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Inspire, Inform & Educate


Michelle Rodriguez HSW

Christina R. Grochett

Tieasha James Central Care Community Health Center

Marcus Roland Central Care Community Health Center

University of Phoenix

Keith J. Davis, Jr., encourages youth, teens and young adults all over the country to be the best they can be. Keith J. Davis, Jr., the son of MR. DMARS

“It’s your aptitude, not just your attitude that determines your ultimate altitude.” – Zig Ziglar (left to right) MR. D-MARS & Attorney Ricky Anderson

Marylyn Harris Dr. Ka-Ron Y. Wade, D.D.S Jonathan Sprinkles Mack Hannah, Jr. Pinnacle Award Winner Pinnacle Award Winner Upstart Award Winner

See Pg. 5

Deidria B. Joseph Pinnacle Award Winner

Ted Ellis Pinnacle Award Winner

Congratulations! Papa D-MARS

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Publisher’s Message

Keith J. Davis, Sr. SR. PUBLISHER Keith J. Davis, Sr. JR. PUBLISHER Keith J. Davis, Jr. VICE PRESIDENT Kevin Davis EDITING CONSULTANT ReShonda Tate-Billingsley ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT Joi Terez Coleman EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Heather Haukaas ACCOUNTING MANAGER Eugenie Doualla PHOTOGRAPHY Travante Williams MARKETING CONSULTANTS Johnny Ray Davis, Jr. MULTIMEDIA DIRECTOR Andrea Hennekes LAYOUT & GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Ghuzzala Malik (Faith) Myron Davis DISTRIBUTION Booker T. Davis, Jr. Rockie Hayden CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Diedria B. Joseph Charlotte Jackson Carla Lane Christina Robinson Grochett Olufunke Odetunde Dr. D. L. Jones Victor Walker Noel Pinnock Aurelia Williams Richard Gorham Cornelia E. Jammer

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If I had a dime for every time someone pummeled me with negativity – told me I couldn’t do something, told me why something wouldn’t work, told me how I was going to fail – I’d be a rich man. But anyone who knows me, knows I don’t swell in negativity. I can’t afford to and it’s not in my DNA. I am, and always have been an individual who believes the Sky’s the limit. That’s why this issue couldn’t be more aptly themed. When it comes to accomplishing your goals, and achieving the things you want out of life, The sky is the limit. That’s what this issue is all about - helping you to realize that the sky is the limit. Your opportunities are endless. It is my hope that by the time you have perused the pages, analyzed the articles and digested each document, you will recognize that the only thing stopping you from living your dream is YOU! Many people do not realize they have what it takes to be successful until their ambition kicks in to motivate them. They can go through life existing. Existing is not living and certainly not enjoying the life journey. Many people live for the competition that the steps to challenge them along the way. They know that when you struggle to achieve something, the win is all the more meaningful. And it means that much more when you’re reaching for the sky. This issue, as always, is stockpiled with information that will help you whether you’re stuck in a rut or looking for ways to soar. There are also articles to help you if your business is struggling in the quest for success, or if you think you’re at the top of your game. What are you waiting for? To accomplish big dreams you have to accomplish small goals.

CONTENTS Entertainment Attorney Ricky Anderson Leading the Way…….........……….4 Limits? There are None!.................................................................................5 15th Annual African-American Business Achievement Pinnacle Awards….12 Reaching Sky High Potential…………………………….……………….……..13 It’s Not Personal It’s Business...Really?.......................................................14 If you shoot for the Stars you’ll Reach the Moon…………...…………….….16 The smart way to form a plan and reach your goals……………..……….….17 Eye to Eye………………………………………………..…………………….….18 Holiday Safety…………………………………………………………………….23 Easy Ways to Organize your Workspace......................................................24 You can be your own worst Enemy!.............................................................25 First Impression: Putting Your Best Face Forward……………..…………….25 Here’s to financial stability in the new year………………………………...….27 The Sky is the Limit with Wisdom…………………………………………..….27 Commit To your Goals………………………………………………………..….28 Diligence ensures success, when others consider quitting……………...….28 Newest Business Opportunities in Healthcare…………………………….….30 Smart and Savvy Shopping..........................................................................36 Points to Successful Partnerships……………………………………………...37

MR. D-MARS Business Journal Tip of the Month “It’s your aptitude, not just your attitude that determines your ultimate altitude.”


7322 Southwest Fwy, Suite 806 Houston, Texas 77074 713-272-9511 . Phone 713-272-6364 . Fax 1-800-453-8752 . Toll Free 3.

Entertainment Attorney Ricky Anderson Leading the Way

Houston Attorney Ricky Anderson, knows all too well about reaching for the Stars. He did it back when he was a Concert-Promoting College Student at Prairie View A & M University, and he’s still doing it today, as one of the Top Entertainment Attorneys in the Country. He says, his secret to success is simple. “I always impress upon anyone that I’m speaking with, that Success really begins within,” Anderson said. “That’s something I buried in my mind, when I was young. I’ve always taken that internal ambition, to heart, and making a sincere commitment to my career. I’ve enjoyed the fact, that I can represent to the General Public, that hard work DOES pay off.” Anderson’s first Entertainment Client, was none other than Actor/Comedian, Sinbad. “My first Entertainment dealings were with Sinbad. He had the first project that I looked at and considered, when I entered the Entertainment Business.” That was just the beginning. Now, his Client Roster reads like a Who’s Who of the Entertainment Industry: Steve Harvey, Yolanda Adams, Isaiah Washington, Mo’Nique, Judge Greg Mathis, Mary Mary, Cassi Davis to december 2009

name a few. Attorney Anderson attributes much of his success, to securing a sound Education. “Back when I grew up, Education was so important to our Parents. I knew the value of an Education,” Anderson said. “I still impress upon my Children, and today’s youth, that education has a greater value now, that times are changing. Technology is in a greater space. Please note, that five or six years ago, I would tell you, that you can’t be in two places at one time, but now you can. You can be in hundreds of places at one time. You can Skype. You’ve got to share with our young people the critical fact, that the world is changing, politically, competitively, technologically, and socially, because everyone is trying to win. It’s certainly changing socially, because we’re becoming a colorblind society and you just have to recognize that those logistical elements, lead to where the Entertainment Industry is going from a Legal perspective, particularly with all of the Digital Social Networks. There are tremendous entrepreneurial opportunities, in this digital space, that we would have never foreseen, even as recently as a few years ago. Forty percent of the jobs that will be available in ten years, have not been created. You’ve got to recognize the fact that there’s a way to win, if you wake up, Personally and Professionally. These young people have to wake up, Personally and Professionally. Get up off the sofa. Stop playing video games. I’m not saying don’t have a childhood, don’t have a life, but please understand the value of an Education, and getting prepared for the future. I would be remised if I didn’t impress upon them, that it’s critically important to be aware of the Educational and Financial Opportunities that are available in your perspective profession. There are funds available to make Records, Compact Discs, Film Products, and Videos. There are Artist www.

Grants available, that you do not have to pay back. You’ve got so many Career vessels that are available to you, if you are willing to prepare and work to succeed.”

MR. DMARS Congratulates Attorney Ricky Anderson on his new Black Broadcasting Network

Attorney Ricky Anderson, one of the Founders, of the Black Broadcasting Network (, and has over 1,000 jobs available on this Website under the Community Icon (join, its free), and says one of the things he also tries to teach others is that you can’t reach the sky on desire alone. You must exhaust the physical effort. “One thing about success is, that you have to be good. You can work hard every day from five o’clock am to midnight, pouring concrete, and if it has cracks in it, you are a hard worker, however, you are just not good. You’ve got to be good, for people to want you to come back, and work with them again. Good service, is a key component of success,” Attorney Anderson said. “Some people

are lucky, but never mistake luck for skill. That the continued commitment from your Clients has to be earned. Practice does make perfect, do it every day. You get better putting in that extra practice, everyday.” “Passion and enthusiasm within your Career, gives you the emotional satisfaction to achieve your Professional Heights. Always remember, money doesn’t make you smart. You are the same person with money, as you are without money. Every morning when I get up, I’m just as excited as I was when I started my first day of Law Practice in the Entertainment Industry. You can’t get complacent. If I were to do today, what I did 20 years ago, I wouldn’t succeed because society and technology has changed. You must take that passion to do a great job for your Clients, and turn it into actuality. A lot of people hang their hat on what they did back in the day. What I never ever want to do, is sit in my office and only read contracts, day after day. I appreciate and love contributing to the creative, developmental, and production elements, of the Entertainment Industry.” And finally, he says, don’t let where you’ve been, determine where you’re going. “I grew up in a small town in Michigan that was ranked as one of the worst places to live. I say that with pride, because it lets us see that you are able to excel, whenever we choose to. You can create success, if you believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in you, neither will others believe in you. Let your goals, be your goals, not the guy next door goals. Everybody has goals, and there are no small goals. Be humble, understand, that GOD is the guiding light. I don’t care who you think you are, let GOD disappear and you are in trouble.


“Limits? There are None!”

In order to be a leader, you can’t be satisfied with just doing ordinary tasks to get the quick applause or just to get by. Exceed the expectations, do the extra credit homework, run that extra mile or put in that extra overtime to master your position. Once you exceed the limits and expectations you set on yourself, then your mind will invite in bigger opportunities. But you have to master the small things first, and remember the “Sky is the limit!” Keith J. Davis Jr. CEO

For Booking Contact Keith J. Davis Jr. at:

Keith J. Davis, Jr.


efore I decided to dedicate myself fully to being a young entrepreneur, I loved to play football. When I stepped on the field, I always wanted to win. I take that same must-win attitude with me into the world of business. Now I want to be the best in business, speaking, acting and anything else I put my mind to. Who on earth wants to live their whole life being second place in everything? And I know, you probably love that old saying that “Winning isn’t everything.” Ironically, nobody seems to know who authored that quote, but I am sure it originated from someone who never won at anything! The great U.S. General Patton said that, “There can never be defeat if man refuses to accept defeat.” He taught his platoon to never expect defeat because he never intended to lose a battle. You must have that mentality when you are operating your business. You have to operate it like a military platoon; with discipline, focus, and strength. You have to be watchful of ‘enemies’ of your progress, like bad accounting, poor marketing, consistent bad decisions, lack of vision, or weak soldiers (employees). You have to study the terrain (market trends) and map out your arsenal of weapons (ideas) to stay ten steps ahead of the competition. So once you launch your attack, you should be assured that first place is in sight. As a reminder, here are a few qualities of a second place mentality you december 2009

need to avoid: 1. Excuse maker 2. Negativity 3. Gossiper 4. Low self-esteem 5. Waiting for a hand-out

• Leaders see change not as a threat but as a natural part of their environment. • Leaders rarely need to declare that they are leaders.

O: 713-272-9511 F: 713-272-6364 E: W: W: or @keithjdavisjr K. Jerrold Enterprises, Inc. 5868 Westheimer Suite 347 Houston, Texas 77057

While avoiding these traits, you may begin building on leadership characteristics. And an outstretched mind is what helps define true leadership. The great Earl Graves Sr., founder of Black Enterprise Magazine optimizes what great leadership is. He once gave his take on how to recognize true leadership by stating, “Some may think that leadership is marked by one’s ability to be surrounded by a gang of people or ordering others around. If you think that way, you are headed down a dead end.” He also says “While many aspire to the mantle of leadership, too often we confuse some of the perks and byproducts of leadership - social status, celebrity, wealth, management, or operational authority - with leadership itself. However, leadership boils down to one thing - the ability to positively affect others. Simply put, in any given organization, community, social group, or field of endeavor, leaders don’t just make a difference, they are the difference.” • Leaders serve missions and are able to articulate a future for that mission. • Leaders motivate. • Leaders are masters at communicating visions www.


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Learn How You Can “Cash-In” on the Emerging Commercial Debt Buying Market

Michelle Rodriguez From the Desk of Michelle Rodriguez President of HSW Financial the leading buyer of commercial lease portfolios and a premier provider of private label servicing ……Inside Track Our economy is forcing us to refine our way of business leaving business metrics up in arms. So how can we

define success these days when originations are down from 90% to 65% or lower? I believe that we do not have to lose our identity during these times and staying the course is essential, but more than ever we need to explore and exploit options and programs that incite innovation and intellect. As we know, the market has significantly changed and the current mechanisms in place are insufficient to assist us in meeting our bottom line, whether it is year end, quarterly and even monthly goals. I have been in the equipment leasing industry for over 13 years and appreciate its opportunities and possibilities, but the industry more than ever now requires support drivers of change. This is why HSW is designed to be a non traditional financial institution that’s dedicated to creating and driving liquidity into the industry. HSW has a successful track record and healthy reputation of creating operating leverage, velocity, and economies of scale for many of the nation’s largest financial institutions in an industry that has been catastrophically imploded by the severe economic turn. It’s no wonder that an opportunity to explore mat-

ters internationally have presented itself to HSW. HSW proudly introduces its International Program as an added expansive component to the well received domestic services we already provide in creating liquidity in our industry. HSW now has expanded and extends its services internationally to the Latin American marketplace, which will benefit our Equipment Leasing Industry providing additional options. We are currently seeking a strategic alliance with leasing companies or banks that would like to maximize their value chain by participating in our International Program with the use of HSW’s infrastructure and market contacts. As an example: • HSW hold the market through our Latin American contacts. • HSW hold the infrastructure through our Private Label Programs. • You hold the Asset base through your End of Lease programs and Trac Leases (no funding involved).

ance sheets and liquidity. So my friends save yourselves the early tax liability and contact for more information on how you can participate in a $150ML market. Michelle Rodriguez HSW is the leading buyer of commercial lease portfolios and a premier provider of private label servicing supporting the equipment leasing and finance industry. HSW is not a collection agency, nor do we compete with our clients by originating leases as our focus is solely on adding value to our client’s needs. This is why the country’s leading equipment leasing and finance companies turn to HSW in order to improve their liquidity.

Let us Promote your Business, Your Event, or You!

As tough as things are, the easing of capital markets lies in how financial institutions balance the risk of aggressive origination against the risks of default and collections, and the impact on bal-

Advertise today in D-MARS Business Journal

Commercial Debt Buying 101 Learn How You Can “Cash-In” on the Emerging Commercial Debt Buying Market What is Commercial Debt Buying?

torneys, collection agencies and leasing brokers should 10:20-10:30 Networking Break 10:30-11:20 also attend this educational seminar. Plan now to take Sales contract negotiation that Commercial Debt Buying is the purchasing of helps you meet your targets sophisticated delinquent or charged-off debts from a control of your financial future. Call Emily Navarro at Discussion Break 11:20-11:30 creditor for a fraction of the face value of the debt. 713-590-6009 to reserve your seat. 11:30-12:30 Operating systems that keep your The debt buyers can then collect on its own, utilize Pricing: cash flow on schedule and on the services of collection agencies, repackage and resell The registration fee of $395 includes tuition, target portions of the purchased portfolio or any combinacourse materials and a networking lunch. Your satis- 12:30-1:30 Table Topics and Lunch tion of these options as they see fit to do so. faction is guaranteed. You will be 100% satisfied with 1:30-2:20 Compliance and contract issues Why You Should Take Commercial Debt the program or you will receive a full refund! (Course they don’t want you to know materials “only” available for $295) Buying 101? 2:20-2:30 Question and Answer Break Market uncertainty, recession and unemploy2:30-3:20 Five Collection Strategies that Program Agenda ment are daily topics for conversation. Many people work in today’s economy Welcome to Commercial Debt are very anxious about their futures. Why not control 8:30-9:20 Strategy Break 3:20-3:30 Buying 101/Ten Actions Steps You your future by becoming your own boss! Imagine . . . 3:30-4:30 Three (3) potential debt buying Will Take Away you can create and manage your own commercial debt opportunities as your next steps Names and Faces portfolio with the help of the HSW, the leading Buyer 9:20-9:30 Intro to Debt Buying: Making Class Dates and Location: of commercial-debt portfolios. Questions about the 9:30-10:20 your first deal a “homerun” Date: January 20th and March 20th 2009 (Seating is program? Call program director Kayo McGann at • Identifying the Sellers limited) 713-590-6004. • Available products you don’t Class hours: 8:30-4:30PM think of You are invited to Attend! Location: Marriot Courtyard 916 Dallas Street; • The importance of due diligence Houston, Texas 77002 USA; Phone: (832) 366-1600 If you want a change in employment status or • Scoring modals that separate the if you are seeking a career change, you are an ideal *Book early for hotel discount. winners from the losers candidate for CDB 101. Entrepreneurs, investors, at

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lize to assist veterans to be successful than will show your people how to accept responsibility for their role in both academically and personally.

Pinnacle Awards:

15th Annual African-American Business Achievement Pinnacle Awards

Celebrating a Legacy of Impact


he Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 15th Annual African American Achievement Awards in October with a ballroom filled with members, supporters, corporate citizens and local, state and national leaders. After a stirring keynote address by National Urban League President and CEO, Marc H. Morial, the 2009 Award winners were announced.

2009 Winners Advocate Award:

The Advocate Award was created to honor an organization that has been a true champion for African-American small businesses in the Greater Houston Metropolitan area. These organizations are diligently working to ensure the stability and growth of small businesses through its diversity supplier programs, community outreach and education. The finalists for this year’s Advocate Award are: Gilbane, Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro), and Parsons.

Advocate Award Winner

Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County METRO is an innovative regional transportation organization of dedicated employees committed to partnering with the public and private sectors to provide the safest, highest quality services and mobility solutions that exceed our customers’ expectations while creating economic growth. In 1978, Houston-area voters created METRO and approved a one-cent sales tax to support its operations. METRO opened for business in January 1979. The Authority has transformed a broken bus fleet into a regional multimodal transportation system. Currently METRO has more than 3,550 employees. Mack Hannah, Jr. Upstart Award: This category is named in honor of humanitarian, community and land developer, banker, financier, and dipdecember 2009

Pinnacle Award nominees must also be 51 percent African American owned, a for profit business for a minimum of three years, and located in the Greater Houston Area or surrounding cities. Of the following 10 finalists, four winners will be named 2009 Pinnacle Award winners: Ted Ellis of T. Ellis, Inc.; Karen Hill of Internal Medicine and Pediatric Deidria Joseph Associates; Ka-Ron Wade of Ka-Ron Topp Knotch Wade, DDS; Ricky and Lora Mayes Personnel of Beacon Home Healthcare; Patrick Services, Inc. Johnson of PCJ Consulting, Inc.’ Joi Beasley of GoGo Business CommuniIn 1995, Diedria cations; Jennifer Dean of Dean’s ProB. Joseph esfessional Services and Smith and Dean, tablished Topp Inc.; Deiedria Joseph of Topp Knotch Knotch Personnel, Personnel Services, Inc.; Tabatha Bellard of CBFS, and Jonathan Sprinkles Inc. as a premier, high-caliber contract and direct hire staffing agency. of Sprinklims, Inc.

Pinnacle Awards Winners lomat, Mack Hannah, Jr. The criteria states that these businesses must be: 51 percent African American owned, a for-profit business in operation for no more than two years, and located in the Greater Houston Area or surrounding cities. The Mack H. Hannah, Jr. Upstart Business Award recognizes a business on the path to entrepreneurial greatness. The four finalists this year represent a diversity of companies and industries. They are all innovators and are already successful in their own right. The finalists were: Marylyn Harris of Harrland Healthcare Consulting, LLC; Jonathan Smith of Pride Staff; K Jerrold Enterprises, Inc; and Epiphany Celebrations and Entertaining.

Mack Hannah, Jr. Upstart Award Winner Marylyn Harris Harrland Healthcare Consulting, LLC is a minority, woman, veteran-owned consulting firm specializing in quality Medical and Psychiatric Clinical, Administrative and Training Services. In September 2009, Harrland Healthcare launched a new product, The Veterans Inforsource Project. The VIP Project is an online coaching and counseling resource for veterans and their families who are pursuing higher education at the nation’s colleges and universities. With multiple deployments, high divorce rates, substance abuse, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and suicide rates, Harrland Healthcare created The VIP Project, and its Vendor Network to aid military families that are in crisis and need extra support, especially in stressful academic settings. Harrland Healthcare plans for The VIP Project to be the national model that colleges and universities utiwww.

the organization’s vision, approach each assignment expecting excellence and success, and add value to their organization, which in turnincreases their self-confidence and gives them greater satisfaction with their lives. Jonathan is refreshingly different. His techniques are simple, down-to-earth, and designed to turn everyday people into extraordinary performers.

Dr. Ka-Ron Wade Ka-Ron Wade, DDS At the practice of Dr. Ka-Ron Y. Wade D.D.S our goal has always been to deliver the highest quality of care to our patients in a friendly environment. One thing that has separated us from other dentists is our emphasis on educating our patients about their treatment options and oral health issues. We have proudly provided quality dental care since 1999. The entire staff shares Dr. Wade’s philosophy and commitment to provide our patients with excellence in dentistry with the highest level of service. We specialize in cosmetic dental procedures and use the most up-to-date technology and techniques to ensure that each patient receives individualized quality results. We build longlasting dental relationships one smile at a time. We stand by our motto: we are truly “Changing the World One Smile At A Time” Jonathan Sprinkles Sprinklisms, Inc. Jonathan Sprinkles was voted National Speaker of the Year, Rolling Out Magazine’s 40 Under 40 and Eastman Kodak Mentor of the Year because he’s funny; his energy keeps audiences on the edge of their seats; and he never pulls any punches. Jonathan “sprinkles” elements of wisdom and humor to create a light-hearted, yet purposefilled learning environment. He provides the “wow” that audience members want and the substance that meeting planners value. Jona-

As a woman and minority small business owner, Joseph has led Topp Knotch Personnel as the President/ CEO with offices in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. Over the last 14 years, TKP has acquired various governmental and commercial contracts with a cumulative $50M in revenues. With several thousand employees and placements throughout the country, Topp Knotch Personnel has excelled as a global staffing resource that is “small enough to care, large enough to deliver.” Joseph extended her company offerings; not only specializing in contract and direct hire, but also drug and background check services, on-site management, vendor management, purchasing & procurement, and payroll services, shattering the mold of a basic “temporary agency” by becoming a one-stop source for every Human Resource need. Ted Ellis T. Ellis Art, Inc. Ted Ellis is passionate about his family, passionate about his heritage, and passionate about his art. He was born and educated in New Orleans, a city known for its history, style, and artistic exuberance. This backdrop inspired Ellis to capture the essence of the subjects of his childhood in the glory of their rich cultural heritage. Recognized as one of the most celebrated artists of the 21st century, T. Ellis Art, Inc. has sold over a million prints and posters nationwide. Extremely dedicated to his craft, the self-taught artist boldly blends realism and impressionism in his work, evoking nostalgia and inspiration. The art of this man both reveres and celebrates the traditional values of his culture. Ted Ellis, the man, lives the life he paints about by educating through his art and contributing time and artwork to many worthy causes. 12.

Reaching Sky High Potential Through Leadership and Service

efficiency, you can help other companies, such as your vendors and clients, to take note and establish those similar practices. There are many other ways to more directly collaborate with other businesses to expand your potential. For example, participation in trade and industry organizations produces the ability to meet and collaborate with other leaders in your field. Through adding your expertise to committees within these organizations, you will learn from others while you also add to their experience. Soon, through adding your practical advice, individuals will see you as an expert By Diedria B. Joseph, Contributing Writer in your field. Networking is also an opportunity to glean tips and With the current economic con- bounce ideas about business goals. dition, business owners are forced to think “out of the box” regarding their Serving Your Customers business practices and policies to be sucWhether we sell our products and cessful. Even the term “out of the box” services to consumers or other businesshas become commonplace among our es, there is always a person at the beginindustries and simply leaves our clients ning, middle, and end of the transacand end-users looking for more. A gut- tion. We provide people with goods reaction among business owners may or services. To reach your maximum be to cut budgets and lower prices to potential as a business person, we have stay relevant and be able to keep a little to tap back into the initial passion and green on the balance sheet. But there purpose of our businesses. We are proare various non-traditional ways to help viding someone with something. This your business surpass those seemingly requires us not to sit in meetings and impossible sales goals. Though the “sky” only see dollar signs but not the person may seem slightly out of your reach, I who has a specific need. Daily, we are have learned that you can bring your or- put in ethical situations where we have ganization to its full potential through make decisions to be forthcoming or leadership and service. dishonest regarding the best interest of others. We have a responsibility to lead Being a Leader in Your Industry our business with the mentality that the When most business people think customer is our focus. of being a leader of their field, this viToday, there is always someone who sion is very singular. This usually sounds sells your product or services and claims like “my company needs to be the best that they can do it better and cheaper. at providing this service and make the As responsible business owners, we have most money doing it.” But when I truly strived to offer our customers the think of true leadership in an industry, best product. But we also have a responit requires serving your customers and sibility to provide them with excellent even peers (and seeming competitors) customer service regardless of the size of and through your success causing them their purchase. to also become better business owners When we take the time to truly with the challenge to stay relevant. I am listen to our customers and clients and not suggesting that you share your most truly understand their needs, we can valued business practice to your largest provide them with exactly what they competitor. But often when we strive to need. Based on their experience with do better, we force our competitors to your business, they will also tell others catch up or be eliminated. By establish- regarding your service. Referrals are an ing processes to ensure that your busi- excellent way to build your business beness is operating at its highest level of cause these individuals already believe december 2009


that your business can complete the task exceptionally well. Superior customer service provides your business the opportunity to rise above your competitors to “sky-high” status.

ness, even when you least expect it. Reaching your maximum potential requires you to depart from the instinctual desire to be self-centered and to reach out to others not only for business contacts, but also to help them as well. When I reach my “sky-high” potential Serving Your Community and goals, I do not wish to be there To reach your “sky-high” potenalone. I want to share the success with tial, you must be an active community my clients and peers. member. What is true success if you are Diedria B. Joseph is President/CEO hoarding to yourself? What impact could you make to future generations if you of Topp Knotch Personnel, Inc. Topp simply share your wealth of knowledge Knotch Personnel offers various servicand experience? Mentoring provides an es such as Executive Recruiting/Direct opportunity to work directly with other Hire, Temporary Placement, Temp to future and current business people to Hire, and Contract Staffing nationhelp them navigate avoidable pitfalls. wide. We are the link between compaThrough volunteering with various or- nies seeking diverse talent and skilled ganizations, you can also expand your candidates looking for jobs. For more sphere of influence, opening the door for information, please visit our website at more opportunities to grow your busi-


Just Trust Him

“It’s Not Personal It’s Business… Really?”

“It’s not personal; it’s business.” Whether you work in the business world or not, you have probably heard or made this statement. It only makes sense. Right? Business matters and personal matters should be kept separate. They are distinctly different. Who wants to hear about their boss’ marital problems? Would it be just a little awkward to witness the VP of Sales fall apart at the monthly staff meeting after discovering drugs in her teenage son’s bedroom. Sure it would (especially anytime before lunch time). Wait a minute though. Upon closer investigation, I have discovered business is often permeated with the personal. While I agree that there are certainly personal matters that have no place in business, and business matters that should be left at the workplace. The two do, indeed, intersect. Understanding this and using it effectively to build successful relationships can be critical. It can set one apart from the competition. Need a bit more convincing? Allow me to offer a few examples. When trying to build a rapport with a new contact or potential customer, it would serve you well to find a personal common ground. If you have kids find out if that person has kids. Love your dog like peanut butter and jelly? Find out if they do too. If you are meeting in their office, closely observe any pictures they may have. Of course you do not want to gawk. They may wonder if you’re a potential stalker, rather than someone they want to do business with. If he looks like he’s in good shape, ask him what he does to work out. Both of you may even go to the same gym. Or perhaps both of you prefer eating double fudge brownies to the treadmill. Whatever it is, identify a similarity and build on that. This is a time when business can become personal and it is ok. In fact it can be meaningful. Establishing key relationships lays the groundwork for success. That almost goes without saying (almost but december 2009

By Charlotte Jackson, Contributing Writer

it doesn’t hurt to say it). It is certainly easier to do this with someone you genuinely like, or at the least, someone you find something about to like. Let’s face it: we will not be fond of everyone we do business with. However I may really like the fuel-efficient hybrid my client drives. Even if she is combative and nit-picky, I know she’s concerned about the environment and seeks to conserve energy. Someone may be considering partnering with you on a lucrative deal, but may have concerns about just how influential you are. One’s ability to influence the real power brokers and persuade others with deep pockets to invest in one’s ideas is huge. Sure that person, who is a power broker herself, may question your sphere of influence. Nevertheless she remembers the story you told her about negotiating a great deal when buying your new car. She remembers it fondly because it was also a funny story (you used that sense of humor quite well). She owned the same car for a number of years and loved it. This makes her comfortable with you. It makes you likable. She concludes she will take a risk on you. What you may lack in influence, you make up for in charisma and good taste. These personal tidbits would not be evident if you did not take the time to get to know your potential business partner on a personal level, or if she did not feel comfortable enough to allow you to. So if you think business is never personal, think again. The key is to draw the appropriate lines. It is not about deciding to never blur the black and white of business and personal matters. It is about determining when to do so and how to make it work for you. If you can master making personal interactions work for you in business, you may be surprised at the long-term successful relationships you build. Not impressed by long-term success? Well, clearly that is personal. www.

Without even realizing it, we can put limitations on ourselves that hold us back from accomplishing great things. During the early years of being a single parent, I often fretted about what I could not do for my children. Since then, I have come to realize that I already have all that I need. All I need is the relationship that I have with God. As I reflect on the fourteen plus years of raising my three children, I cannot begin to count the many blessings that we have experienced. My children not only had school uniforms and school supplies each year, but there was not a summer camp that they wanted to attend that the funds were not provided for. Through the years, they participated in youth sports as well as school sponsored activities and never missed out on the many activities that were offered at church.

I remember one night, years ago, when I felt like I could not keep on. Once again, one of my children was ill, and I had to leave a message for our doctor with his answering service. While I was thankful that I had health insurance, I was concerned about not having the copayment to take him to the doctor or to get the medication and my car was broken down as well. I was discouraged as I tucked my children in bed and then the phone rang. It was our family physician. He could sense the despair in my voice and after he had told me that he would get samples of medication to me the next morning, he then asked me to take a breath and let him pray. It was at that point that I was reminded that God would send me everything I needed if only I would trust Him with every need. He told me that if I would just trust God, the sky would be the limit. Today, all the years later, the same doctor presented me with a brand new computer, as he knew I had been praying for one so that I would be able to complete the book in my heart which will open up many doors for my children and me. As he gave it to me, he said “Sister, remember, the sky is the limit when we give it ALL to God.” Amen. I could not agree more.


put on and nearly impossible to take off. Being in debt saps your sense of power and, more often than not, keeps you locked into jobs you don’t like just to pay your bills. And when you don’t really like your job, you can be sure you’re not going to do the best work there.


By Carla Lane, Contributing Writer

I have just received a promotion to a mid-level executive position at one of the large public accounting firms. I am very proud of my new position and at 27 years old, I have big plans for my career. I have watched you over the last few years, and have come to admire you as a businesswoman who always is really approachable, and down to earth, but very much about her business. What advice would you offer to me, a young woman, as I begin to take my career to the next level? First, congratulations on your new position! And thank you so very much for the kind words, I truly appreciate them! Along the way I have made a lot of mistakes, and I have seen women make mistakes that have stunted their professional growth and their climb up the corporate ladder. Below are a few of the most common mistakes women make. If you can steer clear of these, I am pretty sure you will be fine. A young, AfricanAmerican woman achieving a mid-level executive position in a large accounting firm, is no small achievement, you are off to an awesome start! I wish you much continued success!

Carla’s Top 12 Ways Women Commit Professional Suicide


Flirting with Men to Get Your Way.

This is a strategy that seems to come naturally for most of us (me included), and the short-term gains can be hefty. It always comes back to haunt you in the end, however. Get ahead on the quality of your ideas, hard work and ability to enable teams to work together. Leave your other moves to the hours outside of work.


Needing to be Everyone’s Friend.

It’s important for both men and women to be well-liked at work—but you can’t build a career solely around being liked. The trick is to find a balance between being a wishy-washy “nice girl” and a woman who’s too headstrong. The trick here is to find a balance between being the nice girl and the woman who’s overly domineering. The best way to do so is december 2009

Women are often expansive, idealistic thinkers, very good at the big picture and skilled multi-taskers. The problem is that we often imagine we can attend to more than is humanly possible and end up trying to do too much at once. The result is lack of focus and jobs done “well enough” but never wonderfully well.

to be inclusive: Be clear when you share your opinions and ideas, but also make others understand that you care about

their opinions.


Having a Broad Vision, But Being Unfocused in Implementation.


Assuming You’ll Be Rewarded for a Job Well Done.

This is the quintessential female career error: Good girl syndrome. Doing a good job is only the beginning; letting the right people know about what you’ve done in a way they’ll respect is an art form unto itself. If you don’t know how to practice it, today is the time to start.

Polling before Making Decisions.

Young women, especially, confuse polling with consensus. Polling is saying, “I can’t make a decision unless I get everyone’s opinion”. Opposed to consensus, which is, “I have an opinion, but Waiting for Permission. I want to make sure we get everybody’s opinion on the table.” When you state Far too many women wait around for your opinion first, your colleagues know an approving nod before making a move you’re both informed and open to sugin their careers. These same women also gestions. end up not being promoted or taken Being Too Busy to Take Care seriously enough, because they seem to lack confidence and assertiveness. of Your Health. Would a race car driver start a race with Obedience will forever keep you in the low-octane fuel? Every time you start a middle of the pack. As women, we misday with less than the right amount of takenly consider it polite to wait to be sleep for you, pump empty calories into called on in meetings, particularly when your body or let your body carry excess there are many senior-level people presweight, you’re compromising your abil- ent. But you could be doing yourself a ity to think well and work most produc- great disservice by not speaking up and tively. An internal whistle blows after speaking early. You should be among the eight hours of output, telling all your first two or three people to speak in every systems to work with less energy and ef- meeting—not necessarily to voice your fectiveness. By working too long with- opinion, but perhaps to ask a question out recharging your battery, you destroy or support what someone else says. We live in a society where we expect children your ability to do your best work. to ask permission. Men don’t ask—but Gossiping women tend to. Rather than ask permission, you should inform others of your Information is power in organizational plans, and ask for suggestions. life, and discovering or sharing “interNot Paying Enough esting tidbits” about others can make Attention to How You you feel powerful. But gossiping almost Dress. always undermines your perceived integrity and must be avoided at all costs. Especially at the early stages of our careers, many women don’t consider the Spending More Than You Can importance of their physical appearances at the workplace. Dress for the job Pay For. Debt is like excess weight: It’s easy to you want, not the job you have. Think





about it this way: You’re working for the people who are winning the game in your workplace. How are the women who have climbed the ranks dressed? Dress like they do—or better.


Not Viewing the Workplace as a Playing Field.

Though they differ from company to company, every organization has rules and boundaries. To succeed, you need to figure out what they are, and who’s best at following them. Who are the superstars in your organization? What are they doing? Follow their lead—and play to win.


Using Minimizing Language.

Kind of. Sort of. Maybe. These kinds of words diminish your credibility in the eyes of others. Keep them out of any ideas or opinions you share at the workplace. When sharing your ideas, be firm and direct. When something goes wrong and a woman is blamed, she’s not likely to stand up for herself. If you allow yourself to be a scapegoat, you automatically give up the respect of your colleagues. But remember: Setting the record straight isn’t about putting another person down; it’s about preventing yourself from being seen in a negative light. Instead of stating our opinions, we often phrase our ideas as questions. We’ve been socialized to believe that, when you ask a question, you come across a lot softer than if you make a statement. But by framing your ideas as questions, you come off uncertain and lacking in confidence. Embrace your power and always bring your A-Game to the workplace! Email Questions to Carla at clane@ You might see your question answered in an upcoming issue of one of the Ask Carla syndicated columns.

Let us Promote your Business, Your Event, or You! Advertise today in D-MARS Business Journal




If you shoot for the Stars you’ll Reach the Moon If you shoot for the stars and hit the moon, it’s ok. But you’ve got to shoot for something. A lot of people don’t even shoot. -Robert Townsend

By Carla Lane, Contributing Writer Do you remember when you were a child being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember telling my teachers, peers and parents that I was going to be a Supreme Court Justice like Thurgood Marshall and eventually I would become the first Black president. I carried a picture of Thurgood Marshall in my backpack, and eventually had a picture of him on my dorm wall at the University of Houston. I even wrote my inaugural address for when I became president when I was in third grade. My mom has a copy of it, in her scrap book of all the articles I have written and have been featured in over the years. Well, I didn’t go to law school and President Obama broke the color barrier at the White House. But the important thing about the goals I set for myself way back then, was that I set them high. The important thing my parents and teachers did for me was they never told me that it was unlikely that I would become a Supreme Court Justice and would eventually become President of the United States. William Howard Taft is the only person in US History to serve as both President of the United States and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. They never told me that the road to law school would require sacrifice and a commitment to academia that a social butterfly like me might find difficult to make. I was simply told, “Go for it!” december 2009

I always encourage those around me to make plans, and to set goals. Not just the big ones, but even small ones. I begin each week with a list of items I want to accomplish that week, and I begin each day with a list of items I want to accomplish that day. And yes, it is an actual list on the many legal pads that crowd my brief case. I cross off items as I accomplish them and it makes me feel good at the end of the day when most of the items are done and I move the few that did not get done to the top of the next day’s list. Setting goals and making plans is paramount to any successful person. Goals ground you when you become distracted by the day to day obstacles and allow you to come back to the real reason you do whatever it is you do. I am reminded of the story of Florence Chadwick, the first woman to swim the English Channel and to swim from Catalina Island to California. Florence Chadwick had been swimming for almost sixteen hours. Her body was numb, the water was freezing. When she looked ahead, Florence Chadwick saw nothing but a solid wall of fog. Already she was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. Now, at age of 34, her goal was to become the first woman to swim from Catalina Island to the California coast. On that Fourth of July morning in 1952, the fog was so dense she could hardly see her support boats. Sharks swam toward her, only to be driven away by rifle shots. Swimming in the icy ocean, she struggled on - hour after hour - while millions watched on national television. Alongside Florence in one of the boats, her mother and her trainer offered encouragement. They told her it wasn’t much farther. But all she could see was fog. They urged her not to quit. She never had . . . until then. With www.

only a half mile to go, she asked to be pulled out. Still shivering several hours later, she told a reporter, “Look, I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen land I might have made it.” It was not fatigue or even the cold water that defeated her. It was the fog. She was unable to see her goal. Two months later, she tried again. This time, despite the same dense fog, she swam with her faith intact and her goal clearly pictured in her mind. She knew that somewhere behind that fog was land and this time she made it! Florence Chadwick became the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel, eclipsing the men’s record by two hours! My point in sharing this story is that if set goals, keep them in mind, and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER give up, you can achieve your dreams. Now that I convinced you on the importance of setting goals, how do you go about setting them? For those who have not yet experienced the joy of setting and achieving magnificent goals, here is a powerful set of principles. I call them The 4 Steps to Successful Goal-Setting:

1. Decide what you want. Decide if you would rather have money in the bank, or that new car. Choose the life you prefer! You can’t have everything in life; but you can have anything you choose, if you will focus, pay the price, and pursue it with all your heart.

2. Clarify your values. Too often, people choose goals that are inconsistent with their priorities and daily behaviors. Do you value health, or comfort? Is financial independence a priority, or merely a wish? In a clash between your values and your wishes, your values will win every time. Be certain your goals are consistent with your most important values.

3. Write them down! Have the courage to put your intentions on paper, in your own words. Be specific and describe your goals in detail. When will you achieve them? What will success look like? Write down the details and read your goals every day, even take a moment to summarize them every morning. Stay focused.

4. Take action! To run a marathon, you must jog every day. Building a business requires that you make sales, every day. A loving marriage or happy kids require your time, your attention and your love, every day. Your daily actions don’t have to be profound or heroic, but they must be consistent and persistent. Every day! Success does not “just happen”. It is built like a work of art. First, it is imagined, then the skills, tools and materials are gathered, and the artist sets about creating a thing of beauty. It takes time. It requires skill, determination, persistence and faith. Just as an artist will make preliminary sketches and work out the details in her mind, so your success requires written goals, careful choices, clear commitments and daily persistence. You can do this. Make something magnificent of your life!

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The Smart Way to Form a Plan and Reach Your Goals By Christina Robinson Grochett, University of Phoenix – Houston Vice President

With chaotic lifestyles that often juggle a career, family obligations and personal interests, working professionals often think they don’t have enough time in a day. As a result, many do not believe they have the time nor energy to go back to school and earn that advanced degree they have always dreamed about. Going back to school, however, is not the hard part. Individuals need to have a strong foundation of personal achievement that will provide them with confidence and courage to help them believe in themselves and accomplish their goals. Below are six tips to formulate a plan and achieve your goals as well as my own personal experience to achieve something I have always wanted – a master’s degree. As a champion for education, I help change thousands of lives each year. I was so busy helping others earn their advanced degrees, that I ignored my own desire to continue my education. When I realized that I wanted my master’s degree, I created a plan to earn it in two years and made the necessary changes in my life to reach this goal. Create a realistic plan. The first step in achieving a goal is sometimes the most difficult. To create a realist plan, you have to figure out what your ultimate goal is and specific details of how to get there. In particular, you need to answer the “what”, “why” and “how” with as much honesty as possible. Keeping the details simple and “do-able” will ensure more success to achieving favorable results. If you set complex goals, you set the stage for failure. With my busy schedule, I wasn’t going to be able to attend a traditional University and on-site classes throughout the week. I also didn’t want to give up my personal time on weekends. Knowing this, I enrolled in a master’s degree program at University of Phoenix and worked with a counselor to create realistic academic plan, which consisted of attending night classes one day a week. This plan was absolutely “doable” even with my hectic schedule.

real destination in your mind. This will help you stay on the right path ensure that your energy is being focused in the right direction and is concentrated on creating the most effective and appropriate result. I could visualize myself walking across the stage in my graduation cap and gown to receive my master’s degree while my family and friends cheered me on. I’ve wanted this for a long time, but it never seemed like the right time to go to school. This image kept me motivated and was always in the back of my mind. Commit to it. Once the plan is set and you can visualize it, it is time to put it in motion. Several simple ways to express your commitment is by making an appointment, writing down your goals and sharing your plan with loved ones. Writing it down or verbalizing your plan are powerful statements that becomes a conscious promise that you are going to go through with it. It is no longer a half-formulated idea in your mind but a concrete action plan with goals. In my case, committing to my goal was reaching out to the University and working with the specialized counselor on an academic plan. Once I saw that plan on paper, I knew my degree was not too far away. Take small steps. Creating the plan and committing to it is half the battle. To continue down the right path, all you have to do is take small steps moving forward. Rushing toward a goal can often lead to frustration and, ultimately, set you back from achieving your dream. As you get closer to your goal and see change occur, you gain more confidence and are most likely to continue your plan. I worked on my class assignments for a couple of hours each night before going to bed, so that it didn’t pile up on me. This small adjustment to my schedule helped me complete my homework assignments without problems. As a result, I never felt overwhelmed. Going back to school was a seamless transition.

team. Let your closest network of family, friends and co-workers know about your plans and ask for their encouragement to help you to your goals. As an added comfort, connect with a group of like minded individuals to enhance your goal achievement. Make plans to meet with them to discuss progress and issues and exchange honest feedback and support. Knowing that you have a team of people cheering for you will keep you headed toward the finish line. Not only did I tell my friends and family, but I also had a built in support network of friends in my learning team. University of Phoenix has a unique academic model that focuses on providing students with real-world interaction with other like-minded students. Working together in learning teams helps students accomplish goals and address common issues in today’s workplace while fostering cooperation and team-work skills. I was able to lean on my learning team for support – they were going through the same process I was and it was nice having someone understand how I felt. We shared positive feedback, helped each other with homework and motivated each other to keep going. Celebrate along the way. Every accomplishment is cause for celebration – no matter how big or small it is. This will keep you motivated and help you move on to the next milestone. When you reach the bigger goals, reward yourself for a job well done with a special treat. Though completing each assignment was an accomplishment, I rewardVisualize success. Create a network ed myself for each course I finished with Visualizing your success before Achieving goals is not a solitary things that I didn’t do every day such as starting out on your journey creates a process – you need to have a support a trip to the spa or indulging in my fadecember 2009


vorite chocolate.

My Goal I received my master’s degree in organizational management in 2003. Walking across the stage to receive my degree was an incredible feeling – it was even better than what I had imagined. Now that I reached my goal, I help others reach theirs because I know first-hand how amazing it feels to turn a dream into a reality.

Christina Robinson Grochett is the State Vice President/ Director of South Texas for University of Phoenix. An accomplished leader and champion of higher learning, she was selected as a 2009 Women of Influence by Houston Woman Magazine and a Top 10 business women by the American Business Women’s Association in 2008. Under her leadership, the Houston campuses were selected as a 2009 Best Place to Work by The Houston Business Journal and were awarded with the 2009 and 2008 Alfred P. Sloan Awards from the City of Houston for Workplace Flexibility and Innovation. 17.

EYE TO EYE With Dr. Romea-The Vision Dealer

Shoot for the Sky with the Eye Q Vision Plan!

“The sky is the limit.” Many of us have often echoed those words in encouragement to others aspiring for excellence. However, in order to achieve success in most career paths, we must have good vision. With the ongoing economic crisis and so many people losing their jobs and health insurance, many are cutting back on vision care and eyewear to their peril. The common phrase “I’m stretching out these contacts, it’s my last pair” is heard more often in eye doctor’s practices than ever before. The result is accumulative damage to the eyes and at times, serious immediate consequences such as eye infections and decreased vision. In an effort to assist those individuals without health insurance who might be feeling the economic pinch, Dr. Romea launched the Eye Q Vision Plan featuring affordable vision coverage and NO MONTHLY PREMIUM.

THE PLAN PLAN FACTS Carrie Name: Website: Member services:

EYE Q VISION PLAN 281-469-7610

Coverage Plan Deductible (Individual/Family) None Preventative Care • Routine Eye Exam 100% covered after $35.00 Co-pay Individual 100% covered after $100 Co-pay Family (4 max.) One Comprehensive Eye Exam per year and prescription for eyeglasses BASIC AND MAJOR SERVICES • Office Visits PATIENT PAYS 50% OF USUAL AND CUSTOMARY FEES (Red eye, disease management, dry eyes, minor eye trauma) • Contact Lens Fit/Exam PATIENT RECEIVES 50% DISCOUNT (Clear, colored, bifocal/multifocal contacts, and contact lens for astigmatism). Complementary contact lens cleaning solution • Spectacles/glasses $100 COVERED (for use towards Frames & Lenses) MAXIMUM BENEFITS • No lifetime maximum per member TIP OF THE MONTH: Ultra-violet (UV) radiation protection for the eyes is extremely important in the winter months when there is the mistaken notion that the decrease in temperature always equals a decrease in UV radiation. UV protection is available in some contact lens material and sunglasses. Your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) can be used at december 2009


your eye doctor’s office for all purchases including sunglasses. Remember your money in the flex spending account does not “roll over” to the New Year, so use it or loose it! Remember, “The sky is the limit,” so shoot for sky. If you miss the target and land on the clouds, you will still be on higher ground. 18.

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Safety Holiday Tips

stuff your feelings. • Show empathy and compassion. • Be grateful for all the wonderful differences, preferences and opinions that you will encounter this holiday. • Get plenty of sleep and squeeze in a few extra minutes to rest and relax. • Try letting go and see what happen. • Find opportunities throughout the day to bond and make a human connection. Change up the scenery. Treat yourself as you would treat others.

Dr. Olufunke Odetunde The holidays are officially here. And so the season for giving begins. The holiday season is a wonderful time to reflect on what you are grateful for and observe the true meaning of the world around you. Below are some tips for a stress free, healthy and safe holiday. Enjoy.

Take a Medical inventory.

Tips for a Healthy eating Holiday. • Don’t go to a party hungry: we often eat faster and more when we are hungry - therefore eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at the party. • Watch your portion, go for small portions. • Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items such as fried foods, creambased soup, cheese-filled casseroles, pies, processed meats such as salami and sausages, some pastries and baked goods. • Try different versions of egg nog: traditional egg nog is usually made with egg yolk and thick cream. Try low fat egg nog. • Try other versions of alcohol: instead of beer, cider, Bailey’s and Kahlua, try dry wine, Bloody Mary or spirits with diet mixer which have fewer calories. • Drink plenty of water: alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body. • Physical activity, take nice brisk walks with your loved ones and enjoy their company during the holiday season.

dren. Never display lighted candles in windows or near exits. Lit candles should not be used as tree decorations. Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. • Decorate only with flame-retardant or noncombustible materials. Avoid using candles during parties. If guests will be smoking, provide them with large, deep ashtrays and check them frequently. After the party, check inside and under upholstery and in trash cans for cigarette butts that may be smoldering. • Keep Christmas trees fresh. Choose a fresh Christmas tree and secure it in a sturdy stand. Place the tree away from heat sources and exits, and water it daily. If you purchase an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant. If you plan to hang stockings on your fireplace, do not use the fireplace for fires. Unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed. • Smoke alarms. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Re-

place all batteries at least once a year. • Designate a driver. When attending a party, always designate a nondrinking driver. If you are the host of a holiday gathering, be sure there are non-alcoholic beverages available for guests who are driving. • Buckle up. During the holiday months, people travel more than ever. Wearing a seat belt is the easiest and best way to prevent injury in a motor vehicle collision. Ensure that all passengers are also wearing safety belts. Finally, have you met your deductible for 2009? Do you have a balance in your flexible spending account? If you answer Yes • Visit your Doctor, Dentist, Pharmacy or any other Healthcare provider to complete your healthcare needs prior to December 31, 2009. Here is wishing you and your family a Healthy and Safe Holidays and a Blessed New Year 2010. HAPPY HOLIDAYS Olufunke Odetunde MD, FAAFP Board Certified Family Medicine 2626 South Loop West, Suite # 310 Houston, Texas 77054 (713) 796-9500- Phone

• Have you had your annual physicals? • Are your vaccinations and children’s immuni…zation current? • Have you had your Mammogram and Pap smear (women only), prostate screening (men only) and colonoscopy if applicable? • Do you have a medical emergency plan in place? • Do you have list of your current doctors with contact information? • Do you have enough of your current prescription medications on hand for the holiday? • Make sure the name of pharmacy and telephone numbers are easily available. • Make a list of your allergies in case of Holiday fire safety tips. emergencies. • Beware of holiday lighting. Take • Do you know how to ensure a safe care when burning candles. Be sure and stress free holiday? they are kept away from decorations or other combustible materials. Tips for a stress free holiday. Don’t leave children unattended in • Reflect on what an inspiration you a room with lit candles, and always are to others. keep candles, as well as matches and • Be honest with yourself and don’t lighters, out of the reach of childecember 2009



Easy Ways to Organize Your Workspace Whether you have a home office or just a small corner that serves as the family work station, keeping it organized is key to getting things done. These simple tips will help clear out the clutter and make the most of your space. Supplies and Demand. From paper clips to reams of paper, everything needs a place to go. Dumping it all into one drawer doesn’t really help you find things when you need them. • Prefab drawer organizers don’t always fit the drawer sizes you have, so make your own. Use small containers such as mini loaf pans, small plastic baskets or other small square or rectangle tins and boxes. They’ll hold paper clips, thumbtacks, stamps, sticky note pads and plenty of other small desk items. • For desktop storage, use jars, small vases or decorated cans to hold pens and pencils. They’re small and can add an interesting visual element to your work space.

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Cut Cord Clutter. There’s nothing like a tangle of electrical cords to make an area seem even more cluttered. Wireless Charging Station. To tame the cords needed to charge up electronic devices, go wireless instead. Powermat helps eliminate dead batteries, constant plugging/unplugging, loss of chargers and tangled wires. With real-time wireless charging for phones, games, music players and other popular electronic devices, Powermat allows users to charge multiple devices simultaneously, charging as fast as or faster than the device’s charger. It senses when the device is fully charged, and stops sending power so that it not only saves energy, but protects from overcharging. The Powermat system pairs an ultra-thin mat with a sleek receiver that attaches to each device, enabling users to simply drop and charge. Custom receivers are available for the iPhone, iPod, Nintendo DS and Blackberry devices. These and over one thousand


other devices may be charged using the convenient Powercube, a universal receiver that comes standard with every Powermat. Available in Portable or Home & Office versions, Powermat makes a great gift for any anyone looking to de-clutter their home or office. The Powermat’s suggested retail price is $99.99 for mats and $29.99 - $39.99 for receivers. Visit for more information. Go Vertical. Why spread out if you can spread up? Look for ways to take advantage of any vertical space you may have. • Even one wall shelf can add some much needed storage space.

• Put up a wall-mounted message center, or create one with a small bulletin board, a write-on board, and a wall file. • Stack equipment, but don’t cover up any venting. Use small chair-leg protectors as spacers in between to let air circulate and prevent overheating. It doesn’t take much – and it doesn’t have to cost much – to get your workspace organized. A few simple fixes and you’re on your way to a more productive day. Courtesy of Family Features


YOU can be YOUR own worst ENEMY!

By Dr. D. L. Jones, Contributing Writer The biggest room in your house for improvement is YOU! You can be a liability or you can be your greatest asset. Every day of your life should be geared toward making “YOU” your greatest asset! Regardless of your hopes and dreams, you have the greatest impact in making them come true. The bad news is... you have the potential of being your biggest obstacle. Your dreams are a reflection of who you are. They can grow as big as you want but, on the other hand, they will never grow

any bigger than you allow them to. They will only come to fruition once you get “YOU” out of the way. The Lord showed me one day that the biggest obstacle that stood between me and my dreams was me! Many of you fall in the same boat that I was stuck in and yet fight daily to remain out of. We don’t do it on purpose or get up in the morning and say, “how can I sabotage my success today?” It’s different for each of us and likely different from day to day. It could be that you are too busy to do the things you know you want to do and need to do. We are often afraid that we are not good enough, so we procrastinate or become overwhelmed. My biggest fear was fear of failure – what if it doesn’t work or I make a fool of myself? Allowing doubt to clutter your mind is yet another way to abort your dreams. Never allow “stuff ” and “distractions” to rent space in your mind. These are nonpaying tenants that make it difficult for you to maximize your potential and achieve your dreams. Mind clutter can cause you to lose ingenious ideas that when manifested could net millions of dollars and be a blessing to

First Impressions:

Putting Your Best Face Forward

First impressions are lasting impressions, whether they are good or bad. When you want to make a good first impression, you think about things such as the way you dress, how you speak, the car you drive, the company you keep, and you even making sure your breath december 2009

is fresh. While all of these are valuable attributes, it’s also important to consider one of the first things people see when they meet you, your face and your skin. If the old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” is true, it would behoove us all to put our best foot forward, or in this case, our best face forward when making a first impression. Whether it’s for business, a date, meeting the parents, a job interview, or just an encounter with a new acquaintance, first impressions have an impact on how others perceive you. Developing a good, consistent skin care regimen is vital to achieving and maintaining healthy, vibrant skin. Dr. Milton Moore, a renowned dermatologist and developer of the Moore Unique Skincare line, has a few tips that will ensure that, when it comes to your skin, the all-important “first impression” is guaranteed. www.

millions of people at the same time. Several years ago, I started a literary project that I thought would be a blessing to many pastors and youth leaders across the world. Each day I would plan to work on completing this project a little bit at a time. Parenthetically, each day I would become sidetracked by allowing distractions to steal the time allotted for this project. One hot summer morning as I was sitting on my sofa flipping through television channels I got a call from Keith Davis, Sr. - Mr. D-Mars himself: “Hey Doc, just called to see how things are going.” Less than two minutes into the conversation Mr. D-Mars asked me about my literary project only to hear that I hadn’t touched it in over three months. In a very stern yet loving voice he said to me, “Get your butt up right now, go to the bathroom, look at yourself in the mirror, talk to YOU and don’t leave that mirror until YOU get YOU to understand what YOU are going to do, without YOU making any excuses for YOU!” He hung up refusing to listen to any excuses that I thought were valid for not completing the literary project. The inability of seeing the roadFirst of all, if your skin is not clean it can’t be clear. Wash your face in the morning when you wake up, and again before bedtime. Use a nonirritating, antibacterial facial cleanser such as Moore Unique’s Clear Skin Acne Wash; it effectively exfoliates dead skin cells, cleans pores, reduces oil, and clears acne on the face and body leaving a smooth complexion without excess oil. Avoid extremely hot water and try not to wash your face more than twice a day. Hot water and over-cleansing can dry out the skin, causing it to produce more oil. Don’t forget the sunscreen. Even if the sun does not appear to be shinning, your skin is still susceptible to harmful UV rays. For the guys, when shaving your mustache or beard, be sure to soften the hair shaft by applying a warm towel to the area for 5-10 seconds. Use a sharp blade and shave in only one direction. To promote smooth, even toned skin, apply a cream such as Moore Unique’s Eventone Glycolic Texturizer, it will also help to prevent or eliminate razor rash and razor bumps. Moisturize! It’s important to keep

blocks of excuses you put in your mind makes it difficult to get “YOU” out of the way. Many times you can be so close to a situation that it is a challenge to see the forest through the trees. Take a step back and look at your dreams, business ventures and/or life goals more objectively. Ask yourself: Why am I not further in life than I am? Who’s really blocking my dreams from becoming a reality? Why do others see more in me than I see in myself? What is it in me that won’t allow me to move forward with confidence? Many times we can’t get out of our way because we see things through our own stories and can’t see promising possibilities. One way I found helpful is to take counsel with a trusted friend to help you to see “YOU” from a fresh perspective. You’ll be amazed at what you can see when you look at “YOU” from this new vantage point! You will find that when you change the way you look at things, everything changes! So get out of your own way and let your hopes and dreams reach the outer limits of the sky. Remember, YOU are your greatest asset. So, now that you’ve read this article, go to the mirror, tell YOU that YOU are not going to let YOU dictate what YOU can’t do, for it is YOU who determines what YOU will be according to the power that resides in YOU, for the only person that can stop YOU is YOU! the face moisturized to prevent skin from becoming dry and flaky. You should opt for a moisturizer that contains Shea butter, which can help reduce skin discolorations, improve skin tone and reduce the appearance of lines. Obtaining clear, healthy, youthful skin should only take a few minutes a day and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Small investments in time and the proper skin care products can help ensure the most flawless skin possible. Beautiful skin gives you the confidence to know that your first impression will be a great one.

Dr. Milton Moore, Moore Unique Dermatology 25.

Central Care Community Health Center

Tieasha James, Operations Manager

Marcus Roland, CEO CCCHC Continues to promote an unparalleled commitment to excellence in health care service delivery for our community. Despite current concerns about accessible and affordable health care in the United States, the Central Care Community Health Center continues meeting Sunnyside/South Park and Third Ward residents where they are. By increasing access to health care, the CCCHC reduces health disparities across socio-economic divisions, helping quality health care meet affordability. CCCHC works with residents and the surrounding community to improve the health and quality of life and to instill an attitude of preventive health care that starts at home. The Center’s leadership upholds the founding principle of unwavering commitment to meet the needs of the community. For more than 14 years, the CCCHC has served the community’s medically uninsured and underinsured. The Center has been at the forefront of the fast-growing movement to bring december 2009


high-quality, affordable, culturally-competent health care services to persons in the communities it serves. The CCCHC plan is to continue providing primary health care and referrals for a variety of many of social services to the residents of our current service areas. CCCHC efforts will also focus on enhancing marketing and advertising to increase the number of clients, expanding facilities to accommodate growth, and developing satellite sites in the community. CCCHC has played a significant role in the local area so far and has no plans to stop or slow down. With the continued support of business and community leaders, CCCHC will have the ability to open the doors to even more health services in the community including specialized services like podiatry and behavioral healthcare. Look around you. The Sunnyside/ South Park and Third Ward areas have been making evident changes to improve economic vitality and to attract additional reinvestment to the neighborhood. CCCHC is proud to be part of that growth and progress. By providing the venue and resources for quality health care and education, CCCHC empowers the community to improve its collective health, mind, and spirit. The best health care available is preventative. Using outreach efforts, CCCHC helps educate residents on preventive steps they can take to avoid or reduce illnesses and injuries. Thanks largely to business partners and community leaders like you, CCCHC will continue to promote an unparalleled commitment to excellence in health care service delivery for our community. The Center will continue as part of the solution today, building toward accessible and affordable health care for our underserved. Main Clinic 8610 MLK, Jr. Blvd. Houston, TX 77033 (713) 734-0199 phone or (713) 734-4580 Riverside Clinic 3315 Delano Street Houston, Texas 77004 (713) 831-9663 phone 26.

Here’s to financial stability in the new year By Victor Walker, Contributing Writer

modified payment plan with reduced interest rates. Call your card company to explore your options. Spend less and save more. One good thing to come out of the “Great Recession” is Americans’ renewed emphasis on careful spending. Choosing economy over extravagance is fashionable again. Try cutting back on non-essentials—lunches out, newsstand papers and magazines, fancy coffee drinks, and so on. You’ll be amazed how these small expenses can add up to It may take a while for the dust significant savings over time. to settle, but ever-tumultuous 2009 is Transact in cash. coming to a close. Signs of economic If paying by plastic is a catalyst for recovery—most pointedly, the 3.5% overspending and burdensome debt, GDP growth in the third quarter of the put the cards away. Instead, pay by year—have started to emerge. And so, cash, check or debit card. Debit cards too, has a sense of cautious optimism. differ from credit cards because your If you, like many, are eager to move past purchase is paid immediately from the economic trauma of the last few available funds rather than by borrowyears, the dawn of 2010 may be the right ing. Many debit cards will not allow you opportunity to assess your financial situ- to make purchases that exceed the availation and determine a saving and invest- able funds in your checking account; ment strategy for the years ahead. however, some will. If you’re prone to overdrawing, talk to your bank about Reduce debt. If you have relied too heavily on enrolling in overdraft protection. Make credit to get by in the past, it’s time to sure you understand the associated costs get out from under your debt burden. before you sign up. Make timely payments to avoid late fees and pay down your credit card balances as aggressively as you can. If you are in over your head, you may qualify for a

percentage of your paychecks into savings. Your financial institution can also help you roll money into your savings account, IRA, money market account or other savings and investment plans without any effort on your part. Monitor your statements to make sure your money is diverted where you want it to go and pat yourself on the back for investing in your future. Diversify. None of us has the ability to predict the inevitable ups and downs of the stock market. That’s why it’s important to diversify your investments – it’s the best way to reduce your risk while preserving the opportunity to benefit when things are moving in the right direction. Choose from mutual funds, stocks, bonds, annuities and other investment vehicles that serve different financial objectives.

Re-evaluate and adjust on a regular basis. Save and invest automatically. Don’t just sock away money and Take the pain out of saving by making it happen automatically. Use direct forget about it. Every six months, look deposit to divert a specified amount or at the rates of return earned on your sav-

“The Sky is the Limit w/ Wisdom” By Noel Pinnock, B.S., M.P.A., C.A., CCC Contributing Writer Mike Fitzhugh writes in the Our Daily Bread publication, “When you’re in need of wisdom, be careful to whom you go; make certain they are godly.” The book of Proverbs advocates that we obtain advice from the wise (1:2-7). Wisdom in the Bible is the “skill for learning.” How would you define wisdom? Wisdom is defined in the Webster’s Dictionary as learning or erudition. Erudition is defined as deep, extensive learning. The word that is common in both renderings is learning. Learning is the foundation by which wisdom is built. Wisdom enables you to more forensically evaluate situations, strategically develop action plans to address these situations, and decisively take the most prudent course of action. december 2009

When I attended Sunny Side Elementary (Houston, Texas) each morning, I recited the Pledge of Allegiance and a modified rendition of the poem, I am Somebody, Reverend Jesse Jackson once delivered on the set of Sesame Street in 1971: I am somebody…I am somebody I may be poor but I am somebody I may be young but I am somebody I may be on welfare but I am somebody I may be small but I am somebody I may make mistakes but I am somebody My clothes are different, my face is different, my hair is different www.

But I am somebody I am black, brown, white, and I speak in different languages but I must be respected, protected, never rejected. I am God’s child; therefore, I am somebody and the sky is the limit Like Fitzhugh, I learned at a very young age that I was somebody, and that I was God’s child and nothing is impossible when God is the captain of the ship. I learned that the acquisition of knowledge would illuminate the darkest paths in my life and provide the needed light to navigate through it. I learned that there is no obstacle that is too large or complex to overcome. I learned that despite my socio-economical challenges

ings and investments, consider risk, and rebalance to align with your goals. Get professional advice. It can be difficult to make smart decisions about your money. Family and emotional history can trigger unwise choices. Consult a professional financial advisor to review your financial situation. Assess your earnings, savings and spending and take a fresh look at ways to maximize your assets. With the benefit of professional expertise and financial modeling software, an advisor can help you take the guesswork out of asset allocation and diversification so you can achieve your financial goals. Your focus in the new year should be on what you can do today and tomorrow to improve your situation. As you assess your personal balance sheet, commit yourself to fiscal awareness and responsibility. Taking action now will position you for a better and more stable financial future.

that I could be competitive and exceed expectations. Finally, I learned that if I believed, I could achieve, and help others do the same. Invariably, we will encounter the valleys in life that push us to think harder, do more, and become more but it is in the fundamental belief that we exist to persevere and to be of good courage that propel us to unfathomable heights. The sky is the limit when you know that our opportunities for advancement are limitless when you know who you are because you are somebody and more importantly, you are a child of the most high!

Let us Promote your Business, Your Event, or You! Advertise today in D-MARS Business Journal


Commit to your Goals By Aurelia Williams, Contributing Writer

If you write your goals and just hope to magically achieve them without committing yourself to it then you are just like most people. It is common for a majority of people to get stuck in an endless cycle of goal setting and giving up right away - and not accomplishing any goals at all. Commitment plays a large part in getting goals achieved. If you do not commit to achieving your goals, then your goals will seem unimportant and since it is not important, you will just be tempted to quit before you even get started. However, show some commitment to your goals and set daily reminders to yourself about these goals and you will be encouraged to achieve them. It is not that hard to commit to your goals as long as you set your mind

fort that you will go through to achieve the goal. If you believe that the benefits 1) Make sure the goals you set are im- outweigh the sacrifices, then, go for it portant to you. This is tricky as it is work on achieving your goal. easy to fool yourself into thinking that you want one particular thing when in 4) Make sure to consider the “what if ’s”. reality you want something else. Take Think about the consequences if you your time in figuring out what it is that do not continue on with achieving your your heart wants to achieve. Know your goal. If the consequences are not all that reason behind a specific goal. How will grave, then perhaps you need to reconachieving the goal benefit you? How will sider your goals. Make your goals top you feel after accomplishing your goal? priority wherein if you don’t work on 2) It is best to write it down in a journal achieving them, you’ll be faced with an and keep it close by so that you can easily unfavorable consequence. Be creative. go back and read it as often as you need You can promise to give something up to. Writing it and reading your goals and if you do not achieve your goal. This reasons behind them over and over again way, you will try your best to ensure that will help you commit to the goal. your goal gets accomplished. to it. Here are some doable steps:

tivation is high, it is so easy to be committed. However, you need to stay committed until your goal is achieved. Make a conscious effort to remember your goal and its importance to you each day when you wake up. That is why it helps to write your goals down in a journal so you can read it over and over and remember its importance. Make a vow to work on your goal each day until it is achieved. Being a mom is extremely rewarding, but it’s challenging. Get the help you need at Real Life Guidance. It’s your place for instant downloadable help for moms, day or night. http://

Let us Promote your Business, Your Event, or You! Advertise today in D-MARS Business Journal

3) Don’t forget to ask yourself if the 5) Renew your commitment each day. benefits you will get outweigh any ef- When your goal is new and your mo-

Diligence ensures success, when others consider quitting. By Richard T. Gorham, Contributing Writer Diligence – Do It to A Finish. To be a successful person is to remain diligent in everything you do regardless of whether it is for the benefit of someone else or yourself. The works of Dr. Orison Marden, who is known for many books he wrote over 100 years ago are the basis for this theory. Dr. Marden tells us how to make our life more successful and achieve the things we want while being the best person we can be. Not only were his books relevant for the time in which he lived, but all these years later, they are still some of the best books you will ever read. The way in which Dr. Marden lived his own life is proof that his theories do work. One of the things you will learn from these books is when you do something right, your inner being tells you how well you have done. The opposite is true when you do something wrong. Instead of feeling pride you feel unhappy and your conscience kicks in. Even if you think you do not, the underlying feeling is still there. When you remain diligent, you will reap the benefits of your work. When you finish a job and know you have done your best, do you have a good feeling? If so, this is proof that this is working. In order to be happy, you must put your best foot forward and do things in the best way you possibly can. december 2009

Many people think that money will make them happy. While it may provide a lot of the comforts that you would like to have, it does not bring happiness. Happiness is felt because you have done a good job and are accomplishing the things you want to in your life, and when you are at peace with the decisions you have made. When you are following your calling the natural law of things is not broken and you feel great. When you break the natural law the consequences will be always be felt. You may believe you can avoid the feelings of regret or quilt after doing that which you know is wrong, but nevertheless it will affect your life. You will feel out of sorts, unhappy, and unsatisfied. Are you ready to try this series of audiobooks to better your life? If you want to be happier and get your life on track, this is certainly worth a try. Remain diligent and follow the steps outlined in the audiobook, which is full of practical advice. The strategies you use now will make such a difference in your life that you will learn to think in the positive rather than the negative. If you are the type of person who needs something to motivate them to remain diligent, this set of audiobooks can be the answer to your problems. www.


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Newest Business Opportunity in Healthcare…

Winalite International is a hightech enterprise of female healthcare sanitary products that has combined the functions of research and development, production and marketing. The company has established a standard production plant with a floor area of 100,000 square meters. With a quality management system that complies with the ISO9001:2000 standard, its production base has more than 60 sets of

fully automated sanitary napkin and raw material manufacturing machines of international standard, producing more than 3 billion pieces of sanitary napkin annually to rank as one of the top producers in the sector in China and worldwide. Experienced experts and scholars of Winalite International, through about ten years of hard work, had obtained major breakthroughs in the research on the application and development of anionic materials. With high innovativeness, they had utilized anionic materials in the production of female sanitary products and this creation has been granted two national patents in China. Winalite has positioned itself in the fields of ‘healthcare technology, electronic commerce, interpersonal marketing, global enterprise’ and has created a miracle in the production and marketing of sanitary napkin industry in China, leading to the so-called ‘Winalite Effect’. Its ‘Winalite Model’ has also been emulated by many enterprises to create quite a phenomenon in the corporate

Pleshette J. Wiggins & John Wiggins, III

Power 2 Ignite is an independent company helping to educate and inform individuals in the community, with the knowledge of how to create a supplemental and residual income. We are part of one of the most successful teams in the energy deregulation industry. Where else can one start a homebased business with as little as a few hundred dollars, and create an opportunity to make hundreds and tens of thousands of dollars per month on an ongoing basis? The secret to the success of our business is relationship marketing. This is possibly one of the most dynamic entrepreneurial opportunities available in today’s economy. This is a recession proof business that is willable, sellable and transferable.

Power 2 Ignite

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sector in China, and has laid a strong foundation for the company’s venture into the overseas market. At present, the company has marketed its products to more than 50 countries and regions including Southeast Asia, South America, Europe etc and established registered branch companies in such countries and regions as Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand etc.


Growth and Global Expansion Currently, Winalite International has more than 400 employees, including an experienced management team from previous Fortune 500 companies. Winalite has set up branches in many countries and regions, includHablamos Español ing United States, Peru, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan. On Jan 15, 2008, Hong Kong Winalite Group was successfully added to the NASDAQ Stock Exchange (HKWO). The success of the company thus far provides a solid foundation for the global future of Winalite International. DON’T MISS OUT ON A REWARDING BUSINESS

In this company, there are various ways to get paid – Immediate Bonuses, Leadership Bonuses and Residual Income. Residual Income is about working smarter and not harder. It is a completely different way of looking at wealth and earning money. Residual Income will allow one to earn recurring income month after month, and year after year. Residual Income is money that continues to come in regularly -like clockwork. Once the initial work has begun, one continues to be paid from their work and the work from others. Residual Income is one of the best kept secrets today, and it’s available to anyone who wants to get it. Our specialty is relationship marketing: teaching others, just like you and me, how to make money & save money

on their electric bills. For many people, they have no idea how to promote a relationship marketing business, nor more generally, any idea how to be successful in relationship marketing. Fortunately, with our support team, one doesn’t have to know anything to get started. We provide coaching and support, as well as referral to resources, to help you further your education and your business. The secret to this business is by leveraging one’s time, one’s money, one’s efforts and teaching others to do the same. If one follows this ideology, he or she will develop Residual Income, money that comes in month after month, without any additional effort on one’s part. Join today and start igniting your income!!


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Tips to Find Great Deals Online Bar .gain [bahr-guh n] – noun: an advantageous purchase, a great deal, especially one acquired at less than the usual cost. These days, people are getting more creative with how they spend. When it comes to shopping, many are turning to the Internet for great deals on seasonal items, trendy fashions and the latest in tech gear. And for the businessperson looking for that “perfect look” might find what they need online. One popular shopping resource is eBay. With more than 88 million worldwide users each month, it has long been known as a place to find deals on new and used items. Three eBay insiders — Constance White, style director, Cat Schwartz, gadget and toy director and Karen

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Bard, pop culture expert — have some tips to help deal-hunters in their quest for the hottest items and the best bargains this year.

old is new again. The 80s are back! Look for nostalgic, vintage and preloved pop culture classics — from retro clothing to vintage Madonna albums.”

What to Shop For Savvy shoppers should look for deals in these trend areas this year: Family Staycation. Cat Schwartz: “This year, more families are trading the family vacation for a staycation. Look for the latest toys and gadgets at a great value to make this year’s backyard vacation more fun than ever.” Bring Sexy Back. Constance White: “Shop by look rather than by designer label and then choose the brand with the best price. Keep an eye out for those body-hugging dresses and bold Ikat prints!” What’s Hot. Karen Bard: “What’s


Rules of Savvy Searching

ucts, as well. Buying these goods eliminates waste going to landfills and scores you a great deal on a unique find.” Bidding and buying strategies also play a key role in how much you’ll pay and how soon you’ll get the item. The basic strategies are: Daily Deals. Follow eBay’s Daily Deals, hot items at steep discounts. Visit to sign up for the Daily Deals e-mail, and information about the freshest deals will be delivered directly to your inbox every day. Buy It Now. Buy the item at a fixed price, and forgo the auction process. “Buy It Now is an easy way to make a quick purchase without bidding,” says Schwartz. “Use this option to purchase the item at a guaranteed low price.”

To make sure you find exactly what you’re looking for keep these insider search tips in mind. “The key is in the keyword search,” says White. “To find the best deals, be specific with your search terms. Instead of searching for shoes in general, try searching by designer, LET US PROMOTE style, trend or even intentionYOUR BUSINESS, YOUR EVENT, OR YOU! ally misspell the brand name to unearth hidden gems.” 713.272.9511 Schwartz advises, “Consider searching pre-owned, re-furbished or used prod-


Houston’s Link to Wealth and Success

Craig A. Garrett


fter careful thought and a great deal of due diligence, Craig Garrett, a successful entrepreneur, decided to take a serious look at 5LINX®. Garrett learned that 5LINX® has experienced over 800 percent growth in the past

three consecutive years. Garrett was simply astonished when taking into consideration this country’s high unemployment rate. Once Garrett completed his research of 5LINX®, he discovered 5LINX® is one of the fastest growing privately held telecommunications companies in North America, which has been documented by Inc 500 magazine since 2006 through 2009. 5LINX® is also an international company. Not only does 5LINX® have corporate headquarters in New York, but it has corporate facilities in Sweden and London. The company

has plans to open an additional corporate office in Korea in early 2010. Garrett understands the country is in the midst of a deeply entrenched recession, so he decided that for him, it is no longer viable to have one stream of income. 5LINX® is giving Garrett the time back he lost while building his successful hardwood flooring business as well as gaining financial independence. As the Holidays approach, many of us will be looking for new opportunities and ways to earn extra money. If you consider yourself an open minded

and a hard working individual, then 5LINX® could be an opportunity of a lifetime. 5LINX® is looking for individuals who desire to establish their own home-based business in the telecommunications industry that happens to be experiencing unprecedented growth during a time when the country is in the middle of a recession. Don’t miss out on your opportunity. Remember 5LINX® Houston’s Link to Wealth and Success! Come learn about an incredible new business opportunity from the Houston expansion leadership professionals! Thursday, December 10th, 2009. Registration at 7 pm; Event begins at 7:30 pm. Holiday Inn Houston Loop (behind Reliant Stadium), 8111 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX 77054. ALL GUESTS ARE FREE. RSVP at 713.942.0387! Seating is limited.

Points to Successful

Partnerships By Cornelia E. Jammer, Contributing Writer


ave you ever been driving down the road on your way to work and began to think about all the friends that you have made in your lifetime? It is always amazing to me how songs seem to relate to real life. There was a song that came out in the late ‘80’s and the words to the song were simple but true, “Friends, how many of us have them? Friends, ones we can depend on.” It is always refreshing to know that the lessons we learn in our relationships can also be applied in different areas of our life - whether it is business, personal, spiritual etc. It is very important to create long-lasting relationships as a business owner. Friendships, partnerships and relationships are crucial to the longevity of any successful organization, business or even religious institution. It is a proven fact that two heads are better than one. Oftentimes, we as business owners prove to be unsuccessful in our pursuit to form adequate people to partner with. In forming a partnership there are a few points that I would like to share with you that december 2009

have helped me to be a successful business owner:

Point 1:

that you had as well as making the oth- and its CEO have been formulating Master your Craft: As a business own- er partner feel good about the relation- a partnership with Lutheran Disaster er you must take your product or ser- ship that they have built. Social Service Agency (LDSS). LDSS vice to the highest level of mastery; it is a unique entity and the partnership is your job to be efficient, effective and Point 4: with G.R.A.C.E is relevant and crucial serve as the expert in that field. Learn Be Significant Not Just Successful: Pro- to providing assistance for families that all you can, build a mentoring relation- vide a unique reason and purpose for have been affected by Hurricane Ike. ship with a strong person specializing partnering with your agency or comRuama Camp and G.R.A.C.E pany. Be consistent in your pursuit for Community Services are true testiin your field of business or interest. partnership; choose wisely. monies of what it means to have sigPoint 2: nificant partnerships, relationships and Identify Potential Partners: Choose There is an art to building partner- friendships. As the CEO of G.R.A.C.E. who you want to work with and find ships and relationships! One must be Community Services, Rauma works companies and business owners who are consistent and diligent in their pursuit. diligently at leaving lasting impressions strong and possess like qualities. You G.R.A.C.E Community Services and bridging gaps between faith-based must also identify organizations that has a unique calling to serve as advo- disaster initiatives and governmental compliment what you teach or hold cates for persons affected by disaster. agencies. similar characteristics and qualities. Over the past few months, G.R.A.C.E

Point 3: Create a “Win-Win” situation for both you and your partner. Do not go to the table with the expectation of taking from the potential partnership without giving anything. You must leave the table feeling good about the dialogue www.

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I t ’s j u s t t h a t s i m p l e ! 713.272.9511 37.

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39. Business Journal 36 Business Journal 36