December 12, 2020
Lee’s Summit based non-profit organization, Suburban Balance ends the year Honoring 27 phenomenal women throughout Missouri & Kansas at their LIFT HER UP Movement virtual event and most were “essential workers” who have been on the frontlines fighting the pandemic.
Because of the pandemic the annual event was held virtually for the first time and drew nearly two thousand viewers. Their last in person event brought together over 400 women.
Founder and CEO of Suburban Balance, LaShawn Walker was determined to end the year on a high note and the only appropriate way to do it was to recognize those who has been working tirelessly while sacrificing so much, those in healthcare like doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners who have been on the frontlines taking care of COVID patients while at times risking their own. Other everyday SHEROES in education and a few others were honored as well.
An Honoree of the year was also named, a local Scientist, Dr. Rebecca Wates. It’s been a tough year for so many and the LIFT HER UP MOVEMENT wasn’t going to let the pandemic stop us from LIFTING up some incredible women in the community who have been keeping this country going, our essential workers. LIFT HER UP is an inspirational arm of the non profit that Walker created to inspire more women and girls to encourage, support, celebrate, elevate, nominate and LIFT each other up every opportunity possible! Their motto: “when you win, I win, when I win, you win, because we’re all in this together”! A motto that has kept this movement going since 2017, launching their first event with only 75 women and on Saturday, Dec 5 it experienced it’s largest attendance to date with nearly 2,000 viewers who joined in to watch as 27 women were recognized.
The women honored were, Tara Johnson, Nurse Practitioner, Natalie Johnson-Berry, Teacher, Danielle Pearsall, HR Recruiter, Tiffany Green, Site Director Teacher, Dr. Marla Sheppard, Deputy Superintendent, Vanessa Vaughn West, D&I Director, Ryonda Hall, Business Owner, Cortney Ray, Trauma Sensitive School Clinician, Zandra Brown, Nurse Practitioner, Nikia Jackson, Network Analyst, Kori Carew, Chief Inclusion Officer, Nicole Tigner, Teacher, Candice Wise, Trauma Sensitive School Clinician, Rosalind Gray, Store Clerk, Dr. Nicole D. Price, D&I Expert, LaToya Garcia, D&I Sr. Manager, Satina McCanse, RN, Lateshia Woodley, Asst. Superintendent, Kenya Campbell, Nurse, Honoree of the Year awarded to Dr. Rebecca Wates, Scientist, Carinne Purnell, RN, Chantell Garrett, D&I Manager, Jimmarie Smiley, Mental Health, Antoinette Starr, Home Healthcare, Dr. Yolanda Cargile, Superintendent, Qiana Thomason, CEO, & Arlesia Fortson, Occupational Therapist.
“If there were ever a time a LIFT up was needed, NOW is certainly the time,” said LaShawn.
“I feel lifted when lifting others! None of these women go to work looking for a pat on the back, but it’s always nice to let them know, we see them, value them and appreciate them,” Walker added.
Other women in the field of diversity and Inclusion were also amongst the 27 honored as their expertise were utilized during the racial unrest 2020 brought us. A few small business owners, an HR executive and IT professional were also amongst the honorees. Lift Her Up has a GIRL’S movement as well and hosted it the following day to celebrate young ladies who have found a way to still thrive and persevere through this challenging year. We couldn’t be more proud of Suburban Balance Girls, walker said. It’s so important that they learn early the importance of supporting and lifting one another up.
Six girls were honored as the 2020 Lift Her Up Girls Honorees: Gabrielle James, Skyelar Anderson, Tamia Schiele, Sierra Johnson, Sanai Kintchen and Navi (Lift Her Up dancer).
Speakers and panelists for both included past honorees and the keynote speech for the women’s event was delivered by KSHB Action 41 News Anchor, Dia Wall. The GIRL’S keynote speech was given by Fox 4 news reporter, Jessica Eley who delivered an empowering message on perseverance and she was joined by pro volleyball player, Lexi Hart, a Truman High School graduate who studied at Minnesota University where she was a four time all American volleyball player who’s now heading to Germany to play. She gave great tips and advice to all the girls. “Our hope is that whoever comes across our virtual event they’ll feel just as lifted as we all felt,” said Walker.
Suburban Balance has been around for eight years. It’s mission is to provide educational and cultural opportunities to suburban kids of color to help them live a well-balanced life while growing up in their suburban communities or attend schools that lack diversity.
Walker said she’s honored to be at the helm of such an incredible organization with so many remarkable families involved who continue to stay engaged through this pandemic. She is thrilled that her vision of a family organization has come to past. It was always her goal for everyone in the family to benefit from the events and opportunities Suburban Balance offers. The organization has grown by 60 new families this year already which is amazing considering we’re in a pandemic she added.
“This is what SB is all about, uplifting and supporting families in the community because at the end of the day I believe we are all here to help uplift one another.” Walker said.