IN THE SPOTLIGHT



BY JEN OLENICZAK BROWN

Ritu Hagen
What makes you YOU?

I have always been a problem solver – creating order out of chaos is what brings me peace, closure and satisfaction. I live on sarcasm – if you can’t roll with the attitude, you are not one of my people! I am laid back and easy going… until I am not! I love building relationships, but I stand strong for my convictions.

What are you most proud of?

In 2016, I found myself with a new ‘job.’ When we moved to Winston-Salem, I left my full-time career to become CEO of our household.  During that time, I started running for fun.  What started out as something to keep me occupied with the goal of training for a 5K turned into numerous 5K races, followed by my first triathlon, then my first 10K, building to 2 half marathons in 2019. Crossing that finish line of my first half marathon was one of my proudest moments.

What keeps you going when things are tough?

I think everyone has a voice in our head that guides us when times are tough. My voice belongs to my 78 year old father who has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. His words ‘there are no shortcuts in life’ have gotten me through more than a few tough situations.

What keeps you up at night?

The everyday grind of family life. I am always motivated to work towards solving world peace, fighting for equality, volunteering at the food pantry. But what’s for dinner? Did I make the bed today? Oops, I forgot to floss. Did I spend enough time with the kids? Did I spend any time with my spouse? What about exercise? And yoga? And meditation? All these small things can keep me up at night.
Ritu Hagan founded Masks for Love, LLC after being a key contributor with Project Mask WS, a grassroots effort that provided over 100,000 handsewn face masks for front line responders, free of charge.  As this process wound down, Ritu saw a need for more masks to be provided to the community, and also the effects of the economic slowdown on her neighbors across the city.  Masks of Love, LLC was created to address both of these issues in a way that provides safety, encouragement, and dignity to all. 

Hatasha Carter

What makes you YOU?

I’ve always been one to go right when others want to go left. Although some fear may be there, I use my fear as motivation, turning it into the ability to keep pushing forward. Sistas4Change has really allowed me the opportunity to do something that I’ve always wanted to do with the people I love.

What are you most proud of?

My team, Donna Carter, Ayo Powell and Nathaniel Spruill as well as myself. Beyond that, our community for providing so much more support than I could have imagined!

What keeps you going?

Knowing that there are people out there who rely on Sistas4Change, whether to provide them with a meal or assistance elsewhere.
What keeps you up at night?
My countless ideas on how I want to help make our community a better place for everyone. 
Hatasha is the Founder and CEO of Sistas4Change-WS, started in June 2020 as a grassroots/mutual aid organization started by women who were ready to make a change, existing to rebuild communities within communities. Initiatives include Sista’s Closet, clothing assistance for adults to include work/interview clothing and a wide variety of children’s clothing for both boys and girls ranging in all sizes and ages and Community Eatz, free food available to local residents of Winston-Salem. CE serves meals twice a week at two different locations.


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