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, and
speaks frequently around the country about the changing health care environment. In her distinguished career, she
served on eight boards for non-profits 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
Having helped raise two incredible children herself, she and her husband were excited for her daughter when they too
started their own family. Last year their lives were change forever when her grandson was diagnosed with a rare
autoimmune disease called HLH. After a year of steroid treatments and chemotherapy, without success, he underwent a
bone marrow transplant earlier this year and is currently showing signs of a full recovery. 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. She is also currently sponsoring an 8 year-old child, Agnes Ekidon, through the
Mighty Acorn Foundation established in Kitale, Kenya by the Matilda Jane Clothing Company.
As a generous supporter of multiple worthy causes, she viewed her role as a W.I.S.H. Society Honoree as an
“opportunity to fulfill the needs of others…to be able to give back is the greatest honor.” Brandi has enjoyed meeting
and working with the other Honorees, and looks forward to meeting this year’s Honorees as they strive to achieve their
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; it's called “Guenntertainment"
and 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 rescued dachshund, one year old son
Brently and baby brother or sister due at the end of September!
When asked about hosting the W.I.S.H Society Event again this year, Guenn replied,” I may have a month old baby but
there is no where I would rather be! To have the opportunity to be a part of such a special group of women and event
again this year is something I couldn't miss. If we can grant more wishes and make sure more children have a reason to
smile then we've done our jobs!"
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 Mall, and involved with 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 serve as an honoree, stating that, “Make-AWish is a charity with an amazing purpose, creating memorable experiences for families.” She has helped bring
awareness of Make-A-Wish to the community and significantly boosted involvement. In her rare spare time, Heather
enjoys traveling, shopping, and being with her family, especially her daughter Maci.
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
After accepting the role of honoree, Helen was 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 granted wishes, so I wanted 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 wanted to pay it
forward for another family. The Make-A-Wish cause is personal for me, and I have been 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 has exuberated passion and
strength as an honoree, happy to grant the wish of another child after seeing 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 joined 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 marketing and operations. 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. After losing
her boyfriend, NASCAR driver Jason Lefler, in a racing accident, she saw this as an opportunity to give back and begin to
heal. “By being an honoree, I feel that I have helped 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 has not only been
humbling, but has also been a healing experience. Focusing all of my energy on these children gave me a purpose to
keep going, doing it in memory of Jason and in honor of his son, Charlie.”
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 pastpresident 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 graciously served the role of W.I.S.H.
Society Honoree, “Because of my passion for children and Make-A-Wish.”
To fulfill her dreams of becoming a professional photographer, Illinois-born photography maven, Lana Lamkin
established her business, Divine Images by Lana, in 2012. An incredible partner to Make-A-Wish® Central and Western
North Carolina, Lana flawlessly captures the essence of many of the Foundation’s fundraising events including the Walk
for Wishes®, Wish Ball gala and Kentucky Derby Classic, to name a few. Lana works hard to continuously develop her
talent because it’s what she loves. And although she’s driven to maintain a successful business and wants people to
enjoy her art, her heart is more so filled by the “moments that are about others. Seeing the joy in an expecting mom’s
eyes and thinking of God’s great plan for a precious newborn. Capturing images for a family with a sick child and giving
parents and grandparents memories to hang on their walls. Watching students smile from ear-to-ear in their new prom
dresses, little ones with new shoes and the homeless with a blanket. Being with hundreds of others passionate for
making wishes come true. The list goes on and on.” She shares, “These are all things that God has granted me the
opportunities to share with others through photography. I long for my focus to remain on these things.”
Her passion for photography closely follows her passion for God, family and giving back to her community. With 2
daughters, 2 step-daughters, and a loving husband, Lana enjoys spending as much time with them as possible. 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 8 locations across the US and has provided
over 900,000 pieces of clothing to nearly 10,000 families. Lana feels blessed to have been chosen as an Honoree and
“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 genuinely enjoys 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 was excited to serve 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 effort that went into the family’s experience was amazing. The gift goes far beyond an escape for the wish
child; it is a gift and blessing to an entire family. I only hoped that I could provide the experience for the numerous
families through volunteering and fundraising for Make-A-Wish.” Humbled by her role as an Honoree, Lee Ann was
delighted “to raise awareness of the impact a disease has on not just the diagnosed individual but the entire family.”
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 during such an emotionally and physically stressful time was professionally and personally
rewarding. Make-A-Wish has provided an opportunity to give back to the community and make a positive contribution
to children and their families. I have been extremely humbled and honored to serve 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 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 selfproclaimed 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, 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, and 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. 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 has been very
personal to her. She has done something similar in support of Make-A-Wish 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 enjoyed serving as an honoree because she was able to grant another wish for a deserving child and their family.
When asked what she gained from the W.I.S.H. Society experience, she said, “I taught my daughter the gift of helping
others - and to help other families make a beautiful memory.”
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
A mother of two, Paige was a unique honoree because her life and family were personally touched by the Make-AWish® 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 was glad to serve as honoree because, “… Make-AWish is a wonderful organization with a mission I not only support, but that my family and I have benefitted from.” She
was ecstatic and grateful for the opportunity 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 early last year. They were personally fulfilled by the experience and saw the
power of a wish firsthand. “I was humbled to be honored by this organization that does so much for our community's
children's and families in need.” She enjoyed meeting other incredible women in the community and furthering her
abilities to give back. She was also delighted 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, Sarah 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 was 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 was in
supporting such a wonderful organization and being able to eventually see a smile on the face of a child I could 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 and I am fortunate that the scope of my
friends and family is extremely diverse. I am happy to help enrich Make-A-Wish families’ lives.” As an honoree, Shawna
has inspired her children and taught 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 Make-A-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 was excited to use her creativity, business acumen, and connections to help grant wishes for local children.
When asked what was most rewarding about part of the W.I.S.H. Society, 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 have been, and are still 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
Stacy accepted the role of honoree last year because she is “very passionate about children, and I believe in this
organization and the positive impact it has on these precious young lives. I was excited to be a part of this special group
of women who, as busy as we all are, were able to set aside a few moments of our lives to make someone else’s life
better.” Her satisfaction came 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. Finally deciding that enough was enough, they took a risk, cashed in their savings,
and opened NoDa Brewing with the idea of doing things better and their own way.
Supporting local charities is important to Suzie and is a large reason why she was 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. After leaving corporate America,
Suzie missed the camaraderie of empowered women and felt this was a great opportunity to make those connections
and reap inspiration. Suzie was touched when she was chosen as honoree. “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 wanted to help make a difference!” She devoted herself to raising the funds and looks forward to
continuing her involvement with Make-A-Wish.