22 Aug 2013
- Written by Dr. Karanja A. Ajanaku
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A memorial service on Saturday (Aug. 24) will celebrate the life of Grace Magazine publisher and Sisterhood Showcase founder Tina Louise Birchett.
Ms. Birchett passed away on Sunday (Aug. 18) after a valiant battle with cancer. She was 53. The memorial service is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, 70 N. Bellevue Blvd., where she was a member.
The numbing news of Ms. Birchett's passing spread quickly through the wide network of people touched by her directly and indirectly. She was the CEO and publisher of Birchett & Associates, comprised of the Sisterhood Outreach Summit & Showcase and GRACE® Magazine.
"Some 16 years ago, Tina Birchett became one of 30 founding pioneers who contributed to the birth of the Memphis Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)," said Elaine Sanford, founding president of NAWBO.
"She was gritty, tenacious and a no-nonsense woman who enjoyed being called an entrepreneur," said Sanford, founder of HER Faith Ministries, Inc. and Young-Sanford Marketing and Media Services.
"Tina was fearless and always pushed past mediocrity to climb beyond so many of the issues that women entrepreneurs face in the business arena. ... Her attitude was, 'Let my actions speak.'"
NAWBO Memphis' founders shared a vision of equal opportunity for all women business owners.
"Tina was part of that vision and her encouragement and her success will continue to inspire us all," said Deborah Turner Brasfield, founder of On The Square Gallery and Gifts, LLC in Bolivar.
"Tina's death leaves a real void and is a tremendous loss to us," said Shelley Baur, founder of One Source Associates and NAWBO Memphis Past President.
Alandas Dobbins, Ms. Birchett's long-time friend and colleague and past NAWBO Memphis President, said, "The class and taste in which she created Grace Magazine and the Sisterhood Showcase really focused on women of color. ...There will be a void in these areas which she championed."
A University of Memphis graduate, Ms. Birchett established her marketing and consulting firm after spending 21 years in marketing and advertising. The Sisterhood Showcase, which has blossomed into a widely-embraced vehicle to help women connect mentally, spiritually and physically, observed its 18th anniversary in June at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. GRACE® Magazine, now in its second decade, is a bi-monthly publication for women of color with a readership of over 133,000.
A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Ms. Birchett was a Leadership Memphis graduate (Class of '99). In 2011, she received the Distinguished Community Leadership Award from the YWCA of Greater Memphis.
Among Memphis Magazine's Who's Who in Memphis (2004), she was also honored with the BBA's 2006 Outstanding Business of the Year Award and the Memphis & Shelby County Health Department's 2004 Light of Hope Award. In 2009, she was one of The Tri-State Defender's Women of Excellence.
DIVINE Magazine Owner/Publisher Megan Mottley recalled on Facebook that Ms. Birchett's Grace Magazine was the first magazine to publish her work, providing an early platform for her writing career. It was, said Motley, "a huge opportunity that changed my life forever."
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made online to Dress for Success Memphis or mailed to Dress for Success, 2730 Colony Park Dr. Memphis, TN.
E. H. Ford Mortuary (901-345-9558) has charge.