East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Council
We are “women leaders building women leaders.” The East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Council organizes the Summit. The Council is a team of volunteers who share a common interest in improving the lives of women in East Tennessee. The women come from diverse backgrounds and industries, including counseling, chemistry, finance, fundraising, personnel staffing, manufacturing, consumer science, politics, and public relations. These diverse backgrounds and experiences blend together to create a common understanding of what still needs to be done to help East Tennessee women Live. Learn. Lead.
Our Mission: To promote and provide leadership training and skill development to build women leaders across East Tennessee.
Our Vision: That women in East Tennessee will realize and own their true potential, strength, and power.
Wendy Pitts Reeves, Chair
Reeves is a licensed clinical social worker who hosts the popular Secret Adventures for Courageous Women while coaching women towards greater confidence. She founded Cove Mountain Counseling, an association of independent practitioners in Maryville, and has served as graduate-level field instructor for the University of Tennessee’s College of Social Work, and as Adjunct Professor for Maryville College. Ms. Reeves has served on several boards, including the Tennessee Economic Council on Women, Women’s Equity Foundation, AAUW- Maryville Branch, Blount Co. Children’s Home, the Adult Education Foundation of Blount Co., the Blount Co. Chamber of Commerce and others. She served on the Blount Co. Commission from 2006-2010, and was named “Public Official of the Year” by the Tennessee Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She’s a graduate of Leadership Blount, Class of 2006, and is a proud mom to Caleb and Maiah.
Sharon Hannum, Co-chair
Owner of Total Effects Online, Ms. Hannum is a widely respected Blount Co. community leader who’s known for mentoring others and getting things done. She was the first woman recruited to serve as Unit Supervisor in the North Plant Ingot Department at Alcoa, Inc. She eventually rose to Area Coordinator of the Maintenance, Engineering & Utilities division of Tennessee Operations, retiring from that position after a 30 year career. She’s chaired or served on numerous boards, including the MLK Celebration Planning Commission, Pellissippi State Community College Board of Trustees, Blount County Library Board of Trustees, Child and Family Tennessee. She developed the Women’s Support Network for women incarcerated. She’s a proud mother to Todd Hannum, of Atlanta, and is an active and devoted member of St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church in Maryville. She is a graduate of Leadership Blount, Class of 1998.
Susanne Dalton Dupes
President of the Dalton Dupes Agency, Ms. Dupes is an award-winning public relations strategist who works with small businesses and emerging women leaders to increase their expert status. Prior to opening Dalton Dupes, she was Media Relations Director for then Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and served as his media liaison to the White House during his tenure as President of County Executives of America. Prior to the Mayor’s office, she served as communications director for Information International Associates in Oak Ridge. She has been elected to serve on the board of Tennessee’s Women’s Economic Council Foundation. She hosts a monthly Women’s Leadership Salon in West Knoxville. Her work in public relations received a Superior Award from the National Association of County Information Officers and multiple “Excellence” Awards from the Volunteer Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. She holds an MS in information science from the University of Tennessee. She is a graduate of Leadership Oak Ridge, Class of 2007; FBI Citizens Academy, Class of 2008; Knox County Sheriff’s Citizens Academy, Class of 2009. She is a proud wife to Bill and mom to Rynn.
Ms. Hardwick is the Market Development Manager for Staffing Solutions and ResourceMFG. She is a graduate of Florida State University. Her community involvement includes Chair of the Blount County Chamber of Commerce and past President and current board member for the Maryville-Alcoa Rotary Club. Virginia has been a volunteer with the Women’s Leadership Summit for many years. Her former activities include Leadership Blount class of 2002, Experience Your Smokies, class of 2003, Past president of Blount County Habitat for Humanity, Board of directors for the United Way of Blount County and has served on the fundraising campaign for United Way for many years. Her honors include receiving the Leadership Award from Leadership Blount for 2012, Athena Nominee for 2013, Volunteer of the Year for the Blount County Chamber of Commerce for 2012, and is a Paul Harris Fellow. Virginia is active in her church: First United Methodist Church of Maryville.She is married to Doug Hardwick and has two daughters, Callie and Grace.
Ms. Lauth has spent over 20 years working as a nonprofit Executive Director, Director of Development, COO, and Consultant. Kim has held the CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive since 2002. She is past president of both the Smoky Mountain Planned Giving Council and the AFP (Association of Fundraising Professionals) Great Smoky Mountain Chapter and has served on the board of the Knoxville Chapter of the American Marketing Association. She is a sought after speaker and trainer and has been published in the Journal of Healthcare Philanthropy. Currently she is owner of Kim Lauth Consulting. Kim focuses her consulting practice on nonprofit strategic planning, board and staff development and fundraising. Kim is board member emeritus of the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial Association and has recently joined the the East Tennessee Woman’s Leadership Council. Kim has been married to Kent Lauth for 23 years. Their combined family includes 6 children – ranging in age from 17 to 34, as well as 4 grandchildren.
Ms. Schmitz is owner of Women’s Money Makeover, which she started in 2010. She is an author, personal finance coach and financial advocate focusing on helping individuals get “real” about money. She retired from Procter & Gamble in 2002 after 25 years in Research & Development. Her disappointment in how she was treated in the retirement process is the catalyst that drove Deb into the financial services industry. For the next 6 years she pursued the traditional route of becoming a financial advisor, but realized this was not what most people needed, especially women. Always an out of the box thinker and problem solver, she has used her life skills, personal experience and education to structure Women’s Money Makeover, a unique business that helps make understanding money fun, not boring or intimidating. She now works at making women feel safe, secure and smart about your money.
Dr. Wise is Professor and Consumer Economics Specialist with The University of Tennessee Extension. She coordinates programs that reach thousands of Tennesseans each year with information about money management, savings education and consumer issues. Her programs, curricula and leadership have been recognized with numerous state, regional and national awards. She serves on the Tennessee Economic Council on women, on the Steering Committee for the Tennessee Women’s Economic Summit and on the Advisory Board of the University Of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. Dr. Wise has degrees from Auburn University, the University of Georgia, and Texas A&M University and is an alumna of the prestigious HERS Bryn Mawr Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration. She and her husband, Ken have three daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandchildren.