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Spectacular Magazine 2017 Women of Year Semi-Finalists Announced

Twenty-nine African American Women in Eight Categories will be Honored Oct. 30th

DURHAM, NC – With a mission to enlighten and empower, Spectacular Magazine will recognize and honor the achievements of African American women with the Spectacular Magazine 2017 Woman of the Year Awards.

Twenty-seven African American women in seven categories were selected by the Woman of the Year Selection Committee (Committee) as Semi-Finalists for Spectacular Magazine Woman of the Year Awards. Nine of those women will receive the title at the Spectacular Magazine Woman of the Year Awards Gala on October 30th held at the Sheraton Chapel Hill in Durham, NC. (Due to the large number of nominations two awards will be presented in the Community Service and Education category.)

Voting opens Monday Sept. 26th and will close at midnight Sunday Oct. 9th. Voting is available at

The Lifetime Achievement awardees are:

Lifetime Achievement:

  • Eva Clayton – Former Member, U.S. House of Representatives (Littleton)
  • Mildred Council – Founder/Owner, Mama Dip’s Restaurant (Chapel Hill)

Vote for One Semi-Finalists in the following categories:

Arts & Culture:

  • Andrea Lawson – Music, Dance & Community Engagement Director, NC Arts Council (Raleigh)
  • Cicely Mitchell – CEO, Art of Cool Project (Durham)
  • Koren Underdue – Founder/Chairman, Christ Saves Hearts Foundation, Inc. (Raleigh)

Business & Economic Development:

  • Genevia Gee Fulbright – President/Chief Operating Officer, Fulbright & Fulbright, CPA, PA. (Durham)
  • Vernessa Hoffman – Founder, Joey’s Jump Around (Louisburg)
  • Sara Stephens – CEO, Hillsborough/Orange County Chamber of Commerce (Hillsborough)

Civil & Human Rights:

  • Gloria De Los Santos – Director, Action NC and Stand With Women (Durham)
  • Dr. Kamala Uzzell-Jones – President/CEO, SOLAY Counseling & Research Center, P.C. (Durham)
  • Dr. Andrea Woodson-Smith – Associate Professor, North Carolina Central University (Morrisville)

Emerging Leader:

  • Micah Barbee – Pediatric Nurse, Duke University Medical Center (Durham)
  • Ameshia Cooper – Assistant District Attorney, Office of the Durham County District Attorney – Juvenile Division (Durham)
  • Joye Speight – CEO, Virtue Event Planning (Durham)


  • Dr. Bahby Banks –  CEO, Bahby Banks Innovation Group & Pillar Consulting (Durham)
  • Anita Daniels – President/CEO,  Actualities Limited (Durham)
  • Deloris Young – CEO, Jareh Healthcare, Inc. (Durham)

In the following categories, you may vote for two women and two (2) will be named:

Community Service:

  • Laticia Nicole Beatty – Founder, Speak Life Motivation (Durham)
  • Rev. Rachel Green – Founder/ Senior Pastor, Sanctuary of Christ Holy Church  (Durham)
  • Pamela Hester – Associate Scientist, Biogen (Durham)
  • Vanda Wilson-Wormack – Founder/CEO, (Durham)
  • Dr. C. Nicole Swiner – Author/Publisher/Consultant, Swiner Publishing Company (Durham)
  • Thelma White – Community Organizer (Durham)


  • Kiley Brown – Principal, Efland-Cheeks Elementary School, Orange County Schools (Efland)
  • Sheba Lowe Brown – President/CEO, A+ Test Prep & Academic Services (Durham)
  • Dee Dove – Instructor, Jordan Driving School/Wake County Schools (Raleigh)
  • Dr. Monique Holsey-HymanCurriculum Coordinator/Assistant Professor – Division of Education and Social Work , Shaw University (Raleigh); Adjunct Professor, NCCU Department of Social Work (Durham)
  • Dr. Linda Mason – Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Warren County Schools (Warrenton)
  • Dr. Debra Saunders-White – Chancellor, North Carolina Central University (Durham)

Tickets to the Spectacular Magazine 2017 Women of the Year go on sale Sept. 26th.

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Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show. With a B.A. in English from NCCU, the Durham native began her professional career as Promotions/Marketing Director for New York City’s WKTU-FM. While at the radio station, Coley discovered the rap group Kid ‘n Play and managed them for five years, guiding their music and movie careers to success. Moving back to Durham, Coley produced a nationally syndicated television show, The Electric Factory, while working as News Director for FOXY 107/104. In April 2002, recognizing a void in highlighting the achievements of African Americans, she started her own business publishing ACE Magazine. Coley launched Spectacular Magazine in November 2004. Recognizing the lack of pertinent and truthful information, Coley began Spectacular Magazine Radio Show in March 2009. Coley is the organizer of Durham's Annual MLK/Black History Month Parade and the Annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration. She currently serves on Central Children’s Home Board of Directors, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Advisors, as Immediate Past Secretary of the Durham Rotary Club Board of Directors and is one of the founding members of the Triangle United Way’s African American Leadership Initiative.

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