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Gallatin Women Lead the Way

Spreading love, positivity and inspiration from these local female leaders

Article by Nicole Bell

Photography by Payton Wright Photography

Originally published in Gallatin Lifestyle

KELLY MILLS
Co-owner and COO of Honey + Suede Boutique

What do you love the most about our community?
How kind and supportive our community is! We have truly experienced the graciousness of our community through their love and support of our little boutique; they support and encourage us in ways that I don't know that they will EVER know. We really do consider our H+S community as family and we pray they leave our store feeling the same!

What inspires you the most?
When someone comes into our store and leaves feeling better than when they arrived. My heart's desire is for women to feel their most confident! I love to help style people; sometimes, people just need to be inspired to see an article of their clothing in a different way.

How do you spread positivity and love?
My mission statement for my life is, "I strive to see the unseen beauty in people and spaces and to be a light to help shine that beauty into the world."  So, that's how I live my life. I may fail at times, but I do try hard to live this mission out!
 

KANEISHA DOTSON
CEO of KB Popcorn

What do you love the most about our community?
It feels like a Hallmark movie that I am in! I’m a native of Gallatin and although the city is growing/changing, it’s still home. The local baristas know my order, boutiques know my style and public servants are part of my family. In this movie sometimes I'm the star of the show, sometimes just a supporting character and other times I work behind the scenes!

How do you spread positivity and love?
Our business donates time, money and popcorn to lots of community events and fundraisers. I also co-host an Annual Juneteenth CommUNITY event to promote unity and love. The event raises scholarship money for current seniors in Gallatin!

What’s a fun fact about yourself?
I love EVERYTHING about Christmas! It takes weeks to get my house ready for one day and touching my decor, once finished, is a federal offense! I currently have three trees that I decorate and I dream of having a tree in every room.
 

KAREN WEST
Habilitation and Training Services (HATS)
Rainbow Early Intervention Services
Co-Founder & President, Friends of Gallatin Miracle Park

What do you love the most about our community?
I love the diversity, inclusion and appreciation for all people, no matter the backgrounds or beliefs of all in our area. Our area is so diverse and seeing everyone come together in different ways is a joy.

What inspires you the most?
Seeing people who face serious adversity, seeing how they persevere through and overcome obstacles and adversity with success inspires me to keep going when faced with obstacles of my own; celebrating those victories for others is amazing.

How do you spread positivity and love?
I love volunteering and learning more about different people. Whether it’s serving on the local Family Support Council through my job at HATS, volunteering at the local Night to Shine annual prom, or hosting all-inclusive events for families through the Friends of Gallatin Miracle Park, I love to be involved and give back. It’s truly a beautiful thing to see people come together and have nothing but pure joy and love in their hearts wrapped with acceptance for one another.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?
My husband and I love to go kayaking and spend most of the warm weather season out on the local waterways!

PULL QUOTE:
“It’s a beautiful thing to see people come together and have nothing but pure joy and love in their hearts.”


 

TABITHIA GRAVES
Special Education Teacher, Gallatin High School

What do you love the most about our community?
Acceptance. As a special education teacher, I am always striving to get our students in the community to experience all things Gallatin. Our community has been very accepting of my needs and wants, but more importantly of our students! Without the partnerships that we form with our community, our students would not be able to access those skills. So, for that I am grateful!

What inspires you the most?
My most important gift is those that I leave behind in this world, including my own children (Alex, Chloie, and Kendra) and the students I teach.  Scripture says, "and as for your little ones, …and your children who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there; and to them I will give it and they shall possess it" (Deuteronomy 1:39). What inspires me the most, is that I live like the Lord and love my neighbor, so I may be reunited with my own girls and I will be able to see my students in the perfect form.

How do you spread love and positivity?
One of my greatest passions is speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves. I also have the honor of being able to spend a couple of nights a week with individuals who have disabilities and take them for food or for something fun to do. My motto is I need to be who I needed when I was young!

What’s a fun fact about yourself?
My husband and I met through a sporting event at Gallatin High School. When we got engaged, we took our picture on the Gallatin field and on our fifth wedding anniversary, we had a wedding ceremony on the Gallatin football field (the first in its history)! 


 

JENNA MADDOX
Marketing and Events Director, City of Gallatin Parks and Recreation Department

What do you love the most about our community?
How everyone is so welcoming! I love the hometown feel while also having an endless number of fun things to do. I am so gracious to be a part of this city. Watching people literally of all ages having a blast year-round in our Gallatin parks makes me love what I do.

What inspires you the most?
My favorite part of my job is being able to showcase the incredible resources and experiences Gallatin residents have access to right here in town. My number one goal is to help increase the quality of life for Gallatin community members whether that’s through fun events or showing off our department’s incredible amenities!


 

DESNEIGE VANCLEVE
Founder and CEO, Grace Place Ministry

What do you love the most about our community?
I love the people; we have a community full of givers and that is very special. Since I lead a non-profit that relies solely on the generosity of peoples' time and resources, I get an up close and personal perspective on just how generous our people are. We also have awesome restaurants, beautiful parks, a strong faith community and excellent schools.

How do you spread love and positivity?
I think the best way to spread positivity and love back into a community is by taking full ownership of the opportunities and challenges a community is faced with and working to make sure that all of our community members have access to those opportunities and support through those challenges.

What’s a fun fact about yourself?
I have seen every episode of The Office and Parks & Recreation an embarrassingly number of times. I was also at Game 5 in Miami when Lebron James won his first NBA championship.

“It’s a beautiful thing to see people come together and have nothing but pure joy and love in their hearts.”

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