Even in a year like 2020, there are still silver linings to be grateful for and memorable moments to cherish. That’s why in this year’s end-of-the-year FACES roundup, we’re choosing to focus on the good. We followed up with women featured as 2020 FACES (both from Louisville and from around the South) to see what positive moments this year has brought. Here’s what they had to say!

Country music artist Tiera shares 2020 positive moment

“2020 has honestly been a highlight year for me. I signed my first publishing deal, started hosting my own radio show on Apple Music Country, released new music and got engaged! I’m so blessed to have been able to experience all of these amazing things in the midst of the craziness of 2020.” — Country music singer Tiera | Image: Kam Studios

Rachel Richards, author of Money Honey

“Ever since my husband and I met, we’ve talked about moving out West. We love mountains, hiking and the outdoors. So my favorite memory of 2020 was being in a position to finally make that dream come true. My early retirement (age 27) has given us the freedom and flexibility to follow our dreams. We finally did it: We moved from Kentucky to Colorado … in the middle of a pandemic! We are so grateful for our new home and that we get to hike all the mountains.” — Author Rachel Richards | Image: Gretchen Bell Photography

Lexie Smith, human trafficking survivor

“In 2020, I am grateful for the choice to choose my responses, and by doing so, I always have more power and control over my circumstances than I think or feel.” — Human trafficking survivor, Lexie Smith | Image: Leila Grossman

Laura Lea Bryant, FACE of the South 2020 positive moment

“My favorite positive moment of 2020 was the day I launched the Simply Balanced Meal Plans. I created them to help people who struggle to feed their families affordable, accessible and nutritious food. Seeing how the plans truly fill a need and save members’ time, money and mental energy (the most precious commodity of all) gave me an incredible sense of hope and purpose.” — Laura Lea Bryant of LL Balanced | Image: Leila Grossman

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Jessica Dunleavy, President of Junior League of Louisville

“I started walking the loop [at Cherokee Park] regularly in the spring and watched the trees go from bare branches to buds and bright green leaves, then an explosion of red, orange and yellow leaves, and finally becoming bare again. Watching the seasons change so closely — really noticing these changes for the first time in a long time — helped [me] keep perspective that change, growth and renewal are constant, natural and necessary. It eased the pain and disappointments that this year brought. It reminded me of all the silver linings that came from the gift of time at home with my family. I look forward to seeing my beloved park endure the winter and wake up a little taller, a little stronger, a little more beautiful in spring 2021.” — Jessica Dunleavy of the Junior League of Louisville | Image: Gretchen Bell Photography

Vanderbilt Athletic Director, Candice Storey Lee, Face of the South 2020 positive moment

“While being named the athletic director for my alma mater was the most incredible moment, the most special part of that was attending Vanderbilt’s first athletic event of the fall season in this role. The trials and tribulations of navigating through this pandemic were all worth it to give our student-athletes the opportunity to compete, and watching them do what they love was a great feeling.” — Vanderbilt Athletic Director, Candice Storey Lee | Image: Leila Grossman

Emily McCarthy posing in front of storefront in Savannah

“My most memorable moment of 2020 [was] watching my amazing team work through a pandemic, come out of everything with soaring colors and manage to increase sales and meet goals. It really showed me that we can do anything we set our minds to with the right attitude and positive outlook to defy the odds and make it happen. We refused to let things keep us down and made it our mission to find joy and drive in the uncertainty of this year. We launched our clothing line in retailers nationwide and have been very blessed to watch them embrace the new collections as much as we had hoped.” — Emily McCarthy of Emily McCarthy & Co. | Image: Kelli Boyd

Liz Eichholz and Lindsey Johnson of Weezie Towels, 2020 FACES of the South

Liz: “2020 brought us two exciting birthdays worth celebrating! My family added a second girl to our girl gang (my second daughter, Eadie). At the same time, my other baby, Weezie Towels, had its second anniversary — and we were blown away by the customer response to our birthday sale!”
Lindsey: “Despite its fair share of uncertainty and challenges, the past year has been one of growth, both personally and professionally. My husband and I welcomed our first daughter in March, and we were also fortunate enough to grow our Weezie fam to over 30 employees, all of whom have provided incredible support for our growing business over the past year.” — Liz Eichholz (left) and Lindsey Johnson (right) of Weezie Towels | Image: Weezie Towels

Chloe Tyler Nashville Artist shares 2020 positive moment

“As an artist, I have to say that having to quarantine throughout 2020 was exactly what I needed. Being asked to stay at home and entertain yourself? No problem! I have spent my days in quarantine painting, drawing, tinkering and keeping my hands busy. In fact, I haven’t gone a single day in 2020 without picking up a pencil or a paintbrush. So, despite all of the chaos this year has brought, I have had a lovely time focusing on my craft and building my skills as an artist. And I hope everyone reading this has found something in 2020 that makes them feel fulfilled, too!” — Artist Chloe Tyler | Image: Leila Grossman

Marci Claude of the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors’ Bureau

“My most memorable moment is not just a single moment but a collection of bright spots found throughout the year. Moments of normalcy like hiking in the Smokies with family and friends, loving on my grown-up kids and grandbaby, going to the hairdresser, seeing my co-workers upon return from furlough, and most recently, attending The Nutcracker with my mother, sisters and nieces. Moments wrapped in love and gratitude.” — Marci Claude of the Gatlinburg Convention and Visitors’ Bureau | Image: Contrastphoto by Genelda

Carolyn Greene and Jennifer Cope of Dorm Decor

Carolyn: “One thing I would not trade about 2020 is having all of my children home. I had one [who] was a senior in college and two out in the workforce. They all were home for two months for the first time in five or six years. We laughed often and realized how lucky we are to have been given this extra time together!”
Jennifer: “Early in the quarantine, 25 of my best college friends from all over the country started a weekly Zoom hour, ‘Quarantine Cocktails.’ Although we aren’t still holding a weekly remote gathering, the text thread has stayed active. It’s been so fun to reconnect, and the frequent posts have provided a constant source of amusement.” — Carolyn Greene (left) and Jennifer Cope (right) of Dorm Decor | Image: Catherine Greene

Alicia Ariatti of Ariatti Advising and Destination Lou shares 2020 positive moment

“Personally, getting [my] puppy, Thor, [has been a positive moment]. I realized staying at home all day would be better with a puppy. Little did we know he would grow to 72 pounds in just eight months! Professionally, transitioning a fundraising event for the Backside Learning Center from an in-person day at Churchill Downs to a virtual, live handicapping of the Breeder’s Cup. It came together quickly and was able to raise almost two-thirds of what the live event usually raises. It was new, exciting and took a lot of work but paid off. As a result, the Backside Learning Center can continue to work with families and workers of the Backside of Churchill Downs to provide services, such as NTI support, food and resources.” — Alicia Ariatti of Ariatti Advising and Destination Lou | Image: Jessa Mayhew

Melanie Fischer of Froggy's Popcorn

“This year, I experienced support like I never dreamed I would. The city showed its buy-local love, and that was such an amazing and overwhelming thing. There is no way I would still be open for business if it weren’t for my fellow Louisvillians, and I am so appreciative!” — Melanie Fischer of Froggy’s Popcorn | Image: Submitted

Peggy Noe Stevens, 2020 FACE of Louisville

“Pre-COVID shutdown, I was fortunate to be in New York and was inducted into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame for the spirits industry. It was an incredible experience and one that I will treasure. Also, my book launched in 2020 called Which Fork Do I Use With My Bourbon?. A true silver lining in 2020!” — Master bourbon taster Peggy Noe Stevens | Image: Jolea Brown

Author and photographer Alyssa Rosenheck

“Every year comes with a few memorable moments for me; however, 2020 has been world- (and life-) changing. The highlight for me was bringing my book, The New Southern Style, into the world this year. Was it easy with a pandemic raging and racial tensions roaring? No, it was very difficult. However, I did it with grit, determination and great meaning, which made it worth it. Also, witnessing the first Madam Vice President elected into office brings a sense of hope as a woman in this country who continues to dream. Representation matters, and we matter.” — Author and photographer Alyssa Rosenheck | Image: Alyssa Rosenheck

Megan Pinckney of Shades of Pinck shares 2020 positive moment

“[My] highlight of 2020 was definitely marrying the man of the dreams! Though the celebration looked completely different than I’d always imagined it would, it was a day full of love, and in many ways was better than I could have ever dreamed!” — Megan Pinckney of Shades of Pinck | Image: Lauren Jones

Lynne Tolley of Jack Daniel's shares 2020 positive moment

“My favorite positive and most special moment of 2020 was opening a box in the attic that turned out to be a treasure chest full of things I had never seen before. It was a collection of things that were important to my mother, who died at 98 years old in 2015. There was her baby book from 1917 with precious photos of her as a baby, the elementary school report cards for my brother and me, a daily journal of a family road trip in 1957 to New York written by Mother and Daddy (whoever was not driving wrote about the sights and stops we were making), a war ration book full of unused stamps during World War II, a high school essay I wrote as a senior where I made an A+, Daddy’s boyhood stamp collection book, a page from a 1974 Saturday Evening Post magazine featuring a photo of my cousin’s antique car parked in front of Cheekwood, and my grandmother’s 1908 college certificate from Linwood Female College in Gastonia, NC. And I am only halfway finished with reading everything! I just discovered this box a few weeks ago, and it is so amazing to our family. I advise everyone to be careful while cleaning out the attic; who knows what you will find!” — Jack Daniel’s premier whiskey taster, consultant and brand ambassador, Lynne Tolley | Image: Jack Daniel Distillery

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Sam Montgomery of Bardstown Bourbon Company

“My most memorable moment of this year was seeing my niece meet her baby brother for the first time.” — Sam Montgomery of Bardstown Bourbon Company | Image: Facebook

Founder of The Candidate Pledge, Hannah-Kate McFadden

“My favorite moment of 2020 was when I was able to tour the Tennessee State Capitol. As I walked through the tunnel leading to the elevators that took me to the Capitol, my heart was pumping fast with excitement! This year has been filled with so much sadness and anguish … We have all been through a lot in this tough year, and we need to look for the positive things. So, as I was in the elevator, I focused on all the hard work I put into making positive election changes. As the elevator door opened, I was awestruck by the beauty of the Capitol. When I walked onto the floor where laws are made, I knew that all the negativity and sadness of 2020 is bringing change to our country. As I stood on the floor and looked all around the room, I knew that this was just the beginning, and I had more work to accomplish.” — Founder of The Candidate Pledge, Hannah-Kate McFadden | Image: Submitted

Michelle Williams of Santa's Little Helpers, Inc.

“My favorite moment of 2020 was the day I held my first published children’s book, Little Max in Santa’s Red Sack, in my hands. This book was a labor of love. My decision to self-publish was met with its fair share of challenges. It almost did not get printed before Christmas. When it arrived the first week of December, it was surreal! It was truly a Christmas miracle.” — Michelle Williams of Santa’s Little Helpers, Inc. | Image: Eddie Dant

Crystal Renee' Hayslett

“My favorite positive moment in 2020 was having the time to really focus on things I’d neglected, and in that time, I also found new things that I really love to do. I’m not sure if that would have happened otherwise.” — Actress Crystal Renee’ Hayslett | Image: Kayla MaDonna

Sarah Davasher-Wisdon of Greater Louisville Inc.

“It is hard to narrow this down to one most positive moment. Over the course of the year, we have adopted one adult cat and one kitten after the passing of our 16-year-old kitty Duchess in May. During the adoption process for each of the newbies, there was a moment when that special connection was made. They have brought us so much joy this year. There is something wonderful about pets that are always excited to see you and ready to be with you!” — Sarah Davasher-Wisdom of Greater Louisville Inc. | Image: Submitted

Here’s to making more memorable moments in 2021!

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