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Trailblazers: Downtown

The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us feel that media portrayals of women have been too one dimensional. Today, women are doing incredible things in all fields – from science and technology to finance, law, business, athletics and more.  With the Trailblazers series, we hope to highlight and celebrate female role models, encourage more equal and just representation in the media, and help foster a more tight-knit community locally helping women find mentors, business partners, friends and more.

Below, you’ll find some incredible trailblazers from in and around Downtown that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Miah Whitmore

I started singing when I moved in with my father in Byron Center, Michigan. I had always loved to sing but my living room performances usually ended in laughter and sincere discouragement “Don’t quit your day job.” I usually laughed with them. My first solo performance was in my Middle School spring concert- no one warned me about the DO NOT SING LIST. Read more>>

Nicole (Kelechi) Akpunku

When I was fifteen years old, my grandmother was diagnosed with end-stage glaucoma. When she began to constantly rely on me to help her navigate through our home, I gained a greater appreciation for all that my vision allowed me to do, the simple things that someone could normally do on their own were nearly impossible for her. She was unable to cut vegetables, read, or walk long distances without company. Read more>>

Elaya Walker

Where I’m at today was an evolution from modeling to YouTube to starting my own businesses, I’ve always enjoyed assisting entrepreneurs and professionals alike in building systems to manage their brands effectively for brand awareness and impact. Whether it be helping them create strategies to reach their creative goals, or developing a platform/event for them to share their stories or gifts with others. Read more>>

Carter Sade

It was because of this that I went on to attend Old Dominion University, where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and later, George Mason University, where I received my Masters in Public Administration with a concentration in Human Resources. Throughout my career, I have volunteered and worked for various service organizations. However, I wasn’t fulfilled and soon realized that I had been given multiple gifts and talents and I wanted to use them all. Read more>>

Raven Reid

I started dancing at the age of three. I fell so in love with the stage and the costuming and the body pains after I job well done. When I was ten, I was diagnosed with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine which resulted in a surgery in which two metal rods were put on either side of my spine. The surgeons said I would never dance again. Read more>>

Alanna Cabrera

I was born in Dominican Republic. I have always been interested in the arts, especially in acting. I remember being obsessed with every child actor I saw in every movie and I would always question myself when was I going to be able to be in one of those movies. I took my first acting class when I was nine because a friend recommended it and I completely fell in love with it. Read more>>

Rachael Turner

Becoming an entrepreneur helped to save my life and help hundreds of others expand their vision. I was not that child who knew exactly what they wanted to do, even upon graduating with a degree in Finance and Spanish. Prior to graduating, I had a job in fast-food and worked nearly full-time as a teller. Read more>>

Ranette Williams Haynes

I started pursuing my teaching career in the late nineties. In December of 1999, I graduated with my BA in Elementary Education and became ESOL endorsed. My teaching career officially began in January 2000. I fell so in love with being a teacher!! It was and still is my passion. Read more>>

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