Young leader sets others on path to success

Sandra ClarkOur Town Leaders

A home-grown leader has appeared; some would say just in time.

Ann Baker Tolsma, 17, just wrapped up her inaugural CEO Camp for Young Women, held July 10-14 on the campus of Webb School.

The camp brought together older middle school girls from across Knox County, including the Emerald Youth Academy. Speakers included Dee Haslam, founder of RIVR Media and co-owner of the Cleveland Browns; Lisa Stinnett, managing partner and co-founder of Greater Sum Ventures; and others.

“This initiative is close to my heart, and it was incredible to witness the transformation that happened throughout the week,” Tolsma said. Adult observers saw young women ready to shatter glass ceilings and pave their own paths to success.

Throughout the week, participants studied what it takes to form and run a company. At the conclusion, they pitched their own ideas for a business and detailed how to make it viable.

Ann Baker Tolsma has a legacy of women leaders in her family. Her namesake/grandmother, Ann Baker Furrow, was a scholarship athlete at the University of Tennessee before there were teams for women. She played golf (and won awards) on the men’s team. Her mom, Lee Ann Furrow Tolsma, is president of Furrow Automotive which includes Knoxville Motor Company, Knoxville Motor Company BodyWerks, Mercedes-Benz of Knoxville, Sprinter Knoxville, Land Rover Knoxville and the Chattanooga Auto Square.

The younger Tolsma, a rising senior at Webb School, was elected student body president, only the second female to hold that job.

Allie Clouse provided information for this article.


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