Praying to the Heavenly Father seemed to get four successful women through tough and confusing times in their lives.
The women made it clear that it also took hard work, dedication and commitment to achieve the level of success they’re experiencing today.
The Clayton County Chamber of Commerce’s Women in Business Council hosted the fifth annual “Women in Business Spotlight Luncheon,” on Thursday, at The Morrow Center. There were 125 guests at the event, mostly female professionals.
The guests heard the stories of several panelists, including Clayton County Solicitor General Tasha Mosley; Lee Fincher, business manager for Fincher, Denmark & Williams LLC; Dana Lemon, Georgia Department of Transportation board member and president of W.D. Lemon and Sons Funeral Home; and Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson.
Mosley was the first. She said she was born in Massachusetts, and it wasn’t until college that she realized she wanted to be a lawyer to help people fight for their rights. “I didn’t know what type of law I wanted to go [into], so it wasn’t until my internship that ... I wanted to go into prosecution,” she said. “I knew that was were I was going to be most effective.”
According to Mosley, she earned a dual degree in political science and economics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. She said law school was a dog-eat-dog world, and it took sometime to get use to it.
She said it wasn’t easy for her, and she called her mother for comfort. Her mother, she said, told her “the best conversation you can have is getting down on your knees and talking to God.”
Mosley went on to earn a law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, and eventually became a deputy chief assistant solicitor general in Clayton County and moved on to become an assistant solicitor general in Henry County. She became Clayton County’s solicitor general in 2008.
Business Manager Fincher was next on the program. She said her talent is getting things done, and unfortunately, there wasn’t a degree for that.
Fincher said she attended the University of Georgia, and studied to be a speech pathologist, but she later realized that wasn’t the major for her. “I am pretty much tone deaf,” she joked.
She said she got married and quit college to get a PHT—putting hubby through. She then worked more than a decade in the insurance industry, and reached a point in her life where she felt secure, confident and under control.
She explained that in 1985, her first child was born, and soon after, she had two more children. “When you think you got everything under control, God will humble you,” she said.
Fincher said prayer got her through the changes life brought upon her. “Live as I knew it for over 10 years, wasn’t my reality,” she said. “My life was screaming babies and sleep deprivation.”
Fincher said she eventually received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Georgia State University. She has been a business manager since 1996, for her husband’s law firm.
GDOT Board Member Lemon was the next panelist. She explained that, aside from her role at the department of transportation, she is the president of W.D. Lemon & Sons Funeral Home in McDonough, and works with her six siblings.
She said how she got into the mortuary business is another story. Lemon said her father was passionate about opening a funeral home, and did so in 1959.
She said, while growing up, her father’s business was never on her mind. She became a successful professional and was earning a decent living. In 1994, she said, her elderly father was sick and asked her to join the family business. She said she prayed and mediated about it, because she knew it was not going to pay her what she was receiving at the time.
After two months, she said, she agreed to fulfill her father’s wishes. In 2003, she said, she became the first woman selected to the Transportation Board of Georgia. She sought the position because she was advised by U.S. Congressman David Scott’s (D-Ga.) team to do so. “It has been an amazing journey, tequila is my friend,” she joked.
Clayton County District Attorney Lawson was the last to speak. “Talk about the stress of being the last one, I am dying,” she kidded, as the audience burst into laughter.
Lawson said she always had an interest in law, even at a very young age. She received her bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Duke University in Durham, N.C. Around 1980, she became a police officer and stood out like a sore thumb. It wasn’t common to see a woman police officer at the time, she explained.
She said the job required her to respond to uncomfortable and sad situations. “I realized I didn’t want to do it,” she said. She knew policing was not for her, but she still had a great interest in law. She got her law degree from the University of North Carolina, and eventually became a juvenile court judge, and in 2009, Clayton County’s district attorney.
Crystal Black, vice president of the chamber, said each year, the organization seeks to find women in the community who can share stories that are relatable and inspiring.
“People left feeling inspired and motivated to do more, to do better, so for us, the chamber's Women in Business Spotlight Luncheon was a success,” she said.