Women to Watch Awards Finalists – Health

Meet the 2020 finalists


Caldwell Resized

Grace Caldwell
The Joy Project

Grace Caldwell turned her concerns over the effects of COVID-19 on her colleagues in the medical profession into The Joy Project, a far-reaching initiative to provide them with help.

Caldwell, a former travel nurse, has worked at New Hanover Regional Medical Center since 2018 and is currently a nurse in the Medical ICU, which covers the COVID ICU. When COVID-19 began spreading, she hoped to enlist volunteers to assemble care packages for nurses locally and across the country.

Caldwell found a photo of a headband with buttons sewn on the side, allowing the wearer to attach their mask loops to the band instead of their ears and reducing the chance of their skin being rubbed raw by other types of masks.

“It sounds a little bit funny now, but in that very moment, it was the something I could do that would bring a
smile – a bit of joy, a smidge of relief to my comrades,” she says. “After a brief post on Facebook about my idea, donations began pouring in.”

She went to an online Wilmington community page and asked for a person who would be interested in sewing a couple of masks for purchase. Hundreds volunteered, including from organizations that donated time and resources to make and distribute them.

The Joy Project has subsequently provided, free of charge, 4,000 headband masks to medical professionals in many states as well as in North Carolina.

Ford ResizedLindy Ford
Lindy Ford Nutrition & Wellness

Lindy North is a clinical and functional registered dietitian and nutritionist who seeks to uncover the root causes of her patients’ conditions rather than simply treating their symptoms. This personalized approach requires time, research, and effort to get to the bottom of metabolic conditions.

She runs her private practice, Lindy Ford Nutrition & Wellness in Wilmington. She uses information about nutrition and health that leads to greater freedom.

Long-term weight control, diabetes-related and thyroid issues, gastrointestinal conditions, and hypertension are her primary focus areas. Recently, she’s worked on learning how COVID-19 affects people with preexisting conditions and obesity.

Watching her parents struggle with chronic disease – both of them passed away in their early fifties – and at one time facing her own personal health crisis, contributed to Ford’s career path.

Ford holds a degree in nutritional science and dietetics from the University of Maryland, College Park and a degree in communications from Towson University.

Her experience includes developing and implementing an employee nutrition program for a countywide health department in Maryland and conducting nutrition wellness seminars and classes for various groups, including nurse organizations and law enforcement. She writes nutrition and health articles for various outlets and on her popular social media channels.

Lamb ResizedKerry Lamb
Neurosciences Service Line Administrator,

Kerry Lamb helped lead and create the region’s first Comprehensive Stroke program and the first DNV Comprehensive Stroke Center accredited in the state.

Of all the great professional experiences Lamb’s had since she joined New Hanover Regional Medical Center in 2003, one that stands out to her is helping to build the region’s only multidisciplinary ALS clinic, which opened in February.

Patients with ALS and their families attend the clinic and meet with many members of the care team in one day to collaborate and coordinate the specialized needs for these individuals.

“Building and successfully launching a multidisciplinary clinic of this magnitude was especially rewarding,” Lamb says. “But, the most fulfilling moment of all was seeing the smiles of the patients with ALS in the clinic and expressing their gratitude for addressing a gap in support and care that had previously existed.”

Lamb’s future plans for the neurosciences service line include growing a more robust neuro-oncology presence to support the community’s needs, continued efforts to regionalize the award-winning stroke care, and to grow the neurocritical care program to include specially trained physicians and advanced practice providers.

Saieed Resized

Tracy Saieed
Coordinator of Volunteers/Gift Shop/Community Outreach,
Pender Memorial Hospital (NHRMC)

Through the challenges of COVID-19, Tracy Saieed has shown how she rises to the organizational needs before her.

Saieed worked as the coordinator of volunteers/gift shops/community outreach at Pender Memorial Hospital, where she began working more than six years ago. Her position became obsolete when COVID came; there were no volunteers, and they weren’t hosting any outside events in the community.

Reassigned to work full time in NHRMC’s marketing department, Saieed utilizes skills she’s honed from her involvement in numerous initiatives that sought to educate and engage staff and patients. She was also chosen as one of thirty system employees to serve on the NHRMC Enrollment team, communicating the vision of the hospital organization-wide.

She graduated in 2019 from the UNCW MBA program/Swain Center Project Management Professional Certificate and will soon submit documentation for her Project Management Professional certification.

“I want to continue being a leader in my community and mentor other women to pay it forward from the amazing opportunities and mentorship that I have received over the last few years,” Saieed says. “I feel we need more women in leadership roles, and I would love to be a mentor for women leaders across our community.”

Shields ResizedElsie Shields
Always Good Company Home Care Inc.

Elsie Shields has gone from building a successful local gourmet kitchen shop to recovering and reinventing herself after her husband’s unexpected and tragic death at the time her boys were two and five.

Never one to give up or complain, she took her giving spirit and innate sense of empathy to start a for-profit, non-medical older adult companion care business in the summer of 2013. Her husband now, Val D’Auvray, is involved in every aspect of the business.

Shields, founder and president of Always Good Company Home Care Inc., initially served as the sole caregiver. Now, there are more than thirty part-time caregivers and more than thirty clients. Her company stands out in the way its caregivers are actively engaged with each client rather than serving as adult “sitters.”

Caregivers take clients to errands and appointments, keeping them busy. Depending on the mobility of a client, caregivers will take clients out for lunch or on fun outings.

“I have always liked helping people, solving a problem, and hopefully making a difference,” Shields says. “I found out I have a knack and a love for older adults who need a little assistance.”

To view the Women to Watch Awards Finalists main page, click here.

Categories: Women to Watch