Collaborating. Not Competing. Women Celebrating Women.

I am woman, hear me roar. Women are strong when we want to be weak. We laugh when we want to cry. Sometimes we cry (or even laugh) when we want to run away. We are mothers, wives, sisters, and friends. We are caregivers to our children, our parents, and our spouses. We are employees, and we are bosses.

 

March was Women’s History Month and a prime opportunity to celebrate historical women who have impacted our lives as well as women who are making history. Last month, I had the amazing opportunity to honor and being honored with some truly inspiring women.

The Women of Achievement Awards honors seven women whose stories move us and are moving our city and nation forward. In 2012, I was honored to receive the Heroism award, and last year I was asked to co-host the program, and this year I had the honor of co-chairing the selections committee.

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Each year that I am blessed to participate in the program, I am humbled that the organization saw fit to add me to the list of women doing such great things and changing the world. This year’s class was no exception to the tradition of inspiring others through touching stories of overcoming obstacles and creating change.

Women of Achievement honorees 2017

If you read my book then you might remember when my guidance counselor forgot to announce my scholarship at Awards Day. I felt like she robbed me of my moment to shine when so many people thought this teen mom wouldn’t make it, but that situation taught me a valuable lesson. Although I didn’t like it when she said it, I realized the truth of her statement later.

“I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you, but what’s important is that you got the scholarship.”

Once I embraced that, I never focused on getting recognized for doing what was important, right, or necessary. Because of that, anytime I receive recognition it means so much more to me.

Fresh Touch Publicity held its second annual #HERoine Legacy brunch honoring women with various background who have impacted the community. I am grateful to the event founder, Tee Jay, for sharing my story in the #HERoineLegacy Magazine. I enjoyed meeting the other ladies and reading their amazing stories, and I am truly honored to she chose to include mine.

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In a society where women are more competitive than collaborative, it is refreshing to uplift and encourage another woman.

What are some things that you are doing to uplift and celebrate women?

How can you support and celebrate women in your life?

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My Crazy Journey to Entrepreneurship

Some people dream of owning their own businesses. Being their own boss. Not me.

I loved my corporate job and was ready to be there or some other awesome company until I retired, but God had another plan.

I call myself the Accidental Entrepreneur. 

The life an entrepreneur is not one I would have chosen, but I have learned a lot and would not trade my experiences for anything. Anyone considering entrepreneurship may get some nuggets from this podcast with my journey from being a marketing executive to becoming an author, speaker, college professor, founder of an LLC and a 501(c)(3) using my story to impact lives all over the world. It has been a roller coaster ride, and I am grateful for the journey.

Thank you to my former co-worker turned fellow entrepreneur, Darnell Reid, for the opportunity to share my story on his podcast.

Memphis Success podcast with Darnell Reid

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She’s 95 and Fine! Celebrating My Grandma

Besides God and my internal drive, this beautiful lady is the reason for my S.O. What! success story. My survival and success a teenage mother.

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In 1995, I gave birth at the age of 15 and I lived with my grandmother, Agnes (Dorothy) Idella Owens. Not that my mother was not there or helpful, but she had four younger children of her own. For two years I worked hard in school and on my two jobs so that I could provide for my son and earn a college scholarship. My grandmother, in her seventies, was my babysitter while I went to school, stayed after school for meetings, and went to work.

In 1997 when I moved to Memphis for college, she let my son stay with her for my first year. I went home to Jackson nearly every weekend and brought him back to Memphis sneaking him in my dorm room as often as I could. But she made it possible for me to be a normal college student and get a great start. I made the most of that opportunity determined to make her and my son proud.

A year and a half later I moved my son to Memphis, and I am forever grateful to my grandmother for allowing me the opportunity to lay the foundation for a career and a life where I could take care of myself and my son and even do for her.

On March 10th, this amazing woman turned 95 years young. We celebrated her life with flowers, family, and fun while she is still here to enjoy them all!

The oldest living member of our family, she has hundreds of nieces and nephews many who flew in from everywhere to be with her. Her twin daughters and their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren were there, and my beautiful grandmother couldn’t have been happier.

(Grandma’s children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren We were ALL dressed nicely in purple, black and white, but the kids changed to play before the photos.)

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One of the highlights of the night was the Dorothy through the Decades Fashion show organized by one her great nieces and modeled by her granddaughter (me), her great great granddaughter (my granddaughter) as well as great great nieces.

 

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Grandma is 95 with a mind and memory better than anyone I know. She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s beautiful, she’s kind, and she’s caring. And she’s everything I strive to be. If I’m blessed to see 95, I want to be exactly like her.

I thank God for her, and I’m thankful she can enjoy my granddaughter and pose in our five generation photo. We are more than blessed to have her and look forward to celebrating her 100th birthday!

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5 Simple Ways to Support an Entrepreneur You Love (or at least Like)

For fifteen years I enjoyed an amazing corporate career. I worked for great companies in demanding roles that required the support of my teams, co-workers, and the agencies I used. However, as a single mother to a teenage son, that was the area of my life where the concept of SUPPORT resonated most with me…until I quit my job as a marketing specialist advisor with a guaranteed (and substantial) paycheck. Venturing out into the entrepreneur lifestyle showed me that success as an entrepreneur, like being a parent, depended on the support of others nearly as much as your own effort.

In some cases, people who you automatically assume will support you, simply won’t (I can write another post about why). Some people you think don’t care, will be your biggest cheerleaders. And strangers will be both your biggest fans and your worst critics.

But I like to assume the best and that generally, people want to support us crazy entrepreneurs but don’t always know how.

So for people who have friends or just people you know who hustle every day to make their brand, product, or service known, here are 5 simple ways that you can show them you want to see them succeed.

  1. Like, share, and comment. You’re probably already social so why not use it to bless your followers and help someone who needs your support to spread their messages. Like, share, and comment on their blog and social media posts. Your engagement shows them that you see what they are saying, care about what they are saying, and want your follows to see and care too. Someone you share their post with might really need to see it or might be the one to take their business to the next level. Think about how you’ve benefited from something that someone else shared or from someone sharing your posts. like-share
  2. Go to their events and encourage others to as well. Depending on your schedule and your budget, showing support by showing up is a major way to let someone know that you care. Alternatively, not showing up, especially without explanation, sends the opposite message whether you are trying to or not. My heart cries happy tears when people ask how to buy tickets, say they wish they could make it, or just surprise me and show up. And my heart has cried sad tears at the notable absence of certain people. You may think it doesn’t matter, but it does. Show up whenever you can. You will bless the one you are supporting and will likely be blessed yourself either by a message delivered or by the support you’ll get in return.show-up
  3. Buy their product, use their services, and encourage others to as well. If you believe in someone or what they are doing, make a purchase. Don’t ask for the hook-up, but ask how you can hook them up. Making a purchase, big or small, shows that you respect them and their business and want to see them succeed. Show up in their transaction history and encourage others to do the same. Again, the support you show will come back to you in the form of support for you personally, for your business (by them or others) or in other forms of appreciation.show-me-the-money
  4. Send or say an encouraging word. The other day, I got a call from a cousin in California. I was in a meeting so missed the called, but the voicemail will be saved on my phone indefinitely. He said just the right words I need to hear to remind me that some people care. That people see me and appreciate my work and my sacrifice and that others are inspired to follow my path. If you have no money to give or to spare to purchase an entrepreneur’s products or services, a kind word of support and encouragement costs you nothing but a little bit of time. It’s worth more than you could even imagine.                                                   f607caefadf658e475af8386f404d7c5
  5. Offer to help. Usually entrepreneurs are mentally and emotionally tough. We handle a lot and don’t always ask for the help we need (for lots of reasons). Don’t get me wrong. We can delegate, rally the troops, and solicit volunteers, but it’s something really special when someone offers to help. I have literally been moved to tears when friends and just acquaintances simply ask, “What can I do to help you?”. After receiving the help, how I can help them is always on my mind because their  offer to help means so much to me.

Choose one or try all five, but just know that whichever  you do, you will make a difference in the life and the business of an entrepreneur (or product/service) you love or like :).

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You Can’t Unthrow the Pebble

Sometimes without thinking, we toss a pebble in the river. We give little thought to the waves it will create far beyond what we can see.

Sometimes we make a clear decision to toss a pebble in the river. Maybe we’re bored and just want to see the beautiful ripples. Maybe we see a fish we assume is in trouble, and toss a rock near it to make the danger flee.

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I’m not a nature buff and don’t even fully understand the impact of the pebble thrown in a river. But I do know that one tiny pebble creates thousands of waves. And once you throw that pebble, you can’t stop the ripples nor their positive or negative effects.

But what I do know is something about life. My heart is heavy because daily, monthly, and yearly I have seen the ripple effects of a pebble someone threw thinking they were saving a “fish”. Too often, we don’t truly assess the situation, ask people closer to the situation their perspective or insight, and we toss our pebble not considering the waves that will be created.  Too often we toss a pebble of insult or lack of support and don’t realize or perhaps don’t even care that ten ripples out, we’ve created a disaster.

That pebble thrown, with ignorant but perhaps good intent, has killed someone’s self-esteem, destroyed a family, continued a negative cycle, or worse. And we’re oblivious to the consequences of your actions. Or our pride make us hold on to our stance that we weren’t trying to create waves so we don’t acknowledge them as an effect of the pebble we threw.

The good thing is that thrown pebbles can have positive ripples too. Even after throwing a pebble that has unintended negative consequences, we can can make a choice to 1) Examine the situation including all of those we affected and determine if we can and should toss a positive pebble or 2) Refrain from throwing pebbles if we don’t know how or aren’t willing to do the work to make sure our pebble should be tossed.

The waves created from that one tiny gesture can be life-altering so we must choose carefully and be wise and humble enough to apologize when we see or learn that the waves from the pebble we tossed causing someone else to drown.

Here’s a poem I found which explains the ripple effect too.

Drop a pebble in the water:
just a splash, and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples
Circling on and on and on,
Spreading, spreading from the center,
flowing on out to the sea.
And there is no way of telling
where the end is going to be.

Drop a pebble in the water:
in a minute you forget,
But there’s little waves a-flowing,
and there’s ripples circling yet,
And those little waves a-flowing
to a great big wave have grown;
You’ve disturbed a mighty river
just by dropping in a stone.

Drop an unkind word, or careless:
in a minute it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples
circling on and on and on.
They keep spreading, spreading, spreading
from the center as they go,
And there is no way to stop them,
once you’ve started them to flow.

Drop an unkind word, or careless:
in a minute you forget;
But there’s little waves a-flowing,
and there’s ripples circling yet,
And perhaps in some sad heart
a mighty wave of tears you’ve stirred,
And disturbed a life was happy
ere you dropped that unkind word.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness:
just a flash and it is gone;
But there’s half-a-hundred ripples
circling on and on and on,
Bearing hope and joy and comfort
on each splashing, dashing wave
Till you wouldn’t believe the volume
of the one kind word you gave.

Drop a word of cheer and kindness:
in a minute you forget;
But there’s gladness still a-swelling,
and there’s joy circling yet,
And you’ve rolled a wave of comfort
whose sweet music can be heard
Over miles and miles of water
just by dropping one kind word.

~By James W. Foley

 

 

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I Did NOT Get Engaged This Valentine’s Day

Hope you had a great Valentine’s Day!

Whether you were with your boo or hard at work enjoying your own company like me, I hope you felt and gave love.

This Valentine’s Day, I was busy recovering from and wrapping up the annual Love Yourself Event Fundraiser for the S.O. What! Foundation. http://www.thesowhatfoundation.org

It was an incredible event with empowering speakers and presenters, great food and wine, and lots of pampering! Thanks to our sponsors- Memphis Light Gas & Water, FedEx, The Memphis Grizzlies, Lee Pruitt Interior Design, The Southern Heritage Foundation, Ewing Moving and Storage, Phillip Ashley Chocolates, ATC Fitness, A Step Ahead Foundation, Cunningham’s Fine Jewelry, Gates UnCorked, Chef Chris Beavers, Dave and Susie Carlson, and Dr. Rosie Phillips Bingham. We had amazing vendors and awesome guests who all contributed to a beautiful evening focused on self-love and support!

We met our fundraising goal and will have our very first summer camp for the youth we serve!

Here are a few pictures from the event which featured almost thirty entrepreneurs and small businesses, raised money for the S.O. What! Foundation, and helped singles, couples, men and women to feel good, look good and do good!

For Valentine’s Day, I decided to do a Facebook live video. I did NOT get engaged this Valentine’s Day, but I did get engaged another Valentine’s Day…and am single. I have spent my share of Valentine’s Day alone and/or sad but no longer. So I wanted to encourage other singles and those in relationships who may be waiting on a proposal to focus this #loveyourself.

Stop buying into the hype
Own your singleness

Never stop improving
Own your singleness
Wait on the right person

Work on you
Have Fun
Achieve on your own
Take your time

 

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The Power of the Imperfect Man

If you read my last post, then you know this Christmas was different for me. My son lives out of town, and I didn’t host my family like I have done in some previous years. Instead, I planned to spend my day alone with the birthday boy. Happy birthday, Jesus.

But as I scrolled through my timeline Christmas, I saw a post by Pastor Shelia Floyd and remembered that I had planned to go to church and get a great word and hug from my friend, Apostle Ricky Floyd.  To my surprise, Ricky only spoke about ten minutes of the entire Christmas program, but he still delivered a powerful message to me.

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Ricky and I met in 2001 as account executives for the Memphis Grizzlies. He was the clown of our little family and always kept us entertained. At the end of our contract term, I stayed on with the team in marketing. Ricky and his wife started a church- in their living room.

But let me back up a bit and tell you a little about his wife, Shelia. Shelia was a single mother when she met Ricky. They married, and her son became his, and they then had a daughter and another son.

After Ricky left the Grizzlies, we stayed in contact and remained friends…now fifteen years later. He has loved me and supported me and even called me his daughter. Although I am a member of a church closer to my home with a pastor I also love, I adore Ricky and Shelia and their family and stay connected to the awesome things they are doing in the Frayser community, in Memphis, and the world.

Fast forward to this Christmas. The child Shelia had before marrying Ricky is now a married minister with a sweet baby on the way, and he organized and hosted an amazing Christmas program for the church. Their youngest son was also a part of the program rapping and telling a story with the humor he got from his parents. With skits, gift giveaways, amazing singing, and more, the program was fun and engaging while still expressing the meaning of Christmas. It was a beautiful program. A great product.

However, what stood out for me was another product.

As I sat in the packed audience, I enjoyed the events on the stage, but I equally enjoyed watching Ricky, Shelia and their family sitting and watching the stage too. You see, Ricky will openly share how he was born to a fifteen year old mother, failed high school English multiple times, barely graduated from high school, was not the purest man, how he and Shelia have not always had a great marriage, and much more. He is open and real, funny yet seriously anointed.

The product this imperfect man has created is incredible. Powerful. He openly loves his wife and his children. He embraces his flaws and challenges (so what!), and he and Shelia have an amazing church including an exceptional marriage ministry. They are a model for family. Love and support. He is a model for manhood, fatherhood, and husbandhood (he deserves a made-up word). He has an amazing heart and will share it with anyone.

After his brief opportunity to speak because his son was running the show, Ricky hugged his son. For a long time with a genuine embrace. That site brought tears to my eyes because I felt that hug. I felt it for his son, for my son, and for every son. I felt it for me and for every daughter. Ricky knows the power of a hug. I know the power of a hug. And I am thankful for the power and the impact of the imperfect man, Ricky D. Floyd.

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