#MeTo, #TimesUp, #UsToo, Center for Media Innovation, International Association of Business Communicators, media, media chicks network, PA Women's Press Association, Panel Discussion, Pgh Black Media Federation, Point Park University, Public Relations Society of America, radiochicksrock
Local Media Chicks Host #UsToo Panel Discussion
Continuing the Discussion of the #MeToo and #TimesUp Movement and How It Effects Local Women in the Media
Pittsburgh, PA, January 30, 2018– The Media Chicks Network will host a closed panel discussion based on the recent events effecting women in the local media following the #MeToo and #Times Up movement.
“The issues of inappropriate sexual misconduct, abuse, assault in addition to body shaming, unfair/unequal pay and gender discrimination are unacceptable and it’s time to speak out in hopes that our initiatives will help others to be thoroughly prepared for a future in the media”, LaKeisha “Ki Ki” Brown, veteran radio personality and Founder of the Media Chicks Network.
The panel discussion will host women in television, radio, print and production areas of the media and will be open to the student body of Point Park University at the Center for Media Innovation in Downtown, Pittsburgh. The time will be 5PM.
This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Media Innovation, Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, PA Women’s Press Association, International Association of Business Communicators, and Public Relations Society of America.
- Allegra Battle-City Style Blogger/Radio/News Anchor
- Pat Griffin (veteran journalist and podcaster)
- Paige Mitchell-Front Paige Me Public Relations Agency/Blogger
- Charlise Smith, Founder WAVE-WOMEN AGAINST VIOLENCE ENTERPRISES AND SERVICE
- Elizabeth Rosemeyer, Point Park University Title IX Director
- Vanessa Doss, Account Executive and Marketing Strategist for WAMO 100
**Awaiting more confirmations from local TV/Radio personalities**
Media Chicks Network is a Facebook group with over 200 members of women who serve in the media from Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland, Houston and Pennsylvania. The group will host various events that range from panel discussions, self-defense classes, brunches, and fun activities to increase bonding opportunities for women in the media.
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact KiKi Brown at Media Chicks Network or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
[This story was originally posted on UrbanMediaToday.com]
This isn’t an entertainment report but more of an inspiring moment for those who have experienced the adoption process.
I met this young lady by the name of Randi James at a dinner party of a mutual church friend. I had never seen anyone like her before. Her spirit was “welcoming” and innocent. Her smile is vibrant and her skin is flawless. I’m not into chicks (insert Seinfeld line: “not that there’s anything wrong with it“) but this young lady is beautiful.
We started following one another on Facebook and we shared a few motivating text messages. You know the kind: bible verse there, a funny meme here, “have a blessed day” type of thing. You know, what good girlfriends do!
One day, I was swiping through my Facebook timeline and found the most inspiring story shared by Randi about her experience of being adopted.
Randi shared her story about how she found her birth mother and family; detail by detail. From the airport to the “awkward” family dinner.
Her story did something to my heart. It warmed up a bit. I felt compassion and empathy for her; not that she needed it. Randi has the most positive and confident personality I know at her age (early to mid 30s). GOD is doing some amazing things in her life!
Recently, my brother found my father, brother and myself through Ancestry.com! I wasn’t sure how to take this! Who was this person? Why am I not excited, but happy and weird about all this?
The first person I reached out to was Randi. Even in her instant messages she was calm, excited, happy, and concerned about my new life change. GOD put her through this process not only to help her but to help me!
She advised me to take my time, let it develop into what it was purposed to be, and don’t try to figure it out. She was right!
Randi’s experience was one I really wanted to share with the world because now I know there are people in the world who are going through what she went through (and still going through).
Because of our work schedule (she works in education), it was hard to sit down with her and interview her as I would a celebrity. So I sent her a few questions and asked her to answer them as open and honest as she could. She did!
Read it here:
Did you always know you were adopted? If so, when did your adopted parents tell you? My mother told me when I was around 5. I came home from school and it was the day a parent came to talk about their job. The mother worked with babies and told us that we came from our mommy’s tummies and I came home with this wealth of knowledge as though I knew what the deal was and told my mom that I came from her tummy… she said I didn’t that I came from her heart.
How did you take the news? I took it hard. My mommy explains it that I took it hard and was confused… of course! I didn’t know what was what! Were you always curious about who your birth parents were? Yes I was curious, I more so wanted to know if I looked like them. It was important to me that I looked like someone that I fit in. I just wanted to know what I was.
What was growing up with your adopted parents like? It was wonderful. I had so much love. I would forget I was adopted most of the time. My mother sacrificed a lot for me and both my parents always made sure I had what I needed and wanted. Their love was always unconditional. Share the good and not-so-good times. Regular experience as much as a child can have. Good days and days when I was bad and I got into trouble.
When did you first know that you wanted to find your birth parents? When I was in college. I felt like I was emotionally going through a lot and wanted to make sure it wasn’t a mental illness. I felt like I wanted to know medically what was going on with me or what ran in my genes.
What was the process like trying to find them? (contacting an agency, finding a family friend, social media…) It was pretty simple… my mom had known the name of the adoption agency she got me from and they were still up and running so my files were still there. I had to fill out some papers, send them in and within about 3 to 4 months… maybe longer I received the information about my birth mother. It included her name an address (was very old from 1994 I think) and all her medical records and some minor information about my birth father.
So after you hung up the phone with your birth mother (or person connecting you to your birth parents and family), what did you feel? After she responded to my FB message confirming that she was indeed my mother… well… when I found out, I was at work. I felt like my whole life flashed before my eyes. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t comprehend that this moment was real. That this woman who was a mystery to me was now nonfiction. She was real. And she wanted to talk to me!?!?! It was too much. I sped home and cried and cried and put on worship music and cried and then wrote a poem. Lol and then cried and then starred at the wall and then sat and then pulled myself together a bit to make the phone call… took me about 10 hours. The next day I cried some more.
How did your adopted parents take all this? Were they happy for you? Were they not so accepting? They were very happy for me… apprehensive, a little nervous because they want me to be safe, they didn’t want my heart to be hurt. But they were happy because I was happy and excited because I was excited, and in shock and a little sad. Sad because there was a new person a potentially a new family that has surfaced that would share me. I wasn’t only theirs now. I felt the same way. Also, my birth family has been so accepting of my mom and dad and want to know more of my family. They have been so kind and respectful and mindful of my parents and their feelings in all of this. I like that very much. Because to love me, know me, want me is to love, know and want my family…the ones who raised me and took care of me. I’m a packaged deal! And my birth family has been great with that.
What was it about finding your birth parents/family so important to you? Knowing more of my identity. I am coming into completion of my natural self. Still so much to learn and grow as a person. But know part of where I come from biologically and that sheds light on to so many things spiritually as well.
Describe the first person you met when traveling to California to meet your family. My birth mother. Met her at a Starbucks with my mom.
What was it like meeting your birth mother for the first time? And your birth father? No birth father…yet. It was almost natural but unnatural to see my birth mother face to face. It was kinda like oh this is me, but not really, but kinda? It was awkward, but nice. A lot of starring involved.
What did you discover about yourself that you never knew before? That the love I am is not only nurture but nature. My mom and dad who adopted me love me so much, so so much, but my birth family are also so very loving. I see now I am love because it is something that both surrounded me and was in me.
Will you stay connected with your birth family? Most definitely. As much as they’d have me. I want it to grow and be whatever God wants it to be. I’m open, but I hope we grow closer. I want it to be genuine on my part and real. I don’t want to just be like, “oh we’re family because we have the same blood”, but because we have the same heart and goal for the relationship.
Now that you’re back home, how does your adopted family feel about all this? My mother and father are still in awe, happy that it all went well and are happy to get to know my birth family. They are following my lead, whatever I want to happen they are supporting me.
Were you able to ask all the questions you needed to? I honestly didn’t have many questions to ask. I just wanted to know where I came from, why she gave me up, and test the waters to see if there was a possibility of having a relationship of some kind. My birth mother really was very open so there wasn’t much for me to ask. She shared it all willingly. I appreciate her openness. How do you feel about that? I feel good. I know there is still a lot to learn about my birth mother and siblings and the rest of my family so I’m happy to explore that.
How are you feeling TODAY? Today I’m good… We’ll see what the future holds. I feel very at peace with everything. I don’t feel angry, I’m happy but not super ecstatic, I’m in awe with what God has done but not like shocked. It’s kind of hard to explain, but I don’t feel extreme feelings of anything. I’m just kind of going with the flow. So today is good we’ll see what tomorrow will bring.
I’m not sure if you had a companion with you on your visit, but were you able to talk to anyone about all this before, during and after your visit? (outside of GOD and Facebook) Going to visit my birth mother and family, my mom came with me to first meet my birth mother in person and then my mom and dad came with me to meet my birth family. That made me very very happy having them both there. Because they are who I am also, and not having them there would nt have been as fulfilling.
What was that like? (scary, exciting, numb…) I kind of felt like the Dr. Sues book “Are You My Mother?” thankfully I didn’t have to ask around to different women asking if they were my mother, but the idea of asking this woman who I perceived to be my mother, if she was my mother, was just weird. Lol I was nervous and felt very vulnerable. I didn’t know how she would respond and if she would want to know me or have me in her life. I didn’t know if the rest of her family new about me. I didn’t know what to think, if I even wanted to know here, if I even wanted a relationship with her. I think just in my heart I wanted to be known. And I wanted to know. And so now I do! As far as having people to talk to about everything, I had friends that I shared what I was doing. My friend I talked about earlier who is also adopted, I talked with her the day that I decided to reach out to my birth mother and we talked about it and she encouraged me to look again. My other friend who is my prayer partner, I talked to her about it too she knew my story and encouraged me as well along with some other group of very close friends and my mom of course!
What advice can you give to someone who is going through this process? Don’t try to figure it all out at once. Maybe before looking for your birth family spend time praying and asking God to give you discernment and strength. Don’t force yourself to decide if you want a relationship with them or not, just decide to be open to all possibilities without expecting anything except for God to be with you the whole time.
Does this open up a new appreciation for those parents who have decided to give their children up for adoption and those who adopt? This experience definitely helped me to see both perspectives more clearly and to have a bigger heart for the mother who would give up her child. And an appreciation for those mothers as well… because I could easily not be here at all. So praise God she decided to relinquish me into the arms of a mother who was ready and able to love on me. And to the mothers and fathers that adopt, what a selfless sacrificial love you have and a servants heart. I respect people who can and want to raise someone else’s child. May you be blessed! Also every situation is so different, every story is so unique that it’s hard to know what to say or do in any particular situation, but if anything all of this has helped me to see that we are all broken in need of love and that love inside us has the capacity to grow beyond what we could even imagine. Does this make you want to advocate for children who are still looking for a family? Yes!
Would you ever consider adopting a child, knowing what you’ve gone through? (I answered this in the second part of the last question but I’ll put it here! Lol) Yes! I plan on adopting/fostering children in the future. I’d also like to have children naturally as well. There’s enough love in me for everyone.
Thank you Randi for sharing your story! If you are looking for your birth parents or want more information about adoption, click here.
- Twitter @RadioChickBrown
- Facebook @MsKiKiBrown
I met a young lady a few months ago through a business contact and I was amazed by her excitement when she was sharing with me her vision about a new non profit she had been working on called I Am Whole Mentoring. That young lady was Maryilyn Hornsby (pictured below in the center), the Founder and CEO of I AM Whole Mentoring.
The mentoring program is for young women ages 15-25 in the city of Pittsburgh who are longing for mentoring (of course), extended education assistance, job readiness, etiquette, and so much more!
The organization hosted a recruitment and informational in Pittsburgh in July and hosted over 25 aspiring mentors and mentees who are looking forward to starting the new Fall season with some informative events and projects.
I’m excited to see something like this come to the city for our young ladies. For years, I’ve been thinking of starting a non profit (and I will…when I have enough time) and although this concept has been duplicated over and over by so many people, I Am Mentoring is a personal venture from one woman who saw a need to supply the right resources to women not just of younger ages, but those older and more mature who are also struggling to find a happy medium.
If you would like more information, become a mentor or mentee, email info@IAMWholementoring.org.
Make sure you support Mrs. Hornsby and I AM Whole Mentoring. It’s a wonderful thing and our young ladies really could use more good mentors, don’t you think?
Follow them on social media:
- Facebook @IAmWholeMentoring
- Twitter & Instagram @IAMWhole2017
First day I saw this chick, she was walking around the sales floor at Radio One Baltimore with this HUGE afro and jingling bracelets and high heels. I’m like “who is this chick?”
It took a while for us to meet but when we did, it was an instant click!
Ericka Alston is one of the most positive, inspiring and intelligent women I know and I admire her drive so much that I wished to be like her one day.
Being that she’s a lot shorter than I am, I knew that couldn’t happen but I didn’t mind admiring her from afar.
She left Radio One Baltimore about two months ago and since then, Ericka has formed a non-profit, gained employment as a DIRECTOR OF PR for a health care firm, and is breaking barriers in Baltimore and beyond!
I knew this chick had something and I’m glad she took the time to be my feature on This Radio Chick Rocks.
Here’s her story:
What is your occupation?
I am currently the Director of PR, Marketing and Business Development for Maryland Community Health Initiatives, Inc and it’s Penn-North Community Resource Center.
I happen to also be the Founder and Executive Director for The Be Extraordinary Project, a self efficacy program for young adults 18-25, recovering from substance abuse, our mission is to help raise the self esteem of these young people, for we believe when we feel better, we do better!
What is that exactly?
In my role as Director of PR, Marketing and Business Development, I am charged with the public relations and communications strategy of the organization, while also developing and fostering relationships with stakeholders, key influencers and our local, state and government politicians. In laymen’s terms, I am responsible for how the community and funders view our organization and the great works that we do.
For The Be Extraordinary Project, I am responsible for our overall vision and making certain that I have the people in place to carry that out, while strategizing our growth. In both roles I am held accountable to the lives of people and not numbers.
Did you have to go to school for that? What was your major?
I hold a Bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration and a double master’s in Journalism and Corporate Communication.
What was it about this particular field that struck your interest?
I am a person in long term recovery from substance abuse, it was imperative that I give back to others what was given to me and that is HOPE.
When you left your last job, you immediately starting working on this one. Was this always “in” you and when the door opened, you ran for it? Why?
My last day on my previous job, I actually didn’t know what I was going to do, I have 15 years experience in public relations and marketing, my layover in my previous position was supposed to be a 90-day to 6-month stay to get me over the hit I had taken during the recession, I had previously owned my own PR Firm, Pyramid Public Relations. Got the new gig and it was easy, so 3-months turned into 3-years, during those 3-years I had been ignoring my call to help those like me. I got home and I happen to be in a relationship with the most supportive man on the planet, he looked at me and said, “you know what you have to do now?” and I didn’t. He said “you have to start your program and I support you 100%, Do whatever you have to and I’ve got your back. Don’t let anyone, including me tell you that you can’t succeed at this, because you can!” So I did.
Who were (or are) your mentors?
I don’t necessarily have mentors, however my life was forever changed after a few friends and I attended the Associated Black Charity’s Girls Night Out, featuring Iyanla Vansant – we walked away knowing that if we were not living in our purpose, we were merely wasting time. I realized I didn’t have much more time to waste.
Who are your biggest supporters?
My partner for life, Edward. My daughters Aundrea and Akcire and I have two of the most supportive and encouraging accountability partners any business woman could have, unquestionably both of them have been featured in your series, Rochelle Boykin of FabFitParty.com and Tabitha Rector of Premiere Homes Realty. My road dogs!
How do you stay encouraged?
I have an awesome intimate, personal relationship with God, I also believe in energy and make certain that I am always surrounded by and produce good, positive, productive energy.
What inspires you?
The smiles on the faces of those I help inspire me, there is no greater reward than the smile on the face of a young person that was once hopeless, full of life, faith and enthusiasm as a result of anything that you were able to give them to get them there.
Are there ever moments, even in the newness of this business, do you feel overwhelmed and want to give up? Can you share?
KiKi, it’s amazing, when you live in your purpose, when your life becomes your ministry, there are no hours, you don’t check the clock on the wall, you look up and it’s 2 am and you can keep going but know that you must rest, you are eager to get up in the morning and do more and more and more – I have not had the experience of being overwhelmed, I’m basking in that!
I would say your job is a pretty demanding one. What do you enjoy most from your job?
The satisfaction of letting our community and state know that people in our program recover! They battle their demons and learn to live life a new way, I get the luxury of shattering stereotypes everyday. I do not look like addiction or homelessness or despair but that is exactly what I’ve been rescued from and my work allows me to be a vessel to help rescue others. It is demanding but worth it and I wouldn’t trade it. When I began working in this capacity, I began sharing that I didn’t realize that I had a dream job until I started working here.
What is the most irritating thing about your job?
The stigma associated with recovery. The illusion of once an addict always an addict and that my people don’t change, we do. We do recover, I’m here to help prove it.
Some people would say your job is “boring”. You would say what about your job?
Ha! That is laughable, there is never a dull moment, never! Boring is not a word that can be used to describe my day to day work. I wear many hats in this long title and most often, none of them are associated with public relations or marketing, I am hugging and consoling, encouraging and motivating folks that many have given up on for most of my workday. I am the first stop for many of the 180 residents that live here – sometimes they just need someone to listen to them or a shoulder to cry on, they’ve been thru a lot and being here for them is nothing close to boring, it’s actually quite invigorating!
What do you want people to “take away” when patronizing your business?
That we are real people, that addiction touches the lives of all of us, that we are not numbers or statistics, we are sons and daughter, mothers and fathers, grandparents friends and neighbors that for whatever reason could no longer play the hand that was dealt to us and chose drugs and alcohol for refuge, figured out that drugs were just a symptom of our problem and made decisions to try again – all any of us ever wanted was another chance, people walk away from the Penn-North Center, knowing that we all deserve a second chance and my organization is helping those that come here go to the moon and beyond with this last chance.
Who are your main clients? Anyone suffering from substance abuse, with or without insurance. We even have a few of the Unger Project dudes, recently released from prison after doing 40 to 50 years in jail, we have a thriving, vibrant community of clients. Drug addiction does not discriminate.
The Be Extraordinary Project is for both male and female clients 18-25, also recovering from substance abuse; we actually operate in both the Penn-North Community Resource Center and within Mountain Manor Treatment Center for Adolescents and Young Adults.
How many hats do you wear and which hat makes you the most proud?
I am a mother, I am in the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in, in my life –thus making me a partner to him. I have the hats that I wear professionally but I am most proud of the mother and partner that I am.
I decided to interview you because I believe you are truly inspiring to me through the conversations we have and the wisdom you share. Where do you get this from? Like, who would you credit is responsible for your personality?
Thank you so much. Ironically, I am a member of a 12-step program, I believe in the steps and traditions of that program. When I entered recovery I was taught that my most important relationship would be with the God of my understanding, not thru religion or anything taught but by how I come to KNOW him, personally. I have learned thru life’s experiences that material wealth and superficial things don’t fix our internal, spiritual problem, so I am inspired wisdom shared with me from other recovering people and their experiences. We are all recovering from something, I just happen to be surrounded by people living in the solution, knowing that I have always been my problem, I live a life working on me, when I rest at night knowing that I spent the day being the absolute best version of myself, I smile.
What song makes you LOSE YOUR MIND? This is embarrassing…. Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off!
What is your favorite line in a movie and why? “All my life, I had to fight.” – Color Purple, and sorry I don’t use if seriously, anytime I say it – I am most times being an absolute nut.
What makes you suck your teeth and roll your eyes? Women that don’t support or uplift other women! We have to do better. When we realize that we all have our stuff, that another women is not my competition or my problem, that I don’t want your shoes, your bag or your man – we’ll be in a better place <insert teeth sucking and an eye roll here>
If there was a Lifetime movie made about your life, who would play you? Tell me why you chose that person. Gabrielle Union, duh, don’t you see it? Lol. But seriously, the whole Being Mary Jane thing was what I thought I wanted my life to be, and then I got a real life.
What is ONE THING about you (you’d be willing to share) that NO ONE knows about you?
I just did, that for 2 years I was addicted to crack cocaine, homeless and hopeless and for the past 18 years I have been living a life beyond my wildest dreams!
What would you want your legacy to be? That every woman grow into a place that she knows her true self worth and lived in it, never willing to settle because she knows that what she dreams of when she drifts off into daydreams in the middle of the day is obtainable. We are worthy. We are worthy. We are worthy. We live in that and teach our daughters to live in it as well. Forever.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? The Be Extraordinary Project being recognized nationally and a model used across the country to help our young people feel better and do better.
Through my work here at Penn-North and the business development efforts and strategies, I foresee me in a role of Vice President of Public Affairs in less than 5 years.
What are your biggest regrets? I have none. Every single decision I’ve made got me here and I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else but here.
How can you be reached? (email, social media, etc.)
I am virtually everyone’s Facebook friend
https://www.facebook.com/ericka.alston and https://www.facebook.com/TheBeExtraOrdinaryProject?fref=ts
Feel free to email me: Easlton@penn-north.org
More Extraordinary Women In Some Extraordinary Places:
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
Baltimore is known for the hottest hair stylists and the best hair trends across the country.
It’s one thing to know a dope stylist but it’s another to know a chick who can put together some amazing hair products to help your crown stay looking beautiful and healthy.
DivaByCindy, owned and operated by Cindy Tawiah, is one woman in the hair care industry who has the passion to reach out to her community promoting a healthy lifestyle (for your hair, that is). She’s been featured in many magazines, blog sites and the most powerful method of communication…WORD OF MOUTH!
I use DivaByCindy products and I must say if it weren’t for Miss Cindy’s hair care products, I would be planting flowers at my edges’ gravesite (no joke).
How did Miss Cindy get started? Why did she choose the hair care industry to build her empire? Find out inside our one-on-one:
What is your occupation?
I am a manufacturer of a hair care brand which heals hair and hearts. I am an intuitive healer and an author. I am also a former Hair salon owner (7 years)
What made you want to get into this particular industry?
When I was 16years old, I was introduced to beauty product manufacturing . I was failing a Chemistry class and my teacher taught me how to make nail polish and lipstick. He inspired my love of the subject by teaching me a practical application. We had a science fair and he presented me as a Cosmetologist and a Chemist. My passion was born, but due to parental pressure, I decided to pursue a career as an RN. However, I left nursing after 13 years to become an entrepreneur.
What is it about you competitors that help your product stand out? Our focus has always been on healthy hair (whether natural or relaxed), women shed 100 -150 strands of hair per day and Diva by Cindy contains powerful healing ingredients such as, panthenol , chamomile ,horsetail, rosemary, peppermint , camphor, menthol to mention a few. Which help stop hair shedding and breakage and help stimulate hair growth.
Because of my background in health and science, our products were also designed to include women who experience hair loss as a result of chemotherapy, hypertension, thyroid issues etc. For those who have experienced traction and tension alopecia, we have a great product, the Super Gro Hair dress, which helps restore growth.
Our product is the only hair care brand which not only donates proceeds to help victims of domestic but also helps the homeless by providing a day of beauty and healing for the ladies from local shelters through The Diva Project.
How did you get started in your career? I finally had the courage to leave Nursing after 13 years. I was extremely disillusioned with my life and choice of career. I knew from day one as an RN that I didn’t belong ( I loved the patients , I loved caring for people). I belonged to something which could help me reach more people and touch lives in a more profound way and what I am doing is it.
Did you go to school for this? I have a strong science background and had a lot of experience running my hair salons for 7 years. Everything I did has prepared me for this.
Back in the day, could you see yourself doing this type of work? Yes, the products were always my passion, but I didn’t realize that the Social Entrepreneurship would be also be my vocation . I wanted to create beauty products when I was younger , but now my hearts desire and focus is to use the brand to help women in a more life changing and meaningful way.
When a women uses the products, her hair becomes healthier and she experiences growth, less shedding, breakage, and an overall transformation in her hair’s look and feel. What she doesn’t realize is that the products she has bought and are also opening the door to healing for another women, a victim of domestic violence who will experience a life transforming day from Diva by Cindy because of the actions of the initial purchaser. We are here on this earth to make a difference and everything we do affects another. So setting off a positive chain reaction and a cycle is what this brand does. We are about healing hair and hearts in the community.
What shocks you today about how far you’ve come in this industry?
The seven years have been wonderful and I am grateful to God for sustaining me this far, because the cliché is, “ Most businesses fail within their first 5 years”, mistakes may occur but failure is not an option. Because we are providing a service that is needed for those without a voice , we are genuine and sincere.
In the hair care industry there are so many who are motivated only by themselves and their companies profits. But we serve our consumers in a more compassionate and caring way. My hearts concern and desire for every woman who connects is the she find peace and healing and learns to love and embrace her hair whether its natural and relaxed.
What does or has your business done to help the community? (outreach, foundation, community service, free service, etc)
Our business is focused on helping and healing victims of domestic violence and have helped over 450 in MD, DC and VA via our programme( The Diva Project). Sunshine Promises is our Foundation and we have provide : FREE Hair services, manicures, massages and have had various speakers during events to help uplift and transform the ladies from shelters and transitional housing whom we service.
Because your brand serves a particular genre, do you feel that sometimes people take advantage of you or your service? If so, how do you deal with that? No, the victims of domestic violence have not taken advantage of our services because they truly need them.
What is the scariest part about working in this field?
I have not had any fears with my products its more so my Healing Gift . When people find out the uniqueness of what I possess they require more of me and sometimes I am a bit overwhelmed by that .
Have you ever had a terrible learning experience while working in this industry?
Yes, there have been many. There was a gentleman in the industry who promised to get my products out there if I paid him certain amount of money. Against my better judgment I did and he never produced and he took off. I have paid PR companies (owners of PR and marketing companies) who have scammed me and delivered no results. Stores and people who ask for FREE products and state they will help and they receive the items and reveal the true intentions. Because I am passionate about what the products do ( restore hair to it optimal health, growth) and who it also helps I find that there have been a lot of trickery out there . Even though I have a strong sense of intuition my love for wanting the products to grow exponentially ( Nationally ) has blinded me to some of the dishonest dealings of those seeking to “ Rape a sister “ who is only trying to help another sister who may have been violated.
What was the best advice given to you?
Watch your transactions with people. Money is not the only form of currency, “ Spirit is a currency” there have been key people in my life this year who have made a huge difference in my life my helping me in a very profound way and I will not let them forget how there kind words actions and belief in what I am has meant so much.
(Check out this old video footage of Radio Chicks Rock alum LaDawn Black! WOW)
Would you say that you understand the difference between gifts and talents? What are your gifts and talents? Yes I do “Your talents” are incorporated into your skills at work and in your career you can develop . Your gifts are what you are born to do. Operating in your gift is effortless.
Were you ever on the receiving end of a customer or client’s reaction that surprised you so much it made you think about why you do what you do? Describe. When doing in-store promotions you approach people and share product knowledge etc, some people may appear angry and abrupt. But I always know in my heart that they me be reacting not to me but something internally (within themselves).
Who do you admire in this industry? Why?
Paul Mitchell ( John Paul Degoria) I would love to meet him he is hard working , kind and philanthropic their company also helps the needy and make a difference. Love his philosophy.
Does it ever become too much for you? How do you remain focused and positive? Not at all , Changing the world “ One day and one Diva at a time “ I meditate and try and spend Sundays clearing my mind by watching Lifetime. I learn to forgive and move on each day is a new day filled with opportunities.
I believe I saw your product in a major magazine. If true, what was that experience like for you? (if this does not apply, please leave it blank) We were featured in Essence Holiday gift guide a few years back . We have been in industry magazines like Beauty Store Business, and I am a contributing writer for OTC . WE would love to share our journey and mission with O and Essence etc so women can realize their true potential. The title of my book is “Metamorphosis: Finding Your Passion , Finding Your Purpose, Finding U” It is my journey from Hair care to health care and it chronicles my experience with domestic violence. I believe a major magazine feature would help inspire more women to “ Change their focus and change their future”
Have you had your “mama I made it” moment yet? If not, what would that be for you?Not yet, I am so hard on myself and always feel there is more to do. More lives to change. I believe it will happen soon though .
Where do you see your business going in the next 10-15 years? International (yes we have received orders from England and shipped products to Ghana West Africa ( where I was born ) I see more women with hair and life transformational stories. Using my gift and my products to reach all who desire : Healing Change and Transformation. Distribution in chain retail stores where women can have access to the Diva by Cindy products.
If there was something you’ve never done before but you were given the opportunity to do it today, what would it be? I would have loved to do what I am doing now earlier, timing is everything . And all my experiences have led me to this point .I may love and care too much , and that’s alright because the secret ingredient in the Diva Products is LOVE
What is your favorite quote and why? Spirit is a currency (Cindys Quote) and you can’t receive with a clenched fist.
How can people reach out to you?
Call : 1800-929-4057
Read about more powerful chicks in business doing great things:
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
Tabitha Richardson agreed to speak to my Charm School about the importance behind making smart decisions and how those decisions can lead to a smarter lifestyle. Although the eyes and ears listening were between the ages of 10 and 17, Tabitha made it a point to attracted them with appetizing references about wants and needs as well as renting and owning.
What the children didn’t know was Mrs. Richardson was reaching an audience of renters and dreamers. Parents in attendance realized they could own their dream home if only they followed the right steps towards their goals.
I wanted to know how she got started in the business of real estate because you have to be a special “kind of something” to be a woman (let alone an African American woman) in a male dominated business like real estate.
- How is she received by her customers?
- Are men harder on her than women (or vice verse)?
- Does she specialize to just one genre or can anyone purchase a home/business?
I was so excited when Tabitha decided to set aside some time from her busy schedule to grant me with this interview. Enjoy!
Are you from Baltimore?
No, I’m originally from the Bronx, NY. I transferred here with my job Verizon in 2002.
What is your occupation?
I own a real estate brokerage, Premier Homes Realty, in Owings Mills, MD. I started out as a part-time Realtor in 2005 and then eventually went full-time.
Did you go to college (where/major)?
How long have you been in this profession?
I’ve been in sales since I started working out of high school. However, I’ve been a licensed Realtor since 2005 and a Broker/Owner since 2012.
What is it about this industry that struck your interest?
I initially got into this field by accident. After I bought my first home in Maryland, I had a few friends and colleagues ask how they can buy a home too. After I referred a few friends to my Realtor, I realized instead of referring people I could become a Realtor myself. After working with a few clients, I realized I enjoyed helping families become home buyers. It is a rewarding experience to be able to give someone the keys to their first home!
Are there challenges in this industry being a woman? Or an African-American women in this industry?
I believe every industry has its own challenges, however being a woman in real estate has many advantages. As a Realtor, you are an independent contract which allows you flexibility. In any sales job, your success is determined by ability to market yourself to your sphere of influence. As an African-American woman, I feel this is a great industry to be in.
What is the biggest misconception about the real estate company today?
Some of the misconceptions of being a Realtor is the amount of time, work and energy needed to be successful. Some people believe they can get their license and the business will come. However to be successful you should have great people skills, have sales experience, know how to promote and market yourself effectively, have excellent follow up skills and be able to manage/maintain paperwork.
How easy/difficult is it for families to buy a home or commercial property today?
After the real estate market declined, it was very difficult to purchase a home. You had to jump through a lot of hoops in order to get financing. A lot of safeguards have been put in place so we do not have another real estate crash. Today, the market is doing well. More and more people are purchasing homes again and become first-time home buyers. There are several first-time home buyer grants available to assist families with down payment funds to buy a house.
What are your techniques in helping families obtain a home/commercial property?
The first step in purchasing a home is to get pre-qualified for a loan. A prospective home buyer would need to contact a lender to start this process. The lender would pull the homebuyers credit to see if they can be pre-qualified now or if additional steps are needed before pre-qualification. Based on what the lender says, will determine how to move forward. I encourage anyone thinking of buying to contact a lender to see what is need to purchase a house. Things to consider are credit score, financial investment and timing.
What is the biggest upset that you encounter while performing your job? (ex: when clients don’t follow through, lack of knowledge, etc.)
As a Realtor, we are 100% commission based. We do not make any money until the client closes on their home. If the client does not purchase, we do not make a commission. With that said, as a Realtor we spend a lot of our time and money to assist our clients with finding a house. The biggest disappointment is when our clients do not respect the time and effort we give to them.
There have been many times when I was at a house waiting for a client to show up and then they call at the appointment time to say they cannot make it. It is a disappointment, however we have to maintain our professionalism and continue to provide the best customer service we can. At the end of the day, the goal is to make our clients happy!
Do you have another business/hobby that takes your mind off of your demanding job? If so, what is it?
I have another company I started called Kurly Gurly. It is a line of satin lined baseball caps designed to help reduce damage to your natural hair when wearing hats. I create this line while going through my own natural hair journey. I felt if this was going to help me, then maybe there are other woman who would be interested in a hat with a satin-lining too.
Why did you decide to take up this particular “hustle”?
I am a serial entrepreneur so if I see an opportunity, I am going to explore it. I love the process of starting a business and developing it. With Kurly Gurly, it was just something that I thought would fill a need in the natural hair industry.
Do you recommend most women take up an additional hobby/trade/career for fulfillment?
Managing one career as an entrepreneur is hard enough! I think before anyone starts another job, career or hobby, they should first make sure they are successful in their main field. However, if taking up a second hustle helps to make you happy and feel more fulfilled, then I say go for it!
How does your professional career/interest help the community?
I really do enjoy what I do! I help people who never thought they could buy a house realize that that dream is available to them too. I help to educate my community on the real estate industry so they are equipped with the knowledge to make educated decisions. I get so excited when I get messages from people asking me to help them buy their first house. I try to provide useful real estate information on my Facebook page on a weekly basis.
With owning my real estate brokerage, it give me the opportunity to help people who want to become Realtors by training them and assisting them to become independent Realtors.
Where do you see your career going in the next five years?
My goal is to continue to build my real estate brokerage to help those who are seeking a career in real estate and to help more people buy and sell houses. I am also seeking to get certified to offer new license training for prospective Realtors.
What advice do you have for a college student looking to work in your field?
This is a great field for a college student. It will offer them additional income and allow them the flexibility to create their schedules around school. They also have a huge lead source of people/friends that are looking to rent houses and buy property. There are many college students that are real estate investors looking to buy houses to rent out to other college students.
How do you maintain a positive attitude while working in your field?
There are a lot of things that can frustrate you in any job, however I always try to look at the bigger picture of what I’m trying to accomplish. I also like to keep positive people around me that help to build and motivate me.
Describe an amazing success story (for either profession if not both).
I find joy every time one of my clients get’s the keys to a new home. But I love the feeling I get when a new Agent I’ve trained has their first closing. I love the saying, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime!”
What is something about you that no one knows but you’d be willing to share?
I am an early bird!. I wake up early in the morning (weekends included) and I love to read motivational books that inspire me to be a better wife, mother, friend and business woman. I also go to bed super early. By 10pm I am knocked out because I need 7-8 hours of sleep to be able to function the next day.
Best advice someone ever gave you was…
Just do it! Many times we get caught up in the details of things and it hinders us from moving forward. I can be a bit of a perfectionist so sometimes I’ll get caught up in making sure all details are perfect instead of just moving forward. This trait can be a curse and a blessing. One thing I’ve learned is that everything does not have to be perfect to be good.
(Finish the sentence) “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for….” the grace in God. Trusting and believing in God for he has been an integral part of the success I’ve achieved!
(Finish the sentence) “In order to finish this ‘race’, I need to have…” an increased faith in God along with the close support of my friends and family.
Best quote that gets you through…
His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
For with God nothing should be impossible.
How can you be reached? (social media, website, email, etc.)
Premier Homes Realty
Office: (410) 363-1535
Fax: (410) 363-1536
11240 Reisterstown Rd
Owings Mills, MD 21117
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
You may also want to read about: Business Women in Baltimore
Boys and Girls Club of America, CMO, community, Elizabeth Kemp Caulder, family, March of Dimes, marketing, Media Star Promotions, Oswego Graduate School of Business, Prematurity Awareness Initiative, promotions, sorority, State University of New York, Tau Eta Zeta chapter, zeta phi beta sorority
I’m sure you’re scratching your head trying to figure out what a CMO does so I’ll keep the info to myself so you can read it in Elizabeth’s one on one.
Elizabeth and I met at a chapter meeting for our sorority (Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, Tau Eta Zeta Chapter). She came in with her son David and lit up the room with her bright eyes and beautiful smile. (No, she’s not my woman crush…she’s just that beautiful).
Her spirit is just as amazing as her personality. Elizabeth is genuine and humble and she exudes what a true woman is with pride and intelligence.
She’s passionate about a few things: family (of course), her company, her sorority, and her philanthropic efforts for the March of Dimes and Prematurity Awareness. (just a few things)
Elizabeth juggles a great deal everyday, but you wouldn’t hear her complain about it because she’s a strong-willed sista!
You can definitely learn a few things from Mrs. Elizabeth Kemp Caulder!
What is your current occupation?
I am the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Media Star Promotions, a Maryland-based, experiential entertainment marketing agency.
What is that exactly?
A CMO is a corporate executive responsible for marketing activities in an organization. My primary focus is to help my company establish and maintain competitive advantage and increase sales through the effective implementation of my marketing plan. As the CMO, I am also considered to be the Chief Influence Officer of the firm. In my role, I am responsible not only for shaping the public perception of my agency but also for bringing the company together as one voice.
Did you attend school for this career? Which school and what was your major?
I studied at the State University of New York at Oswego’s Graduate School of Business for an MBA with a Marketing Management concentration.
Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?
Actually, when I was an undergraduate, I had planned to go to Law School. I had taken my LSAT and had performed extremely well; but prior to applying to Law Schools, I was offered the opportunity to get my MBA for free. You can’t beat free! I had originally planned to finish my Master’s and then go on to Law School, but I was so sick of being a broke student that I took a break from school and began my career in marketing. It turned out to be a pretty good choice!
What is the most challenging part of your job?
I would say that the most difficult part of my job is convincing a client not to do something that they may really have heart for. From time to time, clients can get stuck on an idea they personally like. They can become attached to the concept and maniacally committed to bringing it to life. This can be a good thing or, when the trend on which the idea is based is not relevant to the client’s target market, it can be a very bad thing. In the latter case, it can be extremely challenging to convince the client that their consumer base is not likely to share the same enthusiasm for the idea. Being gracefully blunt is a very thin tightrope, but somehow I have been able to help our clients to avoid some pretty wasteful investments.
Do you ever get stuck or uninspired? If so, how do you recover from that?
My job affords me the luxury to work with diverse, creative personalities from both internal teams and external partners. With so much diversity of thought and perspective, it is really difficult to become uninspired. In order to make sure that I am able to refresh my perspective, I attend a number of trend analysis and consumer insight seminars and conferences to collaborate with a wider group of marketers and futurists.
We’re hiring promotional tour team members. Visit the Media Star Promotions career page to apply.http://mediastarpromo.com/company/careers.html
Is your industry a male-dominated industry? What are your thoughts on that?
Yes, my industry is definitely male-dominated. Women in business continue to make strides; however, we still have a long way to go. It is wonderful to see women increasingly holding positions and working in fields that have been traditionally occupied by men. Nonetheless, I think that our percentages of these roles should be more correlative with the population percentages in this country… and don’t get me started on compensation! It is simply ridiculous that in this day and age equal pay is still a major, unresolved issue! When we look specifically at women of color in business, we have even further to go. I must say that I am proud to see executives like Ursula Burns, Indra Nooyi, and Rosalind Brewer breaking molds, leading major organizations and paving the way for the next generation of businesswomen of color.
What was your first major project? How did it turn out? What did you learn from that experience?
My first major project was running, at the time, the largest national marketing program in the country. The program spanned 53 full-time markets and included a 45-event date, hip-hop tour. It was a massive undertaking and an amazing success. The experience taught me the same lessons I think we learn throughout our lives—you can do anything you put your mind to and hard work and dedication will always prevail!
What are your hobbies?
My absolute favorite thing to do when I have free time is to read. The funny thing is that between, family, career, and community projects, I don’t have very much free time. When I’m travelling, I do make sure to log some great reading time during taxi, takeoff and landing; but I typically spend most flights working. I have recently mastered the art of reading on the treadmill, which now guarantees me some time for leisure reading!
How do you juggle family and career?
My career is important to me, but my family comes first. I waited until my career was pretty well established before starting a family. This decision allowed me to dedicate myself unencumbered to my career, demonstrating not only my commitment; but, more importantly, the value that I can bring to my organization and our clients. My job can be demanding, and at times it is difficult to strike the right work-life balance. My husband is an amazing, supportive partner and an active parent. Not only does he keep me centered, but he also takes the lead with family responsibilities when during times when my workload requires a shift in focus away from the home. (He really is my better half, but don’t tell him I said that! I can see his head growing in size already!) Additionally, I am blessed to work with a fantastic team at a family-friendly company; and I have earned the luxury to cut out early when I need to and the flexibility to work remotely when necessary as well.
What is the biggest misconception about women in your field of work?
I think that one of the misconceptions about women in my industry is that we are suitable as creatives but not as leaders. To the contrary, I work closely with a number of amazing women leaders, both internally and externally; and we are disproving this myth with each day and each successful project!
What is your primary goal in regards to your career? (Management, ownership, etc.)
My primary goal is to continue to be a good steward of my clients’ investment in marketing services. I want to ensure that our strategic plans and flawless execution keeps them loyal to my agency by yielding the results that make their brands, and as a result, my firm, more successful year over year.
Do you have any community service projects or non-profit programs that you work for/on/with?
Personally, for the last 20 years I have had the honor to be a member of the international service organization, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, where I currently belong to the Baltimore chapter, Tau Eta Zeta. Within the organization, I serve as the Coordinator for both March of Dimes and Prematurity Awareness Initiatives for the State of Maryland, and I am also esteemed to sit on the Board of the Sharon K. Harvey Memorial Foundation.
Professionally, my organization regularly works local service projects with a number of partners (Habitat For Humanity, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Santa’s Little Helpers, Friendship Outreach Center, MD SPCA, etc.) in order to do our part to support those in need in the greater Baltimore community,
What makes you most proud? (anything)
My proudest moments typically involve anything to do with the early life milestones of my two little boys. Those dudes never cease to amaze me. I am also known to get that mommy-esque gleam in my eye when one of my team members overcomes a hurdle or attains a new professional achievement.
What is you biggest pet peeve?
Excuses. Nuff said.
What would be your advice to anyone who wanted to do what you do?
Work hard, take the initiative, build relationships, maintain integrity and don’t ever quit.
What was the best advice anyone ever gave you?
The Seven P’s. Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance!
Ok, when you’re alone in your car, what’s the song that you totally lose your mind to?
So… I am a HUGE hip hop head. I just love the art form, perhaps a bit too much for the people close to me! I have been known to lecture my young nieces and nephews about the history and evolution of the genre, comparative analysis of lyrical abilities of the greats, et cetera, et cetera! Biggie, 2Pac, Nas, Jay-Z, Rakim, KRS-One, Slick Rick… I could go on and on and on! It is so hard to pick one song, since there are so many that will get me all riled up all for different reasons, when I am different moods or experiencing different situations. I do love Special Ed’s “I Got It Made”. I rap every line; every time. As soon as I hear it, the song will be stuck in my head forEVER, but I don’t mind. I really think that song would be a major hit if it was just dropped today!
One thing people wouldn’t know about you but you don’t mind sharing is…
I can assemble and disassemble an M-16 A1 and I am a great shot! I actually attended United States Marine Corps OCS in Quantico, VA, and I am proud to say that I am also married to a former Marine! Semper Fidelis!
If you could pick a theme song while walking down the street, what would that song be and why?
India Irie’s “Video”. It’s an upbeat and happy tune that gets me singing and can brighten even the darkest of days. I love the empowering message in the lyrics that I believe applies to us all– especially women. Nowadays, it seems that people are too focused on things that are really not that important, and so many of us don’t really recognize our worth. To me, that song says: Be yourself! God created you to be exactly the way you are, which means that you are perfect!
Biggest regret is…
Regrets are like unicorns… I don’t believe in either!
How can people reach you? (website, social media, email, etc.)
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
You may also want to read:
30 under 30, HIV/AIDS, Lauren Gill, MECU, non-profit, Power Publicity, Publicist, publicity agents, radiochicksrock, ThisRadioChickRocks, young people doing great things in Baltimore, youth financial marketing
Lauren Gill and I met when she spoke at my very first Charm School for girls back in 2012. She spoke on behalf of MECU as the young adult marketing specialist; advising the girls on how to save their money, make smart financial decisions and know the difference between and want and a need.
She triggered something and I stayed in contact with her ever since.
Lauren and I bumped into each other from time to time throughout the years and she always greets me with a big smile and a pleasant hug (not a church hug). She’s genuine and that’s what I got from her on day one.
She’s knows her stuff and she doesn’t hover over you about it. You’ll know from her walk, her conversation and her actions. I guess you can say, she is the proof in the pudding.
Lauren has since changed her profession and I was shocked to hear that she’s taken her interest toward something that she’s passionate about; helping people.
She was doing that with MECU, but this time, the caliber has changed.
Lauren is the Chief Power Specialist of Power Publicity and you’ll find out more inside her one on one.
To know she took a leap out on faith to focus more towards something that makes her heart beat deeper and faster, gives me a feeling of assurance that the person she represents will be well protected and well….represented!
I might need her to represent me one day! Hmmm…that’s a good idea! (lol)
What is your occupation?
I am an entrepreneur, publicist, and the Chief Power Specialist of Power Publicity. Power Publicity is a marketing, branding, and public relations firm that empower entertainment, nonprofit, and lifestyle brands.
How did you get started in your career?
I got started in my career by interning while in college. I interned for everybody. My internships were in various industries including financial services, government, and entertainment.
What do you like/love most about your career?
I love that I can combine my skills with one of my passions. I’ve always wanted to work in entertainment as a child. I had dreams of being a rock star as a child but decided to work in the business side as I got older. One day I was watching an episode of Diary on MTV with Destiny’s Child or Beyoncé (I feel kind of old even though I’m not) and I saw their publicist Yvette Noel-Schure. I thought to myself “hmm I could do that job.” When I got to college and learned about public relations, I discovered I had the natural abilities to be a publicist. I continued to hone my skills and gain experience.
I also love that my career allows me to be an entrepreneur. While I love being a publicist. I am first an entrepreneur at heart. A career in public relations allows you to work for a corporation, government agency, nonprofit, agency, or as a freelancer. Before I decided to become a publicist, I knew I wanted to own my own business. My desire led me to start my firm; Power Publicity.
What did you do before you started this particular art and why was it necessary to switch gears?
After I graduated from Temple, I became the Young Adult Marketing Specialist at MECU; which was a great experience. I learned a lot about marketing and PR, traveled, and worked with some amazing people.
What’s the biggest misconception about what you do and how do you respond to it?
That it’s super glamorous and all you do is rub elbows with celebrities, politicians, and other important people. Public relations require a lot of hard work and long hours. There is a lot of strategy and planning that goes into building and raising awareness of a client’s brand. You need tenacity to be in this business because there are plenty of rough days to go with the good days.
Every person has a story that’s “one for the books”. That could mean it was a good experience or a bad one. What is a “one for the books” story for you?
Attending and volunteering for SXSW for the first time this past year. It felt so amazing to be surrounded by so much musical talent. I had a great time working, networking, and seeing so many artists perform. Getting back to my hotel at the end of every night after all the showcases was also an adventure in itself. Anyone who has been to SXSW knows what I mean.
What industry do you admire the most and why?
The entertainment industry; I’ve always been fascinated with it.
If there was something you’ve never done before but you were given the opportunity to do it today, what would it be?
Travel across the world for a month. I wanted to do it after I graduated from college, but I didn’t have the money.
Is this market a difficult market to work in your occupation?
No. There is a lot opportunity within the region. I also have access to New York, Philly, and DC, which are a car trip away.
In 5 years, where do you see yourself?
Growing Power Publicity to having an office with staff and grossing a $1 million dollars in revenue, a MBA graduate from one of the top programs in the country, starting a nonprofit related to HIV/AIDS and doing advocacy work, and owning a shoe line. I also hope to be somebody’s wife and mommy.
What was the craziest (career) experience you had doing your job? One that you had to sit down and collect yourself for doing it or experiencing it?
For those who aspire to do what you do, what would be your advice?
Learn as much as you can about the industry and intern, intern, intern! Learning doesn’t just involve formal education. Read books, attend conferences, and volunteer. Get a mentor to guide you and to keep you accountable to your goals especially if you want to be an entrepreneur.
In your industry, who do you admire the most and why?
Yvette Noel Schure, Marvet Britto, Monica Alexander, Kymberlee Norsworthy, and Parisnicole Payton. Yvette Noel-Schure sparked my initial interest in PR and has worked with Beyonce’, Mariah Carey, Prince, and countless others. I respect Marvet Britto as a businesswoman that created her own lane. She was unable to get a job in PR, studied for 2 years by reading books, and opened her own firm. I can somewhat relate to her story as I was rejected from every major PR firm for a job and now own a firm today. Monica, Kymberlee, and Parisnicole are my mentors and are responsible for helping me to get started in this industry. Each of these ladies have over 20 years of experience and between the 3 of them have worked with many A-list music artists and NFL players.
If you weren’t currently doing your job, what job would you be doing and why?
Running the HIV/AIDS nonprofit I would like to start. However, I wouldn’t trade what I’m doing for the world. I love being able to combine my skills with one of my passions. I am also working to build my business so that it runs itself. This will allow me to start a nonprofit and pursue my other interests. Free tip for anybody who wants to be a business owner: the goal of any business owner should be to create an operational system where even if they are not there, they can still make money. The key is to work on your business and not in it.
What is your favorite quote and why?
My favorite quote is actually one of my favorite bible passages. I am naturally a worrier and battle with doubt a lot. This particular passage reminds to not worry but to live, obey God, and do the work.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘what shall we eat? Or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:31-34
How can people reach out to you?
Twitter and Instagram @IamLaurenGill and follow Power Publicity @_powerpublicity and on Instagram @powerpublicity. You can also visit my company website at powerpublicityllc.com
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
Powerful women are doing it BIG in their industries! Read their stories:
Baltimore, challenges with weight, exercise, fitness, fitness classes in Baltimore, gym class, high spirited, Inspiration, One on One w/ Rochelle Boykin, positive, Radio One Baltimore, radiochicksrock, Rochelle Boykin, ThisRadioChickRocks, tired of being fat, video, wellness coach, women and fitness, work out, zumba, zumba class
This chick walks around our building so bubbly and positive that sometimes it’s sickening! She’s so high-spirited and I don’t recall ever seeing her stressed or upset. If she is, you can’t tell.
Rochelle Boykin is the most positive person I know. By day she works as an account executive for Radio One Baltimore (which is a pretty stressful gig). After she clocks out from that gig, she’s headed to the gym; to teach a class! Like the last 8 hours wasn’t exhausting enough!
She teaches zumba and she likes it! I mean really likes it! And the people who take her classes are so happy! One day, I’ll be happy! (sighs)
I tease Rochelle and tell her she’d have to blind-fold me and throw me in a spooky van to get me out of my bed. She laughs but I know she’s thinking about it.
If you’re looking for a personal trainer or wellness coach, Rochelle Boykin is one you might feel bad about hating because she’s just that sweet of a person and she cares about everyone she teaches. But don’t take that for weakness; she bites back!
What’s her focus? Why does she WANT to do this? Who is she doing all this for?
Get all the answers in our one on one!
What is your occupation? I’m a wellness coach!
What is that exactly?
I coach anyone that wants to live a healthier lifestyle. We take small steps to make positive changes whether it’s someone’s eating habits, exercise routines, or even a healthier mental state. My goal is to help my clients make lifestyle changes that affect their overall being for the rest of their lives!
What attracted you to this career choice? Well it started with my love for fitness. I’ve always been really active. I grew up dancing, playing tennis, soccer, gymnastics, etc. My mom kept me extremely busy, and that busy-bee mentality carried me through college and now I can’t get rid of it! I’ve always loved working out, so I was a gym rat. I worked in a gym through college and grad school, and I soaked in so much information. I fall more in love with fitness every day, but I’m really in love with seeing results. The idea of wellness coaching didn’t come along until I started teaching Zumba and subbing Boot Camp classes.
So many of my students would approach me after class and ask me all these questions about their eating habits, my hair process (its definitely a work in progress), my workout routines, skincare, I mean they would ask all kinds of things. And I would give those suggestions and little changes to make…and when they started seeing results they would light up! I’ve seen some of my students make such progress and the changes they made were so small but made such an impact on their health and it makes them so much happier! It makes me extremely happy to see them feeling better about themselves, its like they walk and smile differently now. So that’s what attracts me most to this career…the positive results.
Is this career a male dominated career? If so, how do you stand out or make your mark?
The fitness world is definitely dominated by men and that used to intimidate me. I know a lot of women get intimidated when they enter a gym and all the meatheads are hogging the weights! That used to frustrate me so much! Women can lift weights too! I had to learn to get in my zone when I enter the gym. I turn on my music…I find my area and I tune the world out. The gym really has become my escape, my area of clarity. I’ve caught the meatheads staring at me here and there, trying to figure me out, but now I just laugh it off and take it as a compliment…yea I can be feminine and I can still lift weights. I think I stand out because I’m small and people expect me to just do cardio and dance around all the time. I enjoy lifting weight because I love getting stronger and I actually find the challenge kinda fun.
Your program is not one that’s considered new to the industry. What is it about your company/program that separates you from the other programs?
I try to keep things light and fun! Fitness doesn’t have to be serious all the time! You should have fun when you’re working out! When I’m teaching, I’m working out with the class and I hate a boring class! I lose interest fast so I have to keep it exciting so I don’t get bored! LOL I’ve also found that many of my students and clients are super super busy….and being a gym rat is not always an option for them. So I tailor small changes to the lifestyle that they have, and I keep their workouts concise but effective. In anything consistency is key…but once you start to see results, fitness can become a healthy addiction.
What is the biggest misconception about this industry?
I think there are 2 major misconceptions about the fitness and wellness industries. First- SKINNY DOES NOT EQUAL HEALTHY! It makes me sick when people say “well you’re small so you must be healthy”. NO! That’s not true at all! I personally know some skinny and very unhealthy women. Second- If you work out you’ll be in shape. NO!! If you EAT RIGHT and WORKOUT you will be in great shape!! An excellent workout means nothing if you go home and eat junk. IT’S A LIFESTYLE! It’s what you eat, your exercise routine and your mental health! They all go hand in hand!
Tell me about an inspiring moment you experienced while doing your job? I’ve had a few inspiring moments but they’ve all come from my students that have seen results.
If someone just couldn’t find the strength to participate in your program (points at self), what is your advice for them?
WHAT?! I don’t believe in that…the word “can’t”. I think you really have to want to make a change…once you’re at the point of total disgust with how you’re living, that word “cant” will be used to say “I can’t live like this any longer…let me go take Rochelle’s class and start using some of her recipes”! LOL BUT if you need to start smaller (you have to walk before you can run a marathon)…I always give modifications and in all of my classes I say-do what you can. The first class is always the hardest…but once you get in a groove you wont want to leave. And that’s the feeling you should get in ANY fitness class…you should leave with an energy of happiness and zest!
Have you ever hit a challenging block that made you want to quit? What was it that brought you out of it? Hmmm…no not yet…get back with me in a few years on that one!
Where do you see your program or your initiative in the next 5 years?
I want to expand and take my coaching into different states even if it’s just through my website. I want to start grocery store tours to show people how to buy groceries and what to look out for. And I want to open my own wellness facility! I want it to be a hub for all things wellness including meditation classes, nutrition coaching, FUN classes, FUN weight training…the works!
What advice would you give to someone who was looking to do what you do?
Start with yourself and give yourself time to REST. I’m still learning this lesson myself. Sometimes I beat myself up when I miss a workout because I am my brand and I don’t want to be a fraud…but I’m still human; I’m not a machine. Take rest days! In order to get stronger physically and mentally you MUST take rest days!
Who do you do this for?
I do this for my mother. She sacrificed so much of her life while raising my brother, sister and I…that she neglected her own needs. Now that we are all grown I’m seeing that she is taking more time to better herself and her health and that inspires me, but I wish she had started taking care of her health a long time ago. I do it for my friends and family that always say they don’t have time…but they’re always complaining about their weight. I find the time to work out even if its quick…and small eating changes make a huge difference. If I can do it, they can do it too. So I do this for everyone I love…and if I don’t know you personally I still love you too and I want you to get better! I guess I do it for everyone that wants to live better than.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? I’d probably be a gym teacher or a coach of some kind. It breaks my heart when I see obese children, and obesity causes soooooo many health problems that those kids grow up with. It’s like they never get a fair chance at a healthy life when they’re overweight at a young age. It really kills me inside when I see small children with health problems because of obesity. I want to just run and dace with them all day. When you feel good about yourself, you treat life differently!
How can you be reached?
Websites: www.RochelleZumba.com & www.FabFitParty.com
FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER/IG @JustKiKiBrown
FAN ME ON FACEBOOK @MsKiKiBrown
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