The Wilson County Commission has eight female commissioners - who each month make big decisions on budget, issues and improving the community. They are Annette Stafford (District 20); Joy Bishop (District 24); Sue Vanatta (District 23); Sonja Robinson (District 13); Sara Patton (District 9); Becky Siever (District 1); Cindy Brown (District 21); and Diane Weathers (District 16).
Several of the ladies met at the Lebanon Wilson Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday to celebrate International Women's Day, observed this week.
In between jokes and laughter, the ladies shared some of their personal stories about coming onto commission as a "newbies" and paving the way for future female leaders.
Patton recalled a phone conversation she had with a male, veteran commissioner, when she was first elected. He told her how he thought she should vote on an upcoming issue.
"I thought they were calling to congratulation me," she said. "He preceded to tell me, 'You are going to vote this way with us.' The longer he talked, the more I couldn't believe he was telling me this. I told this individual 'I'm sorry but you must have the wrong number because my daddy don't tell me how to vote and my husband don't tell me how to vote, and you sure aren't going to tell me how to vote. That is something that I take that right and responsibility very seriously."
Stafford had a similar experience.
"(Someone called me) and told me, you don't have to come to the meetings. We will call you when we have big issue and need your vote. We'll tell you how to vote," Stafford remembered. "I said, 'You are going to tell me how to vote?!' I told my husband and he said, 'They don't know you, do they?'"
Stafford said that she's had some recent issues that caused her to miss a few meetings. However, before that, she never missed one.
"I wouldn't miss a meeting anytime - day or night," she said. "I've learned a lot."
Vanatta, who was elected to the commission in 2014, said that she didn't experience a lot of those issues that face "newbies" when they come onboard.
"They knew I had been at the County Commission meetings before," she said. One issue that Vanatta believes all the commissioners faces is keeping up with growth in Wilson County.
"Yes, we have to be proactive," Patton added.
Each of the ladies said they enjoyed public service.
"Helping the citizens of Wilson County," Vanatta said. "To me, that is what it is all about."