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Area III History

Lady Fredda H. Witherspoon, Ph.D. is the distinguished Area III organizer and served as the first Area III Director.  After her induction into TLOD, she began to crusade to organize more chapters for the organization. The first chapter organized was the St. Louis Chapter in 1973. In 1974, she contacted Lady Edna McClain Murray who organized the Chicago Chapter. At the time the Chicago Chapter was chartered, Illinois was in Area VI and Lady Marjorie Holland, Area Director, attended the ceremony and participated in the chartering services. Later, at the request of Lady Witherspoon, Illinois was added to Area III. With other changes, the states of Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota were added to the states to comprise Area III. 

In 1975, Lady Witherspoon served as Area III Director. She convened the first Area III meeting at the Phi Delta Sorority House at 5239 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL. The first meeting was an organizational one at which the following officers were elected: Lady Edna Murray, Chicago, Area III Director; Lady Juanita Doggett, St. Louis, Assistant Area III Director; Lady Witherspoon, Area III Director-At-Large; Lady Jacquelyn Crawford, Chicago, Recording Secretary; Lady Genevieve Fisher, St. Louis, Corresponding Secretary; Lady Ruby Ford, Chicago, Financial Secretary; Lady Mamie Daniels, Chicago, Treasurer and Lady Rejesta Perry, St. Louis, Top Teens Advisor. Temporary by-laws were adopted to govern the operations of the Area and the Area III Top Teens officers were organized at this session. 

Under the leadership of Lady Murray, Area III received the Outstanding Area Award for two consecutive years and tied with another chapter the third year. She also made the initial contact for the organization of the Kansas City Chapter in Kansas City, MO. 

In 1979, Lady Rejesta Perry of St. Louis was elected Area III Director. She chartered the Kansas City Chapter. During her administration the Area began awarding scholarships to Top Teens. The initial scholarship amount was $50. It was during her administration that the Area began reimbursing transportation fees for elected Area III officers to attend Area Conferences. It was also at this time that Area III was expanded to include the states of Iowa and Wisconsin bringing to nine the number of states in the Area. 

The Area operated with three chapters until the election of Lady Jacquelyn Parker in 1983. During her term of office, eight new chapters were chartered bringing the total number of chapters to eleven. Those chapters were East St. Louis, West Suburban, Champaign-Urbana, Quad Cities, Wichita, South Suburban, Milwaukee and North Shore. Lady Parker was the first Lady from Area III to be elected National President of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. 

Lady Ruth Turner of the Milwaukee Chapter was elected Area III Director in 1987.  During her tenure, Lady Ruth chartered two new chapters—Ebony Chapter in Maywood, IL and Cardinal Chapter in St. Louis, MO. Lady Ruth also convened four financially successful area conferences resulting in a surplus, which she used to establish an area certificate of deposit in the amount of $5,000.  This provided Area III with much needed financial stability.  During Lady Ruth’s term, the state of Missouri was added, to complete the geographic boundaries of Area III.

Lady Marie H. Stellos of the Cardinal Chapter was elected National President in 1991. Cardinal was the youngest chapter in Area III to ever have a National President. 

Lady Peggy Lewis LeCompte of the East St. Louis Chapter was elected Area III Director in 1991.  

She chartered the Skyline Metropolitan, Kaycee, Rockford and Madison Chapters. During her administration, the largest Teen Conferences and Top Lady Conferences were held. She initiated the Area III Summit for Ladies and Teens, the Community Awards Luncheon, the Prayer Breakfast, the Man of Distinction Awards, the Presentation Ball, the Mid-Western Cluster Founders Day Celebration, the Area Rededication Ceremony, the 1st TTA and Community Teens Summit, the Salute to the Arts Award and designed the Area III Presentation Ball Pin.  Lady Peggy became the 10th National President of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. and the 3rd National President from Area III. 

Lady Dorothy W. Buckhanan of the Milwaukee Chapter was elected Area III Director in 1995.  During her tenure, Lady Dorothy chartered the Confluence Chapter in St. Louis County and increased area membership 20%.  Under Lady Dorothy’s leadership, Area III was the first area to embrace the Franchell Boswell Foundation, generating funds for its first contribution of $500.  Lady Dorothy organized and hosted three productive Top Teens Leadership Academies at Area Conferences; introduced diverse Area III Projects such as Books For Kids and the Area III Health Fair and spotlighted Top Teens in every aspect of Area III programming.  Area III won the National Outstanding Area Award three of her four years in office, along with the Outstanding Media Portfolio Award.  Area III’s Outstanding Chapter President Award is named in honor of Lady Dorothy. 

Lady Mattie Stanton of the Cardinal Chapter was elected Area III Director in 1999. During her administration the Area experienced a greater emphasis on the use of technology (electronic mail, voice mail and faxes) to carry on the business of the Area and communicate with members. Lady Mattie introduced the use of teleconference calls as a means of meeting with Chapter Presidents and Top Teens Advisors. Lady Mattie created several new awards and special recognitions – “Lovely Ladies” to honor active senior Ladies age 70+ years; the Lady Mamie Daniels “Lifetime Achievement Award”, Lady Marie Stellos “Humanitarian Award”, Lady Mattie Stanton “Outstanding Top Teen of the Year Award” and the first “Lord of the Year Award” to the Area’s outstanding Lord. Under Lady Mattie’s leadership, the “Silent Auction” became a permanent Scholarship fundraiser and the Area’s first Vocational Scholarships were awarded to Teens. The Lincoln Park Chicago Chapter was chartered during her administration. 

Lady Drema Lee Woldman of the Lincoln Park Chicago Chapter was elected in 2003.  The focus of her administration was communication, motivation, participation and collaboration.  Newsletters were published bi-monthly, membership increased by 25%, and the Cluster “concept” was totally embraced.  Lady Drema chartered three chapters:  Evergreen Park Chicago, Midway Chicago, and Will County Cosmopolitan.  The following awards were created during her administration:  the Drema Lee Woldman Leadership Excellence Award, the TTA Alumnus Award, the Theresa Sanders TTA Advisor of the Year Award and the Lady Carol J. Harris Outstanding TTA Chapter President Award.  The following initiatives were created:  the Community Awards Public Meeting, Area Orchid Awards Luncheon, and the Leadership Breakfast.  Area III won the distinction of “Five Star” Area during Lady Drema’s term of office; Area III was 1st Place for 2006-2007 Outstanding Area and 2nd Place for 2005-2006, 2004-2005, and 2003-2004;  Area III fully funded two Teens to take part in the Delta Sigma Theta HBCU bus tour; Area III Lords started the tradition of giving a “book” scholarship to the Area’s Scholarship recipients; and the first collaborative Health Fair was held under the banner of the North Cluster of Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. 

Lady Emily J. Jones, organizer of the West Suburban Chicago Chapter, was elected National Area III Director at the 2007 Syn-Lod.  The theme for her administration was “Filling the Prescription for Premier Service” with a commitment to focus on increasing chapter membership, conducting  viable community service, Top Teens mentoring, and to enhance knowledge of TLOD’s policies and procedures.  Lady Emily conducted a record number of inductions and inducted over 200 new ladies during her two terms in office.  She introduced several new initiatives during her administration: established a HBCU Lord’s scholarship for former Top Teens attending HBCUs; acquired Life memberships in both NCNW and the NAACP; provided grants to Mayo Clinic’s Breast Cancer Foundation for breast cancer research; implemented “Mother’s Day Projects” honoring the 1st Grandmother, Mrs. Marian Roberson and the First Lady, Michelle Obama; designed a TLOD Trailblazer pin to honor trailblazers in Area III and implemented a first, at the Area level, a five night, six day Area III TTA Leadership Tour to Washington, D.C. with twenty-six Top Teens. Under Lady Emily’s leadership, four successful Area III Conferences - 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 with great attendance from Ladies, Top Teen and Lords were held.  She introduced several new events to the Area III Conference agenda during these conferences:  Completing a Service Project in the community immediately preceding the Area Conference; the Area III Lord’s Recognition Breakfast; the VIP reception for community awardees, the Blue & Silver TTA Breakfast for Top Teens only, and the TTA Brown Bag Luncheon to enhance mentorship and career development for Top Teens.   Additionally, three new Area III Awards were established: The Emily J. Jones, Spirit of the Founders Award, The Area III Membership Challenge Award, and the Vivian Mays TTA Membership Award.  Area III was also recognized with Awards at Syn-Lod 2009 and Syn-Lod 2011.  At Syn-Lod 2009, Area III was the 1st place winner for Print Media, 2nd place for the President’s Award, Master’s Degree Literacy Project and recognized for 12 of the 16 chapters in the Area as “Five Star Chapters”.  At Syn-Lod 2011, Area III was the winner of the “National President’s Award” – first place for Outstanding Area Total Program for 2009-2011. Area III also boasted of having the highest percentage of chapters in any Area as five-star chapters. 

Lady Dorothy J. Fisher of the Cardinal Chapter was elected National Area III Director at the 2011 Syn-Lod. Under Lady Dorothy’s Leadership, the Area Mission of “Impacting the Future Through Exemplary Service to Mankind Today” was directly connected to the National Theme, “TLOD Impacting Our Future Through Positive Interventions in the Lives of Our Youth, Our Community and Our Legacy with Effective Volunteerism” Lady Dorothy continued the traditional and impactful programs that had become commonplace in encouraging Five Star Chapters and leadership among youth, specifically  those members of Top Teens of America. Annual Cluster meetings were held with records breaking attendance with an increased number of Ladies and Teens participating. The meetings provided direction, workshops and opportunities or collaboration. Each Cluster meeting weekend began with a TLOD induction and ended with an overwhelming among of donations to determined Community Partners, including Dress for Success. The activities at Annual Area Conferences continued to inform, celebrate excellence in service and showcase leadership. Each year, Ladies, Lords and Teens participated in the Community Service Outreach projects that provide an abundance of blessings for those in need. Lady Dorothy created a platform to inform others about TLOD through marketing initiatives, including the Public meetings, ultimately increasing the number of Community Partnerships. Following rave reviews and warm reception at Syn-Lod, one program specifically that was added to the Area III Conference agenda during Lady Dorothy’s administration was the Literacy Café – an opportunity for Teens, Ladies and Lords to comfortably enjoy genres of verbal expression. Additionally, new Awards were established for Area III – Dorothy J. Fisher Community Service Servant Award and Mavis Merritt TTA Mentoring Award. Lady Dorothy made sure that Area III continued to be the heartbeat of TLOD.