DetroitIsIt 2

10 Women Shaking Up Detroit in #Boss Status

Detroit is Full of Entrepreneurs and Talent – Do You Know These Killer Queens? If You Don’t, Now You Know!


The IT List: Top 10 is a series that runs from March 2020 – March 2021, with each listing category premiering per month. The goal is to highlight 120 tastemakers, power players, and icons in the City of Detroit, and let the audience choose who deserves a shot at the crown when we curate the final IT List in April 2021.

The winner of each Top 10 bracket lands a spot on the final IT list ballot, with the goal of being 1/12 of the winners that will snag a 1000 word article on their IT qualities, so be sure to vote for your favorite! Voting ends at the end of the Month in which the Top 10 list was published. 

Final voting for The IT List begins March 1, 2021, and ends April 1, 2021, and includes the winner of the Top 10 bracket champions. Winners will be announced in April 2021 on Detroitisit.com.



On top of this list being the introductory launch of The IT List: Top 10, we are also proud to cite that this particular listicle also has been written in mind that it is International Women’s Month for the month of March! We wanted to highlight women that are specifically kicking ass in their crafts, standing up for what’s right, giving back to their community, and leading as an example for women all over, as well as Detroit!

Check out the list below, and cast your vote for who you believe deserves to be in the official running for Detroitisit’s IT LIST 2021!



Melissa Butler, The Lip Bar



View this post on Instagram


I NEVER Wear EYESHADOW! Just no! It takes too much time, but I know that eyeshadow always completes the look, so @thelipbar created the EASIEST eyeshadow on earth, literally. Here, I’m wearing Superstar liquid shadow on my eyes and Brickhouse on my lips, and I can’t get over this look. With our liquid shadows, all you gotta do is SWIPE, TAP, AND GO! THAT’S IT! SHADOW DONE IN 30 seconds! ??And our everyday eye palettes are also super bomb because they are curated for each complexion, so there’s no confusion on what works for you cause no one has time for that. AND this is our FIRST TIME LAUNCHING A PRODUCT OUTSIDE OF LIP AT @target! You can shop the eyeshadow minis and liquid shadow at any Target where The Lip Bar is sold and you can also shop the liquid shadows at thelipbar.com and @thelipbardetroit. Go crazy!

A post shared by Mel B (@melissarbutler) on

Melissa Butler was sick of seeing cosmetics that were filled with a bunch of junk that wasn’t good for us, and that the beauty industry was so linear. “I started making lipstick in my kitchen because I believed beauty shouldn’t compromise health and because I was determined to not change the way I looked to fit into some superficial or trendy beauty standard. Fuck that. There is no standard.” Now, The Lip Bar is “THE BAR” when it comes to having ethically created products, especially in Detroit. Butler says “I do this not for the love of makeup, but for the love of women who are unapologetically themselves and the women working up the courage to be.”




Amy Peterson, Co-Owner of Rebel Nell, Co-Owner of The Congregation


Co-Owner of Rebel Nell’s Amy Peterson has had a whirlwind career within the space of working with women to create one-of-a-kind jewelry out of paint chips from graffiti. Incorporating single mothers and homeless women who needed to get back on their feet, and women within special circumstances, the team at Rebel Nell not only are creating art, they’re working to create power inside every woman that works for them. Peterson, a go-getter in all senses, is also now a co-owner of The Congregation, a new coffee bar, and space in the Rosa Parks district. Her partner Betsy Murdoch attributes the driven identity of Peterson to the birth of this new space, joking that “If you ever have an idea and you don’t really want to follow through with it, don’t tell her,” because she will make you follow through with it. That’s a true spirit of a #Boss.



Mary Sheffield, Detroit City Council Pro Tem



View this post on Instagram


4th Annual State of the Youth @enjoydetroit @djbj3525 @tricktrickgs Thanks for always taking time for our youth!

A post shared by Mary Sheffield (@marysheffield) on


Mary Sheffield is known for her track record of service and leadership within the community in Detroit. The City Council boasts that it was her spirit that helped her to become the youngest person to ever be elected to the Detroit City Council in November 2013. But what some do not know offhand is that Sheffield is also respected within the Entertainment industry, specifically with rappers looking to make an impact for Detroit’s Youth, and positivity in Detroit culture. Participating in things like a Toy Drive with Jeezy, to showing up to support Royce Da 5’9’s release for ‘The Allegory,’ she bridges a connection between communities as no other city official can, and we think that’s something to celebrate.



Ann Delisi, WDET Radio Personality, Essential Music



Ann Delisi is a tastemaker of contemporary music, as well as the classics you need to hear. A legend on WDET, ‘Ann Delisi’s Essential Music’ features music made in Detroit, along with live in-studio performances, interviews and special features. Described by WDET, the Decade of Delisi “has been dedicated to exploring the music and culture of our region. When musical icons you love have milestones, Ann Delisi takes you inside the artist’s life, their creative process and the work they created.” You can tell that Delisi takes pride in her job, loving every minute, and coincidentally, is why she also earned her spot on this list!



Debbie Manzano, Plant Manager at Ford’s River Rouge Plant



Cars have always been stereotypically a man’s jurisdiction, but women like Debbie Manzano are changing the game. After close to 25 years at Ford, Manzano was promoted, and 2018, she became the head of production for F-150. She told ‘Now This’ the following:

“Being a female leader and, you know, being about the people, it’s really important to me to make sure we have a respectful working environment and have a good culture. And it really starts with leadership.”

Ain’t that the truth! The better you lead, the more committed the people will follow. And in this case, we don’t see Manzano backing down on that any time soon!



Regina Gaines, House of Pure Vin



View this post on Instagram


#nexsys #titlesource hanging out at #Houseofpurevin #teamhangover

A post shared by House of Pure Vin (@houseofpurevin) on


“I see this city turning back into a global city that people want to come to. One thing I’m surprised at is Detroit hasn’t lost its looks.” The “New Guard” of the Woodward biz district is Regina Gaines from the House of Pure Vin. Being an entrepreneur that cracked the code of the Detroit business scene, Gaines is one of the first in a long time to put down roots and sustain a business in what is considered the new era of Detroit. She told us back in 2018, “The D has become the forefront of the brand. We’re going to keep our voice and our grit about us, and I don’t ever see that changing. Sometimes when cities like us lose our way, they can lose their identity but we didn’t do that, we kept our voice.” 

Now, within the growth of the city, where it was from 5 years ago to now, as well as the rapid expansion of the businesses around her location such as H&M, Shinola, John Varvatos, Nike, and more, maintaining her independence and location on a pivotal part of Downtown marks Gaines as not only a tastemaker but a risk-taker that was able to come out very much on top.



Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, State of Michigan Governor 


While Gretchen Whitmer doesn’t live within the city, she has made immense strides within the community within the past year alone to earn her spot on this list. A laundry list of her talents includes being a lawyer, an educator, former prosecutor, State Representative, Senator, and being the first woman to lead a Senate caucus. As far as Detroit is concerned, she has attended and spoken at multiple Detroit-based summits in the Automotive space, worked with Wayne State University to facilitate The Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge, is fully backing the University of Michigan expansion into Eastern Market for their Detroit Innovation Campus, and is working diligently to make sure that Michigan continues to be the front-runner when it comes to innovative and inspiring product exports, both in Detroit and in Michigan as a whole.



Jenny Risher, Photographer, Professor at College for Creative Studies



Jenny Risher is an Advertising and Editorial Photographer who proved that Photography in a captivating city such as Detroit isn’t just a boys’ club. When attempting to figure out the leaders in an industry that many partake in and around Detroit, Photography has predominantly been a 1 woman to 9 men ratio. The great thing about Jenny is she doesn’t seem like she lets any of that go to her head. Photographing some of the biggest rappers of Detroit’s generation like Eminem and Royce Da 5’9, as well as canvasing the Rock genre with heavy hitters like Jack White and Iggy Pop, Risher is a woman that other women in the craft would love to be, but also be friends WITH. In what looks to be split time between NYC and her Adjunct Professor position at The College for Creative Studies, Risher is one woman to keep an eye on, because you’ll never know where she’ll pop up.



Kash Doll, Rapper, Census Advocate



It may be a controversial choice, but if you are pulling together women making waves who hail from Detroit, you can’t leave Kash Doll off the list. She landed on the Billboard 200 in 2019 with ‘Stacked,’ which is her full-length debut album, and is now cited in the industry as being one of the next big things in hip-hop as women like Nicki Minaj, Cardi B, Meg Thee Stallion continue to push their way to the top. Coming from the career beginnings of being a former dancer, she’s worshipped much like Cardi B in the sense of showing that you can make strides within your life to grow above and beyond with hard work and dedication. She also won Spirit of Detroit award (for her charitable work with Kash Doll Enterprises), and is part of Detroit’s current push to get its residents to complete their census documents within advertisements, influencer posts, and more.



Ivana Kalafatic, Detroitisit, 2gathr, Liberté, Clear Magazine



Yes, we totally know that we’re including the boss of this publication within this list, but it’s absolutely valid when it comes to Ivana Kalafatic! Working in media for many years, she was the founding Editor of Clear Magazine, a Detroit based, globally distributed award-winning design and lifestyle publication 2000-2008.

Kalafatic has also worked on countless projects all over the world, including Swarovski’s global brand exhibition in Shanghai; City of Los Angeles’ branding strategy, Atlantic City’s branding strategy; project execution for Disney Entertainment; BMW Design Works business development; Pop Magazine U.S. editorial; Art Basel VIP client strategy; and custom projects for Bentley Motors, Audi, Porsche, and Chrysler Group for NAIAS 2005. But even with the globe-trotting, she always ends up back home in Detroit, and is striving to give back.

In the Detroit space, she heads two enterprises, one is our beloved Detroitisit, which delivers storytelling as “the heart of the human experience” in Detroit and “guided with a belief that storytelling is what unites, inspires and drives us to a greater future.” Her other business, 2gathr, is an agency that uses data-heavy and analytics and “operates with the belief that if you think global but act local – you’ll be a local anywhere.”

With all of that in mind, we felt it safe to round out the list and celebrate the creator of the creation in which you’re currently partaking!


[ninja_form id=’2′]

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments