FLINT, Michigan -- Two women noticed a void in the recognition of women leaders in the Flint community and their organization — Flint’s Future is Female (FFF) — is trying to fill it.
Heidi McAra and Rachel Johnson formed FFF in late 2019 and use social media as their mode of outreach. They use their platforms to spotlight women in the community who are great entrepreneurs and leaders.
“We're very familiar with the services offered in Genesee County to entrepreneurs and leaders, and we saw a sort of void (in) recognizing either new and upcoming potential leaders [and] entrepreneurs,” McAra said.
The organization had its first annual Flint’s Phenomenal Female Awards, showcasing women in four categories: Good Human, Young Entrepreneur, Entrepreneur of the Year, and Community Focus. Voting took place on their Facebook and Instagram pages.
“The only purpose of that is to just additionally highlight them and get them validation for their efforts, and hopefully, inspire them to continue and inspire others,” McAra said.
Shonte’ Jerhune-Smith, an entrepreneur and lactation consultant who founded YOLO Breastfeeding, won the Good Human Award, which recognized a woman who inspires others to be a better person. Carma Lewis and Angela Boyce were also nominated.
Canisha Bell (read Flintside’s Q and A with Canisha Bell), founder of Black Girls do Yoga, received the Community Focus Award. The award recognizes a woman who has brought the community together and brought women in Flint forward. Maryum Rasool and Jes Matthews were also nominated.
The Young Entrepreneur Award went to Kiara Tyler, the founder of Kalm. The award recognizes women who have used their youth to help them succeed at launching businesses. Porsche Clemons, the owner of Heart of Worship Dance Studio, and La’Asia Johnson, the owner of Elle Jae Essentials LLC, were also nominated.
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award went to Egypt Otis of Comma Bookstore and Social Hub (read Flintside’s Q and A with Egypt Otis). The award recognizes a woman who has worked hard to successfully create a business in Flint. Natalie Kadie, the owner of Eight Ten Nail Bar, and Tiff Sommers, the co-owner of Cafe Rhema, were also nominated.
Flint’s Future is Female is still a new organization, and if there is a woman in Flint that deserves a spotlight their direct messages on social media sites are always open for that.
“The message to others is that this is a collective effort that we may have struck the match but we certainly are looking for help, fanning the flames,” McAra said.