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Daily Inspiration: Meet Shirley Carter-Powell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shirley Carter-Powell.

Hi Shirley, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
In 1995 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and during my treatment, my job closed out my position. Thus, throwing me into early retirement. So, I left a 9 to 5 job in 1995. I was starting my in-home daycare and a sweet shop. By 1999, I started my non-profit Against All Odds, a 501c3 organization, to support minority breast cancer survivors, offering them a haven to share their concerns and biggest fears. At the same time, I started a full-service entertainment and management company (Phenomenal Entertainment, Ltd); over the years, I’ve toured with some of entertainment’s most sought-after entertainers, from jazz greats to gospel, r-n-b, and hip hop, produced mega-events such as the first Michael Jackson Birthday Celebration in his hometown of Gary, IN, and the annual Michigan Chicken Wing Festival. 

Against All Odds has grown over the years to include all cancer survivors. During the pandemic, I saw the need to extend the services from essential needs for cancer survivors to the underserved community of individuals and families. We are implementing program services through drive-through events to opening a free retail store inside the Lansing Mall (Lillian’s). Lillian’s allows the underserved community has a shopping experience, whereas they get to shop during private appointments, of just them in the store, or during our open shopping hours. 

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road. After my cancer diagnosis in 1995, I was diagnosed again in 1996, and while building my company, being that I was an entrepreneur, I had a lot of hurdles to go through. Fighting to keep my health stable and build a company to sustain my family and me; while going through a divorce was a challenge, I felt I had no choice but to make sure I achieved the goals I had set for myself and my children. Quitting was not an option. 

Through the years, I have been faced with more health challenges and maintaining a solid base of support; rather, it is for my health to a strong board for the non-profit. The entertainment company has been persistent in maintaining its structure. Everyone loves some form of entertainment, and producing events is one of our specialties. We’re no longer in the management of artists and other talents. We’re focusing more on private events and festivals after ten years of touring on the road. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am an Entrepreneur, Published Author, and Philanthropist. As an entrepreneur, I operate my entertainment company, which produces events. The annual Michigan chicken Wing Festival and our newly formed House Party Festival; create various 90s events. Additionally, as the Founder/President of Against All Odds, I’ve brought arts and culture as another extension of the services I offer to the community. Creating Shades of Beauty – Arts-n-Motion. A program allows individuals with talents to express themselves, from visual arts to performing arts. 

I am one of the Arts and Cultural Commissioners for the City of Lansing after serving for three years on the Mayor’s Arts and Culture Commission. 

I am proud of my accomplishments of setting short and long-term goals and filling them against the odds, co-authoring two booklets, and publishing my first book, “Inside the Mind of a Woman and the Soul of a Man. I feel I’m different from the rest because my drive is to help someone make a difference in their lives, from entertainment to philanthropy. 

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
First, believe in yourself, don’t allow someone to take your dream. Trust yourself enough to seek out like-minded people who will give you the support you need to take that leap of faith in setting and achieving goals. 

When I started, I wished I had a support system that offered solid advice and did not give me all the reasons why they thought I could not be successful as an entrepreneur. Finding the right mentor is crucial.; as well as surrounding yourself with like-minded people. 

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