Lee Decker is the vice president and chief compliance officer at Novant Health who was recently named chair of the 2022 Heart of Winston-Salem Campaign. With Lee’s Heart Ball Executive Leadership Team, she is focusing this year’s efforts on improving healthy food access for Forsyth families. There are 47 food deserts in the Triad, with more than 150,000 people in our community living with food and nutritional insecurity every day. “We know food insecurity is associated with higher levels of cardiovascular death and malnutrition is associated with poor cardiovascular outcomes,” said Lee. “Addressing social determinants of health and access to healthy food in innovative ways will greatly impact the health of our community.” At Novant Health, Lee ensures there is a comprehensive, high-quality compliance strategy and culture. She also addresses the organization’s growth, competitive landscape and regulatory challenges.
Angel Putnam is the owner of Pigtails & Crewcuts in Winston-Salem and Greensboro. She studied business management and uses that knowledge every day in her work. “I’m passionate about my businesses because I grew up in foster care, group homes and even on the streets,” said Angel. “I wanted to create a place of inclusion for all children to feel loved. We are blessed to be able to make a difference in the lives of children directly in our community through donations and sponsorships with our business. We are honored to be able to be a part of so many wonderful families in the Piedmont Triad. In her limited free time, Angel enjoys creating memories with her family; husband, Robert, and children, Tielyn (16), Jailyn (10) and Dyllin (9) whom she homeschools. The family loves to travel and experience knew things as well as play with their 120-pound American bulldog, Oxford.
Autumn Smith is the owner of Autumn Smith Photography which specializes in luxury portraits, maternity and headshots. She is currently working towards earning her masters in photography. “I have loved the camera since I was a girl, and that fun hobby grew into a passion and career as I got older,” said Autumn. “I love to show my unique view on life through the pictures I take. The best part is getting to capture these precious moments in life that you never want to forget! Most of all, I’m in the business of telling stories! From your engagement to the wedding, a newborn, now a family, to the kids graduating high school. I grow with my clients.” When not behind the camera, Autumn enjoys spending time with her husband and three children. They love hiking, reading and going to the mountains!
Carmela Thompson is a massage therapist with Inner Strength Pilates. She moved to NC from the Midwest in 2002. “Some modalities I’ve learned include Hot Stone, RUT trigger point, K-tape and mind gut connection,” said Carmela. Her passion for holistic care and proper nutrition is evident in her daily work. She graduated from the Living Arts Institute in 2010 as a NC licensed massage therapist. In her free time, Carmela enjoys kayaking, running, working out and quilting.
Christina Brunner is a farmer and the owner of Dragonfly Farms LLC and The Market by Dragonfly in Pfafftown. She has a bachelor’s degree from The NC School of the Arts. We started a small goat farm in in 2007 with the idea of clearing our recently purchased land,” said Christina. “Once the goats were established, we began milking them and creating soaps, lotions and other body products using that milk. After a number of years of testing recipes and sharing these products with our friends and family, I finally had the courage to sell them to the public! We found a small shop in King and decided to open our retail location, The Market by Dragonfly. We knew this shop needed to not only focus on our products but on other small farm offerings as well! We built our shop on the idea of local products from local people!” In her spare time, Christina loves spending time with her husband, Chris, camping, farming and hanging with their two dogs.
Kelli Elliott is the owner and operator of Cornerstone Cafe & Catering which is a locally owned and operated café that specializes in homemade comfort food made using original recipes. “Aside from that, we also provide first-class catering services and event space rentals,” according to the website. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and opened her shop in September of 2021. Her favorite things are cooking and all types of animals. She has two grown children, and her younger child is currently a junior at Appalachian State University pursuing a degree in psychology.
LaDawn Barker is the owner of Hammer & Stain Yadkin Valley, a wood and paint studio that offers public workshops as well as private parties where attendees can make items such as custom line art, cozy knit blankets, floral wreaths and door hangers. She has a degree in computer information technology from Forsyth Technical Community College. She is proud of her ability to navigate a woman-owned business through a pandemic which was extremely detrimental to small businesses. She adapted her business practices and models to suit that changing climate. In her spare time, LaDawn is an avid DIYer, a wife of 10 years and a mother to a rambunctious and independent two-year-old girl and three fur babies.