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MI Sisters and Friends: Conversations That Count

Start Date:9/17/2020

Start Time:11:30 AM EDT

Duration:120 minutes


This live event has ended, but you may still register to receive an email with a link to view the recording.

Older African-American women are the most reliable voting bloc in Michigan. We are the heart of so many Michigan communities. On September 17, 2020, AARP Michigan hosted the event "MI Sisters and Friends: Conversations That Count" to envision a better future for all and identified the following state and federal public policy goals.

We urge policy makers and candidates for office to hear our voices.

If you're already registered for the MI Sisters and Friends: Conversations That Count webcast, click below:



Staci Alexander

Director, Thought Leadership


Staci Alexander is the Director of Thought Leadership for AARP and works to amplify AARP’s voice in key conversations around longevity, aging and equity. In her role, Staci leads the AARP Thought Leadership agenda with external stakeholders and allies. In this capacity, Staci develops and executes external engagements with both traditional and nontraditional partners to expand the conversation on the future of aging. Staci has worked as a staffer in the United States Senate, as a lobbyist for urban and rural affordable housing development, and as a grant maker.

paula cunningham

State Director


Paula Cunningham is the State Director for AARP Michigan serving 1.3 million members. Prior to AARP, she was the only African-American woman in the country to be President/CEO of a majority owned bank; first African-American woman to be president of Lansing Community College, has been inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame, and has received numerous other honors.

Dr. Lynn Richardson

Author & Financial Expert

Named by Urban Influence Magazine as one of the 20 Hottest Influencers in America, Dr. Lynn Richardson is Financial Expert and TV/Radio Personality who uses her quick wit and humorous presentation style to help others face their money issues and achieve personal, professional and spiritual harmony. During this time of quarantine, Lynn has been on the front lines doing everything she can to help provide significant and important financial information. Most recently recurring on Good Morning America and on Fox 11 - The Coronavirus Special Report with Drew Pinksky and Elex Michaelson. Known for her regular appearances on Fox Business, Fox News, The Steve TV Show, Access Hollywood Live, The Hallmark Channel's Home & Family Show, BET Networks and has appeared in Essence, Get Up Mornings with Erica Campbell, and in countless media outlets nationwide. Lynn is the President and CEO of MC Lyte's Hip Hop Sisters Foundation, and President and COO of MC Lyte's Sunni Gyrl Entertainment and Celebrity Management firm -- where she oversees empowerment programs that impact the globe. Her newest venture has her taking on the role Executive Producer alongside MC Lyte & Bentley Evans for the UMC’s sitcom, “Partners In Rhyme.”

Johnnetta Cole, PhD

Dr. Johnnetta Cole is an American anthropologist, former educator, museum director, and college president. She was the first female African-American president of Spelman College, the oldest African-American women's college in the U.S. She called herself the Sister President, went on to teach at Emory University, and later became president of Bennett College.

Edna Kane-Williams

EVP/Chief Diversity Officer


Edna Kane-Williams serves as Senior Vice President, Multicultural Markets and Engagement at AARP, focusing primarily on outreach to the African-American/Black communities throughout the country. She has over 20 years of experience in senior management positions in nonprofit and for profit organizations. Her career has had a particular focus on the needs of older adults and multicultural communities.

Regina Belle

Regina Belle is a Grammy award winning singer–songwriter and actress who has been singing since she was three years old and attributes learning her history as the beginning of Regina Belle, and has a powerful story to share.

Jacky Clark Chisholm

Jacky Clark Chisholm has numerous awards including being a three-time Grammy award winning gospel singer, author, and a member of the American gospel singing group The Clark Sisters. She is also a nurse and was an instructor for the American Red Cross.

Martha Reeves

Martha Reeves started as a secretary at Hitsville USA before becoming a household name for her vocal artistry after the release of Dancing in the Streets. She is nationally known as lead singer of Martha and the Vandellas and has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Crisette Ellis

Crisette Ellis is First Lady, and Director of the Powerful Women of Purpose (PWP) Women’s Ministry at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit. She is also a successful entrepreneur with Mary Kay cosmetics. In November of 2002, she made history by becoming Michigan’s first and youngest African-American National Sales Director in Mary Kay. She is a sought after minister of the gospel and motivational speaker and has traveled throughout the U.S.A. and abroad speaking and ministering at various churches, women’s conferences, grade schools, and universities.

Gail Perry-Mason

Gail Perry-Mason, of Detroit, MI, has come a long way, from foster care to becoming one of the most influential women in the financial industry. Her passion led her to start a Money Matters for Youth camp which got the attention of CEO, Warren Buffet who invited the young people attending the camp to his shareholders meeting.

Marilyn French Hubbard

Marilyn French Hubbard is an author and the founder of the National Association of Black Women Entrepreneurs, Inc. (NABWE), listed by the New York Times in 1995 as a top black business group for networking. She is a nationally recognized authority on marketing, entrepreneurship, leadership and women's issues.

Sandra Gaddy

Sandra Gaddy is the CEO of Women’s Resource Center, an organization which began in 1973, whose mission is to equip women to achieve purpose, fulfillment and financial stability through meaningful employment. She previously served as Vice President of Advancement for Inner City Christian Federation-ICCF, and chief communication and development officer for Mel Trotter Ministries. Prior to her nonprofit work, she spent 15 years in banking including serving as Vice President of Business Banking and Wealth Management.
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