Genesis Shine Butler,

nominated by Dress for Success

By: Amy Huwel

“What’s in a name?”  Names have power; they can inspire and transform. Native American tradition dictates that names should be given with the intent to promote change throughout life. Growing into a given name is the initiation of a journey.

Journey, then, with a young woman whose adolescent and teen years were spent in foster care. The fluctuating environments and family structures clouded her identity, but the desire to grow and to own her name — Genesis Shine — remained constant.

Butler’s path toward self-discovery was winding and convoluted. By the time she was 19, she was a single mother juggling school and work.  As many women do, she put herself and her needs last.  Without a solid sense of self and no “destination” in mind, she hit rock bottom: no income, no home, and little hope for the future.  The name, as well as the woman, needed to be resurrected.

“[Figuratively speaking,] I always filled up the space around me more than other people did, and I thought I had to tame my ‘muchness.’ I [began to] realize the need to present myself as I truly am. In order for us to be great, as women, we must present our most powerful selves, and there is power in being your authentic self.”

Embracing the right and the need to rediscover herself, Butler enrolled at Columbus State with the goal of a Communications Advocacy degree.  Genesis — a new beginning, a fresh start — a conscious claiming of individuality with a pointed vision to support ALL women in their pursuit of self.  “There is talk about the footprint we leave on the environment, the physical world, but we need to be mindful of the footprint we leave on each other … People need to understand their commonalities.  We are more alike than different, and my power does not take away from yours.”

This desire to see all women succeed while celebrating each’s singularity led Butler to become involved with Dress for Success, a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and development tools to help them thrive in work and in life. She is currently reclaiming her “Shine” while working hand-in-hand with Tracy Harrison, the organization’s vice-president, to bring Dress for Success to Columbus State so more young women can benefit from its mission.  Harrison says, “Genesis brings a contagious level of energy to the things she is passionate about.  She is quick to recognize an opportunity and is willing to do the hard work to make that opportunity available to everyone.  She is our biggest advocate at Columbus State.”  As a result of her endeavors, they recently hosted a women’s brunch to kick off HERstory Month and are offering workshops to help with job readiness, interview preparation, and to teach women how to recognize and assert their worth in the workplace.

Butler laughs as she says, “I want to Martin Luther King the world!  People call me an advocate, but I am just being myself and speaking up.”   

So, what’s in a name?  Native American wisdom says that one’s name should remind her of “us,” not “me,” and that her identity consists of what she gives, not what she takes. If she was ever lost on the journey, Genesis Shine Butler is no more; her name is no longer simply given, but earned.

pointer-dingyIf you could change one thing in the world what would it be?

“ I would make people feel more responsible for each other.”

pointer-dingyWhat is the most important piece of advice you would share
with a young woman growing up today?

“Fear of self-worth is the greatest barrier to your success.”

pointer-dingyWhat’s your favorite quote?

“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” ~ Angela Davis



Dress for Success

Dress for Success Columbus promotes the economic independence of women in need by providing professional attire, a network of support, and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. All programs are free of charge for every woman we assist. Any woman referred by a community partner is eligible for service. With the community’s support, since opening our doors in 2007, we’re honored to have empowered over 7,000 women to achieve their potential in Central Ohio!

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