Tag Archives: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Spotlight On: Michelle Fenty

Michelle Fenty

“I grew up with Margaret Thatcher, so for me it’s nothing new. I know a woman can run a country,” – Michelle Fenty

She’s stylish, accomplished and a force to be reckoned with. Meet Washington, D.C.’s other “First Lady”, Michelle Fenty, wife of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.

Born and raised just outside of London, Michelle is one of three daughters. Her parents, who are of Jamaican descent, did not move to the United States until Michelle was 18 years old. The move was prompted by the Michelle’s parents wanting to be closer their parents who had moved to New York City. It was perhaps her move to the big apple that sparked her career aspirations. “I grew up wanting to be a teacher. Part of that was not being exposed to female lawyers and doctors. It wasn’t until I was much older that I decided on the law.” Michelle chose Howard Law School in 1994 as the place to begin honing the intellectual capital that she still relies on to this day. It was at Howard Law School that she met her future husband who coincidentally asked her to be his mentor. “I was a couple years ahead of him, a third year preparing to get out when he was coming in.” Not surprisingly, Adrian Fenty had a crush on his new mentor and it wasn’t long before they began dating long distance after Michelle graduated and moved back to New York. As the saying goes, the rest is history, as the couple eventually wed and currently are the parents to twin 9-year-old boys and an 11 month-old daughter.

If you were to research Michelle online, you would likely not find too many personal details about her life, but what you will find are the kind of accomplishments and noteworthy community involvement that would make any woman proud to read about. Michelle is still a practicing attorney, specializing in the intricate field of global technology. When asked about her choice to continue her career, Michelle had this to say, “I have spent a lot of years studying to be an attorney, and I felt it was important for me to continue to work and contribute,” she says, “Not just to my household, but to my personal fulfillment as well.” As if being a mother to three young children and the wife of a politician weren’t enough to contend with, Michelle has also taken on some major charitable efforts including servings as president of the advisory board for the Capital Breast Cancer Center and previous involvement supporting the Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington. Michelle does all of this while at the same time maintaining a sophisticated style that got her recognized by The Washingtonian.

It’s hard not to draw the parallels between Michelle Fenty and First Lady Michelle Obama. Oh to be a fly on the wall when these two powerhouse women take time out to support each other’s charitable events as they have done on several occasions in the past. Michelle Fenty is a career woman, a mother, a wife in the spotlight and a community leader. When asked about how she handles it all, her response was simply, “I basically approach each day knowing that I may not accomplish the goals I set out to do in the morning, but I’m OK with that because, at the end of the day, I am trying to achieve so many things.”

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Spotlight On: René Syler

René Syler

René Syler

“I didn’t know that’s how strong I was.” René Syler
René Syler, journalist and former host of the CBS Early Show, is undoubtedly a courageous woman who has made some very difficult decisions in life. It is clear that many of her decisions have been shaped by her parents’ experiences and influences.

René was born in Illinois at Scott Air Force Base to a French Canadian and Native American mother, Anne, and an African-American and Irish father, Bill. Anne Syler had been in the Air Force and left the military when she wed Bill. She earned her college degree and subsequently became a teacher, however, after separating from Bill at the age of 48 she returned back to the Air Force, realizing that she could not depend on her then husband’s retirement.
When René was 10 years old, her father received shocking news. He was diagnosed with breast cancer. Years later, in 1997, her mother was also diagnosed. These two cases alarmed Rene’s doctors. After numerous biopsies, mammograms and an “atypical ductal hyperplasia” diagnosis (what many consider to be the stage right before cancer), Rene decided to have a radical procedure in 2007: a double mastectomy. This brave decision could have easily been the difference between life and death.

Though this was monumental in her life, it could not have come at a more difficult time. She had just been let go from the Early Show. In April of 2007 she told WGN, “I had my own breast disease diagnosed in 2003, hyperplasia atypia which is widely seen as a stage right before breast cancer. And after 4 biopsies in 4 years, it just was too much.” She continues that, “all of this was happening as I got fired from my job on the Early Show at CBS and was having my breast removed.”
After graduating from California State University, Sacramento with a psychology degree in 1987, she began her career in broadcast news, proving her journalistic prowess through reporter and anchor roles in Reno, Birmingham and Dallas. In 2002 she became known nationally as the co-host of The Early Show on CBS, and the first black female national morning show anchor.
Though being fired from the Early Show must have been difficult, it did not break Syler’s ambition. In 2007 she published Good-Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting describing how “good enough” is the new “perfect” when it comes to parenting. She also has a blog and online community where she openly talks about the realities of parenting her two children. Additionally, she has been active in the fight against breast cancer for years, even before her mastectomy, since both of her parents were breast cancer survivors. She is in her second year as a Susan G. Komen for the Cure Ambassador.

René Syler is clearly living her purpose through her work, advocacy and inspirational story. René, her husband and their two children reside in New York. Learn more about her story and view photos of her family here.

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Buy to Benefit Breast Cancer Research

Breast Cancer Awareness MonthOne great way to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month is to purchase items whose proceeds go towards the cause. Here are several fabulous items you can buy to support. Depending on the retailers, at least 10% will go towards breast cancer research and causes.

1. BCRF Leather Brooke, Coach
2. Give Hope Jeans, White House|Black Market
3. All Pink Dresses, eDressMe (including this Badgley Mischka)
4. Villa Jewelry Hold, Tumi
5. Boo Flat in Raspberry Suede, Elaine Turner
6. Shower for the Cure, Philosophy
7. Deluxe Hand-dipped Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Red Envelope


Filed under Good Deeds, Shopping, style

Your Breast Cancer Awareness Resource Guide

Pink RibbonSince breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in American women and is deadlier in black women, each of us probably knows someone who has been stricken with it. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to give you some resources to build your awareness of prevention and detection of this deadly disease.

  • Did you know? You may be at higher risk for breast cancer if you:
    • Have a family history of breast cancer
    • Are obese
    • Are childless or who gave birth after age 30
    • Had your first period at an unusually young age

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