We are “women leaders building women leaders.”  The Mountain Laurel 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.

Deb Schmitz, Chair

Deb SchmitzsMs. 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.

Jeannie Anderson

AndersonJeannie Anderson is the Founder and Executive Director of LifeSigns.us, Inc. a non-profit organization for women who are committed to discovering and designing a better quality of life for themselves, their family and the community around them. LifeSigns provides coaching/mentoring, education of life, career and financial skills, and continued support and encouragement as each woman takes the necessary steps to begin a new way of life.

Jeannie also provides coaching to individuals who want to live their life by design not by default! She speaks, coaches and conducts workshops and retreats throughout the United States. She has authored numerous self-growth articles and co-authored the CORE Coaches Guide for NaviCORE International Inc. and is the co-creator of an entrepreneurial training program including a specialized program for veterans.

Jeannie is a graduate of Coach U and a Master Certified CORE Coach and Licensed Facilitator, Presenter and Trainer through NaviCORE International Inc. You may reach her at: jeannie@lifesigns.us or call 423-520-6316. To learn more about LifeSigns please visit: http://www.lifesigns.us

Rynn Dupes

rd0019-MRynn currently works as the Advancement Assistant in the Office of Development and Alumni Affairs in the University of Tennessee College of Law. In December 2014, Rynn earned her Master’s degree in Communication and Information with a concentration in public relations from the University of Tennessee College of Communication and Information. She is a member of the Knox County Foster Care Review Board and President of the League of Women Voters of Knoxville and Knox County.

Susanne Dalton Dupes

Susanne Dalton DupesSusanne Dalton Dupes, ABC, APR, is President of the Dalton Dupes Agency and Mountain Laurel Leadership. She is an experienced and certified analyst in behaviors, motivators, and emotional intelligence. Building on more than 25 years in communications and leadership, Dupes helps organizations and teams understand individual differences and how to use those to help teams work together more effectively. She has earned multiple awards in communications and PR and is one of only a few Tennesseans to be accredited by both the International Association of Business Communicators and the Public Relations Society of America. Dupes has devoted extensive time to women’s leadership development and serves on the board of Tennessee Economic Council on Women Foundation and the East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Council. She is also a graduate of Leadership Oak Ridge.

Janet Edkins

JayD-250Janet Edkins is the mastermind and chief coder behind Jay Designs Inc. Born and raised in Sheffield, England, Janet moved to the US in 1998 with the love of her life and new hubby Chris. Initially based in Dallas, Janet passed the time getting an American education and falling in love again, this time with HTML and website design. Creativity and Structure in the same elements. Aaaah. Finally, left and right brain synergy fulfilled. HTML and Content Management Systems have moved on significantly in the last 13 years, and Janet’s idea of “fun” is still creating website designs and helping small business get the most bang for their buck on the Web. Janet’s refreshing WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) approach to business is her trademark.

Lisa Gamble

LisaGambleLisa Gamble has over 20 years of experience in leadership, coaching and consulting. She is an innovative and pragmatic leader with proven success driving results and maintaining a relentless focus on quality. Lisa’s 20+ years of experience encompasses strategic and tactical leadership; leadership development; executive coaching; organizational development; process improvement; and P&L management.

Currently, Lisa is Senior Vice President for Lee Hecht Harrison, a global talent mobility organization specializing in Career Transition, leadership Development, Employee Engagement, and Change Management in 65 countries. Lisa provides leadership to the US delivery organization encompassing over 600+ consultants and coaches nationwide. Overseeing both field and virtual delivery, Lisa drives process improvements and employee development that contributes to overall profitability and enhances the client and colleague experience. Prior to this role, Lisa oversaw delivery and operations for Drake Beam Morin (DBM), another talent mobility company that merged with Lee Hecht Harrison in 2011. Lisa began her career with DBM in 2002 working directly with individuals and organizations providing consulting and coaching in the areas of leadership Development, Career Transition, and Change Management. She quickly moved into leadership, expanding her scope from regional to national within five years.

After receiving her BS in marketing from the University of Tennessee, Lisa spent seven years in a variety of business roles, including marketing, business development, and training. In 1994, she then earned her Master of Education degree in Human Development Counseling from Vanderbilt University. The personal and professional growth of individuals both inside and outside the workplace has been Lisa’s focus ever since.

Stephanie Helton

StephanieHeltoncropStephanie has worked with Vanderbilt Mortgage a part of the Clayton/Berkshire Hathaway group since 2012. She began in an entry level position and quickly worked her way into leadership positions. Within the company. Currently she is the Legal Supervisor over Government Loan Servicing where she continues to hire, train and mentor her team.

After receiving her BS in Art and Business Leadership from Southern Virginia University, Stephanie moved around to many different positions looking for the right place to build a career. Her passion in helping grow and mentor up and coming woman in leadership is what caused her to join The East Tennessee Woman’s Leadership Council 2015.

Karen Jernigan

Karen-Web-015-2Ms. Jernigan is a lawyer with over 20 years of experience representing clients on their claims for Social Security Disability benefits. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Sign Language/Interpreting from Maryville College and worked in the area for a few years. After seeing how most attorneys treated her hearing-impaired clients, she decided to obtain a law degree which she was bestowed by the University of Tennessee School of Law. She is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association and the National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives. She is a coordinator for the Women’s Leadership Salon. She and her husband, Kevin, are the proud parents of Bryan.

Hannah Jones

williamsMs. Jones is a Fashion Director for Park Lane Jewelry.  Before joining the Park Lane team, Hannah worked in the orthotics and prosthetics industry as a certified Mastectomy Fitter. During that time, she was instrumental in organizing the local Tennessee Toe-Off Trot  Additionally, she has worked in health care insurance coding and billing.  Hannah is a native of East Tennessee, and when not working or coordinating events, she is very busy wrangling twin two-year-old daughters and eight-year old son.  She and her husband and children live in North Knoxville.

Wendy Pitts Reeves

wendy1Wendy Pitts Reeves is President & Founder of C2C Consulting, PLLC. In addition to speaking and consulting, she coaches, guides and mentors heart-centered entrepreneurs, working most often with small women-owned companies. Through an experienced combination of strategic thinking, remarkable intuitive skills, and focused accountability, she’s known for her unique ability to help business owners break through personal barriers that block true business success. An East Tennessee native, Reeves founded, and continues to chair, the East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit, celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2015. She served on the Tennessee Economic Council on Women for eight years, and was a finalist for the 2013 YWCA Tribute to Women in Knoxville, Tennessee. A former elected official, Wendy also served on the Blount County Commission, where she was named the state “Public Official of the Year” by NASW-TN.

Dena Wise

Dr. Dena WiseDr. 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.  Effective January 2014, she chairs 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.