Women to Watch Awards Finalists- Rising Star

Meet the 2022 finalists

Rising Star Category

Briana Carr 2Briana Carr

Owner and Clinical Social Worker,

Serenity Healing Solutions PLLC

Brianna Carr has a tenacious aptitude for learning, processing thoughtful questions, and researching the unknown, which is evidenced by her rapid growth as a clinician and other successes. She has provided clinical services for Coastal Horizons Center, the Boys and Girls Home of North Carolina, and most recently launched a full-time solo practice. Her business focuses on trauma-informed psychotherapy for people of all ages, particularly supporting people of color. Additionally, Carr, who is trained in family therapy, particularly structural family therapy, has pursued specialized certification in the Gottman Method and EMDR, or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, therapy. She is also a public speaker on the topics of transgenerational trauma, diversity, and EMDR, as well as a guest speaker for University of North Carolina Wilmington’s School of Social Work and a recent presenter for SEAHEC.

Sarah Desilva 2Sarah DeSilva

Lead Engineer-Materials Science & Engineering,

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy

Working as a lead materials engineer at one of GE’s nuclear energy businesses, Sarah DeSilva is engaged in the future of her field and local community. With her expertise in materials science and engineering, she leads testing and development of some of GNF’s advanced fuel materials. In 2020, DeSilva won the GEH Emerging Engineer Award, a distinguished accomplishment that recognizes her excellence in the field. She is chair of the GE chapter of North American Young Generation in Nuclear. She also does her part to educate students in the Cape Fear region, being involved with and mentoring at local schools and coordinating visits for GE employees and volunteering to inspire young students on the basics of energy diversification and STEM. Additionally, DeSilva has taught LEGO Robotics to elementary students, organized a Boy Scout Nuclear Science Merit Badge workshop, judged science fairs, and spoke to middle schoolers about being a woman in engineering.

Alexis Raenajones 2Alexis Raeana Jones

Owner and CEO,

Alexis Raeana LLC

Alexis Raeana Jones, a member of the Lumbee Tribe, has catapulted herself to become a multi-talented global artist and strong advocate for Indigenous peoples and environmental rights. She has tapped into her passions to create Alexis Raeana LLC, a multi-faceted company combining her musical talents, modeling, and makeup industry work with her advocacy work for Indigenous peoples. She appeared on American Idol auditions, performed at the Kennedy Center, and participated in the U.S. Department of State’s American Music Abroad program. Jones, who holds degrees in environmental science and environmental engineering, uses her education to advocate for environmental rights with her work managing North Carolina’s programming for several nonprofits. “Alexis has advocated for environmental changes through providing lectures and speaker series to share about the impacts we have on the environment,” says friend and 2021 Women to Watch Awards finalist Ashley Lomboy.

Cailey Rash 2Cailey Rash

Founder, Birth & Postpartum Doula, and Childbirth Educator,

Babycakes Birth Services LLC

Taking the fear out of childbirth and eliminating maternal health disparities for women of color is what Cailey Rash set out to do when starting her business. Owner of Babycakes Birth Services, Rash uses physical, emotional, and educational support techniques to support women and their families as they transition into motherhood. A member of Cape Fear Area Doulas and Port City Urban Birth Collective, she works frequently with the Port City Breastfeeding Project. Rash also is a doula in the Novant Health NHRMC Community Health Worker-Doula Program, is a federal grant-funded program to connect women with a community health worker and doula during their pregnancy and up to a year after giving birth. After learning that Black women are three times more likely to die from childbirth-related complications, Rash found her calling to become part of the hospital’s program, as well as to support the recipients of the Cape Fear Area Doula scholarship.

Mayra Robles 2Mayra Robles

Program Coordinator,

UNCW Centro Hispano

Mayra Robles, the first in her family to go to college, has made an impact in the field of higher education. In 2019, she became UNCW’s first admissions coordinator specifically dedicated to increasing higher education access for Spanish-speaking and Latinx communities. Robles is now also pursuing her master’s degree. Beginning with the plan of becoming a teacher, Robles changed her career path after discovering her passion for higher education. Working as a mentor and employee for the cultural center helped her realize her gift as a connector who wanted to help future generations access higher education the same way she had been helped. Robles found her footing as an advocate and young professional through her involvement with UNCW Centro Hispano. During her role there, she enabled dozens of students to graduate and complete their undergraduate degrees, with many of the alumni still reaching out to her for mentorship and leadership in their professional roles.

To view the Women to Watch Awards Finalists main page, click here.

To view more of photographer Daria Amato’s work, go to dariaphoto.com

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Categories: Women to Watch