GoGirlMgz January 2020

Page 1

January 2020



Volume 1 • Issue 8


18 The Whole Package


How Whole30 Co-Founder Melissa Hartwig-Urban Went From Doing Drugs to Designing Diets

10 Liz Hernandez

34 Let Them Have Cake!

This Rising TV Personality Left a Promising Career to Speak to the Hearts of People Everywhere

Here’s How this Mexican-born Fashionista Turned Cake Connoisseur Built Her Celeb-Crazed Bakery Empire From Scratch

26 Janice Bryant Howroyd

42 Winston’s Crown Jewelers

How ActOne Group’s Founder and CEO Built a Billion Dollar Business from Scratch — and a Fax Machine

Founded in 1969, Winston's celebrates its 50-year family-owned business legacy and Red Carpet gala

46 Soul Style

64 Weathering the Storm

The Bold, Bright, Sassy Owner of an Award-winning Boutique Spills Her Secrets to Best-Dressed Success

The Hurricane Hunters make history with their first All-Female, 3-pilot crew

54 Going With Her Gut

The Skinny on the CEO/Founder Who Shaped the Undergarment Industry and Lifted the Potential, Confidence, and Spirits of Women Everywhere

Photo by @Solmazsaberie


FREE Subscription gogirlmgz.com Social Media @GoGirl_Mgz 4

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70 Heads Up!

87-year-old Woman Knits 75 Snuggly Hats for Strangers and the Homeless



54 10


18 70






Hi All My GoGirls and GoGuys Too! Some of you may know that my sidekick in my YouTube videos is a rescue dog. Her name is Gigi and she’s a darling chihuahua. Whenever I need my superhero sidekick I call up my friend Cynthia and ask if her little Gigi is available for a mission. I built her a tiny sidecar for my Barbie Jeep and even made Gigi a cute helmet with a GoGirl logo. Recently, Gigi and I went on a special mission to meet MJ Nejad, a great guy who follows his passion for taking care of animals and helping rescue dogs. MJ’s story is inspirational and I want everyone to hear it and to meet him. For years MJ Nejad worked in corporate America, but he longed to follow his heart and work with animals. He especially had a dream to open a pet grooming business, working with animals and rescue dogs. But MJ kept holding off, waiting for the time when he would be more financially prepared to open a new business. One day, MJ was in a major motorcycle accident. He broke bones throughout his entire body and he almost died. Laying there in the hospital, thankful to be alive, MJ decided he wasn’t going to wait any longer. Once out of the hospital and on his road to recovery he started the steps of opening MJ’s Pet Spaw. With the support of his beautiful wife Neda, the couple worked as a team to open the business, which provides the best pet care and mobile grooming service in Orange County, California. What started as a passion project has grown to serve hundreds of pets, giving each and every one of them the best treatment possible. Watch Jen’s GoGirl Superhero Rescue Dog Video! If you like it, don’t forget to “like, comment and share!”

MJ has a special gift with animals. Even the most difficult dog will become peaceful and content when being groomed and comforted by MJ. When MJ visits animal shelters, his heart cries for the furry babies who are often

Jennifer Murphy Follow Jen on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. She makes funny and empowering videos every Wednesday! @JenniferMurphyGoGirl

desperately in need of a hair cut, nails to be trimmed, warm blankets and most of all love. MJ does an annual drive to gather donations of blankets, food and toys that he brings to shelters all throughout California. To donate to MJ’s Rescue Dog efforts visit MJsPetSpaw.com and go visit a shelter! Consider rescuing a dog. They might just bring a ray of happiness and sunshine into your life. I hope you all love our magazine, and please share it with those you know who would also gain inspiration from reading our pages. Love you all, Jennifer Murphy “GoGirl” Founder/CEO - GoGirl Worldwide Magazine

Founders Jennifer Murphy | Rachel Medina



Jennifer Murphy

Rachel Medina



Dennis Igoe

Megan Ramos



Daneen San Pedro

Kristie Lamour



Nicole Gratson E D I TO R I A L A S S I S TA N T

Viral Video Media Patrick Ellison

Megan Ramos



Adrian Soto

Adrian Soto


Mike Roberts Don DiCostanzo


Stephen llavsky CO N TAC T

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“Women Empowering Women through Events | Magazines | Products | & Giving� The GoGirl Brand is built by women, for women, and specializes in creating content and experiential opportunities for empowered woman, to empower others across the country with their story and GoGirl mission. GoGirl Magazine, LLC. is not affiliated with any other publishing company and is a digital community complimenting the family of GoGirl events, products, services and its foundation. Copy Right GoGirl Magazine, L.L.C., 2019

The team at GoGirl Worldwide Magazine browse the web and social media for ordinary women doing extraordinary things in their lives, communities, and careers. We then spotlight these women each month and bring forward images and content shared by these women online and on their social media accounts. GoGirl Worldwide Magazine takes no credit for images and/or content shared by these women in their public domains and makes every attempt to publish the source of the images used on our website GoGirlMgz.com, our social media accounts and in our monthly magazine. If a photo has been published by GoGirl Worldwide Magazine that has inaccurate photo credits, please contact us immediately with the proper credits at editorial@gogirlmgz.com. If we have shined our bright pink spotlight on you this issue or in a past issue, thank you for being a GoGirl who inspires us all.


publisher’s note

2020 VISION As we move forward through the beginning of 2020, it’s more than just a time to start that new fad diet and wait forever at the gym for a machine to open up because the resolutioners have taken over the ellipticals. It’s an opportunity to adjust our vision and to realize the power we have within ourselves, to become more self-aware, and better human beings than we were yesterday. Every day we take for granted a superpower that we have... the power of our words. When we speak, we are sending a message to ourselves, to others, and to the universe about what we want or

Rachel Medina don’t want. Our words have the power to hurt or heal, to degrade or uplift, to ignite war or peace, and to spread hate or love. So why not choose words that reflect the outcomes you want, that uplift others and that bring those around you — joy! This month’s Cover-GoGirl, Liz Hernandez, has taken the power of words and built a movement that is empowering women everywhere, one WORDAFUL event at a time.

Rachel Medina is a 20-year media and publishing veteran, GoGirl Worldwide Magazine Co-Founder, Public Speaker, and a serial Entrepreneur. She is also the host of a new Podcast and YouTube show called Rachel Unpacked “Unpacking Life’s Baggage Together” where she shares the life lessons and tools for success that she has learned as a parent, wife, business owner, and woman... along the way.

Click to Watch Podcast

Cheers to a prosperous year filled with the clarity of 2020 vision. Rachel Medina Co-Creator & Publisher SOCIAL MEDIA: @rachelmedina101 Online: RachelMedina.com


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Visit or call our store at The Historic Mission Inn Hotel and Spa to place your order today! Casey’s Cupcakes


The Historic Mission Inn 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501 951.328.6908

THIS RISING TV PERSONALITY LEFT A PROMISING CAREER TO SPEAK TO THE HEARTS OF PEOPLE EVERYWHERE The fresh-faced, Mexican-American television personality, journalist, and former radio host is no stranger to the spotlight. These days, Liz Hernandez has taken a drive along the road less traveled, embarking on her latest career endeavor, one which she has a lot of experience with — words.

saucy actress with the girl-next-door looks known for her on-screen talents in Make Me a Millionaire and as co-host on primetime’s long-standing entertainment news program Access Hollywood was quickly moving up the media ranks. Born in SoCal’s Inland Empire, Hernandez moved 50 miles westward to the bright, beaming lights of Los Angeles to launch her career in the highlycompetitive entertainment industry. A graduate of the University of San Diego, Hernandez eventually landed a gig as a radio host on Power 106 before moving her on-air prowess to on-screen as a host on MTV. Then, E! News came looking for the illustrious Latina. In 2014, Hernandez found herself co-hosting on network television’s tabloid newsmagazine, Access Hollywood. Hernandez would also go on to appear in various television shows, commercials, and ad campaigns. It was after saying goodbye to tabloid tv that Hernandez wanted to begin a more meaningful chapter in her career – and life.

WORDAFUL to begin the conversation. Let’s start paying attention.” The brandbuilding beauty created WORDAFUL as a fun, refreshing way to shift our internal and external dialogues for a happier, more meaningful life. Currently, the outspoken platform produces short-form content using share-worthy videos and social media posts, as well as in-person, live, sell-out events to encourage a unique, new way of storytelling in hopes to inspire and connect people through the power of words. Hernandez attributes her motivating messages and life-changing lessons from other celebrated thought leaders of our time,

Welcome to WORDAFUL. WORDAFUL is an immersive, socially impactful video and live event series that aims to focus on the importance of communication with the world – and ourselves. “Words give meaning. Words are how we communicate. Sometimes, we throw out words and give no real thought to the power of what we’re saying. I created 12

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E! Entertainment Television

like bestselling author and current democratic United States presidential candidate Marianne Williamson and Paulo Coello. At her exciting live events, she thoughtfully meets, greets, and chats with all her attendees. Each event is a sublime, soul-stirring mix of motivation, meaningful life lessons, personal anecdotes, introspection, intention, purpose, and how to manifest your best self and life.

A Way with Words “WORDAFUL is creating a positive change in people’s lives, and in my own, which keeps me motivated,” Hernandez recently told Forbes Magazine. “I truly believe I am serving a purpose that is greater than myself and that gives me the enthusiasm to learn as much as I can to help others.” As an unfortunate, direct result of suffering from debilitating Alzheimer’s, Hernandez’s mother began losing her ability to physically speak. This sobering side effect of a merciless disease that seeks to rob the most precious of life’s gifts, is what initially inspired Hernandez to hang up her hosting heels at Access Hollywood and promote WORDAFUL full-time. “A lot of times, communicating is taken for granted and we become reckless with how we speak to each other. My mom losing her speech made me want to be more responsible with MINE.”

“Staying true to yourself…

Hold onto your authentic voice, not the voice of every other reporter. Be brave enough to be yourself, because what cuts through the noise is being real and relatable.” 13

Access Hollywood

Though Hernandez admits she’ll always have a soft spot for the small screen and all the glitz, glamour, and invigorating spontaneity it offers, having launched WORDAFUL helped her realize how much her own life needed a meaningful overhaul. From a passion project to a full-time business endeavor that seeks to compassionately cultivate positivity and change through the power of the spoken word, Hernandez loves the unstoppable energy she gets from growing her own company. Deeply inspired by a traditional upbringing with parents who incessantly instilled loving, supportive messaging through their pointed, purpose-driven language, coupled with her mom’s diagnosis, is what keeps WORDAFUL growing and Hernandez consistently motivated. Being able to tell someone — anyone — how you feel is an invaluable gift to be forever cherished.

height of her enviable media stardom, Hernandez is most indebted for creating a company with a conscience – one she produced straight from her heart and even caught the attention of another inimitable media mogul, Oprah Winfrey. Hernandez sees WORDAFUL moving forward and upward by laying one brick at a time. Perfecting her online videos word-by-word, reading more books, fully living life to help make each WORDAFUL event better than the

Though grateful for all the amazing, magical milestones she was able to hit during the 14

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Photo by @Solmazsaberie

next, and writing every day until the highly-anticipated WORDAFUL book is completed is her trajectory for the WORDAFUL brand growth.

Last Words Currently, Hernandez is growing the wordwonder brand’s social media presence by creating a platform where creative and forward-thinking individuals can share their own personal stories and life lessons on the power of words. Plus, each month, Hernandez gets out her hosting heels by holding live events in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. She is presently looking to bring her WORDAFUL events to other major cities across the United States and abroad while collaborating with other meaningful brands that align with the WORDAFUL mission.

Fans and followers should be on the lookout for an upcoming podcast and book, both of which are in the works. Hernandez’s advice for Latinas and other aspiring entrepreneurs who want to make it in the media? “Staying true to yourself… Hold onto your authentic voice, not the voice of every other reporter. Be brave enough to be yourself, because what cuts through the noise is being ‘real and relatable.’” Well said.



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Four-time bestselling author, wellness coach, sports nutritionist, brand innovator, and mother,

Melissa Hartwig Urban co-created one of today’s most-followed, trendsetting, cult-status diets that simplistically helps people meet their health, fitness, and weight loss goals. But, her own road to living a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle didn’t start out so smooth.


he’s a certified sports nutritionist who specializes in helping people change their unhealthy obsession with food and fad, on-the-fly diets while creating longterm, sustainable, healthy habits that lead to a purposeful-driven life. But, Hartwig had a rough start on the road to health and happiness. Her fresh-faced, fit exterior and go-getting personality are synonymous with her cult diet Whole30. But, the 44-year-old New Hampshire native endured a painful past of sexual abuse and debilitating drug addiction despite having had a “very vanilla” upbringing. With a stay-at-home mother and a doting dad who tirelessly toiled at two jobs, Hartwig’s childhood epitomized the classic all-American household. With good grades, a strong family support system, tight-knit circle of friends, and participation in school sports, her young life seemingly resembled that of any red-blooded American gal. Until she was cruelly molested by a family member she trusted when she was only sixteen. To cope with her tainted reality and the excruciating feelings of emptiness, 20

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pain, isolation, despondency, and worthlessness, the once put-together teen suddenly began to spiral into a dark abyss of drugs, alcohol, facebook.com loneliness, and depression. “I was just so empty and so sad…I felt like I didn’t have anything good to offer. I felt something was wrong with me. I felt broken,” Hartwig vividly recalls. So, at 18, she began experimenting with drugs for the first time. And, that numbing feeling that gave her the distance and respite she so ached for was instantly gratifying, elating, and addictive. “It was so easy…It became my object of desire to try as many different drugs as I possibly could.” And, she did. When heroin, cocaine, pills, and psychedelics stopped “cutting” it, she turned to cutting herself to reach the next “high.” With friends incarcerated and others who regrettably overdosed and died, Hartwig came to the startling realization that she needed to clean up her act — fast. She completed two agonizing stints in rehab

and underwent years of psychotherapy to deal with the sexual abuse she had been suppressing for so many years. In the years that followed, Hartwig began working as an administrative assistant for an insurance company, while doing fitness and nutrition consulting on the side. Eventually, she earned her degree and became a certified sports nutritionist. She was on her way to healing and thriving again.

It wasn’t until after a crushing CrossFit sesh with her then-husband Dallas Hartwig in 2009 that she started to see some light at the end of the tumultuous tunnel. While the pair was shamelessly scarfing down a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies following their body-busting workout, Dallas had blatantly proposed the young couple to clean-up their diet with a self-imposed 30-day challenge. And, Whole30 was born.

and grains. After thirty days, you introduce those forbidden foods back into your diet one day at a time so see what works for instagram.com you and what doesn’t. It is that simple and Hartwig couldn’t wait to get the word out to so many who mercilessly struggle with unhealthy food addictions, yoyo dieting, and poor body image. Though Dallas and Melissa split in 2015, she found love again in partner Brandon Talbot and is living her best life yet. “I never could’ve predicted it would turn out this way…But, I definitely feel like the addiction was setting me up for this path.”

During the couple’s 30-day clean-up challenge, Hartwig experienced the most restful, restorative facebook.com sleep, clear, glowing skin, energized days, increased productivity, and uplifting moods — all while completely removing added sugars, dairy, and grains from her diet. The official Whole30 program comprises a 30-day, complete cleanse of added sugars, dairy,

In April 2015, the pavement-pounding pair published The Whole30 — a New York Times Bestseller on how to healthfully eliminate dangerous sugar, dairy, and grains from the diet for 30 days, while largely focusing on consuming lean meats, fatty fish, fresh veggies, and heart-healthy fats like nuts and avocados. Since its publication, the instant-bestseller has sold over one million copies and boasts over 3.5 million Instagram posts with the #whole30 hashtag. The easy-to-follow, cleansing diet

Coming Clean



craze has garnered over 600,000 Facebook followers. Of course, the highly influential program isn’t without its critics, as some dieticians disapprove of the program’s restrictive qualities. The program has been likened to the popular “caveman” Paleo diet, as it takes a bite out of potentially harmful added sugars and refined carbs.

Rehab to Riches While halfheartedly clocking in at her 9-to-5 steady gig, Hartwig was feverishly putting in an additional 30 hours a week writing blogs and posts and answering emails for Whole30. She also took the time to travel to different cities around the country doing motivational speaking engagements to help get the Whole30 message out. In 2010, Hartwig was finally able to ditch her 9-to-5 to dedicate all her time, unlimited energy and resources to Whole30. Like her past rabid drug addiction, she was inexorably addicted to all things health, happiness, and exuberance. Hartwig would spend the 22

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next three months on the road speaking at gyms and CrossFit competitions with her co-founder to build the fast-growing, burgeoning brand. With an already established social media presence, it was all about spreading the message in real life. At the helm of Whole30, Hartwig has managed to keep all her money in Whole30, investing in digital media, content creation, website design, continued social media growth and creating resources to help retain the program’s followership and evolving needs. “I had a savings account that we used to keep us afloat for the first few months, but from year one, we were blessedly profitable,” says Hartwig. Instead of following traditional business models of profit growth via formulaic conversions and advertising collateral, Hartwig grew Whole30 by employing a rather unorthodox trajectory. She keeps her staff small by only employing seven people and relies on sophisticated marketing strategies that are innovative, simplistic, purposeful, and powerful. Hartwig

and her team constantly read testimonials, comments, and posts from followers of the program and design updates and launches according to the needs of their devotees. Dedication to audience engagement and how best to serve the Whole30 community is the cornerstone of the brand’s extraordinary success. “In today’s social media-driven, shortattention-span world, where everyone is your competition, that’s an outdated path to success and longevity,” declares Hartwig of the antiquated business models of yesteryear. Whole30’s rising popularity has led to unconventional, lucrative business opportunities, including several brand partnerships, trademark licensing to meal delivery service Blue Apron and Whole Foods Market, and affiliate programs with up-and-coming health food mecca Thrive Market. Whole 30’s impressive growth as afforded Hartwig and her five-year-old son financial freedom. “My son and I are financially secure and I’ve been able to help my family with some projects, which makes me very happy.” And, that’s the whole story. instagram.com

VIEW VIDEO!! instagram.com

The Purest Tasting Water On Earth â„¢

How ActOne Group’s Founder and CEO Built a Billion Dollar Business from Scratch — and a Fax Machine She’s the first African-American woman to build, own, and operate a billion-dollar company. How Janice Bryant Howroyd broke some of the biggest barriers for women of color in business and beyond.


Born in Tarboro, North Carolina, to a family of 11 children, 67-yearold Janice Bryant Howroyd is an acclaimed entrepreneur, educator, bestselling author, philanthropist, ambassador, and bold, badass businesswoman. Most notably, Howroyd is the founder and CEO of the ActOne Group, which is America’s largest, privately-held employment-placing company built, branded, owned, and operated by a minority woman.


Not Your Typical Teen The bestselling author of The Art of Work: How to Make Work, Work for You, Howroyd proved to be a precocious youngster destined to achieve greatness. Enrolled in a segregated school system during Jim Crow in the South, the progressive teen took on the system and became an integral figure in helping to desegregate schools in North Carolina. Eventually matriculating through an integrated school system, Howroyd experienced bouts of blatant racism and discrimination from teachers who vehemently and outspokenly opposed affirmative action and the growing ascension of blacks in America. However, that didn’t stop the impressionable and passionate purveyor of the civil rights movement, as Howroyd would eventually graduate with grades good enough to award her a full scholarship to North Carolina A&T University where she earned her B.A. in English. 28

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Breaking Barriers, Making History With a current reported net worth of $500 million, Howroyd once told CNBC, “You don’t become the first African-American woman to own a billion-dollar company overnight.” So, how’d she do it? In 1976, the sassy Southerner picked up and went westward — all the way to the big, bright lights of La La Land where she landed a secretarial gig at the long-standing entertainment publication Billboard Magazine. It was here that Howroyd mingled and schmoozed with Hollywood’s elite power players, including celebrities and big wig business execs, and becoming integral to facilitating travel, diversity, and equality in the workplace. Again, she found herself at the forefront of progression, inclusion, and change. And, with a $900 loan from her mother back east, a single telephone, and the innovation of the humble facsimile machine, she officially launched her employment services company, ACT-1 Group in Beverly Hills in 1978. A modest office with an affluent address, the young burgeoning businesswoman had high hopes for success. And, it more than paid off. Now, ActOne Group is the industry leader that provides employment, workforce management, and procurement solutions to Fortune 500 companies, local and mid-sized corporations, and government agencies. Some of her most famous clients include AppleOne, AT-Tech, ACheck, and others.

Howroyd is the ambassador of the Department of Energy’s Minorities in Energy Initiative and an on-going board member to the United States Department of Labor’s Workforce Initiative Board, the California Science Center in Los Angeles, Women’s Business Enterprising National Council, Harvard Women’s Leadership Board, and so much more. In May 2016, she was awarded a key appointment by then-President Barrack Obama as a distinguished member of the President’s Board of Advisors in Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Howroyd’s latest authorial work, Acting Up: Winning in Business and Life Using DownHome Wisdom, is a masterful



literary representation that pays homage to the family values, hard work ethic, and integrity she obtained from her wholesome, dignified, Southern upbringing during the civil rights era. With unabashed wit and swift eloquence, Howroyd explains how implementing these down-home values and uncompromising personal convictions can help you succeed at innovation, growth, and a thriving community.

In the Business of Benevolence The busy business guru is also a fierce, proven proponent of giving back. According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, Howroyd is “an individual



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who has had a significant impact on the wellbeing of her community and who has had the foresight and generosity to recognize that her success is best savored when she pays it forward.” The self-made millionaire whose ActOne Group fruitfully employs 2,600 and with 17,000 clients in 19 countries resides in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband Bernard. Her son Brett is president of Apple One and her daughter Kathryn heads ActOne Group’s branding efforts. ActOne Group has steadily generated $1.1 billion in net sales. Her renowned mantra for entrepreneurial success: “I’ve had many opportunities over the growth of my business to make decisions…that wouldn’t have been constant with who I am and how I like to practice business…But, I always had to go back to how I opened my doors, and I opened my doors with a commitment to myself that I would never compromise my personal self for my professional self — so, that continues to be my mantra.” And, you can take that to the bank, business buffs!

“I always had to go

back to how I opened my doors, and I opened my doors with a commitment to myself that I would never compromise my personal self for my professional self — so, that continues to be my mantra.”



Here’s How this Mexican-born Fashionista Turned Cake Connoisseur Built Her Celeb-Crazed Bakery Empire From Scratch

Owner and founder of New York City-based bakery Flour Shop, Amirah Kassem, baked her first of many beloved birthday cakes for her brother when she was only 8 years old. The secret ingredient? M&Ms! Meet the baking buff who made her dream a reality - one sweet sprinkle at a time. (Spoiler alert: it was anything but a cakewalk!) marieclaire.com

“Because a woman’s place is in the kitchen…from a company she built from scratch” says the Mexican beauty with the perennial candy apple-red pout and bubblegum pink boiler suit who has famously built a brand out of eternalizing birthdays, celebrations, and other momentous occasions, all while magically employing copious amounts of sprinkles, sugar, and smiles in the process. Kassem, 33, has literally amassed a sweet $50 million-dollar fortune from a cascade of designer cakes, candy, glitter, and sprinkles. That’s a whole lot of edible bling! When one ventures beyond the doors of Soho’s Flour Shop, they’re immediately met with a barrage of captivating sweet obsessions in full Technicolor delight. Like Dorothy stepping into her rainbow-filled dream, the Flour Shop, too, is a real-life, dream-come-true for the candy and cake enthusiast — or just about anyone with an 36

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insatiable sweet tooth! Besides running her Instagram famous bakeshop in lower Manhattan, Kassem recently released her first cake book, The Power of Sprinkles: A Cake Book by the Founder of The Flour Shop, a whimsical children’s book fittingly entitled Magical Land of Birthdays, and has collaborated with the high-end houseware brand Williams-Sonoma on a full-range of signature bakeware. The bright, candy boxcolored collection includes everything one needs to successfully pull off her famous Rainbow Explosion Cake – a heavenly, sixlayer pleasure that explodes with piles of confetti-like bits of candy and sprinkles when sliced!

From Clothes to Confections But, long before Kassem was baking bursting cakes, she was hard at work creating a rewarding career in the competitive field of fashion. Hence, her relocation to the Big Apple after earning her degree

from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles. In 2011, after working for Interview Magazine, Kassem soon landed a prominent position to work directly alongside legendary fashion designer Johan Lindeberg to help launch the denim and leather label BLK DMN. The coveted role eventually landed Kassem as the brand’s general manager. Although she was truly enjoying her rise up the fashion ranks, she would awake at the crack of dawn every morning to work on her passion pursuits – baking colorful, eyecatching cakes for all her friends. “While I was working in fashion, I was waking up early and baking for friends and family," says Kassem, “I never had a plan, it was just something I loved doing.” The great, late musician John Lennon once quoted, “Life is what happens when you have other plans.” And, so that’s basically how Kassem’s story unfolded and the Flour Shop blossomed.


With a growing demand for her brightand-bold, fun-filled, sweet indulgences, Kassem decided to officially leave her full-time fashion gig in 2012 to bake cakes out of her small Williamsburg apartment. Without much funding for proper branding, marketing, and a just as eye-catching website, Kassem relied on word-of-mouth and the same resourceful innovation that made many entrepreneurs millionaires – social media. She would photograph all her Insta-worthy, multi-hued creations and post to the photo-sharing app. Unsurprisingly, the Flour Shop had the mouths of Valentino, Chanel, Versace, and Stella McCartney watering in no time. Her artistically sculpted, decadent desserts have been featured in the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum, respectively. Her long list of A-list clients includes Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry, and Beyonce. Kassem is enamored with cake baking, specifically, for the special, celebratory moments it represents. Whether it be for friends or family or strangers, Kassem relishes in surprising people with things they love. “And, with cake, I get to feel like I’m part of so many of New York’s ‘big life moment’ celebrations. I think there’s something really special to that.” Kassem admits that not possessing the classic “bakery business” training before launching the Flour Shop was quite intimidating, overwhelming, and even scary. Having to willingly relinquish some of the reins 37

Recipe for Success


to a team of 30 was even tougher for the determined cake aficionado. Entrusting your brand’s vision to what she now refers to as her “Sprinkle Squad” took some getting used to. Yet, the process has taught her to fearlessly “let go” and focus on other things that demand her bevy of unique talents. Her husband of just a few years currently handles the business side of the bakery, while Kassem manages the entire creative side — from events, collabs, partnerships, social media management, and deciding what the next must-have treat will be to blow up Instagram. While sales from the brick-and-mortar shop and its accompanying virtual store comprise much of the brand’s primary revenue, collabs, and partnerships, the two books are lucrative extensions of the Flour Shop trademark that help propel growth. 38

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Kassem also believes that you can successfully work in multiple capacities simultaneously, but you cannot move onto the next thing until you’ve completed the thing prior. The secret for success has a sequence. In business, one must understand what comes first, second, etc. And, interestingly, she refuses to use the term “goals,” but rather “dreams.” “I think a lot of people set goals that they know they can reach because a goal that is not realistic can turn into something scary that could fail. When you’re young and full of imagination, you can dream things and nothing can stop you.” When Kassem began gaining recognition for her masterful baking skills, she was approached for a cookbook deal but didn’t feel the time was right. “I don’t like to come up with ideas because there is an opportunity; I prefer to come up with an opportunity because there’s suddenly an idea.” Talk about thinking outside of the cake box! Kassem’s end goal is to always create something that will bring someone else pure, unadulterated joy. Whether it be a cake, product, environment, celebration, event – whatever – being able to bring a smile to someone’s face, including your own, is the ultimate recipe for success. Kassem also unapologetically subscribes to the Peter Pan syndrome of everlasting youth, sprinkled with lots of love, laughter, and hosting themed brunches and dinners for her closest friends.

And, of course, PIZZA! “I’m obsessed with pizza. Pizza is always welcomed at the store,” she hints. To get a taste of her color-crazed concoctions, be sure to visit flourshop.com or on the ‘Gram @flourshop, if even just to glimpse her glamorous, glitterati Rainbow Explosion Cake that is sure to blow your mind. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it, too?



Over 300 VIP Guests Helped


50th Golden Anniversary in early December Founded in 1969, Winston's is an Orange County legacy and family-owned business. The entire Mariner's Pointe venue was elegantly decorated in thousands of twinkling lights and trunkwrapped palm trees at the valet entrance. A red carpet entry welcomed guests to the festive cabana, warm fire pits and a well-stocked bar. Taste Catering offered tray-passed Hors d'oeuvres while lively, upbeat music by DJ Nuttalya set the tone. Neighboring tenants who joined in the celebration included Xanadu Cafe, Caz Training Club and Newport Beach Med Spa." Jennifer Murphy, CEO of GoGirl Worldwide Magazine was in attendance, as well as GoGirl’s official DJ Nuttalya, spinning tunes while guests danced throughout the evening.

Andrea Ocampo, Day Verdult, Michelle Verdult

Rex Skirt Wines graciously sponsored the event, serving their delicious wine and sangria brought to you from Spain. And Helix Vodka provided a world class “twist” with their blend of French Spirits derived from the golden wheat fields of Champagne with the world’s finest glacial water from Iceland.

Brandon Verdult, Alan Verdult, Glenn Verdult, Alexander Verdult

Dan Shannon, owner Helix Vodka w/Jennifer Murphy, CEO GoGirl Worldwide and Cheresse Pentella, PR Manager Neiman Marcus

Glenn and Michelle Verdult

Day Verdult, Marketing Director Winston's Crown Jewelers with Nuttalya, Official GoGirl DJ Ismael Mercado, owner Red Skirt Wines


Charis Jones recently hit the million-dollar mark in revenue with her brick-and-mortar boutique and online shopping destination-sensation Sassy Jones Boutique. And, it only took her seven short months! Here’s how the glam gal and selfprofessed fashionista made it happen.


fter deciding to leave her full-time job as a top salesperson for a Fortune 50 company, entrepreneur and accessory enthusiast, Charis Jones, branched out and opened her very own brick-and-mortar business, Sassy Jones Boutique. Located in the heart of Richmond, Virginia, the female-forward shop specializes in the curation of unique, oneof-a-kind pieces, including jewelry, clothing, hats, scarves, gloves, and other fashionably functional accents to elevate any look for any taste. The booming boutique that’s a Facebook fave with its weekly “sparkle parties” just introduced a customized collection of mosaic handbags exclusive to the Sassy Jones brand. The eye-catching arm candy is completely handcrafted by female artisans in India and an instant hit with Sassy Jones Boutique buffs. In the everlasting quest to help fashionistas elevate and update their personal style game flawlessly and affordably, Jones insists her unmistakably bold and exuberant brand effortlessly provides the perfect pieces “for the sassy, sophisticated girlon-the-go.” The award-

winning accessory and clothing marque keep fashionistas faithfully logging in every Wednesday to gleefully “spend and splurge” during the boutique’s “sparkle parties” via Facebook Live. Each week, these followerpacked, online parties easily pull in 10k, so it’s no wonder Jones reached the $1 million mark in just seven, super stylish months. “That night, we hit the million mark and it did not feel like work. I gave that ‘sparkle party’ my all. We only needed $26 to meet our goal. On July 11th at midnight, an order for exactly $26 came in and the order number was the zip code of where I grew up in [zip code] 23703. I sat there and sobbed when we hit it. It happened. We had become a million-dollar business!” she tells Black Enterprise. A cross between QVC and daytime television’s “The Real,” the insanely lucrative and much-loved “sparkle parties” feature Jones and her staff spotlighting the boutique’s hottest, newest, wardrobe must-haves, replete with comedic, closet commentary and unabashed girl-chat.

Plus, no “sparkle party” would be complete without Jones sprinkling in some styling tips and tricks, while taking questions from her most fashion fervent fans. A burst of brilliant, bold hues and glitz, glimmer, and shimmer are the burgeoning brand’s beloved traits, with a steadfast mission for helping women feel undeniably cool and confident every day of the year – no matter the occasion or nonoccasion. Brilliantly integrating her brick-and-mortar business with its social media-inspired “sparkle parties” allowed Jones to reach a once-untapped audience on a global scale, ultimately catapulting her business to milliondollar status and shooting her bottom line straight to the top. Not only does Jones seek to sell the most exceptional items, but she also does so by using various, moneymaking verticals, i.e., foot traffic from the stand-alone shop, an e-commerce website, a shopping app, and her weekly “sparkle 49

parties� via social media. Free, fun, and incredibly ingenious, Facebook has helped millions of entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners girl-on-thego their marketing trajectories, resulting in massive revenue, increased personal net worth, collaborations and partnerships with other brands, and notable brand recognition. And, now Sassy Jones Boutique can be added to the coveted entrepreneur hall of Facebook fame, too.

The Bio of a Boutique Babe After ranking as the top salesperson for a Fortune 50 company, but repeatedly getting pink-slipped, Jones finally broke free from the corporate confines to embark on building her own brand and accessory empire. Featured in Fashion Bomb Daily and Essence.com, Sassy Jones Boutique recently earned Boutique of the Year. Having studied at Hampton University, Jones acquired the necessary skills of differentiation within the marketplace, while learning to cultivate enduring customer relationships. Her uncanny ability to turn happy customers into 50

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devoted fans, while implementing creative marketing strategies have been some of the hallmarks to her fast-growing success. Not to mention her sassy, classy, upbeat attitude and savvy sense of style, customers and fans get the whole package with Miss Jones. Jones has also been featured in national campaigns for Motorola, Strayer University, GEICO, and AT&T. For the ultimate shopping spree, be sure to check out her website at www.shopsassyjones. com or join her weekly Facebook Live “sparkle parties” every Wednesday on the site’s profile page Sassy Jones. 51

Give the gift of MAGIC with FAO Schwarz® .



The Skinny on the CEO/ Founder Who Shaped the Undergarment Industry and Lifted the Potential, Confidence, and Spirits of Women Everywhere

Nearly 20 years ago, SPANX founder and CEO Sara Blakely revolutionized the retail hosiery and shapewear space with her bestselling line of fabulously fun, form-fitting undergarments that magically smooth, sculpt, tuck, lift, and firm ANY figure. In 2012, the busy mother of four, devoted wife, underwear innovator, fierce philanthropist, and painstaking proponent of female empowerment, became the world’s youngest, self-made female billionaire by the age of 41. Meet the woman who has transformed the wardrobes of millions of women with the start of one simple solution.



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There probably isn’t a single woman on the planet who doesn’t own a SPANX shapewear accessory of some sort. Let’s get real, ladies. Even seemingly perfectlyproportioned supermodels, trimmed and toned actresses, fit and firm fitness bloggers, soccer moms, blushing brides — EVERYONE — owns at least one pair of SPANX pantyhose, power panty, or belly bulge-busting piece that they’re gratuitously grateful for. What started out as smoothing and sculpting panties and pin-perfecting pantyhose, has morphed into an

entire line of lifting leggings, bras, denim, bodysuits, activewear, tops, tees, and even a men’s hosiery line. Arguably, SPANX has been the single greatest innovation in underwear this century with its iconic, beloved brand of bodyboosting must-haves, indefinitely banning painful, uncomfortable corsets to the back of the closet only to be retrieved for that rare, impromptu night of intimate enjoyment. Because, SPANX isn’t exactly as sexy as it is practical and unequivocally essential for anyone with a body — size notwithstanding.


The Pantyhose Pragmatist “It all started with a pair of pantyhose, some scissors, and a bright idea,” says Blakely. While getting ready for an event back in 1998, Blakely realized she didn’t have the right undergarment to successfully pull off a smooth, sculpted derriere under unforgiving cream-white pants. What she did have? A handy pair of scissors, pantyhose, and sheer ingenuity. So, she cut the “feet” off her control top hose and that was the beginning of the booty-beautifying revolution. Engineered to solve unceremonious wardrobe woes, the SPANX brand has grown to offer so much more than butt-perfecting panties that smooth those unwanted lumps and bumps. With almost daily mentions from CNN to SNL to social media to pop culture, the cheeky, charitable brand has securely (and firmly!) solidified a place in our hearts and on our booties.

In March of 2012, Forbes Magazine named then 41-year-old Blakely the world’s youngest, self-made billionaire, and that same year, one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People.” Headquartered in HOT-lanta, Georgia and continuing to open specialty retail shops across the U. S., SPANX can now be found worldwide in more than 50 countries and counting. Where there are women, there’s a demand for SPANX. In addition to keeping derrieres dimplefree and firm from Savannah to Singapore, SPANX is also integral in boosting female empowerment, with their endless mission in helping women feel great about themselves – head-to-toe, inside and out. With a prodigious personal net worth of $1.1 billion as of 2019, the 49-year-old billionaire businesswoman and intimate apparel innovator went into production in 2000 after finding a mill to manufacture her bright idea



| JANUARY 2020

from two years prior. The result was footless, bodysmoothing shapewear. No scissors are necessary. And, SPANX was born! Legendary department store Neiman Marcus was the first to eagerly place an order on the soon-to-be cult-fave compression gear. That same year, SPANX saw gold with the Midas Touch when its footless body shapewear debuted on Oprah’s annual, highly-anticipated “Favorite Things List.” The next few years, SPANX stretched their collection with more innovative, shapewear solutions, like control top fishnets, their signature Power Panties (the first leg band-less, mid-thigh hosiery shapewear and sculptor), Hide and Seek Slim Cognito intimate apparel pieces, ASSETS for Target, BRA-llelujah, which quickly became the bestselling bra at all major retailers, compression undergarments for the guys, shaping denim, leggings, activewear, tees, tops, and more.

Famous Friends Get Wrapped Up in the SPANX Craze A-lister Gwyneth Paltrow publicly admitted to wearing two simultaneous pairs of the celeb-obsessed slimming shapewear after giving birth, while Oprah told her audience, “I’ve given up panties and only wear SPANX.” In 2004, Blakely joined fellow billionaire, Sir Richard Branson, to travel the world with FOX TV for his “Rebel Billionaire” series, the same year the body-beautifying brand earned The Advertising Age’s “Marketing 50” honor. In 2006, Blakely and Branson threw the “Give a Damn Party” to officially launch The Sara Blakely Foundation and surprised Oprah with a $1 million check for the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation in South Africa. After opening its first-ever SPANX shop inside Bloomingdales’ 59th Street location in NYC, Blakely deservingly graced the



cover of Forbes Magazine as the youngest, self-made female billionaire. It was a whirlwind year for the blossoming businesswoman and it was all just beginning. SPANX opened its first stand-alone shop at Tyson’s Corner in Virginia, and in 2013, along with Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, Blakely committed to giving more than half of her wealth to charity with The Giving Pledge.

Making the World a Better Place One Butt at A Time — Butts that Give Back!

Make no butts about it, since the advent of SPANX, Blakely has unwaveringly appropriated portions of proceeds from her signature shapewear line to empower, embolden, and elevate women. There seems to be no bottom to Blakely’s tireless philanthropic initiatives. For one, The SPANX Foundation teamed up with The Center for Civic Innovation to provide funding to 18 Atlanta-based social enterprises. The grant included a personal stipend, leadership incentive, and exposed businesses to additional investment opportunities. The SPANX Foundation also donated $150,000 to support the Malala Fund to help fund girls’ education. And, was honored to team 60

| JANUARY 2020

up with and host the first-ever PowHERful Enrichment Summit in Atlanta — a nonprofit that helps women get to – and through — college by providing much-needed financial services, career guidance, and mentorship. SPANX also made The Akola Project a SPANX Leg Up winner, investing an astounding $100,000 into this burgeoning company committed to helping women break free from the vicious cycle of poverty while transforming their lives. The SPANX Leg Up Program began as a way of helping other women, would-be business owners grow their businesses and/or brands. Winners of the program get exclusive, one-on-one mentoring with Sara herself, as well as free advertising in the SPANX catalog.

I am committed to the belief that we would all be in a much better place if half the human race (women) were empowered to prosper, invest, be educated, start their own business, run for office – essentially be given the chance to SOAR!

The Florida native who flunked the LSAT and settled for selling fax machines is the sole owner of SPANX and has never implemented formal advertising or taken outside investments to fund her company. It wasn’t until Oprah named SPANX one of her “favorite things” in 2000 that Blakely finally quit her day job. Blakely resides between Atlanta and New York with her husband Jesse Itzler, co-founder of Marquis Jet, and their four sons. Now, that’s something we can really get behind.


Your City, ST www.pedego.com

NOAA_RAMMB — Hurricane Dorian

As last summer’s Hurricane Dorian began making headway toward the Caribbean, wreaking havoc and devastation in its path, three brave women boldly boarded a G-IV aircraft and headed directly into the eye of the storm. firstaerosquadron.com

Captain Kristine Twining, Commander Rebecca Waddington, and Lieutenant Lindsey Norman

comprised the first-ever, all-female crew assigned to conduct a reconnaissance mission during the duration of Hurricane Dorian for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).


Their job entailed collecting crucial data as

Dubbed “The Hurricane Hunters,” the ladies

the late summer storm relentlessly ravaged

were faced with having to fly defiantly and

through the Caribbean and parts of Florida.

directly up the hurricane’s precarious path to

The three-girl, recon aircrew took off from

retrieve beneficial data that could be used to

Lakeland, Florida during an early afternoon

help keep people on the ground safe – and

in late August and safely returned after a

informed. Says Lt. Norman of their mighty

6 ½-hour flight that covered 3,651 miles, according to global aviation software and data services company, Flight Aware. Once

mission, who is also currently training to pilot a G-IV plane, “It was my first hurricane

the women had completed their perilous

mission in the aircraft and I was fortunate to

task, Dorian had officially been upgraded to

fly with Captain Twining and Lt. Commander

a category 2 storm with wind gusts of up to

Waddington. I’ve been working with them

105 mph (just short of a category 3 storm),

for five years. They’ve been mentors to me.”

according to the National Hurricane Center. 66

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Ever wondered what a reconnaissance operation involves, exactly?

The Hurricane Hunters typically fly up to 45,000 feet in order to properly assess the entire scope of the storm and its imminent course. Reaching these higher altitudes brings the aircraft directly above the storm where they can effectively collect the most accurate data. It is then that the Hurricane Hunters drop cylindrical monitoring devices known as “dropsondes,” which gather and decipher barometric measurements, such as humidity, pressure, temperature, and wind speed. A typical recon mission takes approximately eight hours total, where the crew flies non-stop and alternates commandeering duties of the aircraft, all based on a 24-hour cycle throughout the entire duration of the storm. The info is then transmitted to meteorologists, news stations, and affected citizens in the area. In 2008, duo Twining and Waddington successfully led the first-ever, all-women Hurricane Hunters team where they flew a G-IV over Hurricane Hector in Hawaii. With the addition of Norman to the savvy storm squad, they captured the historic event with a Twitter photo that had instantly gone viral. “This was just the first time we had three women, and it represented the future for aviation,” added Jonathan Shannon, communications specialist at NOAA. “We had two experienced female aviators mentoring the next generation coming up. We thought it was neat to capture a photo!” firstaerosquadron.com



714-581-5931 | pavescapesinc.com

87-year-old Woman

Knits 75 Snuggly Hats for Strangers and the Homeless

With yet another holiday season that has come and gone, we often find ourselves ruminating on the past year’s triumphs – and tribulations. While we serve up small smiles to all of our accomplishments and relish in goals met, we also find ourselves contemplating all those pending New Year’s resolutions and how we can take on the brand-new year using increased intention, mindfulness, positivity, awareness, and advocacy. Contributing in any way or ways — however big or small — for the betterment of humanity is beneficial to everyone. And, to that, we say “hats off” to this inspirational story of selflessness and the steadfast resolve to make a lasting difference no matter the circumstances.


ou don’t know her. And, you probably never will. That’s because this 87-year-old Massachusetts woman who selflessly spent countless months knitting over 75 hats so that needy kids and the homeless could stay warm during the blistery, cold New England winter, wished to remain anonymous. Wanting to give back to her community in some way, this enigmatic GoGranny wasn’t sure exactly how she could possibly achieve her altruistic aspirations, since she was unable to engage in proclivities of the active nature, largely due to age. But, she didn’t let that stop her. Instead, she brilliantly employed a talent she was able to perform – knitting. And, a lot of it! Not only was knitting warm hats a way to keep her days and nights occupied, but it gave her the opportunity to pay it forward in her own special way. While each hat took approximately a single day to complete, she believes all the hard work is well worth it. “I like doing them. I think it is fun. I just like to stay in the background,” she told Boston 25 News. “…just because it makes me feel good that I can do something for someone.” 72

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After she reached her target of 75 hats, her daughter placed them all in plastic bags and conspicuously hung them alongside a fence in Plymouth’s Nelson Memorial Park. She also continues to donate her specialty handmade headwear to the area’s homeless shelters. “Just these little things would mean so much to someone who doesn’t have anything,” she added. How can you contribute to your community or give back in a big — or little — way? There’s a common misconception that having ample access to monetary resources is needed to affect change or effectively make a difference. That simply cannot be further from the truth. Take a page from this GoGirl’s humanitarian handbook. All you need is a talent and a little extra time – two things everyone has. The fact that this goodhearted woman wished to remain a mystery is indicative of her selflessness and genuine desire to help those in need. Her inspiring story is a beautiful reminder that we ALL possess unique talents and skills that we can put to use to make a positive and enduring impact on others.

BOSTON 25 NEWS_understandingcompassion.com

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