DNJ: March 14, 2017
The 2017 Women in Business honorees have the opportunity daily to have a positive impact on the lives of others, said Diane Turnham, keynote speaker Tuesday at the annual luncheon.
"Every single one of us makes a difference every day," said Turnham, senior associate athletic director and senior women's athletics administrator at MTSU.
In particular, the women honored at the luncheon are people who make a difference in their businesses and in the community.
"We take question marks and turn them into exclamation points," Turnham said.
Honoree Dr. Dana Jones from Women's Health Services said the question mark of her career turned into an exclamation point, in the third year of her residency when she did a rotation with Dr. Elizabeth LaRoche.
"That was miraculous. ... It really changed my life," Jones said.
One of the biggest question marks of Turnham's career was caused by the murder of MTSU basketball player Tina Stewart by her roommate Shanterrica Madden on March 3, 2011. Madden was found guilty by a Rutherford County jury in 2012 and sentenced to 29 years in prison.
"It's what Middle Tennessee stands for; it's what I stand for," Turnham said.
The idea for the pledge, which is used in university marketing and given to every student on campus, was developed a few days after the memorial service, when MTSU President Sidney McPhee discussed the events with Dwight Lewis, formerly a columnist with The Tennessean. In their conversation, an idea emerged for MTSU to teach and encourage non-violent conflict resolution as a core value.
Later that month, McPhee appointed the President's Task Force on Nonviolence and Conflict Resolution, which included Turnham.
The panel was charged with developing a plan to encourage nonviolence and conflict resolution between students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of MTSU.
So the True Blue pledge was written to remind students to commit to nonviolence resolutions.
"It means so much more to me because Tina Stewart came to us with high hopes and high dreams," Turnham said. "It was the most difficult thing to happen to me in my career."
Turnham said Stewart's legacy will forever influence students on MTSU's campus and the broader community.
She spoke about how she has been afforded great opportunities through her career at MTSU, like taking the Lady Raiders basketball team to the NCAA tournament and serving on the selection committee every March.
But it's been the personal connections and the differences she made in individual athletes lives that have truly defined her career.
Turnham said the most important thing she does is help student-athletes get a college degree that will support them for the rest of their lives.
Much like Turnham focused on the welfare of MTSU's student-athletes, honoree Christy Hackinson said her main goal in business is to have a positive on the lives of her employees.
The owner of The Alley on Main, Hackinson said she wanted to open a workplace that allowed "you to focus on your family as much as you do on your job."
"Most of the people who work for us aren't there for a career. We want them to leave us for a better place," Hackinson said.
As women in business, helping others is what the honorees have a chance to do every day, Turnham said.
Reach Michelle Willard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-278-5164 and on Twitter @michwillard.
2017 Women in Business
Krista Dugosh, owner of Fleet Feet Murfreesboro
Retta Gardener, president and CEO, Guaranty Trust
Christy Hackinson, co-owner, The Alley on Main
Dr. Dana Jones, Women's Health Specialists
Anna Gene O'Neal, president and CEO, Alive Hospice
Dawn Rhodes, regional executive, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee
Rita Shacklett, director, Linebaugh Public Library System
Barbara Sutton, partner, Dempsey, Vantrease and Follis
Veronica Terrell, senior manager, Deloitte & owner, Couture Hair Studio
Diane Turnham, senior athletic director, MTSU
Presented by Murfreesboro Magazine