Women of Influence

Jennifer Deaton

Jennifer said, “I’m inspired by local boutique owners who have carried our products. Small businesses in Tennessee, often led by women, contribute immensely to local economies. They manage every aspect, from buying to PR. I’m inspired daily by these women in business.”

Jennifer Deaton’s journey to become a candle company owner started organically when she taught herself how to pour soy candles for fun in her home kitchen in 2014. She began selling at the Nolensville Farmer’s Market and branched out to local boutiques valuing locally made, eco-friendly products. She finds it inspiring to connect with the Nashville community through Sweet Tea Candle Co. — from private labeling candles for musicians to leading candle-making workshops.

As advice for aspiring leaders, Jennifer said, “Start small, grow at your pace, and don’t be swayed by others’ expectations. Set goals and work toward them daily.”

Leadership qualities like creative problem-solving and effective communication vary, but Jennifer focuses on investing in her team. “People are vital to any organization, and they must feel valued, heard, and empowered to shine.”

Balancing work and life as a woman in business is challenging. She advises, “Find time for hobbies and value time spent with others. Self-care is crucial.”

Sweet Tea Candle Co., at 7177 Nolensville Rd., Suite 5B, in Nolensville, TN, sells hand-poured soy candles and offers DIY candle-making workshops. Book workshops at SweetTeaCandle.com.]

Jaina Hall

Jaina Hall’s journey with Mama’s Java Cafe began back in 2012 when the cafe was located where Amicos stands today. Her friendship with Melissa Hall, the owner of Mama’s Java, built over time, and they shared a last name that made them feel like family. They both were part of the local Nolensville area business network (NABN). Even after Mama’s Java moved to its current location, Jaina’s family continued to be frequent visitors.

In 2021, Jaina found herself entering the “empty nest” phase of life as her last child left for college. She reached out to Melissa with a proposition: “Hey cuz! I’m moving into an empty nest, and I don’t want to sit at home and be sad. Need any help at the shop?” Melissa’s response was enthusiastic. “Get on over here. It’s about time.”

Since then, their partnership has flourished, and Mama’s Java has become a warm and welcoming staple in the local community. Jaina’s outgoing and welcoming nature, her love for teaching and training the team, and her dedication to investing in others have played a significant role in this journey.

Jaina draws inspiration from her parents. Her father’s work ethic, kindness, and loyalty left a lasting impression, as did her mother’s strong work ethic and hospitality. These traits influence how Jaina operates both in her work and personal life, where she invests in others and loves them well.

For young women aspiring to be leaders, Jaina emphasizes humility, servanthood, knowledge, and the ability to inspire others. A leader, she believes, is one who acknowledges those who support their growth.

In her view, successful leaders possess qualities such as humility, servanthood, knowledge, drive, and the ability to set a good example. They are people who naturally draw others to them.

Jaina and her husband, Dave, consider Nolensville their home. Their involvement in local businesses, churches, and community organizations reflects their commitment to the community. Through her work at Mama’s Java, Jaina finds joy in serving the Nolensville community and brightening the lives of those who visit. She’s grateful for her partnership with Melissa and looks forward to many more years of caring for her town through their business.

This is the story of how Jaina turned an empty nest into a haven of warmth and kindness at Mama’s Java Cafe.

Cindy Cook

In 1987, the seeds of what would become a fulfilling career in real estate were sown when Cindy Cook’s father, a realtor in Hendersonville, encouragedher to pursue her real estate license. His wisdom and guidance became her foundation, and over the years, she’s learned to truly listen to her clients’ needs. Helping people navigate the complex world of real estate has become her passion, and there’s nothing more rewarding than making their dreams come true.

Cindy said her professional inspiration comes from, “a remarkable woman named Molly Edmondson. Her work ethic and her ability to make everyone she meets feel incredibly important have left an indelible mark on me. Molly’s admirers are countless, and I feel immensely blessed to have worked alongside her for many years.”

For young women aspiring to be leaders, Cindy offers this advice, “Believe in yourself unwaveringly, work tirelessly to chase your dreams, and never stop seeking knowledge and education. These are the building blocks of success.”

The most critical qualities of a successful leader, in Cindy’s view, are honesty, respect for others, and genuine care for those you lead. These qualities create a strong foundation upon which trust and collaboration can thrive.

“In the hustle and bustle of a demanding career, I’ve found solace in prayer, treasured moments with family, and regular exercise,” Cindy said. “These practices help me manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance. In this ever-evolving journey, I’ve learned that a career rooted in a genuine passion for helping others can be both rewarding and enriching.”

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