Shetroit’s Advisory Circle brings together wise women of varying ages who put into practice their heart-centered leadership skills. They believe that the world can be a better place when more women accept their rightful place in leadership … but the kind of leadership that is rooted in the heart and supports respect and honoring of themselves and each other. These women offer a guiding hand to the direction of the Shetroit project as it unfolds. Deep gratitude is sent to them for their participation.
Having been in media her entire career, Becca’s vision is to use media to inspire actions that help us create solutions for kinder, gentler and more conscious relationships with each other and with our environment. Women, she believes, are the essential bridge to helping us move in this direction. It is Becca’s hope that Shetroit.com will provide a way to use digital media where local women share their stories of overcoming adversity and personal traumas, to embrace their self-worth and heart-centered leadership. As convener and publisher of Shetroit.com, Becca is in deep gratitude for the extraordinary women leaders who have stepped forward with their support and wisdom to “dream a Detroit” where we can realize our highest potential and make our greatest contributions – to our family, to our community and to our world.
Bernadette would live on Detroit’s Belle Isle if she could as she revels in biking and sailing. But, of course, that’s not possible so, instead, as a volunteer representing the Belle Isle Women’s Committee she helped merge four nonprofits that resulted in forming the Belle Isle Conservancy – securing the island’s continued status as a crown jewel of the city. This is all in keeping with her world service – doing the sacred work of fundraising. Bernadette, as a Certified Fund Raising Executive, has led several multi-million dollar campaigns working with dedicated volunteers to solicit more than $30 million dollars directly from individuals. With a passion for this challenging work, she brings strategic planning and development assessment skills and a law degree to help her clients. Instead of Belle Isle, she and her husband Scott have lived in Detroit’s historic Mies Van Der Rohe neighborhood for decades, exposing their four children to the city’s rich array of cultural offerings (not a bad consolation).
Des is an award-winning, Pulitzer Prize nominated journalist who specializes in telling the extraordinary stories of ordinary people. Her hallmark gift for helping bridge differences through compelling storytelling spans print and radio. As a published author, a graduate of the University of Virginia Law School and an international traveler, she’s lived in Detroit for more than 25 years and is committed to its renaissance. Her current role as community and media relations with Planned Parenthood underscores her commitment to women’s health and welfare.
Originally a Southerner, Dessa loves the charm and hospitality of Detroit and continues to learn more about life and community here than she could ever have anticipated. Dessa has been a social justice advocate for as long as she can remember, championing LGBT, disability, environmental and women’s rights. As a proud Little Person, she uses her disability to challenge, educate and endear others to the journey of being different. Training community organizers by day and earning her Masters of Social Justice after hours, Dessa loves shifting paradigms, breaking glass ceilings and honoring the Feminine Divine.
Jackie’s entrepreneur chops are legend. Her role as a mother is less high profile but deeply rooted and, like moms everywhere, continually struggles to walk the line of balance. Out of college, she ran a statewide peace organization working with political campaigns and grassroots teams. Then in 1997, Jackie and her business partner, Ann Perrault, planted Avalon Bakery smack dab in one of those Detroit neighborhoods that was on its knees. They pioneered a conscious business with the three P’s: Planet, People, Profits. Their little bakery now has over 40 employees and the neighborhood is teeming with locally owned and operated businesses.
Healing paths are central to Kalimah’s life’s work. For all her other accomplishments, her honesty and transparency around her own challenges as a survivor of sexual abuse and incest have made her a powerful change agent in supporting the healing of others. With every opportunity to help others, she says, she could feel the layers of hurt being peeled away from her own body. Kalimah is the founder of SASHA Center, a nonprofit that develops culturally specific programming for survivors of rape and has been an on-going organizer of ‘Take Back the Night Detroit,’ an event that provides a safe space for survivors to express themselves. She is a professor of social work at Detroit’s Marygrove College, a performance poet, published author and activist for women and the LGBT community.
Growing up in South LA where the graduation rate was below 50%, Kayla decided at 14 to commit her life to improving education for youth at-risk. She spent her high school years as a member of ‘South Central Youth Empowered through Action’ speaking at events, recruiting volunteers and helping plan demonstrations in support of quality education. She envisioned her peers looking at their obstacles as a reason to succeed instead of an excuse to fail. When Kayla was accepted to the top ranked Masters of Social Work program in the country at UM-Ann Arbor, she didn’t think twice! More because she would be a short drive to supporting youth in Detroit than having a high quality education for the first time in her life. Currently, Kayla, 24, works for Detroit’s Harriet Tubman Center and manages the organization YOUTH VOICE, teaching youth that they have the power to change their lives.
As an artist, activist and organizer, Oya has been creating programming that utilizes art to heal, educate, and empower communities for over 20 years. As executive director of the Detroit Grassroots Community Arts Collective, Oya founded the Detroit Women of Color International Film Festival, which presents films that explore the deep shadow sides of powerfully charged issues of racial identity, sexuality, spirituality and love. Screening-after-screening, Oya noticed that her audiences sat riveted after the showings in order to discuss their wellspring of emotions elicited by the viewings. The festival uses the power of film as catalyst for women to see themselves as agents of change. Oya says she has made a conscious choice not to sit in the dark and complain; she has dedicated her life to being a light of change.
Supporting the most vulnerable in our society guides Sylvia’s life’s work. Over 33 years, she has founded organizations and crafted opportunities for lifting people out of poverty and welcoming immigrants and refugees to their new homeland, which encompasses the creation of the national No Human Being Is Illegal Campaign. Creating business opportunities is a particular expertise of Sylvia’s and includes the formation of business and banking services in the U.S. and supporting village banks for women in Central America. She is founder and president emeritus of AnewAmerica Community Corporation, a premier microenterprise center for women and families in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sylvia’s work in Detroit is focused on various economic development and social justice projects.
Trina Lynn Campbell
Trina’s focus is on enhancing the well-being of Detroiters through the healing arts. In particular, her work as a yoga instructor is literally “on the ground,” as a meditative practice, and figuratively close to the action in nurturing human potential. Her yoga discipline is a specialty called “Christian yoga,” where God and Jesus are central to the practice. However, she holds a wide embrace for all people irrespective of their religious beliefs and practices. Importantly, Trina’s mind, body, and spirit work draws devote Christians who otherwise would not pursue the benefits that yoga offers because of the common misconception that the practice of yoga is contrary to their Christian beliefs.