Meet the 2019 Women of Style

BY KRISTEN RINALDI | PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALISON CONKLIN on location at the RENAISSANCE ALLENTOWN HOTEL | Florals courtesy of Ornithea House of Flowers | Additional on-site hair and makeup services provided by Metro Beauty Academy

Every year, local women are nominated by their peers for their fashion sense, but once they’re selected, we quickly realize that they embody so much more than that. Read on to get to know our 2019 Women of Style on a much deeper level!

Christe Konopitski

“Style isn’t something you do or do not have—everyone has style that is unique to their personality,” says Christe Konopitski. “My style is eclectic, bright and bold, which are also my personality traits.”


Known for wearing tons of color and lots of embellishments, Christe’s Instagram followers—all seven thousand (and counting!) of them—have brighter feeds because of her wardrobe. She shows off her vibrant clothing and equally vibrant personality on her account @classicallychriste, where she loves chatting style and life with the community that she’s built up over the years. And while it’s a not a venture she wishes to pursue full-time, Christe says she feels extremely fortunate to have met so many inspirational women because of it, including Lisi of Lisi Lerch, Brynn of Brynn Hudson, Ashley of Ashley Austin Boutique and Leslie of Dress for Cocktails. “Not only are all of these women incredibly driven, but they are all excellent role models with fabulous style,” she says. “For me, their pieces are like talismans that remind me that I am strong, capable and successful, just like the women who created them.” Her social following is no small feat, but Christe says her proudest accomplishment is going back to school to get her master’s degree in nonprofit management: “Pursuing additional education is one of the best investments you can make in yourself, and I’m so glad I took the plunge.” What’s more, this year, Christe was chosen to sit on the board for the Junior League of the Lehigh Valley—an organization that supports local children and families through educational food assistance programs, and one that she has been involved with since before moving to the Valley. “It has always been important to me to give back to my community and have a positive impact on others.”

CHARITY SHE SUPPORTS: The Junior League of the Lehigh Valley

What she’s wearing: Lilly Pulitzer caftan, Ashley Austin Boutique bangles, Lisi Lerch clutch and earrings, Lele Sadoughi headband

Group photo: Lilly Pulitzer romper and shoes, Ashley Austin Boutique bag, Cara’s Den necklace, Dress for Cocktails earrings, Brynn Hudson bracelets

Alisa Tongg

Of being honored as a 2019 Woman of Style, she says: “[It] makes me hopeful that the things that we work on in private—like inner beauty, character, hard work and discipline—these qualities are still incredibly valued in our society.”


Alisa Tongg recalls initially struggling to find her own style when she was just starting out as a professional officiant. Worried it’d feel more like a costume, she didn’t want to wear religious or judicial robes, even if it is what the general public is used to seeing. “After one wedding where I wore a plain black dress and put my hair up in a serious librarian bun, I quickly figured out that I could make my own rules,” she says. Now, it’s actually where she feels her most confident. “Being a celebrant is a new kind of officiant. I don’t need to be like anyone else.” Alisa’s closet is filled with sequin gowns in a rainbow of colors, and she dresses for celebration. She says she likes to be an ambassador of the Aloha Spirit and build community wherever she goes. “At a fundamental level, style is an expression of value. For me, the values that I work to express through my actions, deeds and relationships is Aloha, which means generous love and warm acceptance.” Alisa wears many hats. She created her own micro-wedding and special elopement ceremony space, Promise Ridge, in the Pocono Mountains, and as founder of the Bacon & Lox Society, she’s always planning their next community gathering. But above all else, she’s mom to Elena and Xavie. “Out of everything—the degrees I’ve earned, funds raised, awards collected, places I’ve traveled—I am the most proud of who I have become as a mother,” she says. “I have two incredible children. I wish I could claim credit for how they are in the world, but they are their own amazing people. I am very impressed by them, proud to be associated and grateful of the relationship and trust we have.”

CHARITIES SHE SUPPORTS: Monroe County Meals on Wheels & the ACLU

What she’s wearing: True Violet dress ASOS DESIGN shoes

Group photo: Jessica Howard gown

Sarah Murrat Baki

This year, Sarah is excited to officially launch her skincare line, SwissCare, which she has spent several years developing, and she’s looking forward to continuing her involvement with the Women in Science at the United Nations in New York City, working towards the advancement of gender equality in STEM.


Sarah Baki’s love for fashion started a long time ago. “I developed my sense of style during my high school years at an international French school in Switzerland, where my sister and I would meticulously pick our outfits every morning,” she says. “We were known for never wearing the same outfit twice.” Sarah says that their parents would take her and her sister shopping in Paris and Brussels each holiday to pick out their clothing for the season. “A fond memory of mine was shopping at Avenue Montaigne at the Dior boutique,” she says. “It was a fashion turning point for me, and it inspired me to design evening dresses as a hobby.” For her full-time job, Sarah works as a product research engineer at Associated Bio- Engineers and Consultants (ABEC). “I collaborate with my team of project engineers on research, design and development of bioprocess equipment, such as single-use equipment, used by biopharmaceutical companies for the production of immunotherapies and vaccines,” she says. “I feel fortunate knowing that through my work I contribute towards the well-being of patients.” Growing up, Sarah says her dream was to work with Doctors Without Borders to help people in remote areas who don’t have access to medical care, and it led her to start studying medicine at the University of Geneva. When she moved to the United States, the academic credentialing system was incompatible with her Swiss education. Fast-forward to 2015, and Sarah was graduating with her master’s in biochemical engineering from Lehigh University. “Although I’m not a physician, I still contribute to the same goal through my work,” she says. “Having my four children at my graduation was one of the most rewarding days of my life.”

CHARITY SHE SUPPORTS: Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières

What she’s wearing: Dolce and Gabbana midi dress, Hermès Birkin handbag, Hermès Oasis sandals, Chopard Happy Sport watch, Hermès bracelet

Group photo: Chanel jacket, Missoni jumpsuit, Chanel belt, Hermès Premiere sandals, Cartier Santos watch, Chanel handbag, Hermès bracelet

Zakiya Smalls

This year, she participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man and Woman of the Year Fundraiser. “To be nominated was great, but to raise funds for such a worthy cause was life changing.”


Zakiya Smalls jokes that being named a Woman of Style is something that she manifested. “I remember last year at the Women of Style event looking at the phenomenal women on stage and saying to myself ‘I’m going to be one of those women next year,” she says. “I’ve always heard the saying ‘If you put your desires out in the universe, you can have anything you want.’ Well, it happened!” Zakiya says she feels her best when donning a classic look: “Pearls, a great fit-and-flare dress,” she lists. “A timeless blazer—Chanel or one similar—with a pencil skirt and a great pair of pumps.” And she knows a thing or two about style; two to four days a week, she models for QVC on live television. “I enjoy modeling because I have a stylist pick out the latest fashions for me from head to toe,” she says. “Some of my favorite brands that I enjoy modeling are Vince Camuto, Peace Love World and Lisa Rinna.” Zakiya also owns a commercial cleaning business, and continuing into 2019, she hopes to double its growth for the fourth year in a row—all while running for Lehigh County Commissioner-at- Large. Aside from being a mom to her son, Jagger, Zakiya says her proudest accomplishment happened this year during the primary elections. “My slate mates Dave Harrington, Bob Elbich and I did extremely well,” she says. Her first political race to date, Zakiya had the second- highest number of votes. Now, she’s looking forward to seeing what November’s general election will bring. Zakiya says she continues to be inspired by Valley locals, listing Tony Iannelli, Ashley Russo, Pam Deller and Amy Zanelli: “They have all shown tenacity, an unwavering drive to help others, passion for what they do and the ability to stay true to who they are.”

CHARITY SHE SUPPORTS: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

What she’s wearing: Self Portrait dress Cartier watch BCBG shoes

Group photo: Gracia dress Mikimoto pearl necklace Cartier watch Beast Fashion shoes

Anne Davis Shupp

Vice President of Marketing at First Northern Bank and Trust


“When I think about style,” Anne Davis Shupp says, “I don’t just think about the clothes I wear. It’s more about attitude, the way I carry myself and projecting a positive view on life.” She says it’s gratifying to be recognized alongside so many other women in the community who are doing great things. “When any of us have access to a platform like this, I think it’s important to draw attention to issues of importance to us.” However, if we are talking clothes, Anne says she loves sparkles, topping her looks off with some bling. When she’s off the clock, her go-to outfit is a pair of killer jeans, high heels and a statement tee. Though, she keeps it professional at the office of First Northern Bank and Trust—mostly slacks, skirts and the occasional dress. “We’re working to provide the underserved population in our greater community with awareness of the financial services available from the bank,” she says. “In addition to using traditional advertising methods like print, radio, television and outdoor, we’re partnering with certain local charitable organizations to achieve this goal.” Asked about her proudest accomplishment, Anne names her marriage. “While staying married through all of life’s ups and downs is a beautiful thing, it’s also hard work on both sides,” she says, crediting her husband of 28 years, Harley, for sticking by her through her battle with breast cancer. “My husband is my greatest inspiration.” As a breast cancer survivor, Anne participates in the annual Relay For Life walks in Easton and Carbon County. Looking onward in 2019, Anne is excited to make more memories with her family and hopes to achieve a few professional goals, too.

CHARITY SHE SUPPORTS: American Cancer Society

What she’s wearing: I.N.C. blouse Michael Kors shoes

Group photo: Lulus jumpsuit Michael Kors shoes

Tia Jones

Founder/Owner/Operator of Meraki Beauty LLC


When Tia found out that she was named a 2019 Woman of Style, she thought it was a mistake. As the owner of Meraki Beauty in Downtown Allentown, she takes a lot of pride in making other people feel better about themselves. “I enjoy boosting others’ egos and confidence. [In] this day and age, it’s important to hype everyone up,” she says. “I’m glad that my own personal style reflects my ability to exude that I am a strong, confident and expressive woman.” Born and raised in the South, Tia has been in the Valley for 10 years now, and she loves all that it has to offer, including the proximity to bigger cities, its various park systems, the cultural diversity, appreciation for the arts and the plethora of amazing dining options. Tia is a mom, a business owner and a friend. Though she says it’s all unbelievably rewarding, she notes that she does make time for herself, decompressing with nightly meditation or reading. “I never want to plateau in any aspect of my life. I’m always striving to do better and be better, for my son, my business, myself—this list is endless.” She says style starts with a positive and grateful mindset and attitude. “But when I put on some high-waisted, booty-lovin’ denim, a vegan leather jacket, a basic tee and a pair of eclectic, funky shoes, watch out.” Her bohemian-chic sense of style is inspired by Stevie Nicks, Nicole Richie and the Olsen twins. “I’ve always gravitated towards women who [have] a free-spirited, nomadic flair about them.”

CHARITY SHE SUPPORTS: Planned Parenthood

What she’s wearing: Free People dress, Sam Edelman shoes, Gucci bag, vintage renegade hat

Group photo: Shirt and shoes from Target, Abercrombie & Fitch jeans, Gucci belt