cook, and a mother to the light of my life, Savannah (age 2). I am also proud to claim the title of “big sister” to Lena and Rayne (age 20) and Kate (age 15). I am an attorney at Foundation Title & Escrow in Johnson City. I serve on the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kingsport as Vice-Chair of the Property & Risk Committee and am a member of the Rotary Club of Johnson City. I am arguably the biggest Tennessee Vols fan you will ever meet, and have no shame singing Rocky Top at the top of my lungs on any given Saturday in the fall.

DE FI N E A GR E A T L E A D E R . W HAT AR E SO M E T R A I T S Y O U TH I N K G R EAT LE A DE R S P O S S E S S ? A great leader must be able to relate to and understand people. My 88 year-old grandfather, the former General Manager of Krispy Kreme in the Tri-Cities, has always imparted this wisdom on me: “You have to know how to handle people.” It seems so simple, yet is so profound. A great leader must possess the skills to lead and guide a variety of personality types to success. The second piece of wisdom my grandfather continues to share with me to this day is “always do the right thing”. Again, so simple yet so profound. If you lead with integrity and do the right thing, you will gain the respect of those you are leading. They will know they can trust you, and that makes all the difference when you are in charge of leading a team to success.

WH A T A D V IC E W O UL D Y O U GIVE TO YO U N G W OM E N W H O W A NT TO S U C C E E D I N T H E W OR KPL ACE? Don’t be afraid to “lean in” to the table. Let your voice be heard. And, by all means, SHATTER that glass ceiling! My grandmothers were trailblazers for the generations of women behind them. They were working women and business owners in a time when women doing so was not the social norm. They taught me, along with other women, to never fear to let your voice be heard, even when what you are saying is not popular.

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EMAIL/PHONE: jcook@foundationtande.com 423-863-7920


TE L L U S A BOUT H OW Y O U G OT INTO

HO W M UCH IM P O R TANCE DO YOU

YO U R L I N E OF W OR K.

P LACE O N VO LUNTEERI SM AND

I have had a dream of being an attorney since I was a little girl. I didn’t know what area of law I wanted to practice in, but nonetheless I knew if I worked hard and stayed focused, I would one day realize that dream. Fast forward to 2009, I graduated from college and was headed to law school. The summer after my second year of law school, I worked for a local real estate attorney and caught the “real estate law” bug. My area of practice became my focus during my third year of law school and beyond. After law school, I got my feet wet in the real estate arena with a title company in Knoxville. It became a niche I found and loved. After serving as their attorney and building their business for four years, my husband and I decided it was time to move back home to the Tri-Cities and start our family. I then met the CEO of Foundation Title & Escrow and continued my career here in the place that has always been home to me. He handed over the reigns to me and allowed me to grow as a person, an attorney, and a business leader to bring the services we offer to his growing area. I love the work that I do and the people that I serve!

GIVING BACK TO Y O UR COMMU NI T Y?

HO W DO YOU A C H I E V E W O R K LIFE B A L A N C E ? There is so much pressure on women to fulfill our duties at home and in the workplace. I can’t say that I have truly achieved “work-life” balance, but I can say that I try really hard to give the right amount of attention to my career and the right amount of attention to my family. The “right amount” changes on a daily basis! What I can say for certain, is that I could not come anywhere close to achieving this if it wasn’t for my husband who is truly my equal partner. He celebrates my career and successes (and vice-versa) and we work together to achieve work-life balance. Can it be done without a partner? Absolutely! Some of the women I look up to the most are the single moms who have carried the load on their own and still see great success in their personal and professional lives (shout out to my Mother-in-law!).

WH A T W I L L B E TH E B I G G E ST C HA L L E N G E F OR T H E G E N E R ATIO N OF WO M E N B E H I N D Y OU? To me, the generation behind me means my younger sisters, twins age 20 and the youngest age 15, and daughter, Savannah, age two. I believe their biggest challenge is the “perfect persona” placed on young women highlighted by every social media platform. Emphasis is placed more on their appearance than their intellect. “Lean in” to the table! Your brain and your words are valuable, and when used appropriately they will open doors you never even knew existed.

“Give where you live”. This has been the example my father set for me from day one. Pouring my heart into loving on others is in my blood. Giving back to our community, in whatever capacity it may be, will only help this region continue to thrive. It may sound cliché, but I truly believe our children are our future. Serving on the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Kingsport allows me to continue investing in our children and making a difference in our future. Further, The “service above self” motto of the Rotary Club is one that truly resonates with me and my upbringing. Giving back to your community requires following your heart to serve where you are most passionate and can make a difference.

HO W DO Y O U W ANT P EOPL E T O R EMEM BER Y O U? I hope people remember me as a Christian and someone who fiercely loves her family, friends, and people. I hope they will remember me as someone who worked hard for her successes, despite times of adversity. I hope they will remember me as a woman who always loved others, despite the season of life they were in. Someone who didn’t pass judgment and accepted others for who they are and what they believe, even if those beliefs aren’t my own. Perhaps most importantly for me, I hope I am remembered for being a loyal wife and a loving mother, and for leaving a legacy my daughter can be proud of.

HO W DO Y O U P US H TH ROU G H YOU R W O R S T TIMES ? I lost my mom suddenly to a heart attack when I was 22. I had to learn at a young age how to push through tough times. Losing her completely changed my perspective and my approach to life. The first place I go during my worst times is to the Lord in prayer. I am not the perfect Christian, but I know God loves me anyway and He meets me where I am. During my darkest days, and there have been plenty, my faith has always grounded me. Second to that, my family is my saving grace. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. During my worst times, they helped push me out of darkness and into the light. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. I owe so much to my husband and my family for always being my rock.

AS A M ENTO R TO US AL L , WH AT IS O NE P IECE O F ADVICE T H AT YOU W O ULD GIVE TO R EAD ERS? Stay true to who you are, and always stand in your truth. When others cast stones at you, give them a smile -- “kill ‘em with kindness”. vipseenmag.com

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Shelia FERGUSON

O

& THE POWER WOMEN OF HAIR•BENDERS SALON

wner of Hair Benders Salon, Shelia Ferguson, is the innovator behind the magic. In a time before social media could showcase talent in a right here, right now way, Ferguson was paving the way and setting the bar high. Shelia Ferguson became a name in a time that where your best friend was the client that would recommend you. She created marketing strategies when you needed outside the box creativity to reach new clients. People were lined out the door to get their chance with the mastermind behind the chair at Hair Benders.

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Ferguson’s willingness to take on new challenges and work hard every step of the way has grown her company into the 33-team members it is today. Their path for success is paved out for years to come. Her clients, experts in the industry, and her employees love Shelia for the dedication she has shown to the industry. It is an honor to mentor upcoming artists alongside her. By surrounding ourselves with strong mentors that share our same goals, drive and passion, Hair Benders Salon is a team of powerful women. Shelia’s daughter and co-owner Hollie Taylor and the higher-


level stylists who work at Hair Benders Salon, alongside Ferguson, have vowed to dedicate the necessary time in growing both in-house and surrounding beauty schools by teaching upcoming stylists.

WH A T I S O N E C H A R A C T E R I S TIC THA T YO U B E LI E V E E V E R Y LEA D E R S HOULD POS S E S S ? Leaders should look past their own potential and think about how they can move the company by helping others fulfill their potential.

HO W M U C H I M PO R T A N C E D O Y O U P LAC E O N V O L UN T E E R I S M A ND GIV I N G B A CK TO Y OUR C O M MUNITY ?

W HAT AR E THE MO S T I MPORT ANT DECIS IO NS Y O U MAKE AS A L EADER O F Y O UR O R GANIZ ATION? Not to hire people just because they can do the job, they will only work for your money. We strive to focus on hiring people who we believe in the same goals and will work with passion.

W HAT IS Y O UR P ER S O NAL MOT T O? Strong women don’t have attitudes they have standards.

HO W AND W HY DID Y OU BECOME AN ENTR EP RENEUR ? W AS I T S O METHING Y O U ALW AYS

Community involvement is absolutely everything. We want to bless our community as it has blessed us. We love to give back to is our first responders, teachers, youth programs, animal shelters, multiple cancer organizations, as well as local schools. We offer many free services to the community all year long. Some of our biggest programs offer free hair cuts to first responders, nurses are offered free makeovers during our Nurse’s Week, and we have a “Best Mother and Why”, Nominate a Teacher among other giveaways as well. Giving back and investing in our community is our pleasure and responsibility as local leaders and we take pride in that.

There was a need in our area to break out of the beauty parlor model. I envisioned how a salon should be and what I wanted to represent for the client to the employee. We offer high-level continuing education programs and support for stylists to give them a better quality of life and build a career versus just making this a hobby or past time. The clients are our top priority and we go out of our way to pamper them as they are treated in our salon.

TE L L M E A B O UT A PR O JE C T OR

IS O NE P IECE O F ADVICE T H AT YOU

ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT YOU

W O ULD GIVE TO READERS?

C ONS I D E R BE I N G TH E M O ST

Remember, the one thing you have to carry on is your name. Make sure that you always represent yourself in a manner that you want to be thought of and your name will be a selling point for you. Giving your all and being a servant to others are ways that people will remember you positively so think of ways to have that attached with your name when people say it. That is key to building a strong business.

SIG N I FI C A NT I N Y OUR C A R E ER. Moving a successful business and having the courage to add 6,000 more square feet to the business. We now provide clients with a big city look with a small town feel.

INTENDED F O R Y O UR S EL F?

AS A M ENTO R TO US AL L , WH AT

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Kristie HAMMONDS

TITLE: PRESIDENT AND CEO COMPANY: FRONTIER HEALTH MOTHER: ASHLYN (20) AND KINSLEE (17) WIFE: CHAD HAMMONDS, HAS WORKED FOR EASTMAN CHEMICAL FOR OVER 20 YEARS PHILANTHROPIST: TRI-CITIES WOMEN WHO CARE, MISSION OF MERCY, FRONTIER FOUNDATION

TEL L U S A L I T TLE A B O UT Y O URS ELF . I was born and raised in Columbia, South Carolina and moved, with my family, to Kingsport, Tennessee after high school. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from East Tennessee State University and went back to school to obtain my Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Millage College (now University) after starting a family in Gate City, Virginia where I have a loving husband and two beautiful daughters! The things I cherish most in my life are my family and friends. I thank God for my loving and supportive husband Chad. He has always encouraged me to be the best version of myself and has taught me how to be more “present” in life. With the ever increasing demands on one’s time, finding that work/life balance is a challenge, but one that is important to achieve!

NA M E T HR E E W O R D S T H A T DES C R I B E Y O U. The first word that comes to mind is PASSIONATE. I have a passion to serve- my family, my peers, my organization, Frontier Health, and the communities we serve. DRIVEN, although my husband would call it stubborn! I have a need to continue to push through, no matter what challenges I face, reminding myself that once I get to the top of that mountain, the view is priceless! I am a CONSCIENTIOUS person striving to do the right thing, even when doing so may make life harder. It is important to me that I never ask someone to do something that I would not be willing to do myself.

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WH A T D O Y O U S E E Y O UR PL ACE O R

W HAT HAVE Y O U LEARNED ABOU T

P U R P O S E I N L I F E ? H OW D I D Y O U

LEADER S HIP , ENTREP RENEU RSH I P

C O M E T O T H A T C O N C LUS I O N?

AND MENTO R ING O THERS?

The reason I get up every morning is to make a difference. Being able to have a positive impact in both my professional and personal lives is important to me. I have always said that you don’t know just how much your smile can mean to someone or what kind of impact your smile can have. Having the opportunity to lead an organization like Frontier, where we touch so many lives each day is quite simply, amazing.

I have been blessed to have many mentors and leaders in my life that have helped me grow into the person I am today. There are three key “lessons” that have helped me along my journey. 1) Never let emotion control your reaction. If you do, you have already lost! 2) LISTEN- that is probably one of the most important lessons I have learned. You learn a lot when you keep your mouth shut! 3) Seek advice and consultation from those you trust – never be afraid to ask questions. You don’t have to know it all, you just have to surround yourself with people who have important expertise and then be willing to listen to them.

TE L L M E A BO UT H OW Y O U G OT INT O YO U R L I N E O F W O R K? I have always had a passion for helping others, from a young age, but really did not understand what that meant until second semester of my undergraduate year. I attended one of my first social work classes and it just felt right. Once I graduated with my BSW, my first job was working graveyard shift at Link House, an adolescent residential program with Frontier. Working with those teenagers was challenging, but also so rewarding! Seeing the success of someone I had worked with years later in the community made me realize that this type of work, although challenging, can make an incredible difference. There is nothing like that feeling of seeing someone succeed! I can tell you that at that time I never imagined I would be the President and CEO of the company! I believe that at different times in your life, you pick a path, or doors open or close and those things happen for a reason.

HO W DO Y O U P US H TH ROU G H YOU R W O R S T TIMES ? There have been several defining/tough moments in my life where I was uncertain and confused about my life and how to proceed. Looking back on those times, I realize that having faith, hope and an understanding that I would get through those difficulties made a difference. It is important to me that I never lose hope, even when I’m not able to see the light at the end of that tunnel. I can say now that those defining moments have made me who I am today- the experience, the struggle and the growth. They taught me things I might not have learned otherwise. Sometimes those experiences allow you to be just the right person to help someone else further down the road!

DEFI N E A GR E A T L E A D E R . W HAT

HO W DO Y O U W ANT P EOPL E T O

A RE S O M E T R A I T S Y O U TH I N K

R EMEM BER Y O U?

GRE A T L E A D E R S PO SS E S S ?

I would like to be remembered as a kind, caring person with integrity who treats people fairly and with respect in all situations.

There are so many wonderful books out there that define traits of a great leader, but I would like to speak to this from a more personal approach. A leader to me is someone you can trust to tell you the good and the bad, someone who is genuine and truly cares- willing to take the time to get to know the people they work with. A leader serves, at the core and heart of who they are. They see themself, not as a person of “power,” but one who is humbled to have the opportunity to make a difference. A leader listens to all perspectives and engages in order to have as much information as possible when making decisions. Leaders are team-oriented and work to support the success of their team members with no personal agenda.

AS A M ENTO R TO US AL L , WH AT IS O NE P IECE O F ADVICE T H AT YOU W O ULD GIVE TO R EAD ERS? Stay true to who you are. Someone once told me “don’t change for anyone but you”. It is easy to get caught up in social and competing trends or just think that you are not good enough. God made each of us unique for a reason and it would be awfully boring if we were all alike!

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Women of

J OHN S ON C I T Y CO U N T R Y CL U B

Ana

Gwen MOORE

GE R BA S I

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: ASSISTANT PRO

Deb DEEGAN

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: OPERATIONS MANAGER

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PROFESSIONAL CAREER: DIRECTOR OF WEDDINGS & EVENTS

Shonna PE T E RS

PROFESSIONAL CAREER: EXECUTIVE CHEF


TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELVES.

NAME THREE WORDS THAT YOU

ANA GERBASI: I am 24 and came to America at 17 to play D1 tennis for ETSU. I have been living in Johnson City since 2012, and I am originally from Caracas, Venezuela. I have a double major in Mass Communications and Business and a Masters in Media and Strategy. I love sports and my favorite college team will forever be my home, the ETSU Bucs. I am currently the Assistant Pro at Johnson City Country Club.

DESCRIBE YOU.

DEB DEEGAN: Raised in Northern Lower Michigan, my mom, brother and extended family still live there. My dad and step-mom live here in TN. I spent 26 years in the Chicagoland area, so moving the Tennessee was a bit of a change. A strong advocate for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society for over 20 years. My passion is volunteering for the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter Foundation board as Vice-President. Helping animals who have been abandon or abused who don’t have a voice of there own. A proud fur-mom of 3 rescues, 2 dogs (Sugar & Kaine) and a cat (Rhenfield).

AG: By reminding myself that every bad situation I have ever been a part off, I found a way to push through by staying true to myself and working hard. Things happen for a reason and a little detour can give you the greatest view.

SHONNA PETERS: I am a native to East Tennessee. I am absolutely in love this area I have been blessed to call home. I am the mother of three beautiful girls who are my life. The path that let me to becoming a chef is not the typical one. I have always had a passion for the culinary arts, but chose to pursue a career in nursing. I began making wedding and specialty cakes to help finance my way through school. It was at this time I truly began to realize what my true calling was. I completed my degree and graduated at the top of my class, but my heart longed for the kitchen. Following ones passion isn’t always the easiest choice, and sometimes can be quite scary, to be frank. Sometimes in life, things happen that shake us to our core and promote change. In my case, it was the loss of my brother Jamie. Experiencing such a profound loss made me realize that life is short, and we are never guaranteed tomorrow. It was at that point I decided to follow my dreams and become a chef. The only regret I have is that I wish I would have made the choice sooner. GWEN TAYLOR: I am the mother of Dredon (24) and Soniyah (11). I am the wife of William Moore. I am the Director of Weddings & Events at The Johnson City Country Club. In my spare time, I like to work on custom gift baskets, crafts (Pinterest Queen), read, travel, and spend quality time with my family.

WH A T A D V IC E W OULD Y OU G IVE TO YO U N G W O M E N W H O W A NT TO SU C C E E D I N TH E W OR KPL A C E? GT: I would advise them to take your time getting there. There is so much to look forward to and so many more opportunities for young women today. Enjoy and embrace what life has to offer. Be honest with yourself and know your self-worth.

AG: Loyal, hard-worker, independent. DD: Driven, loyal, and dependable.

HOW DO YOU PUSH THROUGH YOUR WORST TIMES?

W HAT W O ULD BE Y O UR P ER S O NAL M O TTO ? DD: I am using a motto that has been in my family all my life. My dad being a Marine. Adapt and overcome. In this industry, things change on a moment’s notice and to be able to adapt and overcome is essential to our success.

AS A MENTO R TO US AL L , WH AT I S O NE P IECE O F ADVICE T H AT YOU W O ULD GIVE TO R EAD ERS? AG: Love what you do and if you don’t love it find something that makes you feel complete professionally. Surround yourself with people that encourage you and support your dreams. Fight for what you want and don’t let anyone take it away from you! DD: Keep moving forward toward your goals, but always make time for yourself. SP: As women we are mentors, mothers, providers, wives, etc. and making power moves in our lives and taking control of our own destiny can be so difficult. The inevitable guilt and fear will creep in. It is so important though for women to follow their gut and do what is meant for them, unapologetically, without fear. In return we will be empowered because of it and hopefully be a light for all the little girls looking to us to show them the way. I am living proof that a woman, a single mother of three can take a swan dive of that proverbial cliff and make it. Did you hear that? To the lovely woman who is reading this right now, I did it. Now, you can go out there and do it too!! I will be cheering for you!! GT: I would advise the readers to set goals and work towards your dreams. There are a lot of opportunities for women now, compared to the past. I do feel that women will have to continue to push harder to achieve some Leadership roles, but there are so many successful women who have paved the way for us. I would advise one to continue to educate yourself and develop great communication and leadership skills. The sky is the limit! vipseenmag.com

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special feature VIPSEEN

TRACY ADDINGTON EVERYDAY SPECIAL VIPs

DEDICATION AND STORY BY CHLOE MEADE

T

racy Addington was born and raised in rural Southwest, Virginia, the youngest of three sisters and a single mother. She loved to read at an early age and she often wore the clothes that her mother made for her. She became Valedictorian of her graduating class and went on to receive a degree in English from Berea College in Kentucky. After graduating, she took her first graduate job at Eastman Chemical Company. What began as an entry-level position grew into a career that would last 27 years. She is now the Corporate Communications Manager and shows no signs of stopping. She came from humble beginnings and worked her way up into a respectable career that has provided for her family and opened doors to new experiences and opportunities. She is the best friend a person could have, she is strong-willed, independent, caring, loyal, hardworking, impressively smart, a loving wife, and the best mother a daughter could have. Her journey from a small town in Southwest Virginia to a manager at a major global company is nothing short of inspiring and she is the perfect example of what hard work and determination looks like. She embodies all the things that make our community special and unique and it is a privilege to know her. As her daughter, I have grown up with the best example of what true Southern grace and class is and I have seen what hard work and perseverance can do. She has taught me to be kind, be strong, and to always “keep it classy”—even when it is not easy. The biggest lesson she ever taught me was, “if you are ever faced with the choice between love and hate, always err on the side of love and you can never be wrong”. She instilled in me a love of travel and she encourages me to explore without fear. She is my biggest cheerleader and my best friend. I only hope that I can be half of the woman that she is one day.

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Belinda KI E N E R

TITLE: FOUNDER/PRESIDENT ORGANIZATION: BRAVISSIMA! WOMEN SPONSORING THE ARTS!, A non-profit

organization that funds the arts. In 2018, the group gave the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra $33,000 for concerts. For 2020-21, they plan funding for more than $80,000 in various arts projects, performances and exhibits. They enjoy three or four events a year that are sponsored by local businesses and include music such as jazz, opera and classical. Email/phone: bravissima111@gmail.Com/423.282.0906

TEL L U S A L I T TLE A B O UT Y O URS ELF . Belinda lives in Johnson City and is the wife of Judge John Kiener. They are the father and stepmother of Susan Lobsenz and Gretchen Lewis and grandparents of Sarah and Michael Lobsenz and Campbell Lewis. Belinda grew up in Charlotte, and spent 28 years in Florida as a PR & Marketing professional in the public and private sectors as spokesperson and senior counsel on communications issues. She was thrilled to return to these Appalachian Mountains upon retirement, having always called them the home of her heart.

NA M E T HR EE W O R D S T H A T DE S C R I B E Y O U. Strong, innovative, insightful.

H O W M U C H I M PO R T A N C E D O Y O U PLAC E O N V O L UN T E E R I S M A ND GIV I N G B A CK TO Y OUR C O M M UNITY ? Without people who are willing to step up and give back, community doesn’t exist. I have been fortunate to live in cities where people gave tremendously of their time, money and sweat equity. The Tri-Cities is an excellent example. The people here are truly amazing in their commitment to seeing things through. It’s wonderful.

H OW D O YO U W A N T PE O PLE T O RE M E M B E R Y OU? Someone who contributed to their lives in a positive way. Someone who gave them something special and left them smiling.

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WHA T HA V E Y O U LE A R N E D AB O UT

W HAT DO Y O U F EEL H AV E BEEN T H E

LE A D E R S HI P, E N T R E PR E N E URS HIP ,

IM P O R TANT S UCCES S ES I N YOU R

AN D M E N T OR I N G O T H E R S ?

LIF E? THE F RUS TRATIONS?

Leadership, entrepreneurship, and mentoring require kindness, empathy, a lot of listening, and the chutzpah and strength to see things through. So many of us have grandiose ideas about these three things, about our purpose in life, but really, it’s not about you, it’s all about filling a need — on both ends. It’s about what your community needs, your state or nation needs, about the people who want to fulfill those needs, and about putting those two things together.

WHA T WI L L B E TH E B I G G E ST CH A L L E N G E F O R TH E G E N E R ATIO N OF W O M E N B E H I N D Y O U? Despite the fact that more women than men are receiving college degrees and moving into the workforce with a diverse range of skills and amazing talent, they still are challenged on the corporate, legislative and educational levels to break through the ranks of men to get the salaries and high positions they deserve. On the home front, some men are happy to share equally the responsibilities, but in professional life, women still face a daunting challenge, and this needs to change a lot faster than it is. I talked to my granddaughter Sarah about this. She is a civil engineer with Kimley-Horn in Houston, one of the top Fortune 500 companies in the nation. She says women still are burdened tremendously with high childcare costs and especially in the case of single mothers, the costs and sacrifices still are primarily on women to uphold. Two other things that need consideration are security issues regarding internet information and how we embrace the LGBTQ+ community and give it equal rights and acceptance in healthcare, business and education. We must find good solutions for these challenges, and soon.

H O B B I E S O R SPE C I A L I N TE R ES TS ? Bravissima! The Arts. All things cultural. I love being a part of the Arts scene here and being a part of promoting it. The women of Bravissima! are dedicated to opening the world of Arts to our area through our combined funding . They recognize the impact of many together over the individual, and that by doing that, they can ensure a large and longlasting affect on a diverse range of performances, programs and exhibits of outstanding cultural and education interest. We want to continually encourage a strong, vibrant Arts community by providing art from around the work and display to the world the art endemic to our area. We also intend to serve and sponsor to the extent possible, women artists, and their dreams for a better future, and to help the disadvantaged enjoy the Arts when they otherwise couldn’t. We have many wonderful women’s groups throughout the Tri-Cities doing great work for a wide range of needs. Bravissima! is dedicated to the Arts. That’s our niche. We’ve found the perfect need and are filling it. That’s the power in POWER WOMEN!

PART 1: Two seminal events happened early in my life that helped define success for me. One was when I was in a women’s group and expressed feeling particularly down. To my surprise, each woman told some vignette about how I’d been a role model of strength and inspiration to them. The other was when I was working on my master’s degree and was taking the capstone management course with a team of highly skilled people who had a huge diversity of strong achievements. We were answering some tough questions within the team and one described a harrowing life-anddeath scenario. “Who would you trust with your life in this situation?” was the ultimate question. Before I could even think about it, the team said my name in unison. I knew then that no matter what I achieved in life, the ultimate success was having the respect and trust of my peers. PART 2: Seeing people hurt or caught up in negativity. Author Marianne Williams said it best, “Just because other people are fueled by drama doesn’t mean you have to attend the performance.” It’s one of my favorite quotes.

TELL US AB O UT A P RO JECT OR ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT YOU CONSIDER BEING THE MO S T S IGNI FI CANT I N Y O UR CAR EER. Coming to Northeast Tennessee. It took a giant leap of faith and a while to find my way, but learning fundraising and how to establish a non-profit has been the most satisfying and significant work I’ve ever done. Bravissima! is the culmination of that. We publish a membership directory each year, and when I read the bios of the women, I’m incredibly humbled by their professional accomplishments, strengths, artistic talents, educational levels, positive attitudes, and philanthropic spirits. They’re creating a big donor base for the Arts in our area and they are generous and kind to each other. They’re wonderful!

AS A M ENTO R TO US AL L , WH AT IS O NE P IECE O F ADVI CE T H AT YOU W O ULD GIVE TO READERS? Celebrate life and those who love you! I live by the Four Agreements: “Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.” That last one is tricky for women, because I think a lot of us tend to think we always need to be perfect. You’re not at the top of your game every single day. Avoid self-judgment. Some days you have to say, “I don’t have to do it perfectly, I just have to do it.”

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Kim KIRK

MOTHER OF: HALEY, RACHAEL, AND SYDNEY

DOG MOM OF: HOLSTON, MILLY, AND ROOTIE WIFE OF: JERRY KIRK

MIMI OF: HADLEE, HUDSON, AND RYLEY

ENJOYS: ATHLETICS, FITNESS, WATER SPORTS, AND ANYTHING OUTDOORS

PRINCIPAL OF TENNESSEE HIGH SCHOOL

WHA T WO U LD B E Y O UR PE R S O N A L M O T TO ? In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

NA M E T HR EE W O R D S T H A T DE S C R I B E Y O U. Compassionate, Fair/Consistent, and Driven.

WHA T I S O NE C H A R A C TE R I S TIC TH A T YO U B E LI E V E E V E R Y LE A D E R S HOULD POS S E S S ? Integrity encompasses the following components: honesty, trustworthiness, pride, responsibility, helpfulness, loyalty, and respect. These components are essential for every leader in any organization; without these characteristics a leader is ineffective. At the core of success is integrity. If integrity is absent, a leader cannot be trusted, and a leader is nothing. A leader’s words, actions, values, and treatment of others are key to leading with a moral purpose.  

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WH A T W A S Y O UR D R E A M JOB AS A

W HAT DO Y O U S EE AS YOU R PL ACE

K ID A N D WH Y ?

O R P UR P O S E IN LIF E? HOW DI D

My dream job as a child was to work at Kentucky Fried Chicken. My grandmother was an influential person in my life that I cared for deeply. From her house we could see KFC and her favorite food was fried chicken. We spent a lot of time together playing outside, eating baked cheese and crackers, telling stories, and talking. We made a plan that one day we would both work at Kentucky Fried Chicken together. At that time in my life, there was not a job greater than spending the day with my grandmother eating fried chicken.

Y O U CO M E TO THAT C ONCL U SI ON?

HO W DO YOU W A N T PE O PLE TO REM E M B E R Y O U? I want to be remembered for loving people who are sometimes deemed “unlovable,” always standing up for the “underdog,” and treating everyone with kindness, fairness, and respect.  I want people to remember that I was extremely passionate, loved deeply, and believed in others. On a lighter note, I would want people to know that I am extremely competitive, sometimes silly, and loved life.  In some aspects of life, I truly never grew up, because acting like a child is more fun. It would be important to me for others to see that I cared and enjoyed life.

DES C R I B E ON E OF Y O UR B I G G ES T FAI L U R E S . W H A T L E SS O N S D ID Y O U LEA R N , A N D H OW D I D I T CON T R I B U T E T O G R E A TE R SUCCES S ? Looking back to the beginning of my administrative career, I had many failures. I was young and had little experience when dealing with adults and students alike.  If I could start over, I would make it a priority to listen to their stories and to focus on practicing patience while understanding the circumstances that each individual was dealing with in the situation. Much of my early career’s responsibilities involved student discipline. Often times, I simply utilized and followed the book of procedures provided by the school, which resulted in blanketed consequences and less behavior changes from students. They accepted their punishment and continued with the same pattern of behavior.  Had I known then what I know now, I would have listened more and talked less. I would have spent more time building relationships with students, been more compassionate toward others, been more focused on seeing the whole person while loving and understanding him/her, and focused less on giving consequences. It is my belief that one’s greatest learning can derive from his/her greatest failures. 

My purpose in life is to have a positive impact on as many lives as I can. Being an educator and administrator is seen as a job, but it is my life’s calling. I desire to be a positive influence and lead by example. If my work has contributed to a positive change in one person’s life, then it has all been worth it. As a principal, I am the voice and advocate for teachers, staff, and students and have the ability to improve various aspects of a school on a much larger scale. It is my hope that I make a difference daily through my actions, words, and attitude.  I discovered this through my job, daily interaction with students, parents, teachers, staff, and community members.  Also, I was shaped through being a mother to my own children; when you become a mother, the view changes. It changes how you see children and how you deal with them.  Students are no longer just that; they belong to someone who sees them as the most important people in their lives. All experiences add up to change; each day, endeavor, and moment helps to shape not only who we are but also who we want to be.  

DEF INE A GR EAT LEAD ER.WH AT AR E S O M E TRAITS Y O U T H I NK GREAT LEADER S P O S S ESS? A great leader is committed to doing the right things for the right reasons and motivates others to follow them while they lead by example. They provide the inspiration needed to lead their team to not only become the best versions of themselves but also to instill a passion to reach beyond what is expected.  Above all, a great leader must be a person of integrity. Having integrity may not always lead to popularity, but it will lead to gaining trust and respect from others; it will also show others what the leader values and that the leader always makes decisions based on the overall welfare of others. More importantly, great leaders have a vision and continuously strive for improvement.  They are never satisfied with the average but lead in a way that allows their members to grow and to forge his/her own path. 

AS A MENTO R TO US AL L , WH AT IS O NE P IECE O F ADVICE T H AT YOU W O ULD GIVE TO R EAD ERS? Allow yourself to make mistakes. Your greatest learning will come from your biggest failures.  Without mistakes and failure, I would be less compassionate and empathetic, less likely to take chances, and far less successful. Failure is the greatest teacher; it forces a person to dig deep, to think differently, and to persevere.  vipseenmag.com

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Emily LEE

TITLE: WEALTH ADVISOR COMPANY: CARSON WEALTH MOTHER: TO AN ENERGETIC 3 YEAR OLD SON WIFE: TO THE MOST CARING HUSBAND PHILANTHROPIST: BIRTHPLACE OF COUNTRY MUSIC, HIGHLANDS COMMUNITY SERVICES, AND THE EMORY & HENRY COLLEGE ALUMNI

TEL L U S A L I T TLE A B O UT Y O URS ELF . Anyone who knows me, understands my love for Appalachia, the tranquility of the outdoors, the significance of stewardship within the community, and my appreciation of the deep musical heritage throughout our region. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I am passionate about bringing high net worth clients a combination of personalized, yet disciplined, planning based wealth management strategies to help minimize taxes, manage the growth of wealth, and carry forward a long-lasting legacy over multiple generations. I grew up in Galax, Virginia, home of the Old Fiddler’s Convention, and attended college at Emory & Henry College, earning a Bachelor of Science in both Business Management and Chemistry. Residing in the area ever since, I enjoy spending my free time with friends and family, especially exploring the outdoors with my husband and 3 kids (1 son and 2 pups) hiking and spending time on the lake. I also enjoy family basketball pick-up games and reuniting with my Emory & Henry tennis teammates for a match.

TEL L M E A BOUT H OW Y O U GOT I N T O Y OUR L I N E O F W O RK. Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs who owned and managed an oil business started by my grandfather before World War II taught me many things about finances and business, and ultimately led me to my career in wealth management. My father was one of four children and when he passed away unexpectedly at 53, I assisted in resolving his share of the complex family business and ensured that my mother would be financially taken care of throughout her life. After realizing then how different that experience would have been had there been proper financial planning in place, I took my frustrations and education and dedicated myself to the task of helping to ensure these types of transitions are effortless for others in the future.

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HO W DO YOU A C H I E V E A

W HAT DO Y O U S EE AS YOU R

WO R K - L I FE B A L A N C E ?

P UR P O S E IN LIF E? HO W DI D YOU

Being present when at home with my family. Sometimes it’s difficult to “turn the work off” because life events don’t always happen between 8 to 5, however, outside of any urgent client situations, my family gets my undivided attention when we are together.

CO ME TO THAT CO NCLU SI ON?

WH A T ’ S A G O A L Y O U H A V E F O R YO U R S E L F TH A T Y O U W A N T T O AC C O M P L I S H I N TH E N E X T Y EAR ? In a career where you are required to complete significant hours of continuing education classes each year, I was told early on that “you might as well have something to show for it”. With many changes in tax and estate laws having recently taken effect, my goal for this year is to earn the Certified Private Wealth Advisor® designation through Yale’s School of Management. I also am working towards running the Army 10 Miler and, as any parent can attest, I’m challenged every day to create fun, unique experiences for my three-year-old son.

WH A T D O YO U TH I N K I S T H E MO S T S I G N IF I C A N T B A R R I E R T O FEM A L E L E A D E R S H I P? Not Believing in Yourself! I have had many people along the way try to instill self-doubt in my ability to become a successful professional woman in Wealth Management. Others have tried to dissuade me from seeking new challenges and professional designations. Don’t listen to naysayers or those who question your abilities - define your goals, set your mind to what you wish to accomplish, work harder than those around you and you will see yourself excel.

HO W M U C H I M PO R T A N C E D O YOU P L A C E ON V OLUN TE E R I S M IN CO M M U N I TY ? Communities are built on the support, ideas, and visions of the citizens within the community. It’s imperative for communities to succeed for people from all walks of life to actively volunteer and show support for organizations that improve their communities. Throughout my life I’ve lived by this mantra and am currently contributing my time and efforts to many different organizations including the Birthplace of Country Music Board, Highlands Community Services Board, and the Emory & Henry College Alumni Board.

My purpose in life is to help make the complex simple. I want to make the many different aspects of wealth management in people’s lives uncomplicated, giving them the freedom to focus on what’s most important to them now while knowing they have a plan in place to take care of them in their future. Although my father was an expert at best business practices, neither he nor my mother had a good grasp on investment management, legacy planning, or true comprehensive financial planning. Had they had a trusted advisor in their lives to help with these extremely important decisions, it would have changed many of the difficult aspects of his unexpected passing. My purpose in life is to help prevent or, at a minimum, alleviate some of these difficult issues when it comes to wealth management and legacy planning.

HO W DO Y O U W ANT P EOPL E T O R EMEM BER Y O U? This quote by Maya Angelou sums up my thoughts on creating a legacy - “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” My greatest achievement would be to be remembered as a caring, compassionate mother and wife who brought smiles to peoples’ faces and never failed to lend a helping hand to those in need. Professionally, I’d hope to be remembered as someone who strived to leave our community in a better place with more financially literate families, business owners, and professionals – all while having a little humor along the way.

W HAT AR E Y O UR S UCCESS H ABI T S? Never stop learning and challenging the status quo, surround yourself with positive, supportive people in all aspects of life, and stay fit along the way.

AS A M ENTO R TO US AL L , WH AT IS O NE P IECE O F ADVICE T H AT YOU W O ULD GIVE TO R EAD ERS? Stay humble, be genuine, and always work towards helping others, while leaving our community in a better place.

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Aimee Beth BO SH E A R S R O B I N ETTE

MOTHER: ROSALYN (23), AVA (18), EMMA (16), CAMDEN (13), AND A.J. (13) WIFE OF: GARY ROBINETTE OWNER: SWEET BLESSINGS BOUTIQUE PROFESSIONAL CAREER: TEACHER FOR 22 YEARS

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JONE S C UNNINGHAM

MOTHER: AUSTIN (18), AVERY (13), AND ALEX (12) WIFE OF: MIKE CUNNINGHAM OWNER: SWEET BLESSINGS BOUTIQUE PROFESSIONAL CAREER: TEACHER FOR 21 YEARS


DEFI N E A G R E A T L E A D E R . W HAT

HO W DO Y O U ACHIEVE

A R E S O M E TR A I T S Y O U TH I N K

W O RK- LIF E B ALANCE?

GR E A T L E A D E R S PO SS E S S ?

BJC: My life is filled with a variety of duties, activities, work, and demands. Being an active and on-the-go person this makes up the perfect combination for my work-life balance. If I’m not teaching or at the boutique, you will find me on a football or softball field cheering on my kids or at a school function. On Sunday’s you’ll find me at my parents with my entire family for Sunday lunch, or other times traveling with my family and friends. Working two jobs and having three kids definitely makes up a busy schedule.

BJC: I have been fortunate to have been surrounded with great leaders through-out my life. To me, a great leader is one that leads by example, knows their team and delegates duties based on individual strengths and weaknesses. A great leader knows they are nothing without the people around them. They aren’t afraid to speak up when needed, and hold themselves and their team accountable to high expectations. A great leader should put off positive energy that will allow others to take a positive role and give the best they have to give. They should provide a listening ear to their teammates and let their teammates know they are working together. A great leader offers gratitude and commends their team on their successes. ABR: A great leader is someone who leads by influence,not authority. A strong leader admits mistakes, gives direction, earns respect and shows kindness and empathy to others. I’ve had the the privilege over the years to work for amazing leaders and those are the qualities I have observed in each of these.

HO W A N D W H Y D I D Y OU B E C O M E A N E N T R E P RE N E UR ? W A S I T SOMETHING YOU ALWAYS INTENDED F OR YO U R S E LF ? BJC: As a young girl, I always wanted to be a teacher. After opening an online store with a few teacher friends four years ago, I realized how much I loved fulfilling my dream as a teacher during the day and working with women in the evening. We started going to various homes and businesses taking our clothing for trunk shows. This gave me a thirst for fashion and a desire to be around other women like myself. I felt such a blessing and sense of gratification in making women look and feel beautiful. I soon realized my dream of opening a brick and mortar store was in my future, but my question was - How? How would I work full time as a teacher, raise my kids, and run a small business? With lots of prayers and a great support system in place, we built our business team. I am loving this opportunity and consider our boutique therapy for me. I leave each day blessed and energized by the women I meet each day. ABR: I became an entrepreneur completely unintentionally. After being a fourth grade teacher for over 20 years, I was having an unusually stressful school year. My fellow fourth grade teachers and I began making handmade jewelry as an outlet to get rid of stress. It quickly led to our first trip to Atlanta Apparel Market in 2015 to buy clothes and accessories. Next,we traveled all over the Tri- Cities area for 3 years doing Trunk Shows at people’s homes and businesses. Finally, in April of 2019, we achieved our ultimate dream of opening a brick and mortar store in Boones Creek. It was a journey completely and beautifully unplanned and guided by lot of prayer and faith in what could be.

W HAT AR E Y O UR S UCCESS H ABI T S? ABR: Habits that I think lead to success and try to implement into my life daily are: 1. Wake up every day with a positive outlook and with a goal in mind. Create a to do list and and accomplish your set goals for the day! 2. Never be afraid of getting out of your comfort zone. It’s the ultimate growth experience.3. Be a good listener and be open to new ideas. 4. Have a sense of humor. A day without laughter is a day wasted. 5. Pray a lot and always have faith that God is in control of everything.

W HAT W O ULD BE Y O U R P ER S O NAL M O TTO ? BJC: My personal motto would be to give back and pay it forward. I am blessed by others who are giving and generous. Through Sweet Blessings Boutique I’ve had the opportunity to give and help others in need. ABR: “The days are long, but the years are short”. Sometimes in our lives the days seem so long and never ending and yet, we look back and realize how quickly time has gone. Enjoy each day God blesses us with and invest your full self by giving 100% in all you do.You will look back, sooner than you think, and realize how far you’ve come and how far you can continue to go!

AS A MENTO R TO US AL L , WH AT IS O NE P IECE O F ADVICE T H AT YOU W O ULD GIVE TO R EAD ERS? BJC: My advice to each of you...with perseverance and a goal, no matter your age, follow your dreams for success and happiness. Surround yourself with those that want you to succeed and that provide positive energy in your life. ABR: Life is a balancing act. Women today have so many things to juggle: motherhood, career, personal life, etc. Perfectionism is an illusion and is impossible to accomplish in every aspect of our lives. I strive to give all I have each day and realize, I don’t have to be perfect to be successful. It all ultimately balances out at the end of the day... and there is always TOMORROW. vipseenmag.com

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Barbara T H OM A S

TITLE: VICE PRESIDENT OF TRAINING AND FRONT END OPERATIONS COMPANY: K-VA-T FOOD STORES, INC. MOTHER: CARRIE

TEL L U S A L I T TLE A B O UT Y O URS ELF . My name is Barbara Thomas, and I serve as the Vice President of Training and Front End Operations for K-VA-T Food Stores, Inc. (dba Food City). I am the proud mother of one amazing daughter, Carrie.

WHA T D O YOU T H I N K I S T H E MO S T S I G N IF I C A N T B A R R I E R TO FE M A L E LE A D E R S H I P? Women must instill in themselves that they are equal to anyone else serving in leadership roles. I have learned that oftentimes you first must believe you are an equal before you are treated as an equal.

DE FI N E A G R E A T L E A D E R . WH A T A R E S OM E TR A I T S Y O U TH I N K G R E A T L E A D E R S PO SS ES S ? A great leader is someone who motivates individuals to not just accept the status quo. A great leader fosters growth and helps overcome opportunities, pushes through personal and professional boundaries, and recognizes a job well done.

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P E O P L E O FT E N W ON D E R A B OUT THE

DES CR IBE O NE O F Y O U R BI G G EST

DIFFE R E N C E S B E T W E E N H OW MEN

F AILUR ES . W HAT LES S ONS DI D YOU

A N D WO M E N LE A D . W H A T A R E Y O UR

LEARN, AND HOW DID IT CONTRIBUTE

TH O U GHT S ON T H A T ?

TO A GR EATER S UCCESS?

I do not believe generalizations apply to leadership. You can’t put someone in a “bucket” based on age or gender. You have to keep an open mind and get to know people on an individual basis. Background plays a greater role in our leadership abilities. Role models and mentors also play a significant role in developing our strengths as leaders.

WH A T W A S Y O UR D R E A M JOB AS A KI D A N D W H Y ? When I was a young child, I wanted to grow up to be a cashier! While grocery shopping with my mom, I was so fascinated watching how all the money was handled. But my mom was a great teacher (unpaid), and I always had that in me. A real turning point for me happened in the eighth grade when I took a speech class. The teacher and class had such a profound effect on me. His passion for teaching and genuine interest in his students’ growth and development was contagious. I knew I wanted to grow up and follow in his footsteps and make that kind of significant impact on my students. This teacher changed me as a person, and I wanted to help others do that, too.

IN W HA T W A Y I S I T I M POR TA NT TO K N O W YO UR LI M I T A T I O N S IN YOUR L I FE O R C A R E E R ? I do not think of it as knowing your limitations. However, I do believe it is extremely important to know your strengths and weaknesses. You have to utilize the strengths of those around you, and let others help you with what they do best.

Early in my career, I was given my first big assignment. I wanted to do things my way, and ultimately, I ended up failing. My boss and mentor at the time knew I was going to fail and that this was a lesson I needed to learn for myself. It taught me to listen to those with more wisdom and experience. In order to be successful and build relationships, I learned that my way will not always be the best way, and oftentimes you have to think outside the box to accomplish great things. As a leader, it is also okay to let others fail.

TELL US ABO UT HO W YOU G OT I NT O Y O UR LINE O F W O RK. When I was home one weekend during student teaching, our founder, Mr. Jack Smith, called me into his office. Mr. Smith said he was going to start a formal training department for the company, and he wanted me to head up the department. I expressed my passion and enthusiasm for teaching school, especially after practicing as a student teacher. Mr. Smith told me it would be teaching and asked me to try it for a year. That was over 40 years ago. It did not take long for me to fall in love with training our associates.

AS A MENTO R TO US AL L , WH AT IS O NE P IECE O F ADVICE T H AT YOU W O ULD GIVE TO READERS? My mentor shared this advice with me—If you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted. Do not be afraid to share your knowledge and teach people everything you know. You will be surprised what opportunities will open up for you.

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2020 Tri-Cities Go Red for Women CIRCLE OF RED GIVING SOCIETY

Individuals in the Circle of Red are a group of leaders within the Tri-Cities area with the passion and power to make a tremendous impact in the ďŹ ght against heart disease, the #1 killer of women. As a member of this elite group, they share their inuence and resources into the Go Red for Women Movement. We are honored to work with these amazing leaders!

Angela Arp Angie Chapman Detra Cleven Jeannie Goodman Kim Hall Dr. Shobha Hiremagalur Julie Lich

Tamara Marshall Beth Poland Clarinda Roe Rena Scharfstein Dr. Brent Welch Catherine Welch Jennifer Wolfe


Ashley GRI ND ST AF F

TITLE: PRESIDENT/CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

A

shley Grindstaff has been one of the most recognized faces in the Tri-Cities for over 15 years and she’s been on the television of thousands as the face of Grindstaff Automotive Group. What we don’t see is that, while she’s been on the front lines promoting the dealership, she’s been working just as hard in the background to keep Grindstaff Automotive Group on top. Ashley, who is now President and Chief Operating Officer, is constantly working to showcase how a woman can be successful in a predominantly male industry. WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A FEMALE IN A MALE DOMINATED INDUSTRY? Challenging! But I say that in a positive way. I have loved breaking barriers for other women to succeed in the automotive industry. I have always been self-driven my entire life. If someone tells me that I can’t do something it fuels my fire to do it even better!    WHAT WAS YOUR JOURNEY TO THE TOP LIKE? I am still trying to reach above and beyond outside of just our region. Nothing in life that holds value is ever an easy journey. I pay rent everyday to life.  Most outsiders looking in think how easy it must be or my husband gave me an upper hand. I want to set the record straight, neither of those opinions about me are close to being true.  I tell people all the time that my husband’s philosophy for life is, “Sink or Swim.” No one ever gave him a hand out. He grew up with holes in his shoes but he didn’t let that determine who he could be in this world. He continues to be the hardest working individual I know. When we were first married he asked for my help in our service department. I asked, “Why me?” He said, “because you are kind and have always opened your heart to people.” At that time we had two Chevrolet dealerships and every month one store would be number one and then the next month the other was number one. He would tell me that he needed me to get the CSI back on top for the Elizabethton store because the Johnson City location kept beating them. It created more than just friendly competition. With not much experience, other than being hired in as the Spokersperson for all franchises, I had never worked in the back of the dealership. The journey was not easy. I figured it out on my own and truly had all the cards stacked against me, but I didn’t let that stop me. I either was going to ‘sink or swim’ and I was not going to let my

husband down.  Several rigorous months later, we were number one in the zone! I didn’t give up and I still don’t give up today. The car industry continues to change and I have to learn to roll with the punches.   HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BRINGING MORE WOMEN INTO THE WORK PLACE? I welcome more women with open arms! Why? Women pay attention to detail, they are mothers who are already used to multi-tasking, and facing challenges. Women are great at coming up with an alternative solution quickly. The day to day operations of any business, let alone a car dealership, requires fast, on-the-spot decision making.    HOW IS BALANCING MOTHERHOOD AND BEING A BUSINESS WOMAN? I am learning there will never be equal balance. As someone who is type A, I want to do it all without help, however, I’ve learned to really lean on my tribe. Without my team, none of this would be possible. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE BUSINESS? 15 years  HOW MANY FEMALES ARE CURRENTLY EMPLOYED UNDER YOU? 20 and counting... WHAT ARE ALL THE JOBS AND ROLES YOU’VE HAD AT THE DEALERSHIP? I was hired in January 2005 as the new Spokesperson for then Greystoke KIA. Little did I know that I would fall madly in love with my boss. Steve could see the potential in me that I didn’t know I had to one day lead our company. I have helped in all areas of our dealerships with the exception of working on a car in either the body shop or service departments.  WHAT BELIEFS DO YOU HAVE ABOUT FEMALES IN THE WORK PLACE? Women bring a different perspective into any environment, specifically speaking, we are problem solvers. Most women in the work force today are mothers. As a mother my number one job is raising my children to be kind, understand value, know the difference between right and wrong, and I do play referee to many fights in the house on a daily basis. I have to be quick on my feet when it comes to thinking how to get my 8 year old twin boys to understand fighting is not the solution and make them think as well on how we can solve this problem now.  vipseenmag.com

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Power Women O F GRI ND ST AF F

T AMY D UFF I E L D

Payroll Manager, 30 YEARS

ANGELA HAREN Comptroller Assistant 4 1/2 YEARS

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JE NNI F E R NASH

Comptroller, 20 1/2 YEARS

NIKKI STATZER

Ford & Chrysler Warranty Clerk 4 YEARS

TABAITH CAMPBELL Office Manager 3 YEARS

ANI TA AL-ABED

Admin. Assistant, 20 YEARS

KELSIE MILLER Ford Service Manager 3 YEARS


LEE ANN BOWMAN Customer Relations Manager 2 1/2 YEARS

WENDY WATSON Admin. Assistant 2 YEARS

LEANNE COMBS Admin. Assistant 2 1/2 YEARS

BRIANA HELTON

Chrysler Parts Coordinator 7 Months

TIFFANY COFFEY Chrysler Service Advisor 4 1/2 Months

DELANEY WALSH Admin. Assistant 2 YEARS

SHELLY RAINES Accounts Payable 6 Months

LAURA JACKSON Internet Sales Agent 6 Months

“In loving memory of Grindstaffs now Guardian Angel, Linda McConnell. Employed 33 years with Grindstaff, she shared her delicious meals, compassion, jokes and dedication to everyone she met.”

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LEE ANN BOWMAN has

every customer’s back when it comes to 5-Star excellence! Lee Ann is Grindstaff Automotive Groups Customer Relations Manager. Her goal is to make sure every customer feels like a VIP Everyday!

“GRINDSTAFF will always be Giving, Respectful, Inclusive, Nice, Dedicated, Supportive, Truthful, Adaptive, Friendly & Treat you like Family.” • #1 KIA service department 12 quarters in a row in Customer CSI.

• The only female-owned and operated new car dealer in the region.

• A business that gives back to the community.

• Ranked in the Top 15 Best KIA service departments in the country.

• Experience Team Members

• Ashley & Steve Grindstaff believe in the children of the region. They are regulars donors of: Niswonger Children’s Hospital, The Hands On! Museum, East Tennessee State University’s Football Program and many other children’s charities.

• Top 5 Ranked Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM service Department in the region. • Top 10 Ranked Ford Service Department in the region.

Grindstaffford.com

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• Best Price Upfront • Family Friendly Atmosphere • Promotes Equality in the Workplace

Grindstaffkia.com

Grindstaffcdjr.com


vipseenmag.com

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Wear great shoes.

S AV E L O C A L L I V E S ! Benefiting Ballad Health Foundation

With sip-sational wines, delectable food, stunning fashion and charming Shoe Guys, Wine Women & Shoes is a can’t-miss event, featuring: - Golden Ticket: Enter for your chance to win exquisite jewelry personally selected from Gregory Isbell Jewelers. - Magazine cover photo shoot: Grab your sole sisters and strike a pose. - Wall of Wine: You can win a top-dollar bottle. - Buy a Spot: Enter our raffle for a high-end designer purse. - King of Sole competition: With an online donation, you can vote for your favorite Shoe Guy. - A high-energy fashion show. - Fashion marketplace: Shop the latest styles from Beauty In Stone, F&W Style, Freebird Wire Design, House Dressing, JK’s Kollections, Mahoney’s Ladies, Monkee’s of Johnson City and My Pour Head. - Silent and live auctions. Proceeds will help Ballad Health Foundation improve access and affordability for breast cancer screenings. Through earlier detection, we can help women live out their dreams – by outliving cancer.

Presenting Sponsor

Saturday, A P R I L

18, 2020

1 - 4 P M at T H E V I R G I N I A N G O L F C L U B

Gold Stiletto Sponsors

Buy your tickets today, and make it an afternoon to remember. INDIVIDUAL: $100 SOLE SISTERS (two tickets): $150 VIP INDIVIDUAL: $150 VIP SOLE SISTERS (two tickets): $250 VIP TABLE (six tickets): $1,000 VIP tables include a bottle of wine for the table and personal Shoe Guy attendant. All VIP tickets include reserved seating and upgraded swag item.

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Media Sponsors

Fashion Show sponsored by

Golden Ticket sponsored by


PICTURE NOT AVAILABLE

Christopher Abla

Nathan Buckmaster

Lee Corpening

Tony Dotson

Wesley Fletcher

Carson Wealth

Bonefish Grill

Retired, Sales & Marketing

Ballad Health

First Bank & Trust Co.

WHO WILL BE CROWNED KING OF SOLE? Jay Goodson

Aaron Hawkins

Stan Hickson

John Hunter

With a donation to Ballad Health

RE/MAX Checkmate Realtors

CITI

Ballad Health

Beacon Federal Credit Union

Foundation’s breast cancer screening programs, you can vote for your favorite Shoe Guy to win the King of Sole competition. King of Sole voting and Shoe Guy bios are available online at winewomenandshoes. com/balladhealth.

Johnny King

Geoff Newman

Clay Rolston

Dr. Greg Russell

Ribbons PT

Acme Printing & Graphic Design

Ballad Health Foundation

East Tennessee Eye Care

John Saunders

Jack Simpson

Howard Smith

Jason Stephens

Carson Wealth

Ballad Health Foundation

Retired engineer

Optimind Health

TO PURCHASE TICKETS OR LEARN MORE

visit winewomenandshoes.com/balladhealth - or - call 423.302.3156

vipseenmag.com

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beauty

VIP

by Sherri Jessee

MODEL: PAULENA JOHNSON HAIR & MAKEUP: SHERRI JESSEE PHOTO: NATHAN MAYS

Lashes

Magnetic liner can easily attach false lashes. Quick tip: try cutting your lashes down and only using a half strip on the outer edge.

Tori Bell Lashes shop.toribellecosmetics.com/ sherrijessee/

Cheeks

A gorgeous glow looks great on everyone! Get the perfect contour and highlight at the same time with this two in one brush combo.

Accessories

You can change up your style quickly by adding decorative accessories like clips and hats.

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Sherri 's Recommendations The Rusk Pro Titanium Spring Iron www.sherrijessee.com/shop Hello Cheekbones www.qvc.com


Specially Designed Cosmetic Bag Easily carry your essentials in one neat, concise space.

Unique, Magnetic Compact with Full Mirror Super strong magnet holds your custom cosmetics securely.

Hours of Operation Tues-Fri, 9am-5pm

Make an appointment with the award winning hair and makeup artist, Sherri Jessee.

Hair

Curl your hair fast and easy with a super sized curling iron! The extra long barrel lets you take bigger sections.

CALL TODAY! 1932 Euclid Avenue Bristol, VA 24201 276.466.2689 | sherrijessee.com

For more beauty tips, watch FAB FRIDAY Facebook Live Makeup Demonstrations at 8am every Friday and replay on VIPSEEN Live! on Facebook.


Kingsport DAN WANKEL AND AMY DORAN

MAYOR PAT AND MARY SHULL

ZACHERY HILL AND MCKENZIE TODD

11th CASA Red Shoe Gala EVENT COVERED BY LINDA COFFEY

Red shoes come in many styles, and there was indeed a display of the variety at the 11th CASA Red Shoe Gala. The sold-out event was held on February 15th at MeadowView Resort & Conference Center. Attendees enjoyed a cocktail reception while viewing the many items in the silent auction. (It was also an opportunity to check out the red shoe competition!) As the ballroom doors opened, guests were escorted to beautifully decorated tables for the delicious meal. Lynda Fontaine, president of the Board of Directors, welcomed everyone and expressed appreciation to the event sponsors. With 8,000 children in Tennessee living in foster care, there was a spirit of giving throughout the evening. CASA for Kids, Inc. assigns professionally trained Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA Volunteers) to cases of abused/neglected children referred by juvenile courts.

ROSANNE AND JEFF KAPPA

After dinner, The Extraordinaires, a band from North Carolina, started playing classic songs that had the dance floor packed with dancers. The Red Shoe competition had the crowd involved, either as contestants, judges, or cheerleaders. As the men displayed their shoes, they showed a few dance moves, or in the case of the winner, a few acrobatic skills. Michael Maughon flipped off the stage and took home the 1st place award for the men. The women were next, and the competition was strong. Kara Page was determined to improve her standing from last year and took home the 1st place award for women. Interesting side note, Michael and Kara are siblings! Everyone has a year to search for the perfect pair of red shoes and make plans to attend the 2021 event. It is an opportunity to spend a fun evening with friends while supporting the children of our community. For more information on CASA For Kids, Inc., visit their website at casa4kisinc.org.

SIBLINGS: MARGARET AND TUCKER SHULL

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KYLE AND ERIN LEONARD

JERRY FLORENCE AND LYNDA FONTAINE

DANELLE AND CHRIS GLASSCOCK


Kingsport ROCHELLE AND BRIAN TRENT

MARY KILPATRICK AND MISSY STURGILL

RANDY AND JENNY FALCONER

PRESTON AND LARA AIRES

CASA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

PAGE AND COOK LAW FIRM WITH FRIENDS

THE EXTRAORDINAIRES

KAREN AND JON HAMBLIN

LARRY AND JANE CRAWFORD

1ST PLACE TO SISTER AND BROTHER, KARA PAGE AND MICHAEL MAUGHON

MICKEY SPIVEY AND JO ZIMMERMAN

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Kingsport

JEANNIE AND BRIAN MILLER MICHELLE BACON

BRENT MULLINS

United Way of Greater Kingsport

Leadership Giving Event PHOTOS BY MATTHEW CARROLL

United Way of Greater Kingsport held their Leadership Giving Event in January. This appreciation event is held each year to express gratitude to the many individuals in our Greater Kingsport community who make financial sacrifices to be able to give back. Leadership Givers for United Way of Greater Kingsport are those who pledge to donate $500 or more annually. The event was held in downtown Kingsport at The Social. Volunteers Bill and Cathy Trapp, along with Jeff and Cristi Fleming were the main hosts of the event, while Michelle Bacon was honored for her efforts as the 2019 Campaign Chair, which raised more than $3.2 Million. United Way of Greater Kingpsort fights for the health, education and financial stability of every member of the community.

KEITH PARKER

For more information about United Way of Greater Kingsport, visit them online at www. uwaykpt.org or by giving them a call at 423-378-3409.

JEFF AND CRISTI FLEMING WITH BILL AND CATHY TRAPP

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JIM HARLAN


kids

VIP

Kids Making a Difference 1. LAUREN ROSS, AGE 16 Lauren been volunteering with the Special Olympics and Unified Sports program at VHS since her freshman year. She works with them most of the year and goes with them to compete in tournaments.

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2. ANGELICA KEELING Angelica donated to the Boones Creek Headstart Classroom Christmas Party this year. She collected money from members of the community and her family and went shopping for Christmas presents and handed out gifts to all children in the classroom. 3. MICHAELA WHITE, AGE 10 Michaela has donated over 200 items to the TLC Community Center in Elizabethton for their bundles of love. These were given out right before Thanksgiving of 2019 to needy children and families in our community. 4. LEAH BROTHERTON, AGE 15 “Serving Up Sweets” provided 700 desserts for Haven Mercy on Christmas Day! Visiting Signature Health Care Nursing home in Elizabethton TN we did Christmas caroling and handed out Christmas cards, Helping one of my sister queen to donate to her cause, Once a month I help with food to the Ronald McDonald House, Donated over 1000 item to Haven of Mercy in January, brought for 7 children that are currently in foster care, Making blessing bags to hand out to the homeless.

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5. HARPER CURTIS, BELLA MACY, HOLLY FRANKLIN, AND KAIRI STEVENS Girl Scout Troops 463 and 1083 ranging from ages 5-14 came together for the 3rd Annual Coats for Kids Drive. They worked from October to December to gather coats and other warm items for children in need. They advocated with posters and reached out to many businesses throughout the Tri-Cities to set up collection boxes. The girls also went on Daytime Tri-Cites to spread awareness and sold raffle tickets at the Kingsport Farmers Market. Together they collected a grand total of 625 items.

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6. DEANNA GREER, AGE 17 DeAnna hosted her own project called “Prayer Bears”. Tri-Stars Teen and herself put together prayers along with a prayer bear and donated them to the children in the St. Jude unit of the Nicewonger Children’s Hospital. She has also taken over 120 bags filled with items and donated them to every resident at the Mountain City Care and Rehabilitation Center, spent Thanksgiving serving meals at Haven of Mercy Homeless Shelter, adopted an angel from the Salvation Army Angel Tree and has volunteered for Feed A Family.

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7. SARAH GRACE GARLAND, AGE 16 Sarah has collected and donated hygiene and comfort items for the elderly in East Tennessee, has collected and donated over 2,000 items for nursing home patients, has been part of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society Light the Night Event on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and has helped pack for the Santa Train.

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8. IVY MAPLES Ivy has been volunteering at CARE Animal Shelter in Jefferson County, ringing the bell in Sevier County, and has also donated her time to CARE Animal Shelter. 9. ZOEY SHIMP, AGE 7 Zoey has donated 8 blankets and 3 bags of winter clothes to the local homeless.

*Photo release must be signed by a legal guardian

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Kingsport

73rd Annual Kingsport Chamber Dinner PHOTOS BY RACHEL K. BURRUS, LINDA COFFEY, AND NATHAN MAYS | STORY SUBMITTED

More than 1,700 business, civic and community leaders celebrated another great year for Kingsport at the Kingsport Chamber’s 73rd Annual Dinner on Friday night! The event was hosted at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center, “the Nation’s Number One Party Band” – Party on the Moon – entertained another huge and sold-out crowd at “Kingsport’s Social Event of the Year!” The Kingsport Chamber also recognized and congratulated Eastman on its onehundredth year and thanked the company for the tremendous impact it continues to make on the community and region and for its philanthropic support during the past century. Eastman served as title sponsor for the popular affair and WJHL News Channel 11/ ABC Tri-Cities was the host sponsor. Ballad Health presented the entertainment, Eastman Credit Union served as concert hall and stage sponsor and Food City was the printing sponsor. The event remains the largest Chamber annual dinner in the nation. “What a perfect night to celebrate a wonderful community in Kingsport and great organization in the Kingsport Chamber,” said Paula Jackson Kingsport Chamber 73rd Annual Dinner chair and WJHL News Channel 11/ABC Tri-Cities vice president and general manager. “The WJHL News Channel 11 and ABC Tri-Cities team were once again thrilled to be a partner in this incredible event and we were elated to celebrate Eastman in reaching its centennial year.” The evening’s theme was “This is Kingsport,” as the program was highlighted with a number of recognitions and accomplishments for the Kingsport community. “It is amazing to look at the progress occurring in our city and at the list of achievements from so many companies and organizations for this past year,” said Lori Arnold, 2019 Kingsport Chamber chair and director of finance with GSM. “Kingsport is a great city and the Kingsport Chamber and its many award-winning programs make such a huge impact on this community.” “Wow! How about our Kingsport Chamber?” said Eric Deaton, 2020 Kingsport Chamber chair and chief operating officer with Ballad Health. “What a great night of celebration of the past and the start of a new decade! It is my honor to stand before you as your new Board chair. My friends, I am so proud to be the Kingsport Chamber’s 2020 chairman. I have worked and chaired other Chambers across the Southeast. I can tell you we are so fortunate to have one of the best Chambers of Commerce in the U.S., bar none! What makes our Chamber so great is the leadership, Board of Directors and the Chamber volunteers.” As part of the evening’s festivities, the Kingsport Chamber celebrated a number of city developments, community projects, school highlights, and business endeavors and achievements that were accomplished or announced last year.

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Kingsport vipseenmag.com

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VIP

Home

Turning the Page... STORY BY DAVID MALLORY AND TODD FIELDS | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIKE HENSLEY, JOHNSON CITY AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

R

etirement is something that most people work toward. Many view it as a time to settle in and just rock the years away. While others view it as a new chapter in their lives; a time to embrace change and view life from a perspective that isn’t clouded by the day to day routine of a career. During our working years, often times the interior design of our home is done sporadically and usually based on necessity and whim. You need a new chair, you go out and find a chair that “matches” your decor....it’s a good price....you buy it and you’re done. But, was it really the right chair? Did it contribute to the overall aesthetic of the room? Or was it just something to sit on that filled the space? Choosing items solely based on function and price is a common mistake. It results in a look that you are not happy with in the long run. While a lot of retirees resign themselves to “living with” their design dilemmas — that was not the case with the homeowners featured in this month’s article.

After years working in corporate America, this couple was ready to retire. Knowing that they were not the “rocking chair” kind of people, they enthusiastically set off on the next chapter of their lives. They sold their home in Kingsport and purchased a new larger home in one of Johnson City’s premiere planned communities. But they didnt want to just “repeat” what they had done in their previous home. They were ready for a change! Wisely choosing to “Do it right the first time.” And not wanting to spend countless days, weeks and months, attempting to design their new home. They wanted to spend their retirement enjoying their new space. This did not include endless days of searching and questioning their own design choices. One of this pair is a traditionalist at heart— the other enjoys a slightly more transitional flair, when it comes to decor. Our vipseenmag.com

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VIP

Home

job was to tap into both of these aesthetics and blend them in such a way, that both were pleased.

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As you can see— in the living room, we placed a stylish sectional that provides more than adequate seating....and its very comfy! The custom ottoman is a favorite spot of their King Charles spaniel, Zoe! Matching chests, mirrors and lamps flank the fireplace and add balance and drama to the focal wall.

We kept the palette neutral and added the color with things like pillows, the ottoman and artwork.

The fireside chairs are perfect for a glass of wine, on a cold winter evening.

Family pieces and personal favorites of the couple, were used throughout the design, to personalize the rooms.

The art piece is a large giclee of an antique print. When mounted in a sleek modern frame, it is a nice blend of traditional and contemporary. Little touches like this were key, to creating a look that were pleasing to both.

The formal dining room once again was a blend of the two styles. Leaning a bit more toward the traditional side, the chandelier and wall sconces, add just enough transitional styling to make the room feel modern.

march 2020


VIP

Home

Just off the kitchen is the keeping room. This is a spot that they wanted to use for reading, a nice cup of java, or a conversation with friends. We chose to create a “round� conversation area. The vibrant striped velvet chairs, set against the backdrop of the rock fireplace, create a welcoming yet luxurious vignette. The couple loved the look and feel of the embossed Paprika colored velvet that we suggested for window treatments. This room has very limited wall space for decor, so the window treatments created the wow factor for the design. The master bedroom took a slightly more sleek and modern turn. Nothing says R&R like an upholstered headboard. A graphic wallpaper provides the perfect backdrop..... then flanking the bed with two mid century inspired nightstands, modern metallic art and a matching pair of large lamps with an Asian dragon design finishes the space nicely. The pillows and bedding were kept simple and to a minimum. If you notice, the palette is very neutral with just a dash of color, for visual interest. Nothing jarring or overly stimulating. We feel that bedrooms should be crisp and simple, with not a lot of fussy decor. It should be a space that when entered, makes you take a deep cleansing breath and let the relaxation begin.

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EVENT COVERED BY ALLISON GALLOWAY

CAT AND DAVE SINK

STEPHEN AND JESSICA CALLAHAN

Jonesborough

Cookie Creations How does it get better than Girl Scout Cookies? Pair them with cold Tennessee craft beer and both savory and sweet dishes inspired by your favorite Girl Scout Cookies! That’s what guests enjoyed on the evening of Thursday, February 13th at the 3rd annual Cookie Creations event. Proceeds from the event went to support Girl Scouts and provide lifechanging experiences to girls in our community. The Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians exist to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. They serve thousands of girls, volunteers and families in 46 counties throughout east and southeast Tennessee, southwest Virginia and northwest Georgia. Every girl can be a Girl Scout, no matter who she is or where she lives!

SHERYL AND VERN MADDUX

GIRL SCOUT COUNCIL VOLUNTEERS

TYLER MCCANN AND AMY HARTLEY

HAOWEI TONG AND BECKY LUNSFORD

For more information, please visit girlscoutcsa.org or call 800-474-1912.

REBECCA COMER AND KAREN ROWELL

ETHEL GARITY AND JENNIFER KNIGHT

BEN AND ANNA WITH JOHNSON CITY BREWING

REX AND JOANNE COMER

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Jonesborough

TAMMY AND MAYOR DAN ELDRIDGE

STEPHEN DIXON, RICK VANHOVER, COLLIN BROOKS, MATT EVANS, DONNA DEPEW, AND KIM HOLLEY

United Way of Washington County TN

Campaign Celebration Dinner EVENT COVERED BY RACHEL K. BURRIS

On Thursday, January 30, 2020, the United Way of Washington County TN celebrated raising more than $1.3 million for nonprofit services at the completion of the 2019 fundraising campaign. Guests gathered together at Grace Meadows Farm in Jonesborough, TN with a wonderful dinner catered by Bonefish Grill. Jenn Owen, campaign chairwoman for 2019’s “A New Year, A New U”, said she is “most proud of the engagement with families in our community” from a slew of contributors - including the United Way board, Strategic Campaign Committee, and countless staff. “I see continued growth with our partner agencies, lots of new faces, I’m very grateful,” added Owen. The Science Hill High School Choir Ensemble directed by Susan Lambert played music as guests enjoyed free appetizers prior to dinner. Dan Elderidge gave the invocation and children from Munsey Preschool and Kindergarten recited the Pledge of Allegiance with JROTC from David Crockett High School Presentation of Colors. Jenn Owen provided highlights from the previous year’s campaign, touching upon the three pillars of “Health,” “Financial Stability,” and “Education.” “There was 120% hearts and time going into the campaign effort,” said Owen. “We reached 92% of our goal and that is worth celebrating!” Jenn Owen introduced the keynote speaker, Johnson City Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Barnett, who spoke highly of the importance of education in all communities, when academics meet instruction, turning struggle into success. “We want children to come and enjoy school, know they are cared for and loved, know they will be successful. But most importantly, learning how to learn on your own, to become a lifelong learner. You know how to ask for help, you get back. And give,” said Dr. Steve Barnett.

PATTY MUSE, CAROL WILSON, DR. STEVE BARNETT, AND KRISTIN BARNETT

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SUSAN LAMBERT AND ANGIE HILBERT

ASHLEY STEELE, BRYAN OBANON, COREY DAPONTE, SCOTT BEESE, JACOB DYER, NATHAN BUCKMASTER, AND ISSAC AND ELIJAH

ALICIA BURKAT, MORICINA FAIN, JENN OWEN, LESLIE SALLING, AND MITZI MALONE


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For a Rewarding Career, Come Join Our Team!

Apply at: FrontierHealth.org/Careers

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HANDS ON! DISCOVERY CENTER

The Big Dig AT GRAY FOSSIL SITE

A one-of-a-kind, roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, paleontology experience! Dig for fossils, screen sediment material, and work in the prep lab as you follow the process from the dig site to collections. Ages 14 to adult. For available dates and more information, please visit visithandson.org/the-big-dig/

1212 Suncrest Dr., Gray TN 37615 | (423) 434-4263 visithandson.org


Johnson City JOSH CULBERT, DR. BRENDA WHITE WRIGHT, AND MOLLIE RUTLEDGE

DRS. JOE AND ERIN SHERLIN

RAB AND NITA SUMMERS WITH KATHY HALL

Roan Scholars Leadership

Program North Star Dinner EVENT COVERED BY ERIC DONAHUE

It’s Roan 2020 – a year-long celebration of 20 years since the first class of Roan Scholars entered East Tennessee State University! Past and present Roan Steering Committee members, as well as others who have made guiding contributions to the program, gathered at The Blackthorn on January 30 for a North Star Dinner in their honor. During a wonderful night of conversation and connection, guests heard from Roan Alumnae Keely Richardson Goodwin ’07 and Mollie Rutledge ’14, current Scholar Brianna McCoy ’20 - and emcee Josh Smith - about the Roan Program’s significance and what it has meant to them. Roan director Scott Jeffress shared examples of the program’s impact and highlighted initiatives such as the Roan Summer of Service. The evening concluded with a surprise announcement about the newly-established “Idea to Impact” award, which will be presented for the first time at the Roan 2020 Gala on 10.10.2020. The inaugural recipient will be Mr. Louie Gump.   The Roan, which is funded primarily by charitable donations, empowers students to be leaders of excellence who positively impact the ETSU campus, our Appalachian Highlands region, and the world. The Roan is a highly-competitive scholarship program for students from the region; it provides four years of unique, out-of-the-classroom experiences and leadership development opportunities, as well as a financial award for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies. To learn more about the program, visit RoanScholars.org, and follow them on social media (@RoanScholars).   Thank you to everyone who made the North Star Dinner such a special evening, and to all those who support the program. We look forward to celebrating with you throughout Roan 2020, and to seeing you at the Roan 2020 Gala on 10.10.2020!

ED HUGHES AND DR. GWEN WALLACE

BRIANNA MCCOY AND AUSTIN RAMSEY

LAFE AND DR. HEATHER COOK

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Johnson City SCOTT AND BARB JEFFRES

MARY AND LOUIE GUMP

RONNIE AND JOAN VANEATON

DESSI GIBSON-FOSTER AND KEELY GOODWIN

MIKE AND LINDA BROWDER WITH LOUIE GUMP

DR. PAUL AND NANCY STANTON

HELENA JONES WITH ANNE AND STEVE DARDEN


Johnson City

CHAD HUNTSMAN AS SCOOBY DOO

Freezin’ For a Reason EVENT COVERED BY RACHEL K. BURRUS

AMY AUBREY

On Saturday, February 1, 2020, the 2nd annual Freezin’ for a Reason event was held at The Wellness Center of Johnson City, hosted by Good Samaritan Ministries, a nonprofit located in downtown Johnson City providing education, mentoring, and social services to those in need. There has been much growth compared to last year’s inaugural icy dip. “Plungers” help to raise funds by jumping into the icy pool at The Wellness Center, in which over three hundred bags of ice were poured into the pool, with water temperatures dropping down to a chilling 30 degrees. Teams or individuals participated in the “plunge.” Of the funds raised during the event, a portion of the money contributed to help Good Samaritan Ministries in the opening of a second Thrift Store, providing jobs and fund future work for the ministry for coming years. The remaining half of funds raised will help in starting “Free to Live,” a program providing rehabilitation for incarcerated individuals coming out of prison with short term housing, job training, and job skills. Amy Aubrey said, “I am so glad to see more teams, more volunteer jobs this year. Getting the community involved is very rewarding. The homeless come to you and say, ‘you helped me get back on my feet.’ People show up and help out a great cause.”

AARON T. MURPHY, PAI MASHAYAMUNDA, AMY AUBREY, AND PETER NELSON

VOLUNTEERS DUMP HUNDREDS OF BAGS OF ICE INTO THE POOL AT THE WELLNESS CENTER

RUSS NELSON SITTING ON A CHAIR OF ICE BY THE POOL

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SCOTT PARKER JUMPING INTO THE ICY POOL AT THE WELLNESS CENTER


Johnson City KELLY ALLEN AND HIJUAN TAMES

JOHN AND REBECCA

ANDREW AND YVONDA GOAN

Tri-Cities 4 Annual Adult Prom th

EVENT COVERED BY ALLISON GALLOWAY

The Tri-Cities 4th Annual Adult Prom was held on Saturday, February 8th at the Johnson City Country Club. Whether you wanted to relive your high school days or spend prom night with your new spouse, guests who attended adult prom had an amazing time turning back time for one evening. Guests danced the night away to music from all decades and enjoyed food, drinks, and taking official prom portraits. The event was presented by Legacy Nightlyfe. Proceeds from the event benefitted the Washington County Animal Shelter. For more information, visit wcjcanimalshelter.com. REBECCA CROUCH, MEGAN STONE, AND HEATHER HOUSEWRIGHT

WHITNEY AND DUSTIN GRINDSTAFF

GWEN BOLYN MOORE

THE LEGACY NIGHTLYFE TEAM

STEVE AND TERESA

LACEY AND SUZANNE

TRAVIS AND CINDY DAVIS

DEDE AND SHON MANN

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Johnson City

NADIA AND TIM

REAGAN AND PETE

My Little Valentine: Daddy Daughter Dance MAGGIE AND PAT

EVENT COVERED BY ALLISON GALLOWAY

My Little Valentine Daddy Daughter Dance has become a popular tradition for many families, and this year was no different. The event took place on Saturday, February 8th at the Memorial Park Community Center. Over 700 dads, grandads, guardians and daughters of all ages got all dressed up and danced the night away to the DJ. “This has become a tradition at which both dads and daughters can make memories that last a lifetime,” said Kelly Finney, Memorial Park Community Center supervisor. “It’s expanded each year, and we hear more and more that it’s a can’t-miss evening.” For more information on upcoming events, visit www.myjcparks.org.

ANTHONY AND AMAIYA

ROBERT AND JAZZY

MERRITT AND SCOTTY

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MALORIE AND SCOTT

LLOYD AND HANNAH

GARY AND MYLA


Johnson City LILLY AND JACOB

SHELBY AND RAYMOND

LAUREN AND JOHNATHAN

BRODJRIC JACKSON AND HIS DAUGHTERS

ALISSA AND KEVIN

KAIA AND DAVID THOMPSON

SAM AND LORELAI


Johnson City

NICOLE HUGHES AND BABY WILLOW

DIANE BARTCHY AND BETH BARTCHY-SMITH

CLAIRE MARR, KRISTINA DULANEY, ADREINNE OSBORNE, AND BECCA DAVIS

HEATHER TILLMAN AND SHELLEY HUBER

PATRICIA DOWNS, CAROLYN ROCHELLE, JOSIE WATSON, DIANE BRADLEY, AND AMANDA OLSEN

KRISTINA DULANEY, MICHELLE MATHEWS, AND GENA FRYE

Tri-Cities 5th Big Give EVENT COVERED BY CASEY KEELEY

On Thursday, 13 Feb. at the Holiday Inn in Johnson City, Tennessee, the Tri-Cities TN/VA chapter of the 100 Who Care Alliance held their 5th Big Give event. Localized to the Tri-Cities by Becca Davis, 100+ Tri-Cities Women Who Care allows women to network, learn about great things happening in our community, and make a significant impact together. Over 100 women meet together four times a year to donate $100 each to a local nonprofit, which is decided upon by a majority vote.

GAIL OLIVER

MOLLY YATES AND WILL CASSELL

After a light meal sponsored by the Abingdon Olive Oil Company and All Aboard Travel, three women from different organizations were given the floor for five minutes each to explain their charity and what they would do with the money if they were to win the check. The first to present was Michelle Mathews of AdaptoPlay. Founded in 2016, AdaptoPlay serves to create inclusive and independent play for all by innovating mobility, increasing sociability, and fostering community collaboration for the mentally disadvantaged. With an annual budget of $20,000 and 87 volunteers, the program has served children of the Tri-Cities more than 70 times. Next came Kristina Dulaney representing the organization Cherished Mom. Cherished Mom was founded in 2018, has an annual budget of $15,400, and has served over 100 women in Johnson City. Cherished Mom serves to promote awareness and education for perinatal mood disorders and the importance of self-care to new moms, families, healthcare professionals, and the community.

WOMEN WHO CARE

Lastly, Gena Frye represented the Children’s Advocacy Center of Sullivan County. Dealing with the young victims of abuse, the CAC seeks to combat child abuse and minimize trauma by providing and coordinating supportive services to children and their families. Nicole Hughes, who won the money at the 3rd Big Give for her cause Levi’s Legacy, took the floor while the ladies voted on which charity would receive the money. She held her baby, Willow, on her hip as she spoke about her program and how the check from Big Give had helped. Levi’s Legacy is dedicated to changing the way our culture perceives bodies of water and to erase the stigma associated with drowning. Cherished Mom received the $10,000 check and will use the money to extend the reach of their program to the remainder of the Tri-Cities, as it is currently only in Johnson City.

MICHELLE MATHEWS AND ASHELY EVANS

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TIFFANY HICKMAN AND BECKY RUSSELL


Erwin RICK HENSLEY AND TOMMI ENJOY ICE CREAM

CHRIS PETERS AND EMMA

BILLY AND SHAYLYN

Daddy Daughter Dance EVENT COVERED BY CRYSTAL DAWN CARTER

If you want an event that can be kid friendly, elegant yet simplistic and tons of fun, you can always count on Jamie and Kristin at The Bramble in Erwin, Tennessee to come through. Walking up to their huge display windows on February 8th you felt the love with tons of hanging hearts and balloons. It made each father and daughter to attend the 2020 Daddy Daughter Dance get in the party spirit. Inside the doors little girls dressed from Sunday best to glitz and glam entered with their choice of companion. Dad, grandpa, uncle, and even moms and others bringing the little princesses to dance the night away.

JASON AND ALI

UNCLE DUSTIN WITH BRYLEA

CARTER LOU AND JACOB WILCOX

LUCY AND NATHAN

There were pictures by Leslie Black to commemorate the occasion, a DJ playing all the best in dance songs, and refreshments of the sweet variety, cookies and ice cream. As in past years, the Cinderella-style carriage was in the room for every little girl to step into, or to take the reigns and sit in the driver’s seat. The event was sponsored by The Bramble, Unicoi County Imagination Library, and the GFWC Erwin Monday Club. This is the 3rd year for the event. The proceeds from this event went to benefit the Dolly Parton Imagination Library in Unicoi County. They serve 80% of the eligible children in Unicoi County and provide 800 books each month to children from birth to age 5 with the program.

ALAN DAUGHERTY AND CLARA

ALIVIA AND AVERY ARE FASHIONISTAS

CLINT AND DAISY

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special feature VIPSEEN

Celebrating 15 Years of Race for the Cure in the Tri-Cities STORY BY LORI BROWN | PHOTOS BY ERIC DONAHUE

A

s we prepare for a milestone, 15 years of Race for the Cure in the Tri-Cities, we want to celebrate, not only with our Survivors and MBC Thrivers, but also with our longtime partners. Typically, each year, we choose a survivor to honor, someone who has or is currently battling breast cancer. This year we have chosen to honor two survivors: one who started her battle just before our Pink Ribbon Run in 2005 and the other who was diagnosed within the past year. It has been such a joy getting to meet them and to hear their stories, which we realize is not finished yet. Each is at a different stage in their life, but both  live each day to its fullest, thank God, their family and friends for support since their battles began. It is our honor to share their story and we hope that whether you have been impacted directly, indirectly or just support Komen, you are inspired! ALICE Alice, a School Counselor at Roosevelt Elementary School, had scheduled her annual mammogram for the last week of school in May of 2019. This was just before summer break and she almost cancelled, because it is such a busy time. When the Principal, Kelli Seymour, found out about Alice’s

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appointment she insisted that she keep it, even though she would miss a scheduled meeting. According to Alice, “Dr. Seymour said, ‘go- take care of yourself’. “ It was through this annual screening mammogram, that Alice’s breast cancer was detected early - two types of breast cancer: ductal carcinoma in situ -DCIS, and invasive ductal carcinoma- IDC. Alice had a lumpectomy in June, followed by 16 rounds of radiation therapy and is on Anastrozole for the next 10 years. No family history of breast cancer existed, nor did Alice have any close friends who had fought breast cancer, so this was new territory. Alice and her husband Marty have 4 children, Charlie, 18, Jack and Susannah, 15, and Sam 13. Each of them was impacted, but in their own way. Charlie, who was scheduled to leave for school in Asheville in August, considered not going due to his Mom’s health. Her youngest son, Sam is a natural caretaker, and therefore worried about her and became very active in asking people to pray for Alice. The middle two, who are twins, Jack and


Susannah, both showed care and concern in their own ways. Alice thinks the reality of a parent with cancer caused her kids to mature more quickly and develop a stronger sense of empathy, which she says, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In addition to Alice’s reliance on her faith in God, she also received support from family, friends and co-workers. Her sister, Janet Lenham, cared for her and her kids while Alice was recovering from surgery. Alice’s husband, Marty, became the full-time meal preparer and taxi driver- delivering their four kids to numerous activities. Her Roosevelt Elementary Family truly stepped up in a big way! They sent cards, texts, made calls, provided food and lots of prayers during the summer months. Then throughout her radiation treatment and returning to work, they provided meals. Alice’s work family, seeing her precious students, and getting those sweet hugs are the things she credits with getting her through some of the tough days. Returning to work was important to her, as her job as a school counselor helped keep her focused. “I think I needed Roosevelt more than they needed me.” Alice considers her diagnosis a wakeup call. She is working to get healthier, appreciates the good things in life more and tries to make each day count. All of this while trying not to take for granted all the wonderful things in her life: family, friends, and a job that she loves! CHARLENE We at Komen East TN have gotten to know Charlene over the last few years, and one thing stuck out in our mind, is how much she loves Race and celebrating her years of survivorship with us. She has not been able to make it every year but celebrates with us each year in her heart. For Charlene, she did delay her annual physical in January 2004, as she was caregiver to her husband following his stroke. So she postponed her physical to June. Charlene had been having annual mammogram since 1981, as she had “lumps and bumps” from an early age. Even though she had no family history of breast cancer, she was always faithful about her screenings. In 2004, something was different; she was called back for a biopsy. Following the tests, she was diagnosed with a grade 3 tumor, stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma in her left breast. Fortunately, it was found very

early and the prognosis was good. After a meeting with the surgeon, she had her mastectomy July 14. She did required chemo, but had to postpone it until fall, due to being anemic and needing two iron infusions first. When she found out her diagnosis, she worried most about telling her Mom, Aunt and daughter because of how they would deal with it. Nikki, her daughter was away at college and she felt that this was something that she could not tell her in a phone conversation, so she waited until she was able to come home. When Nikki found out, she wanted to quit school to come home and care for her Mom, but Charlene would not have that. Charlene called on the one family friend she knew had had breast cancer. That friend was kind enough to meet with her, answer questions, and let her know what she might expect with surgery and chemo. When asked by family and friends how she was doing during her treatment, she always responded ok or fine. When asked if she needed anything? She would always respond, no, she was fine.  She did not want to be a bother or burden to anyone. Even through treatment, she continued to look after her husband’s needs while he was in the nursing home.     Charlene said it was almost two years later before she felt the impact of her diagnosis. She had been so busy being a caregiver for her husband. She believes her faith in God and positive attitude contributed to her healing, as she told us “Positivity is the Key”. Since her own diagnosis, one of her cousins and her Mom have been diagnosed. She has also had a second mastectomy and has a different outlook on some things. She wants to remind each of us, don’t do it on your own, find someone to lean on. When people offer, let them help whether it is with meals or transportation to doctor appointments. Above all, she says, be your own advocate. Ask the questions and if you think of one before your next appointment, write it down or make a list so you don’t forget. Charlene encourages newly diagnosed to research your diagnosis and the suggested treatments. Learn about possible side effects both during treatment and long-term.   Last, but not least, remember: tomorrow is not a promise, so live your day as if it was your last.

Please join us Saturday, April 18, as we continue to strive to find the cures so that women like Alice and Charlene can share their stories. Register at KomenEastTN.org/TriRFTC. For more information about Komen East TN and what we are doing in the Tri-Cities community email info@komeneasttn.org or call or Kingsport office at 423.765.9313.


Sullivan County Puppergram Fundraiser SUBMITTED BY CAROLYN KESTNER

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Love was in the air for homeless animals this Valentine’s season and the residents of Sullivan County showed up to show off their’s. The Animal Shelter of Sullivan County (formerly known as the Sullivan County Animal Shelter) kicked off this year’s fundraising by celebrating their new 501c3 non-profit status, new name and mission to become a community funded outreach facility. Those aren’t the only changes either. Recently hired Executive Director Cindy Holmes has brought about an abundance of changes like a community cat program providing rabies vaccinations and spay/neuter to 40 community cats a month, a monthly low cost vaccination and microchip clinic, an immensely improved shelter medicine program, and ongoing volunteer/ foster training classes. As of January 1, 2020, ASoSC became one of the only shelters in the region heartworm testing (and treating) dogs on intake.  ASoSC has plans to add a surgical suite among other facility upgrades in 2020 that rely heavily on community support and donations.   This fundraising push was kickstarted on Saturday February 8th with Red Hot & Blues for Rescue! Music lovers filled Taylored Venues and danced the night away to songs from local artists Annie Robinette, the Anthony Wayne AVIBE, and Samantha Gray. Monies raised went to both the ASoSC, and their rescue partner Neonatal Kitten Rescue, a nonprofit dedicated to the care of nursing mother cats and orphaned neonatal kittens. Off the dance floor, guests enjoyed the Valentine’s photo station, delicious food, and a silent auction. Sponsors Dalton Direct Carpets, Hamlet Dobson Funeral Home, Johnson Communications, Rocky Top Campground, Johnson City Handyman & Home Remodeling, ARC Productions, Honey Do Services and Appalachian Animal Hospital helped make the red hot night possible.   Just days later, the Valentine’s Puppergram fundraiser gained national attention and gave residents of Kingsport and Bristol both the chance to send something EXTRA special to their Valentine. Special puppy kisses and surprises were delivered by Velvet (the cutest puppy you’ve ever seen in your whole life) and VIPSEEN personalities Whitney Carr and Sherri Jessee. Lucky recipients were treated to a dozen roses with red velvet “pupcake” or a dozen chocolate dipped bacon roses with an hour long axe throwing pass. Puppergram partners Food City, Blackbird Bakery, Taylored Venues & Catering and King Sport Axe House made the event not just possible but special!  WCYB News Channel 5’s coverage helped the shelter gain national recognition with People Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Cosmopolitan, and other media outlets by spot lighting this adorable event.    Details on a $20 for 2020 community fundraising campaign, monthly Bark & Brews and other events can be found on The Animal Shelter of Sullivan County’s Facebook and Instagram, as well as the shelter itself located at 380 Masengill Rd. Blountville. 423.279.2741   march 2020


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Bristol ADDISON, JUSTIN HALL, AND KINSLEY

ADDYSON, MARTY SHUTTLE, AND EMMY

KALLY AND CHAD NELSON

Bows & Bowties

Father Daughter Ball EVENT COVERED BY RACHEL K. BURRUS

The Bristol Ballet’s 12th annual Bows and Bowties Father Daughter Ball took place on Sunday, February 9, 2020 at Holiday Inn in Bristol, VA located at exit 7. Michele Plescia remarked that “we love to go all out” for this event in which fathers, grandfathers, and male-caregivers can create lifetime memories for the special child in his life. The afternoon provided a wide array of sweets and treats, dancing with MusicSmith DJs, a photo booth as well as a free commemorate digital photo from the event and a treasured keepsake.” Our goal is to acknowledge that special bond and create the most memorable experience,” said Michele Plescia, Artistic Director of the Bristol Ballet. Many local businesses contributed to the fun raffle items provided for attendees - including prizes from Bristol Ballet, Birthplace of Country Music, Moon Bound Girl, and Bristol Public Library. Moira Frazier, Managing Director, said, “Community fundraising is very important to us to draw in more of the school community through touring so that the arts are present in the community.” Karen Tillison, who serves on the board, said, “it’s a lot of work, but we have Michele (Plescia), who is a highly qualified director, and a phenomenal board to help keep funding up. The ballet is growing. Children are enthusiastic, which helps them gain confidence while also receiving fun and enjoyment from dance.”

CAMERON, KARAH, AND KENDRICK

ROBERT AND ISOBEL SMITH WITH JEREMY AND MADELYNN RAGAN

VOLUNTEERS JESSANY BOWMAN AND EMERSON

LILY, MIKE CHATTEN, AND HALEY

KINSLEY AND COREY YOUNG

DONALD COOK, GRAYSON, BRYLEIGH, AND JOEY BARKER

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Abingdon JADA MULLINS AND HER BUDDY BLAKE BROWNING

MICHELLE LARIMER LOVES TO DRESS UP AND VOLUNTEER

ELIZABETH MCCALL AND RILEY

Tim Tebow Foundation

Night to Shine EVENT COVERED BY CRYSTAL DAWN CARTER

The Tim Tebow Foundation believes in making a difference in the lives of others. For the past six years the Foundation has teamed up with churches throughout the United States to provide people with special needs a chance at getting the royal treatment at their own prom style event that celebrates their hopeful spirits.

KRISTINA AND ELLA KISER

KRISTINA IS ROCKING OUT SINGING CELINE DION

Only four local churches in the Appalachian Highlands area have the honor to host a Tim Tebow Foundation Night to Shine event. This year they were held on February 7, 2020. It was a night when no one knew what to expect from mother nature due to a 24-hour cycle of flooding, ice, snow, rain, sleet, and above average temperature. People from all over the area gathered at Woodland Hills Christian Church to provide a wonderful night of fun. Guests dressed in their very best were welcomed by their friends at the Washington County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office. They were then given badges and met up with their volunteer “buddy” for the night. As the guests entered the red carpet for their paparazzi photo shoot, a group of pom-pom accessorized volunteers cheered. Then it was time to complete the glam look. Stylists were on hand for curls and hair styling, and nails and a corsage. Other guests prefered the shoeshine stand and getting a spiffy new tie. Guests got a corsage or boutonniere before going inside the big dance. After they danced guests had the chance to see the Abingdon High School Fly Girls perform on the dance floor.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, VA

There were plenty of goodies to eat (provided by Highlands Fellowship) and Karaoke was held down the hall. Limo rides around the block were available for everyone. The night ended with everyone getting crowned King or Queen of Night to Shine. For more information on Tim Tebow Foundation Night to Shine visit www. timtebowfoundation.org. NIGHT TO SHINE PLANNING COMMITTEE

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Abingdon HEATHER BLACKBURN OF SALON 31 CURLS TIFFANY’S HAIR

JENNIFER MUSICK AND JACOB

ALLISON LOOKING PRETTY IN PINK

CHEYLYNNA, RYLIE, CHRISTY, AND SUSANNE

NIGHT TO SHINE PLANNING COMMITTEE

BEVERLY MOUNTAIN, ANGELA, AND SUMER TAYLOR

ABINGDON HIGH SCHOOL FLY GIRLS

SHERRY WITH PATRICIA ENGLAND

BUDDY MOORE AND JAIME SELF

NICK AND HEATHER VIERS WITH TAYLOR WHITSON

CHEER SQUAD AT THE PAPARAZZI PHOTO BOOTH

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Abingdon MORGAN GILBERT

STEPHEN GILBERT

HENRY AND FLORA JOY

MAYOR WAYNE AND LAURA CRAIG

Appalachian Festival of

Plays and Playwrights EVENT COVERED BY LINDA COFFEY

Barter Theatre has the distinction of being the only theatre company in North America to have a festival dedicated to generating new theatre productions about the Appalachian area or written by Appalachian playwrights. On Thursday, January 23rd, a heritage dinner was held at Morgan’s Restaurant in Abingdon for an Appalachianthemed meal. After the dinner, guests enjoyed the first play presented for the weekend, “They Must Be Women Now.” Seven new plays were presented during the weekend festival. Twenty years ago, The Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights was founded to give an authentic voice to the stories of Appalachia. Since that time, the festival has grown in popularity and is often a sold-out event for Barter Theatre. More than one hundred plays were submitted to the theater for consideration, and seven were chosen to read on stage by the Barter Actors. A panel discussion was held after each play. Members of the audience were invited to participate in the

KATY BROWN AND NICHOLAS PIPER

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discussion, giving feedback to the playwright. In past years, several of the plays presented during the festival have been developed for full production on one of Barter’s two stages.

RIP RIPLEY, EDWINA ANDERSON, WITH BOB AND POLLY BARNES

The festival fosters a sense of community during the weekend. Audience, actors, and playwrights all interact, and many new friendships are formed while many new plays are developed. The AFPP was a huge success for Barter this year. They encountered the highest attendance in the festival’s history – a great way to celebrate its 20th Anniversary. There are plans to expand the festival in 2021 to include other events such as food, music, and literature. Abingdon is undoubtedly becoming the place to be during the month of January! For more information, visit bartertheatre.com.

LINDA DORAN AND BERT BACH

ACTORS WITH NICHOLAS PIPER AND PLAYWRIGHT, NEDRA PEZOLD ROBERTS


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VIPSEEN March 2020  

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