"Enlightened leadership is spiritual if we understand spirituality not as some kind of religious dogma or ideology but as the domain of awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, beauty, love and compassion, and also intuition, creativity, insight and focused attention" Deepak Chopra
Past Worthy Matron
Sis. Carlynn Nichols
2017 - 2019
"The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers."
Past Worthy Matron
Sis. Felicia Dixon
2015 - 2017
To be humble and accountable, to have integrity and to motivate are all characteristics used to describe a leader to Sister Felicia Dixon. As a past Worthy Matron of Dorothy Riley #189, Sister Dixon defines a leader as someone who can find the motivation to lead without being told. Someone who is fearless and not timid. The idea of being able to bring people together is what makes Sister Dixon a leader. The fact that she has something to say, and people want to listen is what intrigues her most in being a leader. What makes Sister Dixon a leader is her constant ability and drive to brainstorm and network with other people. Sister Dixon admits she does not always have all the answers but she is always trying to discover and learn more from others so that together they can “self-discover” each other as well as their individual selves.
In leading, Sister Dixon says she sometimes needs ”a kick in the butt” but still always tries to continue to press forward in growing so that she may teach others how to lead also. Sister Dixon wants to give all she can give so that whom-ever she is a leader who can move her to elevate. In the chapter, Sister Dixon has had many successes as well as some challenges. She has seen the chapter go through ups and she has seen them go through downs but indeed Sister Dixon says that the chapter was strong and they came together to ensure growth in Dorothy Riley #189.
The challenge with being a Worthy Matron to Sister Dixon is trying to touch and connect with every single sister. Constantly trying to teach each individual the true truth about not only sisterhood but womanhood. In her terms, she lost good sisters and sometimes feels as though she failed not being able to connect with them. As a leader, she found it hard trying to find ways to keep every sister connected and engaged as well as being and staying socially connected. Sister Dixon expressed that it is hard being a leader when you have life going on too. She credits the chapters current Worthy Matron, Sister Carlynn Nichols with being able to face these challenges and still being able to thoroughly communicate and “level up”. In fact, she is most proud that every single leader before her and after has had the capability to take the chapter to the next level. In her term as being Worthy Matron, Sister Felicia Dixon has had a great deal of success including. being the chapter with the most members at a number of different conventions and The Michigan Masonic Association Star of the year. The biggest success to Sister Dixon is the name of Dorothy Riley #189. “Everybody knows DR #189, our name carries weight… No matter the fallout, we are still growing and we are relevant, what we stand for, who we are, and where we come from, is what everybody knows. I am most proud of our name, we haven’t missed a beat, and we continue to grow. We are active, and we are always teaching growing, relevant, innovative ways of learning and staying involved”. Even with the highs of being congratulated with celebrations, promotions and high fives, in being a leader Sister Dixon has realized it has lows too. She says being a leader could cost you a friendship, it stresses you when you want to be everywhere for everybody and most importantly you have to teach yourself how to say "no" sometimes.
As a leader Sister Dixon, feels that you cannot base your drive on “good jobs” even though you want to hear it… she says you have to base it on “I want the next level”. What makes Sister Felicia Dixon a true leader is her knowing that she cannot lead all the time, you have to let someone else lead. She described leadership as a “Wolf Pack”. In a wolf pack you have a senior wolf and a wolf with a ranking right underneath it, and sometimes as the senior wolf you have to be confident that you have guided them in the right direction for them to effectively lead the pack as you would… you just gotta believe that they can do it.”
By Sister Imani Bridgewater
A Great Leader
A great leader has the ability to guide and influence others And our past worthy matron Carolyn Nichols is a great leader!
Past Worthy Matron Nichols was the worthy matron of Dorothy Riley 189 when I was initiated into the chapter in 2017. I had the honor of being under her leadership for three years. In that time I have seen her successfully operate und the capacity of Friend, Sister, Mentor, Leader, Teacher, Role mole, Daugther and Wife, and many more facets. She balances these relationships and her responsibilities to the order of the eastern Stare in a manner that is beyond impressive. She never appears as if she is juggling people or responsibilities. She is balanced and confident in her abilities. She is a woman of true character and exemplifies each and every one of our heroines in an honorable manner.
I believe she is a helper by nature. She extends her heart and time to others. She has a genuine spirit. She truly knows people. She knows how to reach people on so many different levels. Throughout her servitude, as the leader of DR189 she has touched all of our hearts and minds. She has a unique leadership style wherein she encourages us to grow and push ourselves to become the best members and women that we can be. When I think of the word Leadership I think of someone who presents themselves in an upstanding and respectable manner and she is that kind of leader. Although she has been a longstanding member of the order of the Eastern Star she has always held and worked and served for the chapter because she truly believes in what DR189 stands for. Sister Nichols is a graduate of the University of Michigan and serves in the field of social work. She has served on the District, Grand and State levels of the Order and is currently The State of Michigan Grand Sovereign of Stars.
By Sister Valerie Butler, Associate Worthy Matron
"True leadership lies in guiding others to success. In ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they are pledged to do and doing it well." Bill Owens
Past Worthy Matron
Sis. Tanya Bridgewater
2008 - 2015
A woman, sister, mother and Worthy Matron not Past Worthy Matron!!
Tanya Bridgewater became an Eastern Star, April 2006. Tanya became Worthy Matron as March 2008. Tanya has lead the labyrinth with many women such as, Karen, Terri, Kim, Yolanda, Lisa, Sandy, and Tamika which were the first group of women to walk during her reign at WM Council. Heroine, Martha the ideal Sister. Electa represents the “Ideal Mother.” She sacrificed everything to establish a Christian heritage for her children. Her name means “honorable Lady", and “called of God. Electa, she shares the lesson of Faith and Trust to God and everlasting life. Tanya, feels a kinship to Martha, sharing of herself to her family and community.
Sister Tanya wants to share this adage of advice to future sisters, commitment, openness and being receptive to the transformation of being an Eastern Star, don’t join just to do community service, join if you are willing to take on the transformation of being an Easter Star brings... During Tanya’s tenure as Worthy Matron, this position has brought to light that everyone has valid feelings and dealing with conflict you have to be patient and open minded and think before you speak. Being a Worthy Matron is a job of love to the sisterhood and the value Tanya received from it is acceptance, meeting people where they are in faith and their walk in life and willingness to learn from one another. Tanya would like all to know, she is a woman, sister, mother and Worthy Matron not Past Worthy Matron!!! Her list has been checked and she absolutely has No regrets.
"You can never leave footprints that last if you are always walking on your tiptoes."
Past Worthy Matron
Sis. Lynetta Raye Smith
Sister Lynnetta Smith was born and raised in the city of Detroit, Michigan. She is the eldest of two siblings, one sister and one brother. Sister Smith is 36 years old and was educated in the Detroit Public Schools system, graduating from Cass Technical High School. After high school, Sister Smith went on to graduate from Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration. She then enrolled in Cooley Law School and became employed with Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of the Chief Counsel as a Legal Clerk.
Sister Smith then worked for the Chapter 13 Trustee assisting in the litigation of bankruptcy cases at the height of the most recent recession. Working with many cases of foreclosures began to sour her spirit for a career in law and Sister Smith made the decision to launch her own business, “Just Perfect Event Planning”.
Having always had a desire to experience living somewhere other than Detroit, she applied for and was selected to a position in Memphis Tennessee as Event Coordinator with the University of Memphis. While in Memphis, Sister Smith worked as the International Cotton Institute’s Conference Coordinator. She explained that Memphis is the “cotton capital” of the world, which was very interesting to learn.
After enjoying this chapter in her life, Sister Smith became a bit homesick and made the move back to Detroit.
On May 17, 2002, Sister Smith became an OES member 15 along with 2 other sisters in the Chapter Room of Haddesah #100 in Grand Rapids, MI while still a student in college. At that time her Chapter was “Nanny Burrow #14” out of Idlewild, MI. When Sister Smith returned to Detroit after graduating from Ferris State she transferred to Princess of Bathsheba #149 at the urging of Sister Lucille Posey, District Matron of District 3. Later, offered the opportunity to revive an inactive chapter Sister Smith transferred to Dorothy Riley Chapter #189 in April 2004. The goals were to grow the Chapter through the Eastern Star principles of sisterhood, love, and education.
A name change for the Chapter was briefly considered but it was decided that the name should remain as a tribute for Sister Dorothy Riley to witness while she yet lived. Lovingly known as the Fabulous DR #189, the chapter rapidly grew from the original seven members to the 45 members it presently has. Sister Smith noted that in whatever DR #189 does, she makes sure that it’s done in the spirit of sisterhood and in grand fashion. This is what the Chapter has become known for.
Sister Smith credits her growth and personal development to her OES experience and her other half, Brother James Gay. Brother Gay has been an encouraging and supportive force in her life throughout her many endeavors. She also stated that her extensive knowledge of The Order is largely due to her educating herself about The Order through her process to sisterhood 15 years ago, the sisters she's been surrounded and inspired by, and at times Divine Intervention. Sister Smith credits Sister Lillian Gill and Sister Pamela Givant for inspiring her to teach and Sister Patricia Hollowell and Sister Viola Edwards for inspiring her to leadership.
Sister Smith has held the positions of Secretary, Associate Matron, Worthy Matron, State Grand Educational Director, National Mid-West District Educational Director, Grand Sovereign of Stars (Exalted Degree), and most recently appointed to the position of Supreme Educational Director.
With her passion for education, Sister Smith will focus on communication among Sisters’ within the leadership. Sister Smith’s vision for Dorothy Riley Chapter #189 is that it continues to thrive whether she personally is remembered or not. She desires that this Chapter will become a standing legacy to its namesake, Sister Dorothy Riley, and a continuing legacy for the 7 sisters that revived it and the first sisters initiated that helped to build it. She has made lifelong sister/friends she would not have found without the Order of the Eastern Star and for that she is grateful. She is confident that our beloved Chapter will continue to live on, grow, uphold the principles and teachings of The Order and dwell in the spirit of sisterhood long after she is gone.
Truly a Phenomenal Woman.
By Sister Yvonne A Cousins