As we celebrate International Women’s day and Women’s History Montgh we want to shine a light on a few of the wonderful women that are making history in Atlanta. From East Cobb to Buckhead, Alpharetta, and Sandy Springs0 read on for their stories of ingenuity, strength, and compassion that continue to inspire us today.
Struggling with depression after college, Umama turned to fitness to find herself and learn better self-discipline. “As I was playing flag football, I questioned why the recreational sports team model didn’t exist in the fitness industry. Why couldn’t I join a weekly yoga, barre or CrossFit team?” she recalls. And like any true innovator, when she couldn’t find what she was looking for, she built it herself.
Read more about Umama here.
Focused, determined, goal-getter—these are all words to describe Su Longman. With a heart of gold at the golden age of 60, this serial entrepreneur is dedicated not only to herself and her business, but to speaking out for those without a voice.
A mother of five and former school teacher, Buckhead’s Michelle Hodgson has full hands and an even more full heart. In 2008, Michelle founded Children Helping Children (CHC), a nonprofit developed in honor of her infant son, Cole, who passed away the prior year. The mission of CHC is to encourage children to identify their unique, personal gifts and find ways to use those gifts in community service. Ongoing projects of CHC include assembling and donating “Be Well Bears” to children in local hospitals and the Little Hands, Big LOVEFEST—a teen-led, service-based festival that shares inspiration and community fun.
Read more about Michelle here.
Imagine looking up from your laptop and seeing the best beaches Cabo San Lucas has to offer right outside your window. That’s the view Cynthia Goode, founder and CEO of Little Pink Book.com has each day when she splits her time between Buckhead and her house in the ultraluxe area of Pedregal. “I go down there every couple of months and work via computer. I eat tacos, fresh fish, and fruit. Plus, I get centered. It is a paradise,” says Cynthia.
Read more about Cynthia here.
Michelle Middlebrooks, 49, is a Battalion Chief for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department (AFRD). Atlanta born and raised, she has been with the AFRD for over twenty years and held her current position for almost two. She is only the fourth female in the department to have held the position. Posted at Station 21 on Roswell Road, Michelle oversees the five fire stations in the Buckhead area. On top of all of that responsibility, she is currently working toward her Master’s in Public Safety Administration from Columbus State University.
Read more about Michelle here.
Paulina Brand has lived all over the world. Born in the Czech Republic, she moved to the States over 20 years ago but has also lived in Austria, Brazil and Malaysia. From this variety of living experiences, Paulina has picked up many memories and friends, as well as recipes, along the way. But it is East Cobb that she considers home, having lived here for the past 16 years while raising her two boys. “I’m an East Cobbler!” she teases.
Read more about Paulina here.
Kelly Page launched her BlueGrayGal blog in 2015 and her audience exploded, responding to her delightful images and relatable tips. She’s parlayed social media success into business partnerships with brands such as Amazon and Calico, and has appeared on “Atlanta & Company.” Chatting with Kelly reveals that her blog’s gal-pal vibe reflects an authentic extension of her personality. Peruse the site for everything from home décor ideas and organization tips to fashion and beauty advice.
Read more about Kelly here.
Lizz Etter hates to relax. Just two months after having her second child, Wyatt, she was back in her local Gold’s Gym working out at least six days a week. “Kickboxing is my favorite! Slowing down is just not my forte. My BODYFLOW® class ends with 10 minutes of relaxation and I always leave before that part,” says Lizz.
Read more about Lizz here.
Diagnosed with the progressive disease Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD) at age nine, Carden has never let it slow her down. If anything, it has only pushed her forward. In 2017, she was named to the FSHD Society’s Executive Board of Directors, one of the youngest board members in decades. In addition, she is the Chairwoman of Atlanta’s Accessibility and Inclusion Task Force and recently worked on a resolution to change the city’s disability icon—which passed this January!
Read more about Carden here.
Ashley Miller has landed in a music lover’s paradise. An insatiable music acionado and voracious reader, Ashley works in the Creative Studios at Sewell Mill Library & Cultural Center, a so-called “library of the future.” As one of the library’s senior assistants, she plans programs for teens—potential young authors and musicians.
Read more about Ashley here.
When Cathi Huff turned 50 years old, she decided she’d buy a retired racehorse. It was an inevitable step to discover her ultimate passion. That passion: sharing the love and blessings that animals bring into our lives by making us slow down. She turned it into a reality four years ago, when she and her husband purchased Atlantis Dream Farm. It was the perfect place to house her new pet (Bronx, the racehorse) and to grow that group of furry friends to include cows, pigs, chickens, geese, a micro donkey and more.
As a single mom of five children who has been through homelessness, divorce, and a stroke,48-year-old Alpharetta resident Elena Taylor knows that being a mother under any circumstances takes ingenuity, resourcefulness, and a whole lot of support. It was that understanding and her passion for motherhood that spurred her to leave her job as a patient advocate for Hospital Corporation of America and start her blog,TheInnovativeMom.com, on Mother’s Day 2016. From reflections on never-ending to-do lists to posts filled with pick-me-ups and body positivity, Elena describes the site as “a huge hug and encouragement for moms.”
Ever since she was a little girl, Dr. Tannaz Modaresi was fascinated with the human body and how it worked. “I can remember walking on my dad’s back to relieve him from joint pain,” she says. “So later, when I learned what chiropractic was, it clicked in my mind what I was doing, even back then.” Dr. Modaresi went on to receive her Doctor of Chiropractic from Life University in 2010. In 2014, she and her then partner, a well-known orthopedic surgeon, established Injury & Wellness Specialists of Georgia in Norcross.
Six years ago, after a harrowing journey to find a natural way to treat her daughter, Hayden’s, life-threatening eczema, longtime Alpharetta resident Jennifer Hankey discovered her life’s purpose. Today, she is dubbed “The Green Queen” and spreads the word about the health effects of toxic chemicals. Through her business, Green Queen Botanical Services, the former Best Self Atlanta magazine Over 40 & Fabulous! Top 10 winner is a leader in the cleaning, pest control, and lawn care industries by offering eco-friendly service alternatives for homes and schools
Dr. Tasneem Bhatia is on a mission to spread a message of holistic health. The board-certified physician specializes in integrative and emergency medicine, pediatrics and prevention. Her Buckhead practice has been around since 2009, and her newest location, CentreSpringMD+Peds, in Alpharetta/Johns Creek opened in 2016. The focus? To think outside the Western medicine “box.” Dr. Taz (as her patients call her) targets the core issues of her patients and develops individualized plans for treatment.
After college, Jan taught high school English, drama, and speech. She and her husband, Bill, an orthopedist, planted roots in Sandy Springs and started a family. Jan brought her passion for the arts to the area, embracing every opportunity to become involved with arts programs. She’s served on the boards of the Alliance Theatre and The Atlanta Opera, but she says her recent involvement on the board of the Sandy Springs Arts Foundation, raising funds for the popular new Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center, and as a co-founder of the City Springs Theatre Company is her pride and joy.
Read more about Jan here.
Five years ago, Rosie, a master gardener and Chastain Park Conservancy board member who emigrated here from England, undertook the daunting task of creating an organic urban teaching farm, right in the heart of Sandy Springs. “People come from all over to take classes here—we teach about how to grow and use herbs, container gardening, composting, even how to grow healthy food for tailgating!”
Read more about Rosie here.
Inspired by her journey to relearn golf’s techniques after an injury, Dr. Greta Anderson began her academy, Dr. Greta Golf, for women and girls to help them further their athletic goals. This Ladies Professional Golf Association Teaching Professional offers everything from individual lessons that fit your abilities and schedule to group lessons that maximize your skills.
Read more about Greta here.
Helen Ngo says she started Capital Benchmark Partners, located in Sandy Springs, because she, “Saw a need for one-on-one financial planning for younger women, especially those who are just starting off in their careers and who didn’t really have much guidance or accessibility to a financial planner.” And so her company was born. Six years later, she helps women, primarily between the ages of 30 and 45, navigate all of the significant life changes that happen within that window of time. Think tackling student loan payments, purchasing a first home, even getting married and merging finances— that means encouraging women to go after big dreams and big checks.
Read more about Helen here.
Animal lover and humanitarian don’t begin to describe Michele Stumpe, 52, who has put decades into passion projects that serve our local community as well as wildlife and impoverished communities in Africa. An accomplished attorney, she also does pro bono work for multiple charities and was recently named Best Self Atlanta‘s Give-Back Award Winner.
Read more about Michele here.