Women in Business

BY Karen Fuller

These women mean business.

Not your average artists and entrepreneurs designers and doctors stylists Realtors and bankers our eleven leading ladies are movers and shakers motivated by the challenges of their chosen career paths and professions. Marshalling their resources they rally to the top of their industry setting the bar for excellence among their peers and raising it higher and higher year after year. Clear vision finely honed goals logical objectives a passion for people and staying on point and ahead of the game is the secret to their success.

Jeri Leigh Dearing

Blue Moon Glass Art

Work available at River to Sea Gallery 225 Water Street downtown Wilmington


Being a glass artist demands flexibility creativity and fast thinking skills Jeri Leigh Dearing likely acquired and honed through parenthood. The mother of six children the youngest being 15 she credits her children with an ever-present willingness to “roll with the punches ” which facilitated her ability to always work outside of the home.

Today Jeri creates kiln-fused glass art at her private home studio and sells it at downtowns River to Sea Gallery. Her creations are very personal. “When someone purchases a piece of my art I want them to feel special like they have something unique that touches their spirit as it touched mine when I designed it ” she says. “It should be as if the piece has been just waiting for them to come along and find it.”

Jeri recently began adding glass powders and crushed glass to create more organic looking works. She attributes her success to being her own woman living life in her own way and expressing this through her art. Her mentor fellow glass artist and teacher Robert Leatherbarrow inspired her with memorable advice: “What is rule number one? There are no rules!” a quip she evokes to ward off worry about making mistakes or wasting materials.

Its this willingness to try and fail that brings freedom and inspiration to her work. “Creating fused glass is an ongoing learning experience. There are fragile and often unpredictable properties of the glass with heat and I could never find a boring moment in its exploration ” she explains.

Ladies of Landfall Realty

Landfall Realty

1720 Drysdale Drive Wilmington



You dont have to be an actual resident of Landfall to understand that a community of its size scope and diversity supports its own real estate agency. This gated community North Carolinas first includes 2 000 properties on 2 200 acres of land and a plethora of homeowners associations each with its own bylaws and covenants. Landfall was established in 1986 and while it is richly populated with homes condos and patio houses there are 500 undeveloped sites.

“There are a lot of factors that go into purchasing property here ” explains Alison Bernhart Broker in Charge “And people who buy here are taking on a lifestyle not just a parcel of land.”

Visit their beautiful new office now located at 1720 Drysdale Drive just outside the Drysdale gate in the Landfall Shopping Center to meet some of the agents all Landfall residents who work at Landfall Realty. Each is a part owner of the company with decision-making and marketing responsibilities.

Becky Spivey

A Broker for 13 years Becky shares some admittedly clichd advice: “Dont give up too easily especially in the real estate market today.” She enjoys the family atmosphere at Landfall Realty and throughout the community and appreciates the opportunity to become an expert by focusing on one area. “Being exclusive to Landfall gives us special focus on whats best for our customers ” Becky says.

Alison Bernhart

Alison a Broker since 1976 moved to Wilmington in 1990. As the Broker in Charge she is the point person for most of the transactions that take place.

“And the job we do doesnt end at closing ” she says adding that agents remain a source of information and friendship to clients. Alison sees mentors in every experience: “We are influenced often by great stories and folks around us who have had incredible careers.”

Karen Thompson

Karen Thompson loves showing people around the area and selling her favorite neighborhood Landfall. “Living here feels like living on vacation ” she says. A neighborhood advocate family woman and Sunday school teacher this year Karen will also serve as president of the board of Friends of the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Martie Davy

A six-day work week three daughters in college and a new puppy at home leave little time for leisure for Martie Davy but she wouldnt change a thing. Davy who moved to Wilmington in 1995 loves the small-town-on-a-fast-track business climate. She considers herself lucky to work closely with her mentor: Landfall Realty general manager Ken Kirkman.

Dr. Kristin L. Main


5225 Sigmon Road Suite 130 Wilmington



Since she was seven years old Kristin Main has wanted to be a dentist.

“I always wanted to make peoples smiles better ” she says.

Today Kristin practices with Dentalworks providing all phases of general dentistry including tooth-colored fillings root canal therapy crowns bridges implant restorations dentures partial plates and Invisalign invisible braces.

Her philosophy is to practice conservative dentistry with compassion and ease for all of her patients. Kristin is well versed in valuable techniques of advanced dentistry such as implant dentistry and advanced oral surgery techniques; she is also skilled in medically clearing patients prior to medical surgeries.

One of her favorite aspects of the dental profession includes helping many adults and children every day see long term results in the short term.

“Everyone has to go to the dentist at some point ” she says. “So I have an extremely diverse array of clients.”

Talking with her patients to determine the best course of treatment is very important to Kristin who appreciates the social and advisory roles a dentist must play.

“I truly take a dedicated interest in the healthy smile of every one of my patients ” she says.

An active beach volleyball player and occasional coach (for Ashley High School) in her spare time Kristin also appreciates the physical aspect of being a dentist.

“I could never sit at a desk all day ” she admits.

Dr. Main counts her mother and grandmother as mentors who provided inspiring examples of hard-working women who made their own way.

Rosalyn George MD

Wilmington Dermatology Center

710 Military Cutoff Rd Suite 320 Wilmington

(910) 256-4350


Just three years ago board certified dermatologist Dr. Rosalyn George helped found the Wilmington Dermatology Center with a goal of making personal service a daily mission. Today the practice enjoys fantastic success and even plans to expand the office to add new services and an additional provider. Her philosophy on business and on life the best advice she ever received has helped shape her career and entrepreneurship: “Never compromise on what you know is right. I always try to do the best for my patients.”

“What has made us so successful during the past few years is our dedication to providing exceptional service and care to our patients ” Rosalyn explains. She adds that everyone has a different opinion about what this means. For Wilmington Dermatology Center it boils down to individualized attention responsiveness and making sure it is providing patients with the latest treatments and best available care. Rosalyn mentions advancements such as utilizing electronic medical records introducing some truly amazing treatments such as CoolSculpting and direct involvement in clinical research trials as just some of the ways of keeping up with the evolving world of medicine.

“I do my best to listen to our patients needs and create a tailored plan for them ” she says “And if we do this while having fun and laughing occasionally all the better.”

Rosalyn enjoys being involved in the community frequently donating her services and making financial contributions to several local charities. And in her spare time she enjoys water activities with her two children ages 4 and 6 “With sun protection of course.”

Star Sosa

Spectrum Art & Jewelry

The Forum 1125-H Military Cutoff Road


Star Sosas gorgeous jewelry gallery brings new meaning to the term retail therapy. To understand what we mean simply walk through the doors of Spectrum Art & Jewelry in The Forum shopping center. It is a feast for the eyes and the soul filled with color light and delightfully unique jewelry glass and art. But what really sets Spectrum apart is the warmth and charm you experience there. “Many of our clients tell me they come to Spectrum whenever they need an attitude adjustment or a pick me up ” Star says. “We are like an art spa! You cant help but smile when you come here.”

With a focus on custom jewelry design and creation Stars award-winning jewelry design team has more than 100 years of combined experience. “I love this business because we get to be a part of our clients very special moments: engagements weddings anniversaries and births.”

Stars favorite local nonprofits are the DREAMS Center for Arts Education and WHQR Public Radio. She spends her spare time enjoying outdoor activities like swimming kayaking and bike riding.

Michelle Clark

Broker/Realtor ALHS SFR

Intracoastal Realty Corp.

523 Causeway Drive Wrightsville Beach



Michelle Clark is engaged in one of todays most demanding industries real estate. But to talk to her youd never suspect the challenges shes facing.

“There actually is some good news ” she explains. “People want to move here from other areas. Were very lucky in that regard.”

A transplant herself Michelle easily relates to relocating clients. In fact its her favorite part of the job.

“Wilmington has so much going on its easy to tell the story about how great the city is ” she says. “Helping people find homes start new lives and take advantage of what the community has to offer is easy in a place as beautiful as this.”

She also gives back by volunteering with a host of local organizations and serving on the boards of Welcome Home Angel and the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla.

Michelle says that by keeping honesty and integrity at the core of every interaction she has been able to earn the trust and confidence of others in order to stay afloat in tough times.

“Intracoastal Realty has a stellar reputation and were well respected among our customers and among other Realtors ” she says adding: “Its quite a compliment when your competitors think highly of you.”

Dale Lacy

Vice President Sales Manager

Bank of America Home Loans

(910) 256-0268

During the last 20 years Dale Lacy has built a solid and steady career in the mortgage banking industry originating mortgages for primary residences second homes and investment properties. But she didnt do it alone. In fact she credits her strong network of Realtor-based contacts and referral clients for her success.

“In sales never take your referral sources for granted ” she advises. “There is always a competitor waiting to take over the minute you stop doing your best work.”

For the last two decades Dale has worked for the same company. Bank of America she says has been great to work for especially as a mother.

“I have always had the flexibility to work from home ” Dale says. “And when my husband was relocated it was easy to transfer with Bank of America to Wilmington.”

Prior to moving to Wilmington 8 years ago Dale worked for Bank of America in VA TN Charlotte and RTP and hopes to never leave. So far this has been her favorite city in which to work.

“Everyone here is professional but more relaxed than in other cities ” Dale says. “Plus the real estate market is very diversified here allowing me to work with all different types of clients.”

Dale also loves to take advantage of Wilmingtons lifestyle spending spare time boating and fishing and at the beach with her family and friends.

Jennifer France & Leslie Stachowicz

Big Sky Design Inc.

4037 Masonboro Loop Road Wilmington

(910) 793-3992


Big Sky Designs interior designers Jennifer France and Leslie Stachowicz consider themselves resources go-betweens for clients and craftsmen using their design expertise to direct the process.

“We act as a turnkey for the client greatly reducing their time and energy while inputting our creativity and know-how ” says Jennifer. This way Big Sky is able to use its relationships with local experts to offer clients access to materials and products they would otherwise never see.

Leslie explains that the growing online or “do-it-yourself” marketplace can be confusing for clients. “The millions of material options available today are overwhelming ” she says. “But we help our clients residential and commercial focus ideas into cohesive designs that speak to their own aesthetic wishes.”

Big Sky Design was founded in 1997; its longevity is a testament to a diverse portfolio and an excellent network of contacts.

“Interior design is a process ” Jennifer says. “The best outcomes are where we as professionals guide our clients projects and bring our material resources to a project.”

They do this through their close connections with the local design community working with local artists skilled woodworkers custom concrete fabricators faux finishers upholsterers custom drapery shops tile installers galleries and framers.

What they love most about the biz is the methodology creating design for people to use and experience.

“We get to be the facilitator for people to see their ideas and dreams come into reality ” they say. “Thats a pretty great feeling.”

Claire Mains

Encore! Consignment Boutique

5814 Oleander Drive Wilmington



Encore! Consignment Boutique owner Claire Mains has created the atmosphere of an upscale boutique including the selection and service you expect to find in one. “My shop is fresh clean and uncluttered ” she says.

Her discerning eye for quality and style makes her very selective about her apparel accepted on consignment.

In her spare time Claire likes to walk at the beach kayak on the waterway dance at every opportunity and relax with friends. She adds: “I wish I had more time to pursue my real passion painting watercolors.”

Angie Davis

Indigo Salon

3 Keel Street Suite 2 Wrightsville Beach



With 20 years of salon experience Angie Davis is committed to leaving the tiniest carbon footprint possible. She is excited about the opportunity to educate and offer a safe healthy alternative to the health-conscious and beauty-oriented beach community. Selecting only organic products like John Masters LuLu Organics Organic Color Systems and Skinny Skinny is important. They are plant-based ammonia-free rich emollient products with essential oils and nutrients. Angie always says “Beauty doesnt have to be toxic.” She hopes every visit to Indigo Salon is an experience not just having your hair done.

Georgeanne Banks

Repeat Boutique Fine Consignments

Bradley Square 5629 Oleander Drive



Seventeen years ago Georgeanne Banks opened Repeat Performance Upscale Consignments in University Landing with her mother-in-law Vivian Vaughan. Since then she has owned Trade Secrets Consignment Boutique in Porters Neck and presently owns Repeat Boutique Fine Consignments on Oleander Drive. Georgeannes years in the consignment business have been time well spent making lasting relationships with both customers and consignors. Her shop is an upscale thriving boutique where treating people with southern hospitality is always in style.

“I love every aspect of the business from all the incredible people that I meet to all the fabulous fashions that arrive in the store every day ” Georgeanne says.

Throughout her consignment career Georgeanne has been supported by her husband of 20 years Justin and her two children Aaron and Ashlee.