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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2019

ng ED i t a H ebr IS

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Introducing Miami’s Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in Business and Industry of 2019


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EDITOR’S NOTE

4

LEGACY MIAMI’S MOST INFLUENTIAL & PROMINENT BLACK WOMEN IN BUSINESS & INDUSTRY, 2019

6 CHAIRWOMAN’S REPORT By Audrey M. Edmonson

BUSINESS REPORT

By Beatrice Louissaint

8 ENTREPRENEURSHIP Modeling Agency Executive Finds Success Showcasing Talent of Color By Kallan Louis 10 COVER STORY Education, Determination, and Purpose Drive Legacy Miami’s Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in Business and Industry, 2019 By Michelle F. Solomon

Recently, I was invited to interview realty show queen NeNe Leakes, the star of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” She was in South Florida to host a weekend summit called “Ladies of Success: Beauty, Brains and Business.” “The main focus of this event is for SUCCESSFUL entrepreneurs,

CEO’s and all around business-minded women across the world to network, uplift, connect, motivate and learn ways to increase their bottom line by networking with other like-minded woman,” NeNe wrote on Instagram. The interview never happened. Not that I didn’t try. Organizers asked me to meet NeNe at a posh Miami Beach restaurant on Biscayne Bay, where the fashionable women attending her summit were anxiously awaiting her arrival. As the restaurant’s double doors opened, NeNe and her entourage— which included her husband Gregg, former NBA star Lamar Odom, and his now fiancé Sabrina Parr (they got engaged four days later at Prime 112 restaurant in Miami Beach) — were formally announced to a chorus of cheers and a barrage of camera flashes as if royalty had entered the room. Too much chaos for any chance of me conducting an interview.

Fortunately, I need look no further than the pages of this issue for Miami’s Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in Business and Industry, 2019. This year’s honorees run the gamut from a bank vice president to a chief human resources officer to a few high-powered attorneys. They now join Legacy’s exclusive circle of women achievers who also display beauty, brains, and a keen sense of business. They may not hold a Georgia peach — or in our case a Florida orange — like the cast of “Real Housewives,” but our honorees are building wealth, uplifting communities, and trailblazing a path right here. That’s our reality. Russell Motley Legacy Editor-in-Chief rm@miamediagrp.com n

12 CAREER LEADERSHIP & DEVELOPMENT By Mary Davids

SOCIAL MEDIA By Dr. Tracy Timberlake

14

Preparation Can Expand Options for Financing Your Business By Joann Milord

BLACK BUSINESS LOAN FUND

16 PROFILE IN LEADERSHIP Hudson Works to Empower Miami’s Homeless Population By Christian Portilla ON THE COVER: Pictured front row center, Symeria Hudson; back from left: Dr. Alexia Rolle, Dr. Lynn Labrousse, Assistant Chief Cherise Gause, Nicole Smith, Sandra Bridgeman and LaShawnna Stanley. The cover photo was taken Joe Wesley. Cover makeup by Rory Lee.

Russell Motley Editor-in-Chief

Subscribe to and view the digital version of Legacy Magazine and view additional articles at http://bitly.com/legacymagazines Facebook: Facebook.com/TheMIAMagazine Twitter and Instagram: @TheMIAMagazine

Yanela G. McLeod Copy Editor

#BeInformed #BeInfluential #BlackHistoryMonth

Shannel Escoffery Vice President

Sabrina Moss-Solomon Designer

Joe Wesley

Dexter A. Bridgeman CEO & Founder

Cover Photo

Member of the Black Owned Media Alliance (BOMA)

Rory Lee

Cover Makeup Artist

CREDO OF THE BLACK PRESS

“The Black Press believes that America can best lead the world away from racial and national antagonisms when it accords to every one regardless of race, color or creed, full human and legal rights. Hating no person, fearing no person, the Black Press strives to help every person in the firm belief that all hurt as long as anyone is held back.”


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Legacy Miami’s Most Influential & Prominent Black Women in Business & Industry of 2019

DR. SHERELEAN BASS

DR. CAROL BIGGS, MBA-HA, DHSC

LATOUSHA R. DANIELS

NYC CHARLT DANIEL

Commissioner, City of Opa-locka

Chief Nursing Officer Jackson Memorial Hospital

Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine

CHERYL BREWSTER

Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer, City of Miami

SANDRA BRIDGEMAN

LASHARAH S. BUNTING

SHELIA POWELL COHEN

LUCIA DAVIS-RAIFORD

MELISSA HUNTER DAVIS

MARY ESTIMÈ-IRVIN

CHERISE GIORDANI GAUSE

President and Chief Executive Officer Miami Children’s Initiative, Inc.

Principal Lindsey Hopkins Technical College

Director, Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services Department

CASANDRA HENRIQUEZ

SYMERIA T. HUDSON

VANESSA JOSEPH, ESQ.

SHANNON SAINT CLAIR

KEYMIA SHARPE

Love Coach Real Love Network

Celebrity Jewelry & Clothing Designer & Online Boutique Owner, Shannon Saint Clair LLC

President and CEO Chapman Partnership

CEO Key2MIA

Elected City Clerk City of North Miami

NICOLE R. SMITH

Author, Speaker, Coach, Workforce Development Specialist, Game Day Prep 365

Director/Journalism Knight Foundation

Director of Major Gifts and Faith-Based Relations, Florida Memorial University

Assistant Chief of Police Miami Police Department

Founder/Publisher Sugarcane Magazine

President/CEO Estime & Irvin Associates

SHARON KENDRICK-JOHNSON

LYNN LABROUSSE PH.D., D.C. Doctor Dr. Lynn Labrousse

Director, Career and Technical Education, Miami Dade College

LASHAWNNA STANLEY

PASTOR RICHELLE WILLIAMS

KATRINA WILSON

CEO/Founder, South Florida Social Register in BLACK

International Casting Director/ Producer LaShawnna Stanley Enterprises

Senior Pastor, Jesus People Ministries Church International

DR. ALEXIA Q. ROLLE

Councilwoman City of Miami Gardens


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CHAIRWOMAN’S REPORT

Commission Working to Help Achieve Equality for Women

Audrey M. Edmonson

BY AUDREY M. EDMONSON

Over the last several decades, women have made tremendous progress in a host of areas – from education and the workforce to the world of politics.

Women’s voices and participation have transformed entire industries and societies for the better, proving that inclusion is good for everyone. But according to the Florida International University Metropolitan Center’s latest report on the Status of Women, we still have a way to go on the road to full equality. Although women are earning bachelor’s degrees more than ever before, including in the key areas of science and engineering, the pay gap between men and women unfortunately remains – with women earning on average about 14 percent less than men, according to the report. In addition, the study found that while three-quarters of full-time male workers earned incomes of $25,000 and above, only two-thirds of full-time female employees were in the same earnings bracket. At the same time, a double-digit

gender gap still exists in the top 10 highest-paid occupations. Furthermore, although women make up more than half the population, they represent only 44 percent of the full-time workforce. In Miami-Dade, only about 53 percent of women over age 16 participate in the labor force, compared to 65 percent of men. Among women in the workforce, a higher percentage continue to work part-time (32 percent versus 24 percent for men). Clearly, work remains to be done to close the gap. While the private sector obviously must do its part, there is much we can do as a government to advance the cause of women. Since the County Commission’s 2015 approval of the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women ordinance, which mandated the annual Status of Women report, the commission has passed several pieces of legislation addressing

pay equity for women in county contracts, representation of women on county boards, and updates to the county’s sexual harassment policies. The Miami-Dade Commission for Women is working to prepare additional policy recommendations based on the latest report to address remaining inequalities. I look forward to reviewing and implementing them with the help of my colleagues. Women make up an indispensable part of our economy, and their active and equitable participation is needed to make it work. That’s why we need to commit ourselves to truly valuing and supporting women, because when women do well, everybody benefits.

Audrey M. Edmonson is chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Commission. n

BUSINESS REPORT

Black-owned, Women-Led Companies Changing South Florida’s Economy

BY BEATRICE LOUISSAINT

According to the National Association of Education Statistics, black women are the most educated segment of the United States population. They are also the nation’s fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs. South Florida is an epicenter for companies owned by black women. Meet some of these women and their companies: Ebony Smith worked in the operations and logistics sector of the corporate energy industry for many years, but she began to feel something

was missing. She ultimately launched Ebony Smith & Associates Inc., which provides leadership development and employee experience services through coaching, facilitation, workshops and talent development. The company teaches resiliency, leadership and relationship building, giving leaders practical skills that build their capacity and capability. Its clients include Ryder Systems, Revlon, Nike, Florida International University, and University of Miami Health System. www.ebenumequation.com/ebony-smithyour-coach After decades of specializing in issues pertaining to medically-complex children, Barbara Sharief founded South Florida Pediatric Homecare Inc. in 2001. The company cares for children and adults with medically-complex needs in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, employing more than 600 specially trained professionals. The home health agency works closely with clients and their physicians to coordinate care in patients’ homes or home-like settings. Sharief holds a doctorate of Nurse Practice from the University of Pennsylvania, and earned both a Master

of Science in nursing and an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner degree from Florida International University. Sharief also advocates for affordable health care as Broward County Commissioner for District 8. www.southfloridapediatrics.com With a background as a creative director for a jewelry company, Tiffany Chimere launched her eponymous brand, proving she could succeed as an entrepreneur. Through Tiffany Chimere Inc., she sells a designer line of custom fashion shoes and accessories for women and children. Meanwhile, Tiffany Chimere Publishing has published two books: An Open Book: A Poetic Autobiography, and the children’s book I Am Beautiful, a collection of photos of diverse children. www.tiffanychimere.com After a stellar career at IBM, Linda Spradley Dunn launched Odyssey Media to connect multicultural female executives, providing them a voice and business retreat. As CEO, Dunn has established and cultivated a community of thousands of affluent and influential multicultural women, including senior

corporate executives, attorneys, physicians and entrepreneurs. They purchase exclusive memberships to access programs and resources, including conferences and boot camps, as well as philanthropic and travel opportunities. The yearly Odyssey Network Business Retreat attracts nearly 600 female executives and is sponsored by companies including Prudential, Johnson & Johnson and Starbucks. Headquartered in Singer Island, Florida, Odyssey has satellite offices in New York, Detroit, and California. www.odysseymedia.com Beatrice Louissaint is president and CEO of the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council, one of 23 regional councils affiliated with the National Minority Supplier Development Council. The FSMSDC serves as liaison between corporate America and government agencies and Minority Business Enterprises in the state of Florida. It also operates U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency Business Centers serving southern and central Florida. Learn more at fsmsdc.org or call (305) 762-6151. n


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The African-American Achievers Awards, now in its 28th year, recognizes those who have made an extraordinary difference in their community through hard work, dedication and compassion. An independent panel of judges from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties selects honorees in the following categories:

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ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Modeling Agency Executive Finds Success Showcasing Talent of Color BY KALLAN LOUIS

LaShawnna Stanley’s name is getting included on more shortlists as her reputation and creative eye continues to catch the attention of popular artists, directors, and brands who are looking to cast diverse talent for music videos, television shows, movies, commercials and advertising campaigns. “People can cast,” Stanley said, “but I can find that something extra, that something weird. I’m going to find that thing that is going to make people talk about your project.” As CEO of Ethnicity Models and Talent, Stanley has worked with artists including Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Diddy. She has also led casting for movies including “Bad Boys III” and events such as the MTV Video Music Awards. Stanley said her rise is partly because she stepped out on faith and did not allow others to define her.

The Kansas City native said when she became a teen mom she was told that her poor decisions would lead to an unfortunate life. Looking to prove doubters wrong, Stanely opened a clothing boutique that enabled her to travel to New York, Los Angeles and Miami for fashion shows. Falling in love LaShawnna Stanley with Miami, she moved to the Magic City. “I liked the energy and melting pot of Miami,” she said. “I don’t think there’s a better place to live in the United States.” Her genuine love for cultural diversity later proved to be critical to her career. Stanley said when she started Ethnicity Models 20 years ago, models of color had

few options for work and exposure. “The only lane we had to get in was Hip-Hop music videos,” she recalled. “Before HipHop became popular, you didn’t see girls that looked like Ethnicity Models on TV or any other media.” While “video girls” became an essential element in many Hip-Hop videos in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, Stanley said her goal was to maintain a clean image with the models. In doing so, she built a positive professional reputation, and more people wanted to work with her agency. She was then able to transition to more commercial opportunities. Ad agencies started requesting more diversity among

models, she said. They were asking her to help cast middle-aged, senior-aged, child and other non-mainstream models. That’s when she expanded her business into Ethnicity Models and Talent. When Stanley was selected to cast her first feature film, “The Beach Bum” starring Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dog and Martin Lawrence released this year, more top brands began contacting her. Since then, she has worked on campaigns for Gucci, SnapChat and Facebook. Stanley said one of her most meaningful projects is Ethnicity Modeling Academy for Kids. “Many of them come to me shy and scared to walk, but by the end of the program, we do a fashion show and they’re confident, strutting down the runway in an outfit they put together,” she said. “It’s one of the most fulfilling things I’m working on. I like to teach people how to access their power.”

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COVER STORY

Education, Determination, and Purpose Drive Legacy Miami’s Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in Business and Industry, 2019 BY MICHELLE F. SOLOMON

Work hard, treat people fairly, take risks, have faith, give to the community, and love what you do are what Legacy Miami’s Most Influential and Prominent Black Women in Business and Industry of 2019 share as their credos for success. Sandra Bridgeman, Dr. Lynn Labrousse, Symeria Hudson, and Dr. Alexia Rolle are shining examples of this year’s distinguished women who are blazing trails in their fields. “You get a nudge or a pull and you have no idea where it’s coming from,” says Dr. Lynn Labrousse, one of Legacy’s honorees when discussing her journey of starting her own medical business and being an entrepreneur. “It’s funny how I look back and see that this was setting up the stage for what is happening today.” Dexter Bridgeman, CEO of MIA Media Group LLC, publisher of Legacy Miami and Legacy South Florida, said, “We select these women each year to recognize their professional and civic achievements as a way to spotlight accomplished leaders who are influencers in our community and beyond.” Education Is Key Education propelled many of the honorees along their path to success. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, black women currently earn nearly two-thirds of bachelor’s degrees, 70 percent of master’s degrees and more than 60 percent of doctorates attained by African Americans. Black women also outpace Black man with enrollment into law, medical, and dental schools. “School was a must,” said Labrousse, a practicing chiropractor for nearly two decades. The founder

partner of the MiamiDade Homeless Trust, spent the last 20 years in the healthcare industry working with billiondollar organizations. She spent two years in London before she and her husband moved their family to Miami. Hudson took a year off and spent some time reflecting on what she wanted to do in the next chapter of her life. While she hadn’t ever imagined working for a non-profit, the stars aligned when she was connected to Chapman. Hudson recalled her uncle who was homeless From left: Dr. Alexia Rolle, Nicole Smith, Assistant Chief Cherise Gause, Symeria Hudson, Dr. Lynn Labrousse, Sandra Bridgeman and LaShawnna Stanley. in California. “He passed away from being on Rolle transitioned into higher and CEO of Fey Essence, a holistic the streets. He didn’t have access education, accepting the position brand of products, said her parents to resources, so this is a personal always emphasized education. “There as director of Career and Technical mission for me.” Education at Miami Dade College. In was never any doubt that my sisters Growing up in Haiti, Sandra 2018, she was honored Bridgeman dreamed of being a race among Legacy Miami’s “Whether you want to be a janitor or a car driver, but her skills in advanced 40 under 40 Top Black chief financial officer, enthusiasm and calculus and math put her on a Professionals, 2018 Top different road to success. courage will overcome any obstacle that Black Educators, and “Accounting is not very sexy, but 2019 Trailblazer of the can get in your way...” it is an exciting thing that is needed,” Year. Sandra Bridgeman “In addition, my faith she said. “That’s the backbone of a Assistant City Manager/Chief Financial Officer city and its wealth.” and understanding that City of Miami Now as one of Miami’s assistant all things work together city managers and the city’s chief for those who are called financial officer, Bridgeman works according to God’s in a predominantly male-dominated purpose kept me on the right path.” and I would go to college.” profession. “Whether you want Dr. Alexia Q. Rolle said her to be a janitor or a chief financial parents, Chief Alexander Rolle Jr. Choices and Mission officer, enthusiasm and courage will and Armelia Rolle, a retired educator, Symeria Hudson, president and overcome any obstacle that can get were her examples for what it takes chief executive officer of Chapman in your way. When you find the thing to achieve in life. “They taught me Partnership, is driven by a sense of that really keeps you going, you keep to work hard, treat people right, and purpose to improve the lives of those at it, you love it and eventually, you’ll give back to my community.” After who are in need. rise above.” 15 years of being employed with Hudson, who leads Chapman n Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Partnership, the private sector


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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2019

CAREER LEADERSHIP & DEVELOPMENT

You Can Avoid and Overcome Five Obstacles to Success easy to convince yourself that you can always get it done later because you are only relying on your talent or gift and not on other people to get the job done. The problem is procrastination steals your full engagement and the energy you could be giving to the things that don’t come naturally. The “I’ll do it later” routine is a dangerous game to play, mostly because you end up being the one who never does what they could always do later. The next time you think about procrastinating, ask yourself - what does tomorrow have that today doesn’t?

BY MARY V. DAVIDS, MS-HRM

Your definition of success can vary depending on where you are in life, but no matter where you are, one of these five things has shown up to interfere with your progress. 1. Procrastination. This is probably my most challenging area, especially as a writer. When you have a gift or talent, it’s

2. Fear. There are two kinds of fear. The first is that you won’t succeed. This type of fear can be resolved by humility and understanding that failure is inevitable and necessary to succeed. The second is a fear that you will succeed. “What if I can’t live up to what others think of me?” “What if I let people down?” These are natural thoughts, but they shouldn’t stop

you from trying your best. Remember, however scared you may be, there are people waiting on your genius and you owe it to them to not give up. 3. Doubt. This battle is totally fought in the mind, much like all the others listed here. No one can teach you how to stop doubting yourself. You must learn that all on your own. Doubt is a distraction. It toils with the mind, keeping it busy, too busy to make progress. The best way to overcome doubt and believe is to start. Keep starting until you finish. 4. Knowing When to Outsource. Stop trying to do everything on your own. Some things need an expert to handle. When you spend too much time doing things you don’t have to do, you delay reaching your goals. Outsource to an expert that will help your life to become easier on a day to day basis. Hire a coach, a maid, a blog writer, website developer, etc. You get the idea.

5. Lack of Consistency. Robert Collier says: “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Without having a consistent drive towards reaching small goals daily, there can be no achievement of the greater goal. Consistency also builds trust. It allows your network to see that you believe in your work and you can be trusted to carry out any work they may send your way. Don’t let this year become another year where you should’ve done something you had time to do but never did. Mary V. Davids is an executive career and leadership development coach and owner of D&M Consulting Services LLC. For more career tips and advice visit www.marydavids.com or follow @MVDavids on Instagram or Twitter. n

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Storytelling is a Marketing Strategy

BY DR. TRACY TIMBERLAKE

Who doesn’t love a good story. We have been telling them since the beginning of time. Before there was written language, cultures, for millennia, have learned through storytelling. Social media is now allowing people to share their stories with the entire world. Whether you are a

corporate organization, a non-profit, or a personal brand, incorporate strong storytelling into your digital marketing strategy because digital storytelling opportunities are endless. With social media, you are never limited to just one medium. You can tell stories with pictures on Instagram, video on YouTube, or do it in real time with Facebook Live, and so on. Today’s buyers are becoming less likely to act on hard sells, data driven tactics, and banner type advertising. Because of this, the future of content marketing is leaning more and more in favor of a storytelling strategy because social media is social first. At the end of the day, people are people. The reason why we connect to stories is because we resonate with them on a human level. Make your story more impactful by tapping into this. Some best practices to ensure that you are telling the right stories that get

you results are:

1. Decide what stories work best for your audience. Not every audience responds the same to every story. Does your audience prefer a more warm and fuzzy feeling story? Do they appreciate factual statistics and bottom line type stories? Know your audience and plan your social storytelling strategy according to what they need to hear in order to take action with your business and/or brand. 2. Make sure the caption (i.e. the story) matches the action (i.e. the image). If you are using text to share stories on social media, before they ever read the story, they will look at the picture. Make sure the image you use is high quality, captivating, and relevant to the story you are telling. 3. Don’t be afraid to share the

micromoments. Time matters in today’s world. Now, more than ever, people aren’t always available to read a 2,000word post or watch a 10-minute video to share a good story. To capture them, you can utilize micromoment social platform features like Instagram Stories to tell a story in the moment.

Storytelling is translating your sales and marketing message into a narrative form that will captivate your audience in a new way. Don’t neglect this powerful marketing tactic that will allow your fans and followers to join you on a journey. In a world of constant swipe and scroll, storytelling can be the thumb-stopping content your brand needs to break through the digital noise of the 21st century. Dr. Tracy Timberlake is an awardwinning business coach. Instagram: @tracytimberlake n


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©LEO A DALY AND ©ISLAND STUDIO PRODUCTIONS STUART GOBEY

Connect and Grow With NoMi

Newly Renovated MOCA Plaza, December 2018

Thomas Sasso Pool and Water Playground

North Bayshore William Lehman Park

North Miami Chinatown Rendering

SoLē Mia Miami Development Site, July 2018

Cagni Park North Ground Breaking

NorthMiamiFL.gov

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BLACK BUSINESS LOAN FUND

Preparation Can Expand Options for Financing Your Business BY JOANN MILORD

Whether you are starting a business, expanding, or have just been awarded a new contract, financing is necessary for growth at any stage of a business. While you may not need funding today, circumstances can change rapidly. Here are a few things to keep in mind to be prepared for financing your business.

financing options.

Business Plan Do you have a clear strategic plan for growing your business? Based on trends in your industry, what does growth for your business look like? Is it adding an additional product or service? Is it increasing marketing or adding staff? It is important to outline your goals for the business and the action steps to achieve them.

Financing Costs What are the costs related to the financing? What are the closing costs? Is there a prepayment penalty fee? What is a reasonable interest rate? Make sure you know all the costs associated with the financing so you can accurately compare options. Obtaining financing can be an involved process. It is best to prepare in advance, otherwise your business could find itself suddenly needing to secure funds and the only option available is a high-interest, short-term lender. Even if you are not ready for traditional bank financing, that does not mean there are no other viable options such as the Miami Bayside Foundation. MBF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to further economic development in Miami. MBF accomplishes this through loans and technical assistance to minority and women-owned small businesses and through educational scholarships and grants. In 2018, MBF partnered with the State of Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity to become the administrator of the Black Business Loan Program for MiamiDade County. Since 2011, and with amounts ranging from $2,500 to $150,000, MBF has awarded more than 100 low-interest loans totaling more than $5.1 million, helping create more than 400 jobs in Miami. Visit www.miamibaysidefoundation.org for more information.

Research Funding Options What is best for you and your business? Is it a line of credit for short-term operational expenses or a term loan for equipment financing? Make sure to consider all available

Joann Milord is the Black Business Loan Program manager at the Miami Bayside Foundation. She can be reached at joann@ miamibaysidefoundation.org or 786-703-5768.

Check your Credit What is your credit score? Are there any inaccuracies? Do you have recent late payments? Are you maxed out on your credit cards? What steps can you take over the next few months to improve your credit score before applying for a loan? A strong credit score shows financial responsibility and is a lower risk to lenders. Record Keeping Have you been maintaining proper accounting and administrative records? Do you review your bank account statements and monthly expense budget routinely? Are your business licenses up to date? Accurate financial statements verify the value and growth potential of a business.

n

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Years of medical school and residency training prepared me to give excellent ƉĂƟĞŶƚĐĂƌĞďƵƚĚŝĚŶŽƚ ƉƌĞƉĂƌĞŵĞĨŽƌƚŚĞďƵƐŝŶĞƐƐ ŽĨƌƵŶŶŝŶŐŵLJŽǁŶƉƌĂĐƟĐĞ͘ MBF’s Black Business Loan Program helped me invest in ŵLJƐĞůĨƐŽŵLJĚƌĞĂŵƐĐŽƵůĚ ĐŽŶƟŶƵĞƚŽďĞƌĞĂůŝnjĞĚ͘ EŽǁ/ŚĂǀĞŵŽƌĞƚŚĂŶ ϱ͕ϬϬϬƉĂƟĞŶƚƐ͕ǁŝƚŚ 7 employees and ŵŽƌĞƚŽĐŽŵĞ!

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PROFILE IN LEADERSHIP

Hudson Works to Empower Miami’s Homeless Population

Symeria Hudson

BY CHRISTIAN PORTILLA

Symeria Hudson, president and chief executive officer of Chapman Partnership, knows all too well the stigma and complicated process people face when looking for help after losing their homes. Her uncle, who struggled with being homeless in Los Angeles, died prematurely Hudson said because he

lived on the streets. In trying to help him, she discovered how difficult it was to find resources and services to improve his situation. “I called and called and called, and I tried reaching anybody in the city service arena to get him help,” Hudson said. “I could not find a coordinated place that offered the kind of support system and the kind of services that we have here in Miami and offer at Chapman.” Chapman Partnership is a not-forprofit that annually serves nearly 4,500 families with children who are facing homelessness. Hudson, who said she made it her mission to help those in need, has spent the last 10 months making sure patrons of Chapman know they are supported. She splits her time between the Miami location and the Homestead facility, making sure to establish a connection with people. “My mission is to drive awareness regarding the homeless community in Miami,” shared Hudson, who is responsible for overseeing the strategic,

programmatic, financial, and managerial operations of the organization to support the organization’s mission and vision. She and her team recently wrapped up their Illuminations Gala, a yearly fundraising event. Last year, the event raised nearly $1 million. Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust was one of its main partners. Hudson, who has a MedTech background, said she has always worked to help people. Before Chapman, she worked in areas that serviced patients with Chronic Care, Wound Care, and Critical Care. “We’ve done a lot of work to reduce homelessness from about 8,000 to roughly 1,000 … but that’s still 1,000 too many,” she said. Hudson says there is always work to be done, but her top priority is empowering residents and the people who are serviced by Chapman to walk away with skills to make them selfsufficient. She said: “The economic conditions of Miami are disparaging. We see a

lot of inequality. Low wages and lack of affordable housing are factors. We have thousands of people who are one paycheck away from homelessness, and we still need to drive awareness around the topic.” Next year, Hudson and her staff hope to launch the Social Enterprise Academy designed to equip youth and adults with entrepreneurship skills, provide students with internships, and teach trade skills and on-the-job training to residents. “Being a part of Chapman is a wonderful way to help a population that certainly could use a little help, but also as a way to honor my uncle by being a part of this organization,” she said. “I know what it feels like. I know what happens when something like this happens to a person’s life, and I want to be a part of the solution. That is why I signed up.” Visit https://chapmanpartnership.org for more information. n


MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2019

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2019 - Most Influential & Prominent Black Women in Business & Industry - Legacy Miami  

2019 - Most Influential & Prominent Black Women in Business & Industry - Legacy Miami