Great Women of the Mississippi Delta Recognized at 3rd Annual Women of Excellence Program
The month of March is recognized as Women’s History Month and is dedicated to the celebration of everyday women, as well as pillars and pioneers whose accomplishments have allowed for following generations to feel empowered to constantly break barriers.
During this Month, P.E.A.R.L.S. recognized great women in the Mississippi Delta who are making a difference in their communities, through perseverance, hard work, and a heart to give.
Brandice has been actively involved at Providence since childhood. Most notably, she ministered in dace with the liturgical praise ministry. She is also a proud inaugural member of the "Junior Mother's Board," an axially of for (including Tiara Payne, Zoe Moore, and Amber Walker Sago) who faithfully accompanied Pastor Payne and First Lady Martha Payne to church events and made themselves the Pastor's unofficial "Keepers."
Professionally, she is an educator and entrepreneur. Her career in the classroom began at Threadgill Primary School, where she served as the Performing Arts instructor. Students (pre-kindergarten through first grade) were introduced to vocal music and theatre performance. Currently, she is in her second year as an Instructor of Theatre at Amanda Elzy High School and was recently named assistant coach for the Lady Panthers' Track and Field Team. Her entrepreneurial pursuits are limited only by her creativity and include hair braiding, self-care products, and a clothing line. She is also the founding director/host of "For the Culture," an open mic performance venue for the community's new and aspiring poets, writers, and musicians. However, her greatest passion is being the change that she wishes to see in Greenwood and Leflore County. Brandice organized the city's inaugural Black History Parade, marshaled local and state resources and resource persons to assist flood victims in Leflore County, and rallied a host of citizens for the first drive-by "trunk of treats" serving children in local housing developments. For her efforts and commitment, she was named one of the Greenwood Commonwealth's "Top 40 Under 40."
Brandice is the proud daughter of Troy D and Dr. Curressia M. Brown, "Big Sister" of Solomon and Kayla, "little Sister" of Troy Jr., granddaughter of Edna G. Brown and Curby and Ruby McFarland, and fiancé of Coach Anthony D. Williams. She also boasts a "village" that includes extended family and "special" grandparents, aunties, uncles, sisters, and brothers - in life and love - who are a source of constant motivation, inspiration, and support.
Ashley is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she is pursuing her degree in neuroscience. Her dissertation research looks at the post-partum neurological effects of pregnancy-related acute kidney injury.
awards and recognition for her excellent job performance. Deborah is a well-known figure in our community. She was introduced to girl scouting while in elementary school. It was apparent that she loved it.
Deborah went on later in life because she was a leader herself with Girl Scouts Heart of the South. She has and still does mentor as many young and older girls as possible.
She didn’t stop it being just a volunteer with girl scouts. She was on the board as a community advisory. She also served as Leflore county’s service unit manager until last year. Deborah remains a girls scout because she has a lifetime membership. In 2020, on July 1st, Deborah and her sister, Tanisha Baxter, decided to start their girl troop. If you have seen any young girls/ladies in purple vests, those would be the Delta Girls. They still work closely with the girl scouts. Deborah is also a member of the chamber of commerce, united way, Greenwood Rotary, Order of the Eastern Star (Truelight #20), Lady Knights (Mattie Gilbert #11), and Daughters of Sphinx (Mecca Court #11). Deborah also serves as the District Matron for the Order of Eastern Star in the Greenwood area. Service is her thing.
Deborah is happily married to Byron Harris. They have been
married for 23 years. With this union, they have four beautiful children (Francesca, Byron Jr., Chelsea, and Jasmine). One very active granddaughter (Amora) and one spontaneous grandson Lil D.
She was initiated into the Eta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc on April 30, 1997, while attending MVSU and currently serves as the Treasurer for DeSoto County (MS) Alumnae Chapter in Southaven, MS.
In May 1998, Stephanie relocated to Douglasville, GA, and began her career in the Healthcare Technology field with Patient Care Technologies (now MEDITECH) as an analyst. Eager to embrace new technology and its advancement in healthcare, Stephanie took on various leadership positions and played an intricate role in implementing and supporting Home Health Agencies and stakeholders worldwide using this software platform. Some of these roles included Interface and Third Party Systems Supervisor, Implementation Support Supervisor, and Home Care Support Senior Manager. She was busy during office hours; Stephanie also dedicated time to nurturing and supporting the love her children developed for sports. She became a youth cheer coach for Milford Youth Organization, where Kelvinese cheered, and Jamerius played football. She coached for four years before turning to team mom duties for her son's football and baseball teams. Stephanie later returned to post-graduate school and received a Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management in 2014.
After nearly 20 years of working and excelling at MEDITECH, Stephanie decided to relocate to MS to be closer to her family. She returned to Southaven, MS, in December of 2016 and continued her career in the Healthcare IT field as an Analyst at Baptist Memorial Healthcare. Again, Stephanie demonstrated her initiative and leadership skills and was appointed to lead high-profile projects and received multiple promotions within three years. In June 2021, Stephanie took a leap of faith and began a career working as a consultant with Piedmont Healthcare of Atlanta, where she continues her professional career today.
In addition to her traditional 9 to 5, Stephanie became a licensed insurance agent for MS in 2018 and was a thriving travel agent from 2017-to 2021. She is permanently moved to inspire, motivate, and empower others through encouraging words which she credits for the many professional and successful experiences thus far in her career. In 2018, Stephanie became a member of Power to Exhale, a women's empowerment organization based on love and positive energy. The experience with this ever-growing organization of 112 chapters existing in 5 countries led Stephanie to become a Power Diva for the Memphis TN Chapter. In her = role, she co-leads member activities, communication, and engagement. This, coupled with her passion for inspiring and motivating anyone she encounters, has led to Stephanie's collision of passion and purpose.
In March 2021, Sistah Journal LLC, a company providing uniquely designed and custom handcrafted stationery, was born. Seeing the lack of representation of stationery products in local and retail stores, Stephanie was moved to create a space to bring relatable illustrations, words, and images that represent women of color in a positive and inspirational light to the forefront. Not only does she use her vivid imagination to create, but her ultimate goal is also to provide a safe space for young girls and women to be inspired, discover who they are, craft their story, and transform into the best version of themselves UNAPOLOGETICALLY. Stephanie's hobbies include writing, listening to music, dancing, and spending time with family.
she went to Mississippi College, where she graduated from the Accelerated Registered Nursing program.
She's currently a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse at the Blair E Batson Children's Hospital. Brianca is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Brianca is well known in her community for pushing initiatives that promote self-health awareness and disaster recovery. In addition, she's put together projects for the Junior Diabetes Foundation and senior citizens' food/necessity drives for the people of Holmes County. She's dedicated to the wellness of the people in Holmes County and continues to strive to serve the people in her community.
at Nissan North America in Canton, MS, when she finished her bachelor’s degree in 2016. Her role model Michelle Obama was the commencement speaker at her graduation. After that, Ayanna decided she wanted to go back to school and work on her Master’s in Engineering. She completed her Master’s in Engineering in May of 2018 while working full time as a Process Engineer.
In November of 2019, Ayanna decided she wanted to break generational curses and leave her comfort zone, which was living in Mississippi for 26 years. She decided to take an opportunity at Ford Motor Company in Chicago as a Product Development Engineer. In 7 months after starting her role at Ford, Ayanna was promoted to Senior Industrial Engineer at Ford Motor Company. While working as an Engineer at Ford, Ayanna completed her second master’s degree, Master of Business Administration, while working full time at Ford Motor Company. Ayanna provides leadership at all levels. She believes in giving back to her community and motivating other individuals to achieve their dreams and future aspirations.
As for the future, Ayanna will continue to serve her community by sponsoring a youth basketball camp in the summer. This event is free to the community in her hometown (Indianola, MS). Additionally, in October 2018, Ayanna published her first book entitled “Success Takes Time.” Her motivation for writing “Success Takes Time” was to let her readers know to be successful; you will go through trials and tribulations. She also wants her readers to never give up on themselves no matter where they are. Ayanna is now working on her second book “Loving the Wrong Man,” which she plans to publish in 2022.
helps motivate women to Just Move Mentally, Spiritually, and Emotionally. In addition, she is the owner of Mrs. Kimberly's Anointed Hands LLC.
She has spent twenty-four years serving the community by educating them on healthy hair and beauty skills. Kimberly is also an Independent Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics! She is also currently employed at HCCSD in Lexington, MS as the In-School Suspension teacher. Kimberly is an Advocate for students all over the district, where she petitions God's throne of Grace and community leaders to know Holmes County Students' lives do Matter! Kimberly loves people and encourages everyone she meets. Her dream is to MASTER BUILD everyone she encounters on this journey we call life. Her favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11. She lives by it daily! Her ultimate goal is to one day hear God say, WELL DONE!
Speech followed in her family’s footsteps and attending THEE Jackson State University in Jackson, MS. She was also very active in campus organizations and was a Prancing J-Sette in the Sonic Boom of the South where she served as Co-Captain her Senior year. In 1998, she earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Psychology.
Once graduating with her undergraduate degree, she immediately entered into graduate school at Jackson State while simultaneously beginning her professional career at Mississippi State Hospital then Region 8 Mental Health Center in Hazlehurst, MS. Working and attending graduate school at the same time was not easy, but she earned a Master’s of Science degree in Guidance and Counseling in 2001. While at Region 8, Dr. Sias-Speech’s hard work paid off because she was promoted 3 times, eventually becoming the Center Coordinator of Region 8 Mental Health Center in Brandon, MS.
In 2007, she made the decision to move back to Greenwood after being offered a job at Tri Lakes Intensive Outpatient Program. After Tri-lakes closed, she landed a job at Region 6-Life Help Mental Health as a school-based therapist. Once again, she climbed the professional ladder at her place of employment, where she was then the Team Leader for the Leflore County School-Based Therapists, and finally, the Clinical Supervisor of the Children’s Services Dept. All the while, obtaining her license as a professional counselor with the state of Mississippi, becoming a certified mastered addiction counselor, and nationally certified counselor.
Still having the desire to further her educational career, Dr. Sias-Speech began her doctoral journey in the Summer of 2015 at Mississippi College and graduated with her Doctorate in Professional Counseling in 2017.
Over her 20 year span in the counseling field, she would work part-time for several inpatient and outpatient facilities that ranged from working with troubled youth to adults with alcohol and drug addiction, and those suffering with severe mental illness; all the while being the dance coach of 2 dance teams, facilitating cheer and dance camps, she continues to share her talent and creativity with the Greenwood High School Cheerleaders teaching them original cheers and choreographing dances since 2008 until the present time.
Dr. Sias-Speech is a life-long member of Jennings Temple CME where she serves as Vice President of the Stewardess Board, is the choir director, and Sunday School Teacher. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dr. Sias-Speech is married to Timothy Speech and has an awesome bonus son, Timothy Speech Jr. She is currently employed with Centene Corporation as a Behavioral Health Utilization Manager where she has served as a team lead. As you can see, Dr. Sias-Speech has been a leader all her life in her community and church. She has now taken the leap to help her community by opening her own private practice right here in Greenwood, MS, Sias Counseling Services, LLC.
Her favorite scripture is Psalms 25:14, “Friendship with The Lord is reserved for those who reverence Him. With them alone He shares the secrets of His promises.” Dr. Sias-Speech truly believes God is her friend and gives all credit to Him for all of the personal and professional success she has had in her life.