LifeLine Team

Who We Are

Since 2010,  LifeLine Business Consulting Services, LLC has helped over 1200 individuals bring their business ideas into reality by coaching, training and, connecting entrepreneurs with resources and continuous support of their endeavors.  LifeLine served as a full-service business planning and consulting organization serving small and medium sized companies with an emphasis on minority and women-owned businesses.  LifeLine saw a compelling need in the community and realized that in order to effectively meet that need was to create a non profit organization.

For this reason, Grand Innovation was formed in 2016 as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.  Its focus is to eliminate historical cycles of poverty through education, community engagement and exposure to entrepreneurship for self sufficiency and provides services to individuals who have suffered the negative social and economic results of systemic poverty, incarceration of un/under – employment.  Resources are provided to address barriers to communities striving for self-sufficiency. Thus, Grand Innovation was birthed, Powered by LifeLine.

Executive Director

Dr. Nicole S Farmer

Nicole founded Grand Innovation in 2016 to expand the success of LifeLine’s entrepreneurial training and business coaching in partnership with Detroit nonprofit loan funds and community foundations. Over the past decade, she has coached thousands of Detroit entrepreneurs to business success. Prior to LifeLine, Nicole was the first African American woman in the United States to own a Tuffy Auto Center and this experience as a young single-mom inspired her to provide a lifeline to minority and women entrepreneurs.

Returning Citizens Project Director

Ezra Brown

Brown’s no-nonsense approach inspires returning citizens to create self-sufficiency plans for re-entry. Brown has developed a strong working partnership with the MI Department of Corrections Lawton parole center and educated over 1,000 newly released returning citizens on the benefits, opportunities and resources for self-employment as a pathway for self-sufficiency. He has trained over 100 returning citizens through engaging 3-hour workshops hosted weekly at Lawton. In 2017, he expanded outreach in partnership with Goodwill Industries returning citizens re-entry program.

Director of Training

Carla McDonald

Carla has strong experience in business principles, curriculum development and coaching principles as it relates to entrepreneurial ventures. She is responsible for ensuring all instructors implement the course curriculum to meet the needs and interests of the students involved, as well as the interests of the sponsoring institutions.

Manager of Operations

Lashawna Manigault

Lashawna is an entrepreneur with an educational background in the healthcare sciences and extensive experience in Human Resource Management. A native Detroiter, Lashawna represents the organization through her participation in the New Economy Initiative (NEI) quarterly worktables and currently sits as co-chair for the Neighborhood Business Initiative’s “Collaboration” Committee. She is responsible for attending community events that promote entrepreneurship and establish potential client relationships by connecting with and encouraging new and existing businesses to seek the assistance they need to take their ideas and/or businesses to the next level.

Director of Training

Joseph Upshire

Carla has strong experience in business principles, curriculum development and coaching principles as it relates to entrepreneurial ventures. She is responsible for ensuring all instructors implement the course curriculum to meet the needs and interests of the students involved, as well as the interests of the sponsoring institutions.