It was a huge honor and pleasure to be a part of this wonderful and inspiring luncheon with HGTV’s Erin & Ben Napier, hosted by United Way Women’s Leadership Council…Congratulations and thank yous go out to Amanda Burt, Andrea Ross, Dixie Kinnard, Lynn Whitworth, Brenda Knowles and all the other talented people involved in coordinating and planning the day! I am so proud of #MYHOMETOWN Dalton, Georgia.
United Way of Northwest Georgia’s Women’s Leadership Council held its sixth annual Spring Symposium on April 18 at Walnut Hill Farm. Erin and Ben Napier from HGTV’s “Home Town”
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United Way of Northwest Georgia’s Women’s Leadership Council held its sixth annual Spring Symposium on April 18 at Walnut Hill Farm. Erin and Ben Napier from HGTV’s “Home Town” were the featured speakers.
United Way Board Member Emily Finkell of Emily Morrow Home facilitated the event with 250 in attendance. Patti Renz, United Way board member and realtor at Coldwell Banker Kinard Realty, and Marianne Murry, United Way Volunteer Center Council member and director of marketing at Engineered Floors, shared their journey to join United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council.
Erin and Ben Napier live and restore homes in small town Mississippi. When they aren’t renovating homes, the couple and four of their best friends sell heirloom wares and durable goods at their made in the USA shop, Laurel Mercantile Co. Erin and Ben reside in Laurel, Miss., believing quality of life is best in a small town.
United Way of Northwest Georgia’s Women’s Leadership Council invited the Napiers to share their passion for revitalizing small towns and products made in America. Their dedication to improving their home town is perfectly aligned with United Way’s commitment to building a better community and enhancing quality of life.
Erin and Ben’s journey to becoming stars of their HGTV show was a bit of an accident as they were discovered on Instagram. However, their commitment to making their hometown of Laurel a great place to live was very intentional. When they began sharing the story of Laurel, they realized that there were a lot of perceived problems that didn’t really exist. It was really all about perception, and perception can be changed. Erin stated, “I started painting this picture of Laurel the way I saw it, as a beautiful town to live and raise a family in.” She began sharing photos of the exciting things they were doing in Laurel, and people took notice. Eventually, the Napiers were approached about hosting a show on HGTV and the rest is history.
“The discussion led by Emily Finkell was perfect for our community as we look to the future and seek ways to make our community a better place and more appealing for both residents and prospective residents,” United Way President Amanda Burt said. “The Napiers shared many great truths that spoke to our community. Their home town of Laurel, Miss., evolved because of the industry, much like our own community. They are strong advocates of American manufacturing and shared that anyone who is serious about revitalizing small towns has to be serious about American manufacturing. ”
The Napiers made sure to explain that change doesn’t happen overnight. They shared that an overnight success takes 10 years. Part of that, they explained, is looking at where you want to be in three to four years and listening to and only saying yes to things that will get you there.
There is a role for everyone to play. The revitalization of their town took many people with very different backgrounds and talents working together to accomplish their shared goal of making their town great. It also takes boldness. Erin mentioned that one of her favorite quotes is “The ones who say it can’t be fixed are the ones who need to get out of the way.” Their entire message boils down to this: we are the ones who decide how our community looks. As Finkell said, “We are all ambassadors for our hometown.”
This year’s Spring Symposium would not have been possible without generous sponsors. United Way thanks the following sponsors:
• Engineered Floors
• Debbie Macon
• Shaw Industries Women’s Innovation Network
• Textile Rubber and Chemical Co. Inc.
• Coldwell Banker Kinard Realty
• Emily Morrow Home
• Dixie Kinard
• Kim L. Woods Construction Inc.
• Simply Outrageous
• Walnut Hill Farm
• The Yellow Bird
For more information on United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council contact email@example.com or call (706) 876-2552