Introducing 2011 Woman of Distinction Mai Bell Hurley

Introducing 2011 Woman of Distinction Mai Bell Hurley

April 30th, 2011 in Local Regional News

Mai Bell Hurley

There are so many wonderful things about Chattanooga, and Mai Bell Hurley is a prime example of someone who dedicates her life to making the city even better. She is a member of almost everything.

Hurley is the founding member of Allied Arts, former chair and current member of the board of the Chattanooga Symphony. Her love of the city has driven her to help create a new Chattanooga History Center.

Hurley has a lot of "firsts" in her resume. She is the founding chair of the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, first woman to chair the United Way Campaign and the United Way board, first woman elected and first woman chair on the Chattanooga City Council for 11 years, and first woman to chair the administrative board of First-Centenary United Methodist Church.

Hurley is very passionate about her United Way initiatives, such as Investing in Children and Building Stable Lives. Her love for children is evident in her daily life. She was chair of the Child Welfare League of America and the national Council on Accreditation, member of the National Commission on Children, and chair of the Hamilton County Children's Services Committee.

Hurley was chair of Chattanooga Venture and involved in the creation of two of its most important outcomes: The Tennessee Aquarium and Chattanooga Neighborhood Enterprise. She is currently a member of the boards of Chattanooga Hamilton County Public Library, Chattanooga History Center, Fort Wood Center, First Tennessee Bank, WTCI, United Way, Allied Arts, Little Miss Mag and much more.

In what free time she has, Hurley enjoys spending time with a good book. She is the widow of Bern Hurley, and mother to Tal Hurley and Marie Hurley Blair, and grandmother of Marian and Eleanor Blair.

2011 Women of Distinction Honorees

Dr. Deborah Elwell Arfken

Dr. Deborah Elwell Arfken

Dr. Deborah Elwell Arfken has made her career in education for more than 45 years. After graduating from The College of Wooster in Ohio with a B.A. in English and being named the outstanding senior woman, she earned her master's degree in American Civilization from The University of Pennsylvania and her doctoral degree in Educational Administration and Supervision from The University of Tennessee, where she also received the Florence McIntyre Award for academic excellence.

Along the way, Deborah taught English at six colleges and universities before beginning her career of 31 years with The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she is director of University Planning and a professor in the Department of Political Science, Public Administration and Nonprofit Management. As dean of the UTC Graduate School for 15 years, Deborah led professional organizations at the state, regional and national levels. A member of the chancellor's executive team now, she chairs the Efficiency and Effectiveness Committee and co-chairs the Campus Master Plan committee.

She has served on many nonprofit boards, currently including Girls, Inc., Rotary Club of Chattanooga and Partnership for Families, Children and Adults, where she was president for two years. Deborah believes her greatest single success is raising two terrific sons, George Arfken and Christopher Elwell. "Deborah throws herself wholeheartedly into whatever good cause to which she commits," says Margaret Kelley.

Dr. Charlotte Boatwright

Dr. Charlotte Boatwright

Dr. Charlotte Boatwright has a few titles to choose from - R.N., L.P.C, and Ph.D. She entered nursing school at Georgia Baptist School of Nursing in Atlanta at age 17. She left school after 18 months and was married. She convinced Erlanger's administrator to let her complete her studies in the School of Nursing and was the first married student and mother to graduate.

She later earned a M. Ed. in Education, a M. S. in Counseling Psychology and a Ph.D. in Health Services Administration. She worked more than 30 years as a nursing instructor and administrator.

Her extensive list of volunteer work includes her accomplishments as founder and president of The Coalition against domestic and community violence of greater Chattanooga 17 years ago. She is currently coordinator for development of the Chattanooga Family Justice Center, which she considers to be her most significant work. She works with many local and national organizations to improve public safety. Charlotte has six daughters, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Sheila Boyington

Sheila Boyington

When you think of a role model for women in the professional world, Sheila Boyington fits that role. As an engineer and president of Thinking Media, she has worked to grow the company from two employees to more than 20. During the recession of 2009, she achieved a growth in sales of 35 percent through sophisticated planning.

Success as an entrepreneur hit a pinnacle last year when her product was acquired by ACT (the college testing company). ACT also named her a vice president. Her friends brag on her volunteer work, saying, "Sheila's many skills and her big heart have made her an invaluable asset as a representative of the Indian community."

She is the first person in many years to be the board chair for Girls Inc., for a two-year term and continues to serve on the Executive Committee. She serves as the Membership Chair for Chattanooga Women's Leadership Institute.

Sheila has celebrated her Indian culture by creating East meets West at the Chattanooga Market among other community events. She serves on the Board of Trustees of Girls Preparatory School and the board of the Mayor's Office of Multicultural Affairs and has won many Chamber awards.

However, to her, the greatest success has been raising two outstanding daughters, Priya and Nisha, with her husband, Dr. Dane Boyington.

Amanda Tidwell Buchanan

Amanda Tidwell Buchanan

Amanda Buchanan, first, is a Chattanoogan passionately involved in both local and international humanitarian causes. Through her work at Dale Buchanan and Associates, a family-owned firm of attorneys helping the disabled community obtain benefits, restaurateur to Table2 Grill and Lounge located in downtown Chattanooga, and founding owner of Fleetwood Development, a real estate development and brokerage company headquartered in Chattanooga, she is focused on contributing to Chattanooga's entrepreneurial community.

Amanda is also married to Michael Buchanan, and mother to daughters Mandalin, Dalis and Charlie. She is currently serving on the board of the Children Advocacy Center of Hamilton County, WTCI, the Chattanooga Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, and is part of the Medical Society of Chattanooga and Hamilton County. Amanda believes in order to accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.

Linda G. Harwell

Linda G. Harwell

Linda G. Harwell has had an amazing career as the marketing director at First Tennessee. But after her recent retirement her volunteer commitments are taking the forefront.

Linda is on the board of the Partnership for Families, Children and Adults and the Department of Education's Fund for Excellence, Kid's First Coupon Book program. She is also involved with the Chattanooga Theatre Centre.

Linda, husband Hap and their two golden retrievers are in the Pet Therapy program at Children's Hospital and visit patients weekly. Linda loves "doing things" for people without their knowledge.

Linda and Hap have four children (eight counting spouses) and two grandchildren. She says one of her greatest achievements is marrying Hap.

Lynda Hood

Lynda Hood

Lynda Minks Hood is in her 17th year as executive director of the Chattanooga Bar Association. Some of her professional memberships include Rotary Club of Chattanooga, American Bar Association, National Association of Female Executives, Association for Fundraising Professionals and the Chattanooga Women's Leadership Institute. She received the President's Award in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2009 for her contributions to the legal community for the Chattanooga Bar Association.

Lynda was nominated for Leadership Chattanooga's first annual Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. She was one of six celebrity dancers for the 2010 Dancing With The Stars Chattanooga, winning the title of Fan Favorite. She was also one of 12 Circle of Red women of the American Heart Association for 2011.

Lynda is currently a member of the Chancellor's Roundtable of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She has served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Legal Studies Program at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga since 1999. Lynda served as the Survivor Chairperson for the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure in 2003. She has been in remission from stage 4 breast cancer for 14 years!

Lynda has been involved with Girls Preparatory School as a volunteer for many years as both an alumnae and parent. Her daughter, Lauren, is in ninth grade at GPS. Lynda, her husband Michael, and Lauren currently attend Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church.

Deanne Irvine

Deanne Irvine

Deanne Irvine is a professional pianist and accompanist. She is an instructor in music, piano for UTC's Music Department, and a faculty associate in the Cadek Conservatory at UTC. She has played with the Chattanooga Opera, Chattanooga Symphony, Nashville Opera, the Huntsville Symphony, Cadek Trio and Tennessee Chamber Players.

In addition to teaching, Deanne has held leadership roles in many arts and music organizations, including Chattanooga Ballet, Friends of Festival, Riverbend, Allied Arts Campaign, the Tennessee Music Teachers Association and the Music Teacher's Association.

Deanne also volunteers her time at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, working with St. Catherine's Shelter, Friends of Music and the Vestry.

Between traveling with her husband, Nelson, attending music festivals and the theatre, Deanne also enjoys being the Number One fan at her nine grandchildren's sports and activities.

She sees her success in students who acquire life skills for realizing their full potential based on their achievements in music study.

Molly Sasse

Molly Sasse

If you have ever gone to the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera and wondered how such a big production is pulled off, Molly Sasse is the mastermind behind it. Supervising a full-time staff, she makes the CSO thrive in all aspects, from opera production to fundraising.

Her love for the arts started many years before becoming executive director of the CSO. Molly served as executive director of Allied Arts of Greater Chattanooga from 1987 to 2002, helping raise more than $30 million for the arts in Chattanooga. This led to two national awards, the Michael Newton Award and the Arts Administrator of the Year award, presented by the Kennedy Center. She also served as vice president for development of Siskin Hospital.

Molly has a degree in music and a master's degree in arts administration. She is married to Jim Sasse and they have two children, David and Mary.

Susan Callaway Stein

Susan Callaway Stein

As the owner of SCS DESIGNS, Susan Stein is a wardrobe consultant and retailer of the clothing line ETCETERA here in Chattanooga. Susan received a degree in interior design from UTC which led her to the Hunter Museum's volunteer association 18 years ago. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hunter Museum.

Susan is very involved with the Children's Home Chambliss Shelter where she was chairman of the board in 2010. Susan, who was widowed as a young mother, can relate to the more than 700 families the Children's Home serves in our community. Being a single mother, going to school, and working, she knows that quality affordable childcare available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year is key to supporting not only Chattanooga's work force but a future generation of children.

As a board member of the Association of Visual Arts, Susan is responsible for the 4 Bridges Patron Party. Besides being involved with Church of the Good Shepherd, Susan enjoys traveling as a Fellow with the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, tennis, and walking on Lookout Mountain.

She believes her greatest achievement is the blending of her amazing family, consisting of her husband Taylor, her daughter Carolyn and step-daughters Catherine and Emily. She is also grateful and proud to have become a part of the Chattanooga community.

"Chattanooga embraced my daughter and me when we lost my husband Greg. These organizations gave me purpose, focus and a sense of being a part of something bigger than myself. Just because they asked me to."

Scottie Goodman Summerlin

Scottie Goodman Summerlin

Scottie Goodman Summerlin is a woman of many words. She moved to Chattanooga in 1999 to further her broadcasting career and took a job as both anchor and producer for the 10 p.m. news on Fox. Like most professional women, Scottie became a professional multi-tasker, meaning, she would write, edit, then jump in the anchor chair and deliver the news.

Before moving to the Scenic City, Scottie worked in three other TV markets and won several awards including an Associated Press award for investigative reporting.

It was in Chattanooga where Scottie met and married her husband Dan, the director of marketing for CBL Properties, and had twin sons, Jack and Jake. In 2008, Scottie left the news business to devote more time to raising her children and giving back to her community. Since then, she's been an adjunct faculty member at UTC, joined the Leadership Chattanooga program, and was named the Junior League of Chattanooga 2009 Member of the Year.

Scottie's passion is now public schools. She's PTA president-elect at Nolan Elementary and a Hamilton County PTA vice president. Scottie also serves as Children's Church director at First Christian Church, and on the American Lung Association board, since she and both her boys have asthma.