A Conference to Remember!
Thank you to everyone who represented our chapter at the National Conference in Alexandria, VA last month. In attendance were first time attendees Denise Earlywine-Fisher and Robin Rambo, Debi Gilley, Christie Jordan, Dr. Marilyn Willis, and Chapter President Becky Creswell.
As always, the conference offered great CPE and learning opportunities and the chance to catch up with friends from other chapters. But the highlight of this year's conference was at the Awards Luncheon where two of our members received national recognition!
Debi Gilley was recognized as Member of the Year. Debi has supported our chapter in many capacities throughout her membership with AFWA including three terms as chapter president. This year, she has gone above and beyond by chairing our 60th Anniversary Celebration, stepping in just a few days before the Spring Seminar when the current chair was unable to be in attendance, and planning the National Board installation held in Chattanooga this year. Be it in the capacity of leader, in service to others, or as a mentor, Debi is dedicated to our organization and its purpose.
Dr. Marilyn Willis was named Woman of the Year. Criterion for this award was an AF-WA member of extraordinary achievement at integrating work and life, overcoming obstacles, or supporting other women in the field. For those of us who have the pleas-ure of knowing Marilyn, she is certainly the epitome of these virtues. Marilyn was breaking the glass ceiling before the term was phrased. Marilyn challenged local firms to hire women and ensured the graduates they hired would be successful representa-tives of women professionals in our field. She has had a direct and resonating impact on the accounting profession for women in Chattanooga.
Proceeds from our seminars support members attending the national confer-
ence. This is a unique opportunity for Chattanooga members that few other chapters provide. Thank you to everyone for your continued support of our seminars through your attendance and committee involvement. Next year's conference will be in Kansas City. I hope to see you there!
Debi shared that her recent award as the AFWA National Member of the year for 2107 was truly shocking. Accepting the award just last week in Washington D.C. was truly a once in a lifetime event. She was honored to share her award and express her sincere gratitude to Christy Jordan the member that ask Debi to join ASWA in 1987. Without the support and dedication of all the Chattanooga Chapter members she realizes that the award would have never been possible.
The Chattanooga chapter has provided Debi with many true friends and mentors. She is extremely honored and humbled just given the opportunity to serve with such professional dedicated wom-en. Debi has served as the Chattanooga Chapter President for three terms and served as the South-Central Area Director.
Related to her experience with AFWA according to Debi, serving as the National President of EFWA (the Education Foundation of Women Accountants) when it was our only Educational Foundation is one of her greatest accomplishments. Serving as the National President of EFWA allowed her to find gift that she had been given and was not aware of. That was the gift of fundraising for a cause or nonprofit. She has worked with several nonprofits as President or as a board member and has helped raise approximately one half million dollars for causes that are dear to her heart.
Debi lives in Ringgold with Tom her husband of 37 years and their youngest son Trent, a junior at Boyd Buchanan School. Taylor their oldest son is married to Morgan and he is employed at their alma mater (Boyd Buchanan) as the High School Baseball coach, the Elementary Athletic Director and PE teacher. Her favorite TV channel is Food Network and loves to travel and find new places and cuisines to try. Yes, she could be a Foodie. Debi is a long-time member of St John United Methodist Church, where she served as Children Director and Finance Chair.
Professionally she has retired but works for herself part-time providing various accounting services for several clients. She currently has the pleasure of working with one of our newer member Robin Rambo since 2015.
Debi Gilley November 8th
Jennifer West November 11th
Mary “Jan” Mavity November 13th
Connie Thompson November 14th
Candace Martin November 15th
Beth Marks December 2nd
Rachel Elliott December 7th
Mallory Smith December 11th
Becky Creswell December 19th
Angie Hester December 22nd
Tara Camp December 25th
Christy Haulbrook December 25th
There are two very special awards given at National Conference. This year, Chattanooga swept them all up and brought them home!
Dr. Marilyn Willis
Woman of the Year
Dr. Marilyn Willis, CPA, CGMA, Professor Emeritus at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga was honored with the Woman of the Year Award from the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA) Women Who Count Awards.
The Women Who Count Awards recognize women who demonstrate a drive to take on chal-lenges and strive for success. They are leaders in their companies and communities. They’ve earned the trust and respect of their clients and peers. And they show enthusiasm toward their career and the accounting and finance industry as a whole.
“Dr. Willis represents how far women have come in this industry. She has blazed a trail and di-rectly inspired many to follow. After 45 years in education serving both as a professor and a dean her impact on the industry is one that is truly lasting,” said AFWA National President, Lori Kelley, CPA. Her students have gone on to become CEOs, Tax Attorneys, Partners, and entre-preneurs.
Member of the Year
Debi Gilley, CFO at Gentech Construction in Chattanooga, TN received the 2017 Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA) Member of the Year Award. The national award recognizes an AFWA member who not only contributes to AFWA, but promotes the organization within her community. She leads and en-courages other chapter members, and helps to achieve chapter goals. Overall, the recipient should demonstrate great passion for AFWA.
“Debi has proven to go above and beyond in her various leadership roles within the Chattanooga Chapter. She is a model for other Chapter volunteers of what it means to dedicate time and truly commit to something you’re passionate about,” said AFWA National President, Lori Kelley, CPA.
We had 2 first time attendees at the National Conference this year. Here is their take (short version)
I want to Thank my Chattanooga Chapter for the opportunity to attend our National Confer-ence (Women Who Count) in Washington DC. What an wonderful opportunity it was no meet amazing women from across the country and hear their stories. Who they are and what they are doing. I Loved It! I added at least ten people to my contacts that I would be comfortable calling or emailing. This is what it is all about for me. Connecting with others and enjoying the opportunities to know them and learn from them. ~ Robin Rambo
On Friday, October 27, I embarked on my first AFWA National Conference.
My objectives for this Conference were simple:
- Attend as many sessions as I could to further my personal and professional growth.
- Learn more about AFWA, The Foundation and all of the other “arms” to AFWA.
- Meet new AFWA members from other areas.
- Site-see Alexandria’s Old Town section and its’ American History.
My first night would set the tone of what would be a wonderful 4 days. Since Debi, Christie & Robin had been invited to a private dinner event, Becky introduced me to several women and suggested we go to dinner downtown. The next thing I knew, there were 18 of us at the dinner table. When we sat down, I knew 1 person. At the end of the meal, I felt I had 17 new friends.
My takeaway from this is……… While I learned a lot in the sessions, it is the women that will be most memorable. I discovered so much more of what AFWA is about and am looking for-ward to many years of conferences and new forged friendships. I am even thinking of joining the Foundation “Force” in the future. Thank you AFWA Members for making this First Timers experience a great one. ~ Denise Earlywine-Fisher
Join AFWA with our annual service project on Saturday December 9th. We will be wrapping gifts for the Chattanooga's Kids on the Block 34th Annual Holiday Gift Wrap event. We will be located at Hamilton Place Mall downstairs in front of the Dillard's Women's store. This is really a very fun service project and helps get us all into the Christmas spirit. If you would like to join us for the entire time or for part of our shift it is not to late. Our shift is from 9:30 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
Please contact Debi Gilley or Melissa Brumfield for more information.
Thank you all that have already volunteered.