The Georgia Women Give executive committee

Get to know the Georgia Women Give executive committee

Georgia Women Give is a nationwide, women-directed fundraising group inviting more women to become philanthropists and engage more deeply with the University of Georgia. Founded in the spirit of The First 12, the first women to attend UGA, the group is committed to philanthropy, community and learning. 

GWG concentrates giving and increases impact by asking donors to designate their gifts to any of three specific funds: a merit-based scholarship fund, a study away support fund and an unrestricted fund that will send money to high-priority areas as directed by an executive committee. 

The Georgia Women Give executive committee is comprised of: 

Elizabeth Correll Richards, Chair, Atlanta, GA  

Cortney Beebe (AB ’98), Naples, FL  

Suzy Deering (BSFCS ’92), Bluffton, SC  

Ali Gant (AB ’01, MPA ’11), Chattanooga, TN  

Erika Lane (BBA ’93), Athens, GA  

Stephanie Powell (BSED ’94, MED ’97, EDS ’99), Statham, GA  

Diane Smock (AB ’74), Greenville, SC 

We asked them a few questions about who they are, their connection to UGA, and more. 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment?

Cortney Beebe: I was in charge of the 2005 Superbowl for Alltel in Alltel Stadium. We took 500 customers and clients, split up and stayed in three locations for three days and I didn’t lose anyone. All were alive and accounted for on Monday morning. 

Diane Smock: The Upstate Mediation Center is the sole provider of mandated mediation services on a sliding fee scale to litigants who otherwise would not have access to mediation. When it lost its funding, I was hired to oversee its closing. Instead, I was able to secure sustainable funding and otherwise improve the internal operations. Twenty years later, the UMC is still in operation and is thriving. 

What’s your favorite UGA-related memory?

Elizabeth Correll Richards: In 2017, UGA played Notre Dame. Both of my children were students at Georgia and all their friends wanted to go to the game, but it was expensive. So, I rented an RV, loaded 13 sophomores and seniors in the RV with my husband and drove to South Bend, Indiana, where we rented a house near the stadium. It was a weekend for the books. 

Ali Gant: Without a doubt, it was the summer of 1999. I was so lucky to be selected as one of 12 Orientation Leaders. That summer shaped the rest of my life: the way I lead both small and large groups, the way I can work as a part of a team of dynamic individuals and, most importantly, the fact that I met my husband. We didn’t get married for five more years, but that summer planted the seeds for the rest of my life. 

What constitutes a perfect day for you?

Cortney: No alarm, a stack of pancakes, a good workout (optional), then pack a cooler and spend all day on the beach with an amazing book. Then, a hot shower, dinner with my hubby and great friends, and head to bed early. Rinse and repeat. 

Diane: Waking up early to enjoy coffee, the New York Times (in hard copy!), and chatting with my husband before our busy days begin. Spending the day hiking in the nearby mountains with a few friends, then coming home to sit by the fire while enjoying a glass of wine or cup of tea and getting lost in the pages of a good book.

Stephanie Powell (left) and Diane Smock at the 2024 Georgia Women Give spring event’s signature luncheon.

What trait do you consider to be your “superpower?”

Erika Lane: My superpower lies in my organizational skills and ability to self-motivate. Balancing the daily demands with the beautiful things in life that keep you going: family, friends, travel and a little tennis. 

Suzy Deering: Being a Christian female in male-dominated industries. It allowed me to be empathetic and vulnerable which truly was a superpower.

Elizabeth: The ability to stay up late. It never bothered me when my kids pulled an all-nighter or needed a late-night ride. I am generally up until 3 a.m. – but don’t schedule anything for an early morning, I hate those! 

Elizabeth Correll Richards speaks at the 2024 Georgia Women Give spring event’s panel discussion.

Who is the woman you most look up to? Why?

Stephanie Powell: Laura Bush and Dolly Parton. These ladies are both classy, iconic women who know how to get a job done with grace and grit. 

Suzy: My grandmother was an amazing God-loving soul who stood tall and strong and provided unconditional love and a listening heart. I’m grateful my mom followed her mother’s footsteps and continues to fill that role. My mom is one of the strongest women I know. 

What traits do you value most in your friends?

Erika: When it comes to friendships, I value honesty, trust, and openness. Someone who will show up at your door with a bottle of wine – sometimes to laugh, sometimes to cry and hopefully many times to celebrate. 

Ali: I appreciate friends who, first and foremost, value kindness above all else. I also value friends who send me funny memes. 

Ali Gant speaks with an attendee of the annual Georgia Women Give spring event luncheon.

What were your favorite things to do with friends during your time at UGA?

Diane: As soon as the weather started to warm up after a chilly winter, several of us would wake at sunrise, pile into a car, and drive for hours to Sea Island, Tybee Island or even Panama City beach for a weekend of sun and fun, then drive back on Sunday night, sunburned and happy. 

Stephanie: During my time at UGA, you could find me Between the Hedges on game days as a Georgette, at the Zeta house, Spanky’s, listening to live music at the Georgia Theatre or (believe it or not) at Legion Field, which was a fun gathering spot for outdoor concerts and student events.