Deborah Bryant

Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant speaks to a Women in Business luncheon held at the Landers Center in Southaven. A panel of women business leaders also offered comments and thoughts about their role.  

Mississippi’s First Lady sees women holding positions of influence in business as a growing segment that will offer benefits to the state’s economy.

Speaking at a recent Women in Business luncheon event at the Landers Center, Bryant provided her thoughts about the role of women in business and heard from a panel who related their experiences in the business world as a woman.

The luncheon, hosted by the Southaven Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Community Bank, featured Bryant, along with a panel that included business owners, marketers, and an attorney, among others.  

The panel had Elmore Road Veterinary Clinic owner Brandi Ellis, DVM; attorney Shannon Williams; Simple Strokes Therapy Consultants owner/president Robyn Smith; Google Certified Digital Marketing Specialist Felicia Christian and Southaven Chick-fil-A Catering Director April Armstrong taking part. Their discussion was moderated by Tina Tatum, owner of Coffee Central.  

In her comments after the luncheon, Bryant said women have unique skills that translate well to successful businesses.  

“They’re servant leaders, so they are the best leaders,” said Bryant. “Women have had to juggle so much through the years so they’re capable of multi-tasking and they have a lot to bring to the table. We (Mississippi) are among the top states for women-owned businesses. Women are forging ahead, bringing a lot to the table and a lot to offer.”

Bryant pointed to her husband, Gov. Phil Bryant, who she said has welcomed more women to hold top leadership positions in his administration, and appointed the state’s first female U.S. Senator in Cindy Hyde-Smith to represent the state in Washington.  

“I look at Phil (Gov. Bryant),” Deborah Bryant said. “I think he has more women in top leadership positions in the state as directors over the different departments because he knows that women get it done. So, I think men are accepting that women have a lot to bring to the table and have a lot to offer to move our state forward.”

Bryant said she was also impressed by what the panelists brought out during their time on the stage at the luncheon.   

“The speakers were all dynamic and they brought such good information to the table, information that gave us a chance to reflect on our own lives and apply to our lives,” she said.

Bob Bakken is Managing Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.   

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