Blue Vision Center Founder Dr. LaTandra Blue is Today’s Honoree

Dr. LaTandra Blue is a therapeutic optometrist, born and raised in Birmingham, AL.  She is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she received a B.S. in Biology and minor in Chemistry. Dr. Blue earned her Doctorate of Optometry degree in 2013 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry. Dr. Blue’s training and experience have prepared her for the challenges of primary eye care and the use of technology in the diagnosis and management of eye diseases. She has extensive knowledge in ocular disease, cataract and LASIK pre and post-op management, low vision, and pediatric eyecare.

Dr. Blue is committed to the field of optometry by her active involvement as a member of the American Optometric Association, the Alabama Optometric Association and the Birmingham Optometric Society. Dr. Blue also serves in the United States Army Reserve as a Captain in the Medical Service Corps.

​​​​​​​Dr. Blue is married to Pastor Camara Blue and they have two children together, McKenna and Camara, II. Dr. Blue is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Junior League of Birmingham. 

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Makena Prints Founder Kern Nene is Today’s Honoree

As an African American woman, growing up in Central Alabama, Black imagery was never really a thing. Like many, I had Claire Huxtable, Harriette Winslow, and Aunt Viv, and yes my family did things within our nuclear circle, but nothing ever extended beyond that. 

​I started out in retail and after 10 years of being in customer service and 7 years of school (undergrad only), I decided to actually use my degree and transitioned to health care.

Although I absolutely love all things medical, #MakenaPrints is my baby. This has been a five-year plus dream in the making.

​I found Makena Prints with the understanding that we cannot rely on someone else to properly portray us. We have to do it ourselves!! We have waited far too long for a seat at the stationery table.  So, I decided to create my own table and I want you to join me.

Why is this important?

Because Exposure is Key. Because Representation Matters!

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The Next Steps Programs Co-Founder and CEO Joshua Fields is Today’s Honoree

Joshua is the co-founder and CEO of The Next Steps Programs (TNS), a non-profit he started at 16 years old that aims to break down the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from finding educational and employment opportunities after high school. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 19% of individuals with disabilities are employed. 

About The Next Steps Programs:

The Next Steps Programs (TNS) was created in 2015 to break down barriers withholding people with disabilities from finishing educational and employment opportunities after high school. TNS creates dynamic skill and community building programs for young adults and adults with disabilities. Our community programs focus on bolstering participants skills in communication, employability, self-advocacy, independent living and teamwork.

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Emily Alexandra Cosmetics Founder Emily Alexandra Guglielmo is Today’s Honoree

Emily is a fun and charismatic ocean conservationist who applies her love for the ocean into her cosmetics brand.

Emily’s cosmetic line is an alternative eco-friendly beauty line to mainstream cosmetics that focuses on empowering women through their beauty and self-confidence.

Emily Alexandra Cosmetics craft their collection with love, inspired by performance artists from Key West buskers to Cirque du Soleil. Inspired by the creative evolution of the mermaid and unicorn movement on social media, they thrive on helping playful beauties share their love of wild color, sparkle, and shimmer.

The Emily Alexandra Cosmetics team has tapped the top insider insight from theatre makeup artists and seamlessly channeled it into a highly wearable, customizable line for mermaids to bring their fantasy forward into the world. As a social media savvy brand, their bold pigments are designed to pop in both still photography and video capture.

Emily is also The American Mermaid and founder of and strives to set new standards in clean water initiatives, safeguarding our marine habitat. A proud Florida based company, they are ocean lovers at their core.

For more information regarding Emily or Emily Alexandra Cosmetics, visit

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Author and Attorney Brian Cuban is Today’s Honoree

In his riveting debut legal mystery, The Ambulance Chaser: A Thriller (Post Hill Press; December 7, 2021; Original Trade Paperback), author Brian Cuban tells the story of a morally compromised lawyer whose troubled past comes back to haunt him—and then threatens the life of his son. Exploring themes of addiction, justice and redemption, this fast-paced legal thriller is driven by complex, fascinating characters and packed with suspense. 

Jason Feldman has earned a reputation in Pittsburgh as a personal injury lawyer clients can trust—when they want their chiropractic treatments paid in exchange for bending the truth for a shot at a settlement or trial award. Fortunately, he’s dating a chiropractor who keeps him well-supplied with clients; unfortunately, his ex-wife, Sonya, is the district attorney. He has a side hustle as a courier for an Uber-like service, WARP; instead of picking up passengers, he delivers cocaine, marijuana and heroin to a discreet, upscale clientele, who help support his own habit: blow with a chaser of Single Malt Scotch. And though he’s estranged from his only son, Sam, he still has his cat. 

Overall, life for Jason isn’t that bad—until a long-lost friend and a long-disappeared body both suddenly turn up. Thirty years ago, when Jason was in high school, a then 17-year-old classmate, Heather Brody, went missing. When Jason gets an unexpected message from another former classmate, his old friend David, he learns that Heather’s remains have just been discovered, buried in an abandoned lot. Based on the evidence, Heather’s death was no accident—and, in a flash, Jason finds himself accused of her murder. David knows what really happened on the night of Heather’s disappearance, and who killed her. Yet, just like Heather, he seems to have vanished into thin air—or worse. Before long, Jason fears that his DA ex-wife is in danger. But then the murderer sets his sights on Jason’s son, Sam. 

The Ambulance Chaser follows Jason across Pittsburgh and beyond in a race to find David and save Sam. Along the way, he crosses paths with members of the Odessa Mafia, vegan drug dealers, washed-up sports stars and an Israeli James Bond, all the while grappling with the question: Who can he trust? Will Jason be able to kick his addictions and face his demons to take down a powerful killer—and just maybe redeem himself? 

About the Author:

Brian Cuban is an attorney, author, and person in long-term recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. Recognized for his memoir, The Addicted Lawyer: Tales of the Bar, Booze, Blow, and Redemption, an unflinching look at how addiction and other mental health issues shattered his successful career, he frequently speaks on the topics of addiction, legal ethics, recovery and redemption at colleges, universities, conferences, non-profits, and legal events across the United States and in Canada. His columns have appeared—and he has been quoted on these topics—online and in print newspapers around the world. He is a graduate of Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas, with his wife and two cats. Brian is the younger brother of Dallas Mavericks owner and entrepreneur Mark Cuban. The Ambulance Chaser is his first novel. 

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Designer Pups of Alabama LLC Founder LaCorie Jones is Today’s Honoree

My name is LaCorie Jones. We are located in Madison, Alabama. I was raised on a farm in Town Creek, Alabama. My family has raised cows, horses, pigs, cats, and dogs my entire life! I purchased my own herd of 10 cows in the 5th grade. I witnessed every aspect of the farming business by shadowing my father. I witnessed him assist cows give birth as a small child. I showed cows/steers in competition as a preteen before getting deeper into playing basketball, track, cross country, softball, cheerleading, and band in high school.

I went on to attend UAB and graduated with a degree in psychology and criminal justice. I have been in the social work field for 14 years and currently supervise a unit of social workers. My daughter loves animals and aspires to be a veterinarian after her soccer career. After growing up around various animals she always loved animals but her most desired pet was a dog. We learned that she is allergic to dog dander.

After doing a ton of research and consulting with her allergy specialist we decided that a miniature poodle would be perfect for her. We purchased our first miniature poodle in 2018! Poodles are highly intelligent, loyal, great family pets, calm temperaments, athletic, and most importantly hypoallergenic. Poodles do not shed, as they have hair vs fur, therefore are the safest option for people with dog allergies such as my daughter.

Our family fell in love with the breed and my daughter has not had any dog related health issues! Poodles are like a box of chocolates, you can’t just have one! We have now decided to spread the love by blessing the word with this wonderful hypoallergenic breed ethically and responsibly! I will only allow my pups to be adopted by families who I feel are a perfect fit and able to provide them with a great life! I never want any of my pups to end up in a shelter.

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Devereux Arizona Nursing Supervisor Heather Hanrahan is Today’s Honoree

At Devereux, employees are heroes in every sense of the word, helping children, adolescents and adults with emotional, behavioral and cognitive differences lead more fulfilling and rewarding lives. These committed and compassionate individuals humbly dedicate themselves to serving – and inspiring others and recently Heather Hanrahan a Devereux Arizona nursing supervisor was recently spotlighted.

In your role, what are your main responsibilities?

I assess and treat the medical needs of the individuals we serve in our brief intervention and assessment programs; provide staff training; and oversee the medical aspects of our programming. In addition to my role as nursing supervisor, I serve on various statewide committees, such as infection control and risk management. I also provide on-call support for Devereux Arizona’s respite and foster care programs.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is serving some of our most vulnerable populations. I’ve always believed that with the right support, care and nurturing all people can survive and conquer even the most challenging of circumstances. I’m blessed to serve those very special humans in our programs and, over the years, I’ve been equally blessed to see many of them defy their odds. I also work with the most amazing people. Every single team member is a piece of what makes the above possible, and I am grateful for each and every one of them. We change lives. There’s no bigger reward than that.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Never judge someone, as you never know their story or the things they have been through.

What is one thing your colleagues don’t know about you?

I used to be very shy. I almost did not go to nursing school for fear of failing.

Why are you a Healthcare Hero?

I love to serve others and make people happy – and I love being a nurse. It has been one of the greatest accomplishments in my life besides my kids. I love to give without receiving, and take care of people.

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Mommy’s Lounge Inspires Founder Tori Love is Today’s Honoree

Tori Love is the Executive Director and Founder of  Mommy’s Lounge Inspires a charitable 501 (c)(3) Nonprofit Organization established in October of 2018 that Service the single mom community of those that live In Birmingham and also surrounding areas

Our mission is to provide direct assistance to single mothers who are experiencing financial hardship or those who are unemployed. While also giving them the necessary tools that are needed to become financially stable through our job readiness program. We strive to serve with love, integrity, and fairness. 

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The College Housewife Elizabeth Van Lierde is Today’s Honoree for Friday December 3rd, 2021

I’m Elizabeth, it’s so nice to meet you! I am a 25 year old lover of all things creative, stylized and wholesome as well as an event planner, food lover and hostess to the people close to my heart. A recent graduate with a degree in communication studies and a concentration in hospitality. I created this blog a few years ago during my junior year of college in Colorado. While being a student was fulfilling, blogging fed my creativity.

The college housewife started out as an instagram handle pun and and rapidly grew into the art of all things domestic. A few years later I couldn’t be more interested in the world of entertaining, cooking and making a house a home with a modern and fresh take. On any given night you can catch me in our mid century-meets farmhouse-meets modern Orange County home, sharing a bottle of red wine with my boyfriend Jared, playing with our golden retriever Rascal, and enveloping myself with the new world of food and entertaining.

About the blog: I built this blog as a creative outlet for myself and a way for showing all people (but young people especially!) that entertaining can be fun! That you can be a twenty-something and enjoy the thought of having people in your own space. That you can have your bros over for beer and nachos and you can even have your family over for dinner! In our modern world where we spend 45/60 minutes of every hour staring at one screen or another, we need a healthy break. We need that few hours a week with good company, good food and even better drinks.

College housewife is about inspiring yourself on everything your home can do for you no matter how old you are, where you live, or what you’re good at. Making an aromatic pot of soup, a platter of killer enchiladas or a personalized table setting, are all things that you will find on this little space of mine. I am passionate embracing your inner hostess, cooking something that you never thought you would and seeing how having people over can be the most joyful thing that happened in your week.

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Author Paula PK Norton is Today’s Honoree

Paula (PK) Norton draws on her thirty years in the insurance business, as well as other real life experiences and passions, in her series:

The Amy Lynch Investigations

Paula’s love for Key West and Paris, and her interests in archaeology, fencing and spies (she is a card-carrying member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers) add an extra layer of interest and authenticity to her books.

But the influence that figured most in her life and her early writing career was her husband, Jack. Together, over cocktails and dinner, Paula and Jack concocted unique and interesting ways to kill people.

There are currently five books in the Amy Lynch Investigations series, with another in the works.

Paula resides in Easton MA, Trenton TN, and Delray Beach FL.

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