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2023 MIWVE Veterans – Family & Friends Empowerment Conference – Kentwood, MI

November 11, 2023 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm EST

2023 MIWVE Veterans - Family & Friends Empowerment Conference

The Public is Welcome to Celebrate Veteran’s Day at the 5th Annual Michigan Women Veterans Empowerment – Veterans – Family & Friends Conference – Saturday, November 11, 2023 from 12:00 – 4:00 pm at Heroes Corner 4809 Eastern Ave S.E. Kentwood, MI 49508

Free Entry – Food – Vendors – Networking – Fun – 50/50 Raffle – Public Officials – Community Leaders – Music – Veteran Gifts.

The fearless woman veteran leader – 2023 Women that Shape the State Awardee – Host. Sgt. Stephanie J. Shannon has designed this Strategic – Transformational – Enrichment conference to bring the community in West Michigan together to build a vibrant and diverse community where veterans, family, and friends are focused on healing, uniting, and supporting our Nation’s Heroes.

The new Heroes Corner location has a 235-person capacity, a licensed kitchen, a special room specifically designed for the women veteran population, and much more, come check it out!

Host – (RET) Author Sgt. Stephanie J. Shannon B.S.

Is the Founder and CEO of Michigan Women Veterans Empowerment. Sgt. Stephanie J. Shannon is a former homeless service-connected disabled US Army veteran, Amazon best-selling author of the book “Battling the Storm Within”, entrepreneur, consultant, inspirational speaker, and veteran’s advocate who has over 30 years of experience combined in the fields of business, social service and social work, community development, leadership, ministry, collaborations, entrepreneurship, youth development programs, women veteran’s empowerment, event planning, and consulting.

She is the founder and CEO of a youth development non-profit organization, Stepeze Inc. since 1999 which empowers youth to become productive members of society. Sgt. Shannon is an honorably discharged disabled U.S. Army veteran who has served her county for eight years including in the 1990-1991 Desert Storm – Desert Shield Persian Gulf War I.

She earned the National Defense Service Medal – Southwest Asia Service Medal – Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Grand Valley State University and has served in the community as a woman veteran trailblazer. Sgt. Shannon has authored a 2nd book “Our Voices United” Women Veterans Anthology book as well.

Sgt. Shannon is a motivational speaker, and veteran’s advocate and is a licensed and ordained Pastor since 2007 in the Christian faith that oversees and operates the Battling the Storm Within Ministries. Sgt. Shannon has been a keynote speaker on various platforms, featured in many articles and publications, and on many National & Local TV and Radio Media Outlets, including on the front cover page and the full article in the Women2Women Michigan Magazine, Comcast Newsmakers on Demand and the VA Make the Connection and more. She is an MLive 2023 Women that Shape the State Awardee and a great trailblazing community servant leader indeed.

Our Mistress of Ceremonies is the beautiful and eloquent Deborah Harden – M.B.A. is happily retired from the State of Michigan, dedicated for over 30 years, Deborah held several positions during her employment with the State of Michigan, she’s an active board member of H.I.P.S. Helping Important People Succeed and a committee member, The community to Honor Cesar E.Ch’avez, she earned her Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Cornerstone University.

Keynote Speaker – Dr. Stephen Dallas, M.D. M.A.

Is an internal medicine specialist in Kalamazoo, MI, who has over 27 years of experience in the medical field. He graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine Surgery in 1995. He then completed his Internship and Residency training at Michigan State University/Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies. After one and a half years as an employed physician at South Haven Community Hospital, he opened his private practice, Opus Internal Medicine. “I always knew that I would take the risk and own my practice.” Once I grasped the operational concepts and identified smart people to help me, it was full speed ahead.

In addition to Board Certification in Internal Medicine, he is a Certified Hospice Medical Director and a Certified Medical Director in Post Acute and Long-term Care Medicine. He is an active member of the medical staff at Bronson Methodist Hospital, Borgess Medical Center, and South Haven Community Hospital. Dr. Dallas belongs to several professional organizations and is affiliated with medical facilities such as Ascension Borgess Hospital and Bronson Methodist Hospital.

Dr. Stephen Dallas is the Founder and Owner of Opus Internal Medicine which provides general, internal medical care to adults. However, Dr. Dallas and his team have special interests in the medical issues related to Diabetes, Hypertension, and other cardiovascular diseases. Additional areas of interest are bone health, post-cancer care, and some gender-specific health concerns. We collaborate closely with the specialist community and the hospitals to achieve the best outcomes.

He is a physician with training and knowledge in Internal Medicine, who uses traditional approaches to help patients manage their medical problems. His primary focus, however, is the use of plant-based whole foods as nutrition, to repair damaged genes, and to prevent, reverse, and reduce medical diseases including, heart disease, cancers, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, erectile dysfunction, constipation, and inflammatory disorders.

Keynote Speaker – Michele Leno, Ph.D., LP – Licensed Psychologist

Dr. Leno is a native of Detroit and a licensed psychologist in the state of Michigan. She completed her undergraduate studies at Marygrove College and later attended the Michigan School of Professional Psychology and obtained her M.A. in clinical psychology. She completed her doctoral degree at Saybrook University in California. Dr. Leno is the owner of DML Psychological Services, PLLC, and her company provides consulting services throughout Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne Counties. She is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and Psychology Today. Dr. Leno serves on the board of directors of National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). She has offered her expertise to several media outlets including WXYZ Detroit and The National Psychologist. She is currently the host of the TV talk show, Mind Matters with Dr. Michele, which is in its third season.

Dr. Leno has several years of experience providing psychological evaluations, therapy, coaching, and consulting services to individuals and organizations. She has worked with clients of all ages and backgrounds, including children, adolescents, adults, athletes, and various professionals. Dr. Leno offers a special intensive therapy and coaching session to busy professionals. Some of her interests include performance anxiety and the effects of social media on mental health.

Dr. Leno helps others get unstuck, transition, and cope with chronic and situational stressors. Her treatment is based on some guiding principles: first, she maintains that many physical symptoms and somatic complaints stem from poor mental health and coping; second, others often remain in positions with which they are unhappy due to fears and anxiety about change. She encourages others to recognize their own self-imposed obstacles. Dr. Leno believes that by improving your mental health, you improve your life.

Keynote Speaker- Autumn Hartpence is the Founder and President of Busy Mama Wellness LLC.

She’s an honorably discharged woman veteran Staff Sergeant, who served in the United States Air Force for 14 years earned green belt training, and continues to serve in the community as a veteran’s advocate chapter leader. She’s a busy single mama and for over 20 years she has coached people in fitness, business, transitioning, finance, and more.

She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Capella University and has earned her M.B.A. from Davenport University, her B.S. – from Kaplan University, and her Associate’s Degree in Occupational from Science Heritage College. She is also a Michigan Life and Health Insurance License agent, a Financial Coach, and a Transformational Life Coach and is skilled in teaching, public speaking, research, training, and development.

She’s passionate about causes that support children, civil rights and social action, education and environment, health and human rights, science and technology, social services, arts, and culture. Her proudest accomplishment is being a mother, she has learned how to balance work and life along with finding purpose in serving others. Through Busy Mama Wellness, Autumn helps you to become the best version of yourself while doing what mamas do.

Keynote Speaker – Reginald Howard – Founder/Executive Director of Heroes Corner

He is an Honorably Discharged Navy Veteran with 11 years of service who served on board USS Kalamazoo from 1980 – 1984 and was selected as Sailor of the Year and served as a correction officer on the military bases of the US Navy Brig Great Lakes, USS Texas, and NAS Alameda. Reginald Howard has been an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2008 and is currently serving as a peer support specialist in the homeless veteran program.

Reginald’s dream was to open a community-based clean and sober drop-in center because he struggled with addictions and saw the need for this type of facility. He has been clean and sober since 2007 and gives God all the glory for the change in his life. He Founded the Heroes Corner in 2022 and his passion is to continue to help other veterans who fall in between the cracks and need support beyond what is currently offered. Reginald is happily married and is a proud father of a son and a daughter.

“Sunny” Songstress/Entertainer

Sunny born Shaunna Dior Richardson is a Grand Rapids, Michigan Native. The offspring of singer/songwriter and prolific pianist Daniel Richardson. She was raised in a family of musicians for nearly a decade Sunny was a background vocalist in the professional gospel group Imani Singers of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition, she sang in the local church choirs and on various worship teams until stepping out to do solo music in 2021.

Since then, she gets regular bookings for miscellaneous events, including community events, local talent shows, and special events. Sunny considers her style R&B, her voice reminiscent of soulful R&B jazz and R&B vibes. Under the growing umbrella of karaoke services, Sunny provides karaoke services, she has compiled her academic studies, entrepreneurial endeavors, passion for music, and professional work history in hopes of inspiring and empowering others. Sunny sings with her soul and aims to inspire others and leaves them feeling confident and courageous.




Hero’s Corner Grand Rapids
4809 Eastern Ave SE
Kentwood,, MI 49508 United States
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