Meet the folks who bring keep Mountain Song Jewelers up and running! We'll admit, we have the best jobs around--we spend our day connecting awesome clients like you with the jewelry of your dreams!
Mountain Song Jewelers offers affordable bridal, engagement, custom, vintage, antique, and new jewelry serving Greeneville, Johnson City, Bristol, Kingsport, Morristown, Knoxville, and all of East Tennessee. Our same services are available globally.
Rob is our owner and one of our artists. Mountain Song was his brainchild.
Rob Sherman, owner and founder of MSJ, came to jewelry late in life, despite coming from a three-generation tradition. Rob spent his childhood in the American West with time spent between Arizona and Texas—the wide-open desert landscape of Arizona (Prescott area) will always be home to him. He, along with his siblings, was raised by his grandmother in what was sometimes, or even often, desperately poor circumstances. He realized at a young age he had to shape his own destiny to change his circumstances. He moved east to attend ETSU in the early 1990s, where he and Jonita met and were friends but lost touch for 15 years after. He dabbled in many jobs from security, working with the homeless, construction, until he eventually taught himself to rebuild and repair engines and built a small business doing such. When he realized this wasn’t his calling, he began intensely concentrating where he needed to be in life. His heart kept bringing him back to jewelry. He rediscovered a branch of his family who were jewelers whom he hadn’t spoken to in two decades. At his first cross-country phone call to cousin Robert Drozd (Bob) to reintroduce himself and ask if Bob would train him to make jewelry, Bob abruptly hung up the phone. Later Bob explained he had been so overcome with emotion to hear that finally the next generation wanted to carry on the family tradition. Bob patiently coached Rob over the next year and Rob began silversmithing. Rob and Jonita traveled the art fair circuit and in 2017, took the biggest gamble to date and opened the brick & mortar Mountain Song Jewelers. Rob is the ambitious mastermind behind MSJ’s growth and trajectory and is passionate about creating an experience where people from any walk of life can afford something nice and where every person is treasured and welcomed. Because of his childhood experiences, where often charity intervened to ease the burdens of poverty, Rob is aggressively dedicated to giving back to his community. Jonita & Rob have three ambitiously clever children, one slightly evil cat, one nice cat (but will cut you if needed), and one not-very-smart-but-very-loveable dog.
Jonita is the business guru. She grew up in the mountains of East Tennessee—daughter of Shirley and JD Ashley-- she attended elementary and high school in Greene County and went off (30 miles away) to the big city of Johnson City for her bachelors degree (History) and Master of Public Administration (a brief, miserable stint in zoning enforcement for a local city convinced her that government work was something she wasn’t able to sacrifice a chunk of her soul for). She left the city planning career and returned to higher ed. She has been an RA and RD in her undergrad and grad days and thought hanging out with college kids for a career couldn’t be all bad. She moved home to Greeneville in 2003 and began a new career in higher ed. Through unintentional drive to be competitive in everything, she found herself promoted and advanced in her higher ed role over the next 15 years. Somehow, she ended up with a PhD from the University of Tennessee—those years are a blur of driving, writing, working 50+ hours a week and raising a baby. But somewhere in there, she got really dang good at stats and numbers and data collection. Her higher ed career came to a spectacular end in 2017 when she and Rob decided to throw all their cards on the table and go for their dream with no regrets and no looking back. Rob (love of her life, who, like jewelry, she didn’t discover until a little later in life though they were close friends in their college days) has a work ethic, energy, and streak of unbridled ambition closely matched only by Jonita’s—though you don’t see them IN the business often, they are always working ON the business and absolutely adore serving their community through helping them create memories with beautiful jewelry. Jonita & Rob have three ambitiously clever children, one slightly evil cat, one nice cat (but will cut you if needed), and one not-very-smart-but-very-loveable dog.
Scott Steighner has a jewelry career spanning decades and we're so incredibly lucky to have him here at MSJ! He has lived all over the U.S. supervising, managing, and streamlining jewelry repairs shops for one of the major US jewelry juggernauts. He has spent the last decade making some of the finest jewelry in east TN while based in Johnson City. Scott joined us at MSJ in June 2020 as our repair and custom jeweler. He and his wife live here in Greene County.
Denise manages Mountain Song Jewelers. You can find her in the store daily and she'll show you all our amazing jewelry and tell you all about it. She'll also help you put together your custom order. She's a barrel of fun and sass. Her title may be manager, but don't let her fool you--she's really the Chaos Master of everything here at MSJ! At any given moment she's making sure we are all doing what needs to be done to make our MSJ Client Family happy! She and her familiar, I mean cat, Luna bring sunshine to MSJ every day!
Ronda is MSJ’s numbers and IT wizard; she is also the Executive Director of our Foundation. Originally from North Carolina (go Blue Devils), Ronda has found herself living in East Tennessee for well over a decade. She has a Bachelors in Mathematics from Campbell University and a Masters of Divinity from Duke University. (She really doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up.) After a brief stint in Florida, Ronda found herself moving to East Tennessee to become a Chaplain at a college. (Yes, she’s also an ordained minister.) She quickly found herself being promoted within higher ed, eventually serving as a Vice President. During this time, she completed a PhD and even wrote a textbook. (Overachiever much?) Ronda has always had a head for numbers and spent a good deal of her time understanding factors that create positive outcomes. When her higher education path suddenly ended in 2020, her friend Jonita reached out saying that Ronda needed to be a part of the MSJ team. Always up for a challenge, and knowing that she, Jonita, Denise, and Tiffany had already done amazing work together in higher ed, Ronda took the leap to the world of jewelry. She is excited to work for a small business which has a big heart for the community. Ronda is married to the love of her life, Stacy, who shows her to the joys of Tennessee, while recognizing that she will always be a Blue Devil. Together they have two sons who are precocious, a lazy beagle who would rather sleep than chase rabbits, a mutt puppy who keeps the kids in line, and a cat who secretly plots to take over the house.
Raised a farm girl from East Tennessee, Tiffany’s skillset includes everything from plucking a chicken for dinner, to managing dozens of people and projects at once in a higher ed setting. She is MSJ’s online guru managing all of our social media—when you talk to someone online, there’s a 99% chance it’s Tiffany. Tiffany is the oldest of three children and the daughter of Tina Laughlin. She spent her years riding horses, milking cows, playing basketball, football, and even wrestling in high school—appreciating some irony and never one to be typecast, she was also the Homecoming Queen. She spent the majority of her career working in higher education (with Jonita, who hired her way back when she was a mere youngling of 19). Tiffany obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Business and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Development Education. She moved during her 12th year in higher education to work for a public institution in the frozen land of northeastern Nebraska. In her higher ed career, Tiffany has done everything from supervise multi-million renovations, to coordinating dozens of staff members to produce hundreds of student programs, negotiating contracts, breaking up fights, serving warrants, and adjudicating judicial cases (you name it, she’d done it)—working her way up through sheer dedication and competence from simply answering a switchboard when first hired 12 years ago. After a year of being in the frigid Midwest, she met the love of her life, Brandon. Brandon proposed to Tiffany with a custom-made ring from Mountain Song Jewelers. Her close friend Jonita worked with Brandon to bring his idea to life. Tiffany and Brandon will tie the knot May 2021. Together Brandon and Tiffany have three fabulous and creative children, one sweet and sassy dog, and a cat of questionable merit. Tiffany joined Mountain Song Jewelers in February 2021 after having already spent years working with Ronda, Jonita, and Denise in higher ed. and they were thrilled to have their little dream team together once again!
Sheila Russ is our Coordinator of Retail Operations. Sheila is from the North Carolina Coast but has spent the majority of her life in Richmond, Virginia. She enjoys being crafty and is a talented seamstress. She has spent the last five years working on creations and costuming for local and professional theatres and film in the Richmond area. She is inspired by and loves anything vintage, especially vintage jewelry. We are excited to have Sheila and her creative eye with us at Mountain Song Jewelers.