My favorite of all time! 

For those of you who are avid readers of Style, you probably have already predicted that I am going to tell you that this is one of my favorite issues of the year. If so, you are correct. In fact, this isn’t just one of my favorites; I believe this is the best issue our team has ever produced. 

Every year, we share stories of women who are leaders within our community and the passion that has driven them to succeed. I am always impressed with their stories and inspired by their dedication. This year is a little different. This year, we truly feature modern-day Wonder Women. We share stories of female war heroes, firefighters, and police officers, and, of course, our amazing Business Women of Style. 

But out of all of these amazing, strong, powerful women, there is one who stood out to me the most. She is the woman behind the scenes of this issue, our managing editor, Leigh Neely. I have always known that Leigh is amazing and strong and loves her work. But I didn’t know how much until this issue. In the midst of interviews and writing features, Leigh awoke one morning to a knock on her door from a state trooper telling her that Richard, her beloved husband of 48 years, had been killed in a horrible car accident. To say she was in complete shock and devastation is an understatement. Only a few of us could ever imagine how this must have felt and how much pain she was enduring. 

Just a day or two after the news of her husband’s accident, we deadlined on the stories for this issue. Leigh was not quite finished with her veterans’ profiles, but in all of her grief felt so passionate about these women and their stories that she wanted to finish them herself. She wanted to make sure that their stories were told the way that she had heard them, and the way that they inspired her. Leigh is the epitome of Wonder Woman. 

I will never forget the strength I saw in Leigh during this cycle, and I will never forget the passion and power of all of the women featured in this issue. It will forever remain my all-time favorite. 

Congratulations to Rose Connell of The Villages Insurance for being selected as our Business Woman of the Year. And to our readers, I hope this issue empowers you to be your best and to follow the amazing role models featured here, and the women behind the scenes. 

Until next month,


Kendra Akers