I met Sharnette recently in the community of Hyde Park. She was recommended to me by another Woman of Substance- Cheryl Wash. Once I heard about her inspirational career path and community activism, I knew I had to meet her. Sharnette proved to be a wonderful person to get to know, and she spent quite a lot of time chatting with me recently about her life and aspirations. Sharnette is warm, funny and kind. Her story begins when she started out studying computer science in college and earning her bachelor’s degree. She then followed up with a full time position in that field. However, with the collapse of the telecom industry, Sharnette found herself looking for new employment. At that time, Sharnette was recommended for an entry level position at a local bank. Even though it was completely out of her comfort zone and specialty, Sharnette chose to think of it as a new opportunity for growth and took it. With hard work and dedication over a 17 year time span, Sharnette’s temporary part-time job has now blossomed into a full time, high-ranking position at a large retail bank. She is an Assistant Vice President and Small Business Regional Champion/Manager for the Mid South Region which has 14 branches in that region. During that time, Sharnette also went back to school to earn an MBA in Business Administration. What’s more, as Sharnette moved up the corporate ladder, she began working with the Community Development department. Sharnette says, “Community is where I truly want to be. Where my heart is.” Sharnette sees the need, and wants to help educate her community with financial literacy. She now teaches credit and savings and budgeting workshops which instructs folks about credit and personal finances and the impact it has in their lives. Her continuous goal continues to be to help her community with their financial health and well being. I also have to tell you that Sharnette describes herself as “formerly shy and introverted.” So, after hearing all that she has accomplished in her life so far, I am amazed that she has so successfully battled her shyness and has turned into such a community champion and financial leader.
Sharnette and her husband Marc Keith have co-created the brand Black is Love, Inc. This genius idea was, according to Sharnette as she laughed, created by “accident” during an in-depth and powerful conversation they had one day. The 4 core values of this brand are: God, Health, Family and Education. Black is Love Inc. not only signifies black culture, but also financial strength (ex: “financials in the black”- genius, right?!?), is regal, powerful and dignified. The color black is also the blend of all colors, which makes it a unifying shade for all. They have now celebrated this brand with an annual event/picnic that Sharnette and Marc has hosted for the last 11 years. Sharnette and Marc have big plans for this brand, so keep your eyes out on what’s to come with this creative brand. In the end, the best way I can describe Sharnette is a powerhouse of leadership and love, and is definitely a Woman of Substance.