Our Team

Cornerstone is led by a passionate team of counselors who each have a heart to serve and provide both individuals and families with high-quality care. Our counselors are here to help you begin a journey toward healing and restoration in every area of your life.

Lee Smith

M.S., L.P.C.
Lee is the Founder and Director of Cornerstone and has been counseling since 2006. A native of the Mississippi Delta, he attended Delta State University and later Mississippi College where he received his M.S. in Counseling Psychology. He is a nationally board certified, licensed professional counselor. When it comes to his career, Lee has had a very diverse background spending over ten years in sales and management in both the wireless and pharmaceutical industries. Lee later served on staff at Pinelake Church for a number of years. It was during his years on staff at Pinelake that his heart grew more for the local church and the state of Mississippi he calls home.

Since being in private practice, Lee has worked with adolescents, families, marriages and individuals addressing a variety of topics. He specializes in marriage and family dynamics, addiction, anxiety and depression. In addition to his work in private practice, Lee is a sought after speaker at churches, retreats and events. While he has genuine compassion for each person he works with, he admits he holds a special place in his heart for pastors. Recent research indicates that 70% of pastors constantly fight depression and do not have someone they consider a close friend. This same research reported that over 250 pastors left the ministry each month last year. It’s because of trends like this that one of the primary heartbeats of Cornerstone is to form partnerships with local churches to insure the health of the staff and congregation.

Lee believes that change in a person occurs in the context of relationships and vulnerability. Being fully known, fully accepted and being reminded of the life-changing truth of the Gospel is what continues to profoundly impact Lee’s life. He loves spending time with his wife, his three children, and his family and friends. He is an avid kayaker, fisherman, and coffee enthusiast.

Pastors about Lee

"I have tremendous confidence in Lee, not just as a counselor, but also as a friend and a man after God’s heart. At Pinelake, we define ministry as “what you leave behind you as you follow Christ.”Having served alongside Lee for over a decade, I have witnessed many lives touched by the wake of his walk with Jesus. In addition, Lee’s unique gifting, compassion and ability to speak hard truth in love give me great confidence anytime I refer people to him."

- Chip Henderson, Senior Pastor at Pinelake Church

"Lee Smith gets it. The needs of people are not just psychological but holistic. Here at Venture Church, he has created opportunities for healing through individual counseling, a referral plan for family counseling and has been on the ground floor of helping build out our Recovery Ministry. This has been in the first three months of our partnership with him at Venture. Who do you know who does that? We are thankful and blessed to work along side him."

- Jeff Clark, Senior Pastor at Venture Church (Hattiesburg)

Dr. Kristen Jones

D.P.C., L.P.C.
Dr. Kristen Jones is a licensed professional counselor with Cornerstone. She attended the University of Memphis where she received a B.A. in Psychology. She later graduated with an M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Mississippi College. Dr. Jones acquired her Doctorate in Professional Counseling from Mississippi College. She is a National Board Certified Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor by the state of Mississippi. Currently, Dr. Jones is serving as an adjunct professor in the Masters of Counseling program at Mississippi College.

Professionally, Dr. Jones has worked with individuals in the following settings: Oakley Training School, Jackson Public Schools, private practice, churches in the community and local adoption agencies. Her work with adults includes couples, and individuals with depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD, and grief. Her work with children and adolescents includes anxiety, trauma, grief, and adjustment to difficult life circumstances. Her specialties involve helping families through the adoption process, and helping adolescents with depression, anxiety and balancing pressures of school and home life.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling (mostly to the beach), reading, swimming, yoga and football. She enjoys spending quality with friends and family, especially her husband, Corey and daughter, Adeline.

Clients about Kristen:

"Although I am usually a very guarded person, from my first appointment in 2013 I have found it easy to open up to her. I firmly believe processing my stress in regular sessions with Dr. Jones has significantly improved my recurrent anxiety. Always professional, I can tell she genuinely cares about me, my family and any problems we faced. Sometimes I feel I've known her for years!"

"Dr. Jones has helped my daughter significantly through trying times. I am grateful for her work with my daughter, and I'm grateful for the person my daughter is because of their work."

"Dr. Jones is easy to work with and talk to. I know the people I refer to her will be in good hands."

Lauren Laird

Counseling Assistant
Lauren has lived in the Jackson area for 17 years. Originally from Atlanta, she received her Bachelors degree from the University of Mississippi. She is married and has three sons.

Anna Mahaffey

Anna began her relationship with counseling in elementary school when she received both play therapy and traditional talk therapy. This made such an impact on her life that she chose “Christian Counselor” as her “Dream Career” in the sixth grade. Anna is originally from Brandon, MS but lived in Gulfport, MS for eight years until Hurricane Katrina. This experience grew Anna’s interest in hearing people’s stories in the midst of hardship. Anna attended the University of Mississippi and received a B.A. in Journalism. After college, she worked with Reformed University Fellowship as an intern at Texas A&M. During this time, Anna felt the Lord leading her to reconsider a career in counseling. 

Anna graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary with a M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling. She loves working with young adults and adolescents but her training has prepared her to work with a wide range of demographics and issues. Some of these include: marital conflict and communication, family issues and parenting, depression, anxiety, trauma, grief, child and adolescent adjustments. Anna has a Level 1 Certification in Gottman Method Couples Therapy and is a Prepare-Enrich Premarital Counseling Facilitator.

Anna desires to walk beside her clients and provide a safe environment as they enter their counseling journey. She hopes that her training in both Biblical wisdom and evidence-based therapies can provide tools for healing and restoration. Anna believes all humans are made in God’s image and have innate value, beauty and worth. She feels it is a privilege to hear their story and watch the Lord work in their life. 

Anna is married to her husband and best friend, Matthew. In her spare time she loves hanging out with family and friends, traveling, watching documentaries, and painting. She is currently pursuing her LPC and is under the supervision of Dr. Kristen Jones.

Lisa Owens

M.S., L.P.C., N.C.C., C.C.M.H.C.
Lisa, a native of Jackson, is a National Board Certified Counselor (NCC), a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC) and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) by the state of Mississippi. She enjoys working with individuals, couples, and families.  Lisa is working in both the Jackson office and the Oxford office.

Lisa, and her husband Bill started their married life on a church staff working with youth.  A burden for others to know Christ in other countries led them to use their education degrees as missionary teachers in Taiwan (where their first daughter was born.)  Lisa and Bill also served as foster parents for several years at Palmer Home for Children (where their second daughter was born.)

Next, Lisa took time off from career ministry to take care of her 2 small children.  During this time, Lisa served as a mentor to young mothers and single women through the church. For many decades, Lisa has invested her time in mentoring relationships. Lisa also spent 15 years in the corporate world, and this work has given her insight into work-related issues and career decisions.

Lisa has a great desire to help others live life well.  In her late fifties, she began to work on her Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling at Mississippi College.  She interned at Summit Counseling at First Baptist Church in Jackson, MS.  After she completed her degree, Lisa worked as a counseling associate at Summit Counseling. 

Lisa enjoys spending time with her family and being a big part of the lives of her six grandchildren. She also enjoys traveling, cooking, swimming, hiking, and cycling.

Leah Vernon

A native Jacksonian, Leah has been working to fulfill a lifelong dream of serving others as a counselor as long as she can remember. Frederick Buechner once said: "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." Leah views counseling as the ideal conduit for God to bring healing through the counseling relationship.

As Leah sought to equip herself to work as a counselor, she pursued a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Reformed Theological Seminary (graduated 2000), followed by four years working as the high school guidance counselor at Jackson Academy, her alma mater. After starting a family she then pursued licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor through Crossroads Counseling.

While her education and at Samford University and Reformed Theological Seminary provided invaluable experience, Leah's life lessons have provided her equal training ground to serve and encourage others on their path. A cancer diagnosis at 20, followed by an infertility diagnosis, proved to be some of Leah's best teachers in overcoming trials.

Forever grateful for God's healing and His best gifts, her husband, Leigh Vernon, and twin daughters, Anna Davis and Julia, Leah is passionate about helping others find joy and fulfillment on their personal journey.

Leah's education and training have equipped her to serve and counsel others struggling with: marital conflict, divorce, family issues, depression, anxiety, trauma, addiction, grief, infertility, cancer diagnosis/treatment, unplanned pregnancy, abuse, adolescent adjustments, and other life stressors

Don Waller

M.S., L.P.C.
Don Waller, a Mississippi Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) since 2009, brings a unique perspective to counseling. After graduating from the University of Mississippi with a degree in Business Administration, Don spent the next twenty years in the Oil & Gas Industry in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Running a successful business and raising a family helped prepare Don for his next calling – returning to study counseling and receiving a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Mississippi College.

His counseling career began at Summit Counseling, First Baptist Church in 2007. Joining with individuals and couples to help them experience fulfilling relationships they desire became a passion. Don has been gifted in helping men discover their God given place in life, helping them break free of harmful behaviors and addictions, and helping men find strength and freedom through living in community while experiencing authentic relationships. Leading men’s retreats and adventures has further expanded Don’s impact in men’s lives.

Planning and leading marriage retreats is another area of experience for Don. In 2015, Don along with Dr. Ron Mumbower held a marriage conference for missionary couples in South Africa. This conference involved intensive counseling sessions that helped couples better cope with working overseas and helped them discover new ways to find a fulfilling marriage.

Don has been married to Yonnie for twenty-three years and has two daughters in college and a son, a high school freshman. Experiencing God’s best in his own marriage, family, and relationships has been a driving force in Don’s life, and he uses that success to help others find God’s best too.

Experience and education have helped Don become successful helping others with depression, anxiety, and addictions, Don’s marital counseling includes communication, conflict resolution, emotional as well as physical intimacy, dealing with affairs and trauma.

Don Waller is a dedicated counselor with experience, passion, and a desire to help others through difficult times.