Executive Women’s Day
Executive Women’s Day is a fan favorite and full of excitement, engagement and energy. We’re thrilled to welcome Libbie Summers, our Keynote Speaker, and our 2021 panelists.
Attendees will also enjoy our Merchant Marketplace with the Yum Yum Smile Shop and Capital Bee Company. For information on participation in Executive Women’s Day, please contact Cheyenne Overby at 813.230.1433 or email@example.com.
Founder and Creative Director
Summers is a born storyteller. She has authored three books, cooked for three US presidents and designed more over-the-top and under-the-big-top events than she can possibly remember. She is an award-winning producer of imaginative lifestyle content for clients in print, digital and film media such as National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Vogue, Elle, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, Garden and Gun, Redbook, The OWN Network and Paramount Pictures. Her ability to find the unique story behind people and products makes her a sought-after speaker for large and small companies looking for an authentic way to connect with customers.
In 2018, Summers opened her food-inspired living online store, Yum Yum Smile Shop, where she designs and sells “kitchen to street” fashion, accessories and SPRINKLES!
Summers lives in Savannah, Georgia with her yacht captain husband, son who wants nothing to do with her social media and a judgmental bird dog.
Colonel Julie Freeman earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She entered the U.S. Army through a ROTC scholarship and was commissioned in the Army Nurse Corps. COL Freeman earned her Masters of Science Degree from University of Virginia and she maintains board certification as an Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist and an Advanced Practice Wound Ostomy Nurse. She earned a Masters in National Security and Resource Strategy from The Dwight D. Eisenhower School at National Defense University. COL Freeman graduated from University of Alabama, Birmingham with her doctorate.
Prior to assuming command of Winn Army Community Hospital, COL Freeman served in a variety of clinical, staff, and leadership positions including Assistant Deputy for Medical Affairs, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs); Medical Surgical Department Chief, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Executive Staff Officer, Office of the Chief, Army Nurse Corps; Staff Officer, Secretary of Defense Military Health System Review; Chief, Wound and Ostomy Services, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Chief, Operations and Training, Munson Army Health Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Chief, Clinical Operations, Soldier Health Services, Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Assistant Clinical Nurse Officer in Charge (CNOIC), Intensive Care Unit, 86th Combat Support Hospital, Iraq; Clinical Nurse Officer in Charge, Internal Medicine and Specialty Clinics, Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Assistant CNOIC, Specialized Nursing Care Center, Tripler Army Medical Center, Tripler, Hawaii; Staff Nurse, Orthopedics and Neurology, Tripler Army Medical Center, Tripler, Hawaii.
COL Freeman has received multiple awards including the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Metal, Meritorious Service Metal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal. She earned the Expert Field Medical Badge, the German Army Proficiency Badge (Gold), the Department of the Army Staff Badge, and the Order of Military Medical Merit (O2M3).
COL Freeman is married to LTC (Ret) Bill Freeman. They have two children, Colby and Elly.
With more than 23 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, Erica Backus is the Director of Public Relations for Visit Savannah and the Savannah Chamber of Commerce.
A Savannah native, Erica graduated in 1993 from Statesboro High School and Georgia Southern University in 1998 with a degree in Public Relations. After graduation, Erica took a job with the Savannah Chamber where she has excelled in the area of tourism and sports marketing and public relations for the Chamber’s affiliate brands: Visit Savannah, Visit Tybee and the Savannah Sport Council.
In her role overseeing the public relations arm of Savannah’s primary destination marketing organization, Erica and her team focus on attracting journalists, bloggers and social media influencers to Savannah. Through creative storytelling, the PR team encourages travel to our destination all while promoting and maintaining strong working relationships with the Chamber’s more than 2,000 members.
Erica currently sits on the boards of Girl Scouts of the USA, Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace, Second Harvest Food Bank, Komen of Coastal Georgia and the Island’s YMCA. Former board positions include CrimeStoppers, Blessings in a Bookbag and the Coastal Jazz Association. She is a professional member and frequent speaker for the Public Relations Society of America.
In her free time, Erica enjoys strolling the Savannah Historic District, spending time with friends out on the water and watching sports with her Dad. Her current addictions include true-crime podcast, Leopold’s Savannah Socialite Ice Cream and Amazon Prime. She enjoys all music prior to 1999 and can often be found giving warm hugs and making people smile.
Chatham District Attorney Meg Heap began her career as a Volunteer Coordinator and Victim Advocate with the Victim-Witness Assistance Program located in the Savannah District Attorney’s Office. This position ignited a lifelong passion of working with victims of crime and senior citizens. After law school, she worked in the Cherokee County District Attorney’s office from Juvenile Court to Superior Court prosecuting a wide range of cases including murder and child molestation. In 1995, she began work as an assistant district attorney in Chatham County handling State Court Division misdemeanor cases, moving to Superior Court to handle felony cases in 1997. At the end of 2005, Heap was assigned to handle elder and disabled adult abuse cases, the first such prosecutor in the state. She served as Chief Assistant District Attorney from the beginning of 2009 to fall of 2010. Heap left the DA’s office and was elected District Attorney in November of 2012. Heap has served as District Attorney since January 2013. She is currently serving her second term.
She is the immediate past-president of the District Attorney’s Association of Georgia. Heap was named the 2019 District Attorney of the Year by the District Attorney’s Association of Georgia.
Heap serves on the Georgia State Bar Code Revision Commission and the Georgia State Judicial Nominating Commission. She serves on the Executive Committee for Duffie Stone, the 2019-2020 President of the National District Attorney’s Association. Heap is serving as the Chairman of the Best Practices Committee for NDAA.
She is a board member of:
- St. Vincent’s Academy
Heap was raised in Savannah, GA. A graduate of St. Vincent’s Academy, she attended Georgia Southern University where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. Heap obtained her Juris Doctorate from Mercer University. Heap is married and has two sons.
Johno Morisano is the owner of the critically acclaimed The Grey and The Grey Market in Savannah, GA, in partnership with James Beard award-winning chef Mashama Bailey. Since opening in December 2014, The Grey itself has earned a number of accolades, including being named a Food & Wine Restaurant of The Year, one of Eater’s 21 Best New Restaurants in America, one of Bon Appétit’s 50 Best New Restaurants in America, one of TIME Magazine’s “The World’s Greatest Places,” and a semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s 2015 Best New Restaurant award. Johno has taken the tools established in a career in media, arts and entertainment startups and used them to create a community-minded restaurant, working closely with chef/partner Mashama Bailey. In 2010, Johno and his wife Carol embarked on a road trip throughout the American South, fell in love with Savannah and purchased a home there soon after. In 2012, he created SLAAM Ventures, a Savannah-based angel investor to help local entrepreneurs accelerate the development of their ideas and products. While exploring his newly adopted home, Johno came across an abandoned, boarded up 1938 Greyhound bus terminal that exemplified the streamlined Art Moderne style of that era. He purchased the building and decided to combine his love of food, wine and investing in the community by transforming it into a restaurant that has quickly become a must-visit. In his latest role as restaurateur, Johno has helped establish Savannah as a culinary destination and remains active in the community, giving back to local organizations by hosting lively events in The Yard, the restaurant’s outdoor area, the proceeds of each benefitting a different local organization. Johno is also helping to reshape and expand the mission of the Edna Lewis Foundation, a Board he joined as the Treasurer in 2016, which revives, preserves and celebrates the rich history of African American cookery in America.
Mary Kathryn Moss was elected Chief Magistrate of Chatham County in 2004. Prior to her election, Mary Kathryn was a partner in the law firm of Ranitz, Mahoney, Mahoney & Moss, P.C. specializing in civil litigation, real estate and admiralty law. While practicing law, Mary Kathryn also served as Judge Pro tem for the Recorder’s Court of Chatham County and the Municipal Courts of Port Wentworth and Garden City.
Mary Kathryn graduated from St. Vincent’s Academy in 1987 and the University of Georgia in 1991 with a B.A. in Political Science and minor in Religion. In 1994, Mary Kathryn graduated from Tulane University School of Law, cum laude with a Certificate in Admiralty. Following law school, Mary Kathryn served as a law clerk to the Honorable William T. Moore, Jr., Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.
In 2006, Mary Kathryn was appointed to the Board of Commissioners of the Magistrates Retirement Fund of Georgia by Governor Sonny Perdue. In 2007, she was elected Vice-Chair of that Board and has served in that capacity since that time. Judge Moss served as President of the Council of Magistrate Court Judges in 2011-2012. She has also served as First District Representative, Second Vice President, First Vice President and Treasurer of the Council. She has been a member of the Executive Board of the Council since 2005. Judge Moss served as Chair of the Magistrate Court Training Council for many years. She is also a member of the Legislative Committee and the Rules Committee. In 2011, Judge Moss was selected by the Council of Magistrate Court Judges has their Workhorse of the Year in recognition of outstanding work ethics. In 2018, Judge Moss was selected as the Magistrate of the Year. Mary Kathryn is a member of the Georgia Bar Association, the Georgia Association of Women Lawyers, the Savannah Bar Association and the American Judges Association.
Mary Kathryn is involved in several civic and professional groups such as the Junior League of Savannah, the Propeller Club of Savannah, the Daughters of Ireland and the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians. She is a graduate of Leadership Savannah 2000.
Mary Kathryn is married to Parks Moss and they have two children: Sarah and Henry.
David E. Paddison, CPCU serves as President of Sterling Seacrest Partners, Inc., a privately held insurance brokerage and employee benefits consulting firm. A native of Savannah, David has been active in the local insurance and business community for more than 30 years.
David began his career in the insurance industry in 1984 when he joined the commercial insurance division of Palmer & Cay, Inc. in Savannah, Georgia. David has provided risk management advice and property-casualty insurance brokerage services to clients in a wide range of industries and in every region of the United States. He has developed special expertise in risk management and insurance plan design for major contractors, national retailers and large property management firms.
In 2006, Mr. Paddison and six former Palmer & Cay executives established a new insurance brokerage and benefits consulting firm, Seacrest Partners, Inc. Seacrest Partners merged with Sterling Risk Advisors in 2017 to form Sterling Seacrest Partners, the largest privately held insurance firm in the state of Georgia.
An advocate of community involvement and civic participation, David has always encouraged his team to give back to the community through their participation and support of multiple non-profit organizations. David was recognized in the fall of 2017 by Junior Achievement as an inductee into the Savannah Business Hall of Fame. David is a graduate of Leadership Savannah and has held numerous leadership positions on several boards including:
- Union Mission, Board Member and Past Chair
- Savannah Economic Development Authority, Board Member and Past Chair
- Savannah Chamber of Commerce, Board Member
- 200 Club of the Coastal Empire, Board Member
- Memorial Health University Foundation, Board Member and Past Vice Chair
- United Way Capital Campaign Committee
- Savannah Foundation, Board Member
- Armstrong Atlantic State Foundation, Board Member
- The Lady Bamford Center, Board Member
- JCB Mud Run, Past Event Chair
- Historic Savannah Foundation Race for Preservation, Past Event Chair
Gaye Reese, Executive Vice President, United Community Bank, relocated to Savannah from Greenville, SC and has enjoyed a rewarding career in banking since 1980. Her current volunteer commitments include Savannah Economic Development Authority Advisory Board; Board President of the Chatham County Family Justice Center, Union Mission Board of Trustees; Historic Savannah Foundations Board of Trustees, Board Secretary, and Executive Committee; and Wesley Monumental United Methodist Church Administrative Board.
Gaye is honored to work alongside talented, dedicated leaders and volunteers who serve our community through so many worthwhile organizations and truly believes she is blessed to work for a company that allows her the time to give back to these organizations.