Dozens of weekly subjects of The Wilson Post’s Women of Wilson feature gathered at Cumberland’s Baird Chapel last Thursday for the Fifth annual Women of Wilson (WOW) sponsored by Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital.
This year’s Women of Wilson winner (as voted by her fellow WOW featured women in the past year in the weekly column by Sabrina Garrett) is Wilson Central assistant principal Ranesa Shipman.
She made a name for herself nationally when she appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show after joining the school’s dance team in a video that went viral. She also received money to use for her students from the talk show host.
“First, I honor Jesus Christ,” Shipman said after the luncheon. “This award is not for me. It just has my name on it. It’s for all of us who represent the women of Wilson County. I’m just a girl from Lebanon.”
Shipman has been the assistant principal at Wilson Central for four years. She graduated from Lebanon High School. Her mother, longtime county commissioner Annette Stafford, was featured in a Women of Wilson article in 2014.
Main Street Media of Tennessee co-owner Ellen Gould gave some remarks to begin the luncheon.
“It is local people who make Wilson County a great place to live and work,” said the mother of eight children. “What better examples are there of interesting, talented and hard-working people in Wilson County than its women.”
Gould announced that the company, which publishes eight weekly newspapers including The Wilson Post, is expanding with three more newspapers this month. Those additions include an edition covering the Donelson/Hermitage area and an edition in Clarksville.
The guest speaker was Wilson County Tourism Director Amy Nichols, Wilson County Tourism Director. She talked about how the powerful women in the room can concentrate their power in their particular roles.
“I decided to read every one of the Women of Wilson articles that represent each Women in this room so I could get to know you all a little better,” said the mother of a 3-year-old daughter.
Nichols said that she learned about entrepreneurs, nurses, dental hygienists, writers, teacher, mothers, office managers and cosmetologists while reading the weekly features. She said all had “power,” no matter their career.
“You aren’t just a Women of Wilson for a week,” Nichols said. “You are a leading lady every day in the story of our community. And, that’s the most important role you play.”