A Carroll County woman has been recognized with the Sterling Award 2020 that was created by the Jackson Area
Business and Professional Women and The Jackson Sun to honor those women in the West Tennessee area who
have achieved a significant level of success.
Carroll County Register of Deeds Natalie McCullough Porter is one of the 20 recipients as well as a former
countian, Esther Gray who is now Esther Gray Lemus of Mercer. Lemus is the assistant professor of music at
Jackson State Community College. She will be remembered for singing at different events in the county in the past.
Porter began her career in local government in 1989 working as a deputy clerk under Register of Deeds Judy
Baker. In 2006, Baker retired and Porter became a candidate for the office and was elected to the position.
“She has worked tirelessly since being elected in keeping her office up to date within the latest laws and
regulations dealing with this office,” wrote Michelle Sanders, who submitted her name for this honor. “The Carroll
County office is online with US Title Search so attorneys and abstractors are able to get online, research records, and
not have to travel to the office to look up documents which has been a tremendous benefit to everyone due to this
She is a member of the Tennessee Registers Association and the County Official Association of Tennessee
(COAT). She has held the offices of secretary, vice-president and president of the Tennessee Registers Association.
Her peers selected her as the 2019 Outstanding Register of the Year for the state of Tennessee.
“Natalie is not only capable in her duties as Register of Deeds, but has given back to the community in numerous
ways,” said Sanders. “She has served, or is currently serving on the board of directors of several organizations.”
They include: Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse of Carroll County, Habitat for Humanity of
Carroll County, Inc., Carroll County Library Board, Baptist Memorial Hospital Board, Carroll County Watershed
Authority, MLK Steering Committee, Carroll County Democratic Women and was president in 2003 of the
Tennessee Federation of Democratic Women, The Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center Advisory Board, and West
Carroll PTO Vice President, and former board member of the following organizations which included Carroll Arts,
Carroll County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, and Carroll County Foster Care Review Board.
In addition, she is a life-long member of Reedy Creek Baptist Church in McLemoresville where she serves as a
choir member and an usher.
She is married to Bernard Porter and they have one daughter, Annalise, a second grader at West Carroll Primary
Carroll County Mayor Joseph Butler wrote a letter in support of Porter’s nomination and called her “a role model
for her family, church, Carroll County government, and to countless other women in our great state. As a
businessperson and professional, Natalie exemplifies class, kindness, dedication and service. She is committed to
using her God-given gifts in serving others and our county.”
The awards ceremony has been postponed until August due to the coronavirus outbreak. The 10-year anniversary
of the awards highlights women in West Tennessee who are outstanding in their fields of endeavor and who are
“These awards were created to honor women who work tirelessly to better lives in their West Tennessee
communities,” said Wanda Stanfill, Sterling Awards director and vice-president, JABPW. “Every year when the
nominations pour in, our Board of Selectors spends hours going through the resumes and letters of support. We are
so proud of these women who give so much and expect so little in return.
“These amazing women succeed in business, education, government, industry, law enforcement and the arts. We
have singers and musicians, poets, writers, and artists. They run marathons or become gourmet chefs. Our Sterling
recipients like to hike, fly fish, shoot rifles, drive large truck and off-road ATVs. They studied abroad, hitchhiked
across Europe and traveled across the United States.”
The Sue Shelton White Award 2020 was given to Judge Christy Little, General Sessions Judge, Division II, of
Jackson; and the Outstanding Woman Military Veteran is Lenore Ventimiglia, U.S. Marine Corps, honorable
discharge, of Jackson.
The remaining members of the Most Influential Women in West Tennessee include: Dr. Cindy Boyles, Jackson,
associate professor of criminal justice at UT Martin; Joyce Brown, Gibson County, County Clerk/Juvenile Court
Clerk of Gibson County; Cheryl Browne, M.D., Fayette County, retired internal medicine physician and medical
group administrator; Gina Dieudonne, M.D., Jackson, pediatrician; Virginia Grimes, Martin, program
manager/coordinator, WestStar Leadership Program, UT Martin;
Jane Jarvis, Jackson, retired attorney; Juanita Jones, Jackson, founder and executive director of Keep My Hood
Good (KMHG) Community Campaign; Laurice Lanier, Jackson, professional vocalist, entertainer, music director
and businesswoman; Shirlene Mercer, Jackson, retired field representative for Rep. John Tanner, retired teacher,
community activist; Hope Reasons, Jackson, founder of Sisterhood Purses Inc.;
Jennifer Rowan, Jackson, paralegal for Rainey, Kizer, Reviere & Bell, P.L.C.; Mary Ann Sharpe, Brownsville,
Director of Main Street Brownsville; Nola Spears, Jackson, retired social worker/indigent care specialist, Hamilton
Judge Vicki Snyder, Paris, Henry County General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge; Sandy Tarkington,
Dyersburg, marketing director/vice president of marketing and public relations, First Citizens National Bank; Linda
J. Theus, Jackson, associate professor of business and area coordinator for business administration programs at Lane
College; Jean Marie Walls, Jackson, professor and chair, Department of Language, Union University and Kathy
Haney Williams, Jackson, retired executive administrative assistant/human resources specialist, genealogist.