Women to KNOW in North Carolina - 2022

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WOMEN TO

IN NORTH CAROLINA



WOMEN TO

IN NORTH CAROLINA

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WOMEN TO

IN NORTH CAROLINA by KNOW Women, LLC. Original Photography by

CAT FORD-COATES Volume One 2022 Collection

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Copyright © 2022 by KNOW Women, LLC.

Interior photography © 2022 by Cat Ford-Coates except where noted on page 133 Author photograph on page 135 © 2022 by Gabriella Galante All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced - mechanically, electronically, or by any other means, including photocopying without written permission of the publisher. Every woman was selected through peer review and interviewed via typeform. These are their words. Introduction by Sarah Benken Additional text by Erin Daniels Design by Myra Ray of Print and Web Designer ISBN 978 - 1 - 7923 - 8622 - 0 First Edition: February 2022 Published by KNOW Women, LLC. 6125 E. Indian School Road Suite 2001 Scottsdale, Arizona 85251 theknowwomen.com Printed in the United States

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CONTENTS Amina Abubakar

8

Jacinda Jacobs

68

Anna Churchill

10

Kimberly Wynn

70

Anne Buresh

12

Kimmy Hunter

72

Ashley Horton

14

Laurie M. Martin

74

Audrey Priel

16

Linette Montae

76

Barbara Hemphill

18

Lisa Thomas

78

Brandy Mabra

20

Lisa Wester

80

Carmen Cousin

24

Liz Williamson

82

Carrie Peele

26

Marissa Jade Willinsky

84

Cat Ford Coates

28

Mary Cantando

86

Chasta Hamilton

32

Mary Sue Boyle

88

Christina Kirkey

34

Megan Miller

90

Christy Miller

36

Michelle Holmes

94

Crystal Mwaura

38

Monica Rouseau

96

Diane Holmes

40

Monique Douglas

98

Dr. Amber Beane

42

Myra Ray

100

Dr. Atoya Hodges

44

Nicole Case

102

Dr. Cheryl Nicholas

46

Niki Erb

104

Dr. Crystal Maxwell

48

Page Fehling

108

Dr. Hoda Imeni Bassiri

50

Sarah Forney

110

Dr. Lisa Folden

52

Sarah Selfish

112

Dr. Paulette Evans

54

Sarah Seward Woodson

114

Dr. Shaftina Snipes

56

Shell Richardson

116

Dr. Sharon Jones

58

Somer Handley

120

Dr. Tiamesha Walker-Smith 60

Terri Zaczyk

122

Elena Bridgmon

62

Wendy Russell

124

Erica Delong

64

Yolanda Davis Briso

126

Gabriella Terry

66

Yolanda McCormick

128

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WHEN

SUCCESSFUL

WOMEN

ARE LIFTED UP FOR THEIR HARD WORK AND ACHIEVEMENTS, THEY INSPIRE THE NEXT GENERATION OF

FEMALE

LEADERS. ~Sarah Benken 8


INTRODUCTION Together there isn’t anything we cannot accomplish as women. And with the right connections and visibility, everything is possible.

When we conceptualized KNOW back in 2017, it was to provide greater visibility to female leaders, creators, and entrepreneurs who were authentic, intentional, dynamic and diverse. Our mission has always been to help women become known for their hard work and achievements, because we know when leaders are lifted up, they inspire the next generation. We present this book to the entire state of North Carolina, so that you can be inspired by women right here in your neighborhoods. In this compilation, you’ll find 56 powerful women from across the state of North Carolina. You’ll meet women from all walks of life and various socio-economic backgrounds, races, religions, ages and tenors. These women come from all industries - from real estate, interior

design, marketing and construction to media, food, health care and beauty. These women are self-made and have worked relentlessly to achieve their level of success, all while giving back to their communities and supporting those who will come behind them. Women to KNOW in North Carolina is about the woman herself. Not about her brand or her company’s accolades. It is about HER. She is a Woman to KNOW. We encourage you to read through each page and “hear” the wisdom shared so eloquently by each woman. We invite you to take with you what you need and value most. Share her wisdom. Quote her as you wish. Place her on your coffee table. And help us celebrate her as a Woman to KNOW in North Carolina.

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AMINA ABUBAKAR

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MEET AMINA ABUBAKAR, CEO AND OWNER OF AVANT PHARMACY & WELLNESS CENTER Among many other preceding accolades for outstanding work in the profession and community, Amina was awarded 2020’s Independent Pharmacist of the Year by the National Community Pharmacists Association and the 2020 Bowl of Hygeia from the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists. Due to Amina’s desire to advance the pharmacy profession and leadership, she has been invited to speak at conferences nationally and internationally as well as The White House Office of Science and Technology in 2016. It also inspired her to found the Avant Institute where she trains pharmacists seeking to innovate and advance their careers and businesses.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My father has influenced me the most with his journey from humble beginnings to his desire to make every human interaction meaningful and better than how he found it.

Women empowerment means meeting women where they are and not where other people think they should be, while helping them navigate the opportunities in front of them without judgment.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

By investing in tools and resources, I want to teach them how to navigate through the messy and uncertain parts of life. In addition, I provide leadership so they can grow with greater ease, flow, and even joy within their work and personal lives.

Progress is life therefore don’t let perfection get in the way of progress.

CONTACT SOCIAL @amina-abubakar @avantpharmacy @avantpharmacy @amina.abubakar @avantpharmacy WEB avantpharmacy.com DETAILS amina@avantpharmacy.com | 704.537.0909 | 9835 Monroe Road, Charlotte, NC 11


ANNA CHURCHILL PHOTO CREDIT: REVOLUTION STUDIOS

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MEET ANNA CHURCHILL, FOUNDER OF SYNERGY FACE + BODY With over 29 years of experience, Anna Churchill began her career as a professional makeup artist and licensed aesthetician. In 2004, she founded Synergy Face + Body, the Triangle’s award-winning full-service spa, med spa, laser center, and plastic surgery destination. What began with just ten employees has grown into multiple locations– and counting!– supported by a team of over 70 full-time professionals. Anna is a key opinion leader for the industry’s top vendors, and in addition to her role as Synergy’s CEO, she is the Board Director of Aesthetic Partners. Outside of aesthetics, Anna passionately serves on the boards of various arts organizations in Raleigh.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My team. I have an amazing team of strong, talented women that support me personally and professionally. I am inspired and motivated by them every day. I wouldn’t be where I am today without all the help so many of them have provided me along my way.

Finding your voice and knowing how to use it effectively. Not backing down from the hard things. Helping others rise even when you feel down.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I’m very proud that many of our team members began their professional careers at Synergy. We strive to help young professionals develop and grow within our organization. I love helping someone get their start and empowering them to rise to the top of whatever it is they choose to do.

Don’t defend: Instead, get curious.

CONTACT SOCIAL @feelsynergy @anna-churchill-aa649521 WEB feelsynergy.com DETAILS anna@feelsynergy.com | Raleigh, NC

@feelsynergy

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ANNE BURESH

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MEET ANNE BURESH OF ANNE BURESH INTERIOR DESIGN Anne Buresh Interior Design is an award-winning, full-service interior design firm that has been featured in Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Western Home Journal, Home Design and Décor, and many other publications featuring her elegant sanctuaries. Located in Charlotte, North Carolina and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Anne brings a passion for defining her clients’ unique taste to every project. Anne has spent the past decade focusing on collaborations on a wide variety of projects from new builds to large scale renovations. Anne’s inspiration merges chic style with timeless serenity and tailors designs to each client not “a one size fits all”.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My influences come from my life experiences, especially my childhood. My grandmother was an interior decorator and loved beautiful things. Her house had beautiful antiques, chandeliers, and draperies. As a child I played “interior decorator” with her fabric and wallpaper sample books. My appreciation for making a beautiful home began there.

My business dynamic is shaped towards a universal support system of vendors, clients, and tradespeople. Beautiful relationships spark beautiful designs, I am passionate about forming authentic partnerships with those around me. These lasting relationships have enabled me to be a leader and mentor in the interior design industry.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I’m a nurturer and Interior Designer which recently led me to become involved with Furnish for Good in Charlotte, NC. This nonprofit organization allows interior designers to utilize their talents to create showrooms that raise money and collect furniture for underprivileged families in the Charlotte community.

Always stay humble and willing to create lasting relationships for life. The relationships I have formed working from the East Coast to Jackson have opened my eyes to many new perspectives that I incorporate into my designs. Participating and winning “Best Interior Design” at the Western Design Conference in Jackson Hole was a large success, and allowed me to blend Southern charm with Western influence.

CONTACT SOCIAL @annebureshinteriordesign WEB anneburesh.com DETAILS anneburesh@gmail.com | 704.241.7072 | 2220 Selwyn AVE. Charlotte, NC 15


ASHLEY HORTON

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MEET ASHLEY HORTON OF YELLOW PAW PRINTS Former Marine turned Master Dog Trainer and Real Estate Agent, Ashley Horton has spent the last decade cultivating relationships connecting humans and animals while helping them find a place to call ‘Home’. Bound by unwavering determination to connect with others post-military life, Ashley found community working with dogs and their families in training. These unique relationships provided inspiration to find new and creative ways to serve her community and take care of those who need a friend and ally. Ashley is proud to serve with an M.S. in Canine Human Life Sciences and serve as a Global Real Estate Advisor.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My dog. She taught me patience, love, forgiveness, compassion, empathy, and kindness. I thought my military career would be the most influential experience in my life, but it’s a close second next to my life with Bailey and the things she’s taught me to make me a better person. I wish everyone could share the kind of love and growth I’ve experienced; and she’s the one who inspired me to try and nurture that with others.

It means lifting others up and recognizing the strength and power we see in each other. It means being supportive, being a friend, or maybe something as simple as being a cheerleader and a listening ear. Women empowerment, to me, is holding each other accountable to bring out the light in every vibrant woman we meet at every opportunity and to celebrate them and love them wholly.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I am supporting our next generation of leaders by pouring into someone else’s cup when I have the means; being a friend when a friend is needed; offering strength or an ear when an advocate or ally is required; and fighting for the dreams of those who wish to pursue them whole heartedly. I support our next generation by staying open minded to the possibilities they bring to the table, and I wait eagerly to see how they’ll change our world.

Follow your heart- the money will follow. You’ll know you’re in the right place because it’ll feel right, it’ll feel good, and you’ll stop doubting yourself and start believing you are as good as you really are.

CONTACT SOCIAL @YellowPawPrints @yellowpawprintsclt @ashley-h WEB yellowpawprints.com DETAILS ashley@yellowpawprints.com | 704.975.5418 | 338 S. Sharon Amity, #189, Charlotte, NC 17


AUDREY PRIEL PHOTO CREDIT: ROSE TRAIL IMAGES

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MEET AUDREY PRIEL, FOUNDER OF ROSE TRAIL IMAGES Audrey of Rose Trail Images is a North Carolina photographer serving the Triangle area and beyond. She takes a very lifestyle and photojournalistic approach with her clients, focusing on authentic moments, storytelling, and connections. She is inspired by warm sunlight, infectious laughter, and all of the Boston sports teams. Audrey loves to make others laugh and strives to give her clients happy memories as well as gorgeous photos, whether it’s a wedding, family, or branding session. Audrey was named one of the top event photographers in Raleigh in 2022 by Peerspace and has become the recipient of several photographic awards. She has been featured in over 50 online blogs and publications and numerous books and magazines such as Volume I, II, and III of The Raleigh KNOW Book, CIRCA magazine, Shutter Print Magazine, and Iconic Bride Magazine.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My most significant influence has been Twig and Olive Photography, based in Wisconsin. Not only do I adore their style, but they have been the best business coaches. They are also an amazing example of how you can be successful in photography AND still raise amazing kids.

Women empowerment means supporting each other. No jealousy. No hidden agendas. No competition. Just support and love for our fellow sisters. Help each other rise!

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I love teaching photography at Girl Scout Camp every summer!!! I also love being able to help out the Rolesville Youth Leadership group.

Stay true to yourself.

CONTACT SOCIAL @RoseTrailImages @rosetrailimages V @rosetrailimages WEB rosetrailimages.com DETAILS audrey@rosetrailimages.com | 703.740.7968 | Rolesville, NC 19


BARBARA HEMPHILL PHOTO CREDIT: ROSE TRAIL IMAGES

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MEET BARBARA HEMPHILL WITH BARBARA HEMPHILL ASSOCIATES Barbara Hemphill began her career in 1978 with a $7 ad in a New York City newspaper which fostered her bestselling book Taming the Paper Tiger. Author of Less Clutter More Life and founder of Productive Environment Institute, Barbara has appeared on Good Morning America, Today Show, and CNN and in USA Today, New York Times, Fast Company, Real Simple, and Guideposts. Married 35 years, she has five children and four grandchildren. Barbara’s license plate reads HOPEFOOL. “I am a fool for Jesus, and HOPE stands for Help Others Pursue Entrepreneurship. Both have been my passion for 40+ years!”

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Without the love of Jesus, I would not be alive today. My friend Glenna Salsbury role-modeled the influence of Christian values in the workplace. My parents taught me the value of integrity; my adopted children taught me the power of determination, and my husband and stepchildren showed unconditional love.

Significantly, the first people to whom Jesus appeared after his resurrection were women! I believe God created women to live Biblical principles in their personal and professional lives to show to the world how we can accomplish our work and enjoy our lives regardless of our circumstances.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

The most impactful way I can support other female leaders is by how I live and work and supporting and mentoring entrepreneurial women whenever possible. I specifically love encouraging other women to publish books and recently collaborated with Judith Guertin to write Taming the Digital Tiger: Gmail Edition.

When I began my business by giving speeches and felt terrified, Dorothy Sarnoff, founder of Speech Dynamics, shared four sentences to say before I went on the platform: 1) I’m glad I’m here. 2) I’m glad you’re here. 3) I know what I know, and 4) I care about you.

CONTACT SOCIAL @GetOrganizedProductiveEnvironmentInstitute DETAILS barbara@barbarahemphill.com | Raleigh, NC

@barbara.hemphill.73

@barbarahemphill

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BRANDY MABRA PHOTO CREDIT: CARLISA NEAL, CEO OF CARLISA GEORGEANNE CREATIVE CO.

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MEET BRANDY MABRA, CEO WITH SAVVY CLOVER COACHING & CONSULTING Brandy Mabra is the CEO of Savvy Clover Coaching & Consulting and is a Business and Leadership Coach. She has 15 years of business management and leadership experience. Brandy runs a successful online coaching business empowering her clients to own their role as a bold, confident, and Unapologetically Savvy CEO. She teaches her clients to look at their businesses holistically using 6 Pillars of Business Excellence and her 9-step signature method. Brandy is part of the Forbes Coaches Council, Entrepreneur Leadership Network and has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, PopSugar, Create & Cultivate and several well-known Podcasts.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

What has influenced me the most is seeing the world of possibility around me. We can have anything if we have faith, determination, and the tenacity to decide we deserve to have a piece of the pie.

Women empowerment means standing up for the women around us. Being for them, about them, and not holding them back.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I support the next generation of female leaders by being an advocate, mentor, coach, teacher, and leader. I try to inspire those around me and be an example of what it looks like to go after the life of your dreams.

Stay the course and go after what is yours with no hesitation. It’s been the secret to my success in my business.

CONTACT SOCIAL @savvyclovercoaching @savvyclovercoach WEB savvyclover.com DETAILS info@savvyclover.com | Charlotte, NC

@brandy-mabra-businesscoach

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CARMEN COUSIN

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MEET CARMEN COUSIN, OWNER OF THE BRAND LIFE | HIGH PERFORMANCE COACHING Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Meet Carmen Cousin. Carmen specializes in helping ambitious women entrepreneurs build their personal brands to stand out, attract ideal clients, and make more money. As a high-performance brand coach, Carmen helps women entrepreneurs level up their business by building a strong authentic personal brand. She helps women overcome their limiting beliefs to gain clarity and confidence, establish their authority, and become visible in their industry. Because if there is one thing she has learned as a successful brand strategist is that ambitious women will never be satisfied playing small. An ambitious woman’s soul desires MORE. The Brand Life thrives on empowering women entrepreneurs and their personal brands. Whether you want to raise your visibility as a thought-leader in your industry, stand out from the crowd, or attract your ideal clients, having a strong personal brand will give your business the level up it needs.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Oprah Winfrey has influenced me the most. She is the ultimate success story. Born in poverty to becoming arguably “the world’s most powerful woman.”

Women empowerment means having the ability, resources, and confidence to live an authentic life.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I am supporting the next generation of female leaders by living an authentic, empowered, and loving life, and helping other ambitious women do the same.

Ask for what you want and be ready to receive it.

CONTACT SOCIAL @carmencousin WEB thebrandlifehpc.com DETAILS info@thebrandlifehpc.com | 980.595.4965 | Charlotte, NC 25


CARRIE PEELE PHOTO CREDIT: ROSE TRAIL IMAGES

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MEET CARRIE PEELE, FOUNDER AND CEO, JADE LENDING FOUNDER OF C. PEELE GROUP LLC, MAKO DOCUMENTS Carrie Peele is a force in the women supporting women’s community. She is a co-founder of Jade Lending, a social impact lending platform whose mission is to support and fuel the growth of women and minority-owned businesses. Jade Lending concentrates on the 99% of women and/ or minorityowned businesses ready to grow if they only had the financial support. Carrie resides in Raleigh with her husband David Franks, keyboardist for the Band of Oz, and has two adult daughters, Courtney and Meredith, and five precious grandbabies.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I had many mentors and influencers in my life. Mary Cantando was my mentor in business life. My mother was a strong businesswoman who taught work ethic and leadership skills when I was young.

Women empowerment means women are in charge of their destiny through entrepreneurship.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I founded Athena of Triangle in 2014. ATHENA of the Triangle is a licensee of programs developed by ATHENA International, a non-profit organization based on the deeply held belief that women can achieve a worldwide leadership balance when recognized, cultivated, and encouraged as leaders.

Never ever give up. You can do anything.

CONTACT SOCIAL @CarriePeele WEB athenatriangle.org DETAILS carrie@cpeelegroup.com | Raleigh, NC 27


CAT FORD-COATES

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MEET CAT FORD-COATES, OWNER OF ATELIER UNFORGETTABLE Cat Ford-Coates is an award-winning Fellow Master Portrait Photographer specializing in Fine Art Portraiture & boutique editorial Personal Branding. She is a powerhouse speaker, educator, and mentor for Photographers with The Portrait System, a judge for the most prestigious print competition in the world, WPPI. Most of all, she adores the transformation her clients experience from working with her.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Without question, Sue Bryce. She taught me the nuts and bolts of Portraiture and that nothing will force you to face your own internal beliefs about whom you are then becoming a business owner.

Our strength and grace are at the core of who we are. Empowerment isn’t something that comes from outside but from within. When we allow ourselves to be seen and stand in that vulnerable light, those innate qualities can only shine through, allowing us to transform into whom we were always meant to be.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

Through mentorship, I am supporting female leaders for those ready to better themselves and help others in their businesses via commerce. Shout the names from rooftops!

You are already deserving of anything you could want in life. Now, go take steps to go and get it. Take action.

CONTACT

SOCIAL @atelierunforgettable @catfordcoates @atelierunforgettable WEB youunforgettable.com DETAILS 828.417.7400 | Cat@YouUnforgettable.com | 457 N. Louisiana Avenue, Asheville, NC 29


WE MUST

CONSTANTLY BE IN A STATE OF PERPETUAL RECREATION TO

TRANSFORM OURSELVES INTO SOMETHING MUCH

GREATER THAN WHAT WE ARE IN

THE GIVEN MOMENT. ~Dr. Shaftina Snipes 30


ROLEMODEL

In a world where seeing is believing and less than 9% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are female, the importance of a role model is significantly magnified. A study performed by Emily Balcetis, an NYU professor, found that when a female they admire is present, 89% of women set more ambitious life goals. Due to the gender biases present in the world of business, having someone to emulate and act as a template for success increases confidence in young women looking to pursue similar endeavors. Through a study focused on women leadership, KMPG found that 82% of women believe that access to networking with female leaders would help advance their careers. With the disparity between the number of female and male leaders in businesses and corporations, this is an interesting find. However, it shows that the connection, support, and confidence gained from seeing fellow women in successful leadership positions has a significant impact on those watching them. Representation matters significantly. Filling the room with diverse and successful women is what we do best at KNOW. We strive to ensure that every woman that needs a role model is represented in our community, as we recognize that our differences unite us. We also believe that regardless of where you are on your journey, there is always someone to look up to and learn from. Our community thrives on connecting high-achieving women, who are liberated through seeing the success of those around them. This creates The KNOW Women: an empowered, world-changing and inspiring group of females that are role models to not only young women around the world, but also to each other.

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CHASTA HAMILTON

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MEET CHASTA HAMILTON, FOUNDER/ CEO OF STAGE DOOR DANCE PRODUCTIONS; FOUNDER/ PRESIDENT OF THE NON-PROFIT GIRLS GEARED FOR GREATNESS Chasta Hamilton believes the performing arts can change the world, and by disrupting the status quo, she’s making it happen. She’s also a best-selling author (Trash The Trophies) and speaker (TEDx: You Weren’t Built to Break). Recognitions include: Park Scholar Alumna, Triangle Business Journal: 2014- 40 Under 40 and 2016- Women In Business Future Star. Chasta shares her home in Raleigh with the love of her life, John, their son, Bash, and their Scottish Terrier, Elvis.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

The strong, powerful women in my life, especially my mother, my aunt, and my grandma. They taught me that your circumstances do not define you, but they can motivate you. I’ve watched each of us carry this mantra in our own way through a variety of circumstances.

Women’s empowerment is inspiring the leaders of tomorrow today. It is living your life by example, taking risks, using your voice, and sharing your story. It is saying “I have a seat at the table.” And, once you say it, you take it and follow it through with action.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I am supporting the next generation of female leaders through the non-profit I founded and currently lead, Girls Geared For Greatness. This organization believes in preparing the girls of today with the tools they need to achieve and believe that anything is possible for the betterment of their future.

Up or Out. Take what you do and make it great, or get out of the game.

CONTACT SOCIAL @chastahamilton @stagedoordanceproductions @girls_geared_for_greatness WEB stagedoordance.com | girlsgearedforgreatness.com | chastahamilton.com DETAILS info@stagedoordance.com | 919.720.3036 | 2720 Godley Lane, Ste 101, Raleigh, NC 33


CHRISTINA KIRKEY

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MEET CHRISTINA KIRKEY, OWNER OF PINUP STUDIO Christina, born and raised in Raleigh started as a young girl creating a home salon for her parents. It grew into something much larger than she ever would have imagined. She has now been thriving in the beauty industry for 12 years. While hair and lashes were her first love, she discovered a stronger passion for wanting to help stylists grow and become the best version of themself they could be. Christina did this by creating a space to welcome and accept women for who they are. You won’t find her behind the chair as often anymore but she still loves connecting with all of Pinups guests.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My parents influenced me the most, I got the best of both of them! My mom taught me the importance of love and compassion all while unapologetically being myself in everything I do. My dad taught me the value of my word and work ethic that follow the values in my business.

Strength and freedom for all women. For women to have the strength, not only in ourselves, but in each other and to help bring out what we can achieve and add to this world. All this, while having the freedom to do so with the support of women standing firmly behind you.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I am supporting the next generation by teaching them to see the value their presence and voice holds. By showing women how to believe in themselves and their goals. It’s okay to not be liked by everyone, all that matters is they stay true to themselves and their values. Always be yourself, it’s what makes you, YOU.

If you’re going to do it, do it right the first time. It’s been the best, yet hardest advice given from my dad. The main point he was making was never do anything halfway. You either do it all the way to the best of your ability or don’t do it at all.

CONTACT SOCIAL @Pinupstudio_nc @pinupstudionc WEB pinupstudionc.com DETAILS support@pinupstudioraleigh.com | 919.747.9916 | 7400 Six Forks Rd. Unit 7, Raleigh, NC 35


CHRISTY MILLER

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MEET CHRISTY MILLER WITH CHRISTY MILLER CONSULTING & MANAGEMENT Christy grew up in a racing family, and as they say, “it’s in her blood.” She now has a strong desire to impact motorsports while helping others succeed. Christy combines innovative ideas and highimpact marketing strategies to support racers and businesses by creating winning partnerships. With a passion that shines brightly, her goal is to help businesses and racers get to the next level by creating unique marketing partnerships. Partnerships that will help businesses grow and give talented racers opportunities that otherwise would not be available.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

The person that has influenced me the most has been Kelly Earnhardt Miller. Kelly is an amazing busines woman that has worked hard to get where she is. Just like me she grew up in a racing family supporting her grandfather, dad, brothers and now her children in their racing careers. Now CEO of JR Motorsports, she has been a true inspiration to women in motorsports. Her hard work, dedication and passion for the sport is something I work towards every day!

Women empowerment to me is having the confidence to pursue my dreams and goals without being held back while supporting other women to do the same.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

Encouraging them always to hold their head high, know their worth, and go after their biggest dreams without fear of failure.

The best piece of advice I have been given was in the last year and that is, know your worth! Do not let anyone lower that. Know it and live by it.

CONTACT SOCIAL @ChristyGMiller @ChristyMillerConsulting @christymillerconsultingandmanagement WEB christymillerconsulting.com DETAILS christy@christymillerconsulting.net | Harrisburg, NC 37


CRYSTAL MWAURA PHOTO CREDIT: REVOLUTION STUDIOS

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MEET CRYSTAL MWAURA, PINNACLE FREIGHT SOLUTIONS LLC Crystal Mwaura is a native of Edgecombe County NC. She is a wife and a mother of four beautiful children. Crystal is a graduate of Fayetteville State University, where she obtained her Bachelors of Science in Business. She later graduated from both North Carolina A&T and Keller School of Management, where she received two Master’s Degrees, one in Business and the other in Education. Crystal had navigated the entrepreneurship space since 2007 when she began her career in insurance, founding Alpha & Omega Insurance Group, and in 2015 she entered the Trucking and Logistics Industry. She has had great success in both fields, notably Trucking. In less than three years, she would scale to a multi-million dollar company and one of the fastest-growing companies on the East Coast. In 2021 Crystal also ventured into the Home Healthcare arena, partnering in a Home Healthcare Agency to provide care to keep seniors safer at home. Crystal is very rooted in her community and loves to give back and help others.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My children and husband have been my biggest influence as they have always been there when I think about giving up. They give me the extra push to keep moving because, in the end, everything I do is to provide them with a solid foundation and future.

It’s the ability to encourage and help other women walk and build wealth doing what they love to do. It’s helping other women by providing opportunities to excel and have a higher quality of life.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I offer mentorships for insurance and trucking specifically for women to succeed in these fields.

I don’t expect people to react or respond as I would because no one has your vision but you! Listen to the little voice in your head when you are unsure about something and go with the initial feeling. Intuition is never wrong.

CONTACT SOCIAL @crystal.jenkinskeyes @crystal-keyes-mba-32b30215/ WEB pinnaclefreightsolutions.com DETAILS Crystal@pinnaclefreightsolutions.com | 919.926.8598 | Raleigh, NC 39


DIANE HOLMES

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MEET DIANE HOLMES, OWNER & CEO OF SAPPHIRE DREAMS Sapphire Dreams (SD) was created out of a love for friendship, self-care, and a desire for women to take time for themselves. SD’s mission is to celebrate life’s wins, small or big, through small, intimate events and luxury travel. After working several years as a nurse practitioner, Diane understands the value and benefit of reconnecting with your core while enjoying the simple pleasures in life. Diane currently resides in Charlotte, NC. She holds undergraduate degrees from the College of Charleston and UNC Charlotte and a graduate degree from Ball State University.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

The various women I encounter in my daily life motivate and inspire me, especially my Mom. Women wear so many “hats” and endure so much in life, it is not celebrated enough. In addition to My Mom, the women in my family, my mentors throughout my professional career, my business coach, and of course, Michelle Obama has been of great influence.

Female empowerment is all about uplifting each other, inspiring each other, supporting each other, and mentorship. It should be the foundation of your tribe!

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

In my everyday life, I try to support and mentor current & future generations. I encourage them to actively pursue their dreams while being true to self. I strive to be the example of what it means to have hard work and dedication as part of your DNA. Anytime, I can mentor and support - I am there. Whether it is via networking, community involvement, hiring an intern, or being a mentor.

Live the life you dream of unapologetically and be true to yourself. Also - it is okay to say “No” sometimes!

CONTACT SOCIAL @sapphiredreamevents WEB sapphiredreamevents.com DETAILS sapphiredreamevents@gmail.com | 704.981.1788 | Charlotte, NC 41


DR. AMBER BEANE

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MEET DR. AMBER BEANE, RESEARCH SCIENTIST, SENIOR PROGRAM EVALUATOR, RIPPLE EFFECT Amber’s prior work includes social science research on health behavior, substance use disorders, and physical and behavioral health needs of disparate populations. In her current role, Dr. Beane serves as the evaluation lead for federal contracts and is responsible for identifying, developing, leading, and conducting program evaluation efforts. Her work measures program effectiveness and efficiency, informs strategic planning, increases accountability, and determines program impact.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My father was my greatest influencer. Although he died suddenly when I was fifteen, his love of learning and insatiable drive to succeed lives on in me. He inspired me to never settle, and that I could achieve anything through hard work and determination. I believed him then, and I still believe today.

It means women knowing and believing in their worth. To strive for more, and pave the way for future generations. We are in need of more role models and mentors that break stereotypes and shatter the glass ceiling.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I hire brilliant women and mentor them to become the best and most brilliant leader they can be.

Say what you mean and ask for exactly what you want.

CONTACT SOCIAL @dramberbeane WEB rippleeffect.com DETAILS AmberBeane@gmail.com | 828.335.0882 | Asheville, NC 43


DR. ATOYA HODGES

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MEET ATOYA HODGES OF O/X SOCIETY Dr. Atoya Hodges spent her childhood in the background. She witnessed domestic violence, drug abuse, homelessness, and her mother’s death all before she was 19. Atoya tried to keep these painful memories hidden. She threw herself into work and education, but no amount of money or success worked. Then, she made a discovery that changed the course of her life. She incorporated her 15 years of therapy experience and learned everything she could about healing, earning her PhD in Hypnotherapy and Hypnosis and getting certified in a variety of spiritual and emotional healings. Atoya launched The Blueprint Method. A method that is infused with various holistic and spiritual modalities. She also created the OX Society, a community of healing that helps guide people out of their trauma and into a more rich and meaningful life. And now, the OX Mind Gym App, which puts the power of mental and spiritual health in the hands of anyone who needs it.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My husband and family; my friends; Sarah Benken, Elle Crawford, Stephaie Jaie, Ronja Sebastian, and Beth Newman; My Soul Family.

Women Empowerment to me means we help promote women’s sense of self-worth, their ability to determine their own choices, and their right to influence future generations. Women are the Queen’s and foundation of every family in the world.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I am inspiring them to break through their pain, trauma and emotions, to break generational curses. Most importantly, the ability to stop living in survival mode and be able to make decisions based on their inner truth vs fears and emotions.

Time waits for no one. Don’t worry about tomorrow because when tomorrow comes it’s today.

CONTACT SOCIAL @atoyahodges @oxsociety @thebreakthroughqeuun @atoyahodges @ox.society WEB ox-society.com | atoyahodges.com DETAILS hello@atoyahodges.com hello@ox-society.com | 5300 Six Forks Rd Ste 205, Raleigh, NC 45


CHERYL NICHOLAS

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MEET CHERYL NICHOLAS, PHD., FOUNDER, CEO, AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF INNERVISION, INC. InnerVision Inc. is a nationally accredited, 501 c (3) nonprofit behavioral healthcare organization located in the heart of Uptown Charlotte, NC (across from the Spectrum Arena). Since 2003, InnerVision has been Mecklenburg County’s #1 provider of psychiatric rehabilitation services, specializing in the areas of employment, education, and life management for individuals with trauma and mental health challenges. A native of Aruba, NA, Dr. Nicholas is a social scientist and entrepreneur whose expertise has helped corporations, colleges, and universities across the globe maximize their creative and emotional intelligence.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My most prevalent influencers were my parents, Conrad and Gertrude Nicholas. When they moved to the United States, they always reached back and used their resources to help fellow “islanders.” Thanks to their commitment to caring and sharing, hundreds of individuals gained access to the promises of the American dream.

To me, women empowerment means courage. The courage to use the strengths, resilience, ingenuity, gifts, and talents that embody womanhood to challenge, reshape and add new values. The courage to break through barriers and the courage to honor ourselves as individuals with needs and wants that differ from others.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I live each day knowing that I have a responsibility to the next generation of female leaders. Daily, I share lessons learned or nuggets of wisdom with my sisters, granddaughters, nieces, staff, or mentees as a tool they can use as a light of insight along their journey.

My soulmate, my eternal light force, my heartbeat, Dr. John Harold Hicks Jr, taught me two sage pieces of advice that I live by, 1. It’s more important to know what not to do (as it will guide you as to what to do) and 2. (stay relevant) “Keep It Moving.”

CONTACT SOCIAL @InnerVision-INC WEB innervisionnc.org DETAILS cnic@innervisionnc.org | Charlotte, NC 47


DR. CRYSTAL A. MAXWELL

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MEET DR. CRYSTAL MAXWELL, FAMILY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN, FOUNDER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF LIGHT FAMILY WELLNESS LIGHT Family Wellness is the first direct primary care practice in Indian Land, SC. Dr. Maxwell serves as healthcare ministry coordinator at Freedom Temple Ministries and Women’s Health Target Chair of the Eta Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Sorority, Inc. She Co-Authored, “The Chronicles of Women in White Coats 2.” She is the first African American Commissioner of the South Carolina Mental Health Commission. She was selected 2015 South Carolina Primary Health Care Association Provider of the Year. She is a proud wife and mom.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My mom has influenced me the most. She was one of the most giving and caring people I know. She was always willing to help or listen. She served with grace. She unexpectedly passed away while I was pregnant with my daughter. I carry her memory in all that I do.

Women empowerment means that I am inspired and enabled to accomplish my goals while also being an example to other women to do the same. It means stepping into spaces traditionally not available to women and breaking the glass ceiling to show that women are capable.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

Opening my own medical practice has led to other female physicians contacting me for advice and insight on how they can do it too. My daughter wants to one day take over my practice. I have been an example of the possibilities in independent medical practice ownership.

My Daddy told me that I can do anything I put my mind to if I block out the distractions. I followed that advice and it truly helped me. Another great piece of advice was to not stay in a situation where my gifts and talents are not appreciated.

CONTACT SOCIAL @lightfamilywellness @crystal-maxwell-md-mba-faafp-841702a1 WEB lightfamilywellness.com DETAILS info@lightfamilywellness.com | 704.594.1140 | 2021 Bridgemill Dr. Suite , Fort Mill, SC 49


HODA IMENI BASSIRI, DDS

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MEET HODA IMENI BASSIRI, DDS OF FUSION DENTAL CARE Dr. Hoda Bassiri earned a Doctorate in Dental Surgery from the prestigious University of North Carolina School of Dentistry in 2012. In 2014, Dr. Hoda Bassiri and her husband Dr. Kiarash Bassiri, an optometrist, followed their dreams of starting a joint private practice in Raleigh, NC where they could serve the local triangle community with the highest quality of care from their respective professions. Their joint practice, fittingly named Fusion Dental & Eye Care, is truly unique as they provide two great services in one convenient location while focusing on delivering world class customer service.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My parents have influenced me the most. They risked their life, escaping their home country, to bring my brother and I to America for a better future. I couldn’t be more grateful for the sacrifices they’ve made to get me to where I am today.

Empowering women means equipping them with the tools they need to have power and control over their own lives. Women empowerment means so much to me coming from Iran, a country that women unfortunately don’t have many rights. To me, it means having independence, equal opportunities, and the ability to make strategic choices in all areas of my life.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

By simply setting an example, owning my own dental practice and leading and empowering women everyday in my work environment. I love educating women and empowering them to advance in their personal and professional careers.

LOVING WHAT YOU DO IS A LEGITIMATE CAREER GOAL. Find work that energizes you. Liking what you do is one of the most critical elements in career growth and development.

CONTACT SOCIAL @fusiondentalcare WEB fusiondentalcare.com DETAILS info@fusiondentalcare.com | 919.977.7438 | 6400 Creedmoor Rd #103, Raleigh, NC 51


DR. LISA FOLDEN

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MEET DR. LISA FOLDEN WITH HEALTHY PHIT PHYSICAL THERAPY & WELLNESS CONSULTANTS Dr. Lisa N. Folden is a licensed physical therapist, mom-focused health coach, and owner of Healthy Phit Physical Therapy & Wellness Consultants in Charlotte, NC. As a body-positive women’s health expert and health at every size (HAES) ambassador, Dr. Folden assists women seeking a healthier lifestyle by guiding their wellness choices through organization, planning strategies, and holistic goal setting. Dr. Folden is a mom of three, published author, and speaker who understands the complex needs of the busy modern woman. Therefore, she considers helping busy moms find their ‘healthy’ one of her top priorities.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I’ve been blessed to be positively influenced by many amazing women in my life. The most influential would have to be my aunt, Kim Alexander. She encourages me daily and has continuously poured into me, reminding me that I have no limits other than those I set for myself.

Women empowerment means women living their best lives, engaging in the things that bring joy—choosing what they want without judgment—being paid what our male counterparts make for the same job. Imagine a world where fewer are marginalized, and more have a chance to live free and fulfilled.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I am running a successful business while raising two members of the next generation of female leaders. I only hope they know their value far sooner than I knew my own. I also host female interns and support initiatives to uplift other professional women and entrepreneurs.

The best piece of advice I ever received was from my dad. He told me to meditate, remain in tune with myself, and observe my surroundings. I didn’t see the value as a child, but now, I try to follow this advice daily as an adult.

CONTACT SOCIAL @HealthyPhit WEB healthyphit.com DETAILS info@healthyphit.com | 980.505.7448 | 801 E. Morehead St., Suite 122, Charlotte, NC 53


DR. PAULETTE J. EVANS

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MEET DR. PAULETTE J. EVANS OF EVANS EFFICIENCY EXPERTS, LLC Dr. Paulette J. Evans, BSEE, MBA, SSBB, CPHQ, PMP, CKF, lives in Raleigh, NC and identifies as a process improvement/project management expert who utilizes proven methodologies to effectively and efficiently solve problems at work, at home, and everywhere in between. Because this ability comes naturally to her, she recently launched Evans Efficiency Experts, a consultancy focused on helping people, primarily women in different seasons of life, convert chaos to calm before they burn out. During her free time, Paulette loves traveling internationally, cooking, relaxing at the spa, and spending time with her husband of 18 years, John Jamal Evans, Ph.D.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I have been most influenced by all of the strong black women who have sacrificed, struggled, and stood up when necessary so that I may achieve unlimited success during my lifetime. They spent their lives doing everything in their power to solidify my bright future, and I am eternally grateful!

Women empowerment means helping women believe that they can achieve any and everything they want! I have a passion for empowering women to be strong, self-reliant, and successful in their endeavors, so I spend my free time volunteering for organizations that have this same focus.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I guide women to be effective in every aspect of their lives. I serve as a sounding board and actively listen to their dreams, doubts, and desires. I then share ideas that help them get out of their way to achieve their goals.

Harriet Tubman once said, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” That quote/advice has always stuck with me and helped me embrace the hunger to conquer any challenge.

CONTACT SOCIAL @paulettejevans WEB linkedin.com/company/evans-efficiency-experts DETAILS paulette@evansefficiencyexperts.com | 864.650.8000 | Raleigh, NC 55


DR. SHAFTINA SNIPES

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MEET DR. SHAFTINA F. SNIPES, FOUNDER AND CEO OF PRECIPICE CENTER FOR TEACHING AND LEARNING The Precipice Center for Teaching and Learning is an educational consulting company that prides itself on bridging the academic gap among underprivileged youth. Dr. Snipes is a nationally boardcertified teacher with 20 years of experience coaching, mentoring, and providing professional learning opportunities in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, and the Republic of China. Dr. Snipes is passionate about curricular development, instructional technology, and increasing student/teacher efficacy.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Other than embracing my faith journey with God, my son Akyil is the most influential in my life. He taught me what it means to have faith at a very young age. He believed in me when others doubted my potential. His wisdom shines far beyond his years. He is the greatest accomplishment of my life and continues to inspire me to stretch myself toward my lifelong goals. He is truly my greatest gift.

Women empowerment is about altering the perception of women worldwide. We must constantly be in a state of perpetual recreation to transform ourselves into something much greater than what we are in the given moment. Our strength lies in our ability to take our brokenness and create a masterpiece.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

The greatest gift that I could bestow upon the next generation of female leaders is the gift of knowledge. She must know how important it is to be a person of integrity and to have faith in the process.

The most remarkable advice I ever received came from my late father, Jefferson Robert Snipes, Jr. He told me always to do my best in life. His words resound in my mind. “You must work as if you’re working unto the Lord”. Despite what others may say or think, you will be known more for your work than for anything else in this life.

CONTACT SOCIAL @shaftina.snipes.1 @shaftina-snipes-ed-d-69b23810 @fiesta3974 DETAILS sfsnipes@precipicecenter.org | 980.234.1733 | Charlotte, NC 57


DR. SHARON JONES, ED.D

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MEET DR. SHARON JONES, FOUNDER AND CEO OF DOTTIE ROSE FOUNDATION AND THE DOT. CONSULTING Dr. Sharon Jones leads and implements technology-focused education and innovation for her nonprofit Dottie Rose Foundation and the dot. Consulting. Finding passion in education, she has served as a computer science expert for the past 20 years, connecting the dots between everyday actions and the applications of technology. Dr. Jones has presented and been published nationally and internationally on data analytics, educational practices, and technology. Dr. Jones also serves as a member of the National Small Business Leadership Council, representing North Carolina and is a founding member of Carolina Women in Tech. When not running the technology world, Dr. Jones spends her time with her husband Ricky, and two sons, Ethan and Dylan, and their beloved dog, Cooper.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My mother’s words of advice have guided me throughout my life and have always been the steady drumbeat of my success. She is funny (although, don’t tell her I said that, wink), puts family first, is strong in her faith, and lives life with intention. She has given me roots with wings to soar but I always have a safe place to land.

Women empowerment to me is centered on confidence, embracing your strengths with no apologies, and supporting other women.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

The Dottie Rose Foundation serves to support middle school girls in computer science. Our mission is to change the stigma of computer science and help girls find their voice in technology and beyond. My passion is opening the door to opportunities and learning that allows girls to see their true potential. We do this through community, creativity, collaboration, and coding to build confident, strong women.

Give yourself something to look forward to each day. My mom has always given me this advice whenever I feel overwhelmed. Over the years, it has always brought me back to center, even when all is good. Remembering to take a moment of gratitude always brings me calm.

CONTACT SOCIAL @SharonTorrenceJones @sharont_jones @dottierosefoundation WEB dottierosefoundation.org DETAILS hello@dottierosefoundation.org | 217 W. Dunbar St., Charlotte, NC

@dottierosefoundation

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DR. TIAMESHA WALKER-SMITH PHOTO CREDIT: ROSE TRAIL IMAGES

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MEET DR. TIAMESHA WALKER-SMITH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ATHENA OF THE TRIANGLE Dr. Tiamesha Walker-Smith (Ty) has over 15 years of experience at an executive level in human resources and organizational development roles in various industries. Ty currently serves as the Executive Director of ATHENA of the Triangle in the Raleigh-Durham area. She serves as a consultant in HR, training and development, grant writing, and curriculum development. Ty currently serves as a Kraft Family YMCA Advisory Board member in Apex, NC. She participated as a mentor in the AAUW Women Helping Girls Program and served on several community boards in upstate NY. She was a leader of a multi-level Girl Scout Troop and spent countless hours involved in various volunteer roles. Ty holds a doctorate in Executive Leadership, a master’s degree in Human Resources Development from the School of Education at St. John Fisher College. Ty completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Buffalo with a major in Political Science and a minor in African American studies.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I have been fortunate to have amazing women and men affect my life in various ways. There isn’t a single person who has influenced me the most. Some former teachers encouraged me, family who supported me, friends, and colleagues challenged me. All of these people have shaped me.

Women’s empowerment means you advocate for others. An empowered woman owns the responsibility of walking in her destiny. She is constantly reflecting and refining who she is. She acknowledges fear and acts while her focus is on moving forward.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I believe it is my responsibility to “pay it forward.” I have always been involved in programs focused on shaping the lives of young women. I served as a mentor in a program sponsored by the AAUW called Women Helping Girls and lead a multi-level girl scout troop in an area called the “crescent of violence”.

The best advice I ever received came in the form of a question, “Why do you not think you are not enough”? That question caused me to reflect on how I minimized my talents and skills. It caused me to walk out of my comfort zone and own my future.

CONTACT SOCIAL @AthenaoftheTriangle @Athena-of-the-Triangle @Athena_Triangle WEB athenatriangle.org DETAILS director@athenatriangle.org | 919.342.8404 | Fuquay-Varina, NC

@tiamesha-walker-smith-ed-d

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ELENA ARECCO BRIDGMON

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MEET ELENA ARECCO BRIDGMON, PARTNER AND CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF LUMO Elena is a natural problem solver who fully embodies the role of leader with her strong analytical skills, emotional intelligence, and creative thinking. One of Elena’s greatest strengths is identifying and cultivating the innate superpowers of her team. After 20 plus years of business experience working inside companies large and small - holding various roles in marketing, operations, strategy, and HR - Elena recently “retired” from corporate life to step into her role as partner and Chief Administrative Officer of LUMO. An executive and leadership coaching company, LUMO’s mission is to keep working parents in the workforce by meeting them, and their employers, at the intersection of work and parenthood and supporting them in creating a new culture of work /life integration. Through one-of-akind programming, Elena and her team help clients devise a win/win situation that results in increased productivity, as well as happy, productive, and engaged working parents.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My father, Ruben, an Italian-Puerto Rican immigrant who arrived in New York during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. He taught me about hard work, grit, respect, leadership, empathy, and the importance of education. At 86, he’s still teaching me. He schools me every year in our annual holiday cooking challenge.

Women empowerment means modeling for my two daughters that being a fulfilled working mother – in addition to being a loving partner and supportive friend – is not only a possibility, but a reality. It also means lifting other women up with me as I succeed. It means full representation of women in every room where decisions are being made.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

When I see a place to assert myself as a leader, I don’t shy away from it. If women don’t model powerful leadership for young girls, how will they know what’s possible for them? I recently noticed that most girls’ sports’ coaches were men! I now volunteer to coach sports I’ve never played and encourage my peers to do the same so girls see what female leadership looks like on and off the field, and to model that confidence and learning can co-exist.

You can’t do it all at once by yourself and you can’t be everything to everyone. Ask for help, be agile, and let go of the stuff that you aren’t good at.

CONTACT SOCIAL @elena_lusciousmother @lumoleadership @elenaareccobridgmon WEB lumoleadership.com DETAILS Elena@lumoleadership.com | 803.331.2528 | Charlotte, NC and virtually throughout the world 63


ERICA DELONG

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MEET ERICA DELONG, IHEART MEDIA Erica is the host of The Erica Show G105 on multiple platforms for iHeart Radio. A regular on the red carpet, attending events like the Oscars, Tony Awards, CMAs, VMAs, and New York Fashion Week. Seen weekly on CBS 17 My Carolina and partnered with ABC11. Erica supports many local charities in the Triangle, including Mako Miracle, Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, Walk for Hope, the Special Olympics, and more. Her authentic and compassionate nature makes Erica a successful brand ambassador for companies throughout North Carolina. Married and mom to two adorable young kids and a rescue dog. She’s just getting started!

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I was built on love! I was influenced by strong women who fought for what’s right, never quit, led by faith, and showcased empathy for all at a young age. My mama has always been my greatest influence. Often, I meet people who inspire, educate, and push me.

We are unstoppable! You can never stop a determined woman, and there’s room for all of us. Cheer on your squad, fix those crowns, build together, exceed all expectations and show up as the boss babe that you were born to be!

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I am giving women a voice on my platforms to share their ideas, businesses and provide recognition. I have partnered with an accredited life coach to teach young women why we must love ourselves, the power of no, overcoming imposter syndrome, and more through podcasts. I share motivational speaking to young adults for GoMedia.

Leap! You have to leap! Successful people have always had to leap! At the end of your life, do you want to remember you played it safe, or you jumped and created the most beautiful life filled with many ups, some downs, life lessons, amazing memories, and slid into home plate on two wheels.

CONTACT SOCIAL @EricaDeLong WEB EricaDeLong.com DETAILS Raleigh, NC

@erica.delong.7

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GABRIELLA TERRY PHOTO CREDIT: ROSE TRAIL IMAGES

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MEET GABRIELLA TERRY, PRESIDENT, AND CEO OF CHEFELLAS CATERING & EVENTS AND ELLA’S EATS FOOD TRUCK Gabriella is very active in the community serving on several committees and Board of Directors for the Clayton Chamber of Commerce. She is the founder of “Chef In The Community,” a project for Hunger and Homeless, and “BRIDGE” (Building Relationships, Impacting Diversity & Growing Economy). Gabriella has received awards such as Student Ambassador in college, Taste of Carolina Award, CCOC Business of the Month, CCOC Volunteer of the Year, Athena Powerlink Recipient, Alignable Local Main Street Mentor, and Local Business Person of the Year.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My parents instilled morals, values, and perseverance at a young age, always inspiring me to dream big, and I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. My grandfather always inspired me with his giving spirit and community involvement, which inspired my leadership style.

To pour into, motivate, educate, strengthen and build up women worldwide. Whether you are a CEO or a stay home Mom, empowering women and supporting each other is key. Women empowerment is also understanding the issues women face and providing support and encouragement.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

Starting out as a female Entrepreneur at the age of 23, I quickly realized how difficult it was to create a business. I invest time in Launch JOCO mentorship program and other initiatives to support others dreams and provide business fundamentals for success that I wish I had starting out. I want to empower leaders and educate them on the resources that are out there!

Spiritual Advice: Put God first in all you do, and the rest will fall into place. Business Advice: Do what you do best and delegate the rest. Personal Advice: Work-life balance is vital, but don’t forget to make time for “ME.”

CONTACT SOCIAL @gabriellawoodson15 @thatgirlgabbz DETAILS gabriella.chefellas@gmail.com | Clayton, NC 67


JACINDA JACOBS PHOTO CREDIT: CYNTHIA NDELO PHOTOGRAPHY

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MEET JACINDA JACOBS OF FLYTY AND JACINDA LLC Jacinda Jacobs is a Media Guru with 20+ years in radio, television and hosting. She’s rocked the mic as an in-Arena Host for the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets since 2014, alongside her husband Flyty. She’s a 3x NBA All-Star Host, appeared on the Own Network, “To Have Charlotte”, and hosts a radio show called, “The Flyty and Jacinda Show” on V1019-FM. The couple own, Flyty and Jacinda LLC., a media company that facilitates online media courses and coaching. Jacinda is also the author of an Amazon #1 Best Seller called, Uniquely Qualified. She enjoys coaching others to say YES to purpose.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My husband Flyty has influenced me the most. He is such an extraordinary talent with the biggest heart I’ve ever witnessed. He’s an atmosphere changer with the goal to make everyone else’s day better. His hard work ethic and drive is admirable. The way he loves makes me want to be better every day.

Women’s empowerment, to me, means to celebrate and support other women. Women deserve to be uplifted and seen. Women should freely be able to walk in the empowering essence of beauty, femininity and strength at any given time, and never have to apologize for it.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

There is power when women get together in love. In our ministry, Stolen Lunches, we have been holding women’s Bible Studies since 2014. Allowing women a safe space to be vulnerable and transparent brings togetherness and strength to us all. I will also use any platform given to support and uplift our ladies.

The best advice I ever received was from my mom. She was always big on teaching me and my brothers to have strong integrity and to simply be a good person. She taught me to give love freely and to welcome others just as they are. I believe this has truly made me the person I am today.

CONTACT SOCIAL @JustJacinda WEB FlytyandJacinda.com DETAILS ms.jacinda@gmail.com | Charlotte, NC 69


KIMBERLY V. WYNN PHOTO CREDIT: RAJAEE TAWWAB

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MEET KIMBERLY V. WYNN, CO-OWNER OF AMPLIFYHIGHER Kimberly V. Wynn, a Human Resources mastermind hailing from Detroit, Michigan is an enthusiastic, consensus building, strategic problem-solving professional, with more than 15 years of direct Human Resources experience. She is the co-owner of AmplifyHigheR, a Human Resources consulting firm who prides herself in managing and enforcing employment law while simultaneously ensuring that the ‘human’ aspect in Human Resources remains the primary focus. Kimberly’s mission is to empower individuals in the Human Resources field and to protect businesses from potential employment liability. Kimberly is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated and enjoys shopping, crafting and spending time with her husband and children—raising the next generation of leaders.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My aunt, Kim Alexander, has had the most impact and influence on my life. From a young age, she instilled values that have shaped me both personally and professionally. She taught me the importance of taking pride in my work, working hard but also strategically while maintaining a high level of integrity.

Women’s empowerment means fixing your sister’s crown and not announcing or broadcasting this gesture. It’s about promoting and strengthening her self-worth, her right to choose and determine her own destiny while supporting the next generation of girl bosses.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I’m supporting the next generation of female leaders by lending my professional expertise to up-and-coming female entrepreneurs and small business owners, providing helpful interview and career tips to job seekers and being an authentic positive example of Black female excellence.

Work as though it all depends on you, pray as though it all depends on God.

CONTACT SOCIAL @AmplifyHigheR @KimberlyVictoria @kimberlyvwynn WEB amplifyhigher.com DETAILS amplifyhigher@gmail.com | 616.425.1656 | Universal 71


KIMMY HUNTER

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MEET KIMMY HUNTER, CEO OF WISHBONE TINY HOMES Kimmy Hunter is an award-winning CEO and community leader developing pathways to ownership for people who will be displaced within the next decade. “Belonging is a human right,” says Hunter. “Eighteen years ago, I was told I didn’t belong here (in North Carolina), and I should go back to where I came from. The idea of other people shaping rights and restrictions to place-making is not the world I want to continue to foster. So, I have dedicated the past 18 years of my life in North Carolina to mitigating displacement through the vehicles of ownership. Within this next decennium, many people will be displaced at astounding rates. I plan to be there with home and business ownership solutions that give back the right to belong.”

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Women. Great women of all ages and stages of living have impacted and greatly influenced my presence, personhood, and many of the ideas and conversations I have with myself when no one else is listening.

Standing in the mirror bare-faced and imperfect, bucktoothed and smiling, knowing I AM and there is none other.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I support the next-gen fem leaders by saying yes to their leadership now and not later. When I was 17, I was running a multimillion-dollar company. Leadership is not about age. It’s about readiness.

Be the same person in private as you are in public.

CONTACT SOCIAL @kimmyhunternc @wishbonetinyhomes.com WEB wishbonetinyhomes.com DETAILS builder@wishbonetinyhomes.com | Asheville, NC

@kimberlyhunterwnc

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LAURIE M. MARTIN PHOTO CREDIT: DANI NICOLE PHOTOGRAPHY

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MEET LAURIE M. MARTIN, OWNER OF HIREQUEST DIRECT Laurie Martin is celebrating her 10th anniversary as Franchise Owner for HireQuest Direct, a locally owned, nationally recognized staffing company. In 2012, Laurie became a franchise owner with two locations and currently holds eight locations - Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, and Wilmington, NC; Florence, Myrtle Beach and Rock Hill, SC; and Roanoke, VA. Laurie’s offices service a wide variety of clients, including construction, warehousing, janitorial services, special events, and hospitality. Laurie’s team set themselves apart from their competition with their commitment to customer service by building relationships for a lifetime. Laurie is a proud member of ABC, AGC, and NAWIC.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My parents. They led by example, taught me to work for what I wanted, treat others like you want to be treated, always be honest and loyal, put God first, and always make family a priority.

I attribute my success to empowering strong women in my company. My lead team consists of six women from different backgrounds. They all actively seek to promote the team’s self-worth and have been given the ability to determine their own choices in making our team the best in the industry.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I work to provide a strong support system, leadership training, flexible hours, and opportunities for advancement.

Appreciate how far you have come, and then keep going.

CONTACT SOCIAL @hqdirectlala WEB hirequest.com DETAILS laurie.martin@hirequestdirect.com | Charlotte, NC 75


LINETTE MONTAE

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MEET LINETTE MONTAE, STRATEGIC CATALYST, LEGACY INFLUENCER®, SPEAKER, AUTHOR, AND PHILANTHROPIST CEOs call Linette Montae during periods of Rapid Growth & Rapid Change. With multiple advanced degrees, a gift for systems thinking, and three decades of optimizing infrastructures, Linette is a leading authority on Profitable Performance Improvement for small-mid size companies. In addition to being a national speaker and award-winning results strategist, Linette Montae served two years on the Forbes Coaches Council, authored two books, and been seen in various media. When not at Legacy Influencer®, leading High-level Executive Roundtables and exquisite VIP Experiences for women, Linette may be serving as co-founder at Customer Driven Group or shopping for shoes (not necessarily in that order).

Who influenced you the most? Not one person but the totality of my experiences. Here’s what I believe. Influence is not “who you are or who you know.” Influence is not “what you do or what you have.” Influence is when you Live, Lead & Leave a Legacy that impacts the present and changes the future!

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders Through transformation consulting, I champion the high-achiever to live her legacy out loud, lead her empire in excellence, and leave her impact on the world. Philanthropically, I am passionate about empowering young adult women with the knowledge, tools, and opportunities to grow beyond their circumstances and rise as strong leaders.

What does women empowerment mean to you? Women leaders are often defined by labels and the societal expectations that come with them. As daughters, sisters, mothers, wives, aunts, employees, entrepreneurs, etc., we are bombarded with what others believe we ‘should’ do, say, wear, think, and desire. True empowerment results when women eradicate what we allow as acceptable.

What is the best advice you’ve received? Growing up, I learned to “think things through.” In my 20s, I discovered “to let things roll off my back- like a duck.” In my 30s, “everything that glitters is not gold.” In my 40s, “take action, revise later,” and in my 50s - the best advice is yet to come.

CONTACT

SOCIAL @linettemontae @linettemontae @linettemontae WEB linettemontae.com DETAILS drlinette@linettemontae.com | Charlotte, NC 77


LISA HUGHES THOMAS

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MEET LISA HUGHES THOMAS, EDUCATIONAL SALES Lisa has been a native of Charlotte since the first grade and has been involved in education for over 25 years. Her career path began as an elementary school teacher which led her to the school district role of Curriculum Coordinator. Lisa realized her passion for supporting educators through professional learning because of the impact she saw on students. Eventually, Lisa made the leap to educational publishing where she served as VP of Learning and Development for a Fortune 500 company. Her professional experience has enabled her to parlay her skills and make an impact through her many volunteer efforts as well.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

From a young age, my parents ingrained in me the sense that I could do anything I wanted. It is because my parents chose to raise three strong, independent daughters that I can stand tall in a room and feel confident in who I am and what I can offer.

Empowerment is the ability to make change not only for yourself, but also for your organization, community, etc. Women empowerment means that a woman’s voice is being heard and carries the same weight as our male colleagues sitting around the table. I think more women need to find their inner voice and feel confident in sharing their ideas and opinions.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I seek out opportunities to talk with younger colleagues and provide insight on lessons learned and why I may have handled a situation in a particular way. I have also coached female college graduates around how to represent themselves in the interview process, and how to succeed once they have the job.

When I started my career in education, my first mentor told me to pick my battles. I wasn’t sure what she meant at the time; however, over the course of my career, I came to understand its importance and I tend to share it with others that I mentor along the way.

CONTACT SOCIAL

@lisa-thomas-096a8922 @NC-Literacy-Lady-Scholastic-Education-103336215066141 @lisaghthomas DETAILS lisahughesthomas@gmail.com | 980.229.6242 | Charlotte, NC 79


LISA WESTER PHOTO CREDIT: ROSE TRAIL IMAGES

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MEET LISA WESTER, “EMPOWERED WOMEN, EMPOWER WOMEN” Lisa Wester is an accomplished, dynamic, strategic business development leader who has achieved tremendous success in her career spanning over 25 years. Lisa is a Senior Marketing Executive at Labcorp and helped spearhead the launch of the Women’s Empowerment Network (WEN) employee resource group at Labcorp’s global headquarters in Burlington, North Carolina. Lisa designed the WEN charm bracelet as a way to connect members globally. She is a North Carolina native, lives in Raleigh, and is a graduate of East Carolina University. Spending time with her amazing family – husband, Al; daughter, Taylor; and son, Davis – is what she enjoys the most.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

The most influential person in my life would have to be my mother. Because of my mother, I learned; how to be a strong independent woman, the power of hard work, perseverance, not to be afraid to make mistakes, and to think outside of the box.

To me, women’s empowerment is a global mindset change and movement that elevates the power of women’s voices and talents to inspire and empower women to achieve their goals.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

One way I support the next generation of female leaders is by helping lead the Women’s Empowerment Network employee resource group within my organization. I am passionate about mentoring women to see themselves as leaders and CEO’s of their lives.

“In your personal and professional life, embrace and use your gift of imagination to create unique ideas, innovations and solutions then success will follow.” ~Mom

CONTACT SOCIAL @lisaawester DETAILS Raleigh, NC 81


LIZ WILLIAMSON

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MEET LIZ WILLIAMSON, OWNER OF THE LIFESTYLE MANAGEMENT CO. Liz is the first multi-location owner of Lifestyle Management Co (formerly known as metro’s other woman). She currently is the owner of our three North Carolina locations Charlotte, Raleigh, and Wilmington. Liz’s expertise in project management, along with her diverse background including retail management, real estate, merchandising, brand management and marketing enabled her to build successful LMC locations. From personal assistants to laundry service, meal prep to party planning, LMC covers the needs of busy women. She chose to invest in three locations of LMC because she thrives on creating space for women to experience a life they didn’t know they could have. With LMC, employees benefit from a flexible schedule and the non-corporate setting while contributing to their family’s lifestyle and household. Liz believes that LMC gives her employees, and its clients, the freedom to balance work and family time.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

All the trailblazers before me proving that you can have the life you want by persisting through the hard times and learning from your mistakes.

Celebrating women in their walks of life and business. Never putting one another down and constantly learning from one another, putting aside the fear of competition.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

Being there as a support system and letting them know it’s okay to take the leap into owning your own business.

Stay true to yourself. Never try to be someone else to earn someone’s respect or business.

CONTACT SOCIAL @lifestylemanagementco @thelifestylemanagement @thelifestylemanagement.co WEB thelifestylemanagement.co DETAILS liz@thelifestylemanagement.co | 910.740.2558 | 126 Parkwood Dr., Wilmington, NC 83


MARISSA JADE WILLINSKY PHOTO CREDIT: AMY KOLO PRODUCER/ ART DIRECTOR: WHITLEY ADKINS

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MEET MARISSA WILLINSKY WITH HOUSE OF JADE SKY Marissa Jade Sky is a visionary in all things creative. As a Brooklyn native, growing up in New York City paired with her many years of traveling worldwide, Marissa has cultivated her impeccable eye for fashion and unique style. From graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology to working with the elite MAC PRO in NYC, Marissa is best known for her work with Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. With a decade as a world-touring make-up artist, her travels have taken her creativity and expertise to another level. Marissa has drawn inspiration from her lifelong passion for art, fashion, and style to create a line that is distinctive but playful—sophisticated yet raw. The House of Jade Sky is meant for anyone looking to step outside the box, even for a moment, and liberate their inner New Yorker.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My Mother, a firey five foot two Korean woman, influenced me the most. She grew up in the fashion business and passed that eye and instinct down to me. My favorite pastime was watching her get ready for her day in full glam, four-inch heels, and an outfit to kill!

What the word empowerment means to me is being absolutely unapologetic for your authenticity, living against the grain, rebelling against any form of the cookie-cutter life—creating your path all while staying true to the ones you love!

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I support the next-gen by doing my part in any possible way to spread my story of a young AmerAsian Brooklyn girl with big dreams in a competition with only herself to climb to the top. And, of course, providing women with the proper fashion armour to build their confidence and strength in any situation, person or event they may face.

To love all, trust few, and do wrong to none.

CONTACT SOCIAL @HouseOfJadeSky WEB HouseOfJadeSky.com DETAILS HouseOfJadeSky@HouseOfJadeSky.com | Charlotte, NC 85


MARY CANTANDO PHOTO CREDIT: ROSE TRAIL IMAGES

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MEET MARY CANTANDO, FOUNDER OF THE WOMAN’S ADVANTAGE Mary Cantando started, led and expanded multimillion-dollar businesses for 30+ years. An internationally acclaimed author, speaker and consultant, she’s written seven books and hundreds of magazine articles and has been featured in countless TV and radio shows. Mary founded the Woman’s Advantage® Forum to help women with small businesses grow to the million-dollar level. As an Envoy of the US State Department, she helped women in developing countries start microbusinesses. Mary was inducted into the inaugural class of the North Carolina Woman Business Owners’ Hall of Fame. Her favorite role is mother, grandmother, and self-proclaimed “high-maintenance wife.”

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Although I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing women during my career, I must say that I’ve solved more problems during walks on the beach with my husband, John, than through any other conditions. He has been, by far, my strongest personal and business influencer.

I’ve worked long and hard to gain a position of strength in both my personal and business life. I believe it is now my responsibility to enable other women to gain a position of abundance as well. And I strive to make that happen every day.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

Through my books, articles, and speaking, I’ve sought to mentor as many women as possible across the country and around the world. Women tell me that my ideas have made a real difference in their businesses and their lives and that has always been my goal.

Hire great people and get out of their way. Spend the time and effort it takes to hire the best people available. Give them the tools and training to do their job, and then trust they will do it well.

CONTACT

SOCIAL @Mary Cantando WEB womansadvantage.com DETAILS mary@womanbusinessowner.com | Raleigh, NC 87


MARY SUE BOYLE

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MEET MARYSUSAN BOYLE WITH BEAU MONDE Marysue is here to make sure each of our venues is beautiful for your event and your experience unmatched. After years of experience in the New York hospitality market, Marysue committed to transporting moments of those experiences to Charlotte. It doesn’t matter where you are, but who you’re with. Thoughtful, tasteful, and memorable events are made at Beau Monde. Beau Monde strives to create relationships between client and space, encouraging past, present, and future guests to experience all of our venues in different ways. Whether it’s a wedding, social or corporate event, or gala, Beau Monde’s goal is to welcome guests into our many spaces time and time again.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

The women in my life growing up often hosted their family and community. You could usually find me by their side; preparing, cooking, and dressing the tables. My mom, grandmother, and aunt were the most influential.

Defining my own path. No one else is in control of what I am capable of or you are capable of. Empowerment is about doing. There is no such thing as failure.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I am focused on building a dynamic business comprised of passionate people who bring it every day and are accountable to the team. I believe operating in that environment builds a winning culture and leaders.

Don’t ever let anyone else outwork you. That is the one thing every one of us controls.

CONTACT SOCIAL @BeauMondeVenues @CircleMFarmEvents @TheCollectorsRoomCLT @TheRuthCLT WEB BeauMondeVenues.com DETAILS Marysue@BeauMondeVenues.com | 980.598.9772 | Charlotte, NC 89


MEGAN MILLER

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MEET MEGAN MILLER, OWNER MEGAN MILLER MARKETING, LLC Recently listed as Disruptor Magazine’s Top 30 Female Entrepreneurs to Look Out For in 2022, Megan Miller is the owner of Megan Miller Marketing and co-host of the popular podcast, XM Divas. Megan is recognized in both the nonprofit and for-profit worlds for her creative drive, leadership, and passion for relationship-building. Miller is also the founder of Opera Recycles, an environmental sustainability program that transforms unused marketing collateral into couture fashions. Her showcase has been featured during New York Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week. Megan also helped create the first virtual opera house experience during the 2020 pandemic. In fact, along with her professional credentials as a marketing master, Miller is still an active, professionally trained opera singer as well.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I have always been heavily influenced by my personal community. When I say “community,” I don’t necessarily mean the physical, geographic community, but rather the collective association of women who have made tremendous strides in business, along with their organizations. I am constantly inspired and motivated by the work of other women in this industry — and in the business world at large — for all they have done and continue to do to show what a job well done really looks like.

In the simplest terms, women’s empowerment is strength. It’s about harnessing that strength and using it every day to take on the challenges you face — whether they be at home, at work, or in the community. Strong, resilient women are empowered women.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

Part of my role in supporting the next generation of female leaders involves direct mentorship and education. I foster lasting relationships by offering internship and apprenticeship opportunities at my company, establishing mentorships that are meant to help guide future female leaders along their professional journey.

Someone once told me, “Put your oxygen mask on first. If you can’t take care of yourself, how will you help anyone else?” As women especially, we have a tendency to take on more responsibilities than we’re able to feasibly handle. We’re multi-taskers at heart, which can be a great benefit at times, but this can also be a huge problem if we ignore the signs of being over-worked and over-stressed. It’s so important to remember to take time to care for yourself because that will ultimately help you produce the best work.

CONTACT SOCIAL @marketing_mezzo @meganmiller2 WEB marketingmezzo.com DETAILS megan@marketingmezzo.com | Charlotte, NC 91


WOMEN SHOULD FREELY BE ABLE TO WALK IN THE

EMPOWERING ESSENCE OF BEAUTY, FEMININITY AND STRENGTH AT ANY GIVEN TIME, AND

NEVER

HAVE TO APOLOGIZE FOR IT. ~Jacinda Jacobs

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EMPOWERMENT

Defined as the process in which women activate their power through growth in their self-worth and their ability to determine their own choices by way of access, education, and opportunity, women empowerment is not about making women powerful, but giving them the resources and support to fully access their power. When given access, education, and opportunity, there is nothing that a woman can not achieve. According to research by the Boston Consulting Group and Mass Challenge, women-led start-ups make seventy-eight cents for every dollar of investment they receive, compared to thirty-one cents for companies led by men. Research also shows that women are more effective leaders and women-owned companies generate more revenue. Despite these achievements, women still fall victim to an unequal system in which they don’t receive equal pay, are given fewer opportunities, and are recognized far less for their accomplishments. The change needed to close these gaps is an increase in women empowerment achieved by changing the system. By ensuring each and every woman, from all walks of life, is offered the same opportunity, given the resources necessary, and is provided the education required, we can force a surge in women empowerment and create a major shift in the world of business that will set the stage for an equal future. At KNOW, we invest in the tools needed to foster women empowerment through welcoming and celebrating all women, educating through workshops, podcasts, and events, and providing opportunity through networking and publishing. Women empowerment is freedom. It is unwavering confidence. It is the ability to feel assured of your independence. And we believe that each woman deserves to be empowered.

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MICHELLE HOLMES PHOTO CREDIT: ROSE TRAIL IMAGES

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MEET MICHELLE HOLMES, VICE PRESIDENT OF CLIENT SERVICES AT CUSTOMERHD Michelle relocated her family to Raleigh, NC in 2021. Michelle has developed teams that include Account Management, Client Success, Client Operations Support, and Training & Development. She fosters a culture of collaboration, inclusion, and continuous improvement. Michelle has a true passion for employees and clients. She believes in using data to provide effective customer-centric solutions. In her free time, Michelle enjoys spending time with her husband and five children. She spends weekends impacting the local community through missional outreach.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

The most influential people in my life have been those close to me. My mother pushed me to be self-reliant, thankful, and patient. My sister pushed me to always consider others in all I do, and no matter what, you should have a personal goal to impact one person at a time.

Women empowerment means allowing women equal voice, power, and influence to drive real change over their lives.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I support the next generation of female leaders by identifying leaders, sharing opportunities, and hiring female leaders when they are the best person for the position. I have committed to mentoring a young leader inside my organization and one female leader outside my organization.

The best piece of advice I have ever received was from Michele Meyer-Shipp ask for what I want, build my network, and manage any negative self-talk.

CONTACT SOCIAL @michelleh20 DETAILS Raleigh, NC

@michelleincreased

@michelledeanhendrix

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MONICA ROUSSEAU

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MEET MONICA ROUSSEAU WITH REALTY ONE GROUP PIVOT Monica’s childhood dream was to work on Capitol Hill. She obtained degrees in Political Science, Economics, and Education, but life had a different path. She’s the owner of Realty ONE Group Pivot (which opened its second location in 2021), a mother of five inspiring children, and some have called her a badass. She may not fully agree with that label, but she does push the envelope, believing that there is always a way and doesn’t take no for an answer. Monica’s goal is to use her success to lift others, especially women, to their fullest potential.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My mama’s courage has been the greatest influence. Her decision to walk out of a physically, verbally, emotionally abusive, and controlling marriage was courageous and terrifying when I was 8. I remember her fearfully packing our bags, getting in the car, and not knowing how she would make it for us. She took a job as a waitresses and made her way from there. Everything good I am is because of her and my oldest sister. My mama’s quiet bravery gave me the example to be publicly brave. I hope to be that example to my children and others never settle and be brave.

Women’s empowerment is exemplified in our work with all the female leaders in KNOW women! It is creating a norm for women entrepreneurs to gather, grow their business acumen together, sit on female-led panels and create a space for the female voice to be heard and respected.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I believe that empowered women empower women. By becoming the best version of myself – a lifelong process that I’ve committed to - I’ve created a new, safe space for women to achieve their goals, lift each other and become trendsetters and leaders.

The best advice I’ve ever received is short, simple, and to the point – “Treat people well and go kick ass.”

CONTACT SOCIAL @mrousseau @monicahowellrousseau WEB linktr.ee/mrousseau DETAILS Monica@rogpivot.com | Asheville, NC 97


MONIQUE DOUGLAS

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MEET MONIQUE DOUGLAS, CO-OWNER CBK BRANDING & CONSULTING FIRM LLP Monique Douglas, a 2018 inductee in Charlotte NC Women’s History Hall of Fame in the Levine Museum of the New South, identifies herself as an ordinary woman with an extraordinary heart. Her soul ignites from her passion for grooming others to greatness, which has moved her over 30 years to pursue careers in sales, service, and hospitality management. She serves the youth in our community through her nonprofit, the Grooming Greatness Foundation. She and her husband, Kevin reside in Charlotte, NC. They are Owners of CBK Branding & Consulting Firm, operating out of their Studio 229 on Brevard.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I have been influenced the most by my parents. Together they ran a successful architectural firm for over 30 years, with stellar business acumen and work ethic. They set an amazing foundation within me of service to the community, commitment to a standard of excellence, and a solid drive to pursue entrepreneurship.

Empowerment is a two-fold process that consists of self-empowerment and the empowerment of others. You must first identify lessons learned through your life’s journey, embrace your authentic self and step into your greatness. Only then will you lead and empower others to do the same successfully.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I have the privilege of grooming young ladies ages 9-16 through my non-profit, Grooming Greatness Foundation. I enjoy providing them guidance through education, enrichment, and exposure to open doors of opportunity. As a business coach, I mentor young professionals, helping them with the next steps to strengthen skillsets for both entrepreneurial endeavors and growth opportunities within their professional careers.

My coach years ago said to me, “Remember Monique, your mind is powerful. Sometimes it takes a paradigm shift to get yourself unstuck.” When I asked what a paradigm is, she stated, “Simply when nothing has changed, but it seems like everything has changed all because you changed your mindset.”

CONTACT SOCIAL @Monique Douglas @cbkbrandingandconsulting WEB CBKBrandingandConsulting.com DETAILS CBKBrandingandConsulting@gmail.com | 980.428.4973 | 229 S. Brevard St., Charlotte, NC 99


MYRA RAY PHOTO CREDIT: REVOLUTION STUDIOS

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MEET MYRA RAY, A CREATIVE THINKER, A NIFTY DESIGN PROFESSIONAL A GIFTED AND PATIENT TRAINER, AND HEALER Myra is a mother, grandmother, and entrepreneur by nature. She runs her integrated design company, Print and Web Designer, with the same creativity, fierceness, determination, and individualized touch that she uses throughout her life. Even with her proven record of consistently outstanding design and media work, Myra still boasts that her two children, Quinn and Darrell, are her greatest accomplishment. Myra’s key to success is being open, honest, and putting as much passion into her clients’ businesses as she does her own. She has attained her Reiki Mastership and is continuing her holistic career through her second business, Ignite Energy Group.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I would say my kids influenced me early in my adult life. I decided that I was going to be the best parent I could be. Being the best parent I could included being happy with myself and making sure to be a positive role model for my children. In my early 50s, I felt the need to make the Reiki journey. This journey has influenced my inner self to be the best person within me. To look at life more positively and to have more empathy for others.

Empowered women fix the crowns of other women without being told and without anyone noticing. They wipe the tears and stand beside those who haven’t found their inner strength—yet. Empowered women support and guide without question. Empowered women stand for equal rights and inclusion because they do not accept anything less.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I support the next-gen of female leaders in my everyday life. I show my granddaughters what an empowered woman is by how I live and what I’ve chosen to do with my life. I listen to the next-gen to hear their needs and reserve my advice unless asked. Sometimes they need to have someone to listen. I am a past board member of NAWBO Greater Raleigh, where I served as Professional Development Chair, and presently I am on the Mentoring Committee for ATHENA of the Triangle.

I’ve been given two bits of wisdom. The first I received from an ingenious and energetic lady named Catherine. She said, “Bubala, never take anything personally. It’s never about you. It’s about the day THEY are having.” The second bit of wisdom was given to me by my Reiki Master, and this is a powerful one that challenges me daily. She said, “What others think of you isn’t any of your business.”

CONTACT SOCIAL @printandwebdesigner @pandwd @myra-ray @myra.h.ray WEB printandwebdesigner.com DETAILS info@printandwebdesigner.com | 336.684.6505 | Sanford, NC

@myraherronray

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NICOLE CASE

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MEET NICOLE CASE, LEADERSHIP AND EXECUTIVE COACH, SPEAKER, FOUNDER OF THE UPGRADED CAREER Nicole helps women corporate leaders succeed at work, make a more significant impact, and be recognized as authentic leaders. She uses her decade of corporate HR experience in her programs to support women in gaining visibility for their work, setting boundaries, and building their confidence to thrive in their leadership roles. Nicole has her Master’s degree in HR from Western Carolina University and is a Certified Authentic Leadership Coach. She is a professional aunt and champagne enthusiast who lives in Apex, NC, with her husband and two cats, Neville and Luna.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My parents and my sister have influenced me the most. I strategically took a very different path in life when designing my career and family. However, they always supported me to dream big and do things my way, even if it looked different from everyone else.

Women already have the power within themselves. Now we need to support each other into believing we can harness it and then provide the resources to use it effectively.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I am the Co-President of the NC Triangle Ellevate chapter. I also volunteer with organizations like ATHENA International and Dress for Success. I’ve been mentoring other women and girls since middle school and continue many of those relationships (formal and informal) today.

No one is asking you to or cares if you answer random emails at 10 pm.

CONTACT SOCIAL @nicolercase @theupgradedcareer WEB theupgradedcareer.com DETAILS nicole@theupgradedcareer.com | 5448 Apex Peakway, Apex, NC 103


NIKI ERB

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MEET NIKI ERB, INSIGHT FOLIOS Niki’s drive and service orientation guided her distinguished 21-year career with PepsiCo/Frito-Lay, including global recognition as a role model for women. Her passion for mentoring and life experience led Niki to create her own financial planning business in partnership with Insight Folios. But, for Niki, work encompasses a deeper mission. Personal finances affect our lives significantly when career and life transitions change everything. Journeying with clients through their high and low moments showcases Niki’s integrity and compassion. Niki also loves being a wife, mother of teens, church member, and trusted mentor for young women navigating life’s complexities.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My parents are a significant influence in my life. Their unconditional love and unwavering support enabled me to achieve goals I once thought were impossible. Their uncompromising virtue has inspired me to be the woman, wife, and mother I am today. When I see myself through their eyes, I better understand my full potential.

I partner with women to help them build financial confidence to control their future independently. Too often, women are reliant on another person for their financial well-being. I empower women to be financially competent and free, so they can participate in determining both their and their family’s future.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I help young women create the life they want by assisting them in controlling their finances. They do not have to choose between their passions. Through my expertise and life experiences, I hope young women see that they can be both wives, mothers, and successful businesswomen.

“Do not miss time with your kids because it’s time you can never get back.” This hit home when my dear friend, Ruby, died in an automobile accident. This advice, losing her, and Joshua 1:9 inspired me to start my own business to manage my time and priorities.

CONTACT SOCIAL @nikierb @niki.w.erb @nikiwerb WEB insightfolios.com DETAILS niki@insightfolios.com | 704.529.9500 | 13777 Ballantyne Corp Place, Ste 225, Charlotte, NC 105


TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE.

DON’T WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW BECAUSE WHEN TOMORROW COMES IT’S

TODAY. ~Dr. Atoya Hodges

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SUPPORTING THE NEXT GENERATION

Women today are continuously making a historical impact. From exponential growth of women-owned businesses to greater involvement of women in politics, barriers are continuously being broken as women are dominating and excelling past what was previously thought to be their full potential. While there is still a significant amount of development toward equality to be made in these areas, women are still making remarkable strides. These high-achieving and ambitious women are who the future generations of females are looking up to for inspiration. These fearless, strong leaders and entrepreneurs are shifting the narrative of what it looks like to be a powerhouse and are giving young girls and women the confidence and voice they need to carry the torch. A study done by Harvard Business School shows that female role models played an important part in increased career participation and attainment. It is the responsibility of our successful female leaders to continue to inspire and create new paths for these up and coming women. The KNOW Women is a community filled with driven leaders, entrepreneurs, and executives that are positively shifting the narrative for the next generation. As they recognize the accomplishments of those that paved the way for their success, they continue to strive to create even more opportunity as they support and amplify the voices of young girls and women.

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PAGE FEHLING

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MEET PAGE FEHLING, AUTHOR, SPEAKER, EXECUTIVE TRAINER AND COMMUNICATION COACH A Peace Corps volunteer turned morning TV host, Page spent her 20-year journalism career delivering the news on live television for hours every day. She now uses those interviewing and storytelling skills to help executives, teams, and ordinary people communicate confidently with each other and audiences of any size in any setting. Page helps people rock their next talk. In her “spare” time, Page co-authored the book “Holy Crap, We’re Pregnant” and co-hosts the “Date Night with Jake and Page” podcast. She and her husband Jake have three kids, three dogs, and still most of their sanity.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I grew up sitting in the back of my grandma’s and mom’s classes, so they certainly influenced my career now as a facilitator & trainer. They even let me help teach when I was 14 and had no business teaching adults, but it was a great experience and confidence building!

Women’s empowerment means everyone can do everything. Feminine is just as strong as masculine. And just as valid. Just as important in any setting. No more so. But also, no less.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

Raising my daughter AND my sons to appreciate leading and being lead by great leaders, both male and female!

Create your own normal.

CONTACT SOCIAL @pagefehling WEB pagefehling.com DETAILS Charlotte, NC

@pagefehling

@PageFehling

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SARAH C. FORNEY

Sarah C. Forney is a Financial Advisor with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Raleigh, NC. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strategies and/or investments referenced may not be appropriate for all investors as the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor’s individual circumstances and objectives. Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, Member SIPC, or its affiliates. The returns on a portfolio consisting primarily of Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) aware investments may be lower or higher than a portfolio that is more diversified or where decisions are based solely on investment considerations. Because ESG criteria exclude some investments, investors may not be able to take advantage of the same opportunities or market trends as investors that do not use such criteria.

PHOTO CREDIT: ROSE TRAIL IMAGES

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Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC CRC # 3866683 12/2021


MEET SARAH C. FORNEY, FINANCIAL ADVISOR LONG VIEW GROUP AT MORGAN STANLEY Sarah grew up sailing on the Long Island Sound in Connecticut. She went on to help run the community sailing program there and joined the nonprofit board at 18 years old. Staying plugged into the nonprofit world continues to be a priority. Sarah focuses on advocating for women and children, education and (financial) literacy and enjoys related speaking opportunities. Today, Sarah is focused on helping clients navigate transitions and simplify their financial lives. She is passionate about working with women, multi-generational families, and impact investing (ESG). Sarah hosts a fireside chat format, woman’s educational series called Navigating a Woman’s World. Sarah is a wife and Mom to a young son. She enjoys all things culinary with her family. She is also an avid snowboarder and loves water activities including: sailing, wakeboarding, and stand up paddle boarding (SUP).

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I’ve been surrounded by amazing women my whole life - starting with my Mom, grandmas, and aunts; but a family friend has influenced me the most. She’s been a sounding board and a cheerleader all of my life. She encouraged me to be an entrepreneur. There’s no question my life benefited because of her. I am the women, the Mom, the wife, and the entrepreneur I am today because of her love and influence.

Knowledge is power, and financial knowledge is life changing.   So, for me, as someone who has built a career in the investment world, women’s empowerment means financial literacy. I believe that a woman who understands her financial circumstances is empowered and equipped to make the best possible decisions in her life. To this end, I created the educational series, “Navigating a Woman’s World”, to help empower women to understand and take control of their financial lives.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I feel very strongly that women bring numerous strengths not only to families, but to business and our economy. So, I take the role of mentor and, sometimes more importantly, sponsor very seriously. Young women need sounding boards, and advocates who will give them an open door through which to prove themselves. Making sure young women’s voices are heard in meetings and driving change within organizations has always been something I am committed to doing.

I think the most valuable piece of advice I ever received is to just trust your gut. That doesn’t replace knowledge of the facts but comes after it. When helping others, I make it a point to discuss the important details and to brainstorm. Then, after thorough analysis, I recommend taking a step back, digging deep, and doing with what just feels right. That process, in that order, seems to have the best outcomes.

CONTACT SOCIAL @sarah-caslowitz-forney-2a035052 WEB fa.morganstanley.com/longviewgroup DETAILS Sarah.Forney@morganstanley.com | Raleigh, NC 111


DJ SARAH SELFISH

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MEET DJ SARAH SELFISH OF SARAH SELFISH Meet Crystal “Sarah” Hoseine. Disc Jockey, Master Hairstylist, Permanent Makeup Artist, and Vibe Curator. Her friends introduce her as DJ Sarah Selfish, the best Soca DJ in Charlotte. Crystal describes herself as “I am a vibe .”Born in Trinidad, it’s no surprise that this island girl naturally captivates with her alluring persona and flair. A visionary mastering blondes, extensions, and curl patterns from 1a to 4c. The perfectionist in her has led to permanent cosmetic tattooing. Features in Women’s Wear Daily, Essence, Glamour, Seventeen, VH1 reality TV, and BET award shows to name a few. The demand has her bustling between Charlotte and NYC.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My apprenticeship with hair guru Yusef Williams was some groundbreaking years of my life. Yusef is the most iconic, daring, funny, humble, talk that talk, and I can back it up person I know. The core of my foundation and technical skills stem from this guy.

Women empowerment is the freedom and courage to show up unapologetic, selfishly you. It’s about being the boss of your world—our ideas, opinions, and ability to create matters. Be bold in everything you do; it keeps other women encouraged.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

When I discovered that women hold me to a different caliber, it increased my self-awareness. I became intentional in sharing my experiences. As women, we look for support in one another. Having accountability is key to leadership, as I see it.

What is for you is for you. Life often does not play out the way we would have liked it. But what’s for you is for you. Nothing changes that. Be patient and trust your process.

CONTACT SOCIAL @djsarahselfish @sarahselfishbeauty WEB sarahselfish.com DETAILS bookings@sarahselfish.com | 347.414.5213 | NC and NYC 113


SARAH SEWARD

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MEET SARAH SEWARD OF DRYBAR RALEIGH AT MIDTOWN EAST AND DRYBAR CARY AT WAVERLY PLACE Sarah Seward fell in love with the exceptional Drybar experience and how confident she felt after the service, so she decided to become a franchise partner. Sarah has combined her background in sales and customer service with her love for beauty and is passionate about Drybar’s mission to make women feel confident and happy. She enjoys working with her incredible staff in her two shops in Raleigh and Cary. Sarah loves spending time with her amazing husband and children, family and friends, traveling, boating, and enjoying life outside work.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

It’s hard to choose one person who has influenced me the most. I’d have to say it’s the collection of solid women entrepreneurs and friends who had lifted me and encouraged me when times were tough, have celebrated with me during the great times, and have been there for all the times between.

Women empowerment means women are empowering and supporting and lifting other women. We get so much further in life when offering an encouraging word than when tearing someone apart. Women should celebrate each other as there is room for us to be successful and influential.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I support the next generation of female leaders by sharing my experiences and encouraging them to leap when necessary to achieve the next level of their goals. I love being around successful women to learn from their experiences, network, and support each other.

The best piece of advice I have received is to keep going. Pain is temporary, and even when the worst seems to have happened, get up, put your makeup on, and push through it. If you work hard, be honest, and are a good person, extraordinary things lie ahead for you.

CONTACT SOCIAL @sarahseward @_sarahseward @sarahgseward WEB thedrybar.com DETAILS sarah@drybarraleigh.com | Raleigh, NC | Cary, NC 115


SHELL RICHARDSON

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MEET SHELL RICHARDSON, OWNER OF ELEGANT CONNEXIONS Building relationships that last has been an integral part of Shell’s career in hospitality, as an active member of FemCity, Know Charlotte, and a volunteer member of Goodwill Industries of Southern Piedmont. In 2015, Shell opened her business, Elegant Connexions, an event space in Concord, N.C. Now, Shell is bringing that passion for building relationships through the power of “Financial Literacy.” Through meaningful events and 1-on-1 presentations, Shell’s desire-help families realize their dreams. “Creating relationships through community, networking, and growth opportunities is a must in today’s tumultuous times.” It is time that families thrive and not just survive financially!

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My parents and my husband have influenced me the most. Their support has helped me develop the heart and soul for business. The one gift they have given me is my love for my creator. Honestly, I don’t believe I would have come this far without that love and trust.

Women empowerment to me means courage. It takes much courage to aspire, create, and build something that began as a dream. You will not initially receive the encouragement needed to succeed. Grit and tenacity are what build empowerment. Once this happens, it is as if there is “wind beneath one’s wings.”

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I am supporting the next generation of female leaders by example. Never give up. Decide how tomorrow will look. Then design it. Determine how you want it to look and feel. Then if you don’t like it, you can redesign, add or subtract, knowing it is yours in the end.

Everyone wants to be heard and valued. Learn how to listen. Listen to understand, rather than listening simply to respond. This advice has taught me to appreciate the thoughts of others more. To slow down and think about what the other person is trying to communicate to me.

CONTACT SOCIAL @ShellRichardson @Elegant Connexions WEB elegantconnexions.com DETAILS shell@elegantconnexions.com | 704.417.0290 | 229 S. Brevard St., St. 200-D, Charlotte, NC 117


WHEN WE

ALLOW

OURSELVES TO BE SEEN AND STAND IN THAT VULNERABLE LIGHT, THOSE INNATE QUALITIES CAN ONLY SHINE THROUGH, ALLOWING US TO

TRANSFORM INTO WHO WE WERE ALWAYS

MEANT TO BE. ~Cat Ford-Coates 118


MENTORSHIP

While the saying “it takes a village” often refers to raising children, it can also be applicable to the community that is necessary to successfully grow a business. Having a network to celebrate your wins, educate in your failures, and support throughout the journey is what will propel your business to the next-level. Within this network, finding someone trustworthy to be a mentor will make all the difference in your success. According to a study done by UPS, 70% of small businesses that had a mentor survived past the five-year mark, which is double the rate of those that did not. Mentorship will grow your network, expand your opportunities, and increase your confidence. Due to the inequalities between women-owned and men-owned businesses, women are still just now getting their feet wet in some opportunities that were not previously available. Having a mentor and seeing someone that looks like you and has done it before can give you the confidence in yourself to know that it is possible. To know that you can do it. At KNOW, mentorship is a key component of our community. We value the importance of giving back and supporting others through sharing our expertise and experiences. We continue to fill the room with high-achieving women, women that provide access to opportunities, inspire confidence, and foster a safe environment for growth. Not only do The KNOW women make exceptional mentors for the new generation of women entering entrepreneurship, but also for each other, as we value that there is success and learning opportunity in our diversity.

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SOMER HANDLEY PHOTO CREDIT: REVOLUTION STUDIOS

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MEET SOMER HANDLEY, CEO, AND FOUNDER OF REVOLUTION STUDIOS Meet Somer Handley, CEO, and mastermind behind Revolution Studios, a multimedia agency offering creative and marketing services. While running this powerhouse photography business for nearly two decades, Somer recognized an opportunity to help her clients go from just wanting great photos and videos to actually using them in an effective and impactful way. So, in 2020, Revolution Studios expanded to include marketing services that help clients level up their businesses. In addition to running Revolution Studios, Somer serves as Chief Marketing Officer at C-Thru, a fractional C-suite service. She is also a co-investor for a small-batch CBD farm.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I have always been influenced and inspired by other movers and shakers in the business. Taking in their stories and hearing successes not only fuels my soul but reminds me to remember how far I have come in my growth and story.

Women empowerment is a feeling, a sense, and the knowledge that ALL women from ALL walks of life are incredibly limitless. When women come together and appreciate the power of lifting each other, we raise societal standards. When women join forces rather than opposing teams, we rise together.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I believe in giving someone time as their sounding board, time to champion their achievements, and time to provide advice with no strings attached. It takes a culture committed to developing female and diverse talent to empower our next generation to pursue their success.

Be true to yourself. There’s no need to fake it till you make it. When you let go of what you don’t need, you’ll get clarity on your purpose and start living for something that is greater than you.

CONTACT SOCIAL @revolution_studios @summersomer @RevolutionStudiosRaleigh WEB revolution-studios.com DETAILS info@revolution-studios.com | 919.349.6512 | Raleigh, NC 121


TERRI M ZACZYK PHOTO CREDIT: ROSE TRAIL IMAGES

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MEET TERRI M ZACZYK, FOUNDER OF GUPTANK, LLC Terri Zaczyk has spent an entire lifetime innovating. While working a full-time corporate job, she simultaneously owned businesses and served as a consultant to entrepreneurs. After surviving a tragic car accident, her determination grew. Since then, she’s secured patents and worked alongside manufacturing teams to bring product innovation to market. In doing so, another company – GupTank – was born. GupTank is the place for Gups (not Sharks) to share ideas and learnings with similar bootstrapped entrepreneurs. Through her collaboration and leadership, Terri understands the struggles entrepreneurs face and hopes that other womens’ dreams can also become a reality.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

My biggest influences have been the strong, determined women in my network and my daughters. I have had the pleasure of working alongside strong female leaders who challenge and support me. In addition, I have two adult daughters who, thankfully, tolerate my entrepreneur spirit and my incessant ‘what if…’ conversations.

To me, women empowerment means creating and supporting opportunities for women. Empowering a woman is more than simply the existence of jobs or opportunities. The immeasurable value comes from being lifted, encouraged, and challenged. There is nothing more powerful than knowing someone believes in you.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I support the next generation of female leaders through Guptank and my volunteer efforts with women’s leadership organizations like Athena of the Triangle and the Women Business Collaborative. As an Athena volunteer, I have been part of the launch of their Emerging Leaders program and the Athena Leadership Conference.

The best advice I ever received was from my Dad. He said, “You can do anything. The only limits that exist for you are self-imposed.” He taught me to think beyond what I see, stand up for what I believed in, and work hard intellectually and physically.

CONTACT SOCIAL @terrizaczyk WEB Guptank.com DETAILS Raleigh, NC

@terrizaz

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WENDY RUSSELL PHOTO CREDIT: ROSE TRAIL IMAGES

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MEET WENDY RUSSELL, FOUNDER OF YOUR CHAOS COORDINATOR Wendy Russell, aka Your Chaos Coordinator, has 20+ years of experience coordinating, planning, and supporting small businesses’ daily operational and administrative functions. She is an information manager who will help manage your business with executive tasks of strategic calendar planning, review of content, and facilitating customer connection campaigns. She currently serves on the nonprofit 1099 Ladies Networking board and hosts chapter meetings to educate, support, and encourage businesswomen in the Raleigh, NC area. Wendy received her BA in Business Information Systems from Shippensburg University in PA and a Master of Business Administration from New England College which was in NH.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

Other women influence me the most. When I lost my job and searched for my WHY, I was encouraged to join a women’s networking group. A simple invite to meet weekly changed my views on my purpose, strengths, career, business, money, networking, and life.

Women have the freedom to learn, explore and share topics of interest. You surround yourself with others who treat you as you want to be treated and have the right to ask for what you want. Women encouraging each other to be more positive in thoughts and actions is mighty.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I work with other women who want to learn about business. I facilitate a monthly business brainstorming discussion around different business aspects. By creating my own business, I set the example that females can do and be anything they want to be.

It is okay to be yourself. Know what your strengths are and “do what you love, and you’ll never work again in your life.”

CONTACT SOCIAL @wendykiralyrussell @Your-Chaos-Coordinator WEB ycc-wr.com DETAILS wendyrussell@ycc-wr.com | 207.402.0625 | Cary, NC 125


YOLANDA DAVIS BRISCO

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MEET YOLANDA DAVIS BRISCO, FOUNDER OF PURPOSED STRATEGY Yolanda Davis Brisco is the financial and legal maven leading Purposed Strategy, a virtual accounting, and strategy firm. She partners with female founders to provide business accounting, legal counsel, and business coaching that helps them understand their numbers, restore balance and flourish in leadership and purpose without worry, overwhelm, or overwork. Yolanda created Purposed Strategy to champion women-owned and women-led organizations. She leads with almost two decades of experience and mastery as an accountant and is a corporate attorney supporting nonprofits and small businesses. She has helped countless organizations minimize risk, manage with integrity, succeed, scale, and thrive.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

The women in my life have influenced me the most, specifically my mom and grandmothers. They exude strength, resilience, faith, and joy. They taught me that hard times could be overcome and losing battles could be won. Each of them has pushed me to be the best version of myself.

Women empowerment to me means creating spaces and communities that allow women to walk in the fullness of their authenticity. It means pushing each other to fulfill the call on our lives and utilize our gifts to secure wealth and make an impact in ways that are purposed.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

Education played a huge role in propelling me towards a better future. In hopes of giving back to the next generation of leaders, I co-founded and currently chair the board of Davis Academy, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting equity in public schools with a focus on restorative practices and community schools.

The best advice I have ever received is to learn to see myself the way God sees me. He sees me forgiven, redeemed, and made new. My identity in God is chosen, holy, dearly loved, called, qualified, accepted, one of a kind, daughter of the Most High.

CONTACT SOCIAL @YolandaDBrisco @YolandaDBrisco WEB yolandadbrisco.com DETAILS info@they9group.com | Charlotte, NC

@YolandaDBrisco

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YOLANDA M. MCCORMICK PHOTO CREDIT: RAJAEE TAWWAB

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MEET YOLANDA M. MCCORMICK, OWNER OF ANOTHER CHANCE SOLUTIONS, PLLC Yolanda M. McCormick, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Clinician (LCMHC), is an entrepreneur, breast cancer survivor, and a certified Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (TF-CBT) in North Carolina. She is the owner of Another Chance Solutions, PLLC, a private clinical services agency in Mecklenburg County. Yolanda has worked with children and families over the past sixteen years. She has dedicated the last six years of her career working with the enhancing the lives of children and families who have been exposed to and/or witnessed trauma. Yolanda believes breaking the generational cycles of trauma are pivotal in strengthening families and fostering resiliency.

Who influenced you the most?

What does women empowerment mean to you?

I contribute my strength, perseverance, faith, and kind heart to my grandmother, mother, God-sister, and cousin. These ladies have inspired me to trust God and never give up!

Women empowerment means supporting, uplifting, and inspiring women, especially black women, in embracing their individuality. It’s breaking generational cycles of trauma by increasing self-confidence, self-worth, and most importantly self-love to foster peace, joy, and happiness.

How are you supporting the next generation of female leaders?

What is the best advice you’ve received?

I am supporting the next generation of female leaders by creating safe spaces where women of color can identify their vulnerabilities, embrace their flaws, celebrate their uniqueness while healing from generational cycles of trauma through group conversation and connection.

To love yourself gracefully as you are perfectly imperfect.

CONTACT SOCIAL @yolanda-m-mccormick-ms-lcmhc-862a02103 @yoyoma16 DETAILS 980.677.1997 | 301 McCullough Drive, Ste 400, Charlotte, NC 129


WOMEN AT A GLANCE AMINA ABUBAKAR CEO and Owner of Avant Pharmacy & Wellness Center Charlotte, NC | Page 8 ANNA CHURCHILL Founder of Synergy Face + Body Raleigh, NC | Page 10 ANNE BURESH Anne Buresh Interior Design Charlotte, NC | Page 12 ASHLEY HORTON Yellow Paw Prints Charlotte, NC | Page 14 AUDREY PRIEL Founder of Rose Trail Images Rolesville, NC | Page 16 BARBARA HEMPHILL Barbara Hemphill Associates Raleigh, NC | Page 18 BRANDY MABRA CEO with Savvy Clover Coaching & Consulting Charlotte, NC | Page 20 CARMEN COUSIN Owner of The Brand Life High Performance Coaching Charlotte, NC | Page 24 CARRIE PEELE Founder and CEO, Jade Lending Founder of C. Peele Group LLC, Mako Documents Raleigh, NC | Page 26 CAT FORD COATES Owner of Atelier Unforgettable Asheville, NC | Page 28

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CHASTA HAMILTON Founder/ CEO of Stage Door Dance Productions; Founder/President of the Non-Profit Girls Geared For Greatness Raleigh, NC | Page 32 CHRISTINA KIRKEY Owner of Pinup Studio Raleigh, NC | Page 34 CHRISTY MILLER Christy Miller Consulting & Management Harrisburg, NC | Page 36 CRYSTAL MWAURA Pinnacle Freight Solutions LLC Raleigh, NC | Page 38 DIANE HOLMES Owner & CEO of Sapphire Dreams Charlotte, NC | Page 40 DR. AMBER BEANE Research Scientist, Senior Program Evaluator, Ripple Effect Asheville, NC | Page 42 DR. ATOYA HODGES O/X Society Raleigh, NC | Page 44 DR. CHERYL NICHOLAS Family Medicine Physician, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LIGHT Family Wellness Fort Mill, SC | Page 46 DR. CRYSTAL MAXWELL Family Medicine Physician, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LIGHT Family Wellness Fort Mill, SC | Page 48


WOMEN AT A GLANCE DR. HODA IMENI BASSIRI Fusion Dental Care Raleigh, NC | Page 50

JACINDA JACOBS Flyty and Jacinda LLC Charlotte, NC | Page 68

DR. LISA FOLDEN Healthy Phit Physical Therapy & Wellness Consultants Charlotte, NC | Page 52

KIMBERLY WYNN Co-owner of AmplifyHigheR Universal | Page 70

DR. PAULETTE EVANS Evans Efficiency Experts, LLC Raleigh, NC | Page 54 DR. SHAFTINA SNIPES founder and CEO of Precipice Center for Teaching and Learning Charlotte, NC | Page 56 DR. SHARON JONES Founder and CEO of Dottie Rose Foundation and the dot. Consulting Charlotte, NC | Page 58 DR. TIAMESHA WALKER-SMITH Executive Director of ATHENA of the Triangle Fuquay-Varina, NC | Page 60

KIMMY HUNTER CEO of Wishbone Tiny Homes Asheville, NC | Page 72 LAURIE M. MARTIN Owner of HireQuest Direct Charlotte, NC | Page 74 LINETTE MONTAE Strategic Catalyst, Legacy Influencer®, Speaker, Author, and Philanthropist Charlotte, NC | Page 76 LISA THOMAS Educational Sales Charlotte, NC | Page 78 LISA WESTER “Empowered Women, Empower Women” Raleigh, NC | Page 80

ELENA BRIDGMON Partner and Chief Administrative Officer of LUMO Charlotte, NC | Page 62

LIZ WILLIAMSON Owner of The Lifestyle Management Co. Wilmington, NC | Page 82

ERICA DELONG iHeart Media Raleigh, NC | Page 64

MARISSA JADE WILLINSKY House of Jade Sky Charlotte, NC | Page 84

GABRIELLA TERRY President, and CEO of Chefellas Catering & Events and Ella’s Eats Food Truck Clayton, NC | Page 66

MARY CANTANDO Founder of The Woman’s Advantage Raleigh, NC | Page 86

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WOMEN AT A GLANCE MARY SUE BOYLE Beau Monde Charlotte, NC | Page 88 MEGAN MILLER Owner Megan Miller Marketing, LLC Charlotte, NC | Page 90 MICHELLE HOLMES Vice President of Client Services at CustomerHD Raleigh, NC | Page 94 MONICA ROUSEAU Realty One Group Pivot Asheville, NC | Page 96 MONIQUE DOUGLAS Co-owner CBK Branding & Consulting Firm LLP Charlotte, NC | Page 98 MYRA RAY A Creative Thinker, a Nifty Design Professional , a Gifted and Patient Trainer, and Healer Sanford, NC | Page 100 NICOLE CASE Leadership and Executive Coach, Speaker, Founder of The Upgraded Career Apex, NC | Page 102 NIKI ERB Insight Folios Charlotte, NC | Page 104 PAGE FEHLING Author, Speaker, Executive Trainer and Communication Coach Charlotte, NC | Page 108

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SARAH FORNEY Financial Advisor Long View Group at Morgan Stanley Raleigh, NC | Page 110 SARAH SELFISH Of Sarah Selfish NC and NYC | Page 112 SARAH SEWARD WOODSON Drybar Raleigh at Midtown East and Drybar Cary at Waverly Place Raleigh & Cary, NC | Page 114 SHELL RICHARDSON Owner of Elegant Connexions Charlotte, NC | Page 116 SOMER HANDLEY CEO, and founder of Revolution Studios Raleigh, NC | Page 120 TERRI ZACZYK Founder of Guptank, LLC Raleigh, NC | Page 122 WENDY RUSSELL Founder of Your Chaos Coordinator Cary, NC | Page 124 YOLANDA DAVIS BRISO Founder of Purposed Strategy Charlotte, NC | Page 126 YOLANDA MCCORMICK Owner of Another Chance Solutions, PLLC Charlotte, NC | Page 128


PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS PRINCIPLE PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAT FORD-COATES EXCEPT FOR THE FOLLOWING PAGES: AMY KOLO Marissa Jade Willinsky | Page 84 ATLANTA BRAND PHOTOGRAPHER Brandy Mabra | Page 20 CYNTHIA NDELO PHOTOGRAPHY Jacinda Jacobs | Page 68 DANI NICOLE PHOTOGRAPHY Laurie Turner | Page 74 Liz Williamson | Page 82 RAJAEE TAWWAB Kimberly Wynn | Page 70 Yolanda McCormick | Page 128 REVOLUTION STUDIOS Anna Churchill | Page 10 Crystal Mwaura | Page 38 Erica Delong | Page 64 Myra Ray | Page 100 Somer Handley | Page 120 ROSE TRAIL IMAGES Audrey Priel | Page 16 Barbara Hemphill | Page 18 Carrie Peele | Page 26 Dr. Tiamesha Walker-Smith | Page 60 Gabriella Terry | Page 66 Lisa Wester | Page 80 Mary Cantando | Page 86 Michelle Holme | Page 94 Sarah Forney | Page 110 Terri Zaczyk | Page 122 Wendy Russell | Page 124

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS If it weren’t for a global pandemic, this book would not have been conceptualized. Our forced pivot led to a whole new way of thinking, expansion opportunities, and ultimately publishing our first hard cover, state-wide book, featuring 56 dynamic women across North Carolina. This book would not be possible without so many. The saying, “We are not meant to do this alone” resonates more than ever. A great deal of appreciation goes out to women like, Dr. Lisa Folden, Dr. Paulette Evans, Cat Ford-Coates, and Carrie Peele who went to a lot of trouble connecting us with many of the women featured in this book. Thank you Myra Ray, our designer and again, the most generous photographer I know, Cat Ford-Coates. You both took the vision to a new level. Nicole Smyth, Erica Stork and Erin Daniels, your dedication and detail to this project has created much success. Without the three of you, we would not have a book at this caliber. To all the women nominating your colleagues, friends, mentors, and comrades, thank you. Because of you, we’ve uncovered an amazing array of diverse women. And lastly to all 56 of you women featured, thank you for sharing your wisdom. Your words have inspired our team and we cannot wait for the world to get their hands on this book. Your legacy lives within the pages.

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SARAH BENKEN Sarah Benken is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of 13 years, who has built and scaled her own brands internationally. She founded KNOW Women out of a passion for supporting fellow highachieving businesswomen. Her mission is to provide space for dynamic female leaders to gather, collaborate, and be celebrated for their successes and hard work. In 2020, Sarah founded KNOW Cares, the non-profit philanthropic arm for KNOW Women, which is focused on empowering, educating, and raising funds for women and youth worldwide.

KNOW WOMEN Founded in Phoenix, Arizona in 2018 - KNOW is a global media company and community dedicated to amplifying the voices of female leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs. In April of 2019, after launching more than 20 publications and hosting more than 120 inperson events, KNOW launched its digital platform for female business owners. Built for those in high-growth mode, the membership became the space for women to align through professional development, accountability, and community. In 2020, after recognizing the need for even more connection and through our desire to continue to provide the best opportunities for growth and exposure, KNOW launched its Global Membership. Any woman regardless of their locale, career, or tenor, can align with KNOW Women. KNOW publishes the nationally recognized KNOW City Book and Women to KNOW State Book, produces the annual KNOW Summit in Phoenix, Arizona, hosts the weekly podcast, The High-Achieving Female Podcast, by KNOW, and has recently launched an apparel line and quarterly subscription box, The Box, by KNOW - to help provide visibility to women makers and retailers. For more information, or to get involved, go to: theknowwomen.com

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WOMEN TO

IN NORTH CAROLINA

WOMEN TO KNOW IN NORTH CAROLINA is an annual publication produced by KNOW Women, LLC. The women selected for feature have been nominated and vetted not only for achieving high levels of professional success, but also for serving as inspiring leaders and mentors. For consideration in an upcoming volume of KNOW, go to theknowwomen.com and complete a submission. Bring KNOW to your city! THEKNOWWOMEN.COM | HELLO@THEKNOWWOMEN.COM

©2022 Know Women, LLC., all rights reserved.


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