Brandi Parker Anne McGeorge
2013 SOCIETY HONOREES
Charlotte powerhouse Anne McGeorge stands out as a leader in both business and her community. The National Managing Partner,
Health Care for Grant Thornton, has a BBA in business and accounting from The College of William and Mary as well as a MS in
accounting from the University of Virginia. Anne is a member of seven professional associations including AICPA, Women Business
Leaders in Health Care and the American Health Lawyers Association. In her distinguished career, she served on eight boards for nonprofits and is still active on four including Go Red for Women. Anne has seen first-hand what a successful woman can accomplish and
mentors women to help achieve their goals. As a national leader of [email protected] Thornton, Anne pioneered the way for a workplace
that is both family-friendly and financially rewarding.
Having raised two incredible children herself, she and her husband, were excited for her daughter when they too started their own
family. Earlier this year their lives change forever when her grandson was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called HLH. His
treatment is similar to that of a child with leukemia. While at a conference she randomly connected with the Director of Be the Match, a
non-profit organization dedicated to matching bone marrow donors with needy recipients, her grandson being one, she felt compelled to
join their national board and support the organization through her expertise in accounting. Outside of work and organizations, Anne
enjoys traveling with her family, playing golf and running. Asked how she felt to be part of this group she replied, I am honored to be
included in a group of such accomplished women, both professionally, but most importantly, in their civic capacity and involvement.”
Along with raising her three wonderful children, Justin, Jordan and Savannah, Brandi is a loving wife and an active member of
Charlotte’s philanthropic community. Including Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina’s very own annual black tie gala, the
Wish Ball, Brandi invests much of her time, energy and enthusiasm as a member of several non-profit organizations’ event committees.
Brandi has contributed to the successful planning of the Humane Society’s Inaugural Ties & Tales Gala, The Leukemia & Lymphoma
Society's Man of the Year campaign and the Wounded Warrior Project’s annual Patriot Gala.
As a generous supporter of multiple worthy causes, she views her role as a W.I.S.H. Society Honoree as an “opportunity to fulfill the
needs of others.” She feels, “To be able to give back is the greatest honor.” Brandi is looking forward to meeting and working with the
other Honorees who are working toward a common goal; to fulfill the wishes of as many local children who suffer from life-threatening
medical conditions as possible. Brandi loves to practice yoga and enjoys music, reading and spending time with her family and friends.
Guenn hails from Charlotte … Well, as much as anyone really can be and moved here "from the north" when she was in 8th grade. The
Providence High School graduate went on to East Carolina and received a degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2005. Guenn returned to
Charlotte and began her broadcasting career as an Assistant Producer for Fox News Rising on WCCB. She then went on to be a part
of The Ace & TJ Show on Kiss 95.1 for 4 years.
Guenn has built name for herself in the market and is now part of the Tanner in the Morning show on The New 103.7 WSOC Country’s
Hottest Hits. Guenn loves celebrity gossip and always has the scoop; we call it “Guenntertainment.” It can be heard 6:30 & 7:30
weekday mornings on K104.7 and various times during the Tanner in the Morning show on The New 103.7. Guenn is married and her
husband, Kent is a always good for a laugh and is often pranked and teased by the Tanner in the Morning crew. Guenn and Kent live in
the suburbs with their 2 rescued dachshunds, and their new baby boy, Brently.
When asked why she was excited to be chosen as an honoree, Guenn replied,” I'm excited to have the opportunity to be an honoree
because as a new mom, I've gotten to be a part of life's biggest miracle and watch how precious precious life is. Seeing things through
the eyes of my child has been the most incredible and rewarding experience of my life. I know that I want to do all I can to provide my
child to have with every happiness and joy life has to offer and if I can do that for more children, all the better! “
North Carolina native Heather Lutz love for NASCAR started early and has guided her into a successful career. The loving wife and
mother of one is now the VP of Sales and Marketing for the NASCAR Racing Experience and the Mario Andretti Racing Experience.
Her hard work and dedication has been instrumental in the growth and development of the NASCAR racing experience, resulting in 13
nationwide locations. Heather was also a part of the recent opening of NASCAR SpeedPark at the Concord Mills and the purchase and
renovation of the Myrtle Beach Speedway.
Heather is a proud member of the Peninsula Country Club, which supports local charities including Victory Junction Gang, Autism
Speaks and the Dale Jr. Foundation. She was delighted to be selected as an honoree and says that, “Make-A-Wish is a charity with an
amazing purpose, creating memorable experiences for families.” She hopes to help bring awareness of Make-A-Wish to the community
and boost involvement. In her rare spare time, Heather enjoys traveling, shopping, and being with her family, especially her daughter
Helen Hollifield has 25 years experience in public accounting, providing tax-related services to a broad spectrum of clients, specializing
in C corporations and partnerships. She works as a Tax Partner at Deloitte and recently joined the Make-A-Wish Central & Western
North Carolina board. She moved to North Carolina from the U.K. when she was in high school and graduated from Appalachian State
University. Highly respected in her field, Helen is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, North Carolina
Association of Certified Public Accountants and the Appalachian College of Business Advisory Board. She has two amazing daughters
and is an advocate for children’s rights.
Helen accepted the role of honoree and is excited to have the opportunity to fund a wish. “I have 2 young children and it really impacts
me when I look at the photos and stories of wishes granted so I want to do my part in delivering joy to children who currently don’t
benefit from good health.”
Virginia transplant Jamey Harlow has found professional and personal satisfaction in the cheerleading industry. After opening her own
cheerleading gym in 2006, she discovered she had a flair for the business. She was approached in 2012 to become part of the
Charlotte Allstars Cheerleading gymnasiums and was asked to be the Director of the new Charlotte Allstars South. Jamey brings her
passion and dedication to the multiple charities she is involved with as well. This year alone, she has raised money for Susan G.
Komen for the Cure, Safe Alliance, Waxhaw Weddington Rotary Club, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Jamey has also
worked with Safe Alliance.
Jamey’s experience with the Make-A-Wish Foundation has a deeply personal connection. The generosity of an extended family
member, allowed Jamey’s family to go on a family cruise before her younger sister Jacqui passed away from cancer. She says, “I will
never forget that trip, I am forever grateful for those memories, and I want to pay it forward for another family. The Make-A-Wish cause
is personal for me, I am just grateful for the opportunity to help another family the way that some very special people helped mine.” A
true philanthropist, Jamey finds joy in helping people in any capacity.
Author and spokeswoman for Asperger Syndrome, Jennifer O’Toole, spends her days teaching and inspiring others. Being an Aspie
herself, the mother of three Asperkids, the wife of an Aspie, an award-winning educator and author of the internationally celebrated
five-book “Asperkids” series, the founder of Asperkids, LLC knows first-hand the challenges and opportunities of Asperger’s. She’s the
winner of the 2012 Temple Grandin Award, a recipient of GRASP’s 2012 Distinguished Spectrumite Medal, and a celebrated Keynote
Speaker around the world. Also joining her list of accomplishments, O’Toole has been named as an About.com Reader's Choice Award
Winner, and her works are recognized among AAD & Autism Speaks Top 15 Books in the World to Read. Jennifer graduated with
honors from Brown University and has since studied at the Graduate School of Social Work at Columbia University and Graduate
School of Education at Queens University. Subsequent initiatives with young people garnered her an invitation to serve on North
Carolina’s Governor’s Commission on Domestic Violence, and a nomination for Disney’s American Teacher of the Year Award in her
first year of teaching.
Jennifer’s connection with Make-A-Wish is a personal one. Her daughter Maura, who suffers from Tethered-Cord Syndrome, was
granted her wish to be a princess at Walt Disney World Resorts in 2009. Jennifer recounts her trip saying, “These moments became
everyday miracles ... each better than the last.” She accepted the nomination, happy to grant the wish of another child because she
saw the power of a wish personified by her daughter’s experience. “Outside the gates of the Magic Kingdom, life continues on for
many, and the children ... all of the children ... deserve a breath of normalcy.”
Ohio native Julianna Patterson joins the W.I.S.H. Society with a Bachelors degree from Bowling Green State University in Applied
Health Science. Now living in Huntersville, she currently works in Physical Therapy. Her spare time is spent with friends and family,
cooking and baking, working out and traveling.
Julianna’s connection with Make-A-Wish comes from a place of tragedy but also one of purpose and hope. She recently lost her
boyfriend, NASCAR driver Jason Lefler, in a racing accident. Despite the loss, she sees this as an opportunity to give back and begin
to heal. “By being an honoree, I can help these children and their families make a wonderful memory, which is one of the most
amazing gifts you can give someone, an unforgettable moment. Being an honoree is not only humbling, but a healing experience.
Focusing all of my energy on these children gives me a purpose to keep going, doing it in memory of Jason and in honor of Charlie, his
Kathryn R. Habluetzel,
Kathy earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Louisiana State University before earning a master’s degree in
accounting science from the University of Illinois. In addition to her current role as a Managing Director of MBL Advisors Inc., she is
recognized as an active member of Charlotte’s civic community. A past recipient of the ASWA Educational Foundation Individual
Balance Award for the southeast region, Kathy’s strong commitment to improving the community also earned her a “Top 25 Women in
Business” award from the Charlotte Business Journal. Kathy is past-president of the Charlotte Estate Planning Council and was
recently appointed to serve as the next Board Chair for Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina.
She is also a member of Women Executives, the Foundation for the Carolinas Professional Advisors Cabinet and the Queens
University Planned Giving Council. Kathy is married and has two boys, Kyle and Kevin. She enjoys yoga, volunteering at her church,
reading and watching her sons’ sports activities. Kathy accepted the role of honoree, “Because of my passion for children and Make-AWish.”
Illinois-born photography maven Lana Lamkin owns and operates two businesses in the Charlotte metro area. She started Divine
Promotional Products in 2008. The success of this business allowed her to open Divine Images by Lana in 2012 and pursue her
dreams of becoming a professional photographer. Her passion about photography is second only to her family. With 2 daughters, 2
step-daughters, and a loving husband, Lana enjoys spending as much time with them as possible.
Giving back to her community is also a top priority for Lana. She established The Closet Ministry, Inc. in 2009 as a non-profit
organization with the vision of collecting clothing and giving it to families in need in our community. The Closet Ministry has grown to 7
locations across the US and has provided over 600,000 pieces of clothing to nearly 8,000 families. Lana says that she is blessed to
have been chosen as an honoree. “I have accepted the role of honoree to help bless families who are facing such difficult
circumstances by giving them an opportunity to create life long memories with their loved ones.” She has also said that she is looking
forward to getting to know and working with the other women involved in support of the Make-A-Wish mission.
Lee Ann Steadman
Dually-native to Pittsburg, PA and Kansas City, MO Lee Ann earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with a minor in
Business Administration from Kansas State University. She utilizes more than nine years of experience in the pharmaceutical, biotech
and medical device industry. An expert in her field, she’s developed state of the art services that support the safe and effective
commercialization of prescription therapies. Currently, Lee Ann holds the title of Director for New Business Development at
HealthBridge – An Express Scripts Company.
Lee Ann accepted the role of honoree because, “Make-A-Wish is a very special organization to me and my family. My niece Emily has
Mitochondrial Disease and was granted her wish to go snow skiing in Colorado. The care, thought and efforts that went into the families
experience was amazing. The gift goes far beyond an escape for the wish child but is a gift and blessing to an entire family. I only hope
that I can provide the experience for the numerous families through volunteering and fundraising for Make-A-Wish.” Humbled by her
role as an Honoree, Lee Ann would like “to raise awareness of the impact a disease has on not just the diagnosed individual but the
A proud “Mountaineer,” Leigha is a graduate of Appalachian State University where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in
Marketing. Since joining Wachovia in 1989 as a bank teller, Leigha has advanced to her most recent role as a Wells Fargo Community
Banking Area President, where she focuses on sales and service at branches in southern Mecklenburg County, Union, Gaston, and
Cleveland counties in North Carolina, as well as York and Lancaster counties in South Carolina. “Leigha’s leadership abilities and
experience are perfectly suited to continue the momentum we have built toward being the company of choice in Charlotte for
employees and customers,” said Kendall Alley, Charlotte Community Banking Regional President, in a statement.
Leigha is deeply committed to her husband and her two children, David and Isabelle. In addition to her superlative leadership abilities,
Leigha’s passion for community outreach is abundant. Genuinely driven to make a difference, in one of her many philanthropic
leadership roles as a campaign chair for the United Way, she stated “… it’s important for those of us who are employed and have the
means to give, give generously.” At home on her family’s dairy farm, Leigha enjoys the simplicity of cutting grass with the riding
lawnmower while listening to the Black Eyed Peas.
A registered nurse and a native of Maine, Mischell Christmas has worked at some of the most prestigious medical facilities in the
country including, The George Washington University Medical Center, The National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University
Hospital where she specialized in such diverse fields as Emergency Room/Shock Trauma, Adult and Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant
and all areas of Critical Care. In 1998, Mischell helped develop what is considered by many to be the first comprehensive Medical Spa
in the United States. With relocation to the Chicago area in 2002, Mischell worked as an independent Medical Spa Consultant,
developing and implementing a business model incorporating the medical spa in existing multi-specialty practices. She currently is
employed at Charlotte Plastic Surgery where she is the Manager of Facial Aesthetics as well as an Injection and Laser Specialist.
Mischell volunteers as a Wish Granter for Make-A-Wish. In addition, she is the Director of Media Relations for the Providence Country
Club Heathens, who over the course of 4 years have raised $125,000 for Make-A-Wish. “My career choices have led me far from my
days as a pediatric bone marrow transplant nurse. Knowing I could make a difference in a child’s experience in such an emotionally
and physically stressful time was professionally and personally very rewarding. Make-A-Wish has provided an opportunity to give back
to the community and hopefully make a positive contribution to children and their families. I am extremely humbled and honored to be
chosen as 2013 honoree.”
Loving mother and wife, Olivia Moore is a Charlotte native. Attending both Garinger High School and Central Piedmont Community
College, she is now the Marketing Director of the VUE Charlotte on 5 . She is also the recipient of the Community Partner Award in
recognition of her community involvement and charitable contributions in 2012. Charitable involvement has always been a cornerstone
of Olivia’s life. A self-proclaimed tender heart she has donated her time and talents to various charities in our region from Susan G
Komen, Red Cross, Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, United Family Services and Toys for Tots. Outside of charity, when not on
site at the VUE, she enjoys fishing, the ballet and spending quality time with family and friends at the beach.
Olivia’s connection with Make-A-Wish started in sixth grade when her good friend David was diagnosed with cancer. They were
classmates at Eastover Elementary at the time. She was with him every step of the way until the disease finally took his life. But
before that happened, Olivia got to see her friend have his wish granted to meet Michael Jordan. Her friend, David, was in awe at the
fact that he was actually able to meet Michael Jordan. The sheer joy that she witnessed her friend experience stays with Olivia, even
now which is why being a part of the W.I.S.H. Society is very personal to Olivia. She has done something similar in support of Make-AWish in the past when she organized at Wish Night fundraiser in 2009, where she raised over $6,000 to fund a child’s wish in just a
matter of weeks through pulling the community together to get involved and give.
Olivia has accepted the role as nominee to grant another wish for a deserving child and their family. When asked what she wanted from
the W.I.S.H. Society experience, she said, “To teach my daughter the gift of helping others - and to help other families make a beautiful
St. Louis, MO native Paige Brockmann graduated from the University of Illinois with her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration.
As a Senior Vice President at Bank of America, Paige finds time in her busy schedule to be an active volunteer for both her PTA and
the Charlotte Mecklenburg school district. She is the recipient of several American Marketing Association Direct Marketing awards and
has been recognized at Bank of America with various internal achievements.
A mother of two, Paige is a unique honoree because not only is she active in her community, Paige’s life and family have been
personally touched by the Make-A-Wish Foundation when her daughter’s wish was granted in 2005. The family enjoyed a few relaxing
days at Disney World, Sea World, Universal studios and Give Kids the World. Paige gladly accepted the role of honoree because, “…
Make-A-Wish is a wonderful organization with a mission I not only support but that my family and I have benefitted from.” She also
wants to help Make-A-Wish touch other lives, as it has touched theirs. In her free time, Paige is an avid football fan, enjoys attending
her children’s sports activities and finds joy in personal fitness.
Robin Smith Salzman
Born in Pittsburgh but raised in Orlando, Florida, Robin Salzman is now an active member of the Charlotte philanthropic community.
She is currently the Owner/Marketing Director of Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram and Gastonia Chrysler dodge Jeep Ram,
where she handles the advertising and charity initiatives for the company. With her leadership guiding the charitable efforts, they have
been able to donate over a million dollars in the past 10 years. Robin’s distinguished career began with a Bachelor’s degree from the
University of Central Florida. Her professional achievements include Business Today's Top Women Business Leaders Award, Market
Manager of the Year Award for CBS Radio, and receiving the Lake Norman Chamber Champions of Diversity Award.
Robin is the proud mother of three and grandmother of six. Her connection to Make-A-Wish started when she and her husband Jack
adopted and funded a wish earlier this year. They were personally fulfilled by the experience and saw the power of a wish firsthand. “I
am humbled to be honored by this organization that does so much for our community's children's and families in need.” She hopes to
be able to meet other incredible women in the community and further her abilities to give back. She is also delighted to be able to grant
another child’s wish.
Growing up in a small town outside Pittsburgh, PA, inspired Sarah Henshall’s passion for traveling. The graduate of Bethany College,
WVA, is currently Vice President of Travel and Branch Operations for AAA Carolinas. Influential in the travel community, Sarah has
been recognized by her peers by being named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Travel by Travel Agent Magazine in 2001. She
has also been honored by the Charlotte Business Journal as a Woman in Business Achievement Award winner, and recognized
internally within the AAA Carolinas organization.
The busy mother of 3 and grandmother to 5 spends her free time traveling, reading, gardening or watching her beloved Panthers play
football. Reflecting on the good fortune of health in her family, she is excited to help Make-A-Wish grant the wishes of children in the
community. She experienced first-hand the impact it has on a family when she led AAA Carolina’s efforts to award a wish on the
Panthers field from Mickey and Minnie. “The honor to me is in supporting such a wonderful organization and being able to eventually
see a smile on the face of a child I can help!”
Midwest native Shawna Allen grew up calling both Oklahoma and Chicago home. She currently lives in Charlotte with her two children
and husband, Dr. Marc Allen. A self-proclaimed homemaker, Shawna fills her days with her children, helping out at her husband’s
orthodontic practice and serving as Chair of the Family Events Committee at The Children's Circle Preschool at Myers Park Methodist
Church. An exercise-enthusiast, Shawna’s spare time is spent biking, walking, and attending barre and yoga classes.
Shawna’s connection to Make-A-Wish began when she attended her first Wish Ball. “After attending eight Wish Balls, it has come clear
to me that this is my calling. I have realized the value of donors. I am fortunate that the scope of my friends and family is extremely
diverse. I know I can help enrich Make-A-Wish families lives.” She is excited to be an honoree and hopes to inspire her children and
teach them the value of life.
Shelley Johnson is a realtor and broker for the LePage Johnson Realty Group of Keller Williams specializing in luxury properties in the
Lake Norman area. She became involved in Make-A-Wish a little over a year ago by working to raise funds and awareness for MakeA-Wish in the Lake Norman community. Shelley’s heart and passion for wish kids has enabled her to rally her team at LePage
Johnson Realty Group and friends to support the mission. She is a true advocate and is excited to be able to continue to use her
creativity, business acumen and connections to help grant wishes for local children.
When asked why she accepted the W.I.S.H. Society nomination, Shelley replied, “When you give the gift of a wish you truly are giving a
gift to yourself. There isn’t anything more fulfilling than knowing your effort helped a very sick child have a little happiness, hope and
fun filled memories. It just makes your heart feel a little fuller. I am so grateful to Make-A-Wish and the amazing women that are a part
of this organization. “
Stacy Stevenson, a partner at the prominent Shumaker Loop & Kendrick, LLP in Charlotte, has her BA from Wake Forest University
and her JD from the University of Florida. This busy lawyer also finds time in her day to be a Volunteer attorney in the Custody
Advocacy Program at the Council for Children's Rights. She and her husband Scott, also a partner at Shumaker Loop & Kendrick, LLP,
enjoy traveling, watching sports, spending time with family, and being at the beach.
Asked why she accepted the role of honoree, Stacy replied, “I have accepted this role because I am very passionate about children,
and I believe in this organization and the positive impact it has on these precious young lives. I am also excited to be a part of this
special group of women who, as busy as we all are, are able to set aside a few moments of our lives to make someone else’s life
better.” Her satisfaction from the initiative comes from being able to make even just one child’s life better.
Suzie Ford was born in Oregon but raised outside of San Francisco. She and her husband Todd are owners of NoDa Brewing. They
started the business two years ago and are leaders in the craft beer revolution sweeping through the Charlotte area. Although life is
good now, it wasn’t always so. Starting the brewery came after the recession hit. Suzie, a former sports marketer turned banker, was
laid off from her job. And her husband Todd, a captain and pilot with Airborne Express, was demoted to first officer when DHL
purchased his airline. His schedule became longer and he was away from home for weeks at a time. Deciding enough was enough;
they took a risk, cashed in their savings and opened NoDa Brewing with the idea of doing it better and their own way.
Supporting local charities is important to Suzie and is a large reason why she is excited to be an honoree. NoDa Brewing has recently
supported the North Mecklenburg Animal Rescue, Humane Society of Charlotte, Movers for Moms benefitting Florence Crittenton
Services, Beards BeCause & Carolinas Breast Cancer Fund (with our annual Pink Pint Night) and 24 Hours of Booty by hosting various
events and fundraisers at the brewery. Since leaving corporate America, Suzie misses the camaraderie of empowered women and
feels this is a great opportunity to make those connections and be inspired. When asked what being an honoree meant to her, Suzie
replied. “As a mother, I can't even fathom my child being terminally ill. Make-A-Wish makes the child feel in control (by granting THEIR
wish) and feel special in a way that no one else can. To be part of this organization and to help raise funds to grant at least one wish, is
something that I couldn't pass up. I want to help make a difference!” She looks forward to being able to raise the funds and continue
her involvement with Make-A-Wish.