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Our Founder

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Chester France

Our Founder

Chester A. France, Jr. is a Certified Life Coach (CLC), Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Social Work (MSW), and Offender Workforce Development Specialist (OWDS).


Mr. France has more than 35 years of professional experience in sales, sales training, and management in the for-profit sector.  For more than 15 years, Mr. France has provided management and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations, particularly in the faith-based community, including establishing several nonprofit 501(c) (3) corporations. 


Mr. France is a graduate of Morgan State University with a degree in Business and Marketing. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from the Howard University School of Divinity and is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Social Work with a Management and Community Organization concentration.


He is also a 1999 graduate of the Summer Leadership Institute for Church-based Community and Economic Development, sponsored by the Harvard University Divinity School, Center for the Study of Values in Public Life.

Mr. France is currently retired after spending seventeen (17) years as a Protestant Chaplain with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Our Leadership


Nicole Myrick

Production Designer

Nicole Myrick is an experienced fashion design professional with a demonstrated history of working in the apparel industry. She is the founder of Belvidere Terrace Atelier. She has a BS in Fashion Design from Stevenson University and, upon graduation, was recruited as an instructor, where she taught for 3 years.


She has worked across many areas of the industry for 10 years, including as a designer, product developer, patternmaker, graphic designer, sample sewer, and production manager. She has her own private label, Icosa Apparel, and is a course leader for Sew Bromo. She has been able to successfully consult on freelance projects for local designers and has launched her own women’s fashion line as well, manufactured here in Baltimore.


Aliana Grace Bailey

Community Care & Studio Manager

Aliana Grace Bailey is an interdisciplinary fiber artist, designer, educator, and passionate advocate for radical self-love and wellness. She is a proud alumna of NC A&T State University, where she double-majored, earning a Bachelor of Social Work and a Bachelor of Art in Visual Arts Media Design. She earned her MFA in Community Arts and a Certificate in the College Teaching of Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA).


In December 2022, Aliana was certified as an Industrial Sewing Machine Operator. Aliana is the founder of vibrant grace studio. At vibrant grace studio, she creates patterns, products, design, and facilitates art + healing workshops. vibrant grace studio caters to health, social justice, and wellness-centered initiatives dedicated to the wellness, joy, and liberation of Black communities.

Team Associates


Angel Gilyard

Sewing Machine Operator

“I love my job. Lifting Labels is where I got my second chance. When I was looking for work, everyone was turning me down because I had a prison background, but when I came across Mr. France, he said that’s what he was looking for, people with my background who deserve another chance to change their lives and put money in their pocket. Mr. France was loyal to me, and I’m staying loyal to Lifting Labels.”


Anthony Holmes

Sewing Machine Operator

“I enjoy the day-to-day engagement here—I enjoy the people and the energy. With every stitch, a new creation is born. I can take an idea and transform it into something new. This work helps us dream. And see those dreams become a reality.”


Web Administrator/Visual Communicator

Thomas Lane

I am proud to be a part of a team that is mission-based. I met Mr. France over 15 years ago while he was a life coach at a correctional facility. I love working in an environment with people who understand helping one person may not change the world, but it can change the world for one person.


I am grateful that Mr. France looked beyond the 10 years that I spent in prison and gave me an opportunity to live a productive life. With a degree in Commercial Graphics and Visual Communications, I am a visual communicator in the areas of video, photography, and animation. I am an entrepreneur and a self-published author of my autobiography entitled, “Released.” I embrace the mission behind Lifting Labels products, where every piece of ceremonial apparel is more than just fabric – it's a symbol of transformation.

Board Members

Chester A. France Jr.

Vice Chair-Board of Directors; Founder The Chill Station


Allen Holsopple

Chair-Board of Directors; Retired Legislative Assistant

Jay Nwachu 

Board Member; C.E.O. Innovation Works Baltimore

Rae Cumbie 

Board Member; Creative Director Fit For Art Patterns

Susan Beck

Board Member; Lutheran Pastor

Madeline Coxson 

Board Member; Retired Executive Administrative Officer

Christopher S. Marron 

Board Member; UMBC University Professor

Lauren Bloom 

Board Member; Episcopal Priest

Tina Williams-Koroma 

Board Member; C.E.O. Cybersecurity Company

Sekwan Merritt  

Board Member; Owner Commercial Lighting/Electric Company

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