Apr 2, 2023
Introducing BGR! Sole Sista Team – Part 1
Meet Black Girls RUN! brand influencers, Sole Sista.
Meet Anna Humes
I am a wife, a mother of two, and a clinical mental health therapist. I began a weight loss journey in 2015, which has since become focused more on lifestyle changes, self-care, and overall wellness.
I celebrate all types of movement, and because I have a zest for challenge and adventure, I found myself signing up for a local C25k program in May 2022. I was soon after diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both knees and became determined to go the distance before I am unable to do so.
As a new runner, I became very interested in finding other groups with more people who looked like me.
I started my running journey with Black Girls Run! Cincinnati in July of 2022 after being introduced to the mission and movement. It fully aligned with my personal values regarding empowerment, joyful movement, and community. I love the representation and the encouragement I receive and can give to others through BGR.
Currently, I’m training for my first half-marathon race in May, and I strength train several times weekly. My future goals are to focus on increasing the speed of my 5k and 10k. I would also love to do a runcation.
Meet Natasha Dyer
Natasha Dyer lives in Wichita, KS with her husband and son. She attended her first 5k in 2016 to cheer on her husband in his race and was inspired at seeing runners of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. She signed up for her first 5k in 2017 and has been running ever since. She often does them with her husband and son, making it a family affair. Without a local BGR chapter in her location, she joined the online BGR groups for Atlanta, Kansas City, and Oklahoma City. In addition to running, Natasha enjoys creative hobbies such as music and jewelry making, as well as traveling, with many locations on her bucket list. Natasha is also on the board of directors and former coach with Girls on the Run Heart of Kansas. Natasha is excited to be a Sole Sista because she wants to show that anyone can make healthy changes, regardless of age or stage in life.
Meet Catherine Reid
My name is Catherine but my friends and family call me Cat. I’m originally from New York. Bronx Made. Queens Raised. I currently reside in Blythewood, South Carolina. Running a marathon has always been on my bucket list so in 2011 began my journey as a runner. It was at the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon where I spotted the first Black Girls Run “Preserve The Sexy” T-Shirt and instantly knew I found my tribe. I’ve gained a solid support system and lifelong friends. My relationship with the pavement is sacred. It’s like looking in the mirror and facing the truth about myself. Running is not always easy and sometimes it can be downright ugly. I keep showing up because it’s also a very beautiful and rewarding experience IF I put the work in. What started off as a bucket list activity is now a lifestyle. How I show up on the pavement is how I show up in the world. I’m honored to be a BGR! Sole Sister and can’t wait to share my run journey with you. You can follow me at @roadrunninthru40 on IG.
Meet Maya Gavin-Ellison
My name is Maya Ellison and I am a 45-year-old Chicago Native who resides in Maryland. I am a member of BGR! Baltimore and run with the lovely Run Boos of Harford County. I am a proud Army Veteran where I met my husband of 23 years when we both were serving on active duty. We have two children ages 22 and 15. During the pandemic, I decided to focus on my health and “get back in shape” and sought out BGR! for the support of women that I could lean on and hold me accountable.
I am an RRCA Run Coach, a 2022 Game Changer, a trained Girls on the Run Coach, and an RWB Eagle Leader. I am excited to be a BGR! Sole Sista Brand Ambassador and serve in this role. My current goal is to run 50 halfs in 50 States by my 50th Birthday. I am looking forward to building more relationships and expanding my sole-sisterhood circle.
I am naturally hyped with a lot of energy, so if you hear me hyping you up, cheering you on, giving you a high five, or dancing on the pavement or trails just know it’s all in love. I want to see all of us win.
Meet Mary Fleming
My name is Mary Michelle and I bring you greetings from Little Rock Arkansas. I currently serve as a Social Studies teacher at the historic Little Rock Central High School, and I am also the mother of 3 girls, Adrianna (law student at Howard) Samia (University of Southern California), and Gabby.
I joined BGR years ago as a result of a friend who was completing the Couch to 5k program. Due to issues with anxiety, my doctor, who is a runner, had already suggested that I look into walking or running. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to start. After completing the last 8 weeks of the program, our run Ambassador Niccole hosted an official 5k. After consistently “trusting the program” and showing up to each training session, I finished the race with ease and the rest was history.
To date, I have ran 7 marathons, 16 half marathons, a DOPEY, and a Ragnar. My goal is to complete the 7 World Majors, of which I have done Chicago (21, 22) and Boston (22). In 2023, I am scheduled to run Berlin and Chicago again.
As a Sole Sista, I am truly excited about being an encourager and motivator to those women who look like me. Women who battle with weight, time flexibility, and stereotypes regarding “what runners should look like.” I am excited about the opportunity to share a space with people who have similar goals, or those who just want to get moving. The sisterhood shared by the BGR nation is inspiring, and I look forward to this awesome opportunity to serve.
Meet Michele Suarez
Michele Smith Suarez became a member of Black Girls Run! Central New Jersey in November 2014! She has run in many races, 5K’s, 10K’s, a couple half marathons, and a full marathon in Honolulu in 2018! Michele is currently working on the NYRR 9+1 Program to get guaranteed entry to the 2024 TCS NYC Marathon!
Michele is a Cardiology nurse and truly understands the importance of movement on a cardiovascular level. Heart disease runs in her family, and she has seen improvements in her heart health since joining BGR! She is also captain of her hospital’s Heart Walk team and gets her sole sisters to walk and get educated about their heart health. Heart disease is the number one killer of women in America, and she is passionate about women understanding their modifiable risk factors and knowing their numbers.
Michele lives in South Jersey, so she splits her time and meets up with both BGR! Central New Jersey and BGR! South New Jersey. She is known as a happy runner and loves to encourage women to join Black Girls Run! everywhere she goes! She was named BGR! Central New Jersey’s “videographer” because she loves making videos as a hobby. Footage from her YouTube channel of her running with her sole sistas was featured in a Google commercial in 2019! Michele feels like the BGR! Sisterhood is like no other on and off the pavement and loves everything about being a BGR! Sole Sista!
Meet Desiree’ Henderson
I started running as a teenager but it wasn’t until I became an adult that I started to really gain a love running distance. And now being a mother of 4 and always on the go, it’s become my outlet and my therapy. It’s my favorite thing to do when I get some alone time. Running makes me feel strong and fierce and I hope that being apart of the BGR Sole Sista community that I can encourage women of all ages, shapes, and sizes to lace up their shoes and feel this same experience in their own unique way.
Meet Denise Sharperson
Denise Sharperson has over twenty years of legal and diversity experience having worked in both the public and private sectors in New Jersey and Virginia.
During Mrs. Sharperson’s tenure, she has engaged in wide-spread outreach with countless organizations and actively listens and acts upon their concerns in an effort to make their environment more inclusive and welcoming. She also works collaboratively with other leaders to ensure that diversity, equity and inclusion remain a priority in all aspects of the workplace.
She spearheaded the New Jersey State Bar Association’s (NJSBA) first statewide full-day Diversity Summit with 200 people attendees. A few of her other notable accomplishments include the creation and implementation of several innovative Diversity initiatives at NJSBA such as the Distinguished Speaker Series entitled “Diverse Voices”, a diversity newsletter, and a database of diverse speakers to assist the organization with identifying diverse bar members to serve as panelists for programs. She also developed a hugely successful webinar on lawyers with disabilities, assisted in the formation of an in-house counsel committee, instituted a professional career development series for law students and new lawyers, and hosted a free legal employment fair. She also organized several award winning educational pipeline programs for New Jersey teenagers.
In addition, she launched the first statewide workforce employment fairs for the New Jersey Civil Service Commission and participated in civil service information sessions.
Mrs. Sharperson received her Juris Doctor from Seton Hall University School of Law and her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Hampton University. She is also a nationally certified Diversity Professional and is working on becoming a certified privacy professional.
Mrs. Sharperson served as the 13th President of the Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey, Inc. and received the Association’s Trailblazer award. She is also a member of the Garden State Bar Association, Morris County Bar Association, New Jersey Women’s Lawyers Association, and American Bar Association. She attends Calvary Baptist Church in Morristown, New Jersey and is also a proud Diamond life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a member of the Morris County Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. She is a past recipient of the Association’s Young Lawyers Division Community Service Award, Garden State Bar Association’s Oliver Randolph Award, Women Worth Watching Award, American Bar Association’s Partnership Award and Hampton University’s Emerald Distinguished Alumnae Award.
She is a certified running coach, a certified yoga instructor, and still life photographer. She is happily married to her husband Kenneth E. Sharperson, Esq. and have four beautiful children, Taylor, Kennedy, Kenneth, Jr. and Tyler along with their rescue dog, Zoey.
Meet Veronica (Ronni) Brevard
Veronica (Ronni) Brevard lives in Farmers Branch, TX but native to Oklahoma City, OK! A doting mother to her one and only daughter, proud grandmother of 2 little handsome boys, and super wife to an awesome husband! Loves family, travel, and food. An OU Sooner graduate/fan and Dallas Cowboys fan! Engaged in running for 10+ years and joined BGR in 2014. Running is her therapy! Most memorable race is 2019 NYC Marathon!
Meet Leslie Jones
Leslie Jones joined BGR in the spring of 2019 after participating in a couple of 5ks sponsored by her employer, which sparked her interest to continue this exhilarating activity. Leslie entered and graduated from the Walk B4 Run program in the autumn of 2019. Leslie was also a previous run coordinator with the SoMD group, and a member of the San Antonio, Texas group. Leslie’s passion for running has developed into her personal mission to turn her miles into dollars and Leslie makes donations to a variety of health-related charities that she supports. Her motto is “I Run 4 All Who Can’t”. I acknowledge that there are people who would love to run, but physically can’t. Leslie also uses running and her active lifestyle to control her own health struggles.
Leslie resides in Maryland with her husband. She is a mother, adores her 2 grand boys, self-taught photographer, an active volunteer, and a resin crafter. “I am an adventurer”.
Meet Letitia Love
Hello, my name is Letitia Love from sunny “it never rains in California” (most of the time.) My Sole Sisters call me “Tish”, “LT, or TiTi (childhood nickname.) I have been employed with Los Angeles County for 23 years and was recently promoted.
My running journey has been ongoing for the past 15+ years, completing 2 LA marathons. Along with several half-marathons, 10ks and 5ks with BGR! Los Angeles. Since joining BGR! I’ve have become a run coordinator and certified run coach. Currently, I host a monthly Saturday morning meet up in Signal Hill with a focus on hill training. Health and fitness are important aspects of my life from strength training, riding my Peloton, running or walking outdoors.
Looking forward to being part of the Sole Sister Team and the opportunity to promote health, fitness, love and friendship.
See you on the pavement in Nashville and Canton BGR! 4 Life.
Be Well Be Encouraged,
Meet Jessica Duré Menardy
Jessica Duré Menardy is a full time Tax and Technology Project Manager for Ernst & Young, Mom to a spicy 4 year old Princess, and Wife to her partner in life. She also loved to help women of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds, start their health and wellness journey. Currently, she’s started a quest of running half marathons in every state alone with collecting all major marathon stars. While now residing in California, Jessica will always be a New Yorker at heart. East Coast is the best coast.
Meet Bridgette Grant
My year of 63-64
One day I may not do this,
Today is not that day.