Dr. Geneva J. Williams is 2018 Ms. Black Fit and Fine

One would think after retiring from four decades of a successful career in nonprofit management, Dr. Geneva J. Williams, 69, would fill her days with the typical retirement activities such as lunching with friends, traveling, and playing with grandchildren.

But not Williams. She is living a vibrant life publishing books, recording podcasts, creating online courses, mentoring corporate Generation X women in her Facebook group, facilitating events for American Heart Association, and now she is the winner of a beauty pageant.

“The purpose of the Ms. Black Fit and Fine Pageant is to highlight African American senior women who are dispelling the myths of aging. We highlight women who are healthy, fit and, fine. Our goal is to encourage other women to take better care of themselves as they age. We will encourage, inspire, and provide resources that will educate women on how to improve their overall quality of life,” says Veronica Hood, founder and director of the pageant, who also owns a ladies clothing shop called Roloni’s Boutique.

Eight contestants competed on stage at Marygrove College, Detroit in front of five judges, which included the first African American to be crowned Miss USA, Carol Gist. The competition included an interview and segments featuring fitness, talent and evening wear. Dr. Williams scored the most points – 418.5 out of 500 – thus making her the 2018 winner.

“I was shocked when they called my name – one because I was the oldest, and two, I was also not as petite as the others. I’m a curvy woman. I’ve never been thin like a fashion model, but I work out and love fashion. Yet I never entered a pageant because of the stigma associated with most beauty pageants, and since I am not the conventional beauty-pageant-standard that I saw on TV growing up. But this one was different because I loved their mission. This pageant emphasized self-care and health, which I am very much an advocate for, especially since I lost both my parents and my husband of almost forty years within an eighteen-month period,” says Williams.

A portion of the proceeds of the Ms. Black Fit and Fine goes to support Alternatives for Girls, The Helping Hands Sarcoidosis Foundation, and The Travelers Aid Society of Metropolitan Detroit which is an organization that aids the homeless.

“I am a firm supporter of anything that helps you look good and feel good, so you can out and do good with style,” explains Williams. Before owning her company, Dr. Geneva Speaks, LLC, Williams led the United Way in metropolitan Detroit, founded City Connect Detroit—an innovative national model of public-private cooperation –

and launched Figure Skating in Detroit, a leadership development program for girls. She raised millions of dollars for community change initiatives and served as a university professor and as superintendent of a public school system.

Today, Williams hosts a weekly podcast, Ignite2Impact, on iTunes and iHeart Radio— featuring insightful conversations with innovative leaders in business, nonprofits, government, and the arts. She’s a native of Neptune Township, N.J., and an alumna of Morgan State University who also earned a doctorate in education from Wayne State University. Recently, she was honored as a Golden Soror of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. She blogs about leadership and vibrant living on her website,

“Health, especially holistic health, is fashionable today. I’m so happy to represent Ms. Black Fit and Fine to show others that as you age you don’t have to look old or feel old – you can have a vibrant life,” said Williams.

About Ms. Black Fit and Fine:

The Ms. Black Fit & Fine pageant was designed to promote the long-term health benefits of following a healthy lifestyle. It provides a platform that showcases African American women age 50 and over who have embraced this concept and are able to serve as role models for other women.

For more on the Ms. Black Fit and Fine Pageant, click here!

This feature was submitted by Pam Perry.

About the writer:

Pam Perry is an award-winning communications professional. She has been called by Publishers Weekly a “PR Guru” and featured in many major publications, and on more than 100 radio and TV programs. She also has a 20-year career expertise in marketing, public relations and journalism in Detroit.

For more on Pam Perry, click here!

All images provided by Pam Perry