3 #GirlBosses making big moves in Gaston County


This post is brought to you in partnership with Gaston Outside. All opinions are our own.

Economic growth and business development are some of the top reasons that Gaston County is becoming a big deal.

To highlight the best of the county, we teamed up with Gaston Outside and interviewed three women of Gaston County who are doing big things for the area.

Terry Cox

The Executive Director of Gaston Innovation Group, Inc., Terry Cox was hired to lead TechWorks of Gaston County. This new, exciting initiative aims to make Gaston County a hub for tech entrepreneurs backed by a government investment totaling $2.1 million.

TechWorks‘ plans for the future include helping to expand access to high-speed internet for underserved populations, developing digital literacy and coding courses for schools, assisting businesses in a tech-based economy and more. The Google TechWorks event, to be held on October 11, will focus on teaching business owners how to utilize the various wonders of digital marketing.

Ms. Cox is no stranger to the tech world. With a background in marketing, business consultancy and accounting, Cox co-founded the high-speed internet advocacy group Charlotte Hearts Gigabit. She is also the CEO and Founder of BIG (Business Innovation and Growth), a support organization for businesses with high growth in the Charlotte area.

Emily Andress

A career artist with a focus on mythological and dream imagery to showcase women’s empowerment, Emily Andress is the owner of Awaken Gallery in Mount Holly. She uses her gallery space to host art with messages about how to make the world a better place.

She also coordinates events, such as the upcoming Lantern Parade on October 20, where attendees will be taught traditional Irish lantern making by artist Olive Stack, and cash prizes totaling $3,000 will be awarded to winners.

Andress makes Mount Holly her home for a reason. “How did I come to be in this position? I manifested it,” she said. “The entire community has embraced us being here. [Mount Holly] is welcoming artists in significant ways.”

Andress plans to expand her horizons, educate young artists and bring more art to the area. “The more artists I bring here, the better. When the water is high, all boats rise.”

Merryman Cassels

Merryman Cassels is the owner and lead designer at The Hive— a creative hub that specializes in designing stationery, bespoke gifts and more. After taking six months off of work to help start an arts program at an orphanage in Mexico, Cassels was struck with an epiphany about a new direction in life.

“I saw a literal hive of creativity where people gathered in downtown Gastonia,” she said. “As a beekeeper and lover of this community, this vision resonated with my soul.”

In fact, with Cassels being behind Gastonia’s initiative in becoming a Bee City, she ultimately aims to make Gaston County the first “Bee County” in the United States.

Ms. Cassels is dedicated to growing The Hive and its influence. “Our goal is to be known for our integrity, impeccable design, out-of-the-box solutions and keen eye for what is beautiful,” she said.

The Hive recently started the Healing Hive Foundation—an organization dedicated to providing Gaston County natives with support services, creative skills and scholarships.

Gaston Outside is celebrating GO Month all October long, showcasing the best of what makes the county a great place to live, work and play.

Want to learn more about Gaston Outside, women leaders in Gaston County and how you can participate in GO Month? Click here for more information.


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