Image for Lenbrook’s Ladies Who Lead Share Wisdom with Lenbrook Associates

Every month, Lenbrook hosts an educational session that is open to its more than 200 Associates: Mentor Me Mondays. At these events, Lenbrook residents are invited to share their expertise and personal life lessons. 

Recently, we organized a panel discussion featuring five highly accomplished “Ladies Who Lead” to inspire and motivate, including Dr. Judy Franz, Grace Greer Phillips, Missy Sanchez, Mary Ann B. Oakley, and Nancy Toon. (A brief biography for each is listed below.)
It was an amazing discussion, and we are happy to share below a few of the nuggets of wisdom from our ‘Ladies Who Lead’. 
* Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something – many of the women on our panel were questioned about their abilities, or put down for being women in the workplace but they always believed in themselves.
* Every job builds, and prepares you for the next job.  So whatever you do, do it well. 
* Always think: “What are the next three things I should be doing?”  As a pilot, Mrs. Toon never sat back to just enjoy the ride, she always kept her mind on the next three things she needed to do to be successful (in the air and in life).
* When someone says something disrespectful, don’t get upset…educate. 
* At work always be dependable and say “yes” to whatever is asked of you. Remember every experience can lead to something else. Also, learn other jobs so you become well rounded.
* Have a great support system and marry well. “Marrying well” means to marry the person who will support you in your dreams, even if that is sometimes the only person who does support you. Who you marry is one of the most important decisions that could affect your career success.
* Energy is also important to success. Work out and eat healthy.
* It’s never too late to start. Several of the women on the “Ladies Who Lead” panel began their careers after raising their children.
* Never be late.
* Always be ready for your next opportunity.
* No matter what position you currently have, do it well.
* Don’t give up, no matter how long it takes.
* Do more for yourself and others.
* You cannot have a bad day.  If you want to be successful, you must leave your bad day at home.  If everyone is having a bad day, the organization is having a bad day and the organization can’t have a bad day.
* There is always room to grow. Never let money stop you from doing what you love.
* Mrs. Sanchez recommended a great way to learn more about salary/ requirements regarding any occupation:  Labor Outlook Handbook

And when asked, “What’s the key to retiring at Lenbrook?” this final piece of wisdom: Save your money and invest it well!

Ladies Who Lead:


A world-renowned Physicist, Dr. Franz received her PhD in Physics from the U. or Illinois, where she was the only female student in a class of 300.  She began her career with IBM’s Research Lab in Zurich Switzerland, and then became a faculty member at Indiana University for 18 years.  She also taught at West Virginia University, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Cornell, and the Technical University of Munich in Germany. In 1994, she became the Executive Director of the Professional Society of Physicists, which publishes the major physics research journals.  She helped organize the 1st International conference of women Physics in Paris in 2002, which had 300 attendees from 65 countries.  One of her major career goals has been to improve physics education, and she is a past president of the American Association of Physics Teachers. 


After a 22-year career of raising children, Grace Phillips became a full-time volunteer for Joe Frank Harris’s campaign for Governor.  When he was elected, she became his Executive Assistant for eight years.  She then became Division Director of Licensure and Quality Assurance for the State Board of Worker’s Compensation until she retired in 1997.  She has been a community volunteer and board member for Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia Trust of Historical Preservation, and Families First.  Agnes Scott College named her “Woman of the Year” in 2010 for her service to the community. 


With over 30 years of experience in college counseling at the high school level, Missy Sanchez brings clarity and insight into the college admissions process.  She was the Director of College Counseling at Woodward Academy in Atlanta, GA, the largest independent school in the U.S.  Missy was responsible for building and maintaining the college counseling department.  She has held several leadership roles with the National Association of College Admissions Counselors and also served on the Counselor Advisory Boards at U.S. News and World Reports annual BEST COLLEGE GUIDE.   


A graduate of Duke University, Emory University, and the Emory University School of Law, Mary Ann Oakley has been honored as one of the “Best Lawyers in Georgia”.  During her time as an attorney she was a part of the State Board of Bar Examiners, Georgia Supreme Court Commission on Racial & Ethnic Bias in the Court System, Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, as well as many more.  She also taught at Georgia State University, Emory University Law School, and the Georgia Institute for Trial Advocacy.   She has been featured in many publications including The Atlanta Lawyer and Emory Law Journal.


Spent most of career years as a stay-at-home mom, raising three daughters.  After they left for college, she became a Pilot and flight instructor at Peachtree Dekalb Airport.  She has also held many volunteer positions including hospital auxiliary and her church.