Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. (TLOD), now in it’s 25th year, has grown and continues to thrive since its inception.
The story begins in the summer of 1988 when Ruth Adams-Gadsden met Jacqueline H. Parker. The two of them were in Los Angeles, California attending another conference when Mrs. Parker shared that she was presently national president of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Mrs. Adams-Gadsden became interested in the organization after receiving more information. Upon returning home, she contacted her friend, Iva Jean Roberson.
These two energetic educators collaborated on the need for such an organization in Nashville and thought that it would help enhance the lives of the youth in our community. They then made contact with area and national representatives.
On December 11, 1988, a meeting was called for the purpose of organizing a chapter of Top Ladies of Distinction. Those in attendance at that meeting, held at Mrs. Roberson’s home, included: Ida Black, Carrie Hudson, Ruth Adams-Gadsden and of course, Ivan Jean Roberson.
When the second meeting was called, interest in the developing organization had increased. In attendance were Etherly Drake, Mary Walker, Eleanor F. Bright, Edwina Lee, Nan Deaderick, Marion Officer, Ada Jackson, Gladys Lawrence and Gladys B. Adams. Ruth Adams-Gadsden and Iva Jean Roberson became the chapter organizers, which would be geographically located in Area IV.
Mrs. Rosa Stanback, Area IV director, at the time, helped with the completion of all requirements. And, in February of 1989 the group chartered a bus, with Columbus, Georgia as their destination. The newly organized group attended their first Area IV Conference.
Twelve ladies were inducted into the organization at high noon on February 10, 1989. These ladies had the privilege of being inducted on the 25th anniversary event of TLOD, Inc. Those becoming ‘Top Ladies’ were: Mrs. Gladys B. Adams, Miss Eleanor F. Bright, Miss Nan Deaderick, Mrs. Lady Drake, Mrs. Ruth Adams-Gadsden, Mrs. Carrie Hudson, Dr. Ada Jackson, Mrs. Gladys Lawrence, Mrs. Edwina Lee, Mrs. Marion Officer, Mrs. Iva Jean Roberson, and Mrs. Mary Walker became members.
The organization was chartered as the Nashville Capitol City Chapter, Nashville, Tennessee, becoming the first to be chartered in Nashville. The ‘Original Twelve’ Ladies became known as the ‘Chartered Members.’ At that time, Mrs. Jacqueline Parker was national president and Mrs. Rosa Stanback was the Area IV director. The chapter now consists of over 78 members.
Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. is an international, professional, and humanitarian organization of over 5,000 dedicated women. Lady Ozell Dean formed the organization following a meeting held by Mrs. Lyndon Baines Johnson at the White House in 1964.
The organization has five major thrusts, which include:
• Top Teens of America: TLOD sponsor and organize cultural and civic activities for youth
• Enhancing the Status of Women: TLOD total resources used to sponsor programs and projects designed to utilize the time, talents, and skills to enhance women
• Enriching the Lives of Senior Citizens: A wide variety of programs and projects to aid in the optimal living of senior citizens during their twilight years
• Community Beautification: Projects executed within the chapter to improve the environmental living conditions of citizens
• Community Partnerships: Partnerships designed to bring together the many exciting community, education, and business interests as equal partners in a mutual collaborative arrangement to facilitate the goals of TLOD.
Presently, the local chapter officers are still moving forward. Names of the officers are listed below: Lady Pamela Bright, president; Lady Phyllis Tarkington, 1st vice president; Lady Jimmie Hill, 2nd vice president; Lady Chandra Pleas, recording secretary; Lady Dorothy Piphus, asst. recording secretary; Lady Amelia Tucker-Shaw, corresponding secretary, Lady Julie Hopkins treasurer; Lady Olivia Flakes, financial secretary; Lady Carmelita Parham, chaplain; Lady Carrie Hudson, parliamentarian; Lady Sharon Hull-Smith, ‘top teen advisor’; and Lady Ella Ford, sergeant-at-arms.
The Top Ladies of Distinction continue to stay on the move, encouraging, enhancing, enlighting, beautifying, and partnering.