Celebrating WomenWe are storytellers, highlighting local female leaders who have been tirelessly committed to the cause of advancing women, the next generation of emerging female leaders who are inspired to make a difference, and those women who have weathered their own life transitions while moving forward on their leadership path.
Dreama Caldwell is, perhaps, the only Founders’ Nominee who has had a song written about them by a Grammy nominated musician – “The Rising of Dreama Caldwell.” While that, in and of itself is impressive, the work she does for our community stands on its own merits. Dreama is an advocate for the people in Alamance County, working with Down Home Alamance, an organizing project led by the working people of North Carolina’s small towns and rural communities to increase democracy, build power, and grow the good in Alamance County.
She also works with As A Family, a local nonprofit dedicated to serving the community, families and individuals through advocacy, mentorship, education and support. Dreama works to provide a clothing exchange, cook meals for people and, when COVID hit, to secure needed supplies to the most vulnerable in our community.
Recently, she has worked to launch a cash bail fund for those who cannot afford to post it and is working with the local police department to advocate for community members. One of her nominators said, “In a world filled with hate, she regularly weights into issues with a courageous sense of right and optimism.” ” She presents an intelligent, logical perspective as well as an emotional concern for others.”
As a Founders’ Award Nominee of the Women’s Resource Center, Dreama was asked the question: “What have you done recently that required you to be courageous?” In Dreama’s words: “Running for office is the most courageous thing I have ever done in my life. I knew running for office would be a challenge for me in many ways. I am not the typical politician and do not fit the mold. I have a community college education, born into poverty and raised in public housing, teen mom and formerly criminal justice involved. I knew all of this would come up and would be used against me. However, I chose to own my past because I know that many in our county are or have been in similar situations.”
Her response gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on how we create lasting change for the good in our community. Believing that all people deserve the chance to learn from past mistakes and motivate others to do the same.
As one of her nominators commented, “Dreama Caldwell is a leader in our community and she is running for political office in our county, not because she wants to be a leader in that setting, she is running because she is a leader in our county and beyond. We thank Dreama for her work to ensure that we as a community and individuals pay attention to how we see people of color.”
Her favorite quote is from Shirley Chisholm, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” Dreama Caldwell brought her folding chair and is Leading the Way in Alamance County raising her voice for the most vulnerable.
Sherri Singer is passionate about mentoring students and faculty, working within our community and sharing her love of history. As the Department Head, Social and Behavioral Sciences at Alamance Community College, she used her passion to create the Adjunct Institute at ACC 15 years ago to keep part-time faculty engaged while enhancing their instructional skills. Her work in this area has been recognized the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Mentoring students has long been a priority for Sherri, her office is a frequent gathering space for students and one within which they might experience Sherri’s brand of “intrusive advising.”
Sherri strives to serve the community by partnering with ABSS teachers to open doors to ACC and where multiple times a year she organizes live historical exhibits at ACC celebrating the rich history of the Piedmont and its contributions to The World Wars, Women’s Suffrage and the Civil War including an exhibit of the original copy of the North Carolina Constitution and a World War II traveling exhibit. Her community work also includes being on the boards of River Mill Academy and Friends of Alamance Battleground.
One of her most recent projects has been to work with the ACC Student History Club to create the “COVID Chronicles.” An online site where students can upload images. In Sherri’s words, “We’re all seeing and hearing about the pandemic in the national news, but we wanted to document what our students are seeing through their own eyes, on a personal level. That way their children and grandchildren can look back and understand what these current students faced.”
As a Founders’ Award Nominee of the Women’s Resource Center in Alamance County, Sherri was asked about her favorite quote or life mantra. Her answer was one of Benjamin Franklin’s: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Sherri said: “Education and life should be engaging and when we are involved we learn.”
Sherri Singer, in the words of her nomination letter, “is Leading the Way” to making education engaging and interesting for ACC students and learners young and old throughout our community.”
Sarah Black’s passion is “to prevent and eliminate child abuse”. She has worked to that end in her role transitioning the Exchange Club Center for Prevention of Child Abuse of North Carolina into The Exchange Club’s Family Center of the Central Piedmont, a nonprofit responsible for nine different treatment and prevention programs. Before the transition to the nonprofit, Sarah was the County Director. She now serves as the Executive Director of the agency and brings an indefatigable energy to her work, constantly on the lookout for new approaches to the work and for grants to fund their programs. She inspires loyalty and dedication in people, in fact a program participant was inspired to become a board member to help support the work of the agency. Sarah attributes her success in life to learning to overcome the challenges life places in front of her. Through her experiences she models resiliency to staff and people participating in their programs.
Sarah has honed her leadership skills throughout her career focusing on the mental and emotional health of children and their families in Easter Seals, UCP, Family-Based Strategies, Parents & Children Together in Hawaii and working as a program supervisor in home-based prevention services to at-risk populations.
Even her volunteer work has provided conflict transformation and strategic visioning services to churches within the NC conference of the United Methodist Church. Since 2015, she has also provided coaching, counseling, and concrete support to fathers in prison through Orange United Methodist Church –Fabulous Fathers and Forgiven Ministries Prison Ministry.
As a Founder’s Award Nominee of the Women’s Resource Center in Alamance County, she would tell her high school or college self: “fear not, have courage, learn to confront fear, see the challenges as opportunities and move forward in courage despite negativity.”
Sarah Black is courageously Leading the Way in Alamance County improving the lives of at-risk children and their families.
After starting her work life with Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC, Cathy had a long career in business as the office manager of a general dentist practice and then finished her professional career managing a busy orthodontic practice.
You could say that she retired early, unless you know her because that was just the start of Act II. Cathy Dusenberry embodies her favorite quote “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” as evidenced by her passion for our community as a volunteer in many organizations. She has been an incredibly active and devoted member of First Presbyterian Church of Burlington through her service as an Elder. Countless brides have been handled with care and Cathy’s attention to detail as the Wedding Coordinator. She has mentored many young women while serving as a Junior and Senior High Youth Advisor and Confirmation Partner. Cathy’s real heart is graphically portrayed in her work on the national and international mission trips with nine trips to Moyobama, Peru where she worked enthusiastically to build medical clinics, churches, and a water system for a remote jungle village.
She served 2 terms on our Women’s Resource Center Board of Directors, assuming the reins of being board president unexpectedly in the middle of a term and continuing on serving in that capacity for an additional 2 years. Though her time as board president she was a team builder, leading by example, never asking anyone to do anything she was not willing to do herself. She even continued to chair the Leading the Way and Herb Festival committees as Board Chair. She was the first to arrive and many times the last to leave an event making sure everything was perfect! she did everything and anything that needed to be done, often pulling in resources or connecting us with people she knows who might not have previously worked with us.
Her skills as a fundraiser has benefitted not only the Women’s Resource Center but Habitat for Humanity, Alamance Arts and the American Cancer Society. Cathy and her husband Reid not only do the heavy lifting or mopping floors, or washing dishes, or building houses they are generous donors to the local nonprofit community.
Cathy’s quiet and unassuming demeanor is perhaps her hidden strength, she leads by example and observes and learns from others to adapt and make whatever project she is involved with as successful as it can be. Cathy’s heart for service has meant that she throws herself into every project with passion and grace.
As a current Founders’ Award Nominee for the Women’s Resource Center, she was asked the question: “What have you done recently that required you to be courageous?” Cathy’s answer:
“We were able to travel to Ecuador in January of this year and while there, visited several of their national parks. One, Cajas National Park, is in an alpine region with many high peaks. I overcame my basic fear of heights to hike to over 14,000 fee in altitude to an overlook, much to the surprise of our guide Kike and my husband! The 360 degree view was well worth the climb and low oxygen at that height!”
Cathy is Leading the Way by her example that your Act II isn’t about sitting down, it is about serving others.
Learning to thrive outside her comfort zone has enabled Ann Honeycutt to develop many skills over her life. From learning to trench a one-person tent as a camp counselor in college, to snow skiing and, most recently, leading a major fundraiser for Alamance Arts she has put those skills to use in her many endeavors as a teacher and community volunteer. After a long career as a teacher, principal, consultant and content coach in Alamance and other school systems in North Carolina, Ann became involved in a big way in Alamance County community organizations.
Ann has served on the board and as president of the Alamance County Sister Cities Program in South Korea and Mexico. This organization started in 2000 with a mission of promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation, one individual and one community at a time. The vision of this of AC Sister Cities is to enrich the lives of county residents by promoting appreciation for different cultures and the global connections of all peoples. Clearly this important work is needed during these challenging times.
Again as a board member and president of Alamance Battleground Friends, Ann jumped in to help tell more stories of women’s history and committed to telling a more diverse story at Alamance Battleground. Under her leadership the board not only improved their financial standing and programming but created a younger more diverse board to better reflect the community.
As a current Founders’ Award Nominee for the Women’s Resource Center, she was asked: “What have you done recently that required you to be courageous?” Ann’s answer:
“In 2019 I became the chair of a major fundraiser for Alamance Arts. I was truly terrified as I was following in the footsteps of a strong leader and it was far outside my comfort zone. I lost a lot of sleep but jumped in like I know exactly how to organize the event. Saying I was nervous would be an understatement. I wanted to resign, but knew that was not an option. I needed someone to hold my hand and be my guide. That person was there and with a lot of encouragement and help from outstanding individuals, we made it happen. Now into year three of the project; I feel confident and ready for the challenge.”
Ann has embraced the challenges the current pandemic has raised by becoming creative in her approach to planning the 250th Battle of Alamance commemoration, remote site visits in Mexico and other endeavors. Ann Leads the Way in Alamance County with her roll up the sleeves and get the work done approach to everything she does and it is truly appreciated by the people with whom she has worked.
Emily Sharpe, Wellness Program Manager for TIAA Financial Services has earned awards for her program including Certified Healthy Workplace Leader by HealthLinks. TIAA is recognized as one of Working Mother 100 Best Companies due in part to the wellness program. She personally advocated for more lactation rooms and a mode for shipping breast milk for moms who are traveling. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she created training for employees around how to manage the new and ever-changing challenges.
Emily is the current President of the Alamance County Service League where she leads and inspires women to volunteer and fundraise for the Special Services Fund and other community needs. During her tenure she has chaired the Holly Days fundraiser that directly supports families in Alamance County who are struggling to make ends meet. She created the Families in Transition program to be a resource for ABSS for local homeless families with school aged children.
Emily is an elected official serving on the Elon Board of Aldermen. Her position is unique as she is the only young female Alderman and her platform supports young families in Alamance County. Emily’s insight is always with families and women in mind and her energies concentrate on supporting small business to encourage development of the town in commerce and growth.
She was asked as a current nominee for the Women’s Resource Center’s Rising Star Award, “What have you done recently that required you to be courageous?” Her response: “Recently, an act of hate took place in our town. As an Alderwoman, I believed it was our duty as a Board to come out against the act that took place. The Board did not agree. I put out my own statement. Being the only female on our Board, I often feel that I need to make my voice heard, sometimes force for my voice to be heard. I will continue doing so even when it isn’t easy.”
Emily Leads the Way in Alamance County using her voice, skills and talents to courageously advocate for the health and wellbeing of families at work and in her community!