Celebrating local women

Area businesswomen share inspiration, advice

Cullman and the surrounding area are home to many successful, professional women who not only excel in business but also focus on making their communities better and inspiring younger women.

Ashlea Chance

Owner of Mavens & Makers

Founded: 2021 | 609 U.S. Highway 278 East, Cullman

“Mavens & Makers is a specialty shop that carries local, small-batch artisan goods along with quality cookware, cutlery and gifts. We have a demonstrative kitchen where we host cooking classes, crafting events and workshops.”

What inspires you? 

“Good company and great food. I love to entertain and share my joy of cooking with those around me.” 

What advice would you give a young woman starting her career?

“Focus on your passions, surround yourself with strong, inspiring women, and never doubt yourself.”

Becky Sherer

Owner of Granite South

Founded: February 2011 | 700 18th Ave. SW, Jasper

“We specialize in custom stonework for residential and commercial areas.  We help customers in the selection of the right piece of stone for a particular use.  We also assist in color selections.”

What inspires you?

“My biggest inspiration is seeing other people work hard to reach their goals.”

What advice would you give a young woman starting her career?

“You can do anything you put your mind to. Don’t second guess yourself. Follow your heart. Don’t discount the fact that you are a female. You can do anything a man can do. Life is too short; time flies. Don’t waste time on nonsense.”

Melissa Curtis

Broker and Owner of Lake League Real Estate

Founded: August 2020 | 218 First Ave. SE, Cullman

“Lake League Real Estate is a boutique real estate company that prides itself on providing exceptional customer service and market expertise to every client, no matter the size of their transaction."

What inspires you?

“The opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others. Whether it's through my business or community service, I find fulfillment in knowing that I can help others achieve their goals and overcome obstacles. I find inspiration in the small things in life, like spending time with my dogs and seeing the joy and love they bring to my life.”

What advice would you give a young woman starting her career?

“It's crucial for young women starting their careers to be fierce in their decisions and not let others sway their visions. It's important to hold strong to your beliefs and values, and not compromise on them just to fit in or please others. Your voice matters and you have the power to shape your own career path. Don't be afraid to take risks; be bold in your decisions and strive for greatness on your own terms.”

Tonya Palmer

Owner of Palmer Law Firm

Founded: 2020 | 1939 Main Ave. SW, Cullman

“We focus on estate planning and probate needs. From the moment you step through the door, you will feel a sense of comfort. We have purposefully created our space to feel like home. My goal is to provide an environment in which you can feel comfortable and leave knowing you have come to the right place to receive the guidance you deserve.”

What inspires you? 

“Strengthening our community through women, children and communication. When I opened my business, I knew that networking with other professionals would be critical. I wanted to start a networking group with other ladies and was placed in the right moment, at the right time to be blessed with the perfect co-founder for such a group. Ladies Empowering Achievements Professionally (LEAP) was born. I am also honored to serve as a board member of the Pilot Light Home, and to serve the nonprofit Safe Haven Educational Outreach, Inc.”

What advice would you give a young woman starting her career? 

“Strive to maintain a servant's heart. When you lose this, what you pour into your business becomes focused on you. Be blessed to be a blessing.”

Deanna Millican

Co-Owner of Doug Doggett Jewelers

Founded: February 1982 | 215 Compass Way SW, Cullman

“My sister and I run the store now that dad has retired. There are so many aspects of being a part of my family’s business that bless me every day. I have had challenges to overcome trying to balance family and work. I have had the privilege to raise my girls in the  store, which made being a hands-on mom as well as doing my part in the business possible."

What inspires you?

"My inspiration comes from having a love for gemstones and jewelry. I enjoy bringing someone’s dream into a reality."

What advice would you give a young woman starting her career?

"Listen to your heart and find what you are passionate about. There will be long days, but the rewards are so worth it because “if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life.'”

Misti Easter

Branch Manager/Mortgage Loan Originator at First Federal Mortgage

Founded: 1958 | 314 First Ave. SE, Cullman

"We provide many types of residential mortgages. Since we are a division of First Federal Bank, we offer a variety of in-house loans in addition to fantastic governmental programs."

What inspires you?

"Strong women God has placed in my life. There was a time when I didn’t care to have close female friendships, but that all changed when I faced some extremely difficult circumstances in my life about 16 years ago. It was other women who picked me up and helped me face challenges I never thought I could make it through."

What advice would you give a young woman starting her career?

"Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Learn to love yourself first. Know that you are stronger than you realize. Don’t be afraid to use your voice. You can do hard things."

"I have watched girlfriends go through some unbelievably hard adversities, and yet they still love others unselfishly. At one time or another, most of us have had to make it on our own, and we never fail to be there for each other. Women are so resilient!"

- Misti Easter

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