Honoring Women Who Inspire
Jo-Carolyn Goode | 3/19/2021, 4:57 a.m.
A person can be inspired by anything from anywhere. Inspiration can fuel our actions, thoughts, feelings, and takes us on a journey toward success. The women featured in this week’s cover story inspire little ones growing up but also adults in their various fields of expertise. We can learn from their missteps and act wisely based on their accomplishments. We can get behind causes to motivate the masses due to their influence. Read their stories and see if they have inspired you.
Kathy C. Flanagan, M.D.
Inspires us to take care of ourselves
When Dr. Kathy Flanagan was a little girl, she knew she wanted to be a medical doctor. However, she didn’t know what type. That is until she saw a scripture in the Holy Bible. In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Flanagan said reading Proverbs 4:23 changed her forever.
“Be care how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”
Upon reading those words, Flanagan knew she wanted to work with those dealing with their mental health. It is a field of medicine that affects the way a person acts, feels, and thinks.
Flanagan began her pursuit to be a doctor with a specialty in psychiatry, a field that does not have many African Americans. She first started working in the industry while she was still in high school. She went on to earn her medial degree and been practicing psychiatry for over 30 years.
Mayor Sylvester Turner realized how a doctor like Flanagan could help residents in Houston He appointed her to be chair of the Medical Care Subcommittee on the Health Equity Response Task Force. Currently, she is having critical conversations surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines in a campaign called Get the Facts. Share the Facts. Stop the Rumors. Many communities of color have been hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19. Flanagan is on a team to help address people’s concerns about the various historic and cultural factors. This campaign is in support of the Houston Health Department’s “Take Your Best Shot – Prevent and Protect Against COVID-19” PSA campaign.
Flanagan is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. She has also received several gubernatorial appointments. President George W. Bush appointed her to presiding officer of the Private Sector Prison Industry Oversight Authority Board. In addition, Governor Rick Perry appointed Dr. Flanagan to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice on Offenders with Medical or Mental Impairments-Advisory Committee and to the Texas Medical Board, District One Committee. She is a member of several medical organizations.
Inspires us to always give back
As the youngest of eight, Winell Herron knows how to work with a team. She is H-E-B’s group vice president of public affairs, diversity, and environmental affairs where she interacts with consumers and H-E-B’s 116,000 employees. It is a demanding job and has kept her busy for the last 33 years. Yet, she always makes time to give back.
Serving the community is a major priority for Herron. She sits on the board and/or works with a plethora of organizations including: March of Dimes, the Houston Museum of African American Culture, the Houston Zoo, Ensemble Theater, Community Artists’ Collective, the University of Incarnate Word, Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, Texas Lyceum, MD Anderson Board of Visitors, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Houston, Links, Incorporated – Houston Chapter, Houston Area Urban League, Girl Scouts of the San Jacinto Council, the Texas NAACP Corporate Advisory Council, and the American Leadership Forum and the Medical Indigent Care in Texas Taskforce. On these boards, she works to make sure values of diversity are forefront. On these boards Herron can be a part of the solutions to make changes to make everything better for the people she serves.
Herron is a native of Texas, growing up just on the outskirts of Austin on a dairy farm. So it seems working in the food industry was her destiny. Helping her father on the farm allowed her to develop a good work ethic. She has been educated at the University of Texas at Austin, earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration; the University of Texas at San Antonio, earning her EMBA, and the University of Southern California, completing the Food Industry Management Program.
Inspires us to use our voice
Talking is Misha McClure’s game. Whether it is forming partnerships for Comcast as the Manager of External Communications, promoting her lipstick line Color Me By Chaun and Mimi, or chatting about the latest fashion trends on her blog, Mimi is a conversationalist and she loves it. Since she was in the fifth grade Mimi, as she likes to be called, has had a love to communicate.
Her current professional role with Comcast involves brand building to inform the community about the many ways that Comcast is addressing their cable needs and making things better in the community. Trained through many of Comcast’s internal programs, McClure is Comcast made and it shows. She is a graduate of the companies 2017 cohort of Comcast’s high potential development program: Developing a Leadership Mindset (DLM), and she also participated in and graduated from the Women in Cable Telecommunications Inspire Mentor Program, an intensive and selective mentorship cohort.
It is not all business for McClure when it comes to communicating. Merging her love of journalism with her sense of fashion and beauty, she has a popular blog fashionablymimi.com, YouTube channel “According to Mimi,” and lipstick line with her sister – Color Me By Chaun and Mimi.
The Louisiana native made Houston her home in 2002 and has garnered a treasure chest full of accolades, including being featured in Health and Fitness Magazine (2011) as one of Houston’s Most Beautiful Women, she received a Top 40 Under 40 Award from i10Media (2013 and 2016), she was a TWEF Women’s Leadership Empowerment Honoree (2015), and she was apart of the Inaugural 40 Under Forty cohort for the Southern University Alumni Federation National Conference where she was honored for pushing the mission of the University.
In her few moments of spare time, she volunteers in the community and enjoys family time with her husband and son.
All of this makes up Misha McClure – media professional, community advocate, and brand strategist.
Inspires us to never stop chasing our dreams
We know way too much information about each other thanks to social media. Every person has at least one social media account and it is a must-have for all in business. Plus, it is the place where Ashley Small lives.
In 2005, Small was a fresh face wanting to jump all the way into the communication field. She got her start as intern with Jones Magazine while simultaneously building her side hustle until it became her main gig. Small started her business right when social media was gaining popularity in 2007. The twenty-four-year wanted to be her own boss by launching her own pr and digital marketing agency, Medley Inc. Her mission was to marry traditional PR with the latest trends in technology. Hire Small and her team to showcase brand visibility, develop the voice of your brand, and expand those two messages across the world. She will work with anyone and any brand that wants to get their message out, especially to African America and Latino consumers. Thirteen years later Small’s business is thriving. As founder and CEO Small’s client list includes Major League Baseball, AT&T, The City of Houston, The Rose Houston, MOCAH (Museum of Cultural Arts Houston), Belle Epique Salon and Makeup Bar, Melodrama Boutique, Houston-based publishing house, AddisonCraft, and pop-soul artist Deandre Wright.
She believes her success is attributed to the hard work she has put and the advice of mentors. Small thinks everyone needs a coach or mentor because they always have information that can help you. One of the greatest regrets is that she didn’t ask help earlier in her career. Small also credits her curiosity for wanting to know more about her industry, so she is constantly on the web reading blogs, learning new tools, and best practices.
Her best advice for budding entrepreneurs as said in a previous interview is to find the right balance that merges all of your talents with your business.
Ashley P. Turner
Inspires us to love ourselves
Her life went from private citizen to public figure when her father became the 62nd mayor for the city of Houston. As Houston’s First Daughter, Turner fulfills many roles traditional done by the spouse of the mayor. She has given many speeches, received awards, attended community functions, and performed numerous hours of community service. A constant professional and joy to be around, it is as if Turner has been preparing for this role her entire life.
Being in the spotlight like Turner requires that you are always “on” meaning your hair is impeccable, your attire is eye drooling, your accessories sparkle, and everything about you is well-put together. This can be a struggle but Turner makes it look effortless. Brighter than anything that she can put on is her smile. It is a woman’s best accessory and I might also add so is confidence.
Looking at Turner and you can tell she exudes self-love and self-confidence. She is a big proponent of women having a positive self-image of themselves. Just reading some of her posts ought to make women feel loved. On one post Turner writes about how she is striving to be the kind of woman that can look at herself in the mirror, see all of her flaws and failures, and still say I love myself. This is how Turner inspires the women of Houston by not allowing anyone still the shine she has created.
Currently, the newly engaged Turner is the Executive Director of Community Relations at Lone Star College. It is a job that she loves because it allows her to be out in the community engaging students and families. Helping people is embedded in Turner’s DNA. Growing Turner she can recall countless times when she would lend her services, and she hasn’t stopped now.
Inspiring us to eat a healthier
Sunnyside is an area in Houston that has been named the #1 most dangerous community in Texas and the 6th most dangerous in America. It was not dangerous because of drugs or crime but because the area was a food desert. Living in an area where there is a lack of resources and access to fresh produce made the neighborhood even more dangerous to residence’s health. Instead of eating fruits and vegetables, people opt to eat food high in calories with little nutritional value.
Ivy Walls is a resident of that community. Daily she saw how her neighbors craved fresh produce in their diet. Desperate to help her neighbors have healthier food options, she created Green Houwse, a mobile nursery and grocery store to get the produce in the hands of her neighbors. Walls started Ivy Leaf Farms shortly thereafter. The budding farmer started small at first sharing the fruits of her labor with her community. Word quickly spread throughout the community and Walls had herself a business.
The creative community farm is a space for the growth of sustainable healthy foods to end food scarcity in the area. In doing so, Walls also created ways for residents to have opportunities to grow, develop and have healthy and sustainable food sources.
Walls calls herself a budding farmer, community entrepreneur, and creative visionary. She might want to add serial entrepreneur. Several other businesses sprouted from the establishment of Ivy Leaf Farms. According to her Facebook page, Walls also owns Ivy Leaf Outdoors, a practical, fashionable, outdoors brand that has functionality from the farm to the city. She also owns Ivy Leaf Seed Co. This company is dedicated to produce Non-GMO organic seeds. Lastly, Black Farmer Box is a partnership with her farm and with Fresh Life Organic to create a sustainable, equitable, and affordable food system from farmers to food desert communities.
Walls calls herself a budding farmer, community entrepreneur, and creative visionary.
However, a better description of her is that she is a change agent. She is a woman of action. People like Walls are those who see a problem and act to find the solution. The problem before Walls’s eye was a lack of fresh fruits and vegetables for the residents of her community, and she knew how to change the situation by developing Ivy Leaf Farms.
Becoming a farmer was not what Walls expected to be; however, it has become something she loves to do. The Prairie View A&M University graduate majored in biology and minored in chemistry. Her first job after graduating was working at the CDC as infection preventionist. It was kind of ironic that Walls held that position since she developed her farm last year in the midst of a global pandemic.
Today her neighbors are living healthier with better diet thanks to a lady with a vision. Ivy Walls is a neighborhood hero.