Hot Mamas 2012
The Heat is On!
It’s been almost a decade since we first introduced our readers to our definition of a Hot Mama. Readers who are unfamiliar with this annual feature – this year marks our ninth – might assume that it’s something of a beauty contest.
In a way, they’re right. We do receive many letters of nomination, thoughtfully and articulately detailing some of the most amazing women we’ve ever come across. It’s precisely here that the “beauty” aspect of the contest makes its entrance – but not in the way many would guess, as no photos are submitted with nomination letters.
Through their devotion to family, friends, careers, church families and communities, the incredible mothers described in your letters of nomination exemplify what “beauty” truly is.
They also remind us what a gift it is to have or know a mother whose everyday approach to life is a lesson in selflessness, encouragement and generosity – contest or not.
Here you’ll meet six remarkable women who personify beauty – and “hotness” – in the truest sense. Count yourself among the profoundly blessed if you happen to recognize your own mother in some of them, and then offer a word of thanks to her, wherever she may be.
To all mothers, happy Mother’s Day!
Cynthia Tucker Brooks
Motherhood Motto: Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Alexis LaMons says that if she had to choose one word to describe her mother Cynthia, she would call her a “rock,” that formidable source of strength and stability upon which her children have built their own foundations. “If she has limits, I’ve yet to see them,” Alexis says.
A former “professional mom” – Girl Scout troop leader, homeroom mother, field trip volunteer and school event organizer – Cynthia believes the most important thing she’s taught her children is to be strong, independent thinkers. Alexis says, “She also taught us that if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.”
Alexis, Jordan and Azure grew up in a family with distinct traditions. “We’ve given ourselves claw marks on our arms from playing so many rounds of spoons,” Cynthia says. Thanksgiving night always means going out for karaoke with her older kids and the second Monday night of the month for the past 16 years has meant Bunco with the Crown Heights group Cynthia started. “That group is a definite sisterhood,” Cynthia observes. “We plan our month around Bunco.”
After her three older children became adults, Cynthia, who is of Cherokee descent, felt called to adopt her (now teenage) daughters, Bree and Katy, through the Cherokee Nation. Thus, she began motherhood anew at an age when she might otherwise have set her focus on retirement (she is a multi-million dollar producer for Prudential Alliance Realty in Edmond).
At 21, Cynthia lost her own mother to leukemia. She found strength and inspiration from Loretta Patton, a woman who welcomed Cynthia into her home after her mother passed away. “She taught me what it meant to have a servant’s heart,” Cynthia recalls.
“I’m grateful that God trusted me with five lives to mold and shape,” Cynthia says. “Of course, I’ve made mistakes along the way, but I hope that when they look back on it, my kids would say we’ve all enjoyed the ride.”
Hometown: Claremore, OK
Occupation: Real Estate Agent, Prudential Alliance Realty
Children: Alexis LaMons, Jordan LaMons, Azure LaMons Herrera, Bree Brooks, Katy Brooks
Nominated by daughter Alexis
Motherhood Motto: Raise them to be independent, but pray they will always need you.
Polly Sharp writes that Hot Mama Kristi Bumpas’ theme song could very well be “Start Me Up” by The Rolling Stones. The Stillwater native and mother of two girls simultaneously started a family, a new business (Red Rock Consulting, LLC, Oklahoma’s only woman-owned geotechnical engineering firm) and the pursuit of a master’s degree in geotechnical engineering, to be awarded this month from Oklahoma State University.
In an industry overwhelmingly dominated by men, Kristi manages to balance project supervision on drilling sites with princess-themed birthday parties and make it all seem effortless. Polly adds that visitors to Kristi’s Edmond-based Red Rock Consulting office might see a portable crib next to Kristi’s hard hat. The visual captures Kristi’s emphasis on putting family first, although she admits that she’s happy to spend time with her children instead of working. “I don’t think I realized, before I had children, how attached you could become to another person,” Kristi says. “When they’re not here, I’m thinking about them all the time.”
As a fairly new mother (her older daughter just turned three), Kristi has experienced quite a learning curve. Everything about motherhood was new. In fact, the first diaper she ever changed was her own daughter’s. “I had never really been around little kids. I’d only babysat a few times and those kids were already potty-trained,” she recalls.
Fortunately for her daughters, their mom is a quick study who points to her own mother as a source of inspiration for being a good mom. “She was such a good example,” Kristi says. Kristi also credits her husband, Patrick, for being a supportive husband and excellent father who has come home more than once during Mom-and-daughter dance time.
“I’ve taught Bailey ‘the Roger Rabbit,’” Kristi says with a big smile, demonstrating the cartoon movie character’s dance moves in the front lobby at her office.
Hometown: Stillwater, OK
Occupation: President, Red Rock Consulting, LLC
Husband: Patrick Bumpas
Children: Bailey, 3, Camryn, 8 months
Nominated by co-worker Polly Sharp
Motherhood Motto: Don’t sweat the small stuff.
In his letter of nomination, Bob Corff describes his wife Karen’s defining characteristic as an unwavering spirit of love, caring and commitment. Although nursing has been her lifelong vocation, her life’s work has been one of service to family, friends and community.
Raising three sons, of course, is no work for the faint of heart, but as Karen speaks of her sons’ various achievements – they’re all adults now – it’s apparent that each child has taken his mother’s advice to strive to make a positive impact on the world. “I always stressed the importance of being intellectually curious and learning all they can about the world,” Karen says.
To elaborate on her motto of “not sweating the small stuff,” Karen recalls a few examples. “Let them have their weird haircuts,” she advises. “If their character is intact,” she reasons, “the rest is transient.” Tattoos, on the other hand, are decidedly not transient. When one of her sons was determined to get a tattoo, Karen shocked him by agreeing to let him do it on the condition that she accompany him to the studio to get a matching tattoo for herself. No tat, needless to say.
Karen points to several family traditions – most revolving around family travel – as key elements to preserving the close bonds of kinship. “The most important thing I’ve taught my kids is the importance of family,” she says.
Bob writes that Karen’s dedication to neonatal patients and their families is unwavering, surpassed only by her dedication for her family. When two of her sons heard that Karen had been selected as a Hot Mama, they expressed genuine satisfaction about the recognition. “It’s about time!” one son said. His brother added, “I have the best mom in the world, and now everyone is going to know.”
Employment: Director of Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Team, The Children’s Hospital, Oklahoma City
Husband: Bob Corff
Children: Justin, Brian, Eric
Granddaughter: Aspen, 1
Nominated by her husband
Motherhood Motto: Believe in yourself.
Being a Hot Mama has finally given Rachael Dewberry that gesture of “thanks” that her husband and sons would like to offer more often, but sometimes don’t. “Perhaps this is because we’re guys…” wonders Curt Dewberry, who nominated his wife by describing Rachael’s ability to juggle a full-time career as a family law and criminal defense attorney with raising two young sons and managing a busy household.
Curt expresses amazement at his wife’s ability to multi-task as skillfully as anyone he’s ever seen. In addition to volunteering mediation services and providing legal services to low-income applicants, Rachael adds several other professional, civic and charitable committees and activities to her “things to do” list on a regular basis.
Her mother has been Rachael’s inspiration to be a good mother to her own children. “My mom was a constant cheerleader for me. She was always encouraging me and now, I share those traits with my kids,” she says.
Motivating a five-year-old and a three-year-old sometimes takes extra effort. “I keep a stash of Skittles! They usually get the job done!” she says.
Looking back at the time before her first son was born, Rachael now wishes she hadn’t worried about what “the books” said about this or that when it comes to raising children. “I would tell a first-time mother-to-be not to read so many books!” she says. “Go with your instincts and believe in yourself – that’s what I’d say now.”
There are some life lessons Rachael hopes will resonate with her sons into adulthood. “I hope they’ll grow up with a sense of how to treat women,” she says, “and to value all people, regardless of gender or race.”
In the meantime, the Dewberry men offer their gratitude for Rachael’s ability to keep the family moving wherever they need to be going, according to Curt. “Our world would not function without her at the helm,” he says. “She is grace under fire, the calm to our storm, and the best thing that has ever happened to me… and did I mention that she’s really cute?”
Occupation: Attorney, Bass Law Firm, P.C., Oklahoma City
Husband: Curt Dewberry
Children: Two sons, 5 and 3
Nominated by her husband
Motherhood Motto: Everything will be better in the morning. Or… good marriages have good babysitters.
Although she says that being a mother has taught her how to multi-task, Stacy Jackson appears to have written the book on the subject. Apart from never missing her son’s soccer games, 6am commutes to the ice skating rink with her daughter and actually cooking dinner for her family many nights of the week and eating it at the table, Stacy manages to teach Sunday School classes, serve on various professional committees and make 50 desserts for Mobile Meals every other month with her children, Parker and Meg.
When she comes home from a day of teaching enrichment classes at Cheyenne Middle School, Stacy doesn’t stop teaching. Spending time as a family is a priority, as is teaching her children to value service to others. “I want my kids to realize that there’s more to the world than Edmond, Oklahoma. Whether they learn that through travel or by reading a book, I want them to see the world and have an open mind,” she says. “By preparing desserts together for Mobile Meals, they can appreciate how fortunate we are,” she adds.
Lessons in the Jackson family often come through travel, much of which takes place via the family car, extending from one coast to the other. Her children have visited about 27 states. As the family crosses state lines, Stacy presents “state bags” that she prepares beforehand, complete with a little history, treats, games and other goodies. She’ll be busy making several more this year as the family heads to Washington, D.C.
Every night at bedtime, Stacy asks her kids to tell her one thing for which they’re grateful. When asked the same question, Stacy says, “I’m grateful to have such a helpful husband. He helps with breakfast, driving the kids to school and so many things. I wouldn’t be a Hot Mama without him.”
Occupation: Teacher, Cheyenne Middle School, Edmond
Husband: Greg Jackson
Children: Parker, 11, Meg, 10
Nominated by her mother Brenda Lyons
Motherhood Motto: Teach by example.
Erin Page beautifully summarized her reasons for nominating her friend Jane Sutter to be a Hot Mama: “Jane is the epitome of a Hot Mama, deeply committed to her children and seeking the other children in our community who can benefit from her compassion, encouragement and love.”
The compassion Erin attributes to Jane, who serves the Boys and Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County as the nonprofit’s president and CEO, becomes evident when Jane speaks about the 300-plus children who race through the organization’s doors every day. “I have always felt a connection to young people, and I am drawn to helping them on the path to rewarding, fulfilling lives,” she says.
Prior to joining BGC in January 2011, Jane served as Deputy Director for the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, where she began a youth mentoring and training program in 1995. “That’s when I learned what a difference I can make for a child with just a little attention – concern for how that child is doing in school or talking about her goals and future options,” Jane recalls. “Now I do that, times about 300, every day at the Club.”
It’s fitting that Jane would join a nonprofit whose aim is to serve children. Throughout her adult life, Jane has devoted her volunteer time to an extensive list of civic organizations, most of which focus on improving the lives of children. “When I asked myself what gives me the most energy for what I do,” Jane explains, “the answer was ‘working with kids.’” She feels she’s found a new purpose in life by joining BCG.
Respect for all people, regardless of economic status, race or nationality, is the most important lesson Jane believes she’s imparted to her sons. “The huge challenge is to recognize how important it is, as a society, to provide as many opportunities for all kids – not just a select few – to grow and find value in life,” she says. She adds that the greatest blessing that comes from being a mother is watching her own sons become their own people, developing their own talents and finding their own passions in life.
Employment: President and CEO, Boys and Girls Clubs of Oklahoma County
Husband: David Sutter
Children: John Sutter, Ben Sutter
Nominated by lifelong friend Erin Page