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Recognizing women making a difference in Kansas City

Posted at 7:39 PM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-31 16:47:56-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — March is Women's History Month, so KSHB 41 asked viewers to nominate women in their lives who are making a difference in the Kansas City community.

Here are a few of the many nominations we received highlighting women doing the most to provide healing and promote hope.

Beverly Brewington

Nominated by Harris Deutsch

"Bev has a passion for helping people in the local Cass County area as well as the greater Kansas City area. She is hands-on in both trauma training and hands-on feeding and seeing [that] those in need get what they need from socks [to] toiletries. She also holds trauma workshops around the area. I first met Beverly at a local gym. She is a people person indeed."

Kharissa Forte


Nominated by Lauren Conaway

"Kharissa is a health and wellness advocate through her company Grace & Grind, focusing on Black women. She is so kind, smart and her heart is huge! Plus, she's a lot of fun!"

Michelle Graff


Nominated by Amy Sielaff

"Michelle's embraced her entrepreneurial spirit and cemented her role in local KC influence by creating her own company Cultivating Human Resiliency. Michelle trains and consults all over the state of MO for state departments and local nonprofits as well as some national work related to compassion, resilience and organizational development. She hosts interactive training for helping professionals and wrote her own research-backed book and corresponding workbook 'The Compassion Fatigued Organization.' Michelle has embraced all opportunities to help lift others up and promote compassionate connective care."

Megan Gustafson


Nominated by Roger Gustafson

"Megan Gustafson, my daughter-in-law and mother of two, is a nurse practitioner at Children's Mercy Hospital Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in Kansas City. In addition, she's a board member at Mosaic, a nationwide organization devoted to empowering persons with intellectual disabilities."

Caroline Hammond


Nominated by Lauren Conaway

"Caroline does incredible work through her nonprofit Safe In Harm's Way and through her consulting work with Epizon Strategies. She helps connect domestic abuse survivors with resources and assistance and has impacted countless lives!"

Nadia Igram


Nominated by Lauren Conaway

"Nadia is both a family law attorney and a birth doula. Through her work with Divas and Doulas, she provides maternity education and support! She's an incredible, thoughtful human being with a focus on equity and accessibility for all people in our community!"

Jessica McCallop McClellan


Nominated by Lauren Conaway

"Jessica works so hard to end period poverty, support cancer patients, help domestic abuse survivors and provide scholarships through her organization Giving Hope & Help! It seems like she is Superwoman — she does it all!"

RELATED: KC groups send period products to women fleeing Ukraine

Marena Mitchell

Nominated by Taryn Wright

"Marena Mitchell is the kindest, most uplifting woman you will ever meet. She is full of positive energy and encouragement. She has devoted her adult life to providing speech services to children with extra needs. In her professional career, she not only gives herself 100% to the kids who need her most, but she's always there with a hug, smile and support to the parents of those kids. She makes everyone she meets feel like they matter. In addition, she runs a therapy business filled with other women who she continually leads with her uplifting positivity."

LeTysha Montgomery


Nominated by K. Montgomery

"LeTysha is an author, podcaster, speaker and jewelry designer! Her mission is to educate and bring awareness about endometriosis which affects one in every 10 women. She advocates for herself and others who are challenged with endometriosis. Through her personal journey, she understands that this invisible disease is not always easy to diagnose and/or treat. Her goal is to educate others on what steps to take to get to the proper medical professionals. She is a co-author of five books which include three #1 Amazon Best Sellers. I am very proud of the work she does and her accomplishments!!"

RELATED: Kansas City woman raises awareness about endometriosis

Nicolette Paige


Nominated by Stella Flannery

"Nicolette emanates love and works for the healing of the many nations and the world in many ways. Her Beelicious KC honey is local honey infused with herbs to support brain health, promote relaxation and build the immune system. She is also a healer and personal consultant with a business called Soul Child Awakenings. She provides free meditations for an hour each week before her classes on the introduction to spiritual sciences. She is also a massage therapist and a death doula, helping people to pass over with peace and dignity. Everything she does is for healing and building a stronger unity among people. Did I mention she is a reggae star?"

Sharon Butler Payne


Nominated by Kate Sweeten

"Sharon founded Bra Couture KC in 2010, a nonprofit organization that provides critical support to uninsured and underinsured cancer patients across Kansas City. She continues to work tirelessly for this organization and is incredibly passionate about supporting cancer patients of every age, gender and financial need. Under her leadership, Bra Couture KC is nearing a major milestone of $3 million in contributions raised for cancer support and prevention, cancer services and cancer survivorship."

RELATED: Cancer survivor brings healing hope through fashion show

Karin Shaughnessey


Nominated by Lynn Driggers

"I've known Karin for about 50 years. We grew up in the same church north of the river. Karin was diagnosed with breast cancer last year [and] has maintained grace and tenacity. She and her husband adopted two toddler children from Ukraine — her daughter is now a freshman at MU and son is a sophomore at Liberty North High School. Karin had to be brave for her daughter during Megan's senior year in high school last year. Karin has finished her chemotherapy and radiation, [and] her beginning-to-grey hair is just growing out, [which she] embraces as her badge of being a survivor."

Nancy Simons


Nominated by Chyane' Simons

"My grandma has worked in the community for over 30 years with youth in the inner city. During the pandemic, she and Blue Valley on the east side of KC delivered hundreds of boxes of food, clothes and medicine. In 2003, she received the Points of Light award from President Bush."