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Being a divorcee with two years of college and a professional career, Mrs. Sheila Woodard Contee retired early from her job. Remarrying a man of strong faith, Mrs. Contee’s husband told her to come home and become a homemaker. During this time, she worked part-time as a realtor, and she had several home based businesses. Also, she cared physically for an invalid father. God led her to help her brother administer a church. Mrs. Contee devoted her life to rearing her biological son and adopting a special needs son. Always one with a mother’s heart for helping and serving others, Mrs. Contee also provided a home for her brother, nephew, and another young man with special needs who calls her Mom. Ever the one with a listening ear, she helped to guide the lives of her nieces so they could become empowered women. No matter how tough the battles of life including divorce, death of her mother, financial, and spiritual along with the challenges of rearing a special needs son, she always turned her face to God where she found strength and peace. Her TIPS to help others become Step Up Sisters are:

1. Trust and Acknowledge God in All Your Ways
2. Have Self Confidence
3. Never Allow the Opinions of Others to Define You
4. Always Know Your Value Which Helps You to Maintain Your Dignity
5. Always Encourage and Compliment Other Women in Order to Build a Bond
​HELEN BESSENT BYRD, PH.D. IS A STRONG STEP UP SISTER
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MRS. SHEILA WOODARD CONTEE 

REV. TEMERA J. TATEM

Project #3

Rev. TeMera J. Tatem is a young woman who is determined to achieve greatness in spite of life’s challenges. Rev. Tatem earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Norfolk State University and a master’s degree in public administration from Troy University. Having answered the ministerial call on her life, she attended Virginia Union University and completed her master of divinity and master of arts in Christian education degrees. Rev. Tatem was ordained in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and serves as Pastor of two churches. Remaining focused on her goals, Rev. Tatem was commissioned as U.S. Air Force reserve chaplain. Rev. Tatem has matured into a dynamic young professional woman, by stepping up and purposing in her heart an undeviating determination to succeed. She is the CEO of Infinite Fire Productions, LLC and has authored several affirmation books to include; BLOSSOM- 100+ Mother and Daughter Affirmations A guide to relationship repair and mastery maintenance, and BLACK DIAMONDS AND PEARLS 100+ Affirmations for Black Women and Girls. All of them have been written to encourage women, through their reading and in interactive workshop environments, to take care of themselves realizing that they are valuable commodities. Rev. Tatem’s TIPS especially for other young women are:

1. Put God First
2. Overcome the negative by encouraging yourself and others with positive affirmations
3. Never give up or Stop reaching for the stars

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Dr. Helen Bessent Byrd was reared on a family farm in the rural hills of Georgia. She earned an associate degree at Warren Wilson College and a bachelor’s degree from Berea College. She immediately continued her education completing a Master of Education degree at Temple University, and later earned a doctorate degree from the University of Connecticut. After teaching in public schools, Dr. Byrd worked for 36 years as a professor and Chair of the Department of Special Education at Norfolk State University. Dr. Byrd retired from higher education to answer God’s call on her life by leaving her home and traveling 90 miles to attend seminary. Having earned a Master’s of Divinity degree, Rev. Dr. Byrd pastored Covenant Presbyterian Church for seven years. While going through life’s struggles of suffering from a crippling auto-immune disease, Rev. Dr. Byrd never gave up. Even when she suffered unjust persecution, she just kept on striving to be all God designed her to be. She devoted her life to helping to improve the lives of others through ministry, education, and counseling. Rev. Dr. Helen Bessent Byrd provides the following 

TIPS FOR OTHER STEP UP SISTERS:
1. Always Trust God
2. Never Give Up
3. When knocked down, get back up
4. Never allow others to define you or block the good you can do.

Honoree of the month