C L Magazine Special Edition 2016 volume 2 issue 4

Page 1

Volume 2

The Howse/Bottoms Family (pictured) Part I and the Putnam/Walkerly Family Part II

Two Blended Families Share Their Strategies and Secrets for Making it Work Hear from the Parents and Their Children! By Sharon O. Williams

Also Inside This Issue:

A Winter Comfort Food Recipe • 5 Frequently Missed Tax Deductions by Rosalyn Cooper • “A New Mind, A New Me” by Courtney Hauser • Tips on How to be Your Own Medical Advocate from Sharona Hoffman •




COMMUNITIES. At Dominion East Ohio, going the distance for our customers means more than just delivering safe, affordable natural gas. It means being a positive force in the communities we serve. Our EnergyShareÂŽ program has raised $6.8 million and helped more than 70,000 people in Ohio alone. These resources, combined with more than 6,300 volunteer hours from our employees, have benefited organizations as diverse as the American Red Cross, the Boy Scouts of America and the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition.

contents features COVER STORY

28 The Magic of Blended Families that Work!

Enjoy an in-depth interview with two blended families as they invite C L into their homes sharing personal stories and tips on how they make it work! Cover photo by Rodney L. Brown


From Advocate to CEO The Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center’s Mission: To create awareness and end the cycle of injustice!


You’re Not Alone: Learn How Hospice Care Can Help This Caring community provides support services to grieving families.


Executive Profile: Linda Logan, CEO of Native American Pathways A woman who has dedicated her life to fighting for tribal rights and protection of Native-American children.

career & business 22

Effective Business Branding Tools for 2017! Wise words of advice from a marketing expert

33 15 GROUNDBREAKING Social Media Tips for

Small Business Owners Easy tips for expanding your netWORK and ultimately your netWORTH!

20 Are You Short-Changing Your Business with a Faulty Marketing Plan? Learn about the most important components of a good marketing plan!

50 5 Commonly Missed Tax Deductions Could your tax professional be omitting important allowable deductions that could increase your refund? continued on page 6 SPECIAL ISSUE 2016


CL Magazine Team Publisher and Chief Editorial Officer Alexandria Johnson Boone Editor and Chief Researcher Simone E. Swanson Director, Production & Distribution Michelle E. Urquhart

Publisher’s Letter

Tips and Advice for Making Positive Change in Your Life, Career and Business!

Creative Director Jennifer Coiley Dial

Dear Readers,

Business Manager Paula T. Newman

The new year is upon us and we’re all thinking about changing our old habits, making new year’s resolutions and being more focused & organized in 2017.

Assistant to the Publisher Bernadette K. Mayfield Photographer & Photography Editor Rodney L. Brown Database and Information Coordinator Cheretta Moore For advertising information please contact us at: advertising@CL-Magazine.com Subscribe online: www.CL-Magazine.com

/CareerLifestyleMagazine @CLMagz C L Magazine is published digitally on a quarterly basis by the Women of Color Foundation (WOCF), a 501 (c) (3), tax-exempt organization, for the benefit of women of and girls of all colors. Our offices are located at 50 Public Square, Tower City Center, Suite 832, Cleveland, Ohio 44113. Toll Free Phone number: 866.962-3411 (866.WOCF.411). Copyright © 2014-2016. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be distributed electronically, reproduced or duplicated in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher. Subscription price is $16 per year. Readers and advertisers may subscribe at: www.womenofcolorfoundation.com/clmagazine Magazine Production: GAP Communications Group


Well, it just so happens that our 2016 Special Edition issue is packed with tips and advice in several important areas. Some of the most critical one are listed below: • • • • • • • • • • •

Five commonly missed tax deductions Effective branding for your business The joys of “blended” families Making timely decisions to involve Hospice when caring for elderly parents or siblings Managing your money and credit Taking charge of your own health and wellness “Super” social media tips for small businesses Dealing with your skin during winter months Embracing and protecting your joys in life Advocacy against domestic violence A millennial paying it forward in her community

So, please read the articles, develop a personal plan, take some action, and enjoy the results, no matter how small. Even baby steps show progress! In the spirit of the greatness in us all,

Alexandria Johnson Boone Publisher and Chief Editorial Officer C L Magazine

Editor’s LETTER Dear C L Magazine Family, Friends and Supporters, As I write this letter, I am sitting at dinner at a table reserved for one, near a cozy window on a brisk winter evening. Many of us are winding down our shopping and preparing for the holiday season. At the end of every year, I make an honest effort to incorporate reflection into my schedule. This year has been a year of growth for C L Magazine. We celebrated success and pushed through challenges. From interviewing Soledad O’Brien and learning about her new partnership with the Women of Color Foundation, to featuring stories written by women and men from all over the world. In addition, we had multiple opportunities to take our digital publication on the road by attending conferences where we spoke to large audiences about our publication. On election night, our publisher Alexandria Johnson Boone (“Alex”) and I, were privileged to appear on the local NBC network affiliate, WKYC-TV3, with a panel of women where we shared our thoughts on campaign issues and the presidential candidates. Every year we celebrate success, but there are also challenges. This year we were saddened after the loss of Alex’s father. During that same time, we were faced with making critical adjustments to our production team. Witnessing Alex mourn somehow brought us closer together as a team. Through the strength of the team and Alex’s unyielding passion for supporting women and girls of all colors (even during the hardest time of her life), we pushed through and produced four outstanding digital issues this year.

This last issue of 2016, the “Special Edition issue,” is dedicated to all of you! Many of you shared your feedback about your favorite topics including business development, spiritual encouragement, book club suggestions and the executive profiles, all of which you will find in this issue as well. Our cover story highlights two beautiful blended families and their strategies for “making it work.” On behalf of the C L team, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who has subscribed to this publication, encouraged a friend to subscribe or shared our information on your personal social media platforms and within your personal networks. To our amazing contributing writers and columnists... we literally could not have produced this publication without you. We are so grateful for your time, wisdom, support and willingness to share your knowledge and expertise. It has been a blessing to be a part of such a wonderful project and team. I look forward to our growth in 2017, our third year of publication. Cheers to a prosperous, healthy and joyous New Year to you and your family!


contents lifestyle 25

How to be Your Own Medical Advocate One simple question during a routine doctor’s appointment saved my husband’s life!


7 Steps to Embracing, Keeping and Protecting Your Joy There’s hope! Maintaining joy 365 days a year


Paying It Forward: A New York Millennial, Activist, Producer and Entrepreneur Shares Her Personal Story A woman only in her twenties has already volunteered more than people twice her age...find out how and why!

32 Money is Power, Credit is Powerful: Get Focused and

Take Charge! Do your shopping habits and/or credit card abuse leave you broke? There’s help inside...

arts & culture 37 A Winter Comfort Food Recipe You’ve got winter blues and we’ve got great winter recipes!


Winter Book List New suggestions that we guarantee your book club hasn’t read!

38 Notice Me – An Original Poem Written through the lens of a young woman who grew up in foster care

also in this issue... 10

Finding Your Light, and Letting it Shine by Imani Denmark Tibbs

39 A New Mind, A New Me: Moving From Victim to Survivor by Courtney Hauser



Relieving Dry Skin During Winter Months Angela Kyei, MD, MPH shares some important tips for protecting your skin against the elements!

Good neighbors. Great Lake. Greater future. The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Good Neighbor Ambassador Program offers career opportunities and professional development in communities affected by major construction projects. The result is better relationships and a brighter future for the region.

@neorsd • neorsd.org/neighbor

Cozy Up

with C L Magazine’s

Winter Booklist Suggestions Just Do Your Dream! Explains the three Fs that usually stop many people from doing most things; fear, family and finances. There are four Fs that can move people forward; faith, focus, fortitude and forgiveness.

Aging with a Plan offers a concise, comprehensive resource for middle-aged readers who are facing the prospects of their own aging and of caring for elderly relatives — an often overwhelming task for which little in life prepares us.

Leading stepfamily expert Ron Deal offers a revised and expanded edition of his signature resource, The Smart Stepfamily, which addresses key concerns and practical issues facing every stepfamily.


The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl Being an introvert in a world that glorifies cool isn’t easy. This debut collection of essays written in her witty and self-deprecating voice, Rae covers everything from cyber sexing in the early days of the Internet to deflecting unsolicited comments on weight gain. Tribal Writes: The Correspondence Guide for Native Americans Hardcore punk was an underground tribal movement created with anger and passion but ultimately destroyed by infighting and dissonance. This oral history includes photographs, discographies, and a complete national perspective on the genre.

My Commitment.

My Community. About Us The MyCom network is a public-private partnership created by The Cleveland Foundation and Cuyahoga County in collaboration with more than 750 national and local individuals and organizations across Greater Cleveland. With a “youth first� philosophy for community development, we are a network that supports afterschool programs, youth employment, leadership and other opportunities proven to prepare students for success from kindergarten through high school graduation.

more than 23,000 youth (kindergarten to high school) have experienced afterschool programs, summer jobs, and leadership training

MyCom is the go-to resource for quality youth programs and neighborhood involvement

Get Involved we can use your talents! for more information contact

youth development is community development


Kasey T. Morgan Director, MyCom 5246 Broadway Ave. Cleveland, OH 44127 216-812-8700 kmorgan@mycom.net


Finding your

“You don’t look happy.”


and letting it



Walking down a hill in Washington, D.C. an old woman grabbed me by the arm, stared coldly in my face, and uttered these unshakeable words. “Of all people, you should be happy,” she continued. Moments later, she scuttled up the hill and left me speechless in a bustling crowd of shoppers. Naturally, I began to replay the moment in my head looking for some clue or indication of truth. I had never met the woman before, and to this day, I’ve never seen her again. I was in Georgetown buying a pair of shorts and though I wasn’t clad in my finest outfit, I couldn’t understand how this old woman could so audaciously call me unhappy.

Disheveled? Perhaps. I could even wrap my mind around unkempt. But unhappy? How could she possibly know that? In the hours to come, after first releasing my pride, I began to understand just how the old woman could see what I could not.

list so I could regain the space I needed to love myself back to life (more on the power of the block list later).

The first thing to change was my outer appearance. I dyed my hair back to my favorite color and pulled out all of my favorite clothes and shoes I was in a new relationship from the back of my closet. that was heading nowhere I was beginning to look like fast. My boyfriend, who held my old self and I knew, ina position of prominence, ternally, my soul thanked me had concocted all of these for it. ideas about how his girlfriend should behave. He I also started journaling had an opinion about every- again and writing my wildest thing from the color of my dreams out in technicolor. I hair to my sartorial choices. spared no detail about the He had an opinion on the life of love I hoped to lead girls I hung out with and the and got very clear about kinds of parties I went to. my boundaries. Adopting In one infamous display of the mantra “Where there’s power, he text me at church smoke, there’s a fire,” I vowed to tell me my leather pants to avoid possessive and conwere inappropriate and that trolling relationships forevhe’d be unable to sit next to ermore. I believed that true me because of them. love should free you to be the best version of yourself If you thought I told him and that true love needed to where to put all of his opin- begin within. ions, you’re wrong. I was in love and I believed that peo- Reading anything and evple in love changed for the erything on self-love and people they loved. When the celebration, The Alchemist old woman stopped me that by Paulo Cohelo and The day I was a shadow of the vi- Mastery of Love by Don Ruiz brant, free-spirited girl I had sat on my bedside table for once been. I was a figment of anecdotal guidance on how his imagination, not my own. to navigate the twists and Immediately, I called things turns of life. I sat at the feet off and put him on the block of the masters – Maya Ange-

lou, Oprah, and Beyoncé – gleaning as much wisdom as I could about their journeys to self-love, acceptance, and mastery. That summer, I packed two huge bags and boarded a plane to Paris, France where I undoubtedly fell in love with the city of lights and with myself. I took in everything Paris had to offer and traveled all over the European Union with friends. I was doing what I wanted to do and living in the manifestation of a dream I had detailed months prior. I was living in what scholars call my authentic truth and I loved every minute of it. I can imagine that if the old woman saw me today she wouldn’t recognize me. The passing of time has brought me closer to my greatest vision of myself. Sometimes it takes a couple of moves in the dark to find the light; to find your light. These moments are life’s greatest teachers because it is within them that we find ourselves. The faintest glimmer of self has the power to dispel years of darkness and so we must vow to always let that little light guide us home.

Imani Denmark Tibbs CEO of RCKT Media, Founder + Creative Director of This is Lighting Instagram: @imanidenmarktibbs SPECIAL ISSUE 2016 | 11


S. RENEE SMITH Nationally Recognized Self-Esteem & Branding Expert, Coach, Speaker & Author

S. Renee is a leading authority on self-esteem and personal branding. She has worked with over 100 organizations and 98 percent are repeat clients. • • • •

Speaking Training Consulting Workshops

Jack Canneld,

H. Scott Connell, Resident Director Merrill Lynch

Chicken Soup for the Soul Co-originator and Author

“S. Renee is Awesome! Our office is more organized, productive and efficient. We are achieving goals, increasing our conndence in each other, and our internal infrastructure is stronger. Within one week, we could see signiicant changes in attitudes and relationships. Instead of nding fault, we communicate and focus on nding solutions. “

“Everyone has the capacity to be that unique thing that they are. S. Renee knows how to help people unbottle their own genie inside.”

As seen on:




from advocate to


Injustice makes me angry, draws me in, and motivates me to action. I grew up in the NY/ NJ metropolitan area and travelled into the city with my family from time to time. I remember walking down the street when I was about 9 years old asking my mom why men were sleeping outside on the heating grates. My mom told me they don’t have a home. I thought to myself at this young age, “Well that’s not right. Let’s give them one.” And I have been thinking about and acting upon solutions to public health issues ever since. I joined a domestic “peace-corps” type program that placed me and other volunteers in Cleveland and had me living and working in the inner city receiving a small stipend in which to live. In other words, they wanted us to live in poverty so we could experience some of the challenges that face those who are poor. This changed my life. I went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Cleveland State University and a Masters in Social Science Administration from CWRU so I could delve more deeply into the social issues that plague our society.

CEO I began working at a homeless shelter, and while doing so, realized how many homeless women and children were victims of domestic violence. Talk about an injustice: people are homeless because they are being abused and are unsafe in their own home. This led me to my current profession at the Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center (DVCAC). DVCAC is a comprehensive agency that addresses short and long term issues of child abuse, teen dating violence, domestic violence and stalking in Cuyahoga County. What I love about our organization is that it is a social service agency working with individuals AND a social change agency that seeks to change legislation, policy and protocol. DVCAC embodies the principles of safety, self-determination, independence, access, and respect for all people, and justice. DVCAC’s programs include the following: • Two 24-hour helplines: the Domestic Violence Helpline and the Family & Child Advocacy Helpline which provide crisis intervention, safety planning, information and referrals. continued on next page

Linda Johanek Chief Executive Officer, Domestic Violence & Child Advocacy Center www.dvcac.org SPECIAL ISSUE 2016 | 13

• The only confidentially located domestic violence shelter in Cuyahoga County working with victims providing safety, comfort, basic needs, individual sessions, goal planning and housing options.

• Parenting classes are offered to those who are interested in increasing their parenting skills and building deeper relationships with their children in a non-violent manner.

• Professional Training and Education is of• Trauma Therapy is provided both individu- fered to law enforcement, judicial personnel, ally and in group format for victims of abuse. medical personnel, attorneys, teachers, social workers and more. • Justice System Advocacy Program provides court escorts, safety planning, crisis in- DVCAC’s mission is to empower individuals, tervention, options, information and referrals. educate the community and advocate for justice to end domestic violence and child • Weekly Confidential Support Groups pro- abuse. Thanks to the many corporations, vide victims with the opportunity to receive foundations, and individual donors, the agenpeer support, feedback and encouragement. cy continues to grow as we strive to meet the needs in the community. • Safe & Sound Supervised Visitation Center is a safe place for children to visit with their If you know or suspect someone may be a non-residential parent in a fun and safe envi- victim of abuse, I have 3 main messages for ronment. them: It is not your fault, you are not alone, and there is help available. Give them our • Multi-cultural programs include: the Latina 24-hour helpline 216-391-HELP (4357). DVDomestic Violence Project providing advoca- CAC cannot address these issues alone and cy services to our Latina community; Ujima we rely on our partners and the community Program providing domestic violence edu- to assist us in saving lives, increasing safety, cation and advocacy to the African Ameri- healing from trauma, and offering hope! It is can community; Keys 4 Deaf Access working another step toward justice. with victims of abuse who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. • Child Abuse Prevention curriculum is provided within school systems working with children, teachers and parents. • Teen Advocacy Program works with teens who have been involved in abusive or violent teen dating relationships offering support, advocacy, information and referrals.


“In other words, they wanted us to live in poverty so we could experience some of the challenges that face those who are poor.”

Executive Profile

RESUME Name: Linda Logan Title: Chief Executive Officer Organization: Native American Pathways Background: Tribal Liaison Education: Boston College, BS Social Work; MSW, Planning/Community Organizing Hometown: Denver, Colorado BUILDING BLOCKS TO SUCCESS Company Mission: Our mission at Native American Pathways is to provide training and technical assistance to the Native community in the areas of program planning, grant writing business writing and cultural/language preservations. Motivation: The complex issues around our sovereignty. Issues for several decades where our treaties were destroyed. I have been on the board for the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) for the past nine years and we have focused on protecting Native American children in places such as North Dakota where they are taking children from their native tribes and placing them into non Native foster care. I have been very involved on a national level with laws like the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), a Federal law that governs jurisdiction over the removal of Native American children. We also have very high poverty and suicide rates. I am passionate about all these issues that continue to plague our community. Highlighting the importance of helping tribal communities to protect their language and cultural history is deeply important. Mentor: As an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, I have looked up to Wilma Mankiller who was the first female chief for the Cherokee Nation and one of the most visible Native American leaders. She was very powerful. She said that she received more discrimination as a woman than as a Native American woman. I believe this is something all women of color can identify with. Biggest missed opportunity: I always wanted to create a charitable foundation for Native American youth that supports mentoring programs for all Native youth. The importance of helping youth understand cultural, spirituality and well-being is still a goal. Yardstick to success: Supporting indigenous ways of respect for Native women is a gift for our current generations as well as a positive embrace we continue to withhold for the next seven generations. continued on next page SPECIAL ISSUE 2016 | 15

TRUE CONFESSIONS Likes best about the job: I like working with tribes that are completely committed to protecting their native children. Even with the lack of financial support, most tribal council members are committed. Likes least about the job: The lack of support for Native Americans on a Federal, State and foundation level. We don’t get the federal support that we need. It’s a constant issue. There is also not a lot of educational support for Native Americans that are from the 567 federally recognized tribes. A lot of people don’t understand the tribal history. Instead many non native people have romanticized views of Native Americans assuming that we are all alcoholics

and still live on reservations. Fortunately, through The Over 50% of Native Ameri- MICA Group, there has been a cans live off of reservations. number of young women involved with cultural and lanFavorite quote: guage preservation. It’s very “Remember that I am just daunting, but I am impressed a woman who is living a with their strength, how they very abundant life. Every represent their tribes and step I take forward is on a their determination to make path paved by strong Indian change. They are stronger at women before me.”—Wilma promoting change than I was Mankiller at that age. Favorite cause: In addition to my consulting company Native American Pathways, I am also the Senior Manager for The MICA Group, which partners with indigenous communities, governments and foundations to build social and economic capital through innovative, sustainable and culturally appropriate strategies. Most prized possession: Rare pottery from Wampanoag Tribe, reservation on Martha Vineyard Island, MA. First Tribe to meet with Europeans that travelled to the “new world in 1492.” NEXT GENERATION Where do you see young Native American women leaders in the future?

Advice to young women of color: You may experience discrimination along the way, because women in general don’t get the honor they deserver. However, it is important to understand that we have to continue to be strong despite how we are treated. How do you see women of color working together to push forward common issues plaguing our communities? Bringing about social change, particularly for Native American women and youth, is Important to protect the health and human rights of Native Peoples. I continue to support cultural preservation, education, coalition building, community organizing to work towards safe communities for all Indigenous Peoples.

At left: This untitled print is by Linda’s Elder Friend, Cliff Clay, a Choctaw/African American artist. 16 | CL MAGAZINE

Alex engaged our audience. We laughed, cried and celebrated! -National PowerNetworking Conference!



(216) 391-4300, ext. 311 SPECIAL ISSUE 2016

| 17

7 steps to embracing, keeping and Life is full of disturbances. Whether you are confronted with a co-worker’s negative attitude, a child’s decision not to follow simple directions, a doctor’s diagnosis or some unwarranted life drama that finds its way to you – you can keep your joy. Not too long ago I was preparing for my workday. I was going through the daily routine of trying to find the right earrings, when I posed the question to myself, “What would it take for you to maintain joy all day long?” It made me pause as I looked myself in the mirror to approve of my selections. I turned this question into a personal goal that doubled as my new mantra: UNDISTURBED JOY! The term danced in my mind all morning. I repeated it to myself, as I woke up my not so happy to be disturbed, children. After my “joyful decision” I lost one shoe, disciplined one child, forgot my lunch, checked my email, walked into a conflict. My morning joy was not only disturbed it had dissipated from fairy dust to frustration. I paused. I didn’t want to give up. I needed a plan. During my lunch break I wrote down seven action steps to make sure that my joy was not subjected to the situational shifts that I was bound to experience at any given time. Here are seven action steps to reach, protect and maintain UNDISTURBED JOY.

1 2 3 18 | CL MAGAZINE

Make up your mind. – I decided to be joyful. My default is set to positive thinking. Even when bad things happen I choose to remind myself that though I’m experiencing this, I will look for the good that is right around the corner. Set the atmosphere. – I am not the least bit concerned at what the mood is when I walk into the room. I bring joy with me! I don’t have to be selfish with it. I can spread the joy to others and leave the room brighter and better than I found it. My joy is a gift! “Joy-filled” people fill people with joy. – The people who have access to my mind and heart are people who bring light and love to me. They are not oblivious to the truth - they just have a way of facing the truth with the reality that it will work out just the way it is supposed to. I will celebrate joy filled people by acknowledging their joy and expressing its effect on me.

protecting your joy 4 5 6 7

I will find solutions. – I will look for solutions, synthesis, and fair compromises. I will acknowledge problems realistically by seeking solutions. I refuse to recite, rehash and rehearse any problem. People always find what they are looking for. I will look for the solution! Choose the “best case” scenario. – The “best case” scenario is where I choose to spend my thoughtful life. Instead of imagining the worst that can happen and preparing for things to fail – I will prepare for the best things to happen to me. I will celebrate my blessings! Revisit the special moments. – When life attempts to disturb my joy I will fight back by revisiting special memories that make me smile, looking at pictures and unpacking the treasures of my heart. There is joy within me. In moments of disturbance I will practice the happiness of remembering. Imagine my victory. – What is happening in my “right now” can’t compare with what is coming in my future. I know that whatever is taking place is a part of shaping my best self! Nothing that I am experiencing will destroy me, and that brings me JOY! I am victorious. Is my action plan for UNDISTURBED JOY foolproof? Absolutely not! But, I’m committed to living a life filled with joy, so I’m planning ahead. You can’t change life’s curve balls, unsolicited stress, family drama and unexpected grief. You can plan your response to the unexpected by choosing to stay on a path that reminds you of the temporary state of your circumstances. These seven practices are your action plan to Undisturbed Joy. Tecumseh is quoted as saying, “When you rise in the morning, give thanks …for your life, for your strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason to give thanks, the fault lies in yourself.” Life minus joy is a personal choice. Decide to live joyfully. Spread the love and fill the world with joy that cannot be taken away unless you give it away. Powerful living is joyful living! Tesha Fritz Educator, Pastor, Author, Success Mentor and Speaker Twitter: @TeshaFritz SPECIAL ISSUE 2016 | 19

Are you short-changing your business with a faulty

marketing plan?

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” In short, it’s the efforts and channels used to express the availability of a product or service to those who can benefit from it. (Okay, that wasn’t short). As you can see, your marketing plan is arguably the most vital contributor to the success of your business yet it’s often the most underutilized component of your business plan. The art of marketing is much deeper than clever social media posts. It’s actually a combination of many individual focus areas such as brand identity items including your company’s logo, advertisements, print collateral, your sales team, organic brand ambassadors, and much more. In fact, you should think of marketing as an umbrella which covers many individual fields. So, why aren’t businesses and business leaders using marketing to its fullest potential? Why aren’t brand ambassadors maximizing and diversifying their reach through conventional and unconventional marketing techniques?


I often ask those same questions among my new and prospective clients, and they respond with the honest truth. By and large, I hear a variation of the following three responses (listed most popular to least popular): #1 “We can’t afford traditional marketing.” You can’t afford not to market your business. If you have no method of communicating what you have to offer, you have no means of winning new business, making sales, and driving new opportunities to grow your brand.

ness Association, “when marketing is ignored until it’s too late, many small businesses risk hitting a brick wall and, quite possibly, failing.” However; as we dive into some of the problems that organizations face which prohibit them from marketing their products and services most of the underlying reasoning lies in lack of budgeting. Perhaps, this is why approximately 50% of start up’s experience closures within their first 5 years (Small Business Administration). How can this be avoided? As a general rule, small businesses with revenues less than $5 million should allocate 7-8 percent of their revenues to marketing (Small Business Administration). You can find more detailed information on budgeting for your specific business at www.sba.gov.

#2 “I sell my products and services online and through social media.” Though there are many platforms, social media is only one component of marketing and should be used in conjunction with many other Know Your Market methods. Once you’ve determined the appropriate funds to allocate #3 “I’ve been in business all towards marketing for your these years and I’ve never specific business, it’s time to done any marketing.” put those funds to work. Hire Imagine how many business a professional marketing firm opportunities you’ve poten- to help you segment your tially missed as a result of not market and identify your utilizing all available means target customer. “This proof communication to express cess – knowing to whom and your products and services when to market your prodto the masses. uct or service – can result in much higher rates of return, Know the Risks and it involves implementAccording to the Small Busi- ing systems, rather than re-

lying on indiscriminate marketing,” (Chuck Cohn). Your target customer is the group of businesses (in B2B sales) or individuals (in B2C sales) that most largely carries the traits of those who can benefit most from your products and services. This customer fits a specific profile (known as a demographic) and fulfills a certain criteria including but not limited to: annual revenue, location of residence, family size, gender, age, and much more. Dig Deeper Learn your customers. Understand your customer’s needs, behaviors, and spending patterns. Speak to them in a language that they understand. For example, if your customers are Millennials, they’re likely to be more socially conscious and accepting than the generations that precede them. If they’re Baby Boomers, they’re more likely to be conservative spenders and less likely to make purchases based on environmental influences alone. Contact VineWorks Marketing for more tips on how you can reach and effectively communicate with your customer to drive sales, increase profits, and build lasting relationships.

Da’Shika Wells President, VineWorks Marketing, LLC vineworksmarketing.com SPECIAL ISSUE 2016 | 21

Effective Business Branding Tools in 2017 “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com

When I launched Visibility Marketing Inc. in April, 2000, I was told a web site was a “must have.” As I sat down to think about how I wanted VisibilityMarketing.com to look: The colors (of course it will be purple since it’s my favorite); the photos (they must be professional); its content (What will it say? Who is the audience?), all swirled in my head. I didn’t know that I was branding my company. I thought I was doing what was needed to let everyone know that Visibility Marketing Inc. could “Make You More Visible” (the tagline). After almost 17 years, the branding world has changed. The one thing it now includes is you – the business owner. In 2013, there were nearly 29 million US small businesses. Think about it. Every business needs a brand. That means there are at least 29 million logos, web sites, messages and business owners trying to influence potential customers in making their purchasing decisions. How will you stand out above the noise?


Let’s begin with this question: What’s a brand? I like this answer best: “A brand is what distinguishes one company or product from another,” explains Juily Gite, a design consultant for Staples Design Services. “It is a promise to the consumer, communicating to the consumer what to expect when they buy from you; whether your brand is built on ‘fun’ or ‘easy to use,’ or ‘looking cool,’ it serves as a way to make the buying decision easier for a consumer faced with many choices. I remember my mother telling me, (more times that once), that I should never “toot my own horn.” “Let others do it for you,” she said. I guess, like most children, I was bragging a little too much. As a small business, your brand is your personal brand. People are buying you. That’s something I had to get used to. “A brand is the sum total of many activities and communications that communicate who you are, what you stand for and why you are different,” adds Gite. In this new day of branding and social media, it’s okay to tell the world how wonderful you and your product are. It’s expected. However, there are a few things you must keep in mind to ensure that your branding resonates with its intended audience. To be effective, incorporate the three Cs: Clarity. Consistency. Constancy. Clarity: Strong brands are clear about who they are and who they are not. For example, Richard Branson of the Virgin Group is a risk taker. He doesn’t depart from it. No one questions what Nike is and what the company does. Consistency: Is the message the same? Are you fickle on the reason you are in business? Oprah is a brand. You know what you get when it’s “Oprah.” She is “human,” concerned, empathetic, genuine and warm. Constancy: In addition to being clear and consistent, are you constant? Are you always visible, available, and in front of the people who will purchase your product? Oprah is a constant brand, serving us with a web site, TV show, magazine, movies and a network. In effective branding, think hard about what makes your company/you, interesting, relevant, compelling and valuable. Then act on it. Branding is authentic. Unique. Real. Remember in your messaging to be clear, consistent and constant. You and your company will be in a better position to communicate an authentic, unique and real brand. Montrie Rucker Adams Chief Visibility Officer, Visibility Marketing Twitter: @BeMoreVisible SPECIAL ISSUE 2016 | 23

Real People. Real Stories. Pass it On! Hello Northeast Ohio Residents,

News and Traffic Reporter Danielle Wiggins with Anchor Russ Mitchell.

Have you heard about RISING? Well, here’s the scoop! Rising is a series of television and digital stories on WKYC and wkyc.com/Rising showcasing people who have overcome obstacles to achieve success, and in doing so, are inspiring others to do the same. Individuals can join the Rising movement through social and online media. News and traffic reporter Danielle Wiggins, has been a champion for the series on air and out in the Northeast Ohio community. Individuals who want to share a Rising Moment about themselves or someone else, should summarize their story in a one or two sentence written description and then email a photo of themselves holding that description to Rising@ wkyc.com. WKYC is also looking to partner with non-profit organizations, businesses and churches who are eager to offer services, encouragement, and support to help the ‘Risen,’ (a name given to those profiled in the series) offer gifts to assist others in the community working to overcome difficult and challenging situations.

Visit wkyc.com/Rising to see the people and families who have already been profiled. The series airs every Tuesday during the 7:00 p.m. news broadcast. You, your neighbor, a friend or family member, a church member, a colleague at school or work, could be next! #RisingWKYC



how to be your own

Medical Advocate


My husband Andy was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in October of 2013. Since then, we have learned a lot about navigating the complexities of the American medical system. A particularly useful lesson is how important it is for patients and their loved ones to advocate for themselves.

Some months ago, I accompanied Andy to an appointment with his neurologist. The doctor suggested that we add another medication to Andy’s drug regimen to enhance his symptom control. After listening carefully to the doctor, I realized that he was not mentioning any side effects that the new drug might have. When I asked about potential side effects, the doctor said, “don’t worry, most patients tolerate this very well.” I pressed and asked, “great, but what about the minority of patients that don’t?” Then, the doctor acknowledged that 20% of patients find that the medication dulls their mind. This information prompted us to decline the pills. My husband still works and is a computer science professor, so we could not take a 1 in 5 chance that his mind would be dulled. But we would not have known about this potential risk if I hadn’t asked the question and insisted on a precise answer. Based on my experience as my husband’s “care partner” and earlier, as a daughter who was involved in her parents’ care, I have developed several strategies for making the most of your medical care.

What You Should and Should Not Do:

Learn about your health conditions. Speak to other patients. Read about your medical problems. Don’t hesitate to turn to reliable sources on the Internet, such as websites operated by government agencies (e.g. the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health) or respected medical organizations (e.g. the American Heart Association, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research). Understand the limitations of your own research. Don’t decide that you have cancer before being examined by a physician or that you must receive a treatment rather than others without consulting a doctor. However, it is a good idea to read extensively and educate yourself about your medical problems. continued on next page Sharona Hoffman Professor of Law and Bioethics www.sharonahoffman.com



Feel empowered to advocate for yourself. If you have undergone medical tests and the doctor’s office has not contacted you with the results, call the office and ask for them. If you feel you need a follow up appointment, ask for one even if the doctor has not offered to have you come back for a return visit. Most importantly, ask questions and press the doctor to give you clear answers. You have the right to do so even if the doctor seems busy or rushed.

Advocate for your loved ones. If you are with a loved one at a medical facility (hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office) and your loved one needs something, do not hesitate to ask, even if your loved one is not doing so herself. Medical staffs are often overworked and over-stretched, and they will pay attention first to those who are vocal about their needs. Research has shown that nursing home patients who have frequent visitors are treated better than those who do not. Let medical staffs know that you are there to advocate for your loved one.

Do not go alone. Do not go to important medical appointments, procedures, or the hospital alone and do not let your loved ones do so either. You should have a trusted person with you. That person should help you formulate questions, take notes, and can talk to you afterwards about what happened during the medical encounter.



hospital staff

We are lucky to have very high quality medical care in our country. But to make the most of it, we must feel empowered to advocate for ourselves and the loved ones for whom we care.


nursing home patient 26 | CL MAGAZINE


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Charmaine D. Brown President

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www.connexconsultinginc.com SPECIAL ISSUE 2016 | 27

The Magic of Blended Families

that Work! Part I

Through a party with mutual friends more than a decade ago, Lisa Bottoms and Christopher Howse met and married. Lisa, who started her career in the late 1980s as a social worker and child advocate, currently serves as Program Director-Human Services/Child and Youth Development for The Cleveland Foundation. With a background in sales and information technology, Chris is a former Computer Systems Analyst who now owns two companies: Howse Solutions, a successful technology consulting firm; and Sway Effect, a branding and marketing company. Both companies are headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. When they met, Lisa had recently lost her husband to cancer and was adjusting to her “new normal” of solely raising her 11-year-old daughter, Lauren, and 8-yearold son, Chaz. Chris was recently divorced and dealing with his own version of loss. He also had two children, an 8-year-old son, Christian (“CJ”), and a 5-year-old daughter, Shannon. Fortunately, theirs is a blended family success story. They faced many of the challenges most blended families encounter, including loyalty to the other parent, sibling rivalry, and trust; factors that could lead to the marriage failing. Lisa and Chris learned early on that they had to be intentional and devise a set of strategies to not only protect their marriage, but to help their newly created family thrive. The issue of loyalty was important to both sets of children; they felt disloyal to the other parent as each set grew closer to Lisa and Chris.

Above (clockwise from top left): Lauren Bottoms, Chaz Bottoms, Shannon Howse and Christian Howse Opposite page: Christopher Howse and Lisa Bottoms 28 | CL MAGAZINE

“We created opportunities to honor the other parent,” Lisa says. “Our bonus children called us ‘ML,’ which stood for ‘Mama Lisa’ and ‘DC’ for ‘Daddy Chris,’ instead of Mom and Dad.” The ‘ML’ and ‘DC’ moniker was a hit and many of the children’s friends and cousins still use it today. As with almost any family with multiple children, sibling rivalry was also an issue. “It became important for me to spend time alone with Lauren and Chaz so that we could reconnect,” Lisa continued. “Chris would do the

same with CJ and Shannon. Then, would meet up later as a family to continue to reinforce the new family unit.” Soon, Lisa and Chris found themselves having to juggle four kids in as many schools. Often there were competing school activities and events. Chris, who was very active and engaged with his kids in his first marriage, now only had direct access to his biological children every other week. The family decided to devise a master calendar to keep everyone aware of what was going on and when. As the kids grew older, they started a family group text. Now, as adults and college students, three of the kids live out of town, but they still share what’s going on in their lives through the group text. Lisa’s background as a social worker became of value to help the family not only manage the conflicts, but to set an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding. The two parents agreed on the importance of “house rules.” The kids did not have to like each other, but they did have to respect one another. Lisa and Chris each disciplined their biological kids, and never responded to any request the children had upfront; they always discussed the situation as parents and agreed upon a response. A major house rule was that the family always had dinner together even if it meant they ate at 9 pm or later. Many conversations took place at the dining room table that created lasting memories that continue today. The sit-down dinners formed bonds within the family and built trust. Both Lisa and Chris swear by the value of the family dinner. “Each selected his or her own seat at the dinner table. We made sure everyone had a place and it gave them an opportunity to have their say; to make them leaders in their own right,” Lisa says. “Ten years later they still sit in the same seats. And the kids are now friends and spend time together without us. They recently went to a shooting range together, all four of them.” The new family also spent time creating

memories on field trips and at family events. Sometimes these were major vacations; other times they were small activities close to home. “The important thing is that they happened often and the whole family participated,” Chris says. Sometimes the family dynamic was especially challenging, and Lisa utilizing her experience as a former social worker, became the family facilitator. “When things were said or done that hurt someone’s feelings, we worked it out at the family meeting, which took place at the dinner table,” Lisa says. Working together, the parents were able to help their children to see an issue from another point of view. “We were quick to speak up for each other, and on behalf of each child.” They took advantage of teachable moments, and every child had household chores. Chris recalls reminding Chaz that he needed to go outside to rake the leaves. Chaz complained, “I’m always raking the leaves, the other guys don’t have to.” Chris explained, “You are looking at this all wrong. You are learning skills required to handle a home, and it will be of value to you when you are the manager of your household. I only have a finite amount of time to make sure that you have the tools to manage your adult life. It’s my duty as your father to help instill those skills so that you and your siblings can teach your children one day!” Chaz, of course, had never thought of it that way and said so. After that, raking the leaves was no longer an issue. He understood. They understood. Lisa’s daughter Lauren said, “We all were very apprehensive of each other initially. It wasn’t a rose garden. We were strangers forced to live

Sharon O. Williams sharonosophelia@gmail.com SPECIAL ISSUE 2016 | 29

Stay tuned for Part II of this amazing feature on successful and happy “blended” families. Next issue hear from the Walkerly parents and kids!

together. Each sibling group wanted to make sure that we all were treated fairly and equally.” Chris’ son CJ agreed: “Over time we developed trust for each other. We started sharing experiences and friends, and celebrate each other’s wins and accomplishments. Eventually we started to, dare we say, love each other!” “ML and DC fostered an environment of love and trust,” Lauren continues. “They tried to consistently maintain positive energy. They set educational and personal goals for us, and we didn’t want to disappoint. We finally came to the conclusion that this was something special and we all wanted to do our part to make it work!”

The Walkerly kids (from left): Dylan, 21; Autumn, 25; Austin, 7; Taryn, 23; Isabella, 7; and parents Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Terry Walkerly.

How has all of this affected the marriage? “Children can absorb your lives, so we were diligent to have regular date nights,” Lisa says. The couple went out some nights, but other times they simply stayed in their room and kept the kids out to maintain the marriage. Chris agrees: “That alone time also allowed us to talk about our strategies and evaluate how effective we were at pulling the family unit together.” Lisa and Chris view consistency, being present, and open communication as the key to making the family work. “We were intentional, spent a lot of time together, and we had a great support network,” Lisa says. “Our family is similar to an organic garden – the effort we put into it directly correlates to the end result,” Chris says. “It takes constant nurturing, planning and communication. We’re always watering and checking to make sure that the blossoms and blessings continue. And with God’s help they will.”


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Money is Power... Credit is Powerful...

Get & Stay in Charge!

Are you experiencing After the Merry? You know, when all the gifts are opened and the smiles have made their way safely on satisfied faces. Hugs and thank-you echo loudly from appreciative hearts and minds… and then After the Merry sets in when you notice the phone begins to ring just a little more, the mailman seems to be delivering just a little earlier bringing more mail in the first two weeks of January then you received for the whole month of December!

3. WHAT — Determine if you are financially imprisoned or financially empowered… 4. WHY — So you can begin to Identify your Christmas debt with the highest interest rates and Pay-off first! 5. HOW — Look for offers to transfer high interest charge accounts to 0% interests for 12 to 18 months.

6. WHEN — Now! Start “dating” your “After The Merry” — When becoming finances, the time spent working on your financially aware, deliberate and goal focused finances can help your relationship last is the mission. longer! So, let’s get our minds on our money and our money on our minds because… A Mind & Money are terrible things to waste! Let’s start by applying 6 principal words Who, What, When, Where, Why and How…and not in that order. Ready? Set… Go! 1. WHO — YOU should know your credit situation! 2. WHERE — Pull your credit reports every 12 months FREE at: www.annualcreditreport. com

Sharron Murphy-Williams www.phebefoundation.org


Hint: Open All Mail — Know who’s coming to your house because the element of surprise can make you a financial victim. Hint: Answer your Phone — Don’t look at the caller ID, just say hello because communication is better than avoidance

$1 Challenge! Stop Swiping for 30 days (debit and/or credit cards) — no swiping! Spend cash only for 30 days. But, for those 30 days don’t spend one dollar bills. Instead hide them in a shoe box, old sock or somewhere safe. After 30 days count your dollars and celebrate your new and easy savings plan you did it $1 at a time!

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15 Groundbreaking

Social Media Tips

for Small Business Owners Looking to increase your company’s online presence? Create a social media marketing plan that works! Still Don’t Have Social Media for Your Business? It’s Necessary! 78% of the US Population is on social media. If your business isn’t, you’re missing potential marketing opportunities and/or customers! 1. Don’t Know Which Platform to Use? Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, Periscope… There’s several ways your business can reach its customer base. Maybe you don’t need them all. Research and out which platform is going to work for you.

2. Don’t Be Too Formal! Lighten Up! Don’t take social media so seriously! You’re not writing a business proposal. Some of the best posts are those that are fun and lighthearted.

3. Interact! Don’t simply push information to your followers! Have conversations with them. You’d be surprised at what your audience is truly interested in.

4. Hashtags! Hashtags are your secret weapon! Use them! With proper hashtag usage you won’t need to find your audience, your audience will find you!

5. Shareable Images! Want your followers to share your content? Make it shareable by attaching images complete with your handle and hashtag!


6. Social Media Templates! These are becoming more and more useful in that you can attach meaningful quotes, images, and push information with a more uniformed look.

product photoshoot of your new office or get some new updated headshots of you and your staff. Don’t skimp out on images. Attach them to your post and you’ll reach a bigger audience.

7. Numbers Schmumbers!

11. Videos Go a Long Way!

While you do want to reach more potential customers for your business, the quality of your following is more important than the quantity. Switch your focus into pushing quality content and your numbers will come.

12. Stay Relevant!

8. Don’t Discount the Power of a Discount! Reward those who share your posts with discounts. Tell customers if they send out a tweet or check in on Facebook, they can get 15% off their next purchase. There’s power in a discount.

9. Are Sponsored Posts Worth it? When it comes to sponsored posts, timing is everything! Got an event coming up and you need to market it? That’s perfect timing for a sponsored post! Do you have a giveaway scheduled for the first week of the New Year? Sponsor it! But don’t spend your money sponsoring a post with no value attached to it.

10. Images are Everything! Quality images will set you apart from the next business using their camera phone. Stock photography is an inexpensive way to go. If you have a little more room in your budget, hire a professional photographer to do a

15 second videos highlighting what your company does will keep a reader’s attention while they scroll through their feed.

Keep your following updated on all the progress your company has been making. It makes them feel a part of the journey. You’re staying in the eye of your readers at all times.

13. Schedule It! Hootesuite and Buffer are great websites to help the busiest small business owner schedule its updates.

14. Have a Website? Direct people to your website in all your social media bio’s.

15. Outsource It! Maybe after reading this article you realize social media management may be too much for you to handle. Maybe you can’t keep up with all the newest posts and commit to be on social media often. Outsource it. The only thing worse than not being on social media, is not keeping it updated.

Frechic Burton Dickson frechic.dickson@gmail.com

Baby It’s Cold Outside...

Cozy Comfort Food Recipes for the Winter Chicken Pot Pie Soup Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine

Ingredients: Chicken Breast 1 cup of carrots and green peas 1 tbsp garlic 1 egg ¼ cup of flour 1 pinch of nutmeg 2 tbsp of cooking oil 1/3 butter 1 qt heavy cream

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Unroll the pie dough onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with pepper and a pinch of poultry seasoning; cut into quarters. Bake until puffed and golden, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, undisturbed, 2 minutes, then cook, stirring, 1 more minute. Transfer to a bowl. Add the celery, onion, flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning to the pot and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups water, the broth, halfand-half and potatoes; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. Add the peas and carrots and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Return the chicken to the pot and simmer until cooked through, about 1 minute. Divide among bowls and top with the crust. Per serving: Calories 707; Fat 29 g (Saturated 15 g); Cholesterol 132 mg; Sodium 965 mg; Carbohydrate 69 g; Fiber 5 g; Protein 41 g

Pattie Labelle’s Mac and Cheese Recipe courtesy of food.com

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 lb macaroni 8 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon butter 1/2 cup muenster cheese, shredded 1/2 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded 2 cups half-and-half 8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter a deep 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rapid boil. Add macaroni and the 1 TB oil. Cook for 7 minutes, or until somewhat tender. Drain well, and return to the pot. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt 8 TB of the butter. Stir into macaroni. In a large bowl, combine all the shredded cheeses. To the macaroni, add 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheeses, half and half, the cubed cheese and the eggs, and the seasoned salt and pepper. Transfer to the prepared casserole dish, and top with remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Dot with remaining 1 TB of the butter. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and bubbly. SPECIAL ISSUE 2016 | 37

Notice Me

[a poem]

Cold nights and lonely days as I remembered the stream of tears that formed into a puddle on my pillow, thoughts about the falling leaves from my family’s tree Washed away by confusion, illusions, lies and pain No wonder why I thought my life was a game, except it’s not all bad So let me take you back to my forgotten tales Family of five, me being the youngest Which comes with the privilege of not seeing my family as broken Until November 3 2003 The day my mother dropped us off Said I love you all before turning away with tears in her eyes The cries of all broken families echos In the hearts of one another as they tell stories of their new families Drifting away from their loved ones day by day to find a place in another’s heart extended families are making a new way Family is supposed to be there at your lowest Lift you when you’re down Show you new ways of this big world Guide you through the streets Yet for me I watched as they tried to break me Told me there was something wrong with me Gave me a counselor instead of talking to me directly They thought a ten year old child only knew what they said but the truth is shown through actions Actions, Actions I was quite active I knew I wanted better

Shalonda Swanson Founder and CEO, Yemoja Speaks, LLC yemojaspeaks@gmail.com


Honor roll in school and delinquent seeking attention stealing from stores with money in my pocket, only for the thrill I knew it was the only time my family came together to talk to me ever since my biggest support took her last breathe in 2008 My biggest fans Family, yet no one filled the benches when I played The days with no support from my team Lost my mom by 8th grade the loveless girl seeks hope Focused in street games by high school No hope in sight until I gained my voice The voice that was loved by mother By 16, I made people notice me Notice my story Explored the country to speak about me The me that no one but mother could really see The me who would hide for weeks without saying one thing The quiet me who took adventures in books, escaped in history, and thoughts about my future which was still a mystery Make my family proud was all I seek Graduated from high school with a frown But college I know everyone in town gone be down with me So happily Family Family tales can take twists and forms but my family has always been with me

A New Mind, a New Me: Moving from Victim to


Child of a drug addicted parent, poor, physically and sexually abused. These are just a few words that described my life by the time I was 15 years old. Words that shaped my present and tried to define my future. Key Word “tried”. But what could I do? The odds were stacked against me and in this fight called life, I was the underdog. Fast forward several years later I’m now a mental health therapist, author, speaker and entrepreneur. I bet you’re wondering how I got from there to here. Well I realized that I had no choice in being a victim, but I discovered that I could choose to be a survivor. Learning to survive was hard work and it included developing a relationship with God, therapy, prayer, a new environment and honestly a new mind. I discovered that if I was going to invite healing and transformation into my life, change the course of my journey and become successful, I had to first evict my negative thinking. What’s that saying, “New Year, New You?” When you think of a New You, what comes to mind? New Goals, New Accomplishments, New Friends and New Relationships? Maybe a New You is 15lbs lighter and one step closer to finishing your degree. While you’re thinking of what else will be new this year I want to encourage you to consider adding A New Mind to your list. See many of us have allowed our painful life experiences to dictate how we think about ourselves, our lives and others. We’ve subscribed to thoughts like my life isn’t complete, I’m not good enough, or things will never get better. We’ve allowed our dreams, goals and ideas to gradually fade into I Can’t because (fill in the blank). Social Media pictures of perfectly cooked meals, sculpted bodies and airbrush faces have us minimizing our strengths and maximizing our flaws. It’s these kinds of thoughts that lead to anger, low self esteem and depression. It’s these thoughts that perpetuate the cycle of never accomplishing our goals and in return affirm our stinking thinking. But it’s a New Year and if you truly want a New You, it’s going to take more than a gym membership and a bag full of MAC Makeup. continued on next page

Courtney N. Hauser Licensed Professional Counselor www.courtneyhauser.com SPECIAL ISSUE 2016 | 39

Your true “Glow Up” starts in your MIND! Romans 12:2 encourages us to be not conformed to this world (a worldly way of thinking or the world of our circumstances) but be transformed by the reNEWing of our MINDS. It’s time to throw comparisons and negative thinking in the trash and focus on what’s good and true about your life. How do you do that? I’m glad you asked! Get in the habit of telling yourself on a daily basis what’s good about YOU. Focus on your strengths while building your areas for growth. Notice I didn’t call them weaknesses! Write positive things about yourself on sticky notes and hang them somewhere you can see them daily i.e. mirror, car dashboard or on your bedroom wall. Read these notes out loud and remind yourself that you are capable of having and doing everything you speak. The power of life and death is in your tongue! Learn to change what you can and accept what you can’t change. Whether that’s your past, physical features, financial status or relationships. Make a list of your problems or things that have been roadblocks on your journey and begin to develop a new perspective on them. Try to see them in the most positive and realistic light possible. Replace any negative thoughts with what is good and true. Adhering to these practices helped me heal from my past and prepare for my future. I discovered that the only way to truly transform into a “New Me” was to have a “New Mind. This can work for you too! If you can change your thinking, you can change your life.


The foundation of our company is the strength of our people

At Forest City, we do more than develop, own and manage real

Within our own Forest City community, we embrace and value

estate. We create exceptional places where people live, work and

diverse individuals, opinions, cultures and abilities and actively

enjoy life together. We believe that high-quality communities

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have the power to enrich lives. And we believe that diversity and

leverage the unique talents, skills, experiences and perspectives

inclusion are critical to that experience. We understand that each

of our associates, business and civic partners, and end-use

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consumers to drive success, create a competitive edge and add

understand the needs of their community.

shareholder value.


Paying it Forward: A Millennial, Activist, Producer and Entrepreneur Shares Her Personal Story Volunteering and serving the community has always played an important part in my life. When I was in high school, I got more involved in the community by giving my time and being hands-on with charities in my local area. At that time, I was too young to vote but became mobilized by going door to door to register voters with Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland. From there I became more involved and began lobbying our politicians in Columbus. My voice could not be heard since I was under 18, but my sentiments and those of my community were heard due to my outreach. From there I was hooked and have continued to get involved with charities that I value. For example, currently I serve on the Board of Directors for Advocates for Youth (AFY), a Washington, DC based non-profit that focuses on the sexual and reproductive rights of young people domestically and abroad. I first joined AFY through their youth development program Youth Resource and then joined the Young Women of Color Leadership Council (YWOCLC) at age 16. Through them I acquired leadership and action organizing skills. I was provided with a strong network of peer activists to form alliances with and create change. I truly can say that my 10+ years as an YWOCLC activist gave me the confidence and finesse that has shaped me into the strong and capable activist,


businesswoman and philanthropist that I am today. They say the best way to reach young people is to teach them early, and I am so grateful that they reached me at such a pivotal moment in my life. Now as a member of the Board of Directors, I am able to continue to be hands on and involved with such a great organization. I donate to Advocates for Youth because they helped mold me into the woman I am today. While I am passionate about civil rights, I am a supporter of the arts as well. Growing up as a trained dancer who dabbled a bit in the visual arts, I am appreciative of the support and guidance I received. Also as a woman of color I understand and see how mainstream cultural institutions often do not include artists of color in their collections or showcases. As a member of Apollo Young Patrons of the world renowned Apollo Theater, our group works to raise funds that will continue to support this historic institution. As a member of the Studio Society for The Studio Museum in Harlem, I and others are dedicated to supporting black art and culture. Furthermore, I am a supporter of the arts as well .Growing up as a trained dancer who dabbled a bit in the visual arts, I am appreciative of the support and guidance I received. Also as a woman of color I understand and see how mainstream cultural institutions often do not include artists of color in their collections or showcases. As a member of the Apollo Young Patrons with the historic Apollo Theater and The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Studio Society, I work to raise funds to continue the legacy of the world renowned institutions, as well as protect a space for performers of color in my community and around the world. I don’t know what my legacy will be yet as I am still young, but I know that I will continue to do what I can do to improve the world and give voices to those who may not be heard. I encourage other young people to dive in and get involved as well. You don’t have to be financially wealthy to be impactful. Change starts with small donations. Non-profits rely on the consistent financial support of their donors. Start small! Set up a recurring payment of $10 a month to your charity of choice. Also reach out to the charity and ask them what type of tasks you can volunteer for. Through exercising discipline through your donation and getting involved, you will come away personal fulfilled and enriched! Kathleen Adams kathleenadams56@gmail.com SPECIAL ISSUE 2016 | 43

Relieving Dry Skin

During the Winter Months The cold, dry winter season presents with its own set of unique challenges when it comes to skin care. During these cold months, humidity is low and the dry air can leads to flaky, cracked skin. Often many experience more itching as a result. Moreover those who suffer with eczema see much of their skin condition worsen. Because of this, skin care must be modified to keep this from happening. What follows are three basic steps to keep skin feeling soft, moist and itch-free during the winter season. 1. Minimize long, hot showers & choose gentle cleansers over harsh soaps Long hot showers may feel good for a moment, but can make the skin very dry. It is much better to use warm water and to limit showers to 5-10 minutes. In addition avoid harsh soaps with lots of fragrances. These soaps further dry the skin. It is much better to use a fragrance-free hypoallergenic soap that will minimize dryness. In addition, if frequent hand washing often exacerbates dry skin and thus if it is unavoidable, it is important to carry a hand cream to add back moisture to your skin. 2. Use creams and ointments as moisturizers instead of lotions Creams and ointments are thicker and thus protect the skin much better from dryness than lotions. Ointments and creams with oils such as Olive oil, Shea butter and Jojoba oils are great skin moisturizers. The best time to use creams is right after a shower so it can retain moisture in the skin. In addition, the lips which can be dried and cracked by cold dry winter weather need moisture. Invest in a lip balm and use it frequently. 3. Avoid direct contact with heat sources and use a humidifier Direct contact with a heat source such as a space heater or fireplace can further dry your skin. Instead, dress warmly to protect yourself from the weather. It’s important to choose non-irritating fabrics such as cotton or silk to wear underneath your warmer layers made of wool and other abrasive material. Please remember to take care of yourself and your skin, not only during the winter months, but all year long! Angela Kyei, MD, MPH Cosmopolitan Dermatology www.cosmodermatology.com


Embrace Consulting

specializes in providing Diversity and Inclusion consulting and leadership development services to champion employee engagement and drive for business results. Embrace Consulting is positioned to partner with your Leadership Team(s) as well as your Business Resource Networks to ensure alignment of business objectives, cultural competencies and skill development opportunities. Creativity and innovation thrive in organizations that recognize the importance of building and sustaining a culture where all employees feel their contribution is recognized and valued. Creating and sustaining that culture is critical for businesses to grow and thrive. Embrace Consulting provides the essential foundational services to customize your Diversity & Inclusion and Employee Engagement strategic initiatives.


Contact: Renita Jefferson Embrace! Consulting Renita@EmbraceConsulting.biz www.EmbraceConsulting.biz 440-823-8914

C O N S U L T I N G We provide Strategic Planning services, which include the design and development of your strategic Diversity & Inclusion business case, mission, vision, goals and objectives. This plan will be your roadmap to support employee engagement, inclusion opportunities and achievement of key business results. We specialize in Business Resource Network development and education. Business Resource Networks, Employee Resource Networks and Affinity Groups, encourage diversity and inclusion to ensure that a range of perspectives and experiences are recognized and leveraged to achieve organizational goals. These networks provide both internal and external value to organizations by increasing employee engagement, strengthening brand awareness and enhancing leadership development. We provide Coaching and Consulting for Senior Leadership to Drive for Results critical to the success and sustainability of both the strategic planning process and Resource Network development. Essential to the success of these efforts is an actively engaged Leadership Council. This Leadership Council is representative of Business leaders throughout the organization given the privilege to champion and actively lead the progression and achievement of Diversity & Inclusion goals.

15th Anniversary Year 2017 Calendar of Events

MARYSVILLE, OHIO (BY INVITATION ONLY) 2nd Annual Special Women’s History Month Program Thursday, March 9, 2017 ■ 12:30pm – 2:30pm Ohio Reformatory for Women (ORW) 1479 Collins Avenue, Marysville, Ohio 43040 5th

CLEVELAND, OHIO Annual “Speaking of Women! A Dialogue Series for Women in Leadership” Thursday, March 30, 2017 ■ 12:00 noon – 1:30pm Special Women’s History Month Leadership Symposium Cleveland Clinic – Main Campus – Bunts Auditorium 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195 AURORA, OHIO (BY INVITATION ONLY) 15th Anniversary “ C-Suite” Executive Summit (NEW Exclusive Event!) Sunday – Tuesday, April 9-11, 2017 Walden Inn & Spa 1119 Aurora-Hudson Road,
Aurora, Ohio 44202 CLEVELAND, OHIO 15th Anniversary VIP Reception and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Saturday, April 15, 2017 ■ 6:00 – 9:00pm Cuyahoga Community College - Corporate College 4400 Richmond Road, Warrensville Heights, Ohio 44128

CLEVELAND, OHIO th 15 Annual Personal and Professional Development Retreat for Women of Color “Connections, Community and Career 2017” Thursday, May 11, 2017 ■ 8:00am – 5:00pm Case Western Reserve University, Tinkham Veale University Center 11038 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44106 6th

CLEVELAND, OHIO Annual “Speaking of Women! A Dialogue Series for Women in Leadership” Thursday, June 8, 2017 ■ 11:30am – 1:30pm Women’s Leadership Symposium Dominion East Ohio 1201 East 55th Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44103

You’re Not Alone:

Learn How Hospice Care Can Help Coping with a serious illness can be stressful and sometimes frightening, not only for the person diagnosed with the disease, but for family, friends, and caregivers as well. The diagnosis of a life-limiting or terminal illness can take families by surprise and may produce feelings of anxiety and of being overwhelmed. However, choosing to contact hospice isn’t about giving up. It’s about taking control and making the most of the time remaining. Living with an advanced illness is easier with a circle of compassionate professional caregivers who can help share the burden. Each staff member and volunteer at Hospice of the Western Reserve is devoted to helping those living with serious illness and their loved ones. Our teams travel to wherever the person living with the serious illness resides to provide care, including in their own homes. Managing pain and other symptoms is our specialty. So is providing social, emotional and spiritual support to everyone affected by the diagnosis. continued on next page Martha Jacoby, MA, LSW, LPC www.hospicewr.org SPECIAL ISSUE 2016 | 47

“Living with an advanced illness is easier with a circle of compassionate professional caregivers who can help share the burden.” Hospice of the Western Reserve can help from the time of the initial diagnosis to long after a loved one’s death, supporting family members and helping them cope. Hospice care is delivered by a highly skilled team of specialists working together. Members of the hospice care team typically include a doctor, nurse, hospice nursing assistant, spiritual care coordinator, social worker and trained volunteers. Other specialists – such as music therapists and art therapists - may also be involved when needed. As a hospice social worker, I am available to assist patients and their families in many different ways, providing both emotional and practical support. First and foremost, hospice social workers need to be mindful of each person’s need to follow his or her own path without judgment. I collaborate closely with other members of the team to achieve the best possible outcome. Hospice social workers identify the patient’s/family’s unique situational needs and assess for any risk of distress. It is necessary to become aware of strengths and coping skills and to also assess and enhance their environment by referring and sometimes coordinating services with community resources as needed. At times, it is necessary to screen for mental health and substance abuse issues and to intervene accordingly. Some other ways I support patients and families include helping patients document their end-of-life healthcare preferences, providing education about caregiving and assisting with funeral planning. When a loved one is dying, emotions can be intense, and this can sometimes lead to family discord and disagreements. I have witnessed family dynamics that have deeply affected a patient’s peace and well-being. While I cannot change the family history, I can frequently help by presenting options that help create a more peaceful and harmonious atmosphere for their loved ones. A hospice social worker’s many skills include knowing how to read and defuse a stressful and potentially volatile situation. A career as a hospice social worker can be deeply rewarding, and has the potential to make a meaningful difference during an extremely challenging and vulnerable time for families. More resources and information about Hospice of the Western Reserve’s services - including videos that share the stories of family members who have experienced our care - can be found at hospicewr.org/caregiver.


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5 Commonly Missed

Tax Deductions

As we prepare for the most important time of the year, I want to share a few key tips to help you and your tax professional identify the appropriate items you can add to your tax return in the form of allowable tax deductions. These tips will also help if you are randomly audited by the IRS. 1. Mileage Deduction: If you use your car for work, medical reasons or moving, it is very important to keep track of the amount of your miles. MileIQ is a great app to track your mileage. You can download it through the App Store or Google Play. If you are an Uber or Lyft Driver, pay close attention here because you are using your personal vehicle to drive people around. For your 2016 taxes, a 10-mile drive can be worth $5.40. If you use your car for volunteer work, the IRS allows you to claim 14 cents per mile that you yourself are actively participate. If you take a new position that requires you to relocate, you can claim mileage at 23 cents per mile. 2. Rent Deduction: If you are paying rent (apartment, commercial building, etc.) you can deduction your payments as long as you don’t own the property and are using it for trade or business. Keeping track of your rent payments is easy, especially if the owner gives you a monthly invoice showing all payments made. For example: If you leased property for 5 years for $5,000 a year. If you paid the full $25,000 (5*$5,000) for the first year of your lease, each year you can deduct $5,000 for that tax year. 3. Charitable Gifts: If you volunteer with a number different organizations the time spent volunteering is priceless, but if you purchase

Rosalyn D. Cooper, MBA Twitter: @Sunshine_MZ


supplies for the organization, it is considered an itemized charitable donation. For example, say the local Boys and Girls Club had a back to school drive and you purchased school supplies (book bags, paper, pens,etc.) you are allowed to deduct those items on your taxes. Make copies of the receipts because after a while the print starts to fade and write what organization you made the donation to. 4. Educational Expenses: If you are continuing your education or paying for a child, we all know that the cost can be outrageous. The IRS does offer many different educational deductions. If you use a tax filing software it takes you through a number of questions to see which credit will help you out the most. Tuition and fees will help you take up to $4,000 off your taxable income. The Lifetime Learning Credit offers a credit of $2,000. The American Opportunity Tax credit offers up to $2,500. Check your student loan companies as they will start posting tax documents on your account. 5. Energy-Efficient Home Improvements: Being a homeowner isn’t always fun, but if you make any energy-efficient home improvements it can make your life fairly easy. The Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit which was introduced in 2005 has paid off for homeowners who have done major home improvements to cut back on costs. Any upgrades made can be claimed on Form 5695, but pay very close attention to the specific spending limits. For example, for high-efficiency furnaces and boilers its $150, air conditioners and pumps are $300 and replacement windows are $200.

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CUSTOMIZED TRAINING Corporate College understands your organization’s unique challenges and provides customized solutions that meet strategic business goals. We strive to improve individual, team and organizational performance.

CONFERENCE CENTERS Corporate College provides world-class accommodations for business events of all sizes. With locations in Warrensville Heights and Westlake, we offer leading-edge technology, award-winning catering services and business amenities that will help to take your next meeting or event from good — to great.

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