Sterling Award Winners 2010-2019

Sterling Award Winners 2010-2019

This list does not reflect all past winners’ job changes, life changes (such as marriage) or their current location. You are welcome to contact Sterling Awards Director Wanda Stanfill with any updated information. Call (731) 693-8359. Or email:

2010 Winners

  1. Dixie Carter, The Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center (in memoriam). McLemoresville.
  1. Karen Bowyer, President, Dyersburg State Community College.
  2. Charlotte Burns, formerly Hardin Medical Center. (Now Vice President of Network Affiliates at HCA TriStar Health in Brentwood)
  3. Rose Ann Donnell, Donnell Century Farms.
  4. Dn English, Main Street Publishing, Something to Read Bookstore. Jackson.
  5. Nell Huntspon, owner, The Flower Box. Jackson.
  6. Gay Gregson, Jenny Craig. Jackson.
  7. Vicki Lake, West Tennessee Healthcare. Jackson.
  8. Mary Jo Middlebrooks, attorney, Middlebrooks & Gray. Jackson.
  9. Tawnya Moore, Vice-President, Commercial Bank & Trust. Jackson.
  10. Libby Murphy, Twirl and Taste. Jackson.
  11. Judy Renshaw, retired, Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce. Jackson.
  12. Margaret Rogers, Lane College. Jackson. (Now Educational Consultant at Rogers’ Enterprise.)
  13. Carla Sanderson, Executive Vice-President for Strategic Initiatives and Provost, Union University, Jackson. (Now Vice-President, Chamberlain College of Nursing.)
  14.  Wanda Stanfill, Hospital Services Coordinator with Tennessee Donor Services. Jackson.
  15. Zulfat Suara, owner, Advance Business Solutions. Bolivar.
  16. Gloria J. Sweet-Love, TN State Conference NAACP. Brownsville.
  17. Katherine Watts, Horne LLP. Jackson.
  18. Sharon Younger, Younger & Associates. Jackson.
  19. Nancy Zambito, former Jackson-Madison County Schools superintendent. (Now consultant in Nashville)


2011 Winners

  1. Valerie Horton, Jackson City Government. Jackson. (Now Valerie Horton Rakes, Bureau of Workers Compensation, Columbus, Ohio.)
  2. Donna L. Turner, Deputy Chief, Tipton Co. Sheriff’s Dept. Covington.
  3. Susan White, City of Jackson Purchasing Director, Jackson.
  4. Tina Mercer, owner, Infinite Consulting Group, Jackson
  5. Cheri Childress, owner, BeCe Enterprises, Inc., Milan.
  6. Patricia Jones, owner, Jones Lumber, Co., Henderson.
  7. Andrea Bond Johnson, Golden Circle Insurance Agency, Brownsville.
  8. Judy Fletcher, Alexander, Thompson Arnold PLLC CPAs, Jackson, Humboldt
  9. Leonie Hefley, Vice-President, Commercial Bank & Trust, Jackson
  10. JoAnna Morris, First South Bank, Brownsville.
  11. Margaret Doumitt, The STAR Center, Jackson.
  12. Lisa Peoples, executive director, Area Relief Ministries, Jackson.
  13. Margaret Cole, retired nonprofit director, Jackson.
  14. Michelle Steen, teacher, University School of Jackson, Jackson.
  15. Molly McCarley, Workforce Investment Network, Somerville.
  16. Dr.Carol Ann Feather, Dyersburg State Community College.
  17. Donna Overstreet, retired, Lambuth University, Jackson. (deceased 2016)
  18. Jackie Utley, YMCA Instructor, Jackson. (retired)
  19. Christy Little, Attorney/Judge, Jackson.
  20. Nancy Miller-Herron, Commissioner, Western Division, Dresden.


2012 Winners

  1. Leah Ashby, formerly The Potter’s Garden, now Membership Director and Event Sales Manager, Waynesboro Country Club, Waynesboro, VA.
  2. Beth Bates, West TN Legal Services, Jackson.
  3. Dawn Garrett Bramblett, Bramblett Group, Henderson, TN.
  4. Deborah Turner Brasfield, On the Square Gallery and Gifts, Bolivar.
  5. Pat Brown, Pat Brown School of Dancing, Jackson.
  6. Laura Byrd, Vice-president, Commercial Bank and Trust Co., Jackson.
  7. Melissa Cox-Rayner, State of TN ECD, Alamo.
  8. Courtney Fee, Tipton Co. Board of Education, Munford.
  9. Lyda Kay Ferree, The Southern Lifestyles Lady, Jackson.
  10. Ruby M. Kirby, Bolivar General Hospital, Bolivar.
  11. Kathi Leatherwood, formerly Jackson Arts Council, now owner, The Cumberland House, Jackson.
  12. Rita Randolph, formerly Randolph’s Greenhouses & Nursery, now “plant nerd” at Morris Nursery and Landscapes, Inc., lecturer, garden writer, photographer, self-employed.
  13. Pat Ross, United Way of West TN, Jackson.
  14. Camille Shavon, Hair Expressions, Bolivar.
  15. Lisa Silver, formerly LANA Executive Director, now Marketing Representative, Charter Media. Jackson. (moved to Montgomery, Ala.)
  16. Toni Stokes, retired, UT Expanded Food and Nutrition Program, Huntingdon.
  17. Karen Thorpe, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Fayette Co. (deceased)
  18. Susan Todd Worlds, Lauderdale Chamber/ECD, Ripley.
  19. Brenda Valentine, First Lady of Hunting, Puryear
  20. Kay Wiles, Affordable Dentures, Jackson.


2013 Winners

  1. Denise Agee Allen. Partner & Senior Consultant, Agee, Stewart & Allen Development Services, Jackson.
  2. Anita Kay Archer. Development Officer. Bank of Jackson.
  3. Carolyn Beverly. Director. Tennessee College of Applied Technology/Whiteville.
  4. Jan Boud. Assistant to President for Community Relations, Office of Strategic Initiatives & the Provost. Union University, Jackson. (Now Assistant to the President for Constituent Relations at Union University.)
  5. Vicki Burch. President, Executive Director. West TN Business College.
  6. Emma Delk. Co-director, Stanton Welcome Center/Library. Alderman, 26 years.
  7. Dee Henderson: Executive Director of Development, JSCC.
  8. Lynne Henning: Financial Advisor, Vice-president, Raymond James Financial Services.
  9. Jill Holland. Mayor of McKenzie.
  10. Susan Johnson. Jackson-Madison County School System School Nutrition Director.
  11. Lanis Karnes. Owner, CEO. Karnes Legal Services.
  12. Dian McGuire. CFO. Berryman & Associates. Lexington.
  13. Jo Matherne. Mayor of Brownsville. (Now Pathways Tennessee Project Manager.)
  14. Laura Nord. Owner. Nordstar Medical Skincare & Laser Center. Jackson.
  15. Kay Patterson. Interim vice-president, Dyersburg State Community College.
  16. Meryl Rice. Co-owner. Grannymae’s Cedar Chest. Bolivar.
  17. Charlene Roberts. Owner. Charlene’s Collectibles. Halls.
  18. Kimberly Thornbury. Union University. (Now Vice President for Institutional Research and Strategic Planning, The King’s College, New York.)
  19. Velma Wilson. Public Relations and Marketing. Doxicom Recycling LLC. (Now Independent Writing and Editing Professional, Benson-Wilson Books).
  20. Andrea Young. Vice President. Loan Review. First South Bank.


2014 Winners

  1. 1. Diane Abbott. Senior vice-president, First South Bank. Jackson
  2. Beverly Absher. Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Operations and Chair, Department of Continuing Studies at Union University. Humboldt
  3. Pat Alford. Director, Jackson Teen and Children’s Theater. Jackson
  4. Dr. Allyson Anyanwu. Emergency Room director. Hardeman County Hospital. Jackson
  5. Leigh Anne Bentley. Director of Marketing Strategy at Younger Associates. Henderson.
  6. Patsy Camp. Chair. Tennessee Arts Commission. 69 Garden Drive, Jackson, TN. 38305. Jackson
  7. Marianne Dunavant. Field representative for Congressman Stephen Fincher. Atoka
  8. Pamela Durbin. Quality Specialist/HR Associate, Monogram Refrigeration. Henderson
  9. Jacque Hillman. Senior partner, The HillHelen Group LLC Publishing Co.; owner/designer, Reconfigured Art Jewelry. Jackson
  10. Marilyn Jackson. Owner, Marilyn Jackson’s Gifts. Jackson
  11. Cynthia Manuel. Owner, Industrial One Source and The Loft. Jackson. (deceased, 2015)
  12. Peggy Barber Murdock. Supervisor of Grades 6-12, Tipton County Board of Education. Covington
  13. Mary Reed. Owner of Reed & Associates Marketing Inc. Jackson.
  14. Jessie Spain. Owner, Spain Construction. Jackson.
  15. Tierra Thaxton. Chester County Commissioner, District 6. Henderson.
  16. Sharon Tubbs. UT-Madison County 4-H Agent. Three Way.
  17. Carol Turpen. Former GIS Systems Assistant Administrator, State of Tennessee. Alamo.
  18. Maureen Velez. Tennessee Highway Patrol, first female trooper named to the Highway Patrol’s Critical Incident Response Team. Somerville.
  19. Linda Weeks. Senior Affiliate Faculty – Technology Training & Support for Faculty Development, Dyersburg State Community College. Ripley.
  20. Annette Wilson. Coordinated School Health Administrator. Jackson-Madison County Schools. Medon.


2015 Winners

  1. Jackie Bobbitt. Director of Women’s Ministry. Englewood Baptist Church.
  2. Pam Bowers. Psychologist. Jackson-Madison County Schools.
  3. Jan Bynum. Regent, Jackson-Madison Chapter, NSDAR.
  4. Daryl Chansuthus. Executive Director. Women’s Resource and Rape Assistance Program.
  5. Teresa Crouse. Liberty Tech Magnet High School Green House Teacher. Jackson-Madison County School System.
  6. Dr. Sandra Dee. M.D. FACC. Jackson Clinic. Interventional Cardiologist.
  7. Constance Douglass. Tennessee College of Applied Technology Whiteville. Case Manager, Health Information Technology Program.
  8. Carolyn Flagg. Retired. Serves on Board of Aldermen, Brownsville. Ward II.
  9. Sandra Harper. Director of Schools. Trenton Special School District.
  10. Dr. Clara Hewitt. Director of Upward Bound Program. Lane College.
  11. Linda J. Higgins. Madison County Historian. Madison County.
  12. Kathy Hooten. Principal Broker. Century 21 Realty and Auction.
  13. Alice Kirkland. Influencer. Kirkland Cancer Center. Board. West TN Healthcare Foundation.
  14. Sarah Levy. Clerk and Master of Chancery, Brownsville, Haywood Co.
  15. Elizabeth Lynch. Upper School Art Instructor. University School of Jackson. Owner/CEO, Humphreys Associates Inc.; entrepreneur, Libby Lynch Jewelry and Personal Creations.
  16. Carma McGee. Chancellor, 24th Judicial District.
  17. Kristie Maxwell. County Trustee. Tipton County.
  18. Anna Page. Mortgage Loan Officer. Commercial Bank & Trust.
  19. Linda Seely. Director of Pro Bono Projects/Campaign Fundraising. Memphis Area Legal Services. (Now Attorney at Law and Rule 31 Listed Mediator; CEO, A Step Ahead for West Tennessee.)
  20. Lynn Woodside. Vice-chair, board, First South Bank. Co-owner, GenPac Distribution Co.; Master Fit Medical Supply.


2016 Winners

  1. Tammy Buchanan, Jackson. Public Liaison and Farmers Market Director.
  2. Cathy Clayton, Jackson. Executive Director, West Tennessee Legal Services.
  3. Linda Cox, Jackson. CEO/Owner, Exotic Hair Care Center & VViolet Hair Products.
  4. Amy Crenshaw, Jackson. Founder, ComeUnity Café.
  5. Cheryl Crider, Humboldt. Founder, Executive Director, TLC Riding Academy, Inc.
  6. Maleia Evans, Friendship. Director, TN Small Business Development Center of Dyersburg State CC.
  7. Ginger French, Jackson. Architect, Partner, TLM Associates.
  8. Brandon O. Gibson, Jackson. Judge, Tennessee Court of Appeals.
  9. Gail Gustafson, Milan. Executive Director, The Dream Center of Jackson.
  10. Delita Johnson, Jackson. Assistant Coordinator, City of Jackson Criminal Investigation Division.
  11. Mary Marvin, Friendship. Chair, Crockett County NOAH.
  12. Shirley Nanney, McKenzie. Editor, News Leader.
  13. Rebecca Rose, Savannah. Retired Educator. President, Big Ivy Community Center Association.
  14. Opal Shaw, Bolivar. Co-owner, Shaw Broadcasting.
  15. Dixie Spencer, Bolivar. REDI College Access Mentor, Southwest TN Development District.
  16. Kayla Taylor, Jackson. Marketing Services Manager, Younger Associates.
  17. Deann Thelen, Jackson. Vice-President, Hospital Services, West Tennessee Healthcare.
  18. Lisa Tillman, Executive Director, Regional Interfaith Association.
  19. Kathleen Walker, Brownsville. President, Tennessee Pewter Co. of Somerville.
  20. Pam Wright, Jackson. Owner, The Wright Law Firm PLLC.

2017 Winners

  1. Arlisa Armstrong, Brownsville. Area Director, USDA Rural Development.
  2. Carolyn Blakney, Savannah. Vice-president, branch manager of 3 branches, CB&S Bank.
  3. Elaine Christian, Jackson. Past president, Jackson-Madison County Library Foundation Board.
  4. Kasey Culbreath, Atoka. Attorney-at-Law, Kasey A. Culbreath P.C.
  5. Amy Dietrich, Jackson. Retired Associate Professor, University of Memphis.
  6. Kathleen Huneycutt, Jackson. Director, Health, Sanitation, Animal Control, City of Jackson.
  7. Jenny Kirkland, Union City. Board chair of Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation. The Promethean Foundation.
  8. Abby Lackey, Jackson. Associate Professor at Jackson State CC. Founder, Heaven’s Cradle
  9. Judy Long, Dyersburg. President and Chief Operating Officer of First Citizens National Bank
  10. Tawanika McKinney, Jackson. State of TN Fiscal Director, Henning TN.
  11. Teri Maddox, Jackson. Vice-President for Dyersburg State CC.
  12. LaShell Moore, Selmer. Pre-Kindergarten Teacher, McNairy Co. Schools.
  13. Susan Oliver, Jackson. First Lady, Union University. Ambassador for United Way. Board member, Hands Up Preschool.
  14. Debra Owen, Jackson. Attorney, Jackson Shields, Yeiser and Holt. Counsels district and school administrative leaders on legal issues.
  15. Helen Owens, Jackson. Assistant Professor, Lane College. Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority (National President).
  16. Renee Phelps, Henderson. Customer Service Representative, 27 years at Clayton Bank & Trust Co.
  17. Darlette Samuels, Jackson. Chief of Staff, Lane College.
  18. Sandy Stanfill, Lexington. Lead Off-Campus Director at Jackson State CC, Lexington Center.
  19. Ginger Terry, Lexington. Farmspace Systems. Public Relations Director.
  20. Laura Williams, Jackson. Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell, PLC. Served 3 terms on E.C. of Jackson Chamber of Commerce. Board of Regents, Union, U., and University School of Jackson.


Outstanding Woman Military Veteran: Dr. Linda Brice, Jackson. Clinical Associate Professor, Pre-Nursing Advisor, University of Memphis, Lambuth Campus.

Officer, USAF, 1973-1985, Executive Support Officer, B-52 Bomber Training Base; Squadron Section commander, Civil Engineering Squadron at Offutt AFB. Went to Guam for Project New Life to assist over 100,000 Vietnamese refugees displaced during “Fall of Saigon.” Assisted refugees to find new homes and lives in the U.S. Developed the first Foreign Liaison Office in USAF Strategic Air Command.

Sue Shelton White Award: Beth Bates, Jackson. Managing Attorney, Benefits Unit West Tennessee Legal Services, Inc. Bates testified before the Social Security Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee of the United States House of Representatives on November 19, 2009 on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities.  The subject of the testimony was the need for increased funding for the Social Security Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review. Since then, she has joined with other public service attorneys who advocate for improved service from the agency with then-Acting Commissioner Carolyn Colvin and two Tennessee Disability Determination directors.  She writes a monthly column on Social Security issues for The Jackson Sun.  She is a Board Certified Social Security Disability specialist and has represented approximately 2000 citizens before the agency during her 33 years as an attorney.

2018 Winners

  1. Dr. Belinda Anderson. Principal, Chester County Junior High. Henderson. FHU. U of Memphis.
  2. LaToshia Chism. Kindergarten-Second Grade Inclusion Teacher. JMCSS. Jackson. Lane College, FHU, TN State U.
  3. Nancy Choate. Attorney-at-Law, Jackson. Vanderbilt University School of Law.
  4. Dr. Kelli Deere. Director, UT Martin Parsons Center. Lexington. Union University.
  5. Cynthia Early. Nurse-Midwife. Owner, CEO, Agape Family Healthcare Clinic, Jackson. Phillips County CC, Union U., UT Memphis, Vanderbilt.
  6. Shirley Jones. Retiring Feb. 28 as Senior Vice-President, Jackson Chamber. Memphis State University. Jackson.
  7. Sharron Murden, Branch Sales Manager, Asst. VP. CB&S Bank, Bolivar. Jackson State CC, A.S.; Union, B.S. Saulsbury.
  8. Pam Nash. President, CEO, Carl Perkins Center. Chester Co. H.S., A.S., B.S., FHU; M.S. U of Memphis. Jackson.
  9. Cassandra Owens. Chair, Dept. of Religion, Asst. Prof., Lane College. Clark College; Masters of Divinity, ITS, Atlanta, Ga.; Ed.D., Union U., Jackson.
  10. Karen Freeman, Business Development Manager, Leaders Credit Union. UT Martin.
  11. Danielle Hardee. Law Clerk, U.S. District Court. Jackson. Jackson Central-Merry H.S.; Bachelor’s, UT Chattanooga; Washington U. School of Law, St. Louis.
  12. Shannon Haynes. Director of Client Development, Emmaus Consulting. Bachelor’s, Christian Brothers University; MBA, Union University. Alamo.
  13. Kerrie Heckethorn. Senior VP, Human Resources Officer, First Citizens National Bank. Dyersburg. Bachelor’s, MTSU; Certifications, SHRM.
  14. Emily Johnson. Director, Henderson/Chester Co. Chamber of Commerce. Henderson. Lipscomb Academy, Nashville; B.A., FHU.en



  1. Lt. Danielle Jones. Lieutenant, Jackson Police Dept. Jackson. North Side H.S.; B.S., Lane College; M.S., Bethel University.
  2. Michelle Reddick. Director of Career and Learning Services, U of Memphis Lambuth. Jackson. Valdosta State U.; University of Tennessee.
  3. Kandy Shackelford. Director, Hardeman Co. Chamber of Commerce. Bolivar. B.A., FHU.
  4. Dr. Ann Singleton. University Professor of Special Education and Associate Provost, Dean of Instructions, Union University. Jackson. B.S., Union University.; M.Ed., U of Memphis; Ed.D. U of Memphis.
  5. Sherry Tignor. Executive Director, Center for Academic Success, Union University. Jackson. B.S., Union University; Masters, Memphis State University; postgraduate, U of Memphis.
  6. Brenda Whalley. Vice-President, Whalley Enterprises DBA Morton Moving & Storage. B.A., Lambuth. Jackson.

Outstanding Woman Military Veteran: Judy Bivens, Veterans Service Officer, McNairy County. Selmer. Served in USAF 26 years. Retired as Chief Master Sergeant. Chairman of the Board, Air Force Public Alumni Association. B.A., Wayland Baptist University; Master’s, University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, Texas. Habitat for Humanity board; American Cancer Society’s Voices of Hope 2018.

Sue Shelton White Award winner: Mary Jo Middlebrooks. Attorney-at-Law, Middlebrooks and Gray, P.A. Founding Member, Tennessee Lawyers Association for Women; founder, Anne Schneider Chapter, Lawyers Association for Women. Specially trained mediator for domestic violence victims. Has lobbied for women’s issues for 40 years in Washington, D.C. and in Nashville.

Sterling Awards 2019 Winners

  1. Sheila Arnold. Retired teacher, Jackson Madison County School System; part-time coordinator for the Writing Lab, University of Memphis Lambuth. Jackson
  2. Sydney Ball.  Regional Business Development Manager, First Citizens National Bank in Dyersburg and Middle Tennessee market; FirstCNB’s Corporate Office in Dyersburg. 
  3. Sue Ann Barnes. Retired. Jackson
  4. Katie Brantley. County Commissioner.
  5. Laura Beth Butler, CPA, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary First Citizens National Bank. Dyersburg. Lives in Gadsden.
  6. Bonnie Cagle, Owner/director of Bonnie’s School of Dance, Humboldt
  7. Terri Chism, Eligibility Counselor II for the State of Tennessee. Jackson
  8. Dinah Harris. Director of Jackson-Madison County Library. Lexington
  9. Sharon Hayes. Haywood County Commissioner. Brownsville
  10. Tiffany Jones. Owns and operates E&T Contracting. Henderson
  11. Stacy Miller. President/CEO of Tennessee Correctional Services West, Inc. Milan
  12. Dawn Mooney. Owner, PC Paladins,  Jackson
  13. Lisa Piercey, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Health. MD, MBA, FAAP.
  14. Vanessa Parker Presson, Complex Human Resource Manager, Tyson plant, Humboldt.
  15. Tiffany B. Purnell, Educator, Humboldt East End Elementary, Jackson
  16. Linda Rizzuto, Retired. Jackson
  17. Janet Silver, President, Roberts Jewelers, Jackson
  18. Michelle Curtain Stewart, Vice president for academic affairs; associate professor of sociology at Lane College.  Jackson
  19. Kara Waddell Tapp. Director, UT Martin Somerville Center. Fayette County
  20. Vivian C. Williams, Chief of Student Support and Improvement for the Jackson Madison County School System. Jackson

Debbie O’Bryant-Outstanding Woman Military Veteran. Debbie O’Bryant is a retired United States Navy, Aviation Maintenance Duty Officer, Commander. Her last tour of duty she served at the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, where she held the position of the first Navy Liaison Officer in the Office of Military Cooperation. Commander O’Bryant’s personal and unit awards are highlighted by: Meritorious Service Medal, (2 awards), Navy Commendation Medal (4 awards), Navy Achievement Medal (3 awards), and a Humanitarian Service Medal.

Jocelyn Dan Wurzburg-Sue Shelton White Recipient. Solo Mediation Practitioner. Memphis’ First Professional Mediator. She started the Concerned Women of Memphis and Shelby County, credited with averting a second sanitation workers’ strike a year after Dr. Martin Luther King’s death. Serving on the Social Action Commission of Reform Judaism. President Gerald Ford appointed her to the International Women’s Year Commission. Serving Gov. Winfield Dunn on the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, she wrote Tennessee’s first anti-discrimination law in employment, public accommodations, and housing. Founded the Mediation Association of Tennessee. Helped start the Association for Women Attorneys and chaired the Family Law and the ADR sections of the Memphis Bar Association.