Women of Achievement – And the Winners are…

In October 17th, more than 250 local business community members attended the 2012 Women of Achievement Awards Luncheon at the new Biloxi Civic Center.Each year, Lighthouse Business & Professional Women (BPW) solicits nominations for the prestigious awards.This year, 24 nominees were honored.There was one winner in each industry category.Among them, one woman won the 2012 Woman of the Year Award.This year’s winners were:Tania Shanti Bayne of Shanti Yoga & Counseling in the Corporate Category; Diane Easley of Community Care Network for the Nonprofit Category; Debbie Anglin with the Pascagoula School District for the Education Category; Kathleen Cecelia (KC) Arnold of the Diabetes Center for the Medical Category, and; Mayor Connie Moran of Ocean Springs in the Government/Military Category.The 2012 Woman of the Year was awarded to Diane Easley.All winners were selected by an independent panel of judges.
Keynte Speaker at the event was AP Award-Winning Public Radio News Broadcaster, Leigh Tapley. Leigh made her national debut as the winner of Miss Mississippi in 1977. From then, she has been show host and reporter for several TV shows, both regional and national, performed with thespian groups including the Oxford Players, Black Rise Theatre and the Brick Street Players.Her message to the luncheon attendees was about the many transitions career women go through.Unlike their male counterparts, women who plan to succeed must remain flexible and accepting of change.
This year, Lighthouse BPW also honored one woman with the Young Careerist Award: Nicole Etheridge of Singing River Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.To be eligible for this award, a woman must be between the ages of 21 and 35 and demonstrate success in their early career and community service.
Singer-Songwriter Abigail Osteen announced the Young Careerist nominees and winner at the luncheon.Abigail showed her first music video of her original song, “The Best That I Can Do” – a music video with proceeds donated to further the education of teens and parents on the topics of bullying, depression, eating disorders, self-harm behaviors, and suicide as well as to develop support groups for those affected by these issues.You can learn more about Abigail on her website: http://www.abigailosteen.com
The decor for the luncheon was as special as the women featured at the event.A brainstorming Suzanne Stafford, Vice-President of Lighthouse BPW, decided that instead of the organization renting tablecloths and buying floral table-top treatments, each of the tables would be covered with bed linens in soft browns and blues.The centerpieces were canned goods and educational toys.At the end of the event, the items were donated to the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi and the Open Doors Homeless Coalition to help individuals and families as they transition out of homelessness.The items will be presented to clients at the annual Christmas Outreach Luncheon in Dec. held by the two charities.
Lighthouse BPW uses the proceeds of the Awards Luncheon to give to local charities that offer support and services to women and their families.The group meets every third Wednesday of the month for a time of networking and mentoring.You can learn more about Lighthouse BPW by visiting their Facebook page.

CORPORATE CATEGORY
Tania (Shanti) Bayne, M.S., LPC, NCC, RYT-200, Owner/Director, Shanti Yoga & Counseling
Tania Bayne is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from The University of Southern Mississippi.She is a certified yoga teacher registered with Yoga Alliance and a certified Yoga of Recovery Counselor working with adults and a clinical focus on depression, anxiety, addiction, and trauma.Her passion for yoga was ignited in 2002, leading her to whole-hearted community service.Bayne has a unique approach integrating the science of psychology and the ancient practice of yoga and meditation in holistic therapies. She has applied the principles of yoga in stress and anger management programs in several Hancock County schools.After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she worked with hundreds of residents to rebuild their lives by providing counseling services at the Mental Health Association of Mississippi and Coastal Family Health Center, Biloxi, MS. Bayne continues to teach students and guide clients to achieve healthy and joyful living. She provides professional counseling services, Emotional Yoga Therapy, and group yoga classes.One of Bayne proudest accomplishments being a single mother who raised a daughter who is a poet, writer, multi-linguist who is currently in college studying International Relations and wants to be an Ambassador in Foreign Affairs.

EDUCATION CATEGORY
Debbie Anglin, Director of Communications, Pascagoula School District
Debbie Anglin is the award winning Director of Communications for the Pascagoula School District.Through her leadership, her school district won “100 Best Communities in America for Young People” by America’s Promise in 2010, 2011 and 2012 – the first and only school district in Mississippi to receive the award. Anglin also believes in helping provide opportunities for student to thrive while getting a top notch education in her city’s schools.She is one of the founders of Backpack Buddies, a program that helps needy students.“Children cannot learn if they are coming to school hungry and embarrassed by what they are wearing,” she said.“These needs are now being met.”Her advice to other career women?“Wake up every morning eager and excited to go to work.Ask yourself, ‘How is God going to use me today to make a positive difference in someone’s life?’Then leave yourself open to limitless possibilities”.

GOVERNMENT/MILITARY CATEGORY
Mayor Connie Moran, City of Ocean Springs
I like to surround myself with people who are joyful, which is naturally reflected in their achievements,” the Ocean Springs mayor tells us.After Hurricane Katrina, Moran said she made sure some of the best infrastructure experts were part of her revitalization team.She went forward with what she learned to achieve several successful programs that reflect the values of her town, including the walking path on the Biloxi Bay Bridge, and the Front Beach Master Plan.The Downtown Revitalization project has turned the already charming main street into the perfect place to spend time with friends, shop, and explore the rich and artful history of the Ocean Springs community.Coming from a family of public servants, Mayor Moran is in her element as the town’s leader, and she admires other women in politics who have succeeded in the largely male-dominated profession.The secret to her success?“Strive to lift up all around you, and you will be rewarded.”

NONPROFIT CATEGORY
Diane Easley, R.N., M.S.N., Founder/Executive Director, Community Care Network, Inc.
Diane founded Community Care Network, Inc., a 501c3 faith-based, multi-service, tax-exempt nonprofit organization in 2003, to build a safe community by responding to the needs of vulnerable, underserved or marginalized populations in Jackson, George and Harrison Counties.With Diane’s leadership, the organization is one of the first Mississippi nonprofits honored at the Mississippi Center for Nonprofit’s 2011 Statewide Nonprofit Management & Leadership Conference for being the first graduates of the Center’s new Excellence in Action initiative, an intensive course of study in nonprofit management excellence.

MEDICAL CATEGORY
Kathleen Cecilia (KC) Arnold, Owner & Nurse Practitioner, The Diabetes Center, PLLC
Opening The Diabetes Center right after Hurricane Katrina, Arnold didn’t have money or a business plan, but through hard work and persistence, she managed to build a nurse practitioner owned clinic that helps people with diabetes.She has plans to add a nurse practitioner in the near future who can treat children with diabetes.In 2007, Arnold earned the Nurse Practitioner of the Year Award, Mississippi State Award for Excellence by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and in 2009, she received the American Nurse Credentialing Center Certified Advance Nurse of the Year Award.She is the first NP to receive the HIMSS Ambulatory Care Davies Award.A University of South Alabama graduate, Arnold has also served as a member of its adjunct faculty in 2009 and 2010.“Mentoring is the leadership skill I admire most,” Arnold said.“I have been blessed to work with wonderful colleagues who gave so much of their time and energy to encourage me along my journey… I gained a little something from each person and have incorporated this knowledge into my business.”Arnold has inspired and mentored other nurse practitioners to own their own businesses.She has made Diabetes mission trips to Guanaja, Honduras.For fun, KC Sings with the local Irish band, Blarney Coast.

2012 YOUNG CAREERIST AWARD WINNER
Nicole Etheridge, Marketing Director, Singing River Rehabilitation & Nursing Center
Service above self is the guiding philosophy that pushes this new mom and young careerist.A graduate of Spring Hill College with a Bachelors of Science, Nicole began her career writing grants to fund water safety programs for third graders on the Gulf Coast.She has taught more than 800 children how to swim and has certified more than 50 American Red Cross Lifeguards.Nicole is a current member of a Lighthouse BPW, an Ambassador for both the Jackson County and Ocean Springs Chambers of Commerce, and serves as the Media Chair for the Jackson County Senior Awareness Commitment, which bi-annually conducts a health fair and luncheon for over 500 senior citizens.Through Nicole’s leadership, her company was awarded the American Health Care Association’s National Silver Quality Award.This recognition marks a first among all the skilled nursing facilities on the Gulf Coast and only the second in the entire State of Mississippi.Etheridge has also served on the planning committees for the Jolly McCarty Memorial, YMCA Special Olympics, the Gautier Veterans Tower Dedication, and the Rotary Golf Tournament; which raises over $10,000 for youth education.In 2009 Etheridge also helped to complete mission work in the Dominican Republic where she was able to salvage ply wood from a demolished monastery to build homes for ten (10) homeless families. “My role model is my mom,” she said.“She worked on solutions, not problems… She is a real woman and the real definition of a leader, a mentor, and a friend.”Etheridge lives in Moss Point with her husband, Derek, a Moss Point Firefighter, and their 13-month-old daughter, Abigail.

2012 WOMAN
OF THE YEAR AWARD
Diane Easley, R.N., M.S.N., Founder/Executive Director, Community Care Network, Inc.
“Great leaders are visionaries.They foster an environment of positive team spirit and teamwork, and inspire others to see the best in themselves”Diane Easley fits the bill as she operates a transitional home for women, manages a team of dedicated volunteers; and connects and builds relationships with women in the community.. In addition to counseling clients, Easley implements case management policies and procedures, and is involved in board governance and training.Her volunteer work includes teaching classes and counseling female inmates at Harrison County and Jackson County Adult Detention Centers.Since opening Sue’s Home in 2004, she has served more than 200 women and their families in crisis.Easley has developed her own Christian addiction recovery program, and the “It’s Your Choice” Life Skills Educational Curriculum for families in crisis.Easley also established the HOPE Emergency Crime Victims Assistance Program, which provides emergency repairs and supportive services following disasters for elderly, disabled and low-income individuals who became victims of unscrupulous and/or unlicensed contractors or builders.Previously, the University of Southern Mississippi graduate served eight years as the Director of the Home of Grace for Women and Families.Easley and her husband, Wallace, live in Vancleave and enjoy spending time with their four grandsons.They are members of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Ocean Springs.

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