With your help, we recognize and spotlight the strength, ingenuity, and tenacity of our area’s female leaders and entrepreneurs to drive inspiration and connectivity.
Good Human Award
Shonte’ is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Over the past ten years, she has worked diligently in Genesee County to increase breastfeeding rates. She has worked in the hospital as a lactation intern and at various pediatric and obstetrician clinics, promoting and educating women about breastfeeding. She facilitates local support groups, works with
community partners, provides postpartum doula services, and recently completed training to be a childbirth educator. Shonte’ has worked with hundreds of families through education, support, and empowerment.
She prides herself in caring, professional, efficient, and trustworthy care. Normalizing breastfeeding is her passion. Her goal is to provide
culturally competent care for all families. Shonte’ has breastfed her four
children and understands that there can be struggles of breastfeeding, the importance of support, and how rewarding it is to overcome the struggles.
Community Focus Award
Canisha Bell is a yoga instructor, mindfulness practitioner, and meditation facilitator from Flint, Michigan. She works for the Crim Fitness Foundation as a Mindfulness Educator. Canisha is passionate about bringing holistic wellness to the community as she leads yoga and mindfulness/meditation events through the Crim’s Mindfulness Initiative as well as her own organization, Black Girls Do Yoga (BGDY). The idea for BGDY was born after Canisha completed her teacher training for yoga and attended several mindfulness/meditation workshops where she was almost always the only person of color; the only Black woman in attendance. In an effort to change that, she founded BGDY to promote yoga, mindfulness and mediation as a means of mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness in the BIPOC and Christain community.
An advocate for promoting women in business and entrepreneurship, Canisha is a member of the Flint Women’s Forum, a membership organization with a mission to increase the visibility and effectiveness of women in the community. She is also a part of the YWCA’s Vision 2020 Campaign Committee in the establishment of a Women’s
Empowerment Center focused on providing women and girls important resources and racial justice training. As racism has been declared a public health crisis, Canisha sits on the Community Action Council, a group approved by the Genesee County Board of Commissioners to serve as one of the decision-making bodies for the strategic plan to identify, dismantle, and ultimately eliminate racist policies and practices in Genesee County. Canisha is also committed to serving her community as she sits on the executive board of two local non-profits, Motherly Intercession and Serenity House of Flint. Both of these organizations serve marginalized communities with missions that are close to her heart. Canisha currently lives in Flint, MI with her husband and six children.
Young Entrepreneur Award
Kiara Tyler is a young female entrepreneur that started her urban streetwear clothing brand in Flint. Kiara has more hustle than most entrepreneurs that we've ever met! She started selling her clothes, Kalm clothing, out of the trunk of her car and has built her brand up to having her own show in New York Fashion Week.
Egypt Otis, with her background in Social Work, has been involved with a number of grassroots movements in Flint and across the State of Michigan. She helped start a Flint chapter of The Democratic Socialists of America and was appointed, by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, to the board of the Child Abuse and Neglect Taskforce, which helps shape child welfare policies in the state of Michigan. Most recently, Egypt announced the opening of a new
bookstore and social hub called Comma Bookstore that will be located in downtown Flint! In addition to featuring Black and Brown authors and voices, it will also be a social hub to connect artists, musicians, and more!