Ladies of Leadership

Local Women Share Their Stories of Inspiration and Success

Paula Hinegardner

ABR, CRRS, ASP, CHLMS – Keller Williams Realty

Where are you from, and how long have you lived in the Brentwood area?

I was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia and went to college in Tampa. Because of mine and my husband’s careers, we have lived in 16 different cities and seven states. Steve, my husband, and I have lived here for nine years with our two springer spaniels, Beau and Marley.

What led to your career in real estate?

I retired from an amazing corporate life in 2010 knowing that I wanted real estate to be my second act. My mother had been a broker, so I had been around the business all of my life. Also, during the many years of moving, we worked with some incredible realtors as well as some who were not as experienced. Because of that, I learned quickly that real estate experiences, both good and bad, play a large part in setting up the moving family for either a smooth transition or for a very rocky road. Because of my personal experiences, I have a very soft place in my heart for people going through the moving process. It has always remained my goal to make every client’s experience as smooth and easy as I can!

Any advice to share with others considering the field?  

The most important that I could give people interested in going into real estate is to do it well and to be successful, real estate is hard work. As agents, clients not only give us their trust, but they give us the responsibility of what is often one of their largest financial assets, their homes. We owe it to them to be experts in our field, fully invested in their best interests and equipped to be able to provide them with the exemplary support and service from the beginning of the process to the closing and even afterward. It’s not always easy, and it’s nothing like what you see on HGTV or Million Dollar Listing, but it is absolutely one of the most rewarding things you will ever do!

Connie Camp

Owner, Nashville Needleworks

Where are you from?

I was born in southern Ohio and raised in Kentucky. I have lived in Franklin, Tennessee, since 2000 with my family.

What drew you to your line of work?

I have been doing needlepoint for more than 30 years. As a hobby, it allows me to be creative and inventive. I have honed my craft by taking classes from many diverse and unique instructors—always a good thing.

Any lessons or insights to share?

Being a retail store owner certainly has its ups and downs, but it is well worth the long hours, and the non-stop activity to share something that I love with those who are just introduced to my craft has proven to be very rewarding. Yes, take the risk! It is worth it is so many ways!

Dia Mukerji

Managing Partner, UNIIK Design Solutions

How long have you lived in the Brentwood area, and do you have any family here?

I was born and raised in Mumbai, India, but have lived in the Brentwood area for 15 years now with my husband and two sons.

What inspired you to start your own business?

With an educational background in design and business management and a family business in textiles for 40 years, it was the lack of easily accessible and affordable woven fabrics that inspired me to start my business with textiles. The business quickly expanded to include other products such as artwork, furniture, flooring, lighting and everything interior. I started with residential design and then moved into project management for hospitality and commercial spaces. Our willingness to invest and expand into new product lines as opportunities arose has been a big contributor to our success.

What advice would you give other women who wish to pursue this field but may be hesitant to take the leap?

This is an industry that is growing at a fast pace, and I would encourage women to take the leap. As long as you are willing to learn and work hard, there is no stopping you!

Connie Williams

Owner, The Power to Pause

Where are you from?

I was born in Birmingham, Alabama, but my husband and I and our first son moved to Brentwood in 1997 from Atlanta. Our second son was born here. We were so fortunate to raise our boys in the Brentwood community and in the Williamson County school system. My boys are now in college, and we are sadly empty-nesters!

Your line of work is unique. What drew you to it?

A few years ago, I had a bad hip injury from a fall in bowling that sidelined me for months. I tried everything—massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, orthopedics. Nothing worked. I resorted to just plain and simple stretching on my floor at home. It was almost immediate relief. Within a week of daily stretching routines, I was back in action! It felt like a miracle. With my background in fitness, I knew that I had to learn more and share this with the world. I started studying everything I could find about stretching. I attended workshops in California and gained certifications. I opened The Power to Pause in April 2018 in the hopes that I would be able to help people understand the life-changing power of stretching and prevent injuries before they happen.

What advice would you give other women who wish to pursue this field but may be hesitant to take the leap?

I have been in the fitness industry for 40 years in many capacities. Inspiring and motivating people is truly my life’s passion. I say find your passion, no matter what it is! It’s your gift to the world that needs to be given to those who need to receive it. Take time to pause and listen to the voice inside of you. It will guide you to amazing things that you never thought possible. It’s not always easy, but we learn more in the hard times about character, perseverance and what is really important.

Any final inspirations you would care to share?

I am unbelievably blessed! I am 60, married to my amazing husband for 34 years, have two incredible sons and amazing friends. I am a fitness industry leader, a stretching ambassador, a business owner and am writing my first book. I am not going to stop leading a path of inspiring and motivating others by the way I live my own life. I feel like, in some ways, I’m just getting started!

Agenia Clark

President and CEO, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee

How long have you lived in the Brentwood area, and do you have any family here?

I am from Mobile, Alabama, but my husband and I moved to the area when we married in 1989.

What drew you to your line of work?

I was a Girl Scout as a child, and it created an indelible impression on my life. To come full circle and work for the organization after years as a volunteer has been wonderful.

What is something about the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee that you would most want our readers to know?

This year alone, we’ve had more than 80 new Girl Scout troops organized in the Williamson County area. More than 3,350 girls who are Girl Scouts live in Williamson County, with many being in Brentwood. More than 50 percent of the United Way annual Thanksgiving basket drive is filled by Girl Scouts in Williamson County. Girl Scouts, Brentwood and Williamson County are a winning formula. We can’t do what we do without the amazing volunteers and leaders. Oops, how could I forget? In 2018, Brentwood was the site for the Guinness World Book of Records “Most S’mores Made at One Time!” We’re still celebrating. It was so much fun.

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