There are so many women in our community who deserve to be recognized for their generosity, kindness, courageousness, and determination. Each month, we feature local moms who are movers and shakers! This month, we are happy to introduce you to Chanel, Michelle and Abby. All three women make a difference in the lives of others each and every day.

Chanel James

Chanel, owner of The Speech Lady, PLLC, a pediatric speech therapy company in Winston Salem, enjoys working with families, and watching children make progress and meet speech and language milestones. Business ownership has required Chanel to learn a lot “on the fly”. “Being an SLP is easy; it’s corporate compliance and payroll which required a learning curve!” Even with all of the challenges of running a business, Chanel says she absolutely loves what she is doing, and has had a great group of speech therapists working with her.

Learning curves are not new to Chanel. She and her husband, Aaron, have two boys who have food allergies and asthma. Her older son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes two years ago. “I was so uneducated about this disease. I’ve worked children who have various illnesses and disorders, but knew little about Type 1.” Carbs, glucose checks, insulin– while trying to find low-carb options void of nuts, egg, dairy or fish– has been difficult. Chanel jokes about being an honorary allergist & endocrinologist, and says that she is humbled at having a glimpse into the lives of many of her families who have dealt with so much more. “I remind myself that there are parents who would give anything for their child to “just” have diabetes, or food allergies.

While Chanel loves providing speech therapy, she also has her eye on another prize. She is a co-founder of a non-profit organization, The Speech Bus, Inc. The Speech Bus will be a traveling unit that serves children in low-income neighborhoods, providing free speech/hearing screenings, language circles/activities, and offering free books for kids, as well as info for parents. She knows that there is much work to be done in fundraising and requesting grants, but she’s up for it. Although a little help from Oprah, or Ellen would be nice. 🙂

Michelle Boyte

In 2004, mother of three girls, Michelle Boyte traded her life in corporate America to be a stay at home mom. Today she runs a local non-profit organization and with the release of “Lillie-fry” this year she added children’s book author to her resume. But, not all of this was part of her life plan, in fact, most of the last ten years wasn’t in her plan at all. When Michelle’s middle daughter Lillie was 2 ½ years old she was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer. With only a 30% survival rate, Michelle and her husband Cory took Lillie to some of the best hospitals that specialized in neuroblastoma. When thrown into the cancer world, it took a toll on the entire family logistically, financially and emotionally.

After a courageous battle, Lillie died 10 months after she was diagnosed. Those ten months gave Michelle a whole new perspective on life. She now has a strong desire to make a difference in the lives of children and families fighting cancer. Michelle and her husband Cory, founded Lillie’s Friends Foundation in 2009. Lillie’s Friends passionately provides families with real hope by raising neuroblastoma awareness, funding innovative research toward a cure, and supporting families experiencing the ‘crisis of belief’ that accompanies their child’s neuroblastoma diagnosis. The impact of Lillie’s Friends is both global and local. Global impact results in providing critical research funding that is desperately needed. Local opportunities for impact are helping families with expenses associated with their child’s treatment. The latest effort for impact is the release of a new children’s book, Lillie-fry. The book was inspired by a story Michelle told her daughter Lillie while in the hospital going through painful medical treatments. 100% of the proceeds of this book go to help kids with cancer.  Lillie’s Friends Foundation hopes to share the message of “never give up hope” and “good always wins.” To learn more or buy “Lillie-fry”, go to

Abby Farris

Abby is a Kindergarten teacher at Jesse Wharton Elementary School in Guilford County. She and her husband, Stewart, have two children and a Bassett Hound: Addison (7), Whit (4), and Georgia (7 months). As a school teacher, she has the opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives every day. One of her greatest joys is that she gets to experience reaching a child and having them realize their accomplishments. This August she will be starting her 15th year teaching Kindergarten. She has served as the Grade Level Chair in the past and will do it again this year. She has served as a case manager for IST, on the Technology Committee, and on the Math Committee. She was also named and awarded Teacher of the Year for the 2003-2004 school year at Brightwood Elementary.

Even though Abby and Stewart didn’t grow up in Greensboro, they have embraced their community. Outside of her career and being a mom, she feels fortunate in being a part of the Junior League of Greensboro for 10 years and is an active volunteer at her church, Grace United Methodist Church. Through the Junior League, she served as the Nominating Committee Chair for the executive committee, Mentoring Chair for new provisionals, and has served on various other committees that have continued to serve Greensboro. Her church, that she adores, has kept her busy with teaching Sunday School to middle school children, serving as a greeter at the entrance on Sunday mornings, and assists with Junior Church. As a mom, Abby loves helping her children become actively involved through Girl Scouts, Odyssey of the Mind, soccer, swim lessons, swim team, voice lessons, and t-ball. However, her favorite activity is simply having movie night with the family curled up on the couch and sharing “Yays and Nehs” at the dinner table about each of their days.

Thanks to Chanel, Michelle and Abby for sharing a little about themselves with TMoM! If you know someone who should be featured as a Main Street Mom on the Move, email!