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ELIZABETH ST. JOHN-HALL QUIN WHATLEY BOLD Favor Magazine is the Leadership Lifestyle magazine that highlights BOLD people, organizations and causes that inspire us to live fearlessly. A part of the BOLD Favor Media Group, and the 2016 Passkey Presents “ATL’s Hottest Magazine”, the magazine has grown to 250K+ email list, 17K+ Instagram followers, 3.2K Facebook likes, and 5K Twitter followers. To learn more, or to advertise with us





Gregory Hammons


Myths and Misconceptions about Influence


What can “Brown” do for You?


The Gypsy Empress


Training in Leadership


Developing Young Entrepreneurs


The American Dream: Become A High Performance Entrepreneur and Dominate Your Path


Coach Drea Making Bold Moves


Reconnect with a “Love-Cation”


Glamour Girl Fitness


What it Takes to be Visible


No You Can’t Just Be Friends


Education and the New Fear of being DeVoid or DeVoured


What is the Pack Rat Foundation?


July 4th, Junneteenth and Me.


Our Indepenance.... Our Voice


Hello Beautiful


Let Your Light Shine


The Fire Within


Reflections from LMB





APRIL 2017 MAGAZINE CONTRIBUTORS Asia Wheaton Brianna D. Screen Jamie Rockymore-Bess Cindy Brooks David Good Dorna Werdelin Erica Y. Campbell Jackie Madison Lynda Dell Myesha Good Nissa K. Elliott Odette Fleming Regina “Sunshine” Robinson Sandy Chernoff Shana Thornton Shavonda McCaleb Tinzley Bradford

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“Give me Liberty or Give me death,” spoken by Patrick Henry as 13 colonies fought for independence from a great empire, though these same colonies denied independence under the peculiar institution of slavery and tried to kill off the native population. Some 70+ years later, the abolitionist Fredrick Douglas stated around Independence Day, “What to the Slave is the 4th of July.” As I reflect back on these two quotes, It reminds me that independence is not perceived by all the same way. This nation at its birth had people who wanted independence but would take it from others or fight them not to have it. Today there is that same issue with immigration and the rights of all. No one wants what another has, they just want to be treated the same in the eyes of the law and the government, but most importantly by their fellow man. So as we go forth into recognizing America’s Independence, let us remember that there are people fighting for their own independence. Therefore, do not deny to others or sit back and let things happen to others that which you would not want denied or fallen to you. Happy Independence Day. Welcome to the Summer edition of BOLD Favor Magazine! In this issue, we have intentional articles containing in-depth interviews highlighting people and organizations that inspire people and cause transformations so you can partake in America’s unfulfilled promise of freedom that many people died or suffered for dating back to the 1700’s fight for independence for which the 4th of July is celebrated; the 1800’s fight to end slavery; to the 1900’s voting, civil and equal rights to now, rather it’s from religious persecution, fair wages, immigrant rights, the list can go on and on. Summer 2017, we are in the mid-year push and no matter what is going on in Washington or any capital around the world, you must still exist and boldly declare your own independence from whatever is holding you back. In our 3rd year, Bold’s subscribership, reach and influence has skyrocketed. We could not have done this without the overwhelming support that we have received from you, our readers, our new distributor, advertisers, sponsors, partners, writers, photographers, editors and the unsung efforts of our BOLD Favor Media Group’s Founder, Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell has exhibited, which has taken this magazine, organization and you to new heights and demand. In this issue of BOLD FAVOR, we are pleased to feature on our cover fitness guru, author & Life Coach Bedros Keuillan who tells his American Dream story of becoming consultants consultant and being fit; features that include Andrea Guendelman, who tells us What it Takes to be Visible; interview with the author of “Fist Full of Honey,” Malena Crawford; words of wisdom from community advocate and author, Sherry Graves; interviews that will inspire and transform you and the ability to change lives. We also have Bold Reflections from our founder, get advice from the Love Mama, be inspired when you Ask Bri, know your worth in the Hello Beautiful segment and enjoy words of true independence from two of our new contributors. We also have stories on life coaching, fitness, being influential, book reviews, and incredible stories of inspiration, looking at the strength within and BOLDLY going after your dreams with resolve and tenacity. Enjoy shopping with our wonderful advertisers and partners, then share your thoughts with us - we listen! And remember: It’s time for your independent thinking to take over your thoughts and be bold and inspirational. The future favors the BOLD!

David M. Good David M. Good Editor~in~Chief

Young and on a mission:

interview with speaker, story teller and actor

gregory hammons

I’m so eager and excited to interview this amazing Story Teller, Actor and Motivational Speaker Gregory Hammons. At just 24 years old, and yes I said it right he is just 24 years old, he founded Forever Phase LLC where he provides inspirational entertainment to today’s youth through his well thought out speeches, monologues, and spoken word pieces. A 24 year old from Ohio living in the Bay Area and aiming to inspire the WORLD! Whether it’s on a screen or stage, Gregory knows the power of art and he is dedicated to elevating his craft so that he can impact the masses. He says his story like many of yours, isn’t a simple one. Nevertheless, he knows we all have more in common than we may think. His mission is to use his voice & actions to have resonate with your personal experiences and ultimately push you towards becoming a better YOU! We are always looking to highlight BOLD people and causes that inspire us to live fearlessly and Gregory is definitely one of our favorite people to feature.

BFM: Hello Gregory, thanks so much for making time to speak with us. In 2014 which means you were only 21 years old, you founded Forever Phase LLC, I think that’s amazing. Please tell us about Forever Phase? What influenced you to create this company and at such a young age?

wanted success, it didn’t have to be for a phase but it could be FOREVER!

GH: Thanks for taking time to speak with me BFM! Forever Phase, LLC is the inspirational entertainment company I created while I was in college. My main impetus behind founding the company was twofold. I wanted to find a way to give back to the world and I wanted to create a way to fuel my passion for entertaining. From there, I started thinking about the ways in which I could accomplish both of these goals. I knew I loved being in front of crowds and moving them emotionally. So I determined I could use storytelling and motivational speaking to inspire youth. I chose to target youth because they have so much life ahead of them which equals opportunities to make positive choices. I also selected youth as my audience because I knew my life experiences would be somewhat similar to theirs given my age. Next, I set out to get in front of students wherever I could (schools, churches, corporations, community organizations etc.) to empower them to achieve a higher education and a higher purpose for their lives. I wanted to teach youth that if they TRULY

GH: Who am I... that’s a question with an ever evolving answer. I’m a very passionate and hungry (for success) 24 year old Ohio transplant working and living in the Bay. I’ve always been very interested in the television/film industry - both the business and on-camera components of it. This led me to get involved in theater and the Speech Club while in high school. Once I began to find my voice and the power embedded in bringing the voice of a character to life, I started taking storytelling and public speaking much more serious.

BFM: Tell us about you, who is Gregory Hammons? How did you get started with becoming an actor, storyteller and speaker?

For a brief period of time while in high school I had representation with a talent agency. This was really exciting and led to me booking my first commercial. However, once I transitioned to college I decided I needed to focus more on business and school so the creative side of me took the backseat. Once I launched Forever Phase, I knew I could use the professional skills I gained from college to fully dive into entertainment in a more strategic and meaningful way.

Two key people in the business that truly inspire me are both Oprah and Patricia Russell-McCloud. Growing up, I would watch Oprah interviews for hours and study her mannerisms and the way she structured questions. I met Patricia Russell-McCloud at one of her speaking engagements and knew from that point forward that I wanted to be a motivational speaker. BFM: I love your phrase “Work, Win, Celebrate and Repeat” statement. Break that down for us! GH: This statement really expresses the way I live my life which I also refer to as walking in my “Forever Phase.” On a daily basis, I work towards my goals steadfastly while maintaining faith that I’ll achieve them. I understand things won’t always go as planned or even always end on a positive note. Nevertheless, by consistently moving in the right direction, I live my life in a state of winning because each small step towards the big “Win” counts. Once I achieve the larger goal I have in mind, I celebrate momentarily and then it’s back to the grind! There will never be a time when I feel like I’m done or my mission is complete because I want this feeling of everlasting success forever. Through the highs and the lows. The wins and the losses. I’m working on my progress and that’s what makes me a winner. That’s what makes my Forever Phase unique and undeniable. BFM: You’re in a very competitive industry, what makes you unique and different than the competition. What would you like your legacy to be? GH: I’m unique because I know my talent and my company is much larger than just me. A Forever Phase is universal because it stands for something everyone needs - the ability to achieve goals. Therefore, my movement and purpose is something that’s relatable to everyone. I see the world through a lens in which we’re all needed and called to greatness in our own way. I truly believe this and it shines through my art and work ethic. What will continue to set me apart as I navigate the entertainment industry is my genuine need to do good. All the excitement of the industry is fun but what I truly enjoy is being able to reflect on the positive impact I’ve made. Regardless of whether I’m providing youth with tools and guidance through speaking or changing the way society perceives the world by portraying a character, my number one 10

priority is to make a positive difference. BFM: In a few short words, tell us what you have deemed to be most challenging for you during this entire process of pursuing your dreams? GH: The most challenging part of this journey has been pushing past doubt and fear. When things seem like they aren’t moving fast enough or even at all, I’ve had to learn faith and patience are critical components of obtaining dreams. BFM: So what’s next for you? What can we expect to see in the present or near future? GH: The future is oh so bright! You can expect me to continue creating inspirational content to fuel the future leaders of tomorrow. Whether that’s via television, film, radio, books, etc. My goal is for Forever Phase to have a global footprint and an unforgettable impact. BFM: It’s been a pleasure speaking to you and thanks for taking the time to let us in your world! Can you provide information on how people can follow you and stay connected via social media? GH: Thank you! People can stay in touch with me on Instagram, Twitter, and SnapChat @MrForeverPhase. They can also check out my website GregoryHammons. com for the latest content I’ve added to my YouTube channel and blog. ■ Tinzley Bradford

Myths and Misconceptions about Influence Today, I want to review some of the Myths and Misconceptions around the term “Influence,” and I want to clear up some of the confusion about it. True or False?

What is in·flu·ence?

Influence is power – The power to motivate, sell, and be more effective, more potent and more productive. Influence is a subtle skill, a more refined approach than the use of authority or coercion. You get the results you want while allowing others to get the results they want. When done the right way, it’s a win-win. We define Influence as the “power to affect change, or to achieve a result, without the use of force or formal authority.” This means that in order to be truly influencing, you must cause a change in another’s behavior, actions, attitudes or values. In some cases, the desired effect might not be immediately apparent, as in changing attitudes.

1. Influence is the same as communication skills. True and False Influence is a subset of the entire concept of communication skills.

skills. As it turns out, people and projects often get derailed because of a lack of Influence Skills. You won’t get your project funded if you can’t influence someone to support it.

Many people believe that the ability to influence others is simply a matter of good communications skills. Not so. Communications skills are only one part of the equation in getting other people to do what you want them to do. To achieve enthusiastic cooperation and consistently high performance, successful influencers use a carefully orchestrated, strategic approach.

4. Influence is manipulation – Since we’re always influencing, we might as well be doing it skillfully. False Finally, the word “influence” is often maligned, especially in government, and it is thought to connote manipulation (we often hear the term “influence peddling”) Is there a difference, or is the use of “influence” just another way of saying “manipulation”?

2. Real executives don’t need influence. False Some people think that “real” leaders do not need influence skills. After all, the leader can demand that the staff carry out instructions. Wrong again. Today’s employees are less likely to mindlessly obey the old style, “top-down” kind of management. Because of a changing workforce, executives and managers can’t count only on “position power” – we need to learn to influence subordinates, peers and bosses, without having direct authority. 3. Influence doesn’t lead to bottom line results. False It’s often said that Influence, like communication skills, is one of those “soft and fuzzy,” non-essential


In medicine, the word “influence” is used to mean “skillful handling” or “re-alignment.” I like to look at it through the lens of “intent” and “effect” A way to distinguish between the two is that an interaction can be said to be a positive influence when the influencer has the intention to provide value, add benefit or enhance the experience of the other person. It can be called “manipulation” if there is an intention to exploit or mislead the other or misrepresent the product or service. Positive influence has as its result a “win-win” outcome. Both parties in the transaction reach their goals and sometimes even exceed them.

Riley De Leon


“Take every chance.” Surprising words from a college junior. Yet these were the last words shared during a dynamic interview with author and Millennial Keynote Speaker Riley de Leon. And these words represent a refreshing perspective on life, challenge, and self-growth.

“I love being a resource for Millennials.

Riley’s passion to help others eliminate fear, particularly fear of transition, comes from his own life experiences – i.e., he writes what he knows. The transition from junior high to high school, the transition from New York to life on Missouri’s college campus, and the adversity – and reward – of co-founding two non-profits. “I found that I tended to put limits on myself, limits that don’t exist.” That realization came from journaling, and that journaling became Riley’s first book Life’s Not Always Written in Times New Roman. In speaking with several groups and organizations, Riley realized that there were not many resources specifically for Millennials. And so his second book, Driven: A Millennial Manifesto, Riley extended his thoughts and organized them in a way that would be easy and impactful for those 18 to 34. In Driven, Riley readily admits that he didn’t always know where he was going, wasn’t great at or the best thing to happen in everything he did. But he knew that to keep growing and learning, he’d need to take risks. Those risks are categorized in four life sections: Living, Loving, Learning, and Leaving.

Living fully in the present, learning from the past preparing for the future… yet focusing on the present. Loving relationships, maintaining those relationships, and embracing healthy relations. Learning to grow and succeed, allowing yourself to fail, and managing a consistent balance of accolades and challenges. Leaving past experiences in search of new ones. Once Living, Loving, and Learning are balanced, you have to make the hard decision to move onward and upward. Although Riley’s message is focused on Millennials, these lessons can be applied to every person’s life no matter his/her age. To learn more about Riley and get your copy of Driven, visit his website at www. and follow him on social media: Facebook and Instagram @rileydeleon, Twitter @ rileythlion. 


What Can

‘BROWN’ Do For You!

Are you still wondering what can BROWN do for you? Well, get connected and stay connected to him by following him on Facebook and Twitter @ MarioBrown and @Empowerment4Life

“I allow God to establish my rhythm and I learn to flow with Him.” You’ve heard the retired UPS slogan, “What can Brown do for you?” this slogan could be heard all across the world until they retired and replaced it with a new theme. Well, I would like to introduce to you another Brown, that’s ‘Mario C. Brown’, a man that’s transforming lives from the inside out, on a multiplicity of platforms. Brown can be described as a person who lives in the power of faith. He lives in his own authenticity; a person who lives in a particular rhythm of life and can be considered a fiercely loyal and outspoken man! When asked what his ultimate passion was, Brown responded by saying, “My ultimate passion is helping people discover a better life, move into new seasons in life. I have a passion for seeing people learn how to live their best life.” Brown’s passion can be seen, felt, and experienced beyond his geographical location. You see, he is the Founder and Pastor of The Kingdom Church (Auburn, AL.), Founder of Coffee with Jesus. Café, and Empowerment 4 Life.

“I allow God to establish my rhythm and I learn to flow with Him.” Shavonda: How did all of this come about? Brown: Each entity in which I am involved, has really been a call from God. Each one of them centers on the expression of God through me. The ministry was indeed a mandate from God in which there was never a question about answering and fulfilling that call. As I grew I realized that there are dimensions within us that move us from career and vocation to purpose, and from purpose to cause and effect. From that revelation, I started Empowerment for Life about 12 years ago. I realized there was a critical need to speak into the

lives of men and women on not just Christian issues, but on issues that affect us as human beings. I was encountering people who needed spiritual principles spoken to them in a language (without compromise) that they were able to understand and respond to. I also realized that many people were going to church but never getting their real issues addressed. God gave me a blueprint to address human relationships and human responses to life. We are a relational people and that is the foundation of all movement in the earth. I started Coffee with Jesus.Café as an outlet of an internal expression to encourage people to rethink, reshape, and revitalize their perspective in order to thrive. I took to social media and just began sending out little messages that challenged the reader to readjust their thought life and watch the results. It began gaining traction. I get great joy watching people experience that ‘I get it now’ moment. Shavonda: What do you want the readers to know about you? Brown: I want the readers to know that I am that guy that never allow myself to follow the crowd, even if that means appearing to be left behind. I allow God to establish my rhythm and I learn to flow with Him. I don’t say this with arrogance, but I never allow myself to be defined by the opinions, norms, or expectations of others. Well, let me tell you, living in a world that is filled with uncertainty, it’s such a relief to breathe a breath of fresh air knowing that Pastor Mario C. Brown is one of the unselfish ones on this earth that has a passion for seeing people learn how to live their best life.  Shavonda G. McCaleb


Gypsy: Now, did you participate in the “Women’s March” in DC? Malena: I was out of town during the March, but I was definitely there in spirit. Gypsy: Looking at the current climate, it appears to be the time of “The Woman,” what do you think? Malena: Oh yes! I’m so glad you said that! This is the absolute time of the woman, you can feel it and see it just about everywhere. “Mama” has returned and we are stepping up to the call in a major way! Gypsy: Well based on your first novel, A Fistful of Honey, I’d say you are pretty aware that the energetic power of women is beginning to reign supreme. To tell you the truth, I’m really ecstatic to delve right into it because I have so many questions. I’m sure once the world gets their hands on this remnant of the holy grail, they’ll be glad they did! I could not put it down. Malena: Oh my goodness Gypsy! I CANNOT wait until the world meets A Fistful of Honey!

Gypsy: Malena Crawford, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today, how are you? Malena: I am well, thank you so much and thank you for your patience. Gypsy: Are you currently home in Washington, DC now? Washington is home, yes? How are the people doing there, considering our new president? Malena: Yes, I am home. Well, there is a lot of tension here, more so than usual during an administration transition. There is a huge resistance movement here in the area along with faithful supporters.


Gypsy: There’s the main character Alena (AfricanAmerican/ sista), her daughter Maya (mixed-race), exhusband Gabriel (Caucasian), her love interest Michael (brotha), neighbor Gloria, father Linwood and mother Denah. We are also introduced to “Around-the-way girl” Takeah and her son BJ/Benjamin. They all have seemingly found their way into each other’s lives for very specific purposes. It’s funny how we never quite understand a person’s purpose in our lives until it’s time. Some of us call it... divine timing or divine intervention. But in this novel, we are without delay introduced to these characters and are blown away by how each character was truly, what I like to call, “a link in the chain of her (Alena’s) good”. Although I’m saying in the link of her good, her story did NOT start off that way.

chats with

visit us on facebook, twitter and instagram • @TheGypsyEmpress • @BoldFavorMagazine

Gypsy: In this chapter, Alena is reintroduced to the pain of her husband and reminded of the pain from her father (at this moment these two men in her life are one in the same as it relates to the pain she’s experienced from the both of them (but we won’t discuss in specifics what that pain ientails…our readers are going to be wondering “what is/was it”? Malena: Yes, the story alludes to some deep-seated childhood pain that has reared its head with her husband. It feels to her that they, husband and father, are the same boogeyman. Malena: I love the way you put that, “a link in the chain of her good.” Whoa! Yes, the story reminds us that every single person that steps into our lives has a purpose for it. We can’t be quick to judge, as you know….the looks of things, the illusion can be quite deceiving. Gypsy: In the opening chapter, we’re introduced to Alena. Mother, a lawyer at a prestigious law firm and beautiful. She’s scuffling out of most moms (most women) do often…we rush. She’s hurrying to get breakfast together for her daughter and she’s watching the news. Now on the news, much like we see today, there’s yet another African-American male (teenager) slain by police. Did you incorporate this news portion strategically for the times we’re seeing now concerning the police killings on black lives? Malena: The making of this book is directly inspired by the murder of Trayvon Martin. I prayed for understanding after his murderer got off; this story is the answer to that prayer. I wanted society to reflect on what is happening to us right this very moment; not just with our black men and boys, but with all of us. Gypsy: So as she’s getting ready for her day, on page 4 it reads, “A patch of skin between her eyes began to twitch…” (are we talking about her 3rd eye?) Then an odd smell and then her body jolted in response and then she says to herself “not now.” So, Alena is experiencing something here, what is it? Malena: Oh, that’s one of the secrets that we learn about later in the story Gypsy! Don’t give it away LOL! Well, something is happening to Alena, something that she’s been experiencing her whole life but her eyes were closed to it. It’s coming right back and it WILL be reckoned with, whether she likes it or not.


Gypsy: In Chapter 2, Alena is hit with the second dun dun duuuuun experience concerning her job. She’s asked to resign. She’s a woman working amongst several men at a prestigious law firm; she’s black. How much the odds seemed to be stacked against her, yeah? Malena: Yes! It’s almost more than she can bear, but it’s a more common story than I thought. When shift comes, it doesn’t always come politely. Gypsy: Then, of course, I know this has been my M.O many times: When we’re going through something, we just need somebody to talk to, someone to make us feel better, or even stroke our ego’s just a little bit. See we have that one person we know we can hit up anytime, and we can expect they’d be there. In this case, her go-to person was Michael, an ex from way back, right? Now Michael is a fine ass brotha...6’4, and I believe he’s a trainer. So, he comes over and Alena then discovers that Michael, too, was going through a separation issue with his wife at the time. What are the odds that both Alena and Michael, who were once love birds, could be going through relationship issues at the same time? Malena: Oh he is fine!!! His entrance in her life all goes back to purpose. Everyone in our life has a purpose for being there, sometimes in ways we could never imagine. Gypsy: We also learn that Alena has some confidence issues as it relates to some things that were said to her, such as “pretty for a dark-skinned girl.” She confides in Michael.

Malena: Though very beautiful, she still carries the blows to her self-esteem that came from enduring years of colorism. It just goes to show how powerful that messaging can be despite appearances. Gypsy: So, then Alena finally comes out with it. She’s forced to face the reality that she created for herself in that she married Gabriel (her white soon to be ex-husband) because she felt shunned by her own people? She then learns that not only is her marriage failing, but that her entire life is being uprooted because she was so dependent upon Gabriel (even though she had a job prior to being forced to resign). Knowing that she signed a prenup she had no power, no money, and is forced to move out of her lavish penthouse. Malena: Such a brilliant woman completely gave away her power because of lack of love for self. That’s what it boiled down to. She put her husband on a pedestal and betrayed herself because of it. Gypsy: In Chapter 3, Alena moves into “Da hood.” In this chapter, she meets Gloria (her new neighbor). I just love Gloria. Malena: Haha, yes! Gloria was inspired by my dearest master teacher. Every woman needs a Gloria! Gypsy: Gloria said something so profound (well she said many profound things), but the first in particular was “sometimes pain and shock you awake when nothing else can”. How do you relate this to everyday life for someone that may be having a hard time? Malena: Don’t be afraid of or ashamed of your pain! Pain is a messenger! When it comes, ask it what

it wants! Don’t ignore pain, don’t shun it and try to pretend it’s not there! Acknowledge it, then take it up at the root and deal with it so you can heal it. A blessing always comes when we do this work. Deny it, and it will run your life until you face it. Gypsy: Alena begins to spend lots of time with her neighbor Gloria. One day while at Gloria’s she noticed the Black Madonna painting (for those that aren’t aware pull out your phones and google it now). Alena even said it was calling to her. Gloria replied with “She’s a healer you know.” Little did Alena know, Gloria was not exaggerating right, and we’ll kinda talk more about how, but Gloria said it specifically at that time in Alena’s life as if she knew something, yes? Malena: Yes, Gloria’s got a powerful secret and she could not have been more right about the Black Madonna’s healing powers. Please, do go study the Black Madonna. See how the Catholic priests and European nations revere her, then reflect on why. She, like us, is sheer power. Gypsy: Now in the meantime, Alena is seeking unemployment, selling her expensive clothes and jewelry (You know I know a lot of women who’ve had to experience selling their things just to make ends meet, my mom being one of them long ago). Alena seemed to be a survivor though. Malena: Alena is gradually gaining her strength. Readers will watch her grow into a survivor and it made me proud to watch. Gypsy: In the following chapter, she finally has a real connection with Takeah or Tacky. And she gets to learn a lot about Tacky’s son BJ, who’s a brilliant little nine year old. The significance of this meeting is important because here she gets to learn who they really are, besides her preconceived notions of who she thought they were, right? Because before, everyone who was black and living in the so called “hood” (which is also where she lives now) was a statistic, some ghetto uneducated person who put themselves where they were in life according to the way she thought or seemingly used to think? Malena: Yes, Alena came into the neighborhood with a lot of prejudice and preconceived notions. This is a nod to respectability politics we sometimes


experience within the black and brown community. She is judgmental in the beginning because ultimately, she is still judging herself. Gypsy: Now Alena celebrates a birthday in later chapters. She spends it with Michael and excited from the energy of the night she makes the moves on Michael by going in and kissing him…now Michael isn’t fully divorced yet and neither is she? Malena: Nope! She’s a sinner and it causes a perpetual tug of war on her integrity as we see further in the book. Gypsy: She was a little tipsy on her birthday (as she should’ve been, LOL). But she still felt like enjoying her night after Michael left…she goes to the corner store to buy wine (but it mentions she felt an eeriness in the air) How many times do we feel like something isn’t right, but we ignore the signs? Malena: Right. Ladies, our intention is powerful! Do not ignore it! Gypsy: In Chapter 10, we finally know what happened between Alena and her father, and what caused a strain on her mom Denah and Alena’s relationship. We learned that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Alena’s mother also clung to the man who she thought would be the only man to ever love her. Alena essentially did the same thing by marrying Gabriel. Those same feelings of rejection and fear of being alone both mother and daughter to cling to men that never served their highest good in the first place. We also learn about dad and Alena, as it relates to healing her heart or opening her heart , needed to face her mom and dad, right? Malena: Yes, the only way for her to heal was to face both her mother and father and their issues head on. She had to go to the root of her pain. Alena had the same generational pattern as her mother, Denah-loyalty to men that did not truly love them. Gypsy: Page 140, Alena blurts out a response to her father saying, and I quote “I’ve been trying to find love with half a heart.” Alena had her father in her life but felt she didn’t have his unconditional love. So many women could relate to the idea that the absence of a father’s love causes some parts of the heart to be closed off. There was no example set from a male 22

figure that suggests to a female child how she should be loved by a man thus causing the possibility of future failed relationships. Sad but some men do not know the impact that they have on their daughter’s upbringing, and the choices they’d potentially make as adults. Malena: Men (fathers, caretakers, etc.) need to know that their presence is so very critical to a girl’s development. She needs your pure, loving masculine energy just like she needs any other essential nourishment. The absence, or worse, the abuse of a child can cripple her in so many ways, well into adulthood. This was the case with Alena. She was a broken bird for many years. Gypsy: Buckra was a term used in her past life regression of being a slave although an African antigen slang... I’ve not heard that before, it means? Malena: “Buckra” is a term used by slaves primarily in the South. It means “white boss” or “white slaveowner.” In my research for the book, I took a trip to the Gullah Sea Islands in South Carolina. The women there told me it was a pejorative that eventually came to mean something like “white trash.” Gypsy: There’s a line here in this chapter that says she shouted into the ethers because she wanted to get out of the slave time in 1814. Now I’m familiar with the ethers and its esoteric term; I believe in its existence. But a lot of people may not, will you explain why you chose to use the term ether as opposed to saying she shouted into the heavens or the sky or God? Malena: I used “Ether” because I saw it as the air around us, rather than “heavens.” At this point, Alena is not completely convinced that there is a “heaven.” Her belief in God is what we watch grow along with her strength. Gypsy: Now there’s an Egyptian deity, Oshun, whom she’s also introduced to in her subconscious. Oshun is leading her through yet another vision. She says “you have an addiction to agony. It was coded into you by your childhood and you have taken it on as your identity like so many women your heart was heartened by it and you were on your way to becoming a manly woman and woman who has lost one of her greatest strengths her vulnerability (Pg. 196).” Often times we

hear women forget about being women; we forget that we’re free-spirited beings who were once worshiped because we were women, feminine, and expressed it freely. Does this passage suggest this issue?

brethren?” Now I know exactly what you’re talking about here, but for some who may not have come into their truth yet, tell us what this passage is saying as it relates to the world in which we operate today?

Malena: Oshun, pronounced “Oh-shoon,” is actually a Yoruba Goddess who is from a West African (Nigeria) pantheon of powers. Oshun is the power, the “Orisha” of love, wealth, and all things sweet! To answer your question, absolutely, this is what this passage suggests; that we come back to being the free-spirited, pleasure-filled, fully satisfied goddesses of light that we are! She is urging us to leave that “over-burdened woman” badge behind and commit to our joy.

Malena: When we come to this planet as children, we are perfect. Our love is perfect. We have no doubt that we are connected to the good that is God. We know exactly what our purpose is here--to love and be joyful. But then, something almost inevitably happens to us as we grow up on this troubled planet. We are introduced to a thing called ego, a thing called darkness. This is the Shetani. It infects our innocence and makes us believe that we are no longer one with God; we are no longer worthy of that perfect love and joy we once felt. So we start fighting each other, fighting for which religion has the true God. We start warring against our brothers and sisters, trying to figure out which of us is the “bad guy,” which of us is the unworthy one. The Shetani is “the bad guy.” The Shetani is making us question the fact that we are all one, and we are one with God.

Gypsy: On page 187 when the voice was telling Alena “that’s it you’ve got the right idea… you won’t feel a thing in there won’t be no mess to clean up after you’re gone.” This is where Alena started to, I guess, drink herself into a coma or try to drink the pain away with a bottle of merlot. How ironic is it that research suggests in sociology that women who attempt or actually commit/follow through with suicide are less likely to use strenuous measures such shooting in the head, etc due to blood spatter because it’s too messy. Research says women who follow through with committing suicide or attempts to would go for a more cleaner approach…It states that women actually consider the clean up their families would have to do after they’re gone, and they try to make less of a mess. This passage was such an accurate thought a woman who may be contemplating suicide would have. Malena: Yes, and it is so very sad and something I was very inspired to talk about. I want readers who may be in this space in life to see how insidious our thoughts can be. Like my grandmother says, ‘the Devil is a liar!’ Gypsy: The mention of the Shetani is mentioned throughout the book as the evil ones for lack of better words. Who or what are the Shetani? Malena: The Shetani is the force of evil on this planet and in the entire universe. They are the epitome of darkness. Gypsy: On page 230 it states, “The Shetani was unleashed and infected human nature with the contagion of darkness, illusion, and the curse of the duality-a sense of separation from God and their fellow

Gypsy: It goes on to mention on page 230, “The divine order was betrayed and gave way to great chaos.” Does this suggest how secret societies were infiltrated and forced to give up the knowledge they acquired? Malena: This means that there was a divine order to all things; I’m not referring to a secret society or anything like that. When humankind disobeyed God, we betrayed that divine order that God gave us. The result of our disobedience is what we are knee deep in right now--chaos! Gypsy: So, the Shetani hold a unique hatred for black people, especially for all black women, correct? Malena: The Shetani hold a very unique hatred for blacks, especially black woman because we are the key to turning this world around. Again I say, ‘Mama has returned!’ Gypsy: But we see that in the Christian religion and many other religions that women have been taken out of place hierarchy or place of being referenced as goddesses and beings to be respected and honored and even in some cases worshipped. Alena is now learning this about herself, yes?


Malena: Exactly. Patriarchy tried to level us and take our voice away. You’ll see that even Alena thought seeing black women as divine was “blasphemous” because that was the narrative she had been taught.

to transatlantic slavery. I also believe that God had no intention of us to simply roll over and be subservient. There is purpose, rich purpose that needs to be unearthed on an individual basis.

Gypsy: In further chapters, Alena is described saying, “I asked God to show up and she did. She put a mirror to my face and showed me my savior.” This first really hits home to me because so many times we have been taught to look outside of ourselves for a savior… Clearly, this passage sheds light on the fact that the person we look at in the mirror which is ourselves is the only person that can save us. But not only that, Alena is referencing God as a WOMAN, God is her and she is God?

Gypsy: Malena, are you familiar with Lemuria? I’ve read that it was a hidden or lost city of blacks who were powerful, magical, etc. You mentioned Mu, and Mu was an advanced civilization of these black gods.

Malena: I’m so glad that you caught that. Yes, she is finally accepting God as black AND woman and that GOD lives through her and as her. I have family members right now who will clutch their pearls at that statement. Gypsy: This is awesome, it goes really deep. Deeper than most are willing to accept (right now anyway). I think we’re evolving back to balance. Hey, we women were not worshiped once for no reason, right? Malena: Balance is the key! We are natural creators, the mothers of humanity. We can either accept the truth of this or not. I choose to celebrate it and step up to the plate. Gypsy: On Pg. 232, “A faction of brave and noble souls from the black race agreed to usher in the new error by becoming the Catalyst for the passing away of the old earth. The agreement was a New Covenant with God and in which the black race would anchor the blue and violet rays in the New World through their human experience as slaves. As it is written after breaking the first Covenant, the Black Race was called to serve their enemies in a place they knew not for 400 years.” Does this reference Genesis 15:13? Gypsy: Some believe this excerpt was placed in the Bible in order to get slaves to believe that their enslavement was God’s will just because it was written in the Bible. What are your brief thoughts on this? Malena Crawford: I believe that everything one reads, one must take their intuition and “inner translator” with them. I believe that there is no doubt a spiritual root 24

Malena: Yes I am. I think during the research for this book I have read just about every book on esotericism and Lemuria. I believe that so little is known, or rather accepted, about the true history of humanity. Gypsy: Now throughout her entire process, Michael is by her side; let’s not forget about Michael. Malena: Yes, Michael is a faithful, fine friend! Gypsy: So is it safe to assume that Alena and Michael are like Will Smith and Charlize Theron in Hancock, where they are drawn together for a bigger purpose… minus the weakening part? LOL Malena: I haven’t seen Hancock. I know, I’m terrible. But if they were a dynamic duo in the film, then I’d answer and emphatic yes! Gypsy: In the last chapter, it’s written, “America is hallowed ground, our hallowed… pg. 344. What does this mean exactly? Malena: There is a spiritual showdown happening in America, one that the entire planet is watching. This is an important key. Gypsy: Well let me just say Miss Malena Crawford…You have orchestrated a powerful work of art here. You’ve managed to combine the real world with esoteric undertones. Now I see clearly the golden knowledge you’re dropping in this book. Some would say “the world ain’t ready”. But I say, it’s waaaaaaaaaaay overdue. The time of the Aquarian age is here. I believe the time of women is here, and the time for people to wake the hell up and learn to live free is here. And this book paints it all beautifully! Thank you for being bold and allowing yourself to be led on this journey. Because it’s a long journey on a short path. And guess what… You’re not alone on this. We’re here, we’re right here with you!

Malena: Thank you so much Gypsy! Ready or not, I believe the shift is upon us. I also believe it is glorious and nothing to fear. Gypsy: Now are you already working on the next phase of the book? Malena: I will be speaking for the rest of 2017, which is a thrill. I’ll be in NYC, Indiana, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, and then in the summer I’m off to Australia and South Africa to take A Fistful of Honey global! I’m claiming that we will see A Fistful of Honey on the big screen very soon. Gypsy: And how can we get a hold of the next one and how soon can we expect it to be available. And on what platforms? Malena: Go to Amazon RIGHT NOW and grab your copy. Share it with your friends, gift it to the women in your life. Please visit me on the longest

Facebook page ever; TheBlackDivineFeminineReawakened. I’m such a bad social media person, but you can find me on Twitter @ MalenaCrawford, the Gram, @MalenaCrawford, or on my website, Gypsy: Malena, thanks so much again, I really enjoyed our girl talk! Ladies and gentleman “A Fistful of Honey” is a must have… It’s gonna open your eyes and souls up to truths you may not have yet come into, but don’t worry. There are so many people, women like myself and Malena who are here to guide you… As this is going to be a long journey on a short path! Go purchase it now, for yourself and for your friends/ family. Start a book club, or sit around the dinner table and talk about it. I promise you, your soul is thirsting and ready for this! Malena, we’ll catch up with you lady. You enjoy this day; it’s beautiful either way the wind blows!

Facebook @TheBlackDivineFeminineReawakened • Twitter @MalenaCrawford or @MalenaCrawford

TRAINING in LEADERSHIP Many think that much of a person’s character is formed early in life. HOWEVER,

we do not know exactly how much or how early character develops. But, it is safe to claim that CHARACTER DOES NOT CHANGE QUICKLY.

A person’s observable behavior is an indication of their character. THIS BEHAVIOR CAN BE STRONG OR WEAK, GOOD OR BAD. A PERSON WITH STRONG CHARACTER SHOWS

drive • ENERGY • determination • self-discipline

willpower and nerve.

She sees what she wants and goes after it.

She attracts followers.

On the other hand, a person with weak character shows none of these traits.

She does not know what she wants.

Her traits are disorganized, she vacillates and is inconsistent.


A strong person can be good or bad.

A gang leader is an example of a strong person with a bad character, while an outstanding community leader is one with both strong and good characteristics. An organization needs leaders with both strong and good characteristics, people who will guide them to the future and show that they can be trusted. 


Mentoring | Network | Education | Incubating | Funding

Recently I was introduced to a very innovative and exciting global program called TiE Young Entrepreneurs. I met the program chair through LinkedIn and she invited me to become a part of this amazing program. She offered me the opportunity to present a few of my areas of expertise to the participants at their Saturday morning sessions. Each presenter, a successful entrepreneur in their own right, shares aspects of their experience and skills with the students as a volunteer and potential mentor. Each Saturday, two speakers present for about 90 minutes.


I gave a workshop on Active Listening, explaining how important that communication skill is for leadership, management, sales, customer service, and relationship development.

fostering our future generation of entrepreneurs. TYE focuses on teaching entrepreneurship to high school students and helping them discover the rewards and challenges of becoming an entrepreneur.

The second Saturday I gave a workshop on Presentation Skills as they relate to business, bringing in aspects for pitching to investors as well as successfully benefiting from attending networking events. Each time, a “homework” assignment was given so that they could try out what they had learned.

During the program, the students form teams, go through classroom session modules focused on different aspects of business and entrepreneurship, and then are encouraged to write their own business plans.

As a result of my participation, several of the students have connected with me on LinkedIn. In addition, one of the students invited me to his high school to speak to the entrepreneurial program participants there. I gave a lunch and learn workshop on Time Management. The teacher who runs the entrepreneurial program at this school attended the session and thanked me for coming and doing this for his class. What made it so much fun for me was hearing the thoughtful questions asked by the students, watching their eager faces as they began to understand the concepts being offered and realized the value being brought to them. In addition, the students were most appreciative of the efforts of the volunteer “teachers” and expressed their thanks sincerely and honestly. So, let me tell you more about this incredible venture. TiE Young Entrepreneurs is a Global program aimed at

Teams can compete at the chapter level Finals first and the winner of each chapter goes on to the Global Competition to compete for $10,000. TYE has become a Global Program, and now has over 20 chapters throughout the TiE network participate each year. The TiE Young Entrepreneur (TYE) Program is an opportunity for students to learn about entrepreneurship, ideation and business basics, over the course of the school year. The program involves local entrepreneurs, business professionals, parents, youth, coaches, and mentors. By coaching hundreds of students in this Global program, TiE is proud of its impact towards “Education” and “Mentoring”. This incredible program began in Boston in 2005, and since its inception has become a Global Program that inspires young teens and teaches them how to build a startup. The program engendered interest and activated engagement from the wider community who have become excited about assisting the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Connect with un online at Facebook, linkedin and YouTube


Here are some of the knowledge and skills that are gained by the students from this program: CUSTOMER VALIDATION How to reach out to potential customers through interviews, surveys, etc. They learn how to articulate key insights and determine evidence of customer satisfaction. EXECUTION They learn how to develop a prototype/ service model that will tie in with their value proposition and incorporate customer feedback. PRODUCT-MARKET FIT They learn that a robust Business model, that has matched customer segments to value propositions (product market fit), with evidence (surveys, interviews, etc.) is the road to a successful and long-lasting business. GO-TO-MARKET STRATEGY They learn that they require a sound Go-tomarket plan and how to detail an actionable business model that supports their mission.

The chapter mentors and team leaders coach students on a Lean Startup Business Model curriculum that encourages the teens to experiment and innovate. Over the course of the TYE Program, high school students learn the basics of starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur. They also have the opportunity to build relationships and networks with both business people and contemporaries with whom they can later develop the contacts necessary to make their passion and ideas come to fruition. It is truly exciting to see young people learning high-level business concepts, pitching their ideas to real-life investors, creating engaging products and services, and becoming confident leaders and change agents in their community.


TEAMWORK They learn that their team members should have clearly defined roles and responsibilities and that they should effectively utilize the skills and talents of those individuals as well as support and encourage them to develop new ones. PRESENTATION SKILLS They learn to skillfully present their business plan with a logical flow, persuasive arguments, storytelling, and attractive visuals. DEMONSTRATION They learn that their demonstration product must be clear, concise, usable, and polished.

As you can tell, I am pretty stoked about this program and will be meeting the chair very soon to help her access more of the students from various high schools in the greater Vancouver area. We are going to develop a brochure to give to the principals and school board curriculum planners to see if we can generate more interest and ultimately get more students involved in the program. So if you do not have this program operating in your area yet, I hope that the information I have provided here will interest and excite you enough to look into how it could be offered to the high schools where you live. Just imagine if you had had the opportunity to learn from such a program before you embarked on your business idea! ď Ž Sandy Chernoff

Bedros Keuilian is a fitness coach, life coach and a family man. He has sacrificed it all to make sure that his family was well taken care of. A very important aspect to Bedros’ family background is that his father came to America and fled Communist Russia in Armenia by paying off the Russian Government. Keuilian was only 5 years old then and as time went on he took the responsibility to make sure that his family was free forever by creating The Fit Body Bootcamp Franchise. Keuilian used to be fat as a child and that fueled him to make a healthier change for his life knowing that one day his bad health could lead to a fatal ending. He did whatever he needed to become an overnight success story. He became a fry cook at Disneyland and a bouncer at a gay club on the weekends. Years later, Keuilian had opened multiple gyms and was selling fitness and consulting services worldwide. Fit Body Boot Camp, an international fitness franchise that he is most widely known for, has empowered many fitness trainers all over the world and has given families financial freedom. The Fit Body Boot Camp franchise, with over 400 locations worldwide, on three continents, and in nine countries; has changed the lives of so many people. With all the hard work that Keuilian and his family have done, there is no reason for any of us not to be successful in life. He teaches us that no matter how much life can suck or how devastating it may become, there is always hope and a way out. We had a chance to sit down with Bedros Keuilian in Downtown Los Angeles, CA about his journey as an immigrant who became successful here in America. Q: Tell us a little about Fit Body Bootcamp and how your company change lives? A: Fit Body Bootcamp is now one of the fastest growing fitness franchises today and the whole idea is instead of one-on-one personal training, it’s one personal trainer and many clients. It brings the price down of personal training to a very affordable rate for everyday people. It allows more people to work with the trainer rather than going to the gym and get confused on what to do next. Fit Body Boot Camp changes lives by making personal training available to more people worldwide. Q: How did you go from working as a fry cook and bouncer at a gay nightclub to becoming an international business consultant? A: That’s an interesting transition, I worked at a gay club, because they paid more and I am very transparent. It was all about following my passion and for me my passion was fitness. I followed my passion and I realize now that whomever I have consulted in the past is all about helping people and passion driven. I guess like attracts like and I just followed my passion. Q: Before there was a Fit Body Boot Camp, what were you personal dreams and goals? A: One of my goals was to open up one personal 32

training studio that ultimately led to five, and I realized that I was holding back and that I was capable of so much more and that was when I realized that I could help more people worldwide in a franchise. Q: As a motivational speaker, what’s your message to people who are afraid to face their fears and live out there passions? A: To Live without Regret. I have this thing where I like to connect with people who are 25, 35, 45 years older than me and otherwise successful in their careers. I have never heard anyone say,’ I have set goals too high.’ They always said, ‘I set goals that were too low; that I didn’t go or run across the finish line,’ and I think people should go all in. Q: Tell us a little about your online masterclass? A: Everything you need to know is here at this site Q: What’s your number one advice to all online startup companies? A: Be Authentic. Everyone wants to see the person behind the brand and their message. They want a peek-a-boo view into your life and the more you can put yourself out there the faster your business will grow.  Antoinette Ortega


Become A High Performance Entrepreneur and Dominate Your Path

Board, Coaching and so much more. As I was viewing her awesome website, I stumbled upon the “Sex Industry CEO” tab and it literally captured my attention. First, the title alone was captivating and it immediately pulled me in. Here’s a snippet of what I read… “In Atlanta and all over the country there are exotic dancers, strippers and other women working in the sex entertainment business who are looking to transition. Strippers have a unique transition process when attempting to find traditional work. Sex Industry CEO is a coaching program that offers unique tools and methods to help strippers explore career opportunities outside of the club scene.” Listen here, that alone is a BOLD move! Shavonda: Tell me more about Coach Drea and your endeavors.

Connect with Coach Drea follow her: or IG: @AndreaHolyfield or @career_create_her Email: Andrea Holyfield, better known as, ‘Coach Drea’ is a powerhouse of a woman, turning heads from every direction. When asked, who is Andrea Holyfield, she BOLDLY responded by saying, “In some way, I’m still figuring that out, Shavonda. I’ve learned that I’m a leader. I’m a mom, a sister, a lover, a daughter. I’m your sister and friend.” What has been consistent is that she is a stubborn, inquisitive woman who LOVES to help and encourage others. Whoever Andrea is she has a lot going on! Coach Drea is making unconventional BOLD moves outside of the box of coaching. With her ultimate passion for authenticity, her desire is to live her truth without being tied up in culture, society and peer pressure. But her desire for individuals is to create culture instead of culture creating them. Coach Drea is the founder of Live Well Coaching and Professional Development Services (Live Well CPS). She specializes in a multiplicity of programs such as Boss Maker, Selfishly Happy, Sex Industry CEO, Vision 34

Coach Drea: I’m in love with life right now. I have the BEST clients. The way my process works is that we interview each other and that ensures that you like me enough to tolerate me when I get on your butt! I’m a coach so there’s homework and tough love. We must connect for that relationship to work. Shavonda: What would you like to leave with the readers? Coach Drea: What makes me a good coach is that I sincerely care about the human experience. I am in love with women. I’m like our cheerleader. I love to see us win, but additionally, I’m on this quest to define and determine my own life’s journey so I’m partnering with you. We’re in this thing together. I don’t take that lightly. I’m honored when someone allows me in to experience their change. It is an amazing responsibility and an awesome privilege.  Shavonda McCaleb

Coach Drea

Making BOLD Moves

reconnect with a


The phone rings. The doorbell buzzes. You favorite show is on. Homework has to be done. Dishes have to be put up. Laundry has to be done. Cupcakes have to be baked. Lunches for the next day have to be packed. And the list goes on. Sound familiar? Technology was supposed to give us more time. More time for leisure, for hanging out on the front porch as I did “back in the day”. Instead, ours has become a “culture of busy”. One of the dangers of embracing America’s “culture of busy,” is that it leads to increased levels of stress, according to Dr. Gina Manguno-Mire, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Tulane University. “Stress can be positive, or negative,” she explains. “However, the body doesn’t know the difference between “good stress, and “bad stress.” To the body, stress is stress and it reacts with the same autonomic physical reaction – the fight or flight response.” Long term stress is a killer of relationships between partners or spouses. Communication is by far the single biggest aspect that holds lovers and partners together or tears them apart. Intentionally or otherwise, many don’t try to change for each other over the months and years that follow, nor do they try to please each other and woo each other. Both partners may love each other, care about each other and live under the same roof, and yet, they may be leading two separate lives. They just let the relationship be, and they sink into the comfort of their own individual lives.


When intimate time between partners dwindles due to the stresses and worries of the day or when communication is lacking, relationships erode and dismantle. Our children learn what they live and live what they learn. The best that a parent can do is model the type of loving relationships they wish for their children. Yet, this does not happen without effort. Taking time to reconnect with your partner is key to getting your house in order. Just unplugging the phone and not answering the door is not enough. You need somewhere that will allow you the intimacy and special time you need to reignite those emotions of love and attraction. This is where a “love-cation” comes in. It does not have to be long or far away. It can be overnight or in the next town. Book that romantic inn and make a reservation for a candlelight dinner for just the two of you. Remember to take photos so when you go back home, you have a visual memory of your “twogether” time.

If you’re fortunate enough to have the financial resources, plan a romantic weekend or week “lovecation” at a boutique hotel or at an all- inclusive resort designed for couples. The longer you’re able to get away and the more comforts you can afford, the greater the satisfaction. There are so many resorts that cater to couples and provide alluring and sensual settings. Soaking tubs, pillow menus, ensuite jacuzzi tubs, couples’ spa treatments, candlelight dinners on the beach are but a few of the options at many of the all inclusives. Talk about putting more pep in your step and more motion in the ocean…need I say more? Consider the longer “love-cation” a true investment in your relationship. You’ll feel more united, more connected, more in tune with each other and certainly more appreciative. Think about it. Call me. I can prescribe just the right getaway. The doctor is in. ■ Cindy Brooks, Travel Writer

For travel information call Cindy of Bella Travels 770.317.1574 or email and visit her website at

glamour girl fitness

5 TIPS FOR WORKING OUT IN THE SUMMER 1. Shorten your workouts/split them up - Workout twice a day for 10 minutes 2. Slow down your Pace - Move with less intensity 3. Walk indoors - Mall walking - Fitness tracks in gym 4. Stay hydrated - Drink water all day 5. Change up your workout to fit the weather conditions - Exercise in the pool/water aerobic

Summer…The warmest season of the year. What does that mean? Beautiful weather, swimming, vacations, motivation to look good!! Summer days offers much warmer weather with more daylight hours that is sure to motivate you to get beach body ready for those cookouts and pool days. The sunlight offers vitamin D which also helps boost your mood. During the Summer everything seems more vibrant, hopeful, and liberating. The sunshine is sure to give you the burst of energy you need to want to move and shed a few pounds. The challenging part is actually doing it. Putting in the necessary time and work it takes to get in shape. Together we can stick to our goals. Make a commitment to self. Don’t allow the beautiful weather to play reverse psychology on you. Don’t make excuses that it’s too hot to move because heat can be draining as well. Plan your workouts. The busy summer schedule can cause you to put your fitness routine on the back burner. Make a contract with yourself to just get it done. Make it HAPPEN!! Working out may not always feel comfortable when you are doing it but the end result is so REWARDING! Accelerate your Efforts! Visualize the GOAL and want it more than anything. Make the time and take the time to get it done. When you are short on time remind yourself that doing something even if it’s less than usual is always better than doing nothing. Be confident, motivated and passionate enough to achieve your goals. I am ready to help you make a lifestyle change. My purpose and passion is to motivate you to improve your overall health and fitness for a lasting lifestyle change. Take control of your own destiny…. if not now then when. ■

7th annual women’s empowerment conference

“It’s time to cross the finish line.”

SharRon Jamison ................... The Jamison Group LLC

Featured Speaker Life Coach • Award Winning Author Inspirational Speaker

Mary Nicole Douglas ................... CEO/MND Accounting Freedom Equals Workshop Transitioning from Corporate to Entrepreneurship

Saturday, August 26, 2017 10AM - 4PM Buffalo Mariott Harbor Center 95 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14203

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................... CEO/Financially Fit The Mind, Wallet, Credit Connection Workshop

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................... CEO/Everythingkiea, LLC. Road Map To Savings Workshop

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CEO/Founder, The Fearless Experience

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Bestselling Author • Thought Leader Empowerment Speaker

Britney El- Amin ................... CEO/BeFit Fitness Studio Be Fit Workshop

Michelle Barron ................... Founder/WITS Host

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Andrea Guendelman didn’t start out knowing she’d be the next big thing in professional social media networking.  She just knew there was a need for a platform that enhanced the visibility of Latino/Latina candidates (Andrea does not like the term Latina!).  And this powerhouse Latina lawyer based in Colorado did it:  in less than 18 months, she and her team have built a robust, culturally diverse career network with thousands of users.  Launched  in April 2016, BeVisible is a beautiful, easy-touse, fun and engaging platform that allows professionals from all over the globe to meet and partner up to do amazing things.  That’s no surprise, seeing as the basis for the website came from Andrea’s background socializing and networking for the good of the country during her years working with former Vice-President Al Gore. “When I moved back to Boulder, I knew I wanted to bring to the forefront buried talent within our community,” said Andrea.  “There is a huge market opportunity, an empty field of unidentified needs within our community.” is one way that Andrea is addressing that need.  No stranger to the power of networking outside her cultural circle, Andrea largely credits her strong relationships with successful African American colleagues and friends who serve as investors, supporters, and brand ambassadors.  “We depend on our African American brothers and sisters a lot – they are our most important allies.”  One such person is Arlan Hamilton, founder of Backstage Capital.  Backstage Capital is a venture capital firm and key investor in  The organization’s willingness to “put its money where its mouth is” has enabled Andrea to focus on full time, and also look at other ways to address the lack of needsbased resources for minority professionals.  One of those ideas is a new magazine that shares how Latino business owners and founders “made it” – made their businesses work, made them big, and made them successful.   While Andrea is working on that next great venture, meet her on, and join a network of thriving, informed, and ultra-qualified professionals today!


No you can’t just be friends don’t “just be friends” with any man whom you know has a hidden agenda! #SettleFree • FaceBook@MenWomenAndDating • Twitter@tinzleyb • IG@tinzleyb • Periscope@tinzley

The word friend is defined in Webster’s dictionary as “A person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.” Notice in the definition it starts with saying “a person whom one KNOWS?” So when you know someone typically for a long period of time, and there is a close bond between you and this person then this can be defined as a friend right? So can someone please tell me why is it that when some men approach women showing an interest in her and she advises him that she is already in a committed relationship, many guys respond saying, “Well, can’t we just be friends?” Ummmm NO! Let me tell you why I say no. Reason being is the last time I checked, you can’t appoint a friendship it just happens over time. So you can tell a guy like this to please stop saying he just wants to be friends with you when he knows his motive is to do far more with you? See I’m going to tell you what most men’s “REAL” meaning of let’s be friends is. What he’s hoping is that you will still give him your number or accept his so that he can try and spit some mac daddy skills on you and convince you that even though you’re taken.... there’s nothing wrong with going out to eat with your newly found “friend?” There’s nothing wrong with going to a movie right? There’s nothing wrong with laying in the same bed at night right? Oh, there’s nothing wrong with him grabbing your buttocks and squeezing your boobs rights? Yall are just friends? There’s nothing wrong with you removing your skirt and him his pants right? I mean face it, he started out attracted to you, right? Do you think his goal was to only be friends when he first laid eyes on you? Not at all. He was trying to possibly pursue you in hopes that it would turn into a lifelong relationship or sexual encounter? Let me make this nice and clear. Tell a guy like this that

YOU HAVE ENOUGH FRIENDS ALREADY SO YOU DON’T NEED ANYMORE! If you give in to this scheme, you are allowing yourself to be left open to this guy thinking there just might be an ounce of interest in him. Now if you’re in an unhealthy relationship and you’re looking to get out it’s

not a bad idea to meet new people but if you’re happy and you know you have a great guy then why even risk it? You should not settle for men who are okay with trying to get with you even though he was told you are off the market. I will add that being friends with a man you have feelings for is equally as tough, especially if he too is already in a relationship. You might want to keep your distance from this kind of man as well because temptation is a beast!! All I’m saying! I was at the gas station one day and after I’d pumped my gas and was rapidly walking back to my car, this guy yelled, “Hey pretty Lady, where your man at?” He was unkempt and disheveled, his breath reeked of alcohol and he had about five guys with him. I usually don’t judge a book by its cover, but I used my discernment for this fella. Now usually I won’t lie about my relationship status, but even though I’m single and have no man I responded, “I’m trying to get to him now!” So in my head I’m thinking okay I’ve defused this situation, this dude will see I’m not interested and he’ll go on about his business. Well, it didn’t happen quite that way. He decided to approach me, stood at my car window hollering” Well, can’t we just be friends?” I responded, “Well don’t you have to know each other to be friends? I mean I don’t know you!” He went on to say, “Come on baby, give me your number. I’m not trying to mess things up between you and your man; I just want to hang out sometimes. Don’t you want a friend?” I said, “No, I actually already have enough friends,” and I gave him the stare of doom!


He walked away and headed back to the packed car of dudes he was hanging out with and do you know this man proceeded to yell, “Come on baby, just give me your number or take mine and call me once so I can at least feel you like me a little?” He ended with... “ugly men are in style now!” I felt sorry for him and drove off! This is a question I’d like for you to ask a man who tries to pull this on you. Why is it when a woman tells you she’s already in a relationship or has a boyfriend, many of you ask if you can just be friends? What does that really mean? Just be friends.... Do you mean the kind of friend who comes and changes her tire if she gets a flat? Do you mean the kind of friend who helps her move heavy furniture when she’s relocating? Do you mean the kind of friend who changes her oil for her so she won’t have to spend a whole lot of money at Jiffy Lube? What’s YOUR definition of “Let’s just be friends?” Let me take a wild guess..... You want to screw right? Did I nail it? Am I right? Here’s my advice ladies…Tell this buster to get over it because you’re already taken! You know my truth, if you run into a guy trying to be “friends” after he knows you already have a man? NEXT!!!! The truth of the matter is he just wants to hunch and screw and hunch and screw and hunch some more at his leisure. There’s no such thing as THIS type of friend; in reality, he could care less that you’re already taken. He knows what he wants for the moment and he’ll keep trying you until all your NO’s turn into a couple of yes’s. The next thing you know, you’re cheating on your guy. Do yourself a favor ladies..... Girl, get yourself together and stop being more concerned with being single and work on yourself! One of the main things that have helped me cope with life’s adversities, being single and dealing with disappointments and setbacks is my spiritual connection with God. I pray all the time and meditate. I thank God every day and make sure I am doing what pleases Him. Even when dating, the choices I


make and the changes I have made are a reflection of who I’m becoming. My suggestion as you work on you is ….Let Him lead and He’ll guide you to financial freedom, healthy relationships with the right guy, and a new outlook on life. Trust me and THE SETTLE FREE DATING METHOD I swear by!

Don’t “Just Be Friends” with any man whom you KNOW has a hidden agenda! Tell him NEXT!!

With the looming confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, one thing our students can count on, one thing that we all can count on, is the unpredictability of what lies ahead for education in America.

Flashback to January 2017. At that time, many Americans were continuing to come to terms with the reality of the 2016 election and the anticipated ramifications of it. Working in the field of education for over 20 years, of course, one of my primary concerns was the impact of the new administration on education. I, along with educators around the country, had serious concerns specifically regarding the potential confirmation of the recommended Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Preliminary popular opinion believed Donald + Betsy = nothing good for America’s public schools. As I sat reflecting on what may be to come, the following was written. The dawn of a new year signals a new beginning, however, for many, the 2017 new year has brought an onslaught of fear and uncertainty. The election of a new president has ushered in numerous changes, life as we know it, has been and will be altered in many ways. Even if we have not been directly affected, we probably know of someone who has been. With sweeping changes to everyday facets of life from healthcare to residency to education, and with a myriad of others in between, the United States of America appears to be morphing into the land of the fearful and home of the burdened. As we reflect, assess, and react to this index of new policy implementations, we cannot forget the group that is the smallest in stature but comparable in number, our students. With the looming confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, one thing our students can count on, one thing that we all can count on, is the unpredictability of what lies ahead for education in America. Will public schools be defunded? Can they count on being safe while in school? Will post-secondary education be an option? There are countless pieces to this puzzle that educators, parents, and students are trying to put together….along with many others in America. But maybe, just maybe, the potential Secretary, if confirmed, will set an example



D E V O U R E D for our students by becoming a pupil of education and learn by listening to those with extensive knowledge and experience in order to avoid the total implosion of the American system of education. Americans are troubled about the impending Congressional approval of Ms. DeVos and quite frankly, they should be. We cannot afford to put the future of our kids’ education in the hands of the highest bidder. The year 2017 has not only ushered in an era of uncertainty, it has brought utter fear along with it as well. Children should experience life void of stress and fear. As of January 27, 2017, for many children stress and fear became a part of the tapestry of their daily lives. That day marked the inception of a presidential executive order aimed at “protecting the nation from

foreign terrorist entry into the United States.” However, there have been unintended consequences that have wreaked havoc in the lives of many families. For some children, their parents whom they’ve resided with in America all of their lives, left one day to travel abroad and have not and may not be able to return. Some have relatives who were counting on seeking refuge in the United States from war and oppression in their countries. Others are living in fear of deportation. Whether the fear is valid or invalid, the fears are real and are the culmination of a diatribe of rhetoric spewed throughout our 2016 presidential election season. It’s important that educators embrace our immigrant students and students from immigrant families at this time. Many are struggling to understand the enormity


of it all and to come to terms with the impact this order has begun to have on their lives. A Somali high school student in the metro Atlanta area, who chose to remain anonymous, shared that her cousin is here alone from Somalia living with her. She has three sisters who were supposed to join her here, but now they are unable to come and if she leaves she cannot return. The young lady said, “Somalians look up to America because we think it’s a safe place.” Fortunately, there are supportive teachers in the profession who allow their students to share their thoughts and feelings in a safe space. Presumably, like many others affected by this policy change, this young lady feels that it’s unfair because Somalians come to America for a better life and a new start. It is incumbent upon us as we navigate these unfamiliar and troubled waters to do our part to help settle them. What is at stake is far greater than any initial anticipation we may have. What is at stake is the far, reaching impact of ineffective leadership on a generation of students. The implications can be profound. What is at stake is the social-emotional wellbeing of our children. What is at stake is the safety of our fellow man and the message being sent to our children regarding humanitarianism. Well, several months have passed, DeVos was confirmed, and fortunately the public school system has not toppled. While she has not erected any catastrophic changes at this point, her short existence in the position has been far from uneventful. In the history of Congressional confirmations, she’s 48

the first nominee to be confirmed due to the Vice President casting the deciding vote. Not exactly the most welcoming reception. Speaking of welcoming receptions, her first visit EVER to a public school was completely void of any pep rallies. This suggests that the eradication of the Department of Education, rolling back President Obama’s memos providing guidance on student loans, and her numerous ill-advised comments have not garnered her much additional support, as evidenced by the boos she received at Bethune-Cookman University.

Although our immigrant students are still not totally at ease, what is clear is that they do have avenues of support from within the schoolhouse to even government officials. The future of education in America, and even within the department itself, continues to have various shades of uncertainty. Betsy DeVos’ tenure is still in its infancy, but if America does not want her tenure to morph our schools and student lives into something unrecognizable, we must continue to be informed and vocal. This is nonnegotiable; our children’s future is at stake. ■ Dr. Connie Franklin

Our Roving Reporter Mercedes Jackson was in the building for Bold Favor Media Group to capture this event by entertainer and comedian Sheryl Underwood. The Pack Rat Foundation is a nonprofit organization, founded by philanthropist and Emmy Award-winning entertainer Sheryl Underwood, that raises money for historically black colleges and provides internships to college students as reporters on “Sheryl Underwood Radio”. Some of the areas the organization focuses on at HBCUs are civil justice, sports initiatives, urban symphony, and choirs’ “sang offs”. “Sisters In Service” is an event formed to honor the four sororities of the National Pan-Hellenic Council: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Zeta Phi Beta, and Sigma Gamma Rho, for their commitment to community service and improving human abundance for families and individuals. The evening was filled with plenty of food and an over flow of wine and champagne as the women exhibited their sorority colors in a 1960’s fashion theme. Underwood’s celebrity sorority friends in attendance, included talk show host Loni Love and actress, Yvette Nicole Brown. Sheryl Underwood is the 23rd International President, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. ■ Mercedes Jackson


The America I know is a nation of celebrations from personal birthdays to celebrating the independence of America from Great Brattain on the 4th July 1776. And also, the celebration of news arriving late in Texas from General Orders, number 3, June 19, 1865, under Major General Gordon Granger. He gave news that the Civil War ended, giving enslaved people of the ‘South’, freedom by President Lincoln, over the rebellious southern states. However, the July fourth and Juneteenth freedom celebrations are alternative facts in America. They are based on two different points of view by Fredrick Douglas and celebration that started in 1979, with Texas being the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. It is like correcting a wrong that can never be corrected. July Fourth for the Negro by Frederick Douglas is one of those pieces that lives with time. When Douglas asked the questions, “What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess that benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessing resulting from your independence to us? Douglas ‘wrote words with his point of view. During that era, slaves were not experiencing joys of jubilee on the day of “Freedom” on July 4th, 1776. Those of color were not paid for labor, only paid by choices under the slave driver’s lash. So the nation’s Independence Day has nothing for men of color. Douglas stated that “the legacy of black people in America could be traced like that of a wounded man through a crowd by the blood.” The State of Texas in 1979 is the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday. Juneteenth, or June 19, 1865, is considered the date in America where freedom

came to the last slaves. If the slave owner informed the slaves of the news two and a half years earlier, there would not be a need for Juneteenth. The slavers’ eyes would know that people he considered inferior and subhuman were only wearing their defensive masks that covered their faces in the cotton fields from him. For history shows that the telegraph, newspapers, friendly letters from others reached their Texas town doing this era which means slaves owners knew slaves were freed by President Lincoln’s executive order. Slaves’ owners viewed that their former enslaved men displayed dignity, a stateliness that survived the dehumanizing oppression of slavery. The spirit of Juneteenth to uplift and remove the thoughts of nothingness of white supremacy is noble; however, it changes nothing in Texas. Although, Juneteenth it a historical milestone reminding American of a triumph of African-American ancestor’s spirits, from the cruelty of slavery, it also honors the inhumane institution of bondage with mix feeling of alternative facts of celebrations for me. ■ L. Cornell Pearson


Our Independence July 4th commemorates our country’s independence. Every year as families gather with loved ones, cook on the grill, enjoy the fireworks, and create memories; we need to mindful that America’s founders fought hard for her independence. Much blood was shed and many lives were lost, but in the end a new nation was forged, the United States of America. Although America is a sovereign nation, our independence can easily slip away if we don’t use our voice to speak out against injustice and protect and defend our rights. Americans pursued their independence and that’s what they received. But what are we striving for? What steps are we going to take for independence? Everyone wants to be treated with respect, especially Black Americans. We live in a world where some people think celebrating the 4th of July is a joke. We still suffer from police brutality, poverty, and inequality in the judicial system. We’ve come so far, and still have far to go. But take a moment and ask yourself: “What does independence look like for me? Is it job security, safety, or my financial independence?” Each day we have a chance to become better person than yesterday. Paying credit card bills and other financial burdens cause stress in our lives. But what can you do to decrease your financial debt? Why not start by writing short-term goals, whether it’s finding other ways to earn extra income, or cutting back on spending habits. It’s a step that you must take. This also goes for individuals who want to change the future. People talk about issues in the community and how their politician needs to take care of it. Yes, it is their job because they were voted in, but what can you do to make your community better? Get involved in town hall meetings, know what is going on in your own neighborhood and include yourself in community events. How can something change if you are not involved? As for the judicial system, understand the laws in your community. Read up on the laws in your local court system. If something is not right, vote the politicians out. We have a voice and it’s important to use it, especially in our neighborhoods, where we can have the biggest impact. In order to obtain independence it takes discipline, self-worth, and dedication. It ‘s important to understand what needs to be done in order to be successful. We live in a world where possibilities are limitless, strive to succeed and watch your independence flourish. ■ Jamie Rockymore-Bess

Our Voice

Hello Beautiful I can say the typical. Love yourself, be confident, be your own superman… But I won’t. I think we hear these things enough. We get the point. Far be it for me to tell you the things that you already know. My message today is… STOP! I know you are trying to figure out what is she talking about or you may be asking yourself “Stop what?” Well, if there is one thing that I have learned from being a full figured model and standing in front of the camera is sometimes you have to STOP and decide what your next move is. As a woman I realize sometimes we leave a lot of open-ended sentences in our lives and these “open-ended sentences” leaves too much to chance with no specific direction or no answers. So, STOP. Today you give thought on who you are. Not who you are as a daughter, mother, wife, sister or friend, but who you are as a Woman. Sit down with paper and pen and began to write down who you are. See it on paper. Read it to yourself and then read it out loud. Oh, and baby girl, be honest with yourself. Be ready to make the necessary changes needed to change your perspective if what you see on paper is not something you like. Don’t feel bad if you do not finish your list in one sitting. It can actually take a while to accomplish, in fact, the list will be an ever evolving one, but Beautiful, my only request is just make time to do it. Commit to yourself. This is the moment that you are able to STOP and see you, “The Woman”. Not how you believe other people see you or what others have told you about yourself. When you feel like you have completed your list, pick something on your list that you’re going to work on about you. STOP allowing people to tell you the areas that they would change about you and make the conscious decision to change what you feel will make you a better WOMAN. This is not about anyone else. Not your spouse, your siblings, your children, your parents or your friends. This is absolutely and completely about you, my beautiful sister. It is only in those moments when we STOP and sit in silence that we can hear the yearnings of our soul and the whispers in the deepest parts of our hearts. Say this out loud: “I deserve to know who I am. I owe it to myself and everyone around me” Now go somewhere and bring life to a STOP… You will be better for it!

With love and hope for your Expected End... JM


Looking for acceptance in all the wrong places I will be the first to admit I am addicted to social media!!! Okay, there I said it…I admitted my obsession. Admission is the first step to overcoming any addiction, right??? Laughing I frequent my Facebook and Instagram accounts several times throughout the course of the day. Sometimes I post; other times, I scan and read other people’s posts. And as much as I hate to admit it, I used to be one those individuals who paid attention to who liked or didn’t like my posts. It actually bothered me to the very core of my soul. Secretively, I wanted the approval of certain people and if you were to ask me why…I wouldn’t have an honest answer. Never mind how many people loved my posts…no matter how many people told me they looked forward to my daily dose of inspiration, the none acceptance of those individuals carried so much weight that my heart stayed heavy. From associates to family members, I wanted their approval. I wanted to be a part of their social circles and deemed important by their definition. It consumed me so much I became depressed and questioned my worthiness. Why did I give these individuals so much control over me? It took listening to a morning radio broadcast to give me the revelation that I needed to finally set myself free from the “mental hostage” that I had become for so many years of craving approval. In the words Bishop T.D. Jakes…I had to finally “let it go”. I learned that sometimes we have a tendency to 56

give the wrong people and circumstances too much of our attention and too much power over us. We waste precious time and energy trying to figure out why people don’t like us or support us, and why they talk negatively about us. We try to figure out ways to gain their acceptance or try to force our way into their hearts and social circle to no avail. We lose a little of ourselves until we get to the point that we have nothing left, just a shell, a shadow of who we really are. The reality is everyone will not support you or your dreams, which is totally okay. However, the lack of love and support from these individuals should never stop you from living and enjoying your life…and it definitely should never stop you from reaching your dreams. Life is not about how many clicks of the “like” button you can receive. People should always live life and be unapologetically themselves!!! Whoever loves and supports you, embrace them and love them in the same manner. As for those who don’t…simply let them be!!! Don’t give your time or energy to those who don’t deserve it. Life is too short not to be happy!!! Whatever you do…don’t allow social media to consume you or cause you to lose sight of reality!!! Just know…You are extremely fabulous and no one can take that away from you!!! ■ Brianna D. Screen


We are all imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Our imperfections contribute to our unique character...they make us the extraordinary people we are today. Many walk around with the most beautiful smiles and what appears to be not a care in the world attitude. You never know what truly hides behind some of those smiles and pleasantries. Where some might be dealing with everyday life’s issues like finances, relationships, health or employment, some are dealing with emotional issues far greater.

Let your light shine • • • 58

Philanthropist, author, filmmaker, and producer Sashe Omogiate was familiar with this way of living. Self -described as “faith-filled and a giver by nature…a listener, teacher, friend, creator and inspirer.” Omogiate is also someone who was diagnosed with depression. There are an estimated “350 million people worldwide suffering from depression…that’s 5% of the world’s population,” noted Brianna D. Screen. While Omogiate knew something wasn’t right, she found it difficult to put her finger on what was actually going on. “I had all the symptoms of depression but didn’t have a name to it: anxiety attacks, insomnia, isolation, eating wasn’t normal. I thought I was pregnant. I took a pregnancy test and it came out negative. I went to the doctor and took another pregnancy test that also came back negative. Took blood work everything came back normal. The doctor began asking me questions; she later explained to me what I was dealing with was depression. Finally I had a name to it.” While she didn’t believe in medicating any problem, Omogiate decided the next best course of action would be to educate herself about depression.

Her life experiences led her to create the Imani Within Foundation. Imani, Swahili for faith, is a nondenominational faith-based non-profit organization dedicated to making a difference by promoting good health and helping people develop life coping skills. “We practice preventative habits that promote good health as well as helping people deal with life challenges with creative alternatives, provide a support system as well as strengthen people in the community,” Omogiate explained. One of the programs sponsored by the foundation is

the talent showcase “Let Your Light Shine,” which is a day of sharing experiences, healing depression, and promoting suicide awareness that encourages nontraditional interventions. It includes creative therapy such as art, drama and music to foster an environment of healing for those seeking diagnosis and treatment, while reducing the stigma and shame that can be associated with mental illness.This event takes place twice a year, in May for Mental Health Awareness and in October for Depression Awareness. There is also an empowerment group called “Reveal What’s Inside of You” that educates and inspires people to have success in every area of life. “The mission is to live a life we always dreamed of by using available tools to create an organized plan,” ßnoted Omogiate. The primary focus is on self-development, entrepreneurship/money management, health and spiritual wellness.” Omogiate’s process of coping with depression coupled with establishing her foundation led her to write her first book Truth Is, “a daily handbook guide for women to help them discover their purpose…their calling. Readers are empowered through lessons on selfreflection, failed relationships and business ventures, helping women become the powerful, purpose-driven women they were called to be and manifest the life they truly want,” Omogiate said. In her book, she shares random truths that will help others realize that past experiences set you up to continue walking in your truth. Writing for Omogiate became very therapeutic for her. Truth Is was birthed from her writing about her life experiences. It was her ability to write that gave her confidence to share her experiences…she was finally able to find comfort in talking to her close male friend, and a female friend who would later become her business partner. My advice to those dealing with depression, is to educate yourself. Some people have depression but don’t realize it. Depression can result from something that just occurred. Research…read…educate yourself about depression. if you suspect that you may be depressed then reach out to a doctor, a therapist, counselor, psychologist. The first step on the road to recovery is admitting that you may have a problem. ■ Brianna D. Screen


A FIRE WITHIN BOLD Favor’s Shana Thornton recently caught up with acclaimed author and community advocate Sherry Graves. The renowned social worker shared her life story and more in this exclusive interview.

SHANA: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR LIFE’S JOURNEY. Sherry: My life’s journey has been filled with happiness and sadness, joy and tears, successes and failures, triumphs and tribulations, challenges and setbacks. I would have never dreamed that I would have gone through some of the experiences that I did throughout my life. I have been both blessed and broken-hearted as a result of the choices that I made as a teen and as an adult. Today, when I reflect over my life, I am humbled, yet confident and so grateful because God has so much more in store for me, so many more lives to be touched by the experiences that I overcame and some I still live with everyday. At fifteen years old I started using drugs. I began smoking marijuana, hanging out with friends. By the time I was in my late teens I was addicted to crack-cocaine. One week after my 24th birthday, while hanging out in a drug-den, I was set afire and left to die in a house fire (intentionally set to kill us). I was taken to the burn hospital, and for the next two weeks I was unconscious. The doctor’s pronounced me on a fifty-fifty chance of living or dying after undergoing multiple surgeries. My body was severely burned, I sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burn scars covering 30% of my body. When I woke up after the fire and saw my badly burned body, I was devastated and broken inside and out. I knew then that my life would never be the same. Two months later, I walked out of the hospital and was terrified to start my life as a burn survivor. Shana: What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned along the way? Sherry: Honestly Shana, I can’t say that I have learned “one valuable lesson” because I have had many valuable lessons in this journey, called life. First and foremost, I know that God is so amazing, just like it says in His word, “He will never leave us or forsake us.” He was with me when I was a drug addict in the streets of New York. He Saved me in more ways than one, (including when I was set afire and left to die). But, He also saved me a thousand times while I was living the lifestyle on the streets. I was in very dangerous situations during those “rockbottom” drug experiences. I know without a shadow of a doubt that “If it were not for the Grace of God” I would not be here today. Actually, I was not supposed to be here if it were left up to the one’s who set the fire. I think one of the most valuable lessons that I learned in my journey is that I am both weak and strong. I feel joy in my pain. I am at the bottom and at the top when it comes to pursuing my dreams, yet there is still so much more for me to reach for everyday. I learned that our pain has purpose. And, that our deepest hurts can also help to heal our hurting world. Because I have had to overcome

one challenge after the next in my life, I know that I couldn’t have done any of it without my faith and trust in God, and the love and support of my family. Each experience has made me into the woman that I am today. A broken, confident, beautifully scarred woman who loves herself and loves life. Shana: Who has influenced you the most? Why? Sherry: My grandmother has influenced me the most (along with many other family members). She taught me to love the Lord. I can remember (through my tears), when she was going through her worst times after she was diagnosed with cancer and going through those horrific chemotherapy treatments, she did it with such grace and dignity. All she would say is God is willing, and she laughed like she always did, her faith never wavering. She was strong and weak at the same time. For an 82, year-old woman, terminally ill she fought and she never gave up, but through it all she was still a happy, pleasant, beautiful soul. All of our lives she showed us what family first (after God) really means. She was truly the best example of the “Proverbs -31 woman”, so loving, caring, genuine, she gave her whole heart to her family. I carry her in my heart eternally. RIP- Indiana, my love!


Shana: Tell me why you wrote your groundbreaking book. Sherry: As a Survivor of attempted murder, domestic violence, sexual assault and drug addiction, I struggled for years with low-self esteem and selfworth. Surviving the house fire one week after my 24th birthday was bitter-sweet. I was so happy and grateful to God for saving me, yet for the next nearly 20 years I hid behind my 2nd and 3rd degree burn scars. The emotional pain was too deep, so I hid from myself until God began to miraculously heal my brokenness and transform my ugly scars into beautiful scars. Today, He has blessed me tremendously, he has given me the grace to “Embrace my Scars” and I learned to love my whole self. I earned my master’s degree and today I am both a licensed clinical social worker- LCSW and a certified alcohol & drug counselor. For nearly twenty years, my career has been working with hurting people, substance abusers, women and men who are still struggling with the hurt left behind from abuse and victimization; it’s my passion. In 2013, God gave me the vision to share the testimony with the world. I became the author of my book entitled, “A Fire WithinSomeone Set the Fire and Left Me For Dead”. In the book, I talk about all of the experiences I went through when I was doing drugs and how God saved my life. My vision now, is that in the near future to open up a safe house for people who are in domestic violence situations and need a safe place to go. It took many years but I understand that God saved me in order to use this God-given testimony to be a blessing to others struggling with drug addiction, women and men who are in a domestic violence relationship and don’t know how to get out. Shana: Any lasting words of wisdom for someone reading this article who maybe going through a challenging situation? Sherry: For anyone who is looking for healing I would say, ‘I know it hurts, I know you are scared and I feel your pain; but I also know that if God saved me, he can save and heal you, too. Trust that his arms are stretched out and waiting for you to call on him. He is our comforter, our healer, our counselor and he will never leave us or forsake us. ‘ Shana: Where can our readers go for more information? Sherry: I want to thank you Shana Thornton for the 62

opportunity to share my journey of redemption, restoration and healing with you today. I also want to thank you for all that you are doing for the Kingdom. I encourage everyone to follow the “Beyond Your Scars Journey” on my website at sherrygravesafirewithin. com and Please stay tuned for my documentary and the upcoming movie “A Fire Within- Someone Set the Fire and Left Me for Dead”- based on a true life story! ■ Shana Thornton *Shana Thornton is an award-winning digital journalist. For more information, please visit

Not too long ago I met a family that needed on going financial assistance. They did not come through a charitable organization but were a referral through a School and I remembered having a fleeting thought that I know wasn’t from God: “But if I give the money directly to the family then I won’t get a charitable deduction for my taxes”. Right after that I had the thought, “It’s a good thing that God does not give His blessings only when He gets the praise!” So grateful God does not operate as we do. Sometimes we sit and think to ourselves that we can do all that we ever wanted without any accountability. That is not the case and I thank God that it isn’t. As we go forth in the world it is really important that we do good where we can regardless as to whether we will get praise. God sees us working and that’s all the high-five we need. Remain bold and fearless!


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July 2017 edition favor bold  

In this issue of BOLD FAVOR, we are pleased to feature on our cover fitness guru, author & Life Coach Bedros Keuillan who tells his American...

July 2017 edition favor bold  

In this issue of BOLD FAVOR, we are pleased to feature on our cover fitness guru, author & Life Coach Bedros Keuillan who tells his American...