Be You. The World Will Adjust.

Celebrating Area Women Who Are Tackling Life with Gusto

“One of the most courageous things you can do is identify yourself, know who you are, what you believe in and where you want to go,” said Sheila Murray Bethel, a motivational speaker and author.

In this Green Hills Lifestyle—which traditionally is devoted to ladies each May—it's obvious the females showcased in this feature took Sheila's suggestion to heart. Read on to meet local women who are succeeding in various endeavors, while learning bits of wisdom along the way. Here, their largest life lessons are shared.


On May 17, Clemmie Greenlee observed the first anniversary of her heart transplant. While her health recovery has been an understandable struggle, Clemmie's heartstrings remained firmly attached to a unique community initiative she started: Mothers Over Murder. It's one of those groups that people secretly wish to never need, given it lifts up mothers whose children have been murder victims.

Clemmie admits also struggling at times with her biggest life lesson, which came from her mother: "Never, ever forget to give unconditional love to everybody."

This Nashville resident says that lesson left her personal sphere when she was 12 years old, after being enslaved into human sex trafficking and literally thrown out of cars, and years of drug addiction, homelessness and prostitution. Going through incarcerations and ultimately facing 42 years in prison for stabbing, "a trick" jolted and changed her path. Since being rescued from the streets by the Magdalene House of Nashville, she's been “paying it forward” by helping to end sex trafficking; preventing gang retaliatory shootings; and supporting basic needs of the homeless, the imprisoned and those disadvantaged by birth and geography.

However, while Clemmie was cleaning up her own life in 2003, a man murdered her only son, Rodriguez. In the pain, she founded the nonprofit Nashville Peacemakers to advocate for non-violence. 

Ironically, Clemmie found out she'd been driving to and from church the mother of the man who killed her son. Neither one of them knew they shared that unusual connection at first. 

"Once I found out I was helping the mother of the man who put my son in the ground, I knew God put me in a spot to do good and showed me I just got to love on people." 

In addition to being honored as “Nashvillian of the Year" and receiving a coveted Soros Justice Fellowship grant for her innovative approach to violence prevention, Clemmie has received recognition from entities such as Tennessee NAACP, Nashville-based Community A.L.E.R.T. and The Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry.


Singer Kassie Wilson fills her life with purpose, passion and love. And this Alabaman-turned-Nashvillian sings honestly from the heart with a country soul and R&B flavor.

She moved to Nashville when she was 19 years old to pursue a full-time country music career after a heart-wrenching event occurred. 

"My life lesson came when my dad died from a brain aneurysm, with no warning. I realized you can't take even one day for granted, because today may be your last day. Losing my dad at such a young age taught me to live each day to its fullest and not to put off things you want to do in life."

Two female iconic singers who influenced Kassie while growing up were Paula Abdul and Dolly Parton; she's currently inspired by female musicians such as Brandi Carlile, Lauren Daigle and Freddy & Francine.

"I like to write and sing about real-life, true stories. After hearing me, I'd like listeners to feel like they've just read my diaries," she says.

Together with her husband, Ben, in the Americana duo My One and Only, they've performed for or volunteered to help nonprofit organizations such as Nashville Rescue Mission, Benjamin House Ministries, Youth Life Learning Center and Teen Challenge.

The Wilsons play U.S. stages and tour in Africa and have both graced the stage of the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

Kassie hangs on the faith that people will lift each other up, rather than tear each other down in a world of comparisons.

"I just want to be the best me I can be. I hope everyone can be the version that God created them to be because that's special and beautiful," Kassie says.


Julie Aram subscribes to the toast "May your coffee be strong and your lashes long." It comes in handy in her line of work as a confidence-booster and owner of The Lash Lounge in Nashville. 

Seeing women succeed while defining success on their own terms is incredible motivation for Julie.

"I'm fortunate to be in an industry where I can truly change the way a woman feels about herself. My greatest inspiration is seeing how kindness, care and attention to a guest’s needs can give a woman confidence and empowerment to take into her daily life," she says.

Julie's biggest lesson is that people must do all the “little things," the “not so easy things" and the “not so fun things" to truly reach personal goals. 

"We all have dreams. The difference is finding the grit and discipline to do all things that must get done, even when you don’t feel like it, to achieve your end goal. I learned this from my mom and dad, who came from very humble beginnings. They worked hard every day to raise four children to become successful adults, to build successful careers and businesses, and to have a life I now admire," she says.


Lacey Newman has been a successful real estate agent in Nashville for 14-plus years. But, she says one of her largest life lessons has been that surrounding oneself with great people is the key to having a balanced career and home life.

"When I became a divorced mom of two in 2014, I felt I was starting over at everything. If it hadn’t been for my business partner, my kids’ dad and our nanny, I wouldn't have been able to manage. I had such a great support system in place, both at work and home, that my business partner and I were able to start the Heard Newman real estate team in 2016. In 2017, I recruited my nanny to be a member of our real estate team, which then gave me opportunities to spend less time at work and more time with my kids," Lacey says.

She says she now trusts that if she has the right people in her life, great things will happen.

"I know good people working together accomplish so much more than we would individually."

When Lacey read Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly, which is based on Teddy Roosevelt’s famous speech about “The Man in the Arena,” she says she took to heart the teachings about vulnerability and owning one's story. She's now reading that author's latest book Dare to Lead.

Lacey's also inspired by Clea and Joanna from The Home Edit, because they're "rock stars of the home-organizing world and posting hilarious social media content that shows how to grow business through authenticity."

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