Distinctively Southern Ladies

May 07, 2019 at 04:52 pm by PaigeAtwell


YOUR Williamson proudly presents our 2019 Distinctively Southern Ladies! These women exude powerful impact in our community in so many ways. They are business owners, non-profit leaders, artists, volunteers and role models. They, daily, make a difference in the lives of all those lucky enough to be around them. And they are always striving to do more. They are a shining example of what it means to be a distinctively southern lady.




Jill Burgin

You may have known Jill Burgin as the friendly and hard-working Mayor of Brentwood, but now, she will be serving as Main Street Director for the Downtown Franklin Association. As a twenty-eight year Williamson County resident, Jill is thankful to have served on the Brentwood City Commission, two terms as vice mayor and one term as mayor. “I would like to think that my contribution has been to serve as a politician who does not like politics,” said Jill. “I have tried to maintain my perspective as a parent, as a resident and as a working person while on the city commission and focus on what is right for the community rather than on what might earn more votes. In my experience, people respect this approach because they know it takes courage to look at a room full of people who may not agree with your initial decision and vote your conscience on an issue. But when some of those same people come up to you six months later and tell you they understand your rationale and respect you for voting that way, it makes it worthwhile, especially when a project turns out to be a positive for the community.” Jill prides herself on her “unceasing optimism” and is inspired to move forward everyday by the great women that came before her. “It would be hard to beat the wit and intelligence of Dolly Parton when she said, ‘I’m not offended by all the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb...and I also know that I’m not blonde.’ I think that’s a perfect way to say... Don’t let others think they can decide who you are and what you can do. You’re in charge of your decisions, your image and your efforts in this world. Let your works speak for you.”



Linda Moore

When you think of the many wonderful ladies of Franklin, it would
be hard not to think of Linda Moore. “I think to be a lady, you must have good manners and a lady of distinction must have shown that she has these in her daily life,” explains Linda. “Be nice, respectful, kind, giving, polite and show this by example.” Linda is the wife of Mayor Ken Moore, mother to five children, grandmother to six grandchildren and dog-mom to Jack and Mike. While she enjoys fulfilling these daily roles with grace, she also has a passion for frequent traveling, healthy cooking and all things Franklin. She’s dedicated a bulk of her time to maintaining its hospitality and history through restoration and preservation. Her favorite project to date is her work on the Franklin Theatre, but her most recent work includes restoration projects for Harlinsdale and the Hayes home. “I have always thought of Franklin as a piece of heaven on earth with a lot of charm,” says Linda. “It is a friendly, safe town with a lot of history and wonderful memories for me having grown up here. I feel it is my job to work harder, be better, do more. And my love for Franklin is my inspiration!”



Georgeann Dingus

After retiring from twenty-five years in the airline industry, GeorgeAnn Dingus was looking for an opportunity to use her skills she had gained as a marketing manager for Southwest Airlines. Today, GeorgeAnn is the Vice President Business & Brand Development for Iroquois Steeplechase. “I saw the opportunity to work on an iconic community driven event like Iroquois Steeplechase irresistible, and I loved the idea of raising funds to benefit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt,” explains GeorgeAnn. Being a middle Tennessee resident since 1986, she’s always had a deep appreciation for the event. Her contributions to the organization include designing, managing and helping implement yearly changes and additions that help the event continue in a very competitive market, while still holding true to all its pageantry and tradition. She helps create and enhance sponsorships, community relations and brings in new areas and events to help attract attendees. “I am very passionate about positioning the Iroquois Steeplechase so the impact it has on the community will continue for many years to come,” says GeorgeAnn. “I hope my greatest accomplishments are still ahead. I was blessed to be one of the women who achieved in jobs that were typically filled by men, and I am proof that working hard and treating others as you would want to be treated leads to success. Working with leaders who encouraged me to succeed, sometimes through trial and error, made me want to inspire others to lead as well!”



Carrie Drury

Today, you might know Carrie Drury as the Executive Director of A Vintage Affair (AVA). And although she’s only been in her current role for seven months, she’s been involved with the organization for nineteen years. “I feel like AVA is a part of my family and when the position came available, I showed interest because I feel devoted to its cause,” said Carrie. A Vintage Affair was founded in 2001 by Carrie’s father, Ralph Drury, to raise funds for Williamson County nonprofits serving women and children in need. Since its inception, the organization has distributed $2 million in direct support to the community. “I know these charities well, I live with them, work with them, they are friends who have become like family,” explains Carrie. “I have visited their organizations and believe in each cause. I want to work harder than ever to lead the charge and continue the contributions from AVA that help the lives of so many in need.” When Carrie isn’t working with these organizations or planning A Vintage Affair events, you can find her at the Harpeth River, where she loves to kayak, enjoy nature and appreciate a slower pace of life. “When I was contacted about being nominated as a Distinctively Southern Lady, I replied back and asked if it was a joke. Those that know me, know I am a little bit of a tomboy and to be called a lady, took me back a bit,” says Carrie. “Distinction is something that sets someone or something apart from others, and I am certainly that! I believe a lady displays self-respect, class, appreciation, kindness, confidence without being arrogant, courtesy, a true sense of herself, she empowers other women, stays calm in a crisis and inspires other women.”



Stacey Rhodes

For Stacey Rhodes, being a lady means something different to everyone. But for her, it is rhoDes “someone who is comfortable with herself, who is kind, generous and supportive of others. She is respectful, helpful, encouraging and non-judgmental.” As a business owner, wife and supporter of many local causes, she certainly exemplifies just that. Stacey graduated from O’More College in Franklin. Shortly after, she worked as an interior designer, for a music production company and retail. In her words, she did “anything that inspired her.” In 2002, she opened Stacey Rhodes Boutique, where she worked with several artisans to offer a collection of original art, handmade jewelry and accessories. In 2005, she relocated to The Hill Center in Brentwood, where she expanded her inventory to include clothing, footwear and additional accessories. After nearly tripling her business, she moved across the street to what is now her current shop on Franklin Road. “I jumped at the chance to work with the landlord to bring the dilapidated building back to life,” said Stacey. “I am proud to say I had the vision, along with my landlord, to help in the revitalization of downtown Brentwood with the renovations we did to our building to improve the aesthetic of our main thoroughfare.” In addition to this project, Stacey has also been a long-time supporter of many local schools, causes and nonprofits. “Williamson County is beautiful, a great place to live, work and raise a family,” says Stacey. Stacey owes her seventeen years of success as a business owner to her wonderful family and clients that surround and support her. “My customers inspire me,” explained Stacey. “I want to stay true to their expectations and offer them the very best. To always keep evolving.”



MiMi Collins Fuller

You may have heard the name Mimi Collins Fuller in association with the 78th Iroquois Steeplechase. She was selected as this year’s featured artist for the event. “It is such an honor and I am so excited to be a part of Steeplechase this year,” said Mimi. “I painted three horses jumping over a banner that says Iroquois Steeplechase and it was my first assignment this year in art class. We had the option to enter it into the contest and I decided to enter my art as a joke, and I turned out winning the contest. I was so surprised because I did not think it was my best work.” Art has been a passion of Mimi’s since she was in kindergarten, with painting being her personal favorite medium. She enjoys Picasso, tennis and spending time with family and friends. As a student at Franklin Road Academy, Mimi works hard every day to achieve her future goals. “I always think about my future and if I push myself now, I am setting myself up for success.” To Mimi, being a lady means always being kind and treating others the way you’d want to be treated. “Since I am in middle school as an eighth grader, the fifth, sixth and seventh graders look up to eighth graders and I like to set a good example for them.” The advice she holds most dear and that inspires her is from her grandmother, who always reminded her “to never give up on anything you ever do.”



Allena Bell

Allena Bell has been a shining light in Williamson County for twenty-three years. In fact, if you bump into Allena around town, you’re sure to be met with a smile and friendly conversation. “It gives me great joy to welcome people into the fabric of Franklin,” says Allena. “For example: I am quite known by my family to engage in many conversations at Costco. My Children call it ‘long grocery shopping experiences.’” Allena is the board treasurer for the executive board at Franklin Special School district. She also serves on the board of Franklin Tomorrow, Youth Leadership Franklin and the Williamson County Education Foundation. “I enjoy seeing nonprofit boards strengthened through policy,” explains Allena. “I am a networker - I love people, find value in serving others and connecting them together.” In 2015, Allena was selected by the Tennessee School Board Association as a Master Ambassador for Franklin Special School District as result of her outreach efforts to increase community awareness and understanding of public education issues. Standing on the shoulders of great women herself, Allena hopes to continue to leverage her love of service, leadership and Williamson County to inspire the next generation to be even better and continue to help our community thrive for years to come. “Experienced leadership is a highly valued gift to any community,” says Allena. “I am on a quest to encourage more women to become involved in leadership roles.”



Bari Beasley

Bari Beasley loves Williamson County. In fact, she’s dedicated a full- time career to protecting and preserving its charm and success. Before joining the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County two years ago as CEO, Bari worked for years in nonprofit management and higher education. Most recently, she traveled extensively while working for a large, global, Nashville-based nonprofit. It was then that she realized her deep appreciation for the Williamson County community and her yearning to use her skills to progress it, and that’s exactly what she does at the Heritage Foundation. “My days are very busy in this role as the CEO of the Heritage Foundation, but my work brings me great joy,” says Bari. “I connect daily with incredible people, through my staff, board, volunteers, donors and members. Through the Heritage Foundation, our family has really gotten integrated into the fabric of this community, and it has truly been a gift.” With over fifty years of continuous, successful leadership and growth in their arsenal, the Heritage Foundation has only continued to thrive under Bari’s leadership. Their team has worked diligently to expand on past wins, increase corporate partnerships, expand funds and staff and create even more opportunities for the community to get involved. Most recently, they were just able to save and purchase the former O’More School of Design Campus. “I’m inspired by my family... We are a team in our efforts to make a difference in this community,” says Bari. “And, I’m inspired by my daughter, Alexandria. She is four-years old and tells me she hopes to someday be a CEO like her Mom. I feel inspired to be a good example and role model for her.”