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The Year of the Woman

Meet Our 2019 Wonder Women


Cherie A. Elder, L.E.

Licensed Esthetician and Owner

Certified PCA Skin Professional

Certified in Multicultural Skin Treatments

Cherie Elder is an up-and-coming skin care expert in the Washington Metropolitan area; she currently holds licenses to practice esthetics in both D.C. and Maryland. After her graduation from the renowned Aveda Institute, she continued expanding her education and has earned certifications in a variety of advanced skin care treatments. Realizing the lack of knowledge of how to treat and care for skin of color, she obtained a certification in Multicultural Skin Treatments, under celebrity esthetician and Obama White House Esthetician, JoElle Lee. Cherie continues to consistently take continuing education courses to ensure her clients receive the most cutting-edge treatments.

As someone with dry skin who has experienced acne and discoloration herself, Cherie understands that no two combinations of skin type and condition(s) are the same, and that each should be addressed individually. Through the case-by-case customization of protocols, she infuses a variety of modalities and therapies into her treatments, and works progressively with each client to achieve their greatest skin health.

Beyond her skin care expertise, Cherie believes that her ability to connect with and understand the underlying needs of her clients makes her one of their greatest assets and provides a solid foundation for long-lasting provider/client relationships.

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Canal Brown

Founder and President 

The Girl Friends Network 

Canal Brown started “The Girlfriends Network”, a platform that fosters connections with women of color in an effort to build and empower communities.  Canal started this platform because she felt there was a need for a place where women can connect with like-minded women, share their stories, and empower one another.  


The Girlfriends Network will be hosting a series of events geared towards entrepreneurship, financial planning, health and wellness, and much more.  You can connect with The Girlfriends Network on and on Instagram at @the_girlfriends_network.

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Katrina Watts

Assistant Manager of Patient Access and

Central Financial Clearance at Medstar Washington Hospital Center


Katrina was born, raised and educated in Prince George’s County, Md. She attended Livingstone College where she majored in Social Work. She continued her studies at Gibbs College where she earned a degree in Applied Sciences.

After 7 years in the banking industry, Katrina decided to pursue a career in the medical field. She is currently an Assistant Manager of Patient Access and Central Financial Clearance at Medstar Washington Hospital Center.

In addition to working, Katrina is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan and a mother of two beautiful daughters, 12 years old TaNiya and 6 years old Zariah.  She also enjoys spending time with her daughters, playing cards, shooting pool, skating, bowling, and listening to music.

Katrina is an active member at Revival Temple Church under the pastoral leadership of Pastor Rodney L. Carter Sr.  She gladly serves as a youth leader in the Youth and Young Adult Ministry; sings in the Choir; teaches ages 9-11 Vacation Bible School, and a prayer warrior in the developing Intercessory Prayer Ministry.

Her favorite scripture is Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” This scripture reminds Katrina that she is a work in progress and that God has lit a flame that will continue to burn as long as she keeps her mind stayed on him.  She knows, trust and believes that God has a purpose and plan for her life.


Olivia Bruce

Olivia Bruce, President and Founder of Original Olivia
 Visit her website:

Olivia discovered a passion to create and draw at a young age. She joined “More Than a Conqueror” (MTC) Art Studios, where she expanded her knowledge of artistry and confidence to create. In 2009, 2010 and 2013, she was the recipient of MTC’s highest award, the Elizabeth Catlett Award, for excellence in art, academics and community service.

Olivia opened her business Original Olivia (OLIV) in 2013. Her business includes greeting cards and novelty items from its own proprietary original artwork.

Olivia’s noted accomplishments include: Creator of the Butterfly4Life Breast Cancer Logo; Illustrator of the 2011 U.S. White House Holiday Tour Guide cover and several pages; Invitee of the 2011 and 2012 U.S. White House Holiday receptions; Winner of the Washington, DC region NAACP ACT-SO Competition - Painting; Graduated with honors from Duke Ellington School of the Arts, in Washington, DC.

In 2017, Olivia graduated with honors from Marist College, NY, with a BFA, majoring in Media Production minoring in Digital Design and Studio Art. During her freshman year at Marist, she was selected to study studio art in Florence, Italy.

Today, Olivia also specializes in branding, digital design, and illustrations for collaborative efforts, as well as large and small businesses.

The goal of her business, OLIV, is to become a household name that has a universal creative appeal.

Do you have your Original Olivia?

Meet Our 2018 Wonder Women


Before the foundation of the world, you were on the mind of God. You were created by God ON purpose, WITH a purpose and FOR His purpose. You are not a mistake, mishap or a misfortune. So stop trying to be a cheap copy of someone else.

You are NOT one-in-a-million. You are the only one that ever was. When God crafted you, He broke the mold. You are a designer's original. Therefore, embrace and celebrate your uniqueness.

1. Find and memorize a new motivational quote.
2. Thank a woman who inspires you.
3. Read about women throughout history who have done some incredible things.
4. Share your own story through a creative outlet. Your story needs to be heard. Aspire to Inspire!
5. Wisdom is golden. Sit at the feet of seasoned women. Learn from their struggles and victories.
6. Look in the mirror everyday and tell yourself, "You are God's glorious gift to humanity." Every person born comes through the doors of a woman!

Michele Parker

My name is Shanelle Gorham.  I am a 31 year old wife, mother, sister, daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend. I was born in 1986 in Oberlin, Ohio but raised in DC and Prince George’s County Maryland and now reside in Delaware (so I’m close to West Philadelphia). I am a freelance Graphic and Web Designer. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Design and my Master’s degree in Accounting. Although those are 2 really big accomplishments but the 3 that I am most proud of are my children.     


I landed in Delaware in 2005 after receiving a scholarship to play for Wilmington University. During that time I met my current husband of 8 years. He is my best friend as well as my business partner. We are raising 3 small children; 2 girls and a boy, and we love to be outdoors. I am a very active mother of 3.


In 2009 I decided to go natural and cut all of my hair off. My husband and I also decided to eat better and exercise more, and since then, we have fallen in love with being and staying fit!  This year, we started with downs but now are on the up and up! We have purchased our first home and can’t wait to move in with our children to start this new journey with our family. In my busy and energetic life, I still love to laugh, smile, and make others do the same. I love to help people and feel that is why I am on this planet.


Be yourself! Do what makes you happy and makes your day. I used to get so wrapped up in making sure everyone else was good but never really thought about how I was. Being a mother really makes you care about everyone else’s needs and forget your own. I read a variety of books, bible plans (in the bible app) and blog posts about being a woman, the trials we go through, how to organize my day and priorities (making sure I am taken care of), so that I put my needs on the same pedestal as everyone else’s. When my children say someone may not like their hair/clothes, I always say, “do they pay our bills?” and if not, what others do not like does not change whether you like it or not.


Being a woman, during this time is difficult for the weak-minded. The media tells us what’s sexy, what makes a woman worth dating/marrying, that being single means you are lonely and unacceptable, and that dating a broke man means you have low standards but being with a rich man means you’re a gold digger. No matter what, we are criticized for everything we do and don’t do. One thing my grandmother told me is you are what you answer to, and my advice is don’t answer to it. Never take on an identity or label given to you by someone who isn’t you. Ignore the media, don’t try to keep up with the Kardashians, don’t watch the fake housewives fight like they are real housewives, and be productive. Become the best version of you! Eat right, exercise, read and watch things that are conducive to the lifestyle you want to live. Be the person you would love to be best friends with!

Shanelle Gorham

Entrepreneur and Website Designer

Mothers have told daughters for multiple generations, “Beauty is only skin deep”. Nearly 1,000 years before Jesus was born, Scripture taught all who would listen, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30 NIV).


Beauty that exalts the mind and spirit comes from God. We are made beautiful by Christ’s perfect love for us. Yes we all have days, we don’t feel pretty or loved. Our mirrors reveal flaws and imperfections. But scars, crow’s feet, cellulite, weight gain, baldness, wrinkles and warts do not define us.  Knowing, trusting, loving, and living for Jesus makes us beautiful.


Betty Smith

Founder and President

The Passion of Mary Ministries

Website: ThePassionofMaryMinistries


Celebrating your uniqueness begins in the heart. The word love is powerful and delicate in a way that a person can give it but do the perceiver receive it a loving way? Demonstrated passion, I believe is honorable. Single persons, married individuals, families, young adults, including teenagers lead busy lifestyles daily. Carving out time in the day to plan and increase personal growth in different areas in one’s life can become innovative and lead to something great. In such a way as growing more creative in ideas, gifts, talents, hobbies and much more carry meaning. In doing so redefines the word discover and sometimes can profoundly rediscover one’s uniqueness.


Life, in general, is precious and a gift all in itself. Adoring one another, cherishing moments through the good, bad and sometimes the ugly are moments we all must stick together to surpass on one accord to get to the next moment that is soon on the way. Trials, tribulations, and celebrations in life can appear challenging at times; however, it is in those times where growth amongst one another is at an all-time high. Preparation, Peace, and Personality all shown in a positive yet respectable manner I believe can outline one’s uniqueness outside of any busy schedule.


“Let’s Win Together”


Desma Nesmith    

Health Care Professional and Manager

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