City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More
Photography by Kelly Merritt.

Featured Article

Cultivating Community

Empowered Women Making an Impact in Charlotte

As part of our celebration of women in this issue, South Charlotte Lifestyle Magazine chose to profile the careers and contributions of three professional leaders who are making an innovative impact in the Charlotte community.

Georgia Dunn Belk

Georgia Dunn Belk is President and CEO of the British West Indies Trading Company. Georgia’s path to entrepreneurship was an unusual one, as she explains: “When I started the beverage business, it was about maintaining culture and traditions that have been in my family for 13 generations. This mission is the heart and soul of my business.”

Georgia has an intriguing family history that traces back to Tudor England and the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Georgia’s ancestor, Thomas Harriott, was a renowned British scientist who undertook a 1585 exploratory expedition to America to chronicle the voyage and collect botanical samples on behalf of the Queen. Thomas collected samples, including ginger root, and off the coast of North Carolina, fermented various botanicals, making him the first of the British on record to make beer in the New World.

Thomas Harriott’s descendants settled Bermuda and the Caribbean, including the Turks and Caicos Islands, where Georgia and her family maintain close ties. While speaking with Island Elders and combing through family records, Georgia discovered beverage recipes at risk of being lost with the passage of time.

Georgia was inspired to continue these traditions and her Islander Ginger Beer and Harriott’s Hard Lemonade were born. Georgia takes pride in having achieved business success while reviving a family tradition with deep roots in our collective history. To this end, Georgia provides complimentary presentations to museums and other nonprofits across the country dedicated to honoring cultures and traditions. The material is designed to inspire others to preserve what is unique about their family history and their community’s way of life.

To learn more about Georgia’s journey visit,

Nicole Sodoma

Nicole Sodoma describes herself as a non-traditional lawyer, and when she founded Sodoma Law in December 2008, she used that same energy to create a different kind of law practice. If you’ve ever met Nicole, you can feel the creative, fearless energy she exudes.

Faced with the challenges of being both a new mother and opening a business during a recession, she knew she wanted to create a “firm family” not just a law firm—a culture supportive of both its clients’ families and their own families. Nicole concedes “no one was opening businesses” but her enthusiasm for implementing her vision was unwavering.

Nicole’s approach to business and life is the same, while “you don’t know what you don’t know,” her tenacity and innovative problem-solving skills enabled her to overcome the odds.

Opening the firm was just the beginning, and as expected, Nicole and Sodoma Law hit the ground running. Sodoma Law grew rapidly, increasing from a staff of two to 12 in one short year. No position was advertised; instead, Nicole found that each applicant, who happened to all be women, by coincidence and not design, were knocking on her door, eager to be a part of what she had created.

As the firm celebrated its 11th anniversary in December, and Nicole’s 20th year in practice, Sodoma Law recently made the move to its new home at “The Graham” in Uptown Charlotte. Nicole envisioned the firm’s new home as a fearless, edgy think tank for what could be—something Nicole stresses is “an important outlook for families of divorce.”

The practice has grown to 17 attorneys, parenting coordinators and mediators, with offices in Rock Hill and Monroe. Still, the firm’s commitment to community shines. Through its corporate giving arm, the Sodoma Law Foundation, employees take an active role in deciding which charities the firm will support.

Considered a thought leader in her field, Nicole is often asked to give her insight at both speaking engagements and interviews. Nicole knows that being a lawyer is just part of her commitment to this community and she strives every day to share her knowledge and support with those around her in any way she can.

To learn more, visit

Taunula Grayson

Taunula Grayson describes her career path as a reflection of her “insatiable desire to help people.” As Senior Associate General Counsel at Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, Taunula’s work is her passion. 

Taunula’s yearning to help others led her to begin her professional life as a registered pharmacist. After experiencing two armed robberies to her pharmacy, Taunula decided it was time to reexamine her career path and chose to go to law school. 

Taunula was living in Los Angeles in 1995 when she saw a media report touting Charlotte as one of the top places to live in the U.S.; she relocated here sight unseen and unemployed. Taunula landed her first legal job at the Olive Law Firm after driving around in inclement weather distributing her resume. In 1997, Taunula and her husband started their family. It was at this time Taunula decided to become a fulltime mother to her two young children, Justin and Lauren.

In 2012, with her children grown and more independent, Taunula pondered how she would reenter the professional workforce. Taunula credits the book, The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life, with inspiring her to actively seek out a career in healthcare law. By doing so, Taunula explains, she was able to combine her wish to use her life to help others while pursuing her passion for “preserving people’s rights, particularly the rights of children.”

It is this passion that led Taunula to take on the role of children’s advocate, representing students who were facing disciplinary action by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School system. Taunula has also logged hundreds of volunteer hours through her work with several non-profit organizations that advocate for the protection and well-being of children. To help a child in need of behavioral health services call Cardinal Innovations’ Access number, 1-800-939-5911.

  • Photography by Kelly Merritt.
  • Nicole Sodoma
  • Michael Harrison Photography.
  • Nicole Sodoma
  • Taunula Grayson
  • Taunula Grayson
  • Daniel Gray Photography