FLPL logo 1 origInspiring. Educating. Empowering. Celebrating. These are all good things. Things we all need. Fayetteville has an organization that was created just for that. It’s the Fayetteville Ladies Power Lunch, a quarterly event designed for just for women.


The 2017 lunches are scheduled for Feb. 9, May 11, August 10 and Nov. 9. Each event opens at 10 a.m. with a shopportunity and wine tasting featuring a variety of vendors. The lunch portion starts at 11:45 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. and includes a keynote speaker along with prizes and networking opportunities. The shopportunity ends at 3 p.m.


The Fayetteville Ladies Power Lunch is run by an advisory board that collectively works to make each power lunch interesting and purposeful — and fun. The board consists of local businesswomen Keri Dickson, Peggy Manning, Chi Chi Okoroafor, Jill Merrill, Cely Graham, Belinda Wilkerson, Dr. Mary Kansora and Joan Richter. “We want everyone who comes to the Fayetteville Ladies Power Lunch to leave feeling empowered and inspired. We try to bring in speakers from different backgrounds and professions to share their insights with the group.”


Dr. Sandhya Thomas-Montilus M.D. is the first speaker of the year. She’s lived in North Carolina since 1997 and practices internal medicine in Lumberton and Fayetteville. Montilus practices integrated medicine, which treats the cause of an illness not just the symptoms. She also practices pain management and addiction medicine.


On May 1, Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s founding Artistic Director, Bo Thorp, is scheduled to speak. In 1962, Thorp along with a small group of local thespians, performed two shows: A Christmas Carol and The Night of January 16. From this modest first season the Fayetteville Little Theater was born. Later, the group changed its name to Cape Fear Regional Theatre. Thorp has been honored for her work with several awards including the North Carolina Award, which is the highest honor the governor can bestow on a civilian.


Fayetteville native Melody Chalmers has come full circle in her career. She is scheduled to speak at the August luncheon. Chalmers graduated from E.E. Smith High School and was a North Carolina Fellows Scholarship recipient. She received a degree in English Education from North Carolina A&T State University. Chalmers returned to E.E. Smith as an English teacher in 1998. She earned a master’s degree, served as principal of Cross Creek Early College High School and is now the principal of E.E. High School, In 2016, Chalmers was named the Wells Fargo N.C. Principal of the Year.


Colonel Marsha Lundt will speak at the November Power Lunch. She served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps for 30 years before transitioning to serve as the Emergency Manager for Womack Army Medical Center for 15 years. Since she joined the military, she has succeeded in the high pressure, high profile, male-dominated profession accomplishing many “firsts.” Although this is admirable, her role as a mentor to other women in the military is one she finds the most rewarding.


Tickets to the Fayetteville Ladies Power Lunch cost $35. Register at www.fayettevilleladiespowerlunch.com.

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