Women Warriors

2022 Women Warriors

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Jennifer Vedral-Baron, RN, MN, ARNP, NP-C, FAANP, FACHE

Jennifer Vedral-Baron has over 35 years of experience in healthcare as a clinician, healthcare executive, military leader and chief executive in medical centers, headquarters and military command environments. With a proven track record of improving clinical operations, transforming cultures, engaging team members and developing effective leaders, she had led immensely successful teams in a variety of settings.

Jennifer has an innate ability to understand organizational needs, challenges, strengths and opportunities in order to strategically set goals and achieve them. Her expertise is on coaching and developing executives, front-line leaders and staff by re-engaging them in their purpose, worthwhile work and making a difference. Jennifer brings expertise to all healthcare environments through her years as an administrator and clinically active nurse practitioner.

Prior to joining Huron, Jennifer was the Health System Director at the Veteran’s Administration (VA) Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville, Tennessee where she led 4500 staff across two states and 21 facilities in the care delivery for over 120,000 Veterans. Jennifer joined the VA after 30 years as a Nurse Corps Officer in the United States Navy completing two command tours, three headquarters tours and led the medical unit responsible for the care of the President of the United States at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Honorees

Kelley Barnes

Nominated by MTSU 2003 Alum and current graduate student Kimberly Hair-Howard

Kelley pursued her dream of enlisting in the United States Navy after high school. She became part of VF-211, which was an F-14 Tomcat squadron stationed in Virginia Beach, VA. After establishing herself in the squadron, she was tasked with picking the skill path she wanted. After visiting a couple of shops, she came across a shop that said, “This is a man’s job, you couldn’t do what we do here so move along little girl.” She knew then THAT was the path she wanted because she would not be told, “You can’t." They really put her to the test but she became one of the first women to work on F-14 engines and fuel systems as an Aviation Machinist Mate. She was deployed on a world cruise on the USS Nimitz, which was interrupted, and they were sent to the Persian Gulf for Operation Southern Watch/Iraqi Freedom. After serving for four years, she was told to “get a hysterectomy or medically separate from the service” and “You won’t be able to have children.” Again, she did not want to be told “You can’t.” She was actually pregnant when she signed her honorable discharge papers and she is the proud mom of three children. While being home alone with three kids while her husband was away at work, she decided to teach herself how to bake and sculpt cakes. Kelley later turned this hobby into a thriving business and she is now the owner of Whisk and the Whimsy. When the Women Warriors event was announced she volunteered to donate desserts for the event before she even knew she would be nominated. Kelley says her motto comes from Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She says, “As long as I keep the faith and keep picking myself up, nothing will keep me down. This motto has brought me through much in my life, as well as a strong support system. My family is everything to me!”

Anna Marie Butler

Nominated by Toni Butler Click of MTSU, Anna's sister

In 2007, Anna Marie was diagnosed with ALL leukemia after being on active duty for over 15 years. She was sent from her duty station at Ft. Bragg, NC to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, DC. She received blood transfusions, chemotherapy, and radiation. By December 2007, she received a stem cell donation. That is just the beginning of her story. She overcame leukemia! During her healing, she completed her BS in Business Administration/IT Management at Colorado Technical University. She retired from the Army in 2014 and moved from the DC/Maryland area to Murfreesboro, TN. She has served the community by helping with the Cold Patrol and participating in events of volunteerism. She was also a caretaker for our father, Wayne Butler (retired USAF) and our mother, Anna, at the end of their lives. Anna Marie attended the Kenneth Copeland Bible College in Newark, TX and graduated with a 4.0 Summa Cum Laude. Toni said, “I know her as a warrior and I'm blessed to call her my sister.”

Patricia Cooper

Nominated by CoreCivic

Patty Cooper is a Human Resource Professional with over 27 years both in Military Service and Federal Service and currently is the Senior Director of Talent Acquisition for CoreCivic. She is a Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, and spent 20 years in the Air Force culminating in her retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2014. During her time in the Air Force she led Elements, Flights, Squadron and was a Strategic Planner in the Pentagon. She also held Congressional Liaison positions, and a Joint assignment with the Joint IED Defeat Organization. Following her retirement, she spent time as a lobbyist before joining the Federal Service as a GS-14 Director of Human Resources for the Air Force International Affairs Directorate in the Pentagon. She resigned from Federal Service when her husband retired from the Navy and they made the decision to relocate to Nashville Tennessee. Her desire to work with Veterans continued, and she became a career counselor for the Tennessee National Guard. CoreCivic approached her with an opportunity to increase Veteran Recruitment and she made the transition to the private sector in 2020. Since then, she has been a Veteran Focused Recruiter, a Facility Recruiter, a Director of Talent Acquisition, and was recently promoted to the Senior Director role. She is married to Michael Cooper, a 24 year Veteran of the US Navy, and they have one daughter. Patty is a champion for veteran recruiting and retention within our organization. Her commitment to veterans, veteran and active-duty family members, and allies was highlighted recently with her appointment as the Vice President of the CoreCivic Business Resource Group (GRP).

Karlie Franks

Nominated by the MTSU Charlie & Hazel Daniels Veterans Center

Karlie served in the Army from 2013 until 2016 before she was medically retired due to injuries. After being medically discharged from the Army, she attended MTSU. While working and going to school full time, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 2021 and Master’s degree in Social Work in 2022. While attending MTSU, she volunteered at Stepping Stone Safe Haven, Tennessee Valley Health Care System, and the Center for Family Development. While doing field placement at the Center for Family Development, she researched and wrote a proposal for a grant from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. She successfully secured this grant of more than 1 Million Dollars that provides funding for a program called “Connecting Generations” (CGP). Families served by the CGP receive at minimum monthly home visits and additional services needed by the families who are raising relative children. She is currently a Receiving Area Manager at the Walmart Distribution Center in Shelbyville. She participates in the Back-Pack events sponsored by Walmart. During that time, they pack three weeks of food for children in need. Karlie’s nomination from the veteran’s center stated that her work ethic is unparalleled and that she is someone to admire. She has served our country and now our local communities.

Anna Mapps-Stanley

Nominated by Women Veterans of America, Music City Chapter

Anna Mapps-Stanley is a native of Rutherford County, TN. In her junior year she moved to Philadelphia, PA where she participated in track and field. The last track and field club she ran for was New York Masters in NY, NY.

Running has always been her passion, so her decision to join the U.S. Army Reserve was just the service branch to keep her running. She joined the 458th Medical Detachment (Dental) of the U.S. Army Reserve. When Anna returned to Tennessee, she left the U.S. Army Reserve to join the National Guard.

After serving her country for 26 years she retired in 2005. Anna is still dedicating her life and time as the chaplain for Women Veterans of America, Music City Chapter 20, and volunteering for Operation Stand Down, and various other organizations.

The love and dedication of the Army lead her son (Neal Mapps) to join the military. He retired as a Staff Sergeant. 

Anna continues to serve God as a deaconess of New Jerusalem Baptist Church. Anna’s slogan is “I am a Soldier of God and the earth He made”.

Erica McMurray

Nominated by Borderless Arts Tennessee

Erica was recruited for the military right out of high school. She was a top student academically and a ballerina. In the service, a classified action happened to Erica which did lead to an honorary discharge with full benefits. However, due to this incident, Erica was exposed to 9 years of weekly electric shock treatments that erased all of her memories up to the present time and left her with a host of mental and physical conditions. Yet, Erica never complains. She participates in dance, writing, theater and the visual arts through Borderless Arts and she  participates in bowling and basketball through other nonprofits for people with disabilities. Whenever possible, Erica creates art to help others. She makes art to raise funds for feeding children in Haiti, creates note cards to support organizations that serve those with disabilities and volunteers to assist with anything that supports those in the military. She proudly wears her Navy hat and shirts and visits military individuals in the hospital. She is never without a smile and a kind word. Her entire focus of her life is still on how she can serve others with never a word about her own sufferings. If the point of the military is to give all and serve others, Erica has done just that.

Christy Sigler

Nominated by MTSU President's Commission on the Status of Women

Sgt. Christy Sigler served in the U.S. Army for 5 years as a Signals Intelligence Analyst, Russian linguist, and Master Fitness Trainer. After her final tour overseas and completing college, she graduated from law school at the University of Memphis, where she earned honors such as the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award. She began practicing law in 2006 and chose to focus on children’s cases involving abuse, neglect, custody, termination of parental rights, adoption, and delinquency. Over the years she practiced law, she was appointed by the courts in hundreds of cases as counsel for indigent parties, mostly children. In 2013, she earned a national certification as a Child Welfare Law Specialist.

Ms. Sigler was appointed to the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth from 2011 to 2020 and is a trainer for Building Strong Brains: Tennessee’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Initiative. She also trains community groups on topics such as advocacy, equity, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Murfreesboro and has volunteered for the Nashville Oasis Center and TN Achieves. She is the mother of twins, Jacob and Noah, with Noah’s special needs driving much of her advocacy efforts.

In 2017, she came to Middle Tennessee State University as a Title IX Investigator, then became Assistant to the President for Institutional Equity and Compliance in 2021, which includes roles as Title VI Coordinator and Title IX Coordinator for the university. She is a certified DEI Practitioner and her service includes being a Trainer for MTSU’s LGBT+ SafeZone Program, a member of the Social Justice Task Force, and a Holocaust Studies Program Committee member. She serves on the MTSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women.