Spring Symposium 2022

A Place to Call Home

We could not be more thankful for the perfect day to have our annual Women’s Leadership Council Spring Symposium. The skies were clear, spring had sprung, and we were surrounded by women with giving hearts!

The day began with guests checking in and reconnecting with old and new friends. Several women explored our Engagement Lounge to register for volunteer projects, Impact Tours, or to join the Women's Leadership Council. 

This year we encouraged everyone coming to the symposium to donate new and/or gently used children's books for our Little Free Libraries. This aligns with United Way's strategic guideline to get kids reading at grade level by third grade.

We then were served exquisite chicken salad and pimento cheese on top of a spring mix salad with dressing, a side of tomato soup, and a baked chocolate dessert with fresh berries. And who could forget the amazing raspberry sweet tea?

Our President, Amanda Burt, began the United Way presentation by thanking our sponsors who made this event a reality. 

Gold Level sponsors:

•Debbie Macon

•Shaw Industries’ Women’s Innovation Network

•Textile Rubber & Chemical Company Inc.

•Brown Whitworth Foundation

Our Silver Sponsors:

•Coldwell Banker Kinard Realty

•Dixie Kinard

•Engineered Floors

•Walnut Hill Farm

Our Bronze Sponsor:

•Emily Morrow Home

She then highlighted our local Women’s Leadership Council stating, “our local group has over 250 members investing over $1 million annually to improve over 47,000 lives in Whitfield and Murray Counties. We are Leading the Charge and Inspiring the Change!”

“It was an incredible day! United Way of Northwest Georgia and our Women’s Leadership Council is the connecting point for women to engage in a meaningful and impactful way in improving the education, basic needs, and health of every person in our community. It was so inspiring to see so many women in one place who desire to do more for their community,” said United Way of Northwest Georgia President, Amanda Burt.

We had the amazing opportunity to hear from a very special guest, James T. Farmer.

James Farmer is a Southern author, interior designer, and speaker known for his ability to create beautifully familiar and welcoming homes. To James, a home engages all of the senses - the pleasantries of colors and materials, the feel of the doorknob warmed by the sun, the smell of fresh laundry, the sound of the closing door, and the taste of supper on the table. James works with clients to truly create “A Place to Call Home”.

“I want everyone to love being home, or longing to be, in a very personal and lovely space—whether it is a place for solitude or company.”  –  James Farmer.

James is the author of the Wall Street Journal best-selling books A Time to Plant; Sip & Savor; Porch Living; Wreaths For All Seasons; A Time To Cook; Dinner on the Grounds; A Time to Celebrate and A Place to Call Home.  His most recent publication, Arriving Home, features design projects from the farmlands of Georgia to the rolling countryside of Connecticut. He is thrilled also about the release of his tenth book in August 2022 called Celebrating Home, which showcases the details and beauty of celebrating life’s special moments.

At the Spring Symposium, James walked the ladies through some of his favorite tips and tricks on how to create four gorgeous flower arrangements while telling us his beautiful life story. James Farmer is truly a fresh voice for his generation.

“My Grandmother - My Mimi - taught me that we “eat with our eyes first,”  before we have taken the first bite, we see a beautiful table set with flowers, a beautifully plated meal, or an image of an entire room, the visual feast starts with our eyes.” - James Farmer.


 For the demonstration, James started three of the floral arrangements with a Lomey Dish + an Oasis Floral Foam Block, and for the fourth, he used a beautiful water pitcher. James then used three bunches of Free Spirit roses, four bunches of bronze snapdragons, eight green/pink/red cymbidium orchids, eight antique hydrangeas, and a few bunches of local greenery (brown back magnolia).

The first floral arrangement James made was a stunning arrangement with the magnolia leaves and hydrangeas. For the second floral arrangement, he used hydrangeas, magnolia leaves, free spirit roses, and cymbidium orchids for a showstopper floral arrangement. For the third, he used the free spirit roses, hydrangea, and magnolia leaves for a beautiful low mount, rounded arrangement - for more drama add just the flower from the orchids. Last but not least, for the fourth floral arrangement, he used a beautiful water pitcher and filled it with the snapdragons for an easy yet charming arrangement.



Below are some tips + tricks James shared

  1. Be confident! 
  2. “Green and white is always right.”
  3. James stated, “see a hole in your arrangement - fill it with magnolia leaves.”
  4.  Use a bowl with a footed pedestal to elevate any arrangement.
  5. Add drama to any arrangement with the cymbidium orchids.
  6. Need color drama - add James’ favorite color, “carl” (coral).
  7. Celebrate your southern heritage.

Farmer stated, “I want us to be inspired to celebrate our history and heritage, cherish our belongings, proudly display our collections, and create homes that become our calling cards and reflections of the Southern hallmark of hospitality.”

James’ book, A Place to Call Home is dedicated to his interior design projects, featuring homes from Sea Island to St. Louis.

When we asked symposium guest, Karen Townsend, about her experience at our event she responded, “I thought James Farmer was delightful! I hung on his every word as his sweet stories about growing up on his grandparents’ farm in South Georgia reminded me of my own family roots and how blessed we are to be a part of such a special community in the south. I especially loved his fondness for his “MiMi” and how his family encouraged him to be true to himself as he grew up loving colors and plants and turned that passion into a wonderful opportunity to inspire others.”

You can view the Spring Symposium 2022 Facebook album here.