The Junior League of Nashville is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018-2019 Paragon Awards! Please join us in congratulating the following outstanding women.
Outstanding Community Service of the Year Award
The Outstanding Community Service of the Year Award is presented to a nonmember of the Junior League who has demonstrated the ideals of Junior League volunteer service, leadership, and dedication to improving our community.
Dr. Ellen Jacobson
Dr. Ellen Jacobson, a West Nashville native, began her journey into medicine by volunteering during three summers in rural Latin America with the Amigos de las Americas program, providing vaccinations against childhood diseases and basic dental care. Her experience led to an interest in medicine. She went on to receive her MD and was certified by the American Board of Dermatology in 1991. She owns Skin MD located in Belle Meade.
Dr. Jacobson is very active professionally as well as in her community. When the Junior League of Nashville (JLN) began its focus on Human Trafficking in the fall of 2016, Dr. Jacobson’s nurse practitioner Kate Meriwether, a JLN member, was serving as the End Slavery TN Project Chair. She discussed her placement with Dr. Jacobson, and Dr. Jacobson offered to open the Skin MD office once a month to the survivors of End Slavery TN – doing everything from removing tattoos, to providing pampering facials, and providing any other type of dermatological care needed by the survivors. Many of the survivors were “branded” by the men who trafficked them with a numbered tattoo. Removing these has been life changing for many of these women.
Outstanding Sustainer of the Year Service Award
The Outstanding Sustainer of the Year Service Award is presented to the Sustainer who best exemplifies how to lead a life of voluntarism, who has translated her volunteer education, and is committed to promoting voluntarism and training into community commitment and involvement.
Laura joined the Junior League of Memphis in 1979, later transferring to the Phoenix league and finally, the Nashville league as a Sustainer in 2001. While in Memphis, she served on the May Festival Committee and the Cookbook Distribution Committee. In Phoenix she volunteered for Ronald McDonald House and served on the Historic Preservation Project Committee. A former realtor, Laura made a mid-career change in 2007 when she received her Master’s degree from the University of Tennessee College of Social Work. She currently serves as the President and CEO of the Family Faith Center, an organization providing medical care for the working uninsured, and others who are underserved, by meeting their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. Laura is dedicated to Faith Family Medical Center and the health of the Nashville community. Laura credits her Junior League experience for preparing her for nonprofit work, first as a Board member and now as the President and CEO of one.
Outstanding Active of the Year Service Award
The Outstanding Active of the Year Service Award is presented to the member who best exemplifies the purpose of the Junior League of Nashville and is committed to promoting voluntarism and improving our community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
Ashley Wood, Ph.D.
Ashley joined the Junior League of Nashville (JLN) in 2016. Since joining JLN, Ashley has served on the Kids in the Kitchen Committee, Project Chair Coordinator for the Human Trafficking Convener Committee, and as the Mentor Program Chair. Next year she will serve as the Human Trafficking Awareness Chair.
Clearly, Ashley has a passion, not only for the Junior League if Nashville, but also JLN’s focus area of Human Trafficking. She has been a leader, supporter and cheerleader every step of the way this year. When JLN needed someone to take the lead in the Human Trafficking Community Awareness Event, Ashley stepped up, was an advocate for the group, and guided the committee through the process with ease.