2019 Recipients of Woman of Impact Award Announced


ANN ARBOR, MI, February 18, 2019 – The Joyce Ivy Foundation today announced the 2019 recipients of the Women of Impact award. This award recognizes the achievements of rising female leaders who have demonstrated professional talent and a commitment to improving their communities.

The 2019 Women of Impact award recipients include Anna Clark, Journalist and Author of The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy; Allison Drutchas, Policy and Product Counsel, Waymo; Dr. Asha Shajahan, Medical Director of Community Health, Beaumont Health; and Stella Safari, Director of gBETA Detroit.

“We are delighted to honor this impressive group of women” said Emily Taylor, a member of the Joyce Ivy Foundation Board of Directors and Women of Impact Selection Committee. “The Woman of Impact Award highlights the impact women can have in their professions and communities – even at an early stage in their careers. Our 2019 recipients have a deep commitment to social impact and reflect careers in entrepreneurship, journalism, medicine, and law. We know the Joyce Ivy Scholars will be inspired by their work and passion.”

Anna Clark is a journalist in Detroit. She is the author of The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy, which was named one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, Audible, Amazon, the New York Public Library, and others. It was longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction and chosen as a 2019 Michigan Notable Book. Anna’s articles have appeared in Elle, the New York Times, Politico, the Columbia Journalism Review, Next City, and other publications. She also edited A Detroit Anthology, another Michigan Notable Book. She’s a contributing editor at Waxwing Literary Journal, co-curates the Motor Signal Reading Series in Detroit, and has been a writer-in-residence in Detroit high schools. Anna has also been a Fulbright fellow in Nairobi, Kenya and a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan. She earned degrees in creative writing and art history from the University of Michigan, and also an MFA from Warren Wilson College.

Allison Drutchas is an attorney for leading AV companies aiming to remove legal barriers and build the regulatory framework for self-driving cars. Since May 2018, Allison has served as Policy and Product Counsel for Waymo, a self-driving vehicle technology company, formerly known as the Google Self-Driving Car Project. Previously, she served as Autonomous Vehicles Counsel at General Motors and as an adjunct professor teaching a course on Law and Emerging Technologies at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. She was profiled on the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 – Law & Policy and Crain’s Detroit 20 in their 20s lists. She received her JD from Yale Law School in 2015. She serves on the Board of Trustees at Davidson College, where she played and coached Div. 1 soccer. Allison is a Michigan native and currently lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband, Marcus Eagan.

Asha Shajahan is a board certified family physician, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and is the Medical Director of Community Health for the Beaumont Hospital in Grosse Pointe, MI. Dr. Shajahan has dedicated her medical career to improving population health – her interest in health policy and health disparities first led her to intern for former United States Senator Carl Levin in Washington DC. She was also a senior healthcare intern for the Office of the former Governor Jennifer Granholm, where she worked to augment healthcare access for the uninsured in Detroit. Her passion for homeless and vulnerable populations have led her to create many initiatives – Street Medicine outreach which focuses on educating Family Medicine residents at Beaumont on social equity in healthcare, The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Arts and Health Symposium which empowers clinicians on how to use art modalities in the treatment of anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, and Dance Medicine, MD, which connects underserved populations with exercise opportunities and healthcare expertise. She is also the co-host of Beaumont Health’s first podcast, Beaumont House Call which focuses on a variety of health topics including loneliness, fertility, weight loss, and bullying to empower the community to live smarter and healthier lives. Dr. Shajahan is a native Michigander and completed her faculty fellowship in underserved populations at the University of California, San Diego. She also has a master’s degree in Health Services Administration from St Joseph’s College.

Stella Safari leads the gBETA accelerator which provides free training to fast growing companies to prepare them for venture funding. She made her way to Detroit as a Venture for America fellow, where she worked for Invest Detroit, an early stage funder of businesses. Her interest in startups led her to furniture maker Floyd, where she was director of operations, and to business center Ponyride, where she was executive director. In between, Safari runs a natural hair services company that offers services and education to help individuals embrace their kinky, curly hair. She recently founded a clothing company, Zapenda, which manufactures African-inspired clothing in her home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Zapenda brings modern African fashion to the world while providing employment to disenfranchised survivors of war in the Congo. Safari moved from Congo to the United States when she was eight years old and is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where she majored in gender studies, math, and social sciences. She was featured in Crain’s Detroit 20 in their Twenties list. ​

​​“Our 2019 Women of Impact provide a diverse set of experiences for our Scholars to learn from,” said Brittany Knight, Executive Director of the Joyce Ivy Foundation. “We are excited to elevate these women’s stories and celebrate their many successes.”

The 2019 Women of Impact recipients will be honored at the 14th annual Summer Scholars Gala on May 18th at the Marriott Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The Gala also honors the Joyce Ivy Foundation Leader of the Year, Faye Nelson, Director of Michigan Programs, WK Kellogg Foundation, who will address the 2019 Summer Scholars and Gala guests.

Past Women of Impact award recipients include:

2018: Nia Batts & Katherine Cockrel, Co-Founders, Detroit Blows; Cynthia Shih, Management Consultant & Performing Songwriter, McKinsey & Co; and Tiffany Taylor, Vice President, Deputy Chief People Officer, Teach For America.

2017: Veronica Scott, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, the Empowerment Plan; Linzie Venegas, Vice President, Ideal Group; Tiffany Brown, Communications Director, Mission Flint Office; and Allyson Carpenter, President of Student Government, Howard University.