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About Our Speakers 

Dr. Valerie Carter Smith

Valerie  Carter Smith was born and raised on Long Island, NY where she attended Adelphi University majoring in sociology and religious studies.  She has been blessed to serve Virginia Baptist Life since 1988.  She is currently the Executive Director/Treasurer of the WMU of Virginia and the National Coordinator for Sisters Who Care. She has completed several degrees, and has worked as Adjunct Instructor of Sociology at JSRCC for 21 year.  While raising two children and serving as a pastor's wife, Valerie served the local church in various capacities such as women's leader leader, Sunday school teacher, youth leader, etc.  Throughout these years, Valerie has remained committee to meeting basic human needs for the economically poor and the marginalized.  


After being widowed, Valerie began a ministry in what is called, The Prostitution Zone in Richmond which is now in its eleventh year. The Streetwalking Ministry aims to reach women caught in prostitution with the good news that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and with the reminder that God has plans for each of them through Christ.  Testimonies of the Streetwalking ministry will soon be published in a work entitled "Grace in the Night:  Divine Intersections in the Prostitution Zone. "  Valerie has recently married Eldridge F. Smith, Jr.  a Richmond native and owner of EFS4 Transport.               

Debra Berry

Dr. Debra Berry is the author of Be Restored! and has encouraged and uplifted readers for over a decade. She is a gifted communicator who models service to others and encourages them through her writings. She is the NBCA Director of Publishing Administration for the Publishing Division of the Sunday School Publishing Board, National Baptist Convention.


Debra served as a ministry consultant throughout her decade as ministry consultant at Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), Auxiliary to the Southern Baptist Convention. Berry’s encouragement in speaking engagements, including for the Sisters Who Care network, helped to launch a powerful sisterhood for African American women throughout the US. 

Linda Murray Bullard

For over 30 years, Linda has been helping decision makers become more confident in their choices. She has been utilizing her project management and business skills to help people live better lives. Linda has helped with resume assistance and was highlighted in an article, "Read, Set...Plan," which was featured in Edge Magazine.


She is an author of "The Well Ran Dry: Memoirs of a Motherless Child”, which have been distributed to readers in the United States, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. The book was accepted by the Library of Congress on December 31, 2013. She is a believer and feels the Lord has been leading her to work with others on vision boarding during this season. She works with all age groups from teens to adults.


Specialties include: Startups, Personal Development, Human Capital Developer

Young Adult Spotlight 

Kamilah Jones

Kamilah is 20 years old and grew up in Chattanooga’s inner-city housing, Harriett Tuman. She is the product of a single-parent home, who has learned to trust God with her future.


Kamilah is a sophomore attending the University of Southern California studying business administration and environmental sustainability.


She has held internships since 16 ranging from working with real estate company to a nonprofit to her previous university, the University of Tennessee. Before transferring, she was inducted into the UT honor society of 1794 scholars. In high school she was captain of her school's Science Olympiad team for two years, a member of the honor society, and graduated in the top 10% of her high school class. 


She has volunteer experience including helping serve at the food kitchen, local nursing homes, and building habitat homes, and more. She was a representative for the National Honor Society locally and was a member of the inaugural cohort for the Chattanooga Mayor’s youth council. 

Christian Womens' Job Corp 

Janice Carter


>> Janice Carter, CWJC/CMJC State Coordinator for Tennessee WMU. CWJC/CMJC equip women and men, in a Christian context, for life and employment. Through over 15 sites in Tennessee and nearly 200 registered and certified CWJC/CMJC sites across the nation, thousands of women and men each year gain hope for their future.


 CWJC/CMJC sites impact lives by offering

 * High School Equivalency Diplomas

 * English as a Second Language Classes

 * Computer Classes

 * Bible Study

 * Mentoring

 * Job Readiness Skills.

Odelle Cadwell


>> Odelle Cadwell was born on the Southwest side of Detroit in a community known as Delray.  Odelle worked various jobs during her career including Comerica Bank and Metagram America and Assistant Manager for Wayne County Medical Society’ Physician’s Answering Service. It was here that she received the call to the ministry of Christian Women’s Job Corps. While working with Michigan WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) she was exposed to many aspects of Southern Baptist life. Odelle has facilitated several conferences at Bambi Lake and various churches throughout the state. She also has worked on the VBS training team for the Baptist State Convention of Michigan under the leadership of Dr. Michael Collins.  She is currently working on a Masters Degree in social Work.. Odelle accepted Christ in 1985 under the leadership of Pastor Rochelle Davis Jr. She joined Temple of Faith Baptist Church of Detroit, Mi. shortly afterward and has been a faithful member since then. Odelle is married to her husband Michael of 40 years. Together they have 4 adult children, Michael Jr, Damon, Brooke, and Anna. Odelle’s life verse is Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

About Our Entertainers

Morgan Avery McCoy

Morgan is an American award-winning actress, author, motivational speaker, educator, CEO of production company, M.A.M. Inc. & Executive Director of her non-profit, A.C.T. 4 Life, Inc. She can be seen on national TV commercials, films, and most recently the Box Office Hit Harriet starring Cynthia Erivo and Janelle Monet.


While not on set, Morgan tours the country speaking and presenting her one-woman shows: Evolution of a Black Girl: From the Slave House to the White House, She’s Got Issues, and Care for Me: The Cry of the Fatherless. Within the shows, Morgan utilizes her unique story telling ability through comedy and drama to motivate audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Deborah Gunn

Deborah and her husband, Alex of 33 years, have been members of New Covenant Fellowship Church for over 19 years. They serve in several capacities including the Marriage Ministry, the Outreach Ministry, and Deborah has been a member of the Praise Team for 18 years.


Deborah’s favorite

book in the Bible is Proverbs. Her favorite scriptures are “The Lord sees everything you do. Wherever you go, He is watching” Proverbs

5:21, and “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”, Matthew 22:37


In 2019 she started a company called INSPIRE. INSPIRE is an acronym for INSPIRATIONAL, NETWORKER, STRATEGIC, INNOVATOR, RELATABLE and ENTHUSIASTIC. The company provides professional development workshops and innovative Women’s conferences

About the Missionaries

Janice Upton

Janice was a little girl growing up right here in Chattanooga when she dreamed of becoming a missionary in Africa. She began writing to a friend (male) who was already on the field in the South Pacific to learn about missionary life and to encourage him.


When this pen pal became her husband-to-be and returned from four years on the field in Papua New Guinea, she was a young Bible School graduate ready to embark on both the adventure of marriage and missions. As God would have it, however, she and J.C. did not return to the field until they were in their fifties. They have spent 3 years serving in South Africa and continue to share in churches the challenge of being involved in missions at home and abroad.


Together, they have participated in short-term mission trips to Kenya, Guatemala, Virgin Islands, and South Africa, New Mexico Native American reservation. On December 12, 2020, JC was promoted to heaven after being married to Janice for over 50 years. JC and Janice are parents of three delightful adult children. They also have nine precious grandchildren. Together they have developed and directed marriage retreats, workshops, and seminars. They have provided lay counseling for many years to engaged and married couples seeking to grow and improve their relationships.


Janice has several devotionals published in the book From My Heart to Yours-Inspirational Messages from the Wives of Ministers compiled by Patti Hummel.


Janice’s passion is facilitating ladies' Bible studies and small groups. She delights in seeing ladies fall in love with the Word of God and apply it to their daily lives.


 Janice Upton is a speaker, teacher, missionary, workshop leader, counselor, and ladies' bible studies facilitator. Her training includes a diploma in Christian education, Bible, and missions from Prairie Bible College, a B.A. degree in elementary education from Covenant College, and two M.Ed. degrees in Special Education and Adult Education respectively from the University of Tennessee- Chattanooga, and Knoxville.

Bertha Vaughns 

Missionary Bertha J. Vaughns is a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. At the age of seventy-six, she serves as the current Director of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) of the Union Baptist Association (UBA) in Houston, Texas, since August 17, 2019.

Missionary Vaughns served as the Director of Missions at Bethany Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, where Dr. Steve W. Hall is Pastor from 2011-2017.

She has traveled to five (5) Continents (Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, and South America) and joined God where He was at work in Greifswald, Germany; Lusaka, Zambia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Bowen, Nigeria; Senegal, West Africa; The Middle East/The Holy land/Israel; Brazil; and Grand Goave, Haiti; LA passé, La; Kennewick, Washington; Galveston, Texas; McAllen, Texas; South Padre Island, TX, and Houston, Texas.

In 2006, she was instrumental in setting up an Endowment Fund for Christian Leaders’ development through the Baptist General Convention of Texas (Texas Baptists). The Endowment Fund is earmarked for the Baptist Student Ministry at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, where she served as the BSM Director for ten years.

A lifelong learner, at the age of 65 in June 2008, she received a Master of Arts in Christian Education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Houston, Texas. In August 2008, she was commissioned by the Southern Baptist International Mission Board as a Missionary. She committed three years of her life as an International Service Corps Master’s Missionary in Senegal, West Africa. She lived among the people and told Bible Stories in three Wolof Villages to Muslim women and children. While there she writes, her second book, “Utterly Amazed.” The book is a written debrief of her three-year journey in Africa.

She returned from Africa in 2011, and in 2012 she was rehired by Texas Baptists to re-plant the Baptist Student Ministry at Prairie View A&M University; she retired in December 2015. 


Missionary Vaughns remains actively involved in Texas Baptists life by serving as a Board member for:

  1. The Union Baptist Association (UBA)/Association Leadership Council (ALC)/Member
  2. WMUTX/Sisters Who Care Texas Advisory Council
  3. Texas Southern University-Baptist Student Ministry Endowment Advisory Group, Founder/Development Chair
  4. DMin Candidate, Evangelism and Missions, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Class of 2023.

Life Bible Verse: Psalm 37:4 “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”


Carolyn Fountain


Carolyn and Leroy have been married forty-two years. For thirty of those years they served as church planter missionaries with the North American Mission Board. They have served as church planters in Georgia, Alabama, Texas and now Louisiana. In December of 2013 they moved to New Orleans where Leroy served as Church Health Strategist and worked to equip church planters and Carolyn became the Women’s Mission and Ministry Consultant for New Orleans Baptist Association.

Carolyn is a retired elementary school teacher with Rockdale County Public Schools in Georgia. She earned a Master of Science Degree in Educational Leadership while teaching full-time. She and Leroy have three adult daughters, Charena, Marsha, and Bridgette and five grandchildren.

Carolyn’s passion is ministry to women in and through the local church. As a church planter one of her strategies for reaching and discipling women was to organize and equip women in the local church to lead in the ministry. She is a conference leader and Bible teacher, speaker, writer, and organizer. Carolyn served on the initial planning team for Sisters Who Care with National Woman’s Missionary Union. She also served on the first African American Advisory Council with Texas WMU which organized Sisters Who Care in Texas. Leroy and Carolyn now live in Monroe, Louisiana where they plan to continue in ministry to facilitate church planting.

CURRENT MINISTRY

Carolyn was elected in September 2019 to serve as Women’s Mission and Ministry President of the Louisiana Baptist State Convention (first African-American to serve in this position in the 170-year history of Louisiana Baptist Convention). Responsibilities include:

Preside at State Women’s Missions and Ministry (WMM) Council meetings during the year.

Participate in the statewide women’s events. Participation involves leading and/or facilitating breakout sessions. Preside at business session of annual WMM meeting.

Serve as voting and participating member of the WMM scholarship committee, State Missions Offering Committee, Annual Meeting of Advisory Committee and the State Mission program Committee.

Serve as a member/vice president on the National WMU Executive Board.

Promote missions and ministry awareness, involvement, and support in the local churches and associations throughout the state of Louisiana.

CHURCH AFFILIATION

Leroy and Carolyn are active member of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church of New Orleans.

Support the work of Women’s Ministry and WMU

Co-teacher with Leroy with FABC Marriage Enrichment Ministry.

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