Most Interesting & Influential 2011

LANSING, MI —  Every year The New Citizens Press identifies select individuals in the  community who have made an impact. We hope that you enjoy reading about our honorees this year.  If you have any suggestions for 2012 please contact us.

Martha Bibbs, 
Community Volunteer and Humanitarian
Martha Bibbs is a community volunteer and humanitarian who has a passion for helping children and families. She is a Human Resources professional with a long career at state, national and international levels.
Ms. Bibbs served as the first African American and first female State Personnel Director for the State of Michigan , implementing the policies of the State Civil Service Commission for up to 70,000 employees in the classified workforce. She managed a budget of $30 million and directed a staff of up to 300 employees in all areas of recruitment, selection, classification, compensation, personnel rules, labor relations, and benefits. Her tenure was marked by the promotion of excellence with a focus on quality customer oriented public service.
Ms. Bibbs’  contributions to the field of  human resources includes experience consulting in the Virgin Islands, the State of Minnesota Legislative Service, the State of Oklahoma, the Flint Civil Service Commission, and advising employer and union officials in Durban, South Africa .
Ms. Bibbs was elected by her peers to serve an unprecedented two terms as President of the National Association of State Personnel Executives. In that capacity she represented Personnel Executives nationwide on the National Council of State Governments. 
Ms. Bibbs served on the Secretary of Labor’s Task Force   on excellence in State and Local Government through Labor Management Cooperation.
 She also served as Chair of the State Employees Retirement Board and was a member of the Women’s Commission where she chaired a committee researching Women on Corporate Boards. MS. Bibbs served as a Cabinet member under two Governors.
Her community service extends to other Boards in the community including the Physicians Health Plan of Mid- Michigan, chairing the Quality Committee of the Board and Capital Area United Way serving on the Volunteer Development Committee. Ms. Bibbs currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Black Child and family Institute . Ms. Bibbs is known for her tireless, passionate advocacy and fundraising for children and families. Under her leadership, the Magic Johnson Computer Lab was created. Financial Literacy with FreddieMac and other partners was offered to families served by BCFI. She serves as a Community Fellow with the MSU Outreach and engagement Center.
Previous community activities include Chair of  Ele’s Place(A Center for grieving children) Board, YMCA Board member. MSU Kaliedoscope advisory committee and serving on the National Alumni Board of Michigan State University.
She has been the recipient of numerous professional and community awards including among others, the prestigious Crystal Apple Award, Diana Award, the (NASPE) National Rooney Award for Leadership, the MSU College of Social Science Outstanding Alumni of the Year, Leadership Award in Disability Management ,the National Women in Public Administration Joan Fiss Bishop Women’s Hall of Fame Award In the Year 2000, and  was also named one of 100 People of the Millennium  by the Lansing State Journal.
She was named 2010 Woman of the Year by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. 
Ms Bibbs is an active member of the Lansing/East Lansing Links, Inc., Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority- Delta Tau Omega Chapter serving as Protocol Chair and Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church. She serves as Ministry Leader for the Seasoned Saints Singers. 
 Ms. Bibbs received a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and has completed coursework for a Master’s degree from Michigan State University. She also completed Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. Additionally, she received training in strategic uses of technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 
Ms. Bibbs is married to Jim Bibbs , MSU Track Coach Emeritus . Together they participate in many community events and projects.  Their appearance as Grand Marshalls  in the African American Parade in 2009 was a tribute to the impact they have had together as role models for many couples and young people in the  community. They are frequent guests at LCC’s Diversity on the Workplace class sharing their experiences and knowledge with community college students. They each received the A. Phillip Randolph Unsung Heroes Award at the same ceremony in recognition of their individual and joint contributions to the quality of life in the Greater Lansing community. Their presence at various sports, performing arts, or religious  events is an inspiration to  all who interact with them.  They are both  constantly encouraging, hugging and sharing with others.
She is mother of five children and is surrogate mother of an additional seven children, has numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. 
James E. Bibbs,
Coach and Volunteer
Coach James E. Bibbs has been involved in instructing and coaching Track and Field nearly five decades.  He was the first African American Head Coach at Michigan State University (MSU) and first head Track Coach in the Big Ten.  During his distinguished career he has coached on every level including High School, Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Club sports, Collegiate, National and International Teams. 
Coach Bibbs has coached 26 All Americans and 52 Big Ten Champions.
Athletes of particular note include World Record holders Herb Washington and Marshall Dill, U.S. Olympian Judy Brown, and U.S. Olympic Head Women’s Coach Karen Dennis. He founded the Detroit Track Club winning five consecutive Women’s national relay championships. All Americans include Cheryl Gilliam, Pamela Sedwick ,Odessa Smalls, Elliot Tabron, Bob Castleman and Molly Brennan.
His numerous honors include being named AAU Women’s Coach of the Year and induction into the Michigan Amateur Athlete and Eastern Michigan Halls of Fame. He was selected as a torch bearer for the 2000 Winter Olympics.  The following year the James E. Bibbs high school football stadium at Ecorse High School was dedicated.  Recent tributes include acceptance into the greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame, Unsung Heroes Award and Citizen of the Year by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.  The first annual Kevin Bibbs Gentleman of Distinction Award was bestowed on Coach Bibbs in 2003. The annual James E. Bibbs Invitational Track Meet sponsored by the Lightening Lynx Track Club was initiated in 2006 to raise money for a Jim Bibbs scholarship.
His deep commitment to youth and passion for the sport has gained the respect and admiration of countless colleagues, athletes, parents and friends nation wide. Under his tutelage, coaching, encouragement and support, many student athletes have been empowered to excel athletically and academically. 
 Coach Bibbs retired as head Coach of Michigan State University in 1995. He continues coaching as a volunteer at East Lansing High School. He also serves as a volunteer instructor of Health and Physical education at the Black Child and Family Institute.
Coach Bibbs was inducted into the MSU Hall of Fame in 2010.
Coach Bibbs is known throughout the community as an ambassador for Spartan Sports. He is “green” through and through , a role model and mentor to children, youth and adults of all ages. He is a man of integrity and honesty who is never hesitant to share his love of Michigan State University , his talent and his considerable knowledge with others. He is married to Martha Bibbs.  Read more about his accomplishments on
Sameerah Shareef,
Certified Nurse-Midwife
and Minister
Sameerah Shareef enjoys life in a variety of ministerial settings. It is her joy to currently serve on Ministerial Team at St. Stephen’s Community Church in Lansing, Michigan. She has been a member at SSCC for 17 years. She has been a Licensed Minister with the United Church of Christ since 1996. She has served in many ministry capacities at SSCC including the creation of the Women’s Ministry, Girl’s Rites of Passage Group and Garment of Praise Music Ministry and many others. She is currently a final year M.Div. student at Chicago Theological Seminary, graduating in May.  
She currently serves the Greater Lansing Community as a Certified Nurse-Midwife with Meridian Women’s Health in Okemos, Michigan. Sameerah holds several degrees including a Master’s of Science in Nursing. She has worked in the discipline of Maternal Child Health since 1985. 
Sameerah is the mother of 3 wonderful adult children; Rahman Shareef, Ameenah Shareef-Asante and Nandi Shareef. She is also blessed with 1 daughter in law, Tamorah Shareef and 1 son in law, Christian Asante. She is the very proud grandmother of 7, Jawanza, Hanifa, (father Rahman, mother Lakeisha),  Haniya, Tahira, and Nasira Shareef (parents are Rahman and Tamorah); Israel and Zion Asante (parents are Ameenah and Christian.) She is proud to be the “Gi-Gi” (great-grandmother) of A’Laileana Shareef (parents Jawanza Shareef and Crystal Brown) Being a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother (Gi-Gi) are three of the greatest gifts God has given her!  
Sameerah is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority-Lansing Alumnae Chapter and Les Meres et Debutantes of Greater Lansing. Sameerah has been a resident of the Lansing/East Lansing community since 1974. 
Colonel James E. Stokes,
Michigan National Guard Officer
Colonel James E. Stokes has the distinction of being the first African American and 15th Michigan National Guard Officer to be appointed as the United States Property and Fiscal Officer (USPFO) for Michigan. With the recommendation of the Adjutant General of Michigan, Major General Thomas G. Cutler, and the nomination of the Honourable Governor Jennifer H. Granholm, COL Stokes was appointed as the USPFO for Michigan with the approval of the U.S. Secretary of the Army and Air Force.     
By federal statue, United States Code (USC) 32 Section 708, each state has a USPFO.  COL Stokes has full statutory authority as the sole Title 10, Federal Agent appointed to Michigan with the responsibility to receive and account for all federal funds, federal property and real property (real-estate) issued to the Michigan Army and Air National Guard.  COL Stokes manages, executes and determines final disposition on the use and control of all federal resources and federal appropriations in excess of $4.2 billion dollars.  
COL Stokes fulfills his duties and responsibilities through the appointment of Assistant USPFO’s for fiscal, property, and real property (real-estate), at Selfridge and Battle Creek Air National Guard bases, and the Phelps Collins Command Readiness Training Center (CRTC) in Alpena, Michigan.  His primary staff is located in Lansing and provides oversight of fiscal, logistics, purchasing and contracting, data processing, and internal review matters.   COL Stokes consults regularly with National Guard Bureau, Base Commanders and Senior Leaders to ensure state goals and objectives are integrated and correlated with allocated federal resources.