It Starts with a Square

This is Her Town: A Podcast About Women Who Inspire

BY Chelsey Handley

Having now completed Season 2 of Her Town (with 30+ episodes on Main and Mulberry’s YouTube channel), it’s the perfect time to reflect on a few stand-out episodes that truly inspired me.

Faith Moves Mountains

When I first cut my teeth in podcasting, I was so thankful Collierville native Ellen Humerickhouse was my first guest. I went into that conversation like an interview, 50 questions printed up and ready to read off one-by-one, but that format quickly went out the window. Authentic conversation is what we strive for at Main and Mulberry, and Ellen Humerickhouse is as genuine as they come. Ellen runs La Limyé, a children’s home for orphaned girls in Haiti. As we were talking about the complexities of parenthood, I asked, “How do you find the energy to fill your own cup?” Ellen replied, “I think prayer. Usually, if you come in my house, you’ll find me on my knees because I’m just worn out and tired. It’s just a constant, ‘Okay, Lord. Keep me focused.’ It’s not so much motivation to be productive, it’s more of a discipline. And you’ve got to just get up and fulfill the duties you have been blessed with… everything is a blessing, if we look at it through the right lens.” Ellen’s words still inspire me to keep faith on the hard days.

Overcoming Tragedy

It is in the darkest hour that our true character shows, and when Marianne Dunavant’s fiancé was tragically murdered, she decided to “give her pain a purpose.” Instead of ‘self-serving’ during her time of grief, Marianne became a Victim’s Rights Advocate, going into prisons to face her greatest anxieties. “Some people would say, ‘How could you go into a prison and talk to the inmates?’ And I said, ‘You can talk to people who are with you all day long, but that’s preaching to the choir.’ I saw an importance of going into the prisons and talking to the very people who were capable of breaking the law and even creating murder, because the reality is that 98% of [inmates] are coming back out. I needed to be in that Victim’s Impact Class to help them understand how their actions affected others.” Marianne goes on to share how rehabilitating a servant’s heart can be, and I still carry her words of “suffering well” and “giving pain a purpose” with me today.

Power of Positivity 

Gina Hollenbeck shared her story with us of her ongoing fight with lung cancer and the power of positivity. In peak physical health, Gina’s nursing intuition kicked in after having troubling symptoms that revealed her terminal illness. “I have a saying,” shared Gina, “‘Mud or Stars,’ and it comes from a book by Dale Carnegie. He says, ‘Two men look through the same prison bars. One sees mud and one sees stars.’ You can’t always control your situation, but you can control your focus. You can control whether you’re looking at the negative, the mud, or you’re looking at the stars. I think that holds true for everyone. Even in the deepest, darkest situations, there are stars… The choice is yours.” Gina’s words have been a guiding light in conversations with friends on how to keep perspective no matter the season.

Greatest Leaders Are Servants 

As Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing, Laurie Tucker left a legacy of mentoring others during her 35 years at FedEx. Remember the verse, “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48)? “If you commit to being a mentor,” shares Laurie, “you’re committing to get to know that person and hear how that person is experiencing life. I love mentoring. And so you move from being a mentor to being a champion. I would be that person’s champion to help these young leaders think about their brand attributes and help them develop a better personal brand. That was one of my commitments and it still is to this day.” My conversation with Laurie was a reminder that after all these years of people pouring into our professional and personal cups, we’re also responsible to pass on our gifts to the benefit of those with whom we interact.

It’s been an honor to listen to women from all walks of life, who authentically share the peaks and valleys of navigating their personal and professional careers on Her Town. I’ve learned there is no shortage of women passionately sharing their gifts with their communities.

These stories are just the tip of the inspirational iceberg that make up the first two seasons of Main and Mulberry: Her Town. Join us on any podcast platform and keep an eye out for Season 3! 

By: Anna Bell 

September/October 2021 Tour Collierville Magazine