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The City Journals

Murray woman receives national award for Black business owners

Feb 11, 2021 02:18PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

Tenisha Hicks received a Comcast RISE award for Black-owned businesses. (Photo courtesy Tenisha Hicks)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

Tenisha Hicks, owner of Isha Esthetics and Wellness in Murray, has received a Comcast RISE award. The national award aims to strengthen small businesses hard hit by COVID-19 and opens up eligibility to include Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-owned small businesses.

“After informing me of my award, they sat with me and created a plan based around growing my business, adhering to my values, and setting up for continued success. My grant was both tech and Comcast service-based, meaning I received equipment, internet, and phone services so my business can continue to function and even expand,” Hicks said.

Isha Esthetics and Wellness (4700 S. 900 East) is a post-operative care, skin and wellness spa. Her business qualified for the first phase of Comcast RISE, which stands for “Representation, Investment, Strength and Empowerment,” focused on U.S. Black-owned small businesses, those hit hardest by the pandemic, according to a recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

According to Hicks, the pandemic has presented some challenges to her business. “Keeping up with the ever-changing policies mostly. I’m grateful for a medical background that allotted me the grace and empathy to understand these shifts and guide my clients and new team through it safely.”

Originally from Tooele, Hicks took online courses from Utah State after high school, eventually securing a scholarship at Westminster College, but left to pursue her own business interests.

“Walking away from traditional education expectations, I decided to pursue Medical Assisting, Phlebotomy and Esthetics,” Hicks said. “All vocational licenses but more person-to-person careers.”

Among her achievements, Hicks won first place as Player of the Year in the Open Category of The Skin Games, a competition where specialists in beauty and wellness compete with others from around the globe to prove their skills in a “challenge.” Before her win, she placed as a finalist for both 2017 and 2018.

Comcast RISE award winners receive consulting, media and creative production services from Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, or technology upgrades from Comcast Business, based on their specific needs.

“We created Comcast RISE to partner with small businesses and gave them access to tools to help them survive the pandemic and thrive. As we’ve gone through the selection process, it’s been so powerful to hear these business owners’ stories and see the tangible ways that we can help grow their businesses and impact their communities,” said Teresa Ward-Maupin, senior vice president for Digital and Customer Experience at Comcast Business.

“As a Black woman business owner, the challenges I’ve had were mostly overcoming the stereotypes and shallow expectations of what it means to be a Utah-living Black woman, turning them on their heels and building my own standards. Relatable, I’m sure, in ways to any underrepresented business owner traveling towards a dream locally,” Hicks said.

As part of a larger $100 million Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative, Comcast RISE launched this past summer. In June, Comcast NBCUniversal announced development of a comprehensive, multiyear plan to allocate $75 million in cash and $25 million in media over the next three years to fight injustice and inequality against any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability.

“The pandemic has placed a spotlight on systemic racism. This commitment helps lower the barriers and create opportunities for not only business to recover but the potential to grow. It takes a village to raise a village, and we appreciate Comcast’s support and their partnership to our community,” said James Jackson III, president, Utah Black Chamber.

For now, Hicks looks forward to the future and is grateful for her adopted hometown. “We are looking at growing in staff, opening another location, and eventually establishing an education facility in Murray, since it has been a wonderful home for myself and my business.”