What started as a conversation in 2009 grew into a group discussion. SAGE was birthed three years later in 2012. Meet Carlene Davis and Kiara Harris, founders of Sistahs Aging with Grace & Elegance.
Meet Carlene - In some ways, Sistahs Aging with Grace & Elegance is a testament to my network of Sistah friends (and a few special Brotha friends) who have been the support trampoline that helps me to live passionately, regardless of life’s curveballs. In my mid-twenties to early-thirties, I was the sole caretaker for both of my parents who each were managing multiple chronic illnesses. In my late forties, I experienced and rebounded from a long-term job loss and the comfort of a bi-weekly paycheck. Now, in my early fifties, I’m learning to boldly embrace my new identity, talents and opportunities as a “Solopreneur.” Throughout all the vicissitudes of change, my treasured community of family and friends have always provided the love, laughter, and encouragement I needed to joyfully live life to its fullest.
And what a full life it is. My travels have taken me to Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand (3 more continents to go!). On any given weekend you can find me hiking, walking along the Pacific Ocean, listening to some of my favorite podcasts (like Snap Judgement) or winding down the evening with chocolate, a glass of red wine and a book I picked up from Eso Won. And, through my volunteer service, I've helped young women and girls in Uganda and Kenya continue their primary and secondary education.
Thinking about my life and contributions during this phase of my aging journey, I want to build a community of support that provides Black women with the knowledge, skills, tools and resources to continously thrive as we transition into our “Golden Years” – Sistahs Aging with Grace & Elegance is just that.
Meet Kiara - I’ve always reached life milestones early. I skipped 11th grade and graduated from high school early. I can remember saying at a young age that I didn’t want to wait until I retired to begin traveling. So, on graduation day from Hampton University, I left for the airport to travel to London and Paris. Since graduation, I've traveled internationally regularly.
I was raised in Prince George’s County Maryland outside of Washington, DC. In 1986, I moved to Oakland and now I'm California proud. I have an active lifestyle. I enjoy a good workout at the gym, tennis and yoga. Recently, I've taken up Chicago Style Steppin'. It’s a great way to socialize.
I began thinking about life as an older woman in my 30s. At 33, I was diagnosed with lupus. The diagnosis forced me to examine my life. I am a single woman without children, living far away from family. As I educated myself on this condition and my symptoms worsened, I knew I had to prepare myself in ways that are similar to the decisions older women make when they need support and assistance from others.
So, I had a Will and an Estate plan at 36. I was forced to take a medical retirement at 47. The illness forced me to learn how to take care of myself physically, mentally, emotionally and financially. I had to survive and thrive in spite of lupus.
I am happy to say that I now have tools to live longer and to live well. I am looking forward to this next phase of my life being the best phase. I plan to dance, travel, play tennis, practice yoga, work out, and encourage my sistah friends to join me.