YWCA honors 2018 Tribute to Women Award recipients


Nine exceptional women who actively better the quality of life for thousands in the region were honored by YWCA Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Nominated by area organizations and chosen by an independent panel of judges, the nine award recipients exemplify those working to enrich the region and were honored in categories which reflect the impact of the YWCA in the region: Nurture, Empower, and Transform. This year’s Tribute to Women award recipients were honored at an awards banquet on May 10, 2018 at the historic Bristol Train Station.

Aimee Davis, 2018 Tribute to Women Chair, said, “I have long been inspired by the words of the founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, Marian Wright Edelman, who once said, ‘You cannot be, what you cannot see.’ The women honored this year through Tribute to Women demonstrate the positive impact a determined woman can make with an individual, an organization or even an entire industry.  It is our honor to recognize these women, their powerful accomplishments and the meaningful impact to our region.  Because, when we are able to shine a light and “see” good in the world, it has the power to inspire us all.”

The 2018 class of Tribute to Women Award recipients includes nine remarkable women.

Dr. Rebecca Buchanan, an eight-time All American and 1997 U.S. World Championship team member in track and field, who has devoted her life to helping young people find empowerment through physical activity.

Dr. Dorothy Conley Dobbins has demonstrated a commitment to the ideals of social work for more than 45 years. In 2016, the Tennessee National Association of Social Workers awarded Dorothy with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

As a physician, Dr. Marta Wayt, not only demonstrates clinical talent, but true compassion for her fellow human beings. Even though Dr. Wayt maintains a full-time internal medicine practice in Kingsport, she also serves as the medical director of Providence Medical Clinic of Kingsport, which provides free health care to people in need.

Described by her nominator as “the ultimate effective leader” Lisa Carter, started her career as a bedside nurse and progressively worked her way up to the role of CEO of Niswonger Children’s Hospital. Additionally, with the recent merger of the two local health systems, Lisa will now lead the pediatric service line for Ballad Health.

Educator and community leader, Dr. Louise Fincher, not only recognized as the dean of an important educational entity within the Marion community, but also as an important voice on decisions related to the health care future of the region. Dr. Fincher’s leadership in the successful launch and accreditation of the Emory & Henry School of Health Sciences last spring has been widely praised for the promise it holds in enhancing health care across the region.

Jimmie C. Miller is among the elite attorneys in the region, evidenced by numerous recognitions as one of the “Super Lawyers of the Southeast” annually since 2009. Since the courageous beginnings of her career, she has held nearly every position available in the local bar associations and has successfully served as the first female managing partner of her firm.

Through her role as the Site Director for the Branch House Family Justice Center, Karen Boyd transforms the lives of those who are victims of domestic violence. Through her efforts in helping to create one of only nine Family Justice Centers in the state of Tennessee, victims of domestic violence are provided counseling, financial assistance, medical treatment, legal advice, transportation, and compassionate assistance.

Dawn Roller has sparked positive change in the Bristol community by applying her leadership skills as a volunteer and professional in a diverse group of organizations. As Junior League President, Dawn envisioned and orchestrated the addition of a Splash Pad at Steele Creek Park in Bristol, which sees nearly 300,000 visitors annually. Dawn’s leadership and passion has also inspired other community projects such as providing free reading material for children, Thanksgiving meals for underserved families, and dental services for veterans, among others. 

Countless lives, many worthy organizations, and our region are substantially changed for the better because of Nita Summers’ willingness to work for change. Nita is a servant leader who has served in a myriad of volunteer capacities to help tackle community issues such as literacy, the opioid epidemic, abuse, the arts, and limitations facing women and girls.


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