Celebrating The Empowered Woman

An evening of connection, support and transformation.

The Black Dress is an empowerment movement for women over 50. Put on your black dress, grab your girlfriends and be our guest!

In two hours, the atmosphere will be filled with fun, laughter and stimulating conversations. Through networking, imagine meeting someone who could have the next needed resource, meeting a community connector or someone who will inspire you to move beyond.

This year we will feature Domestic Violence Awareness as our cause, and we will celebrate powerful women in our community with the Black Diamond Awards.

Benefitting the Janice Faye Memorial Empowerment Fund, in support of women who have been victims of domestic violence and trauma.

November 10th
Friday @ 7:00 pm
Grand Rapids

Registration is FREE, but join us as a VIP and enjoy a VIP reception with refreshments and hors d’oeuvres.

The Program

Afriyie Gray

Dr. Afriyie Gray, a compassionate and dedicated doctor of osteopathic medicine, is more than just a medical professional—she is an author, artist and public speaker, embodying a passion for healing and uplifting the elderly population. Based in Michigan, Dr. Gray’s philosophy of care centers on ensuring that her patients fully comprehend their conditions, empowering them to make informed decisions about their health journey.

Vanessa Greene

Vanessa Greene is a leader and strategist specializing in racial and health equity. Vanessa has
a 30+ year track record of getting things done while maintaining her commitment to social
justice and equity. In her current role as CEO of Grand Rapids African American Health
Institute, Vanessa approaches health equity from a data-driven, systems-level lens and leads
with quality, purpose, impact, and integrity. She works with the community, physicians, health
care systems, lawmakers, insurance providers, educators, and businesses to advocate for
resources and opportunities to support the needs, well-being, and quality of life of others.

Monica Sparks

Monica Sparks is noted as one of the 50 Most Influential women in the West Michigan region. Monica is a mother, and cancer survivor. As a Rotarian and Servant Leader, Monica is a Kent County Commissioner, elected to govern a third term alongside 20 other County Commissioners with a constituency of 642,000 people, and a budget of 455 million dollars. Her focus is on providing a quality of life for everyone, especially Children, Seniors, Veterans, and those with Unique Abilities or Individuals living with mental health issues.

Henrietta Hadley

Henrietta Hadley Muskegon native and founder & CEO of Infinite Solutions Consulting Group provides leadership and business services to women and veteran-owned businesses across the country.

She has over 30 years of experience in Executive management, post-secondary education, and program development for non-profit organizations and community foundations.

She has been recognized with leadership and women-related advocacy awards From organizations across the country for her commitment and dedication to underserved communities and individuals impacted by Domestic Violence.

Lorraine Elaine Abney

Lady Lorraine Abney was born and educated in Detroit, Michigan where she graduated High School at age 16. She attended Wayne State University where she studied Business and Accounting. She acquired her Religious Education at Greater Bethlehem Temple Church and Bethel Apostolic Church both in Detroit, Michigan.

Lashae Simmons II

Lashae Simmons is a well-versed Financial Planner fighting to end entrepreneurial poverty and create shared prosperity in Muskegon County and surrounding areas. Lashae has become an asset to business owners and clients seeking opportunities for capital, exposure, and sustainability.

Simmons Founded Black Wall Street Muskegon. A organization dedicated to eliminating the racial wealth gap in Muskegon and surrounding areas by increasing the number and success rate of Black Owned businesses. Simmons’ approach focuses on the creation of an incubator that provides brand growth, economic stability, and an Increased life span of the African American dollar within the African American community, Through entrepreneurship technical training, high exposure events, affordable marketing, and an interactive social networking space. Lashae is also the CEO of Lush Estates. A short-term rental company, located in downtown Muskegon.

With Gratitude to our Sponsors

Derrick Collins

A Spot Light on our Vendors

Save the Dates

Join us in 2024 as we kick off a year of exciting and transformative programming and events.

January 13, 2024 

Friends in the Community with Benefits

  • Health and Financial Wellbeing

March 22 – 23, 2024 

Women’s Conference

  • Empowering & Connecting Women over 50

July 26-28, 2024 

Watercolors 7

  • The Ultimate Summer Experience

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