01cover story FLPLIt’s time again to showcase a few of the leading ladies in Fayetteville. And the best part is, you’re invited. This year’s third Fayetteville Ladies Power Lunch, which celebrates and connects the “lionesses in our community” according to its website, is set for Aug. 10. The goal of the event is to provide a space for networking and inspiration.

The event includes a shopping opportunity and wine-tasting before the lunch from 10 a.m. to noon and then again from 2-3 p.m. The luncheon portion runs from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes a keynote speech by Melody Chalmers, principal of E.E. Smith High School and the 2016 North Carolina Principal of  the Year.

Chalmers said it’s an honor to be chosen to share her story with other professional women in her hometown, where others first “poured into” her. “I think it’s definitely a privilege to be able to … give back to the community,” she said.

As a principal and educator, she said she plans to talk about the importance of education at every level in the community.

Since she has been a part of the Cumberland County Schools system, she said there’s been a “shift in our society as it relates to (students’) preparedness.

“The impact of education and the importance of making sure students are prepared to meet the needs of the ever-evolving, changing world we live in” is something she said she takes into consideration often.

Chalmers began as an English teacher at Cross Creek Early College in 1998. “Once an English teacher, always an English teacher,” she said. Even as a principal, she said a part of helping students to be well-prepared is encouraging good reading and writing practices.

Past keynote speakers for the Ladies Power Lunch include Dr. Sandhya Thomas-Montilus, Serenity Integrated Medical Spa owner; and Bo Thorp, founding artistic director of the Cape Fear Regional Theatre. Col. Marsha Lunt, emergency manager at Womack Army Medical Center for 15 years, will speak on Nov. 9 as the final motivational speaker in 2017.

Tickets must be purchased in advance for $35. Vendors who wish to participate can expect to pay a $75 admission cost, which includes one lunch ticket.

Peggy Manning, FLPL advisory board member and Park Lane Jewelry owner, said there will be upward of 60 vendors comprised of local businesswomen.

During the “Shopportunity,” attendees will have the chance to browse and buy. If you’re not able to purchase your favorite item from each vendor, Manning said there will be many door prizes you can win by entering your business card into the drawing.

Manning said the FLPL mission is, in part, accomplished by enhancing local women-powered businesses by supporting them financially.

A portion of the 2017 profits will be donated to the Kidsville News Literacy & Education Foundation, according to the FLPL website. The nonprofit’s mission is to “improve literacy, education and character development among America’s youth by providing support for various early learning and literacy-based initiatives nationwide.“

The event takes place at the Ramada Plaza at Bordeaux, at 1707 Owen Dr. Guests, vendors and sponsors can use #FLPL to document the event’s happenings on social media.

This year’s sponsors include Bizcard Xpress, Carolina Selfie Stand, Dale’s Florist, Gates Four Golf & Country Club, J&J Desktop Publishing, Omni Plaza, Premier Cardiovascular Center, The Richardson Firm, Rocket Fizz, The UPS Store, McKee Homes, Up & Coming Weekly and Women’s View Magazine. To register or find contact information for any of the sponsors, visit www.FayettevilleLadiesPowerLunch.com.

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