Story & Photography by Lisa Adkins
What an impressive evening sponsored by The Jackson Sun and Jackson Area Business and Professional Women (JBPW). The J. Walter Barnes Conference Center was packed as many came out to support the 20 Most Influential Women in West Tennessee, Outstanding Woman Military Veteran, and the Sue Shelton White Award Winners. Stacy Miller, President of JBPW, welcomed the crowd and also led the Pledge of Allegiance. Presentation of the colors was given by the Girl Scouts Heart of the South. Esther Gray Lemus powerfully sang our National Anthem. Special guests included Mayor Jerry Gist, Harbert Alexander Sr., Leland Burress and Mike Jung. Stacy Miller said “We are thrilled to present the Sterling Awards on Equal Pay Day, which is April 10 this year, in partnership with The Jackson Sun.” The winners were a diverse group of women from all walks of life. These women are passionate about making a difference in the lives of their communities. “The winners were outstanding in these categories: government and public service; small business/entrepreneur; business and technology; service (community/nonprofit); education; labor/manufacturing; healthcare, legal and other fields.” The winner of the Sue Shelton White Award was local attorney Mary Jo Middlebrooks. Judy Ferguson Bivens was awarded the Outstanding Woman Military Veteran Award. The 20 Most Influential Women in West Tennessee were: Dr. Belinda Anderson, LaToshia Chism, Nancy Choate, Dr. Kellie Deere, Cynthia Early, Karen Freeman, Dannielle Hardee, Shannon Haynes, Kerrie Heckethorn, Emily Johnson, Lt. Danielle Jones, Shirley Jones, Sharron Denise Murden, Pamela D. Nash, Dr. Cassandra Owens, Michelle Reddick, Kandy Shackelford, Ann Singleton, Sherry Tignor, and Brenda Whalley. As Wanda Stanfill said, “Congratulations to our 2018 Sterling Award Winners. You are our leaders. You keep us all moving in the right direction. You construct the signposts to keep us on the road!” Check out the local JBPW on jacksonareabpw.com. JBPW meets monthly.