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Women of Distinction - 2021

Local Ladies Who Are Making A Difference Every Day

Connie Maynord

Model & Actor

Freelance Talent and Community Volunteer

Who are you?

“I am a model and actor, and I regularly appear in television commercials, most notably for Blue Cross Blue Shield and Toyota. I have also had roles in music videos and network television shows, including ‘Nashville.’”

What are your community activities?

“I am a member of the Newcomers & Community Club of Sumner County, HolidayFest, the Hendersonville Area Chamber of Commerce, Nashville Women in Film and Television and Women Within group at Our Lady of the Lake.”

What motivates you?

“My family, including my husband Chris, my oldest son Dominic and my youngest son, Matthew, who recently passed away. They motivate me to live my life to its fullest.”

Who is your mentor?

“My parents taught me love, respect and caring for others. I also received advice from my Aunt Jan, who shared ‘if you accept a gift from someone, then you also accept the responsibility to send a thank you note.’”

What is your greatest life lesson?

“Cherish your family members. Hold them close and tell them daily that you love them.”

What advice would you give to others?

“Dance, like no one else is watching. Love, like you’ve never been hurt. Sing, like no one is listening. Live, like you’re in heaven on earth.”

Jennifer Miller

Executive Director

JSM Diversity

Who are you?

“I am the founder and executive director of JSM Diversity, an organization devoted to advancing humanitarian services and equal opportunities for women, people of color and at-risk youth. My team and I strive to empower and educate leaders to set the standards that define a diverse and inclusive environment.”

What are your community activities?

“I am an active member of several local organizations, including the Hendersonville Rotary Club, Life Group and the Kappa Nu Theta Christian Sorority. I also serve as a foster parent mentor.”

What motivates you?

“People who are in need of help. I have dedicated my life to serving others, and I don’t believe that there is any higher calling than helping those who can’t help themselves.”

Who is your mentor?

“I have been blessed to have several strong mentors in my life. However, my youth pastor had the greatest impact on my life.”

What is your greatest life lesson?

“God made us all different from one another, but not superior to each other."

What advice would you give to others?

"Time is the only thing in life you cannot get back. Invest it in the people and things that truly matter, and not in the things that do not.”

 

Cheryl Strichik

Executive Director & CEO

Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center

Who are you?

“I am the executive director of Monthaven Arts & Cultural Center in Hendersonville. Our mission is to collect, preserve and interpret local and regional art, and to present exhibits of regional, national and international significance. We create a vibrant art, educational and cultural experience for people of all ages.”

What are your community activities?

“My role at Monthaven is predicated upon community service. However, I also serve in other organizations, including the Newcomers & Community Club of Sumner County and Long Hollow Baptist Church.”

What motivates you?

“I like to identify needs in the community and then find ways to address them. I believe that the key to a fulfilling life is to always make a positive difference in everything that I do.”

Who is your mentor?

“My mother had the most influence on me. She instilled strong values in me that have served me my entire life.”

What is your greatest life lesson?

“Don’t just hear someone, listen to them with empathy. Learning to understand a person’s problem represents the beginning of finding a solution.”

What advice would you give to others?

“Never hold a grudge. Always be willing to forgive others, regardless of the circumstances.”

Desneige VanCleve

Founder & Executive Director

Grace Place Ministry, Inc.

Who are you?

“I am the founder and executive director of Grace Place Ministry. Our mission is to empower single mothers in need and their children to develop healthy, safe and independent lives in our local community.”

What are your community activities?

“Currently, I am involved in several different community organizations, including the Hendersonville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Hendersonville Rotary Club, Leadership Sumner and Long Hollow Baptist Church.

What motivates you?

“Nothing is more motivating to me than a challenge. If something hasn’t been done yet, I want to do it. If that something is thought to be very difficult, even better.”

Who is your mentor?

“I’ve had a community of mentors my whole life – some are teachers while others are coaches. They impact the world in immeasurable ways as friends, mothers and/or community members.”

What is your greatest life lesson?

“I have two life lessons. First, stay focused on what you’re doing – avoid distractions. Second, choose your battles.”

What advice would you give to others?

“I would offer three tips. First, know yourself to lead yourself. Second, laugh as often as you can with as many people as you can. Finally, listen to others.”

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