Meet The 20 Most Influential Women In West Tennessee

Jackson, Tenn.–The Jackson Area Business and Professional Women announced the Sterling Awards 2020 winners and the list of the 20 Most Influential Women in West Tennessee includes several area women, including Henry County Juvenile Court Judge Vicki Snyder, Carroll County Register of Deeds Natalie Porter, WestStar Coordinator Virginia Grimes; and Dyersburg First Citizens Bank Marketing Director Sandy Tarkington.

The awards ceremony itself has been postponed until August due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The 10-year anniversary of the awards highlights women in West Tennessee who are outstanding in their fields of endeavor and who are community activists.

“These awards were created to honor women who work tirelessly to better lives in their West Tennessee communities,” said Wanda Stanfill, Sterling Awards director and vice-president of the Jackson Area Business and Professional Women. “Every year when the nominations pour in, our Board of Selectors spends hours going through the resumes and letters of support. We are so proud of these women who give so much and expect so little in return.”

“These amazing women succeed in business, education, government, industry, law enforcement and the arts. We have singers and musicians, poets, writers, and artists. They run marathons or become gourmet chefs. Our Sterling recipients like to hike, fly fish, shoot rifles, drive large truck and off-road ATVs.  They studied abroad, hitchhiked across Europe and traveled across the United States.

“We hope you’ll join us when we are able to celebrate their accomplishments on stage at a later date,” said Stanfill.

The Sue Shelton White Award 2020 goes to Judge Christy Little, General Sessions Judge, Division II, of Jackson; and the Outstanding Woman Military Veteran is Lenore Ventimiglia, U.S. Marine Corps, honorable discharge, of Jackson.

The 20 Most Influential Women in West Tennessee are:

Dr. Cindy Boyles, Jackson, associate professor of criminal justice at the University of Tennessee Martin.

Joyce Brown, Gibson County, County Clerk/Juvenile Court Clerk of Gibson County.

Cheryl Browne, M.D., Fayette County, retired internal medicine physician and medical group administrator.

Gina Dieudonne, MD., Jackson, pediatrician.

Virginia Grimes, Martin, program manager/coordinator, WestStar Leadership Program, UT Martin.

Jane Jarvis, Jackson, Retired attorney.

Juanita Jones, Jackson, founder and executive director of Keep My Hood Good (KMHG) Community Campaign.

Laurice Lanier, Jackson, professional vocalist, entertainer, music director and businesswoman.

Esther Gray Lemus, Mercer, assistant professor of music at Jackson State Community College.

Shirlene Mercer, Jackson, retired field representative for Rep. John Tanner, retired teacher, community activist.

Natalie Porter Carroll County, Carroll County register of deeds.

Hope Reasons, Jackson, founder of Sisterhood Purses Inc.

Jennifer Rowan, Jackson, paralegal.

Mary Ann Sharpe, Brownsville, Director of Main Street Brownsville.

Nola Spears, Jackson, retired social worker/indigent care specialist, Hamilton County government.

Judge Vicki Snyder, Paris, Henry County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge.

Sandy Tarkington, Dyersburg, marketing director/vice president of marketing and public relations, First Citizens National Bank.

Linda J. Theus, Jackson, associate professor of business and area coordinator for business administration programs at Lane College.

Jean Marie Walls, Jackson, professor and chair, Department of Language, Union University.

Kathy Haney Williams, Jackson, retired executive administrative assistant/human resources specialist, genealogist.

The winners are outstanding in these categories: government and public service; small business/entrepreneur; business and technology; service (community/non-profit); education; labor/manufacturing; healthcare, legal and other fields.

“These women choose to live their lives with courageous commitment to helping their communities thrive,” said Stanfill. “We hope that our West Tennesseans continue honoring these women through nominations.”

For more information, contact Stanfill at (731) 693-8359.

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