From a list of 36 Top Influencers, two were named the Coast’s Most Influential Women and two were selected as One-to-Watch Influencers at the Success Women’s Conference on Friday.
Harrison County Supervisor Connie Rockco and arts advocate Peggy Sprabery were co-winners of the Most Influential Women, selected from a list of 36 Top Influencers.
The winners were chosen in part for their body of work beyond just the last year and for mentoring others, said Dorothy Wilson, publisher of Gulf Coast Women’s Magazine and co-founder and director of the conference. Kearn Cherry with PRN Homecare and Tiffany Bell with Women’s Resource Center are the other directors of the event.
Two were also chosen as Ones to Watch — Biloxi Councilwoman Dixie Newman and Shundral Cole, an attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District in Mississippi.
The first award for Mississippi’s Top Health Care Influencer went to Aleshia Jones, project director of Mississippi Tobacco-Free Coalition of Harrison County.
This is South Mississippi’s 5th Success Conference, which has grown to the largest women’s conference in the state and expanded to three days this year. The awards ceremony was at the Coast Convention Center.
Between the introduction of all the Top Influencers and the winners being announced, Gloria Mayfield Banks, independent elite executive national sales director with Mary Kay Cosmetics, shared her story and her enthusiasm.
First she saluted the honorees and asked, “Did you see the confidence oozing out of their bodies,” as they strode to the stage to collect their awards.
Banks’ journey went from learning she was dyslexic in seventh grade in Detroit, to being accepted to Harvard Business School and becoming the number one Mary Kay cosmetics representative out of 2.4 million in the world.
She has difficulty with reading and numbers because of the dyslexia, Banks said, but she shared skills she picked up along the way.
“I learned people skills at the grocery store,” she said, working a job while attending Howard University in Washington, D.C. She learned the power of encouragement, energy and giving people more than they wanted, she said.
“You do not become successful without having a high degree of courage,” she said. She went to her first day of graduate school at Harvard after applying makeup to cover her black eye, she said. She endured 10 years of domestic violence, she said, something that touches one of every three women in some way.
When an employer told her she should teach everyone else how to do her job and take a pay cut, “for sure I left,” she said. Courage gave her the confidence to walk away, she said. “Confidence gives you choices.”
Her God-given purpose is to take people from ordinary to extraordinary, she said as she shared her Top 10 list for success:
1. Be decisive. There is nothing worse than indecision.
2. Confidence is important. The way to build confidence is small successes over and over.
3. Have vision, imagination and belief. “When you are a powerhouse the lights come on when you enter the room,” she said.
4. Her STEM program is management of Skill, Time, Emotion and Money.
5. Have clear goals. The ball has to be crystal clear, she said. Put signs all over the house with those goals.
6. Image. Invest in yourself and your look.
7. Have passion, which is different than excitement. It’s what will get you up in the morning, keep you working into the night and cause you to break through the wall.
8. Discipline and hustle. When she wasn’t sure she had enough, Oprah told her, “You got this.”
9. People skills and leadership skills. “Kindness is the most powerful tool you can give to someone else,” she said. Every word you speak or is spoken to you is either a flower or a brick.
10. Short-term sacrifice for long-term success. “I can do anything for just a little time,” she said.
“When you know you’re super bad all day long, you will bring champions to you,” she said. “Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.”
The 36 Top Influencers were introduced by LuAnn Pappas, CEO of Scarlet Pearl Casino. They are:
▪ Alexis Williams — Group non-commissioned officer in charge, Training Resources Flight, 81st Training Support Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base. Co-founder, The Melanin Village. Owner, Aloha Glamour
▪ Angel Middleton — Harrison County District 2 supervisor, owner of Angel’s Auto Sales
▪ Angela Juzang — Director of marketing and business development, Garden Park Medical Center
▪ Becky Farrell — Solo practitioner and founding attorney at Law Office of Becky Farrell
▪ Becky Ginn — Director of development, Gulf of Mexico Alliance
▪ Brenda Blount — Director of development, Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, founder of A Better You Image Transformation
▪ Carlene Alfonso — CEO, Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty
▪ Christy Bjork Elias — Co-founder and co-owner, Gulf Coast Moms blog
▪ Connie Rockco — Harrison County District 5 supervisor
▪ Courtney Jacobs — Insurance agent and owner of IDR Agency, member of Florida Air National Guard, Tyndall unit.
▪ Cynthia Chauvin — Executive director of Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program of Hancock County
▪ Cynthia Lamb — Manager of client relations, Pickering Firm
▪ Dixie Newman — Biloxi Council president, owner and operator of Jacked Up Coffee Bar
▪ Ellis Anderson — Owner of Ellis Anderson Media, publisher of The Shoofly Magazine
▪ Heather Sudduth — Occupational therapist at Singing River Health System, southern regional coordinator at Mississippi Healthcare Alliance.
▪ Jona Burton — Assistant director of Career Services, Gulf Park campus of University of Southern Mississippi
▪ Karol Brandt — Executive casino host at Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort, author and motivational speaker
▪ Kathy Rogers — Owner and vice president, Marston Rogers Group
▪ Katherine Pizzetta Springer — CEO, United Way of South Mississippi
▪ Tina Seymour Demoran — Founder and managing attorney, Seymour Law Firm
▪ Lynn Frisby — Marketing specialist
▪ Mary Cracchiolo Spain — Communications director, MGM Resorts International
▪ Mary Graham — President, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
▪ Melissa Pearson —School counselor and cheer coach, Gulfport Central Middle School
▪ Misty Stevenson — Registered nurse, Memorial Hospital of Gulfport
▪ Nancy Depreo — Diamondhead councilwoman, project manager at Seymour Engineering
▪ Nickie Harris-Ray — Instructor/curriculum developer at Tulane University, author, founder of NHR Blueprint Foundation
▪ Pam Moeller — Director of external relations, USM School of Ocean Science and Technology
▪ Peggy Sprabery — Arts advocate
▪ Rebeca Gonzales — Co-owner of Fitlife Studio, personal trainer and fitness camp instructor
▪ Robin Killeen — Founder of WOW (Women of Wisdom)
▪ Sherri Carr Bevis — Assistant secretary of state for external marketing
▪ Shundral Cole — Assistant attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Mississippi
▪ Sonya Ashley — Assistant vice president, commercial loan portfolio manager, Hancock Whitney
▪ Starr Chapman — Partner, Rum Kitchen and Bellame Beauty
▪ Tashia McGinn — Broker/owner, EXIT Prestige Luxury Realty