During MBJ’s annual Super Women in Business, each honoree receives a cape. It seems appropriate, given their respective accomplishments. Consider the superpowers of women superheroes from different universes. To a certain extent, they are agile. They are strong and flexible. Their speed and endurance are well-known. The Super Women in Business Program, now in its eleventh year, recognizes the most innovative, talented and influential women in the region.
After nominations from the public, MBJ's editorial board selected the Super Women in Business. Independent Bank is the sponsor of the Super Women in Business Awards for 2023. Super Women in Business Awards were presented at a ceremony at Memphis Botanic Gardens on April 20. - Susan Ellis
Senior Associate, Volunteer Engagement and Special Events, United Way of the Mid-South
She plays many important roles for United Way of the Mid-South. She is responsible for the Volunteer Program, which includes recruitment and training. She also develops and nurtures corporate and community partnership. Recently, she was awarded the United Way Catalyst Award for her outstanding service and performance.
Shamikia's Super Women nominee wrote: 'Shamikia manages hundreds of life-improving events and projects... to ensure donor dollars are maximised.'
Adkins is the Junior League of Memphis' first director of diversity and equity. She also serves on the boards of New Memphis Institute and the National Civil Rights Museum.
Who is your greatest mentor? Dr. Russell Wigginton was instrumental in my development as a leader. He challenged my thinking, which improved my solution-seeking approach. He was a great connector for me. He recognized my areas of need and connected me with programs and people to help me grow and excel.
What was your childhood idol? I was fortunate to have had two women who helped me become the woman I am. Hattie, a powerful woman affectionately called mom and Grams by her family, raised me. Both women were an inspiration to me because of their strength and resilience. They showed me I could overcome anything.
Adaptability and pivoting can be crucial in this profession, which is unpredictable. It is important to be open to making last-minute adjustments or trying a different approach.
Goldman Sachs, VP and Senior Wealth Advisor
The best superpower for someone who wants to enter wealth management is a passion for helping others.
She has this power as the VP of Goldman Sachs and Senior Wealth Advisor, where she offers clients personalized solutions to achieve their lifelong goals.
Her desire to help others does not fade even when her work is over. Brewer is a board co-chair and advisory board member of the Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis. She is leading the charge in reducing poverty in Memphis's most impoverished ZIP codes.
When you were a child, who was your idol? My mother. She began her career as an educator and while raising her two daughters and working, she returned to school for her master's in counseling. She helped thousands of students get into college and obtain scholarships through her counseling career. She never missed an opportunity to be there for her daughters, no matter how busy she was with work or school.
A modern-day 'woman of Steel' is...? A woman who understands the importance of self-care so she can have the energy to fulfill the various roles of her life. Women are often expected to prioritize the needs of others over their own. This can leave them feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. A woman with steel knows how to say no so she can say yes enthusiastically to the roles and opportunities that she values.
What superpowers must one possess in order to be considered a "woman of steel"? Women of steel are usually driven and have the ability to pause. It's very powerful to know what you are passionate about. We can take a moment to stop and care for ourselves, see new perspectives, assess our goals, and make progress. Then we can move forward more energized, more effective, and with a greater passion in the area that we are passionate about.
Mokup Digital Media and Marketing CEO
Patti Brownlee had high expectations for her granddaughter Stephani. She supported Stephani as much as possible, wanting her to get a job, graduate college and see the world.
She said that her grandmother 'wanted me to succeed and did everything in her power to make sure it happened'.
It seems that moving heaven and earth worked. Brownlee, who is now CEO of Mokup Digital Media and Marketing oversees the strategic direction of her organization, monitors its performance and provides digital marketing and media services, products and strategies for clients.
She is also the CEO of the Brownlee Family Foundation. The foundation sponsors a student for the Summer Music Experience at the Stax Music Academy, awards a scholarship to Soulsville Charter School's valedictorian and organizes back-to school drives to help students get off to a strong start.
What superpower best prepares someone today who is entering your field? Fearlessness is the best superpower that anyone can possess. Fearlessness allows professionals in business to take risks, believe in themselves and overcome obstacles. It also helps them develop a resilient mindset. These skills are important because not every day is filled with success. There will be obstacles and failures, but those with the resilience to overcome them and the courage to believe in themselves can rise above and become successful.
What are your greatest mentors? Timothy Sampson, and Meggan Kiel. Both have inspired me to travel the world, to never give up my dreams, to push me to greater heights, and to provide me with resources and connections. It allowed me to achieve my goals and reach my dreams. I also gave back to the communities who have meant a lot to me.
What is a modern-day 'woman of Steel'? Women who help other women to put on their capes and crowns, without removing her own.
Monogram Foods, EVP and Chief Legal Officer
Monogram Foods has hired four women in the last few years to its C-Suite. Graduate of Mississippi State University's BBA and MBA and University of Mississippi's J.D. In November 2020, he was appointed EVP and Chief Legal Officer.
She has left her mark on the rapidly-growing food company, where she oversees the legal, communication, and environmental compliance department, as well as advising the executive board and the board.
Gates helps empower women within the community by working with the Junior League of Memphis. She also works with the Monogram Foods Loves Kids Foundation.
What superpower is most useful for someone starting your career today? Teleportation would be amazing, with responsibilities at work, home and in the community. With faster transitions, you can be there for your family while also contributing to your community and meeting the needs of your clients.
What is your greatest mentor? Peter Kesser was a partner in Baker Donelson at the time I joined them in 2000. In 2011, he invited me to work with him at Verso Paper's law department. When asked for a recommendation about a new role as general counsel at another company, he recommended that I apply. He taught me all I know about practicing in both a corporate and law firm setting. He was my advocate throughout my entire career. His wife and he are innkeepers now in Maine. It has been inspirational to see how he approaches life after the law.
What is a modern-day 'woman of Steel'? A woman of steel is...?
First Horizon Bank's Chief Human Resources Officer
First Horizon's CHRO oversees many different roles. She is a member of the executive management committee and helps set the strategic goals and plans of the bank. She also oversees talent development, associate and partner relations, and leads HR strategy.
She is also a member of the board of Junior Achievement, Brooks Museum and New Memphis Institute. She is also the Nomination and Governance Chair for the University of Memphis Foundation.
What is your greatest mentor? Bryan Jordan, First Horizon CEO and President, was my first mentor in my HR career. This mentoring relationship lasted two years. Bryan was a great mentor to me. It was initially intimidating to have our CEO as a mentor, but he has helped me become a strategic and thoughtful leader. His mentorship was invaluable as I assumed the CHRO position. It helped me to see the bigger picture and how our end-toend processes benefit customers and associates and how HR can play a role in this.
What was your childhood idol? My grandmother was and is still my idol. She raised me during the latter part of her lifetime, and she nurtured and supported me. This has helped me become who I am. She instilled the work ethic that I have and pushed me to be more productive than anyone else. She has been an inspiration to me throughout my life. It is my goal to make her happy.
What superpowers do you think a woman would need to have to be considered a "woman of steel"? Curiosity is key to becoming more empathetic. Advocacy: Empathy is demonstrated by highlighting the voices of others, highlighting the talents and strengths of colleagues and advocating for causes that help others. Listening: It is difficult to open ourselves up for uncomfortable conversations, but it makes us better leaders and learners.