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Women in Business Conference 2021

Perquimans Chamber of Commerce 1st annual women in business conference.
This has been long overdue. For most of you know that
Perquimans means the “Land of beautiful women.”
I believe we should add beautifully smart women.
We have a large community of women business owners and women in our community that volunteer in several nonprofits also women who invest their precious time for whatever cause that needs to be fought for, taken care of and built.
As our community grows and more businesses establish themselves, we can look around and see the great women who choose Perquimans as their place to build their dreams. And the place to do their business.
When we you become fearless life becomes limitless. This is our theme. After the last long dragging year we had with adjusting to everything from new schedules being a full-time teacher for kids to finding time to get work done. Life as we knew it changed and became a little scary with the unknown.
As women we push our limits to the test all the time, we have families and homes, and endless responsibilities.
We learn how to handle the day-to-day task without breaking a sweat. We make it look easy even though at the end of the day we look back and say okay done with that day ready for tomorrow.
Women for years has pushed and fought to the top.
And we are here.
In this wonderful community. Building and making a great hometown.

Our First speaker is Zaribel Clay, Owner of Kinderdance. Enjoy our first part of the Women in Business Conference.

In our brief break we enjoyed some wonderful food catered by Brew 2 Rescue. Our next part of the Women in Business Conference Speaker is Rachel Gunther, owner of Gunther Law Group.

Such a wonderful day with encouragement and bonding. We had our awards handed out to some amazing women that were nominated by people in our area.

Awards were made by

Fondella A. Leigh was the recipient of the Mentor Maven Award 2020.

Mentor Maven has a powerful commitment to advising other women and helping them advance. Fondella nomination reads:

In June 2016 Fondella A. Leigh was appointed Presiding Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion (AMEZ) Church. She is the first woman to gain this stature in the Albemarle Conference of the AMEZ church which covers northeastern North Carolina. In her position as Presiding Elder of the Edenton District, she oversees the operations of 19 churches in Perquimans and Chowan Counties and as far as Tyrrell and Martin Counties, in addition to serving as the pastor of Porters Chapel AMEZ Church on Chapanoke Road in Perquimans County.

Women in the pulpit is not a common sight, especially in our rural denominational churches. Yet Elder Leigh not only gained acceptance and respect as a pastor, but was so revered that she was tapped to supervise the work of other pastors. As a woman, she met resistance and obstacles were placed in her way, but she is concluding her fifth year in this position with high accolades and appreciation for what she has accomplished. Much of that praise comes from the seven women pastors under her charge that she has mentored in church operations and supported in establishing themselves as leaders of their churches.

Leigh has a history of supporting women and youth. She has worked as a Youth and Family Counselor, and then as a Family Service Coordinator with the Institute for Family Centered Services, where the focus was on direct contact with the entire family unit. She served as the Director of the Perquimans Juvenile Detention Center in Winfall, a 24-bed secured juvenile facility until the state reduced workforce and closed that facility. She served as a Guardian ad Litem for the court system from 1990 to 1995. For several years she served as the Youth Advisor for the Perquimans County NAACP Youth Council. During that time youth in her program, and the Council and Leigh herself received state-wide recognition.

Since December 2014 Leigh has served on the Perquimans County Board of Commissioners and is in her second term as vice-chair. Her other past and present civic contributions include serving as chair of the Perquimans County Department of Social Services, on the advisory Board for the Hertford Branch of the State Employees Credit Union, the Albemarle Commission Board, the Perquimans County Recreational Advisory Board and the Perquimans County Water Board.

Leigh is a graduate of Perquimans County High School, North Carolina Central University and in 2007 received her Masters of Theology from Roanoke Theological Seminary in Elizabeth City. She is the daughter of the late Rev. Walter L. Leigh and Fannie S. Leigh. .
Submitted by Janice McKenzie Cole

Susan B. Nixon is the recipient of the Woman of Achievement Award 2020.

Woman of Achievement is a woman who has attained a high rank (CEO, President, Chair) and uses her position, stature, and expertise to break down gender bias and effect positive change for women. Susan B Nixon nomination reads:

Ms. Nixon is the Executive Director of Chowan/Perquimans Smart Start Partnership. Under her leadership, the Partnership has been recognized state-wide for creative and successful implementation of programs. She has aspired the Partnership to be a leader in community service and has built partnerships with agencies in both counties and regionally to achieve system change for families – mostly maternal and child. The Partnership works closely with the school systems in both counties, Albemarle Regional Health Services, Albemarle Pregnancy Resource Center and Clinic, Vidant Health, Chowan County Safe Kids, and Department of Social Services in both counties to ensure that families receive the support that they need to help their children succeed. The Partnership was featured in a 2020 Journal of Community Psychology article by Dr. Pennie Foster-Fishman as a successful example of how to implement system change in a rural community, as the partnerships listed above did not exist before 2012. Ms. Nixon also encourages her staff (all female) to take advantage of Professional Development opportunities. During the COVID-19 shut down, she worked with each staff member to be able to work from home, and when the office fully opened up in June, she reassured staff that she wanted them to feel comfortable in returning to the office and was willing to work with them if they still wanted to work from home. She does not ask her staff to do anything that she herself would not do. Caring for her staff, her community, and the future of our young children, Ms. Nixon demonstrates how to be an example of great leadership in a small community.

Amy Tinsley is the recipient of Community Service Award 2021.

Community Service goes to a woman who is changing neighborhoods or organizations by providing services that benefit women and/or girls. Amy’s nomination reads:

Amy is always all in for her community and has been a team player for Hertford and Perquimans County activities! Fun Runs and Participation in festivals and school fund raisers. She has been crushed by this Pandemic and I would love to see her get this award so she knows she is valued, loved, and supported and she will be back better than ever hopefully very soon!

Tanya Turner is the recipient of the Women’s Champion Award 2021.

Women’s Champion worked within her company to ensure women’s success – by initiating or aiding in the implementation of formal programs, working with networks, and other creative actions. Tanya Turner is the superintendent for Perquimans County School System. Through her leadership and hardwork with the school board that our children stay in school. Our school system became a model for other schools to help get there children back to school. The success is through leadership and making sure her team of principals, teachers, and staff had everything they need to be successful.

No Photo at the moment

Julie Phelps is recipient of Legacy Award 2020.

Legacy Award goes to a woman who – throughout a long and successful career – has made advancing women a priority. Julie nomination reads:

Julie is the Board Chair of the Albemarle Area United Way and treasurer for Historic Hertford, Inc. and was a Girl Scout leader in the community for 7 years. She works tireless to improve the quality of life for everyone in Perquimans County. As UW Board Chair, she oversees a all female executive board. It was at her urging that the AAUW’s Community Care Collaborative, which provides direct aid in emergency situations, was expanded to Perquimans County. This aid has kept families from being evicted and having utilities cut off.

Indoor Archery Fun At Camp Cale

Thank you for everyone that came and participated. This was a great time. Our board members that helped President Reginald White, Board member Jill Cohen, Board member Brittany Taylor, Board member Stacey Layden, Board member Matt Thomas, Ambassador Kim Westbrook, and Ambassador Elora Hutchins. Our chamber has some wonderful volunteers.

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