Celebrating Women

We 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.

Cathy Dusenberry’s Servant’s Heart

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.

Outside Her Comfort Zone with Ann Honeycutt

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, Blending Courage with Passion

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!

Dejuana Warren-Bigelow, An Activist and Organizer for Positive Change

What does the member of a Cone Health team who is providing COVID-19 testing on a daily basis do in her spare time?  She keeps going by giving back to make her community safe and more equitable.  Dejuana Warren-Bigelow is well-regarded as a leader in the black community.  She has established Women Empower Women, a not-for-profit that brings together individuals and community partners to provide assistance for women. 

In 2017, she partnered with other local people to bring hope to the Morrowtown community in Burlington, an area plagued with violence, drugs and poverty.  Morrowtown was the site of several unsolved murders, including Dejuana’s brother.

Dejuana participated in an Elon forum: The Core: Conversations on Race and Equity to address some of our community’s most pressing problems. 

More recently, Dejuana was one of the founders of Future Alamance a not-for-profit promoting unity among residents through economic opportunity, educational access, civic engagement and equity while celebrating the rich cultural diversity of all people.  She sought the support of the local police department to assist in improving the racial issues and issues of violence.  Dejuana communicated effectively and frequently with the police department during the planning of a rally bringing together about 400 people in a safe manner to promote a peaceful and positive impact in our community.

As a current Rising Star Nominee of Women’s Resource Center in Alamance County she was asked when she has recently done that required courage. Her answer: “I’m working at the COVID-19 testing site for ARMC. Everyday I wake up to serve and encourage our community. Being in a pandemic, while working in healthcare requires bravery and a servant’s heart. Being able to support my mother as she faces cancer has also taken courage.”

Dejuana is Leading the Way by setting the bar high not only for Alamance County but for herself as well!

Serving the Community with Casey Locker

Serving the needs of children and families is at the heart of what Casey Locker does every day as a young attorney in Alamance County.  She serves on the executive committee of Alamance County Bar Association and tenaciously fights for the clients she represents. Casey goes above and beyond representing women who have been involved in cycles of poverty, domestic abuse, violence and addiction. 

She doesn’t stop with the legal service, as Chair of the board for the Exchange Club Family Center of the Central Piedmont, Casey advocates for their mission to “break the cycle of child abuse and neglect”. The Exchange Club offers programs such as adolescent parenting, support, teen solutions classes, counseling and juvenile mentoring.  During the last five years she has been guardian ad litem with a family in Durham county. 

As a recent nominee for the Women’s Resource Center’s Rising Star Award, Casey was asked the question: What are you currently doing that excites you? Her answer: “I am representing parents in a court fight for another opportunity to parent their children. Helping them overcome obstacles and what, at times, feels like insurmountable hurdles is one of my biggest driving factors to practice family law.”

One of Casey’s favorite life mantras is: “Today you are enough. You are more than enough.”

A dedicated, loyal professional Casey Locker is Leading the Way for women in Alamance County!

WRC Board Member, Edna Parker featured in LabCorp’s “The Point”

Our very own board member, Edna Parker who serves as the Vice President of Quality at LabCorp, was featured in LabCorp’s newsletter, The Point. Parker is just one example of women leading the way in Alamance County. We are proud of her long history on our board.

The article below is from LabCorp’s The Point which sets out to highlight women’s leadership.

Edna Parker, Vice President, National Office of Quality
Community service has always held a prominent place in Edna Parker’s family life. This past year, North Carolina’s Alamance County Board of Commissioners selected her as a co-winner for Citizen Volunteer of the Year. Edna was nominated for her public service efforts in improving the health, safety and welfare of county citizens. She is an active member of several boards and her community service has included working with numerous non-profit organizations throughout the years. Edna’s compassion for people coupled with her zeal for quality is a driving force for cultivating positive changes throughout her professional and personal endeavors.

What is your current role at LabCorp? 
I am responsible for quality management for our Diagnostics segment, which includes quality systems design and implementation, quality system auditing, regulatory strategy, quality operations support, data collection and metrics reporting, response and remediation to internal and external inspections and audits, and inspection readiness and support.

I interact with people across the enterprise (senior leaders, lab managers, customer service, etc.), providing guidance and direction for complying with laboratory regulations, assisting with responses to requests for proposal, overseeing our quality audit program, addressing client concerns related to quality, writing corporate quality policies, and developing innovative ways to help our business partners develop new business opportunities.I serve as a liaison to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for laboratory regulations, work with the American Clinical Laboratory Association to promote LabCorp’s position in legislation and regulations, and review and offer interpretation to laboratory regulatory requirements. From ensuring laboratories meet accreditation requirements and due diligence reviews to training in root cause analysis and cost of quality, there are no limits to the issues and questions to which I respond.   

What has your career path been like?
I began my career in hospital laboratories as a medical technologist, senior technologist and chief technologist. I came to work for LabCorp (then Roche Biomedical laboratories) in 1984 as a laboratory manager in the hospital and clinic lab management area known as Lab Concepts. In late 1985, I was promoted to assistant technical director in that same department. In 1990, I served as Regional Manager, Quality Assurance and Safety. Next, as Associate Vice President, I assumed duties as a National QA Manager and Divisional Compliance Manager. Then, as Vice President, National Office of Quality, my role expanded to oversight of quality for the routine clinical laboratories. I assumed my current role in January 2019.

What are some challenges for women in the scientific community?
Women in science may face the challenge of myths. We may not get a chance because of misperceptions.  It might be that we are not perceived as being serious about our careers, or that we aren’t in the game for the long haul, or that we don’t have the intellectual or business savvy to advance in scientific roles. All of that is untrue, of course.

I believe that women who strive for excellence can overcome these common myths through perseverance and not allowing the obstacles and negativity to keep us down. Fortunately, LabCorp has some strong women in significant scientific roles who are role models for anyone who may be struggling to become of a part of the scientific community.

Since joining the company, describe an experience you’ve had, or a project/program you’ve worked on that you are proudest of.
While I am proud of my personal contribution to the work and success of LabCorp, I don’t work in a vacuum. Building a great team of quality professionals who are experts at what they do tops the list. My quality team makes my job easier and fun. They are such a close, hard-working, dedicated team. From monthly calls where we share best practices across the company to hosting an annual Quality department conference, the team continually learns from one another. I do my best to instill a commitment to do the best for our patient. I believe our company’s success is built on our people.

I have had many other rewarding experiences throughout my career. One important change that has resulted is how quality is preserved by others. Quality professionals have historically been viewed as the “police”.  While there may be policing in what we do, I have worked hard to ensure we have built a strong collaborative relationship with our partners in operations. 

What are the leadership qualities you bring?
I bring a solid work ethic, integrity, and a strong commitment to quality, excellence, and open, honest communication. I work hard not to be just a boss or manager but rather a true leader and mentor. I believe in leading by example while partnering with my team, supporting them and using opportunities to teach, train, and develop. I hope my staff see me as an open, honest leader worthy of the title.

 What are the qualities you seek in a leader?
Adaptability comes to mind first. LabCorp is a dynamic, global health sciences leader and with that comes constant change. Further, I seek a leader with strong character and vision, with the ability to grow future leaders who value and are guided by the same high standards of ethics and honesty.

Has being a woman shaped your journey in science?
This is difficult to assess because my path is all I know. If it has shaped my journey, most likely it has been a driving force. Throughout my education and professional life, I have been driven to be the very best at completing whatever task lay before me. I have worked to never give anyone a reason to question my ability or dedication to excellence.

Why does having women at the table matter?
I think that question demonstrates a key point. Does anyone ever ask about having men at the table? Not likely.

I think the question is really, ‘Why would women be excluded from the table?’ They should not be excluded based on myths and biases. Obviously, women can have brilliant minds, innovative ideas, as well as life experiences that can help drive success. Also, women are part of the diversity that a business should want represented in decision-making in an effort to survive and thrive – particularly in a global setting.

Just think about the responsibility of women in business who are also wives, moms, sports team coaches, or community volunteers. Many women have learned to multi-task and be successful at each task. The skill set needed to accomplish those tasks can translate into success in the workplace. Who wouldn’t want to have a woman at the table?

It’s important to find a way to get a seat at the table. If you don’t get that invitation, don’t let that stop you. Sometimes people may not know about you; let them know what you can bring to the discussion and ask to be at the table. The worst they can do is say “no” to you. 

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome as you advanced within your career?
At times, it was challenging to be heard. I had to learn how to express myself, to be confident in using my “voice”. There is a balance between being assertive and being overbearing. To that end, one of my mentors told me I needed to become more of a bulldog. I’ll never forget that. Being a bulldog is not me, although I’ve learned to be more forceful on occasion. 

What is your advice to the next generation of female leaders?
Work hard, keep your focus and remember why you chose the profession. Know there is nothing our male counterparts can do that you cannot do as a woman – in science or business.

Final thoughts?
Strong women in my life personally and professionally have helped shaped my professional journey. We each should consider how we can help someone along the way. Find and be a strong mentor. We are unique and have much to offer as women.

LabCorp’s Women in Leadership Profiles
At LabCorp, we recognize that it is only when we create the space for our colleagues’ voices to be heard that innovation can truly happen. We hope that Edna’s voice inspires and encourages LabCorp employees across the enterprise. If you are a woman in leadership at LabCorp and would like to share your story, we want to hear from you. Please reach out to Nancy Marte (Nancy.Marte@covance.com) for more information.

 

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Leading the Way

The Founders’ Award is given by the Women’s Resource Center in Alamance County to a female leader who demonstrates the characteristics of our founding members by providing outstanding contributions in the areas of philanthropy, community development and mentoring.

A Rising Star Award will be given to the most deserving nominee under age 40.

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Working Womens Wednesdays

Working Women’s Wednesdays is an exciting monthly series designed by the Women’s Resource Center and dedicated to improving opportunities for women in the workplace. This monthly event brings dynamic speakers and proven leaders to Alamance County.