Meet these women who lead our county

Published 3:40 pm Monday, September 10, 2012

Helen Dean, Gail Acton, Dorann Tanner, Denise Graham and Kathy Robinson are civic leaders in Shelby County. (contributed)

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

There are always those behind the scenes who make everything work and do what they do because they care, not because they want or need credit for it.

They show up early and leave late. They make sure everything that was put up is taken down, all those invited felt welcome and that the proper thank you notes are sent. They provide the food and the decorations. They address envelopes and stamp them. They contribute money to good causes and ensure that others do as well. They are in front of the event or organization when they need to be and behind it as well, but either way, they are leading by example.

Five such women were together recently and I felt they needed to be properly introduced and thanked though they are already well-known in the community. Being well-known doesn’t always translate to being recognized for contributions so I thought this was a fitting opportunity.

Helen Dean works for Dr. Stancil Handley and recently helped him win election as Columbiana’s mayor. She is the mother of two and involved in many activities in Shelby County including her favorite cause, the George Washington Museum.

Gail Acton is involved in Lifeline Christian Adoption Agency, is a retired educator, the mother of two and works with numerous organizations including those at Briarwood Christian Academy.

Dorann Tanner is the first social worker for the Shelby County School System, mother of two and involved in Leadership Shelby County and the DAY Program.

Denise Graham is in the Alabaster-Pelham Rotary Club, the Greater Shelby County Chamber, Leadership Shelby County, Safehouse and more.

Kathy Robinson owns her own business, is a corporate trainer, a donor to various charities, a political GOP campaigner and a Mary Kay consultant.

What do all these women have in common? They are all community leaders and all serve as board members for CASA of Shelby County in addition to their many other activities.

Shelby County is fortunate to have their involvement and their giving spirit. Whether behind the scenes or in front of them, they are women who lead.


Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident. You can reach her at