Inspirational Women

Who am I?

Words by Jessica Devenyns & Sommer Brugal Photos by Eric Morales & Ashley Haguewood

What is femininity? What is womanhood? What does it mean to be a woman on an individual level? With the politics of sexuality gaining an ever-growing share of the media’s attention, it’s hard to escape the cyclical reiteration of these weighted questions. However, politics aside, no one will argue that being a woman is a complicated narrative. Even asking these questions of your close confidants will yield an array of answers as colorful as the women who offer them.

Colette Burnette

Huston-Tillotson University

President Burnette excuses herself as knotted oak doors to the Huston-Tillotson presidential office grind open, and we find her having her face done by one of her interns. “I don’t wear makeup; I’m just a natural girl. But in my position as president, I must be a different person,” she explains. For a woman whose office is under the eaves of a building that is fondly referred to as the White House, this admission seems out of place.

However, being a “natural” has taken Dr. Burnette far in her career. Originally an engineer at Proctor & Gamble, after a move to Georgia, a confrontation with post-Civil Rights southern culture, and a visit to Martin Luther King’s alma mater, Morehouse College, Dr. Burnette found that her nature was nudging her to switch into higher education. {Read more…}

Amina Haji

Karisha Community

For Amina Haji, a healthy life is a simple one. “It’s about learning to be in this world without being affected by it.”

With her mantra established and a mission to “bring commonsense to healthcare,” Dr. Haji began her work on the Karisha Community, which is slated to open at the end of 2018. As she meditated over a steaming cup of fresh chai, Dr. Haji contemplated how she encapsulates the idea of commonsense healthcare in the Karisha Community. After a moment of introspection, the doctor’s eyes lit up as she explains the concept: “It’s transforming the idea of healthcare and shifting from sick care to healthcare and ending the economic segregation of healthcare.” {Read more…}

April Morales

Mother & Health Coach

April Morales always knew she wanted to spend her life investing in people, investing in their souls. And while she thought she’d do that through her role as a special education teacher, she instead found another path to stay true to her desires. As a full-time mother, she invests in her four young sons.

“I think I always knew I wanted to be the main caregiver to my children,” recounts Morales. “I believe their souls are eternal, and when I think about my day, I want to know that I squeezed every ounce of myself into my kids,” she says unapologetically. {Read more…}

Delores Duffie

Community Leader

“I’ve been in this house for fifty-one years,” states Delores Duffie. While an impressive claim on the surface, the accomplishment of her tenure in her Cherrywood home is magnified when compared to her list of community posts over the years: community activist, chair of Precinct 127, president of the Maplewood Elementary PTA, and a stint in the county attorney’s office. In east Austin, if there were people who needed a voice, Mrs. Duffie was there. {Read more…}

Jessica Honegger

Noonday Collection

Jessica Honegger is a dreamer, or as she likes to call it: a “futurist.” She says that when you work among the poor, that sort of mentality is necessary, because she has to be able to see hope, opportunity, and what lives could be.

Honegger is the founder and CEO of Noonday Collection, a fair trade fashion brand founded in Austin. And while the brand is fashion-forward, its purpose extends far beyond accessories. “We’re a fashion brand,” states Honegger, “but we’re also helping open people’s eyes to the world through something so approachable like jewelry.” {Read more…}

Melissa Nicholson

Work Muse

Melissa Nicholson is the founder of the job sharing firm, Work Muse. With a decade of job sharing experience behind her, Nicholson is working to educate and empower employers and employees to embrace the benefits of job sharing, a partnership between two people who, together, tackle the role of one full-time position. {Read more…}

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