The Women SEEN 2019 speakers are forward-thinking innovators who are making Metro Detroit and the world a better place. Read their bios and buy your tickets for the conference before they sell out.
By Amy Gill
I’m thrilled to present the speakers at Women SEEN 2019, our annual conference dedicated to inspiring, empowering and connecting incredible women in Metro Detroit.
As a woman, mom, wife, business owner, professional and friend, it is more apparent to me than ever that we need opportunities to connect with others like us. To hear the stories of others experiencing similar challenges and celebrate one another’s failures and successes. To get excited about opportunities, to feel so inspired you want to jump out of your seat, and to feel seen and heard in a way that doesn’t always happen in our everyday lives.
These women have stories to share that will do all of that. Take some time to read about who they are and what they do below, and don’t miss your chance to meet them at Women SEEN 2019 on Friday, May 10.
Keynote Speaker: Jody Levy Co-founder + Creative Director of WTRMLN WTR
Jody Levy is the co-founder and creative director of WTRMLN WTR, a company and brand committed to redefining how and what we drink to nourish our bodies and sustain our ecosystem. WTRMLN WTR (watermelon water) was created to solve for the hundreds of millions of pounds of unused watermelons in the United States. These waste melons are either ugly, misshapen, sunburned but otherwise perfect to press nutrient-dense, hydrating WTRMLN WTR. Jody Levy is also a director and executive producer and has been in the world of experience design since 2001. Jody has been creating unique events, interactive environments, brands, products and multi-sensory installations that connect people in engaging ways. Her work includes the design and production of live theatrical events, touring stages, hospitality environments, interactive installations and immersive brand activations. Clients include American Idol, Chrysler, The Coachella Music Festival, Ford Motor Company and MAC Cosmetics, among many more. Jody is from the Detroit area and now lives in New York City and Denver, Colorado.
Shannon Washburn: President of Shinola
Shannon Washburn is the president of Shinola, where she leads a talented team of people who are dedicated to quality craftsmanship. She oversees product development, design, creative direction and marketing for the brand. Prior to becoming president in early 2018, Shannon spent six years working with the watch and jewelry product development and design teams. Shannon has garnered experience in various aspects of business over the course of her career from retail to product development to sales and international brand management. Prior to Shinola, Shannon was a buyer for Dillard’s before moving to Fossil where she stayed for 14 years. When she’s not working, Shannon enjoys documentary films, searching for the best Spanish coffee in Metro Detroit and spending time with her family and friends.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha: Director of Pediatric Residencies at Hurley Medical Center
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is known for discovering dangerous levels of lead found in Flint children during the Flint water crisis. A Michigan native, Dr. Hanna-Attisha grew up in Royal Oak and first fell in love with pediatrics while on the Flint Campus during her clinical years as a medical student at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. In addition to educating the next generation of physicians, Dr. Hanna-Attisha now directs the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Public Health Initiative, an innovative and model public health program to research, monitor and mitigate the impact of lead in Flint’s drinking water. She and has been awarded the Freedom of Expression Courage Award by PEN America and named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Gwen Jimmere: CEO + Founder of Naturalicious
As CEO and founder of Naturalicious, Gwen Jimmere has cemented her place in history as the first African-American woman to hold a patent for a natural hair care product. Naturalicious products can be found in over 1,200 Sally Beauty Supply locations, as well as numerous other retailers around the globe. Before starting Naturalicious, she served as the Global Digital Marketing Director at Ford Motor Company, overseeing the Fortune 10 automaker’s digital marketing strategy. Her successful career in advertising led her to work with a stellar roster of clients such as The Home Depot, Marriott Hotels and the U.S. Marines. A respected authority in the hair care industry, she has been cited as the country’s foremost expert on textured hair has been featured on the Harry Connick Jr Show, Fox News, TVOne, and in Entrepreneur, Essence, Fast Company, and The Washington Post. Based in Detroit, when she’s not strategizing her next business move, you can find her spending time with her 8-year-old son Caiden, Naturalicious’ CCC (Chief Candy Curator).
Ali Rose VanOverbeke: Co-founder of Genusee
Ali Rose VanOverbeke is a co-founder of Genusee – the first circular economy eyewear brand that designs and manufactures eyewear in Flint from upcycled plastic water bottles. Genusee is bringing a new manufacturing legacy to Flint by employing and empowering returning citizens as artisans to make glasses. Fifteen plastic water bottles are diverted from landfill and upcycled with every purchase. Genusee successfully launched through a Kickstarter campaign in May 2018 and has since been featured by ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, Vogue, Elle, Bustle, Refinery29, NYTimes: T-Magazine, among others. Ali is a passionate Detroit native and a graduate of Parsons School of Design. She has experience ranging from design, styling, brand development, social and marketing strategy, merchandising, and retail strategy. Previously she has worked with Lane Bryant, Joe Fresh, Nordstrom, Elle Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Revlon, and Sally Hansen. She has engaged local communities through art and textile collaborations, working with Living Arts Center in Detroit and My Choices Foundation in India. Ali believes in using fashion and design to advocate for social and environmental justice. Ali has spoken on panels discussing sustainability, fashion, culture, and circular economies at the United Nations, CFDA Education Summit, Polimoda, and Shinola.
Blessing Adesiyan: Founder of Mother Honestly
Blessing Adesiyan is the CEO and powerhouse behind the online platform and offline conference for modern mothers, Mother Honestly. She is also a Supply Chain Sales and Operational Planning Leader at BASF, the world’s largest Chemical company. In 2018, She introduced Mother Honestly to create an ecosystem and infrastructure that inspires, guides and empowers mothers to lead a healthy, fulfilled and productive life in motherhood. Mother Honestly has sparked conversations around the topics that the modern woman cares about such as flexibility at work, how to return to work with confidence and resilience, redefining success and ambition and how to raise money while raising babies. After 30+ sold-out events, Mother Honestly’s flagship conference, Mother: The Summit has become one of the fastest growing conferences for millennial mothers in the country. Blessing is also the host of the Mother Honestly Podcast that features powerhouse women globally on how they are approaching their ambitions and lives in motherhood. A mother of two, Blessing asks meaningful and thoughtful questions that provides clarity on the everyday challenges and barriers women face in the workplace and at home.