With planning for America250 underway, get to know the people behind the scenes with our spotlight series. We’ll be asking Commissioners and staff about their passions, plans, and hopes for the future. 

Meet Vice President of Programs and Planning Anna Laymon, a women’s history buff with a goal of creating thousands of inclusive programs across the country leading up to 2026.

A250: If you could have dinner with any person from U.S. history, dead or alive, who would it be? Why? What would you ask?

Dolly Parton. Wouldn’t you love to know how a woman from the mountains of East Tennessee changed the landscape of American music and made visible the struggles and triumphs of generations of American women?

A250: What is your favorite quote by an American?

Two options! (Can you tell I love Susan B. Anthony?)

“No man is good enough to govern any woman without her consent.” – Susan B. Anthony

“Organize, agitate, educate, must be our war cry.” – Susan B. Anthony

A250: What is the strongest national pride you’ve ever felt?

My husband is in the military and at a recent ceremony he spoke about how his grandfather’s unwavering belief in the American spirit inspired him to serve. His grandfather fought in the Korean War and was wounded in 1950 during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir – known as one of the darkest moments in American war history – along the border of North Korea and China. Our country has a great tradition of service to our nation and service in our communities, and moments of heroism and sacrifice are woven into the fabric of all our stories. When I think of those stories in my own family – stories of honor and courage – I feel proud to be an American. 

A250: What is a unique viewpoint from your home state that you’re excited to bring to this nationwide project?

This is an easy one! Tennessee is fireflies, family, fiddles, and campfires. We are mountains and music. The qualities of my home state are a huge part of who I am, how I see the world and what I value. And I bring those values to work with me each and every day.

A250: What does America250 and this moment mean to you?

I see America250 as an opportunity to uncover hidden histories, inspire pride in our shared stories and honor a milestone of American democracy.

Q: What are you most looking forward to leading up to 2026?

America’s 250th is a reminder that we are at our best when we stand together. It’s our generation’s opportunity to spark a shared patriotism, to celebrate our commonalities and uplift our differences, and to redefine American pride for the next 250 years.

A250: Give us three fun facts about yourself.

I would have named my daughter Magnolia but was overruled by … everyone.

I have a not-so-secret dream to be Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality.

I’ve flown in an all-women helicopter flyover of Washington, D.C. with the U.S. Air Force in honor of Women’s Equality Day and the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. 

To learn more about the America250 team, visit our about page and follow us on social media for the latest news and updates.