Women in Leadership: Morgan County


In honor of Women's History Month, we interviewed four women in our Morgan County community who hold leadership positions. Last month, our CFMC Communications Team, Danie Becknell and Emily Metheny, read a series of interviews of Fortune Magazine's 50 Most Powerful Women from Time Magazine. Naturally, we thought, what words of wisdom will women leaders in Morgan County impart? Here's what these four leaders had to say.


Shannon Kohl, Martinsville Mayor

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmUHzWSbE2o
Watch this RTV6 interview with Mayor Kohl at this link.

Shannon Kohl jumped into the political arena in 2008 when she ran for Martinsville City Council. She became the first female Mayor of Martinsville in 2016. She says she is just a regular person trying to make a big difference in the community.

What is the best and worst decision you've ever made?

"I can't say I've made a bad decision because I feel every decision helps you make a better decision. I think the best decision I ever made was getting involved in the city council, getting more involved in the community, understanding how everything works, and the best decision I have ever made in my career is running for mayor."

What was your dream job as a kid and why?

"When I was little my dream job was to be a mom and be married and raise kids. I did do that so I did get to do my dream job. And I was very thankful I was able to do that."

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

"I think the hardest thing for women leaders is to get respect sometimes and be taken seriously. That's the biggest challenge I have seen for women in a leadership role. I think with just time, any woman that gets into a position like this, it doesn't happen overnight. They have to prove themselves. [We] have to work harder to prove ourselves than men I feel like, but I think if you do a good job and are sincere in what you say, and you are fair, firm and consistent, you end up getting that respect. And we all work together well."

What woman inspires you and why?

"I think the women who inspire me most are the ones who are so involved in our community. I have a great deal of admiration for the Judge, Jane Craney. I think she is a woman who does a great job and has earned every bit of respect she gets. Another woman is Valerie Hugart, our county treasurer. She is not afraid to do to the right thing. Becky Tumey in [Valerie's] office is her right hand and is right there with her.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

"I think there will be a lot of challenges for the next generation. I think the biggest challenge is social media because you have no privacy. It is harder to make decisions without being scrutinized more in the public. It's going to challenge us in a way that is going to make it harder to find good leaders who take the abuse that social media puts you under. And I think that's going to be a problem in the next generation."

Mindy Taylor, Executive Director of 

Mooresville Chamber of Commerce 


Mindy Taylor (right) poses for a photo with Peggy Mayfield, State Representative, District 60

Mindy Taylor serves the county as the Executive Director of the Greater Mooresville Chamber of Commerce. Being the only person in the office, Taylor gets to do a variety of different tasks ranging from billing and invoicing to event planning and fundraising. 

What is the best and worst decision you've ever made?

"I would say one of the best decisions I have made was accepting this position. I was at real estate at the time and the chamber was very small. I had never been to a chamber meeting, but I had a couple of people come to me [who] said, 'I think you would be very good at this.' At the time I was on [another] Morgan County board of directors and did a lot of fundraising events. So, I came here not knowing a lot about the job. I kind of had to create my own job description, but then it was a perfect fit for me. My children were young at the time, [so] the flexibility [was an added benefit]. I have been able to grow along with the chamber so I am very fortunate to be in this position."

I don't really look at bad decisions because, I think I learn from everything. So I guess, I don't really believe in bad decisions if it's going to help you in the long run."

What was your dream job as a kid and why?

"It has a lot to do with my upbringing, When I thought about being a grownup as a kid, I really just wanted to be a mom and have kids. I wanted seven kids because when I was  little I wanted a lot of kids, but I always loved planning parties and planning events, which is a lot of what I do today."

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

"Themselves, because I think if you believe you can do, you can do it and I don't think anything is stopping women from being leaders other than themselves."

What woman inspires you and why?

"I can't name just one. I have been so fortunate to be surrounded by strong professional women not only in this business, but in my family. If I started naming names, I would probably forget one. I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many strong women."

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

"I don't really see any challenge. It kind of goes back to if they believe they can do it, they can do it. A few years ago, I graduated from the Morgan County Leadership Academy, and I was surrounded by women leaders, and I believe that the men in this area support it and welcome it. I think the biggest barrier would be themselves."

Dr. Michele Moore, superintendent of M.S.D of Martinsville 



In 2014, Dr. Michele Moore took the position of superintendent of M.S.D. of Martinsville. In this position, she runs a big business in a small county with 800 employees and nearly 5,000 students -- her favorite part.

What is the best and worst decision you've ever made?

"The best decision was going back [to school] and becoming a teacher. I was in a classroom for 14 years and that was just wonderful. I loved it. I loved connecting with the kids. I was at Monrovia High School, and it was a fabulous place with fabulous kids there. I really enjoyed it. Worst decisions, you know, my grandpa always said don't have any regrets so even though they were not the best decisions, I learned from them, so I can't say they were the worst decisions because they were great learning experiences." 

What was your dream job as a kid and why?

"When I was little, I used to play schoolhouse all the time. I would make my brother and sister sit and play school with me. I liked to play school with the neighbor kids, and I just loved school. It was fun." 

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

"Confidence is always something that I catch myself doing, and I catch a lot of women in leadership. We want to apologize for what we are doing, and we just have to be more confident in making decisions and not always saying we are sorry for them. Just having confidence in yourself." 

What woman inspires you and why?

"Probably my great grandmothers and my grandmothers because one of my great grandmothers worked in a canning factory, the Red Gold Plant in Indianapolis and another one of my grandmothers was a laundress worked in a laundry and they both worked hard. I think hard work always taught me that if you work hard you can make your situation better so the value of hard work was indispensable." 

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

"Confidence again. It's hard to juggle it all. I did not focus on my career when I was raising my son and only when he went to college did I start focusing on my career again to be a superintendent because of the hours. It's hard to juggle family and your job, so you have to make sacrifices. I made them for my family, and it was the best decision to focus raising my son and now that he is in college and I have a different career that's a lot more demanding. I've had the best of both worlds I think." 


Susan Haynes, communications director of 

Mooresville Consolidated School Corporation and 

CFMC Board Member 


Susan Haynes with Wendell Thaler

Susan Haynes was born and raised in Morgan County, and continues to work here to better the community. Through her positions with Mooresville Consolidated Schools Corporation, she had to reach out to the community, which eventually led her to serve on the board of the CFMC

What was your dream job as a kid and why?

"I actually entered college as undecided major because I felt there were a lot of things out there I wanted to try. I'm sure to the frustration of college professors, [and] a little to my parents, although I don't think they were as worried because they knew I was driven to accomplish something. I don't know if there was one ideal dream job, but I think the position I am in now I am very lucky to do different things, be involved with different community groups, and whether it has been taking pictures of kids doing a great event or helping plan a wonderful event, working with the media. I've had a lot of opportunities in the job that I have and it's always something new every day. I never know what might come along that day, and I really appreciate having a job that gives me that kind of energy and that kind of opportunity."

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?

"I think the barriers are what you make of them. If you are strong and competent in what you are doing, if you have looked from different perspectives, if you have looked at the data and you are confident in what you have done or decision you have made or path you have chosen, I think you just focus on that. I think that if you focus on the barriers they become larger. If you focus on the completion of the task or the goal at hand, then you are going to get to the goal at hand." 

What woman inspires you and why?

"Tons of them. I have been blessed to have a long lived family so I have a great array of great grandmothers, grandmothers, my mother. I have had wonderful mentors through school, through the work place. I think that's very important. I have friends and peers I think of as mentors; watching what they are doing today; having the opportunity to sit down and talk to them about what they have done; what decisions they have made what problems they have tackled. As far back as people who have dealt with issues from the Great Depression on through to today. There are so many women who have done so many things and the more people I know, the more I learn." 

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

"I think again for the next generation that the challenges are what you make of them. If you see the challenge and focus on the challenge and not a solution, you are going to get bogged down and you won't get past it, so focusing ahead, focusing big. I have heard the quote that if your dreams don't scare you, you aren't dreaming big enough. It's ok to be scared by them. It's ok to have that inner monologue of am I doing the right thing and second guessing myself. It's ok to make mistakes as long as you have the understanding mistakes can be great learning opportunities. I think you will get there. Don't focus on the barriers, focus on opportunities that are out there and focus on the big picture ahead. Focus on the future."

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The vision is for the Community Foundation of Morgan County to be the philanthropic leader and a catalyst in order to maximize available resources in our County

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