Effie Alofoje-Carr lives in East Lansing with her husband and son. Effie is proud of her family. Destavioun, her husband, is an accomplished IT professional and gifted musician. His incredible brain is mathematically and scientifically sound. Through his artistic talents and parenting example, he reminds her that people shouldn’t have to choose which component of their personality to nurture — nurture all of them! Effie brings the reading and writing brains to the table. Their son is a total package that follows in the footprints of both parents with his intelligence, accomplishments, and artistic creativity.
Home will always be the west side of Detroit where the American-born Nigerian grew up enveloped in love by her attentive mother and father. Effie’s parents planned fun annual family vacations to everywhere from Mackinac Island to Atlanta. They provided opportunities for her to enjoy performing arts by participating in plays, musicals, and marching band. They encouraged her to play basketball and volleyball in middle school and varsity volleyball in high school. She remembers being the sole recipient of her parents’ time and effort until her brother came along when she was seven. The savvy woman vividly remembers baking and watching her mother prepare African cuisine. Effie also has fond memories of walking to the neighborhood library with her mother where they would read books together for hours. Before Skechers were a thing, Effie and her mother would get crafty and bling out white canvas shoes from K-Mart with a hot glue gun and rhinestones. Together they played games like, “Go to the Head of the Class” and “Old Maid.” Effie would run to the door to greet her father when he came home from work and school. Little Effie frequently dove into his pockets to fish for m&m’s, skittles, and little trinkets. Her wholesome childhood was a blessing.
Effie’s parents have continued to pour positivity and important lessons into her throughout her adult life. Their strong, healthy marriage set the standard for the family she’s created with her husband. Mr. and Mrs. Alofoje arrived in Michigan before she was born and built a life on a foundation of belief, with hard work and perseverance mixed in. Effie’s father is a brilliant engineer and entrepreneur who passed his effective critical thinking skills on to Effie. From him she’s also gleaned the abilities to be strategic and quick on her feet. Her mother is talented with many gifts such as teaching and beautifying whichever space she occupies. Effie’s mother is the reason why Effie adds embellishments to everything she creates. She’s also taught Effie how to bring joy to the community by sharing her culture as she writes about African cuisine.
Effie was raised Catholic and attended St. Mary’s of Redford. She attended church there until she left for college at Michigan State University. The transition from high school to college presented some obstacles. Effie struggled with some personal issues during the last year of high school and didn’t finish all of her math credits on time. She’d been accepted to college, but it was possible that her acceptance could be rescinded because. She cried in her car and prayed to God, and told Him that if he let her go to MSU in spite of everything, she would serve Him. A couple weeks later, she received a letter that welcomed her as a Spartan. She kept her promise to God by joining the MSU Gospel Choir immediately.
Effie graduated with a bachelor’s degree in humanities, pre-law and spent the first few years of her career as a legal advocate to survivors of intimate partner violence. After staying at home to care for her son after he was born, Effie re-emerged into the workforce helping families in a new sphere — the maternal and infant/child health and education sector.
The bold visionary currently attends church at Tabernacle of David, where her faith is shepherded by Pastor Larry M. Trice Jr.; Effie considers him an inspiration because of his dedication to his calling and warm loving heart for people. He has an incredible gift for using music to minister and emphasize the word he preaches. His gifts let people everywhere experience God in a wonderful way. Under his leadership, Effie’s relationship with God has grown into something substantial. The inspirational leader considers herself a work in progress, who is continually learning to live out loud. God created her in his image, and nothing about her is an accident. Effie believes that we all need growth and ideally, that happens in safe spaces that are fun, motivating, and authentic. These values inspire her life work and ministry and are the foundation under her belief that Kingdom and culture are intended to intersect.
Overcoming considerable struggle in her adult life is a stark contrast to her light and fun childhood where she was insulated from much of life’s unpleasantries. Encountering and combating racism as a black woman in America is disheartening, but never surprising to her. She’s witnessed the dynamics of white supremacy at work everywhere, and churches are at the top of the list. The full embodiment of humanity brought by black women is not often welcomed or incorporated into many Christian spaces. Additionally, Christianity is steeped in legalism and self-righteousness that contributes to ineffective witness and turns people away from faith. The mission God gave the bold visionary provided a space to remedy these concerns. In 2007, she started thinking and talking about an idea she had for a women’s movement. She imagined a space where black women were intentionally centered and encouraged to show up as their full selves with the goal of creating lives and businesses to be proud of.
In 2017, Effie felt the weight of this movement begin to bear down on her like a baby ready to leave the womb and make its debut. She created a woman’s conference where black women could feel safe while being authentic and vulnerable. Black women could see themselves and the things that matter to them represented in the promotional materials and all aspects of the event. She pictured the women at the event growing and learning to build community together. The inspirational leader wanted women to have an opportunity to stop pretending and get to work evolving and creating the best version of themselves. She wants to use her gift of inspiration to lead women into living authentically. Effie believes that our affinities and ways of being are not an accident. They just need refinement because the cares of this world have altered all of us from who God intended us to be. Every woman is a work of art, God’s masterpiece, and Effie’s job was to create a space where women are safe to understand life from that perspective.
In March of 2018, Effie began planning the first Pretty Empowered Women’s Conference. The devil was busy trying to distract her from her God-given purpose. Her son and her husband became ill and were both hospitalized. Caring for them while they were in the hospital, maintaining her work obligations, and planning the event was challenging yet she kept pushing. The event happened in May of 2018 and again in May of 2019. Due to the global pandemic, the Pretty Empowered Women’s Conference scheduled for May of 2020 had to be cancelled. Despite the event being cancelled, Effie still felt that familiar overwhelming urge to push.
Going virtual seemed to be the only option. Effie didn’t know how to facilitate that so she put the event on the back burner. In late summer of 2020, Effie competed in a virtual pitch competition hosted by the Fledge. A beautiful soul watching the competition offered a donation in support of her next event. The donation surprised her when it hit her PayPal account a couple months later. Effie knew God was telling her to follow through with hosting the event virtually in spite of the challenges and uncertainty. When she started working on it, more love and support emerged from the community. Speakers enthusiastically agreed to share their talent and Jerry Norris from The Fledge volunteered to help with his Zoom account and expertise. Of course, Effie was challenged once again so the project could bring even more glory to God. Effie came down with Covid-19 and strep throat.
Effie persevered despite serious symptoms and not feeling well. Reflecting on Isaiah 61:1 gave her the wisdom and strength required to move forward. She planned the conference, her first ever virtual event, in less than two weeks. It was difficult and she often didn’t know what the next step was, but she continued to put one foot in front of the other. Effie’s intuition is shaped by the Holy Spirit and she let it guide her. Her dedication and perseverance paid off! Attendees of the conference reported that they enjoyed it and found it to be inspirational and encouraging. They testified that the conference provided them with confirmation regarding things they were going through and the next steps God wants them to take. She’s thankful for the opportunity to be used powerfully by God. Effie is glad she stayed the course and was able to make a difference.
The inspirational leader slept for a week after the event. Thankfully, Effie has recovered and continues to get healthier everyday. She recently wrapped up a speaking engagement for a national conference in her field of Maternal and Infant Health Education and is preparing for another. To keep herself and her friends looking their best, Effie sells Mary Kay beauty products. Stay tuned for details regarding the 2021 Pretty Empowered Women’s Conference! Click here to email Effie with questions about the conference or Mary Kay. Click here for updated information about the conference.