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MARCH 2015




and journey were realized. 1






24 In this issue | March 2015 07

















































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arch is a special month for me. It is the first month of Spring, a time I relate to renewal and rebirth. March is also a month of firsts, as I published my first book in March 2013 and the first issue of this magazine in March 2014. But most significantly, March is major because it is my birth month. I was born March 22, and share a birthday with one of the greatest women I have ever met: Sandra Bennett. Sandra Bennett passed away last February 2014. It was sudden—I knew she had health issues, but had no idea the extent until her sweet daughter Sierra called to tell me the news. I felt as if someone had knocked the breath out of me. And I felt a deep loss for my friend, mentor, champion, and BOLDest person ever. Sandra Bennett is a very large part of how I founded BOLD Favor—she published my first article ever in her magazine My Magazine for Girls seven years ago. It feels like a lifetime ago when I picked up that issue and proudly showed my family and friends. Sandra was old enough to be my mother, so I always felt a “motherly vibe” when I was with her. She was nurturing and loving, like my mom; and just like my mom, expected my best—always. She embodied a spirit of perseverance and strength in her five foot frame. And even when she started losing weight and not too long after her hair (I only now realize the cancer had her long before the doctors even suspected), Sandra still exuded power and incredible personality. This issue of BOLD Favor Magazine is dedicated to Sandra Bennett, and to all the women who put forth strong spirit to overcome sickness, challenge, struggle and strife. From the founding of new television show “LTL Today” featured on the cover of this issue, to singer Stephanie D. Sanders who thought her career was over, but then got a “shot in the arm” that got her back in the game; to the daily challenges of teachers who love through budget cuts and micro-management; and efforts to be beautiful inside and out with fashion, make up, hair and nail fixes that fit one’s budget and authentic personality. We celebrate the awesomeness that is us: beautiful, strong, soulful, spiritual, and spiritfilled sistahs! I imagine that if Sandra was here today she would say something along the lines of this: “Lynita, this is mighty fine. But keep striving—there’s more to come and better to do.” Hear hear! Be bold and fearless!

Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell Esq. & CPA Founder & Editor-in-Chief BOLDFAVORMAGAZINE.COM




hen I was 8 years old I came to the realization that I was fed up. Tired of being picked on, bullied and hurt for no other reason than one of the many things my eight-year old self could not control: my complexion. I was going to take action! My vivid 8-year old imagination had already fast-forwarded to my triumphant return from summer break with a golden tan, making me the beautiful pecan-tan color of my beautiful mom after one day at the beach. The blaring reality of the Florida sun hit home in a horrible layer of blistered and sunburnt skin. Rubbing my red, sensitive shoulders with aloe vera gel, my mom didn’t ask me why I sat in the sun until my skin burned and I didn’t tell her. This is the first time I’m admitting this story to anyone. While watching the “Light Girls” documentary on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) produced by noted filmmaker Bill Duke, I felt the need to say something—not from the perspective of a “round, lightskinned girl raised in the south,” but as a woman who has learned that I am enough. At various points in the documentary, psychologists, sociologists and media experts repeatedly noted the overwhelming influence of systematic racism and sexism that has led to the debilitating effects of colorism in communities of color all over the world. For clarity, Oxford dictionary describes colorism as: Prejudice or discrimination against individuals with a dark skin tone, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group. I came to my conclusions on being Enough after reading and seeing some of the critiques of the documentary from men and women of color about the perceptions, privileges and historical implications of living as a “light-skinned” woman. And it was all just sad. These women were torn apart—called very hateful names and just disrespected—and their complexions and ‘defining’ features of ‘light skin’ were questioned (whatever that means). They were accused of playing the victim and simultaneously celebrating their ‘light skin’ privilege in black communities. Having watched both the ‘Dark Girls’ and ‘Light Girl’ documentaries and followed the ensuing discussions on social media, my heart swelled for all of the women, not because I’m a “round, light-skinned girl raised in the south,” but because I know what its like to be told that “you are not enough.” Throughout the Dark Girls documentary, young ladies were told they weren’t pretty enough or light enough to be considered pretty. The running theme told to all of the women of all the shades within the African ancestry spectrum: “You are not enough.” In my youthful epiphany, I saw then that God created me as who I am—not too fat, too light, too dark or too skinny, but Enough. If I could talk to my misguided eight-year-old self and heal my own wounds, I would share the message to all of those hurt girls who grew into hurting women and encourage them on the beauty of being Enough. You are not too fat. You are Enough. You are not too skinny. You are Enough. You are not too dark. You are Enough. You are not too light. You are Enough. Be Bold and Fearless!

Ebony Hillsman Ebony Hillsman Managing Editor




spirit of

passionate educators


eing an educator is deeply rooted in spirituality. First Corinthians tells us “but now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” We have faith that the seeds we sow will prosper, hope that we are stronger than the community forces that many of our students encounter daily, and a sheer unabated love for our profession. As we witness school violence, from the inside and out, bear societal performance pressures, stagnant pay rates, and operate as the state government step-child; our faith in education will not allow us to buckle. Hope will not allow us to give up on that child who has all but given up on himself. For educators to earn degrees— and usually degrees of debt, for little pay to work with children who do not belong to us but are our children—is an absolute labor of love. Many are called, but it is the children who identify the truly chosen. Every educator has heard disheartening statements such as, “I don’t think Mr./Ms. _______ even likes kids.” Students know if a teacher’s heart is not in their profession. In that classroom, office, hallway, on that bus, the actions and motives of true educators are led by the spirit. What other force will move one to stand in the line of fire between her students and a gunman’s bullet as did the teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary school and others? What will lead a person to take money from their own needy homes to help a child who is classified as homeless? What will prompt a teacher to allow a tired student to sleep in class and make up the work after school, because the place they call home is not conducive to getting adequate rest at night? The spirit. Each day educators are charged with ensuring not only the academic achievement, but the safety, security, and overall wellbeing of students. More often than not, doing so entails going above and beyond the contracted call of duty. In order to be in this business and to truly make a difference, a sense of spirituality is essential. I can recall countless times over the course of my career when I have assisted with the purchase of prom dresses, paying class dues, providing lunch money, as well as a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. My faith and spirituality allows these acts of love to come as second nature, as it does with others in my field. Elizabeth Jones, a 36-year educator, explains how her spirituality impacts her as an educator by saying, “It’s sharing with others what you’ve learned in a loving manner ... touching hearts and changing lives.” No matter the individual faith, the universal spirit unites us for a common cause and guides our path each day. n Connie Franklin





Maintain Your

Standards D

uring a Wendy Williams episode, Taraji P. Henson commented that “guys don’t court anymore.” Which begs the question:

How does a woman so attractive and accomplished find men unwilling to go that extra mile to become acquainted with her? Surely it must be something she is doing wrong, right? Nope, she has it right—courting is necessary when it comes to setting standards in dating and relationships with men. Chivalry is an old-fashioned ideology, I will not argue with that. But I cannot accept that chivalry is dead. There is absolutely everything right with a woman wanting to be treated with respect and care. Women should hold true to their standards and should not deviate from them. I applaud women who do so and wish more would follow suit. Why? Because when women do not hold true to their standards, they become enablers to the poor way men pursue and ultimately date them. How does this happen? One of the biggest reasons many women settle for less than they deserve is because they fall for all the typical clichés: “There aren’t enough men to go around.” “All men are no good.” “All the good men are taken/married.” This line of thinking can harm a woman’s interaction with men because it creates a feeling of scarcity or lack in the dating pool, and leads to women deviating from and lessening their standards. When women accept less than their true heart’s desire, they learn to tolerate behavior that should never be accepted. Ultimately, a man responds to what a woman will tolerate or accept. If a man can get to the bedroom without courting, why would he waste time going beyond what is necessary to get sex? When a woman holds the line and demands to be courted, the man is left with only two options: either conform to her standard or pursue another woman who deviates. If the man is relationshipready, he will conform. If he is not, he will find someone who will deviate—and that is a clear signal that he is not ready for a relationship. So in the end, I’m delighted Ms. Henson is happy to wait to meet a man who will treat her well and meet her standards. The relationship landscape would dramatically change if more women realized their ultimate value and beauty, and held firmly to their standards. n William R. Cook BOLDFAVORMAGAZINE.COM





seeking & finding through


nce there was a man who could not think of anything but love.

He wanted to have a lover. To him, life without a lover was empty and unsuccessful. He longed for a lover who would stay with him, love him no matter what he was like that day, who would be understanding, compassionate, caring and always there for him. Many days passed. Winter came and there were mountains of snow everywhere. Then spring came, melting all the snow. Flowers started blooming, days became longer. He still did not find the lover he was looking for. Not that he didn’t meet people. He met so many people at work—he was a teller at the local bank. He went on dates; he had passionate nights of love. But no one stayed for long. The person that brought him pleasure soon started bringing him pain. There were unreturned phone calls, unmet expectations, disappointments, demands, anger and hurt. He couldn’t understand how what made him so happy a few days ago, could turn so painful in such a short time. Summer had come bringing warm sunny days. The town was alive with hustle and bustle of everyone making the most of the long summer days.


Walking back home from work one summer evening, lost in his thoughts about where his life was going; he happened to see a flier for a meditation class. “Meditation,” he thought, “This is something I haven’t tried before. Maybe I will meet someone nice there.”

The following day he went to the class. The instructor led them into meditation and taught them how to do it themselves at home. They were encouraged to make it a part of their life, and with discipline and practice, meditate daily. They were also encouraged to come back and meditate together with others in the class. Although he didn’t meet people the way he expected to—as most of the class, his eyes were closed, and he met people very briefly after the class—he started enjoying meditation. The experience was entirely different than anything he had done before. It relaxed him and yet energized him. He found his thoughts becoming clearer, and his mind more present.

come?” he thought. “How have I not thought about this in so many days.” Then he smiled. He realized that meditation had helped him discover that he himself was the one he had been looking for. The unshakable, forever present love that he wanted was the one he had inside of him all the time. He was that love. His face lit up with joy and peace as he smiled. Content, peaceful and filled with an inner joy, he got up to get ready and leave for work. n Somya Ramrakhyani

He started meditating daily at home and going back to the class often. As he ended his meditation on a breezy windy day in fall, he suddenly realized that he hadn’t thought of finding the perfect love in many days. It took him by surprise. “How


ho l i s t i c w e l ln e s s



A lifestyle of holistic wellness can provide a feeling of being centered from within, as well as enhanced health and well-being. However, in order to reap the full benefits, it is important to understand the concept of holistic wellness. Most of us are familiar with the famous quote by Aristotle, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” Holism as the completeness of balancing mind, body and spirit. Thus a holistic approach to health and wellness is multi-faceted and mindful of the consequences of our habits and actions. Wellness is the state of being at optimum health, choosing to maintain a life of quality which combines the physical, mental and spiritual well-being. It is not a momentary experience, but a life-long journey.





It doesn’t cost you anything and it feels great from the inside out.


Take a moment to think about the things you have going for you and truly appreciate them.


Do more of what you love, as your passion can lead to your purpose.

Being both conscious and subconscious, our minds are dichotomies. The conscious mind is where we do our thinking and reasoning. The subconscious mind is where we hold our deep beliefs and our attitudes. And our will is what gives us the ability to make choices.


The mind also controls our emotions, feelings and behaviors. The saying “mind over matter” is a good example of the mind at work. If you don’t believe, you cannot achieve. Feeding your mind healthy motivating thoughts is the key to maintaining overall health and connecting with the body and spirit.



The body has been called the barometer of the mind and spirit. Whether we are in sync or out of sync with the rhythm of nature, our bodies will communicate to us through pain, discomfort, stiffness, heaviness and more. The connection of the mind, body and spirit can be reflected in the body by its shape, posture and function.

A good night’s sleep is essential: the more sleep you obtain the better you will perform the next day.

Pause and actually think about your breathing, stop, then inhale and exhale slowly… it’s refreshing and resets the mind, body and spirit.


Find an exercise you enjoy and start doing it regularly. Yoga is actually great for the mind and body, and centers the spirit.

The body shape refers to the size and distribution of muscle and tissue; body posture is the bone structure; and bodily function includes the health of individual organs and blood flow. When the body is relaxed, it is naturally firm, flexible and well-balanced. However, at “dis-ease,” the body can become frail and thin or rigid and fat, causing distortion of the body structure. Because of this, it should be a priority to always maintain optimum care for our bodies to keep a balance in the alignment with the mind and spirit.



Set aside some time each day to rest your mind. Find a favorite scripture, quote, or affirmation, and meditate on it for 10-15 minutes.

Our meaning and purpose in life is what lies in our spirit. It enables us to love one another, ourselves, and God. Our spirit is where we have communion and fellowship with God. It also gives us intuition between right and wrong, and can guide us through life with ease and grace when we are connected. Our spirit aids in the development of our personal value system. Without hearing the voice of our spirit, life can be unnecessarily difficult and confusing. Now, that’s not to say that we won’t experience difficult times, however, when connected with the spirit we learn how to handle the difficulties that life can sometimes bring with a greater sense of purpose. Through our spirit, we can share the burden of tough times as well as the joys of life’s blessings. How can you balance and connect the mind, body and spirit for optimum holistic wellness? Check out the how to.


We can get so caught up in our busy lives, but it’s important to make time for the people who matter to us most.



Be active in your church, mosque, or synagogue, or place of peace. This is how we deepen our connections with God and others. Prayer should be a daily practice. Make a conscious effort to add these to your daily routine and see how they can positively impact your holistic well-being of mind, body and spirit. n Dionne M. Lackey & Elizabeth St. John-Hall


emotional wholeness Life does not give us the chance to catch our breath. Oftentimes in life, God’s children can become broken, wounded, emotionally unstable, or even depressed because of the curve balls that life throws at us. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. God has provided healing for you in His Word. Third John 2 tells us about God’s wish for His Children. It reads, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” King James Version (KJV). God wants you to be whole in your mind, your will, and your emotions. To be whole means without fragmentation: nothing missing, nothing broken. You have to be willing to believe, receive, and embrace what God has already made available to you through His son, Jesus Christ. He made the abundant life, which is your total trust in Christ, accessible to you. With Christ you can have peace in knowing that He is in control of your life. Without Christ, you operate in self-efforts that can cause stress, fear, anxiety, worry, manipulation, and so on. Jesus said in St. John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (KJV) The basis of becoming emotionally whole is having Jesus Christ as Lord in your life and operating in His word. In St. John 5, a man wanted to get well, be freed, and made whole. And in order to do so, he kept going to a healing pool hoping for a miracle—hoping that the pool would make him whole. But when Jesus asked him directly, “Wilt thou be made whole?” the man began to make excuses. He would say that he had no one to help him get into the pool’s troubled waters so that he could be healed. Yet, even with his excuses, this man was healed. That shows that we serve a gracious and merciful God who is willing to heal us and give us the provisions we need in this life to keep running the race. The bottom line is that the man became healed and whole when he encountered Dr. Jesus! Today, you too can be healed, and whole. How? By accepting Jesus. By believing God’s wish for your life (God’s Word). And by choosing to obey God’s word. Friend, in order for you to be totally healed and whole, you will have to do some things that you don’t want to do. Give up some things that you want to keep, and totally trust that God is good, and that He is able to bring you out of your hurt, pain, brokenness, disappointments, sorrow, guilt, shame, reproach, fear unforgiveness, insecurities, and distrust. Believe, trust, and obey the Lord today! It will be well worth it, you healing will appear, and your reward shall be great! n Sebe Dalieh



Artist Profile: James Cockerham


soft tickle of piano keys is followed by the growing crescendo of a violin. With a racing heart and clenched fingers, the right note makes a trip to the movies or theater an experience. The impact of music on film and theater is especially important in the depiction of spirituality. Atlanta-based songwriter and composer James Cockerham knows and understands this bond between music and spirituality and considers his artistic ability his greatest gift. “My gift is as an encourager; I’m broadening other people’s perspective so that anyone who listens will know ‘this is music for me to live by’.” His gift has led him to composing musical scores for plays, award-winning orchestras, and documentary films. Cockerham began his musical journey in seventh grade, leading the choir in the AME Zion Church. As a young choir director, he was thrilled to witness the start of a musical revolution in gospel music with the production of the 1969 upbeat Edwin Hawkins hit, “Oh Happy Day”. While drawn musically by the beauty of spirituals and hymns, he believes that the power of the music comes from understanding the importance of the genre for each generation’s appreciation. “The Spiritual is a true American art form and we can’t lose that.” Today, his orchestra arrangements have been sampled and produced in gospel, jazz, and most recently by gospel hiphop artist, Domingo Guyton.

James Cockerham

As a songwriter and arranger, Cockerham’s latest project was inspired by a drive to reach across musical genres and listening audiences with a message of love ‘How do you hate in the name of love?’ The single features opera singer Aretha Lockhart and trumpeter Keon Harold. Never one to stop pursuing excellence in his passion, Cockerham pushed past the intimidating factor of classical music and enrolled in the Berklee College of Music Master’s certificate program in Orchestration for Film and Television—at the age of 63. As an artist, he is inspired by opportunities to grow. “If you tell me a story, I see a picture in my mind. Getting my Master’s in film orchestration was the best thing I could have done, I loved it.” Moving forward in bringing the beauty of music to more projects, Cockerham is in pre-production for several untitled projects for film and stage. n Ebony Hillsman



AIRyour HAIR ave you ever taken a moment to look at yourself and ask, “Is my hair falling out or shedding?”


For the record, if it is, that’s a sign of damage. Yes, you will have long strands of hair come out from time to time, but little bits of hair is not normal loss. How about: “Does my hair have no natural curl left after straightening?” Or maybe, “Do my hair products burn my scalp and leave it dry?” Let’s be honest—we all want shiny, strong, beautiful hair! We want hair that is low maintenance and easy to style. We want hair that has versatility, even as it grows out. We want great hair—that’s our goal. But if you answered yes to any of those questions, then you aren’t achieving that goal. Your hair is not healthy. So how do we break the vicious cycle and make it healthy? Well, the simple answer is: with air. Yes, the air we breathe and cannot live without is essential to the health of our hair, skin, and nails. Without it, they will be dry, brittle and weak. If you’ve ever had acrylic nails, you know the notion that acrylics will “make your nails stronger and longer” is inaccurate. Your nails do indeed grow, but once you remove the acrylics, they are weak, thin, and break at the slightest hint of friction. Similarly, hair will weaken and break off if it does not get air to breathe. Skin and hair are made of the same cuticles that make nails grow. Without air, layers of skin and hair cuticles can become damaged and you’ll need to renew them. Yes, you can disguise the damage temporarily, but once the layer of moisture is washed away, the damage will be apparent and permanent. Your hair and skin are nature’s gift and can lose luster— possibly forever—when damaged from chemicals, bad cuts, and over/poor styling. Even worse: if you damage your hair’s foundation (i.e., your scalp) with years of burning or scraping, your hair may not grow back. The first area to bald will be the most sensitive part of your head, whether it’s your temples or crown, and it will slowly take over the rest of your head. And the thinner the hair, the more fragile. So don’t just bounce from weave to weave, wig to wig, or style to style—especially if it’s damaged. Sometimes underlying health problems are the source of “damage,” and if you hide or continue to style it, you may never know the cause. The disguises themselves may even be the problem! Ever heard of “traction alopecia”? Let your hair breathe! Doing so can restore its health or even give you time to accurately assess the root of your hair problems. Stop suffocating your strands and enjoy the natural air they need to grow, look great, achieve your hair goal! n Jung Kang







veryone dreams of the perfect closet and although your closet may not be the largest, you can make it functional by editing and shifting your pieces seasonally. Editing your closet can be a daunting task to take on, but it is doable and necessary. Here are some quick and easy steps to help you get it done in no time!

If it doesn’t fit don’t keep it

We know you love that skirt, and you’re going to lose the weight to fit into those pants, but we have a secret to tell you: when the time comes you can replace. Don’t stuff your closet with clothes you can’t wear. Keeping clothes that are too small makes it difficult to find something to wear and can affect your self-esteem.

Haven’t worn it, let it go

It’s okay to let go of the sweater stuffed in the back of your closet that still has the tag on it. You may have bought it with the intent to wear, but if you haven’t worn it in a year. No need to keep hanging on to the possibility.

Buy one lose one

It’s simple, but so hard to do! For every piece you buy, give one piece away.

Organize! Organize! Organize!

Whether organizing by skirts, shirts and pants or color, this is an essential part of making your closet functional.

How are you hanging?

Believe it or not, hangers make a difference. We prefer using no slip velvet hangers. This type of hanger conserves space and prevents clothes from slipping off.

The rotating factor

If you are working with a smaller space, try rotating clothes on a seasonal basis. If you want to stay clutter free, try storing out of season clothes in bins, suitcases or airtight bags. The big idea behind a closet edit is functionality. A closet edit should make it easy for you to store and style your clothes. We suggest sorting through your closet at the beginning of each season. This will help you to figure out what to purchase, keep and wear. Happy Editing! n Tamra and Keelia Asbury



finding the

INNER BEAUTY of the soul As a makeup artist, I’ve adorned the faces of many from all walks of life. But I find it most harrowing when I see people use makeup to mask what they lack internally. I think we should use makeup as a tool to help inner beauty radiate on the outside. When you reach a peaceful place in your spiritual journey, your inner self is naturally enriched with virtues like high self-esteem, humility, selflessness, morality, and pride. That’s where your true beauty comes from and that’s when it can radiate. So how is that reflected in makeup application? 1. MOISTURIZE Apply moisturizer is to care for your skin. In general, it’s important to take special care of what you hold dear—yourself, your dreams, your loved ones, etc. Without care, there’s deterioration, which would make it very difficult to build a strong foundation. 2. FOUNDATION Foundation perfects the skin and lays the groundwork on which to build with your other products. Without it, the process crumbles. In life, your faith and support system can provide you a strong foundation and without them, things may fall apart. 3. CONCEALER Concealer improves the look of the skin by covering blemishes. Sometimes there are things we may not be so proud of. The key is to not get caught up in the imperfections, but to continuously work to improve ourselves. 4. BLUSH Blush is a step I enjoy, but I’ve found that many women often skip this step. Blush adds color, brightness, and life to the face. Always look on the bright side. A positive outlook will get you through tough times. 5. EYE SHADOW, LINER, & MASCARA Balance is important in both life and eyeshadow. To achieve balance in eyeshadows, you must properly apply and blend. Doing so in life may be more difficult, between career, parental, and spousal responsibilities, and taking time for yourself. In life and in liner, keep a straight path—don’t get sidetracked. And open up your eyes with mascara. Clear vision is key. 6. LIPSTICK Lastly is lipstick. Remain within the natural line of your lips. Smoothly navigate your lips’ (and life’s) ups and downs. Regardless of bumpy terrain, stay the course. Be bold, determined, and confident—just like a red lip! As you grow spiritually and go through your personal transformation, always let your beauty to radiate outwardly. Remember: true beauty can only be achieved when inner and outer beauty are truly matched. Be a true beauty! n Christelsie Johnson



5. 1. 4. 2. 6.



B r e s ay D e f oor i s u n leas hi ng y our i n n e r

Girly Girl S

he’s a sizzling, up-and-coming Atlanta nail artist taking the manicure industry by storm. Her distinctive patterns, bold designs, and famous diamond nails make her a creative genius. Her name is Bresay Defoor, and with a personality that is just as animated as her nails, she’s booming her business! Defoor has a couple of secrets to her success. One being: “I know how to unleash your inner ‘girly girl.’ My trade slogan is ‘These Nails Are 4 These Girls’, and I work hard to make even the simplest designs glitter!” But her second secret? Well, she never settles. Defoor is committed to continually perfecting her craft. She spends several hours a month attending advanced manicure and design classes, studying European techniques, and as all artists do, practicing her art! She puts so much work in because she is determined to change

the nail industry, so that it once again is an art rather than a run-of-the-mill job. One way to ensure her artistry is through her tools and techniques. Defoor is one of few nail artists who only uses gel polish; she doesn’t use traditional nail polish, nor does she use traditional tips. Why? Because she is committed to nail health, durable manicures, and, of course, beautiful nails! She has an astounding collection of over 225 gel polishes for clients to find something they love. Defoor combines gel polish with sculpting techniques that eliminate layers of glue and tips and enhance the natural nail. Her outstanding commitment to artistry, quality, and top-notch service has landed Defoor in Nailpro and Nails magazines. Her clientele ranges from the everyday woman to corporate professionals, and includes men. She’s even catered to celebrities, including Miasha Coleman, Lisa Wu, Jazze Pha, Ms. Bo Talley, Joseline Hernandez, and Stevie J.

Let Bresay Defoor tap into your girly girl spirit. Find her on Instagram—@yntbresay—or give her a call at 770 • 885 • 6652. 20





about being patriotic; Springsteen was speaking on behalf of the common man,” explains Rex.

Searching for the American Dream is the final in a trilogy that chronicles the social challenges America faces. Specifically, the EP explores America’s incarceration problem, redemption and finding one’s way, homelessness and illiteracy, prostitution, income inequality, and the pursuit of happiness and love.

The first EP in the series, American Police State, also delved into income inequality, as well as Native American rights, and gun violence. The second EP, Hot and Cold: American Relationships, moved further into how we treat each other. Music from these EPs were enjoyed on a national tour—Los Angeles to New York and all points in between. Grammy winner Joe Baldridge (Keith Urban, Kelly Clarkson) from Nashville, and Minneapolis favorite Kevin Bowe (Etta James, Jonny Lang) produced all three EPs.

a socially conscious band from the alwaysprogressive music city of Minneapolis, is releasing its third EP this year, Searching for the American Dream. Band leader Rex Haberman wants the six song EP “to be the soundtrack for the Occupy movement!”

The messages in Searching for the American Dream are couched in popsavvy rock, with sonic references to Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, and earnestness harkening to home state heroes Bob Dylan and The Replacements. “Historically, a lot of rock and roll brought issues to the forefront—The Beatles, the Stones, and other great bands in the ‘70s. Springsteen continued beyond that era on ‘Born In The USA’. Those songs weren’t

Why the focus on social consciousness? “We have to talk about these issues,” said Haberman. “We want to make you think [about] what you want to do with your country—and maybe even your city.” As the country has many challenges, so must War Poets continue to make music to speak out about them. According to Wikipedia, the term ‘war poet’ has existed since the mid-1800s, with writings published during the World Wars and beyond, including the Iraq war. “War Poets is a band who writes songs about the disenfranchised and issues that need to be changed,” asserts Rex Haberman. “Activism and community is our goal. We’re here to move you in more ways than one.”

We want to make you think about what you want to do with your country—and maybe even your city. BOLDFAVORMAGAZINE.COM



UNION a restaurant re v ie w * * * * *


iller Union is a very popular restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia, that piqued my interest because of their commitment to sustainability. Sustainability embraces the concept that agriculture can feed the world without damaging the environment or threatening human health. I was inspired to dine at Miller Union by Martha Stewart; she’s a fan of the sustainability movement and I am a fan of hers—minus the prison stint (nobody’s perfect). The ambience of the restaurant was nice and cozy. The hostess was welcoming and our server was knowledgeable of the food and gave us great recommendations. (Also, I must apologize to our server, who I kept calling by the wrong name the entire night. I always try to remember the names of my servers and engage them throughout the meal. It has been my experience that being nice, using a person’s name—not “hey you”—makes for a better dining experience.) We started our meal with the grilled quail and the farm egg baked in celery cream with grilled bread appetizers. The farm egg came highly recommended and I could understand why. The fresh hints of the celery in the rich cream perfectly complemented the familiarity of the 22

egg. Pairing the flavors together on a slice of grilled bread made such a refined, yet simple, dish approachable. The quail was earthy—as quail is wont to be—and was enhanced by the mushrooms and spinach, but the whole grain sorghum and the sweetness of the gastrique balanced the flavor. For our main course, we indulged in the confit duck leg and it was amazing; I literally ate everything off my plate and that rarely happens. The duck was very tender and the creaminess of the farro played with its crispy skin. The duck bacon also added another level of texture, but without the potential diversion from the flavors that pork bacon would have. Since the duck was such a focus, I can truly say that the arugula and parsnips—while cooked so impeccably that I could appreciate their carrot-like sweetness—played second fiddle. But I definitely didn’t mind. With reasonable prices; a classic, sleek, southern, homey atmosphere; a farm-to-table sustainability mission that I (and Martha Stewart) can really get behind; and beyond fantastic food to boot, Miller Union is a restaurant that I’d recommend to just about anyone. And when you go, you may just see me there! n Faye Fields



Who We Are When We Think No One Is Looking by Christian Rudder

ne day, years ago in the ancient Middle East, a man encountered a frenzied mob preparing to fling rocks at a woman in retribution for alleged adultery. Saddened by this outpouring of such unabashed vitriolic hatred, much of it by people who were secretly adulterers themselves, the man stepped forward, bravely raised his hand to the maddened crowd and proclaimed, “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.”


If you haven’t already guessed, that man was Jesus Christ and, whatever your religious beliefs, I’m sure you can appreciate the wisdom of his words. Christian Rudder certainly does. In his book Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One Is Looking, Rudder suggests that today’s all-too-common Twitter mobs are the modern equivalent of the public stoning. And that those heaping scorn on the villain of the hour may not be as blameless as they’d like to believe. Using his unique access to internet and social media data, Rudder highlighted the yawning gaps between what we proclaim about ourselves in public and the choices we make in private. What sort of gaps? Let’s start with a fairly innocuous example. While a typical 40-year-old man using an online dating service might say his ideal partner is a “reasonably attractive woman, about his age and with similar interests,” his data trail reveals that he’ll spend the majority of his time looking at profiles of younger women and that those he actually contacts will be far prettier than “reasonably attractive.” What’s more, data from follow up questions suggests that his assessment of how satisfied he was on a date will be far more heavily influenced by his partner’s looks than her “interests.” Unfortunately, the effect of beauty on a woman’s prospects extends beyond online dating. While few employers (male or female) would admit to such bias, data from a popular service industry recruiting BOLDFAVORMAGAZINE.COM

website shows that “beautiful” women receive far more interest from prospective recruiters than average or “ugly” women. Notably, but not surprisingly, men’s looks had no impact on their job prospects. (This was not necessarily an advantage to men, whose applications uniformly received less interest than those of almost all women). Perhaps the most revealing of Rudder’s revelations regarding the perception of physical beauty is that, while few people would admit to being “racist,” the preferences they express through their actions and choices online suggest a very clear racial bias. Coupled with neurological research showing that the parts of our brains which assess intangible attributes such as kindness and trustworthiness are the same parts that mediate our emotional reaction to physical beauty, Rudder’s data shows us just how profound and pervasive are the disadvantages faced by persons (especially women) whose appearances don’t conform to culturally defined archetypes of beauty. Of course, this is nothing new. Our biases have been explored by small scale scientific studies of all kinds. But Rudder’s Dataclysm supports the findings of such important but statistically underpowered studies with incredible volumes of previously unobtainable social data. This data paints the picture of a world of unconscious bigotry which may simmer underground or boil to the surface. But you already knew that, didn’t you? Christian Rudder knows you did. He also knows that as you shake your head in dismay and disappointment, you’re probably unaware of your how your private actions and choices are contributing to the problem. So, next time you find yourself set to cast the first stone against some perceived Twitter wrongdoing, step away from the keyboard and take a good hard look in the mirror. I know I will. n Paul Sean Grieves





I NEVER EXPECTED THAT MY GOOD FRIENDS, SONJI WILLINGHAM AND SEBE DALIEH, AND I WOULD GRACE THE COVER OF BOLD FAVOR MAGAZINE. Mostly because, while I consider myself a bold person, this publication was never intended as a self-promotional tool. Rather, it’s to highlight other people, causes, and organizations that are doing wonderful things around the world and within our various communities. But the three of us have banded together to create Leading Through Living Today, a new television showing premiering this March. And its origin story is worthy of the cover, as it is one that epitomizes how spirituality and being true to one’s self and feelings could propel you to the next level of your success without you even knowing it. Which is everything that the BOLD Favor spirit is about.




create a vision board every year and in 2014 I put “TV show” on my board. But I hadn’t taken any steps to make it happen. The Leading Lady Legacy empowerment conference and book tour changed that. As part of the promotion, my speakers and I appeared on several television and radio shows in each city, getting the word out. And one show really “tested my religion,” as the old folks used to say. Though we’d confirmed three total speakers, they told us they only had two microphones—disappointing news since we’d taken time off from our paying jobs and driven over an hour to speak. So I prayed and then told the producer that my colleagues would do the interview without me.

I spent the next couple of days still not really talking about this incredible blessing. So I shocked myself—and Sebe— when I shared the news. She immediately responded with, “Lynita, girl, I just need seven or eight minutes to offer inspiration! Get me on the show!” I was so surprised I burst into laughter and asked her to give me time to develop the show.

Her head almost exploded! She could not believe that— as the headliner of Leading Lady Legacy—I would give up the chance to be on television. My cospeakers also couldn’t believe it, but I had to explain that this wasn’t about me; it was about empowering women and embracing the “wonder and the wow” of being themselves. And anyone can espouse that message.

Soon after, we set to work out the details, which took some time and patience. But this is a labor of love. “LTL Today” is going to encourage, inspire, and transform the way people view themselves. Sebe, Sonji, and I are combining our individually powerful platforms of empowerment to create an incredible platform of purpose, passion, and power— engaging those who are ready to take action!

When the producer saw how serious I was, she ran to the back and magically found another microphone. While I was grateful, the experience left me bothered and determined that if I ever had a show, I would never treat anyone that way. Which got me thinking: what would would it take to get a show going? It was a question I posed to someone I both respect and admire in television—Mr. Kevin Dunn, on whose show on WJCN TV in LaGrange, Georgia, I’d had the enjoyable honor of being a guest. When we met, the first thing he said was: “I showed your bio and information to the station owners and they want you to do a show. They’d been searching for an African American woman to head up a show to tap into the demographic here for some time, and they think you’d be perfect.” I was stunned, happy, scared, elated, and absolutely overwhelmed. So much so that when I left that meeting, I was just quiet for a long time. (Silence is hard for me— there’s always something going on, so this was a big deal!) But I finally called Sonji and told her about it. She was thrilled and told me she had my back and that “there’s nothing me and my Amex can’t handle, so you just let me know!” I told her that if she was going to invest, she should be a co-host.


After praying about it, the format came to me: a talk show, airing weekly, where the hosts—three of us—would discuss issues that concern most people. Love and relationships, health and wellness, spirituality, money saving tips, and social issues. And I asked Sebe to be a co-host.

And to think this wouldn’t have happened had it not been for such a frustrating experience during the Leading Lady Legacy tour. I’ve shared before that anger is a righteous emotion. It is a catalyst in every major movement— women’s suffrage, slave emancipation, civil rights being restored, and human trafficking awareness. Injustices stoked frustration, anger, and feelings of “enough is enough!” which led to change. We will do something different, bolder, and better with what God has given us! But the frustration must be focused and directed, controlled so that you can think. The goal is never revenge, but rather empowerment and overcoming. The launch of “LTL Today” is a celebration of all those who have overcome, and who chose to let success be their form of revenge. And by the time you reach the next rung of the success ladder, you will not care what happened prior to— and you won’t desire to rub your success in anyone’s face. Why? You’re too busy focused on reaching the next rung. Check out to learn more about Sebe, Sonji, and I. We look forward to providing the inspiration, encouragement, and empowerment, to get you through your week by leading, living, loving—TODAY! n Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell





Learn a little about Stephanie D. Sanders, singer of the Leading Through Living Today theme.


ho owns the golden voice belting out the theme song for the “Leading Through Living Today” TV Show? That’d be Stephanie D. Sanders, the petite beauty with the powerful pipes hailing from central Florida. Inspired by artists from Kirk Franklin to Taylor Swift (and everything in between), Stephanie blends R&B, soul, dance, and pop music to connect with listeners through uplifting melodies and soul-searching, heartfelt vocal performances. Stephanie is an A-lister in the making; she’s a quadruple threat with talents also as an actress, TV host, and voiceover artist. But she didn’t always embrace her gifts.

“When I transitioned from California [to Georgia], I tried to leave it all behind. Every talent I was pursuing, I dropped by the way side. I figured if it didn’t happen for me while I was in LA, I needed to let it go and do something different. ... Then after a while, I felt like God said, ‘Not so, I can use you wherever you go. I will restore you and help you regroup. Then I’m going to put you back in the ring to fight the good fight, and use what I put in you.’” Stephanie added that she had no qualms with balancing success and fame and her relationship with the Lord—that she can be an entertainer, entrepreneur, and use all of her gifts without jeopardizing her faith. Stephanie loves mentoring, motivating, and driving others to recognize their gifts and lean on God to know how, when and where to use them. To learn more about Stephanie D. Sanders, her music, and to reach out for collaboration, visit





LEADERSHIP n the December issue of BOLD Favor, we shared the first few stops of the Leading Lady Legacy empowerment conference and book tour. The conclusion of the 2014 tour was replete with amazing information, wonderful people, and the “wonder and wow” of the Legacy! We picked up the tour in Columbus, Georgia, where we kicked off the weekend with appearances on the “Dee Armstrong Show” and “Real Talk with Loretta Rose.” Evangelist Stephanie Davenport started us off on Saturday, challenging us to stop limiting ourselves. “You are powerful and able to achieve anything when you are aligned with your purpose.” Traci Jefferson, master stylist, then followed, saying that inner beauty is a shield against negativity. Love maven Cynthia Walton told our audience to be honest about wants and needs, as truth is the starting point for much to come. Then attendees learned that “spiritual wellness is the basis of physical wellness. There has to be purpose behind your decision to be well,” from Audra Gray, wellness expert. Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, leadership champion and conference convener, ended with: “You are the woman you’ve been waiting for all of your life—a true Leading Lady! You don’t have time to play small. Don’t be anybody’s ‘mini-me’—be the big you!” Next we took Raleigh, North Carolina, by storm! Everyone enjoyed an incredible morning of sharing, growth, and self-affirmation. Among the captivating speakers was Billie Crooks of Inspirational Women of Purpose Community, who remarked, “Your spirit allows you to be loved. When not nurtured, it has direct impact on mental, physical, and emotional health. We must embrace and replenish our souls daily.” Fashion diva Mae Freeman of GLOW (Growing to Love One’s Self Within) followed with talk about inner beauty shining beyond the mirror and mask and its ability to overcome pain. Last up was Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell, who recapped the tour and the fruits of its challenges. She closed the stop by saying, “You are a mighty woman who has been endowed with power, purpose, and passion to accomplish specific things.”


Our Atlanta visit marked The Leadership Trifecta—an evening of empowerment, glamour, and the celebration of three wonderful milestones: training organization Sugarplum Renaissance’s first anniversary; Jewell Jackson McCabe Emerging Leaders Institute’s sixth graduation of women newly trained entrepreneurship and leadership; and, of course, the Leading Lady Legacy tour. We opened with a prayer from prophetess Sebe Dalieh of Winning Women Ministries, who electrified the celebration by speaking about the importance of faith in our success journey. Cynthia Walton, who’s been proposed to numerously, shared with attendees how she got the ring—and how to keep it! Then author Soonie Watson narrated her incredible escape from South Vietnam to America. The audience learned how to push through setbacks and prepare for comebacks from Reverend Rowena Silvera of ADT’s Sunday Soul Service. Soon after, Elizabeth St. John-Hall and Dionne Lackey inspired us to seek health in all that we do, eat, and how we live. And inspirational speaker Alexis Lior gave the keynote address to the Emerging Leaders class, inspiring them to lead with the expectation of success. Sandra Wright Moaney, a business coach, encouraged us to fight like lions and soar like the eagles. We also introduced the Leading Lady Legacy doll to audiences. It will be available in April 2015, just in time for the next part of the tour, which will resume this summer. Who’s next on the roster? LaGrange, Georgia; Memphis, Tennessee; Jacksonville, Florida; Fort Hood, Texas; and Nassau, Bahamas! Stay tuned by visiting! n Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell




a culture for success.



ost businesses begin because a person wants to develop an idea or embrace an opportunity—valid reasons for embarking on the journey. However, few people actually take the time to develop a strategic plan for their venture. A plan that includes structure, systems, strategy, and an internal architecture that will sustain the business with a culture that assures success and longevity. Many businesses I have worked with over the years actually make money in spite of themselves rather than because of themselves. That is because they focus only on the bottom line and do not pay enough attention to their most valuable asset: their people. Many espouse the “top down” model of leadership, which doesn’t work as well as the team approach in fostering an environment of respect, collaboration, support, and acknowledgement. All of which are important for keeping good employees. For a business to become truly successful and enduring, the leadership needs to commit to building an internal architecture that epitomizes the AMP philosophy: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. This philosophy ensures a supportive environment in which staff confidence and happiness will rise and thus increase company productivity, efficiency and creativity. When you give a person the power of autonomy, they feel trusted and you boost their self-esteem. Conversely, when people are micromanaged, they gain no feelings of self-worth and can easily become


disengaged, feeling that the boss might as well just do it themselves. Once apathy pervades a work environment, it’s exceedingly difficult to eradicate. Disenchanted employees will ultimately quit and leave the organization with “bums in seats” who just stay to collect a paycheck. Mastery involves offering employees the opportunity to enhance or expand their skills, which could ultimately give them broader responsibilities or even advancement. They will feel appreciated and supported, which will continue to build their confidence. It will also establish more loyalty to the company, as they’ll appreciate the organization’s confidence in them and the willingness to make an investment in their potential. Purpose naturally follows autonomy and mastery. As a person feels more accepted, valued, acknowledged, and supported; they develop a positive inner purpose and motivation. This will benefit the company and possibly open other doors of opportunity. When employees have purpose and are happy with their jobs, you won’t need to worry about customer service, because they’ll want any and everyone to love their company as they do! A successful enduring organization’s culture usually ensures happy, challenged and appreciated employees because that approach will allow individuals to reach their potential and perform at high levels. Making it more possible to reach common goals and achieve the results that will make everyone proud. n Sandy Chernoff



be a

BOLD boss


any dream of calling the shots. But while being a boss, owner, or CEO may appear glamorous and powerful, these positions are huge responsibilities that not all are designed for. That doesn’t mean, however, that someone can’t be prepared and designed to be a boss. They just need drive, mentorship, and education to learn how to lead a strong team. A boss is only as good as the team that works with them, not for them. When people feel they’re part of a team or a process with a deliberate structure, things can be more productive. Because a company’s structure supports and smooths its day-to-day operations. So being a B.O.S.S. means guaranteeing that this structure is obtained and maintained for your team. Being a B.O.S.S. means knowing and understanding the following.


est practices for your organization. This comes with knowing your business and understanding the powers that govern it. Professional positions, jobs, or credentials often are policed by credentialing authorities and if the standard is not met or compromised, the position


or the credential can be taken away.


perations represent the daily processes that help ensure your organization runs smoothly. Written documents of day-today operations are essential! When operations are written and acknowledged by staff, employees, or a team, the expectations should be that all efforts and intent will follow and support documented processes.


upport is vital. Staff may often argue that they aren’t aware of policies when issues arise or company rules are broken. Avoid or minimize these problems by requiring Human Resource to stress policies and procedures. And have staff sign off on them to protect the organization and the team.


ystems can work smoothly when the best operations and supports are in place for your organization and the team. Where there is a great team, there is a great BOSS! n Sonji Willingham


PEOPLE won’t reach

--- their ---

resolutions H

appy New Year! 2015 is well underway and I’m excited about it. Like many of you, I’ve set my goals for this year and I’ve already started tackling them.

Setting goals is actually very effective for me. It’s something I do on an ongoing basis. I get great joy from looking back and seeing all the things I managed to get done. In 2014, one of my biggest goals was to participate in a triathlon—which I accomplished that July. Despite the fact that I enjoy setting and accomplishing goals, statistics show that most people who establish goals or “New Year’s resolutions” abandon them within two weeks. In fact, 25% of the people abandon them after one week. Here are a few common reasons people fail to reach their goals:


Their goals are unrealistic

Too often, people set goals they can’t reach. For example, if you haven’t worked out for months or years or ever—then it’s not a good idea to set a goal of working out an hour a day. Even if you do manage to start out doing it, it will be very difficult to sustain. And when someone can’t sustain an activity, they are more likely to abandon it.


Their goals aren’t specific

It’s important to make your goals as specific as possible. If you vow to eat more veggies, be clear about it. Indicate that you will eat at least one green vegetable during lunch and dinner. Or even go a step


further to including which type of vegetable. The more specific you are, the easier it is to track your progress.


They don’t set a timeline

Along with being specific you need to give yourself a timeframe for accomplishing your goals. Instead of saying you want to lose 10 pounds, say you want to lose 10 pounds by April 1st. A timeline creates a sense of urgency.


They have no accountability

If there’s no accountability, then it’s easy to shirk your goals when times get hard. When I joined Weight Watchers years ago, knowing I had to weigh in each week—whether good or bad—was all the motivation I needed to lose 23 pounds. So find a workout partner or share your plan with family and friends—anyone who can hold you accountable.


They don’t have a plan of action

There’s a saying: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Whether you want to save money, lose weight, or buy a house, you need to plan. How else will it get done? To go one step further, put the plan in writing and keep it near you. If you write down your goals, you’re more likely to accomplish them. If you can avoid these common mistakes, then you are certainly off to a great start and on your way to success. All you need to do is put in the work and be consistent. Sporadic action doesn’t make a difference. But consistency over time will incite great change. n Latrina M. Patrick


Preparing for loss




arch is Colon Cancer Awareness Month. I was diagnosed with colon cancer five years ago at the age of 30. My family and I were devastated and very scared because when you hear the word “cancer,” you automatically think of death. That was definitely the first thing I thought about. Luckily, I was able to have surgery and endure chemotherapy to become cancer free, but this experience opened my eyes. What if I didn’t have stage 2 colon cancer and had stage 4? How would my family and I prepare for my transition? How do you prepare your family for loss? Unfortunately, you cannot prepare your family emotionally for your transition. Nor can you ever prepare yourself for the day, hour or minute you lose a loved one. But you can prepare your family for the business aspects of your departure. When a family suffers a loss, they are already emotionally, physically, and mentally drained, making it hard to focus on paperwork, burial arrangements, and more. So how can we prepare our families?

regarding your service makes life a bit easier for those left to morn you.

Go over your paperwork. Besides writing a will, explain to your loved ones where all your important documents are located and why each is important. Paperwork such as insurance, titles to your home and/or car, bank statements, social security card, birth certificate, etcetera, are all things that loved ones will eventually need. Show them where you keep these documents.

Make a plan for your debt. One thing that you will probably leave behind is debt— mortgage, car note, credit cards, etc. Something will be owed to someone. So your family members will be left to deal with your creditors. It can be very stressful to deal with your bills on top of their own. Have a plan in place with your creditors and family members just in case something happens to you.

Write a will.

Talk to your family.

Writing a will gives your family and friends a blueprint of your last wishes. This explains to your family how you would like your last wishes executed or how you would like your belongings divided. This will prevent arguments, drama and separation among the family. This also makes it easier on the power of attorney because they will have clear instructions regarding your wishes.

Whether or not you are terminally ill, it is always good to have the “if something happens to me,” conversation. This is a conversation I wish I would have had with my late husband. I wish I would have known his wishes for our children. Don’t wait until it’s too late and leave your family lost and wondering what you would have wanted. Explain to your family how much you love them, your hopes and dreams for each of them and how to keep your memory alive. I do this by annually having a custom photo album made of the family’s adventures. I give one to each of my children. This is my gift to them to ensure my memory lives on if anything was to happens to me.

Make arrangements. I know it sounds crazy, but planning your own funeral and paying for your plot is becoming a normal thing to do. This can make things very easy for your family who will be grieving. I knew someone who planned their funeral from start to finish, including who would perform the service, songs, and floral arrangements. While this level of detail seems a bit much, remember: some people are not able to make good decisions while they are hurting. Providing detailed instructions

This is a touchy situation to talk about or even think about, but it is absolutely mandatory—death is not an “if” but a “when.” Preparing your family for loss can make the business of your transition easier to bear. Yes, they will be sad and hurt, but you can at least put their minds at ease. n Tanisha D. Mackin

You cannot prepare your family emotionally for your transition. ... But you can prepare your family for the business aspects of your departure.




one for the shelf: DEFINITELY

YOUNG WOMAN’S GUIDE by Dr. Yetunde A. Odugbesan-Omede


he Young Woman’s Guide is an inspiring book in which Dr. Yetunde A. OdugbesanOmede shares her personal stories and advice on how young women can put their best self forward. This self-help publication contains how-to advice, tips, and tools for young women to live a purposeful and well-rounded life. Featuring topics about leadership, professionalism, personal and emotional development, Young Woman’s Guide challenges young women to shine brightly and lead powerfully. Dr. Odugbesan-Omede is the Founder of Young Woman’s Guide, Inc., a leadership development organization for young women from all backgrounds. Its chief purpose is to prepare and groom its participants to lead. Dr. OdugbesanOmede believes that with the right tools and guidance, every girl has the chance to achieve success and live a well-rounded purposeful life. A professor of political science, Dr. Odugbesan-Omede teaches Comparative Politics, Women and Comparative Political Development, African Government and Politics, and Global Issues at Adelphi and Rutgers University. She believes that gender equality and women’s empowerment are not only human rights, they are also imperative for achieving inclusive, equitable and sustainable development globally. An international speaker, Dr. Odugbesan-Omede shares with public and government officials around the world her message of the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment for inclusive, equitable, and sustainable global development. To buy a copy of the Young Woman’s Guide, visit or Dr. Odugbesan-Omede’s website,






st ep s to CONQUER >>> your <<< COMFORT




here are many positive benefits to stepping out of your comfort zone, but for many doing so is very difficult. A comfort zone is a place, situation, or state of being where one feels safe, at ease or familiar. People who don’t push past their comfort zone are often afraid to take risks. But I’m a firm believer that some risks are just worth taking. Life should be fun, spontaneous, adventurous, and exciting—life enhancing benefits to stepping outside of your comfort zone. You also get the opportunity to experience the amazing potential that God has put inside of you. Some of us have God-given potential and talents that we will never tap into because we are afraid to push past our comfort zone. When you move out of your comfort zone, you get to live life in a new way. You get to find your true passions and life purpose. Some of us have been experiencing trials and tribulations in life and can’t seem to find a way out. If you begin to step out of your comfort zone, you will step right into your breakthrough. But how do you find the confidence to step out of your comfort zone and experience life in a new way? How do you tap into the courage and find the confidence to do something new? Here are six steps to help you!

1. Face your fears: The best medicine for fear is to take action. Fear is very rarely based on truth; it is a distorted version of reality. Take action and face your fears head on. 2. Get comfortable with taking risks: Be a little braver, trust yourself more, make a change, and stop overestimating the probability that something will go wrong. 3. Embrace the unknown: You cannot control everything in life. Things and people are constantly changing, transforming and growing. Even when you think you have it all figured out, there are no guarantees. Live life in the moment. 4. Change your thoughts: Replace negative thoughts with realistic positive thoughts. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.” — Proverbs 23:7 5. Start a new hobby: trying new things will give you a mental and emotional experience that pushes you to think new thoughts and new ways of doing things in almost every area of your life. 6. Invest in personal development: Making an investment in a class, life coach or counselor shows that you value and have faith in yourself. This allows you to grow in the areas of love, life, and work. Move out of your comfort zone, and begin to enjoy life in a more adventurous and exciting way! n Tamiko Lowry Pugh






eing a spiritual servant and a child of God is no easy feat. When you are busy with the hustle and bustle of the world, you oftentimes forget about the important things. You over-commit, you stretch yourself thin, and you neglect your loved ones. Most of all, you neglect yourself. You do not take time for prayer and meditation—that spiritual yin and yang that we each need to ensure balance along our journey.

You begin selfactualize—that is, you begin to understand your deeper purpose and potential.

It is easy to get caught up. It is easy to forget to eat, to exercise, to pray, to meditate. It is easy to forget to be grateful for all the things in your life that you have—because you keep longing for more. In his 1943 paper, A Theory of Human Motivation, and his later book, Motivation and Personality, psychologist Abraham Maslow described a hierarchy of needs. In this hierarchy, he intimates that human beings must first meet one level in order to move onto the higher levels. As you climb higher in the hierarchy, you begin to self-actualize—that is, you begin to understand your deeper purpose and potential. You begin to connect the dots between your true basic physiological needs and your wants— and then you begin to accept your life. The journey is not an easy one—there is no roadmap for self-actualization, because each person brings with her years of experiences, years of happiness and sadness, and years of generational “stuff”. Let me talk to you about six things you can do to climb the hierarchy toward selfactualization. The journey is continuous, you will certainly slip and slide, but you will also leap and soar. 1. Break the chains of psychological bondage. Many families have stories, good and bad, to pass down throughout their generations. If yours is one of dysfunction, you must consciously decide that you will break the cycles of guilt and shame.


2. Give without expectations of return sentiments. We are not all raised in the same households, so expecting others to respond to you in the same manner in which you behave is self-destructive and will take a toll on your soul. If you perform an act of kindness, do it and walk away knowing that you did it joyously, with no expectation of reciprocity. 3. Forgive… yourself and others. Understand that other people are also traveling on their own paths to self-actualization, and that they may indeed mistreat you. You may even mistreat yourself. Forgiveness does not mean that you forget. You learn the lesson and move on. It is OK to love people from a distance. 4. Take responsibility for your actions and how they affect others. Learn empathy and compassion. If you hurt someone, apologize. If you misunderstood someone, ask for clarity. Understand that you cannot make excuses for your behavior because of generational edict. You must stand on your own and create your own accountability. 5. Let your light shine! Live joyously and light the way for others. Express yourself knowing that others around you will absorb and reflect your light! One of my favorite passages, Our Deepest Fear, is by Marianne Williamson. In fact, I printed and framed it for my oldest son while he was a pre-teen. My family members made magnets as tokens for my bridal shower. Not only do I believe every word of this quote, I try to live it. Of course there are days that my light is dulled by worldly happenings, but I remain steadfast in my journey. 6. Accept yourself. Know your strengths, limitations and areas for improvement. Superstar Beyonce Knowles, sang a song called “Flaws and All” where she described being a train wreck in the morning. Know your peak times and your low points. Become selfaware. Begin to understand your happiness triggers and your sadness triggers. Only when you begin to self-realize, will you be able to freely listen to what the Universe is truly offering. That, my friends, I believe, is Peace and Love. n Dorna Werdelin


Who am I? 42

“Why are we born?” asked a 9-year old, in my ART Excel Course (All ‘Round Training for Excellence, a life-skills workshop for ages 8-13) in Dallas, Texas. “Why are we born?” I asked the kids in the class. “To realize God,” another child replied with the quiet confidence that comes with inner clarity. “How do we realize God?” I asked. “By being happy and making others happy,” came a reply from yet another child. “And how do we do that?” I asked. “By engaging in selfless service,” replied the last child. I smiled. This was the last day of our 5-day workshop and the children had not only imbibed the unspoken values of our class, but had evolved into teachers. I’ve been facilitating self-development programs for the Art of Living Foundation and the International Association for Human Values for 19 years and no adult has ever asked me: Why are we born? As we go about our daily lives struggling to find time and balance between work, family, social and civic responsibilities, questions about our real purpose often remain unexplored. Who am I? When this question is asked, one’s spiritual journey begins. Who am I? You may be tempted to begin with the roles you play (parent, child, sibling, partner, employee, president etc.) or ideas that you hold

SPIRITUALITY dear (“I am a child of God”). You may find it easier to begin by answering all that we are not…I’m not this body. I’m not my religion. I’m not my gender or my nationality. I’m not (keep filling in the blank). Whatever answers you receive, don’t stop. Keep asking the question and see what other possibilities unfold. Who am I beyond race, gender, religion, likes and dislikes, sexual preferences and roles? Am I something beyond all of this and if so what? Life is combination of matter and spirit. Matter (our body) holds the spirit. Spirit nurtures matter and makes life worth living. We often think that by going to church, temple or mosque we are being spiritual. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, humanitarian and spiritual leader, illustrates the distinction between spirituality and religion: “When we pray, we see the Divinity within us. Without prayer and meditation, which are the spiritual aspects of life, religion becomes just a dry skin. I often say, ‘religion is the banana skin and spirituality is the banana’. The misery in the world is because we throw away the banana and we are holding on to the dry skin. So we need to enhance that spiritual aspect of our life.” Meditation and prayer brings up inner wisdom and creates a sense of belongingness with humanity. It’s spirit that takes joy in another’s joy. When we are only looking at matter, we see separation between our self and others: “This blessing was given to them. Why doesn’t it happen to me?” Spirituality is living with human values such as love, compassion, nonviolence and enthusiasm. It is seeing others as part of one’s self. Why ask, “Who am I? What is my purpose?” It’s said that once this knowledge is attained, a person’s fear of life will be gone forever. They

will never have any sort of fear. Fear of time will be lost from life. Such a person will attain contentment and bliss. A bit of self-reflection, meditation and breathing practices can support the inner dimension of one’s life that leads to greater happiness, peace and fulfillment. Several years ago, I was on a silence course with Sri Sri in which he asked us to close our eyes and ask ourselves “Who am I” again and again. During this time in my life, I felt incomplete. I felt I needed something indefinable within myself in order to realize my aspirations. I don’t know how long I was sitting in this self-reflective Q and A, as I kept slipping into a deep meditative state. I cannot remember the answers that arose within me. But I do know that at some point, my self-doubts and feeling of inadequacy disappeared. I realized that I had all that I needed to move forward. I had me. What is in life? It is nothing. What do you do? You take a paid job, you earn money all day, come home, spend money on weekends. That’s it. You don’t even realize it is so boring, because you haven’t seen anything better. This human body has been given to us, we have attained this body to know, to realize something stupendous, something much bigger, something deeper, something vast. If we are not introduced to the vast space within us, if we don’t know about it—what kind of a life is it then? It is a baseless life. There is no support, no base. Isn’t it? Spirituality is what gives you depth, which gives depth to life, which makes life vast, which gives you direction, which can eliminate all the sorrow and suffering and bring you fulfillment and joy. Isn’t it? You know, we must realize how fortunate we all are. We are very fortunate. What we have to be concerned about is about people being happy and that they get the knowledge and the depth in their lives. Aggression is not our nature. We don’t do anything aggressively. We gently keep enlightening people as we walk along our own path. There are so many people who long for this knowledge. n Mona Shah Joshi



Joining women around the world (and the woman making it happen)



hen sunlight refracts off of a crystal’s facets, it reflects a shimmer of prismatic colors. “Bhanumati” means “shining like the sun” in Sanskrit, a fitting name for one who is both warm and loving, yet dynamic and multifaceted—a fitting name for Bhanu Narasimhan. Bhanu has been instrumental in developing initiatives for the Art of Living Foundation, a non-profit, educational and humanitarian NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) engaged in stressmanagement and service initiatives founded in 1981 by her brother, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.


Bhanu has served as the chairperson for the International Women’s Conference (IWC), one of AOL’s premiere programs, since 2005. IWC provides a diverse platform for voices from more than 100 countries, and it showcases women’s unique contributions in fostering human values, and in sustaining peace and development. She ensures a successful conference while balancing her teaching (she travels internationally teaching Sahaj Samadhi Meditation for AOL), singing (she has released 15 CDs), and writing (she has written two books). This is in addition to her work with the Care for Children program that she helped to institute, which provides free education for over 39,000 underprivileged rural Indian; and VISTA India, where she works as a founding member with volunteers to provide entrepreneurship and vocational training for 8,000 women. Bhanu is a strong proponent of girls’ education and women’s empowerment. A mother and grandmother, she demonstrates that women can achieve more than what they realize when they give primacy to spiritual development. As she prepares for the seventh IWC on April 5-6, 2015 in Bali, Indonesia, Bhanu opens up about the conference and shares her thoughts on managing the responsibilities of work, family and self.




On the founding and purpose of IWC “Actually, a few of us were sitting in the Art of Living International Center in India and sharing our experiences of our projects and how it has helped women everywhere. The sharing highlighted the positive transformation that women power can have. So we thought: Why not have a coming together of women who want to make a difference, share ideas and join hands—and the conference was born! So far there have been over 5,500 women from 80 countries who have participated in the 6 conferences.

Spirituality enables proper observation, perception and expression. ... when you know how to communicate, the need to be aggressive simply disappears.

“Speakers from varied backgrounds, including lawyers, lawmakers, ministers, doctors, governors, first ladies, artists, representatives of the media and social media, scientists, social activists, academicians, fashion designers, educationists, have contributed to IWC’s success.”

On what makes IWC unique “We have seen how the cordial and natural atmosphere of the conferences has helped to dissolve and break barriers and unite people of diverse perspectives who never saw eye to eye. For example, several groups from the Middle East have come together resolving to bring peace amongst their communities. This happened only because they experienced the possibility of stress-free living during the conferences. They also learned practical techniques that allowed them to free their minds from past negative impressions and look at the world from a more inclusive perspective. Another dimension of our conference is that it sows the seeds for a positive social transformation and has encouraged women to take responsibility for peace and harmony in society. Starting schools, campaigning against child marriage, rehabilitating and mainstreaming war widows, conducting trauma relief camps, conducting peace camps— many such initiatives, especially in India and Iraq, have resulted from the IWC.” On balancing work, family, life , and self “When you meditate, the work that normally takes four hours takes just two. So you have more time on your hands for yourself and your family. It’s necessary that you give prime time to yourself, to relax, to realize your potential. Otherwise you limit your capabilities. And when you meditate, you realize the expansion within you, that limitlessness within you.” On how to champion one another “Being supportive or not comes from having a sense of security and contentment. When women are confident in themselves, their ability to contribute increases, and when they have a broad-minded approach, they can mentor and bring others forward too. This inclusive attitude and the necessary skills come naturally through the practice of meditation.” 46

On creating strong family structures “My brother once said during a conference that while men can inspire fight, women can inspire unity. Women have the ability to glue the differences and bring diverse members of the family together. This innate ability needs to be nurtured and is the key to creating stronger family structures. When women are not stressed, they do this naturally. Simple breathing practices (pranayama) and meditation help greatly here.” On the importance of communication “When you realize your strength, you understand the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness. You realize that being aggressive is not your nature. When you see irregularities or any need for improvement, you have to be able to express yourself skillfully and clearly. Spirituality enables proper observation, perception and expression. Most of our problems are due to lack of proper communication and when you know how to handle this, the need to be aggressive simply disappears.” On the importance of joy in one’s work “What professionals want—men and women—is to be successful. Yet we have to see how to attain this success in a healthy positive way. When you do something that is natural to you, then you succeed. Then success is not stressful and your smile remains intact. A smile is a sign of success both personally and professionally. In order to be balanced and maintain a harmonious atmosphere around us even in the face of adversities at home or at work, you need to make the inward journey. In this light, I would say that spiritual values—like caring, sharing, truthfulness, integrity, a broad vision, acceptance, and honor for life— are the basis. Both women and men must come forward to nourish these values at the workplace for a better work culture.” n Mona ShahJoshi and Sejal Shah




BOLD Favor Magazine - March 2015  

Enjoy the March 2015 issue of BOLD Favor Magazine, where we highlight BOLD people who inspire us to live fearlessly! This quarter's focus i...

BOLD Favor Magazine - March 2015  

Enjoy the March 2015 issue of BOLD Favor Magazine, where we highlight BOLD people who inspire us to live fearlessly! This quarter's focus i...