FLINT — Sally Shaheen-Joseph is the the 2019 Sybyl Award Recipient.
Shaheen-Joseph is tireless. Her career spans five decades and encompasses both city and county government, extensive community service in addition to raising a family and practicing law.
She was elected to her first term of office on the Mott Community College Board of Trustees in 2007. In November 2014 she was re-elected to a second term. An attorney, she brings more than 30 years of experience in politics to MCC. She is currently an advisory board member of the Flint Area Salvation Army, Genesee Valley Rotary, and the Executive Board of the Arab- American Institute, as well as its National Policy Council and National Leadership Council.
Coming from a time, and a cultural heritage that did not encourage her to get an education, Sally first earned her Associate’s degree from Mott Community College (she actually earned three Associate’s degrees) and never looked back. She went on to eventually earn a Juris Doctorate and become a lawyer.
Shaheen-Joseph cares deeply about women and the success of women, and she works tirelessly to ensure that all women and girls have opportunities to achieve their dreams. Toward this end she has served as a board member of the Genesee County YWCA, the Michigan Women’s Commission -appointed by both Governors Granholm and Snyder, the Michigan Women’s Foundation, and the Fair Winds Council of the Girl Scouts of America.
After receiving her law degree, Shaheen-Joseph ‘s husband passed away. She was left to raise five children on her own. Sally believes that the opportunities given to her changed her life, and the lives of her children. As a result, she has dedicated much of her life’s work to ensuring that other women have the same opportunities for education and employment by serving as a strong advocate for affirmative action and women’s rights. Her desire to help goes beyond women and girls, to include being an advocate and champion for many marginalized populations. She is always first to help anyone who needs a hand up or a seat at the table.
In her 80s, Shaheen-Joseph continues to go to Mexico annually with Dr. Bradley Habermehl, of the Burton Rotary Club, as part of the Rotary Preventable Blindness initiative. Described as an exhausting but rewarding trip by Dr. Habermehl,
During her tenure as a Mott Community College trustee, Shaheen- Joseph has been a key part of developing innovative programs and setting policy to further expand educational opportunities for all individuals, and to ensure that Mott provides the highest quality, most affordable education and services possible.
There is no compensation for the hundreds of hours she devotes to Mott, be it at board meetings, committee meetings, sporting events, or special programs and functions. Sally does an outstanding job representing Mott on campus and at the local, state, and national levels.
Officials from Mott Community College said everything Shaheen-Joseph touches is imbued with her passion for helping others and her gratitude for all that she has been given. She is the embodiment of “do unto others …” Like Sybyl Atwood, her life is an example we can all aspire to. — G.G.