After graduating from the master's program in Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi, I began a career in historic preservation with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History administering the Certified Local Government program (and many other things) for the past twenty-five years. On the side, my husband and I have rehabilitated over 40 historic properties in my now hometown of Starkville, Mississippi while serving various civic groups such as the Convention and Visitor's Bureau Board, the Starkville Main Street Board, and the Starkville Central Neighborhood Foundation, that promote the recognition, protection and preservation of our community's built environment. I've considered myself more of a practitioner than an academic so I shied away from organizations that appeared to look more at the theoretical than the actual.
However, my friend and colleague Jennifer Baughn is a long time member of VAF and I always enjoyed hearing about the conferences she attended (especially those tours!) so when she told me they were looking for a conference planner and suggested I apply I was quick on the draw. Above all, I'm a planner at heart-organization, workplan, party- and I really felt like I found my people on the Banks of the Potomac this past May. I'm so glad that the VAF Board has given me the opportunity to help them highlight and showcase the vernacular architecture at their conference sites and I'm enjoying working with the planners for the upcoming conference in Philadelphia and San Antonio. Not that VAF has ever had a bad conference, but these are going to be spectacular. I really do hope that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship with VAF and its members.
I've been recognized with 1998 Mississippi Heritage Trust's President's Award, a 2004 University of Miami School of Architecture Knight Fellow in Community Building, 2005 Top 50 Mississippi Businesswoman, 2014 TE Veitch Community Service Award, 2016 Starkville Rotary Club Service Award , 2018 Mississippi Main Street Association "Main Street Hero."
I'm looking forward to seeing you all in Philadelphia next May!