AC JosepH Media

MOUNT LAURELDEON- Diversity and Equal Opportunity Network held its inaugural “She Inspires Brunch” on Saturday, March 2, at the Alice Paul Institute.

“Here, inspirational and well-known women in their respected industries discussed the significance of Black and Brown experiences as women,” DEON’s co-founder and executive director Shelja Touri told Front Runner New Jersey.

“They shared their own stories and discussed the realities of systemic racism and how it continues to work against Black and Brown women in the workplace, community, and education spaces.

The panelists included:


  • Dr. Angeline Dean, Nonprofit professional, Higher Education Disruptor
  • Loretta Winters, President NAACP Gloucester County
  • Fatima Heyward, Teach For America
  • Nadia Neubert, Fashion Model and Fitness Coach

DEON’s first She Inspires Trailblazer Awards went to Tiara Clyde, Dr. Angelina Dean, Loretta Winters, Fatima Heyward, Nadia Neubert and Crystal Charley.

Shelja Touri with Tiara Clyde, who was named DEON’s senior marketing technologist. Photo courtesy of Shelja Touri

Touri said that a moment of silence was shared in honor of DEON co-founder Sherry Golden Lee, who lost her long battle against cancer two weeks shy of DEONs first anniversary.

She said DEON has also been nominated for the Abramson Cancer Center Community Advisory Board, where her treatment was.

“Thank you to DEON- Diversity Equal Opportunity Network Inc. for inviting me to participate as a panelist for the inaugural kick-off of the She Inspires Brunch,” said Heyward on Facebook about the event.

“It was an honor to start Women’s History Month by participating in a conversation on DEIBAJ and receiving DEON’s 2024 Trailblazer Award. I enjoyed the discussion alongside dynamic women leaders that continue to break barriers and enact change in the community.”

Neubert added on social media: “Much love and respect to my friend Shelja Touri for an outstanding event honoring remarkable women in our community for the start of Women’s History Month. Thank you Shelja and what an honor to be on the panel of such distinguished women.”

The panel discussion was followed by a self-care activity hosted by diversity consultant and trainer Tiffany Walker from RLR Consulting Group.

Charley, a Black health equity and reproductive justice activist and former president of the Southern Burlington County NAACP said she was moved by the presentation and recognition.

Photo of She Inspires Luncheon courtesy of Shelja Touri

“Deeply grateful to Shelja Touri and DEON- Diversity & Equal Opportunity Network Incorporated, for honoring me as a ‘She Inspires’ trailblazer,” Charley said on LinkedIn, “It’s an incredible privilege to be recognized alongside such phenomenal women.

Photo of Crystal Charley at the She Inspires Luncheon courtesy of Crystal Charley LinkedIn.

“Their work in promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice in our community is truly inspiring. Congratulations to my fellow honorees, Fatima N. Heyward and Loretta Winters! Together, we are making HERstory as Black women.”

A member of Garden State Equality also attended the luncheon. Photo courtesy of Shelja Touri

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