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Stiletto Woman’s 2013 Amazing Women of the Year Cover Photo: Felecia Hatcher by Kelly Coulson Photography Copyright Š 2013 by Stiletto Woman Media

Copyright Notice No part of this publication may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, online, or mechanical including photocopying, recording, taping, or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles and reviews.

Disclaimer The publisher and all editors have made every effort to provide accurate and timely information. The publisher, editors, and other related associates do not assume responsibility for information that is incorrect or omitted. The publisher and editors disclaim neglect, liability, and damages as a result of erroneous information. We do not express endorsement or validity of any company, website, blogsite, or resource. The content provided is solely for informational purposes.

STILETTO WOMAN MEDIA Web: www.stilettowoman.com Email: info@stilettowoman.com Twitter: @StilettoWoman Facebook: @Stiletto Woman Media Published by Stiletto Woman Media Printed in the United States

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The Annual Guidebook Spotlighting the trailblazing efforts of women leaders 2013 EDITION By Stiletto Woman Media

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amazingwomen Our 2013 Amazing Women Guidebook spotlights the efforts of women leaders, online visionaries, business owners, entrepreneurs, and a wide-ranging group of diverse trailblazers. Our intention is to honor these women and connect with diverse business leaders, influencers and social power players making a positive impact on communities around the world. This guide is all about the woman, her story and her passion.

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www.everlyclothing.com

Womenfeatured Felecia Hatcher

Emily Sandford

Whitney Pozgay

Fabiana Choi & Adriana Leaw

Jo Mousselli

Lucinda Cross

Allison Sosna

Walethia Aquil

Janice Ferebee

Kelly Lynn Adams

Brittney Castro

Meredith Hill

Deanna Jefferson

Tiffany Ish & Jennifer Worman

Kathy Gamble

Renee Lowe

Ronnie Tyler

Nadia Aboulhosn

Kayce Hughes

Rachel Pfeffer

Dr. Danielle Dowling

Vernetta Freeney

Sharlene Ottley

Aliah Davis-McHenry

Terri Johnson

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Karlena L. Wallace, Founder & CEO

Hello Stiletto Woman Friends, I believe I was called to the path of leadership at

Fast forward many years, the entrepreneurial path

an early age—or at least having the ability to think

came calling a decade ago and I haven’t turned

from a leadership perspective. I grew up around

back since.

strong women. My mother always had an unbreakable spirit. We experienced hardship growing up, so I think that was early fuel for me.

When I think of our 2013 Amazing Women, I have women similar to me in mind; those with a passion to lead the lives they were destined to lead—women

I remember seeing the first person in my

who have an unabashed desire for excellence and

immediate family go to college (it was an uncle

creating a legacy they can be proud of. Every

whom I adored). He initially went to a small local

woman featured in this issue exemplifies this

historically prominent university; was quite

sentiment. But what’s better is the impact each will

popular, in a fraternity, and later received a

have on someone else’s life.

basketball scholarship to complete his education and pursue an athletic career in California. We were all so proud of him. As a child his courage resonated; his resilience to accomplish what many

It’s with great admiration that we salute our 2013 Amazing Women of the Year for their consummate brilliance. Congratulations!

hadn’t experienced in those days was fascinating.

Live purposefully,

Seeing that fearlessness inspired me to adopt the

Karlena, founder & CEO

same mindset—to go make things happen. Truly, I think the shift in my thinking began to take form then.

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www.ciciandryann.com

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This Year’s

Trailblazers 11


Photos credit: Kelly Coulson Photography

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Feverish Ice Cream www.feverishicecream.com

Felecia Hatcher is the author of How to Start a Business on a Ramen Noodle Budget, and the C Students Guide to Scholarships. She’s a social entrepreneur and chief popsicle of Feverish Ice Cream & Gourmet Pops. Before launching Feverish, Hatcher worked as an experiential marketing manager for Nintendo, Sony, Wells Fargo and the WNBA. She has been honored by the White House as one of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs Under 30; featured on the NBC Today Show, Cooking Channel, Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise and Grio’s 100 African American’s Making History. Hatcher’s unique gourmet popsicle company has served Fortune 500 clients like Google, Converse, Cadillac, Trump Hotels, Vitamin Water and Whole Foods. As an international speaker Felecia Hatcher has presented engaging talks on embracing failure at Google London; entrepreneurship and managing investor relations at SXSW, and turning your passion into profit at the White House Young America Series, TEDx Miami and TEDx Jamaica. She is also the founder of Black Tech Miami and Code Fever; both initiatives help to increase tech entrepreneurship training and funding in underserved communities. 13


Well according to my high school guidance counselor I am not supposed to be where I am today. I wasn't the best student in high school because I majored in boys and basketball. My grades suffered and dropped down to a 2.1 GPA. I did what I could to raise my grade point average. However, in my senior year of high school, at age 17, I was judged purely by my grades. I was told I’d never make it to college and that I should just get a job. I ended up winning over $120,000 in scholarships. That encounter changed my life forever. I made a promise to myself that I’d prove the guidance counselor wrong and never let anyone try to put limitations on my life again. I am where I am today because of my parents, the positive people in my surroundings, and the lessons that I learned at seventeen. You have to get creative with your limited resources; nothing is as people say (i.e. you can't win scholarships if you have bad grades), and you have to believe in yourself even when no one else will. Those same lessons have fueled my entrepreneurial journey and got me to where I am today. 14


I got a phone call a few years ago. At the time, I felt like I was at my breaking point and contemplating closing my business. This one phone call changed my life forever. A man called my office and said he was calling from the hospital (at first, I thought it was a joke). He said, “I’m getting ready to be discharged from the hospital.”

My first thought was: Umm… what kind of hospital? He continued, “I’ve been in the hospital for three weeks recovering from a lung and heart transplant and I’m coming to get ice cream from you. What time do you close?” It was a late Saturday afternoon. I said, “In 10 minutes, but if I know you’re coming, I’ll wait a little longer.” He replied, “No. I’m coming. I just got discharged from the hospital.”

I’m thinking someone is pranking me. Twenty minutes later, this guy shows up with his wife, sister, hospital bracelet and all. He said, “I saw you on TV. I saw you on the Cooking Channel and I was so touched by your story and spirit. I didn't know if I was going to make it out of the hospital, but the first thing I wanted to do, after being hospitalized for three weeks was to come meet you in person and try some of your ice cream.” Today, I’m so blown away from everything we’ve been able to accomplish for the company, but I don’t think anything trumps that experience— someone literally on their “death bed”—instead of meeting family, the first thing he wanted to do was come meet me and get some of our ice cream. Often times you get so caught up in the day-to-day of building a company that you don't realize how your efforts affect the lives of others.

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WHIT www.whit-ny.com Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Whitney Pozgay graduated from The University of Texas in Austin with a degree in theatre, concentrating in costume design. After a final semester at the Sorbonne, she moved to New York in the fall of 2003. Pozgay began her career at Kate Spade New York, while honing her skills at Parsons and the Fashion Institute of Technology. At Kate Spade, her responsibilities grew from designing cold weather accessories to playing an integral role in the re-launch of apparel. Pozgay also oversaw Kate Spade’s collaboration with the avant garde collective Three Asfour. In 2007, she became lead women's wear designer at Steven Alan where she also spearheaded and designed women’s collaborations including Steven Alan for Uniqlo and Urban Outfitters’ brand Lark and Wolff. Pozgay left Steven Alan in 2009 to realize her longtime dream of venturing out on her own. She launched her namesake collection, WHIT with husband Parker Argote and partners Zonda Sochorow and Zach Cooper. Pozgay focuses on carefully constructed investment pieces that celebrate color, personal style, and a sense of humor. WHIT now sells in 100 locations worldwide and recently launched a capsule collection with Anthropologie. WHIT is a proud member of the CFDA Incubator Program.

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I originally went to college for acting, but switched pretty early on in my degree when I fell in love with costume design. I was always interested in all things creative, drawing and painting. In the summers, I was interning in fashion, and I decided I liked the real-world application of fashion. I love the idea of the clothing having a life of its own and making its own story, so that pushed me towards fashion after school. I was interested in learning all aspects of the business and started working as a receptionist at Kate Spade.

After working my way up to the design department and then a few years of designing for Steven Alan, I was hungry for that next step. Kate Spade indulged my love of color and vintage while Steven appealed to a more casual tomboy side of my aesthetic. My artistry leveled somewhere in the middle and I wanted to explore that. Parker (now my husband) and I started to brainstorm how and what WHIT would come to be. We started WHIT with partners in 2009. We launched in about 30 locations and have continually grown since. We were proudly accepted into the CFDA Incubator Program in 2012 where we’re headquartered. We are located in New York's garment district where we make most all of our clothing. Our mission is to make artful items that celebrate optimism and individuality.

1) Don’t stress about petty quarrels. You will not remember them in the future. 2) Don’t fixate on the path you are on. You are not defined by your job, especially when you are young and just starting.

4) Pay attention to what actually makes you happy and not what is supposed to. 5) Be good to your body. You will need it for a long time.

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Jo Mousselli, RN, is the founder and president of Xtreme Lashes by Jo Mousselli®. Jo Mousselli understands the modern-day woman’s desire to look and feel effortlessly beautiful, which inspired their innovation of highperformance, low-maintenance, and long-lasting beauty products and services. Using her medical background, she set and defined the standards in safety, hygiene, and creative design to propel the company to become the global leader of eyelash extensions. Since inception in 2005, Xtreme Lashes has grown from a small, family-run business to a global corporation under Mousselli’s leadership, with international franchisees representing Xtreme Lashes in 28 countries and over 14,000 trained lash stylists worldwide. Jo Mousselli married and started a family at a young age.

Xtreme Lashes www.xtremelashes.com

Despite the challenges of caring for a family of six, she worked as a kindergarten teacher and attended nursing school, graduating magna cum laude from Texas Woman's University. For nearly a decade, she worked as a Registered Nurse in the pediatric ICU at Texas Children's Hospital while caring for her family as a single mom. After remarrying and enlisting the talents of her supportive family, Mousselli risked her stable career to start her own

To personify my father’s mantra: “With education, hard work, and perseverance, you can accomplish anything.” I’d also tell my 18-year-old self to embrace the following mantra I discovered and embraced during the course of my journey through life:

LEAD with a vision and a purpose! Do what is right for yourself, your family, and for your clients. Stay true to your ethics, morals and principles - don’t waiver. What starts right will grow and flourish. What starts wrong will ultimately lead to failure.

business from home. She has always been about empowering and enriching women’s lives both inside and out. She initiated charitable programs including a national awareness campaign with pink eyelash extensions – called Blink Pink™ – to raise funds and support breast cancer research and treatment through Passionately Pink for the Cure®. In particular, Mousselli set out to create a comprehensive semipermanent eyelash extensions application system that would give others the hands-on training, tools, retail products, customer service, and business support needed for financial independence. In turn, she created an industry of eyelash extension-passionate entrepreneurs with a zest for inner and outer beauty and the success of a rewarding and profitable career.

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I married at a young age and had four children by the age of 25. Times were difficult financially and emotionally for my young family. I realized that it was up to me to change our circumstances. Despite becoming a single mother and the challenges of caring for myself and four children, I enrolled in college while working as a kindergarten teacher, graduated magna cum laude from Texas Woman's University, and accepted a position as a Registered Nurse in the pediatric ICU at Texas Children's Hospital. After ten years in the nursing industry caring for children and working alongside amazing women including doctors, nurses, and mothers, I witnessed the modern day woman’s struggle: self-care versus the endless responsibilities of a family, career, and a social life. I witnessed the correlation between beauty, confidence and happiness. When women feel beautiful, they are more confident and happier. Happy women are better at everything we do in life! My new mission became to empower and enrich the lives of women by helping them enhance their inner and outer beauty. I decided to follow my passion for beauty and developed an innovative product that would revolutionize the beauty industry, empower women to look and feel effortlessly beautiful, and simplify their beauty regimen. Together with my talented family, we established and defined a new industry that has flourished to provide opportunities for thousands of beauty professionals. Without a blueprint, we pioneered the semi-permanent eyelash extension industry by creating Xtreme Lashes by Jo Mousselli®. Using a holistic approach and the scientific method, we developed a safe process for applying lashes, produced comprehensive training programs, and formulated ground-breaking cosmetic products. My daughter, Noor Daoudi, and I co-developed the Xtreme Lashes Professional Application System®, creative techniques and training curriculum. My brother, Ahmad Mousselli, engineered the programming needed to develop our customer database and website.

My oldest son, Maher Daoudi, spearheaded our internet marketing campaigns and launched us globally through the World Wide Web. My younger son, Muhammad Daoudi, further expanded our global presence by focusing on international franchising and public relations. My husband, Martin Dale, believed in my vision to start an entrepreneurial company that provides a product and a service; which eight years ago seemed to be an unrealistically lofty goal. His unwavering support and positive attitude empowered me to take a risk into the unknown. His business acumen and strategic guidance propelled Xtreme Lashes to the next level in the beauty industry. I wanted to teach health and beauty professionals a service they could add to their current salon and spa menu or use to develop their own independent business. I also set out to empower the lives of consumers who used quality eyelash extensions by Xtreme Lashes® to feel effortlessly beautiful every day. Hygiene, safety, and quality were the standards we lived by, and in an effort to achieve long-term, professional stability, I declined short-term financial success that could be gained only through careless shortcuts. When we first started the business, there were no government or industry standards for semipermanent eyelash extensions. I set standards for the industry by only accepting individuals for training who are licensed and credentialed in the health or beauty industries, and then required them to attend comprehensive hands on training to ensure that they are confident as lash stylists and the consumer is in safe hands. The risks and quality measures we took at the time propelled Xtreme Lashes to become the global leader in eyelash extensions. In only a little over eight years, what started as a home-based family business has evolved into a corporation with over 70 corporate employees, international franchisees representing Xtreme Lashes in 28 countries, and over 15,000 trained lash stylists practicing rewarding and profitable careers in the beauty industry. Our professional clients currently include high-end salons and spas like Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Spa Nordstrom, and Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas.

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Allision Sosna Group | Microgreens www.chefallisosna.com | www.microgreensproject.org Chef Allison Sosna began her culinary career in 2005 after she volunteered in the kitchen on a whim at Chef Geoff’s restaurant by American University, where she was doing her undergrad work. She received culinary training at L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD, and from there, spent four years in some of District of Columbia’s highest-regarded kitchens. She worked with Esquire Magazine’s 2009 Chef of the Year Barton Seaver at Hook Restaurant, and The Inn at Little Washington, a Relais & Chateau property, and finally landed at Dean and Deluca, where she cooked for large-scale catering projects and retail operations. After leaving Dean and Deluca, she became executive chef of contract foods with Fresh Start Catering and DC Central Kitchen (DCCK). The social enterprise arm of DCCK, Fresh Start Catering is staffed by graduates of its culinary job training program and partners with dozens of farms in the area. Its school contracts grew from one to eight during her tenure, and Sosna spearheaded this growth and realized her long-term vision was to expand access to healthy food to every child in District of Columbia. That was when MicroGreens was born. She left DCCK in June 2012 to launch the nonprofit and her catering and consulting company, Allison Sosna Group. MicroGreens has now grown to over 30 volunteers, two cities, and received recognition from Huffington Post, TedX, Teen Vogue, Refinery 29, Breath Magazine, Delicious Living Magazine, recognized by the White House, and many more. 20


I have always had a family that supported me and told me I could do anything. When you grow up with folks who tell you to conquer the world, you think you can. That being said, I went to college thinking I would be in public relations and then left heading into kitchens and culinary school after my junior year in college studying in Italy. I fell in love with food and I wanted to do something with it, but I had no idea. After years of working in food service, writing about food, taking pictures, doing everything and seeing what I liked, I realized after fine dining that I wanted to be more involved with my community in District of Columbia, so I took a job as a chef at DC Central Kitchen (DCCK). DCCK, like Italy, changed my life. It allowed me to do everything I loved while making a difference in my community with folks who needed jobs, assistance, teaching, and also helping to feed thousands of kids’ healthy meals. My years at DCCK allowed me to focus on my next passion of providing education to kids who were living in poverty and their families as well. I formed the nonprofit MicroGreens to give educational programs to kids all over the country whose families are working to survive on as little as $3.50 per meal for a family of four. In order to also support the nonprofit and myself, I formed a benefit LLC catering and consulting company called Allison Sosna Group that services New York City and District of Columbia areas and gives a percentage of all sales back to MicroGreens.

My time in Italy; studying there changed my life. I was young, single, and traveling with folks and having time to grow personally. It was an amazing time of self-worth. It was there that I fell in love with not only knowing who I was, but who I wanted to become. My time there allowed me to fall in love with not only people and their communities that they formed there—but food and the relationship between the two. It was in those five months that I began forming the larger picture of what I wanted my life to look like and the work I wanted to do in the world. While that "work" was still very vague, it was the bigger picture that has kept me evolving as a person and as a professional to this day, eight years later.

My career and my life have always been in sync. I never separated the two. I always want to be doing something that I feel great about—and having support in your life to do that makes anyone feel unstoppable. 21


Janice Ferebee, MSW, native New Yorker, now living in Washington, DC, is an accomplished speaker, author, trainer, girls’ advocate, Alpha Kappa Alpha woman, cancer survivor, and founder and CEO of Ferebee Enterprises International (FEI), a global female empowerment social enterprise. FEI is dedicated to transforming the lives of girls (8-18) and the women who serve them. FEI empowers females by providing culturally customized non-formal education products and services – targeted toward girls (with a special focus on girls in public housing and in the juvenile justice system) and their female service providers. Ms. Ferebee is the creator of the award winning Got It Goin’ On® Empowerment Program for Girls (GIGO™), a gender specific, culturally appropriate curriculum that offers concrete tools for helping girls reach their full potential. She is also the mastermind behind the Got It Goin’ On® Girls Fitness Team, a leadership performance team who promotes healthy choices and lifestyles through public speaking and fitness performances. She stays fit as a member of the Work It! Studio “Over 50 Fitness DIVAS.” In addition, Ferebee is the self-published author of GOT IT GOIN' ON, a powerful self-esteem handbook series for girls and the soon-to-be-released, I AM ENOUGH! Empowerment Journal for Girls.

It's been said that everyone who hears her speak leaves more uplifted than when they came. Got It Goin’ On® has already been introduced in South Africa and Ghana with plans for further global expansion. Ferebee’s work has been recognized by OPRAH and ESSENCE. Her professional affiliations include the DC Commission for Women, the DC Human Trafficking Task Force, Advisory Board of the National Center for the Advancement of Urban Youth Development, American Cancer Society, and the Alumni Council of the Graduate School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ferebee Enterprises International www.janiceferebee.com 22


In June 2011, I was diagnosed with Stage IIB primary fallopian tube cancer, the rarest of all gynecologic cancers (only about 1% of women are diagnosed each year). To honor my mother who died on New Year’s Day 2003, whose last conversation with me was to encourage me to take my work around the world, and sister who died of lung cancer on May 1, 2005; my coping strategy for each of my six grueling and aggressive chemo cycles was to visualize traveling to one of the nine "Sleeping with the Stars" destination locations highlighted in the August 2010 Conde Nast Traveler Magazine: Utah, South Africa, Mexico, Australia, Kenya, India, Italy, and Egypt - It worked! The nurses at the award-winning Washington Hospital Center were always eager to know where I was going next. I made the choice to go through this lifechanging experience with dignity, humor and grace, along with a lot of love and support from family and friends. I had chemo on my 56th birthday (9/30/2011) and was able to hang out that evening with the debut of my BALD & BEAUTIFUL hairstyle. I completed my chemo during the 2011 Christmas / New Year holiday—what a special gift! I have since been given a positive prognosis and want to show my gratitude through this spectacular experience. That great news was given to me on May 1, 2012, which just so happens to be the anniversary date of my sister's death from lung cancer. I don't think that was a coincidence! I am grateful and feel so blessed that I am now using my experience to bring help, hope and healing to other women with cancer.

My life is a blessing and I have come to know the peace one finds when they discover their passion and purpose in life—I believe purpose is the master of motivation. Where there is no purpose, there is no self-control or self-restraint, and sometimes no selfworth. It is when you find purpose that life becomes fulfilling. Purpose will make you a little stronger, make you hang on a little longer. I am so grateful for the light that now shines within me that I want everyone to know how it feels. Although I have had a wonderful life, I didn't always have the joy I feel today. But, the life lessons have been well worth the tears and laughter. There's nothing like lovin' the skin you're in! As I look back, I realize how difficult that was for me. It was during the healing process after an emotionally painful divorce about 20 years ago, and choosing a life free of drugs and alcohol (I am a grateful recovering alcoholic / addict with 23 years of long-term recovery), that I realized that some of the decisions I made were a result of a poor self-image—not accepting the wonderful gift I already was. I didn't realize the power of a positive self-image until my life fell apart. Although the exterior was packaged to perfection, I discovered that my inner value was tied to many outside, superficial influences. The personal transformation that followed has changed my life. I know now that I was being prepared to do the work I am currently involved in: offering help, hope, and healing to girls and young women through my selfesteem handbook series, GOT IT GOIN ON® and gear, the awardwinning GIGO™ Empowerment Program for Girls (featured on OPRAH; 2003 ESSENCE Award), my international speaking, and the annual GIGO™ Training & Licensing Conference. As the first models editor of African descent for Seventeen Magazine (1979), I saw the damage that was done to girls' selfesteem as a result of their rejection solely on the basis of physical appearance. I could identify because growing up, I was never satisfied with my appearance, because I believed the media when they told me that I didn't have the right stuff (skin color, hair texture, breast size, facial features, height, etc.). Although I built a successful professional career, something inside still felt devalued. I made some bad choices that led to seven years of drug and alcohol abuse (ages 28-35). In addition, at the age of 31, I had a hysterectomy as a result of fibroids that were growing out of control and threatening my health. For a long time, my self-worth as a woman was at rock bottom because I thought the gift of giving birth had been taken from me. I know now that God, in His infinite wisdom, not only saved my life, but allowed me to care for hundreds of girls whom I influence everyday through my work, by giving them tools and hope for their futures. 23


Rebuilding my self-worth was not an easy task. I am grateful for God's grace and mercy and the angels He placed in my life during this difficult period. I left New York and came to Washington, DC, and in 1992 I became a mentor for The Washington Area Project for Youth Program. The girl I mentored (who is still a part of my life today), helped me to start loving myself again. By allowing me into her life, she watered the seed of self-love inside me that began to grow again. I had found my passion and purpose in life. I wanted to experience that feeling over and over again—a different kind of addiction. That experience was the driving force behind the work I do today. In 1996, I decided to go back to school (after graduating from high school some 20 years earlier) to get my Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania so that I could develop my skills and become a "professional mentor." Living in the W.E.B. DuBois College House, an undergraduate dorm, as a Graduate Fellow for my two-year stint at Penn, enhanced my graduate school experience as well as added to my skill level. I was invited to be on BET's “Teen Summit” in October 1996 as a self-esteem expert— validation that my work was being recognized. I used all that I learned on this journey to self-love to write my first book, GOT IT GOIN' ON: An Image Awareness Guide For Young Ladies (for girls 8-11). It was my way of giving back and providing some much needed guidance to help them learn to live and accept themselves at an early age. GOT IT GOIN' ON-II: Power Tools For Girls! (for girls 12-17) continues the journey with more knowledge and information in a fun and funky fashion—a 21st Century approach to dealing with issues girls are facing today. My empowerment program and the GOT IT GOIN' ON® GIRLS FITNESS TEAM are based on the teachings of the GOT IT GOIN' ON® personal development handbooks. I was blessed to introduce my work with girls to South Africa and Ghana with plans for more global expansion. In addition, my cancer journey has also added to my story. Lastly, my professional career has been exciting and has provided me with lasting memories: director of the Best Friends Foundation (character building program for girls); membership coordinator and program director for the National Center for Black Philanthropy; director of the DC Youth Advisory Council (Executive Office of the Mayor); director of the Bethune Program Development Center at the National Council of Negro Women (appointed by Dr. Dorothy I. Height); and current director of the Washington, DC Women's Business Center. nd

th

I am also the great niece of Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, 2 national president of the National Council of Negro Women; 4 national vice-president of the Girl Scouts of the USA; 10th international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; past chair of the DC Commission for Women; she became a member of the executive board of UNICEF and the White House’s Children and Youth Council. The U.S. Department of Labor sent her to Germany in 1951 to investigate the problems of the women. President John F. Kennedy selected her to join the Council for Food for Peace, sending her on a five-month tour of Africa. As a delegate to an international conference of women of African descent, she represented 19 countries in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. I am living and lifting her legacy by the work I do with girls and young women.

I will do this work until I take my last breath 24


Financially Wise Women www.financiallywisewomen.com Brittney Castro, Certified Financial Planner™ is the founder & CEO of Financially Wise Women, a Los Angeles based financial planning firm for women. She specializes in working with busy professional and entrepreneurial women who are passionate about life and want to gain clarity around their money. Castro’s mission is to help women plan and create the life of their dreams, free from anxiety about money.

She has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New

York Times, Financial Planning Magazine, Investment News, and Registered Rep Magazine.

Last year my boyfriend of six years and I broke up. This event changed my life, as it cracked open my heart on such a huge level and has allowed me to grow in so many ways I never imagined possible. Since that time, I've developed a strong spiritual practice that has helped me shed a lot of the things that no longer serve me and has allowed me to become more confident showing the world who I really am. I have learned how to tap into my inner feminine strength and use this newfound power to take my entire life to the next level. As I became more genuine and authentic in life, I noticed how my relationships with my family, friends and clients all shifted into something much more significant and deeper. I truly can say I love myself and the life I have designed so much and want to help more individuals do the same in life. I hope to inspire more people to live and speak their truth like I have done and continue to do in my life. 25


I have had a curiosity with money as long as I can remember. Growing up, my favorite toys were a fake cash register and pretend checkbook. I would spend hours balancing my checkbook and loved being organized and methodical with my pretend money. My police officer father and stay-at-home mother were great money role models and were able to raise us all on one income because they mastered the principle of living within their means. Although my parents never sat my brothers and I down to give us a formal financial education, we learned by example. I would wake up Sunday mornings to clip coupons with mom, and dad helped me get my first credit card at the age of sixteen. I never felt deprived growing up, but knew if I wanted more I would have to use my own money to buy the “extras.� So in high school, I worked multiple jobs and accumulated a cash cushion of my own. One day I walked into the bank to explore options for my savings, and was introduced to mutual funds. Since I had never really learned much about investing, I discussed this with my parents and realized they did not know much about investing either. Like most people, they never received formal financial education. They knew how to save their money, but did not know how to grow their money over time. I knew I needed to learn more about investing and a spark was ignited beginning my passion for personal finance. 26


Continuing my fascination with finance, I studied business economics at University of California, Santa Barbara. I excelled in my courses and enjoyed learning about how the economy worked. However, while I was in college I still had the idea that I was going to be an event planner and have my own event planning business. It wasn’t until I met a woman financial planner, who had a very successful practice, did I realize I could combine my love for money, planning and helping people. After meeting her, I knew I was destined to be a financial planner.

Upon graduation, I started my career as a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial. While there, I learned how to run a financial planning practice, how to excel as a financial planner, and that I loved financial planning. However, more importantly I realized I did not fit into the traditional financial planning role. Although I was successful, I was unhappy. I tried to fit in with an old school model of financial planning and was not living my authentic life. I wanted to do things differently and serve my clients in a way that made sense to me. I needed an environment allowing my entrepreneurial side to shine and allow me freedom and flexibility when working with clients.

In June 2010, I joined LPL Financial, an independent Broker / Dealer. With a renewed sense of purpose and motivated by intrinsic values, I decided to focus my practice on helping people like me—busy professional and entrepreneurial women who are passionate about life. I strive to be a financial partner for my clients, giving them more time to do what they love most. I want to be the financial planner who understands them, empowers them, and makes their life simpler by helping them make smart financial decisions.

After observing many advisors communicate with women clients in counterproductive ways; making them feel more confused, shamed and humiliated, I knew something had to change. Women struggle with different fears and frustrations than men. Women want clarity around their money and their financial strategies. They want to worry less, have more time to do the things they enjoy most, and want a financial planner who listens to them and understands their unique goals and concerns. I know this because this is what I want too. I’ve been there—worried about money, stressed by the future, and feeling misunderstood. It is my goal to change that for the women I work with. I’m on a mission to help women create a healthy relationship with money and use their money to create the life of their dreams. I want to be the financial planner that changes the relationship women have with money for generations to come. 27


www.stilettowoman.com | www.stilettowomanthrive.com

Stiletto Woman in Business Awards is now the all new Stiletto Woman Thrive. A few years ago, during one of our nation's most challenging economic times, founder Karlena Wallace, set out to create an organization that was education and empowerment-driven. After a decade as an entrepreneur herself, she knew well the commitment, knowledge, and skills required to make a business not only sustain, but thrive. With a mission to make a difference in the lives of others, she created a platform that celebrated women entrepreneurs and elevated their businesses. Stiletto Woman Thrive brings women together from all backgrounds and industries; women who desire to create a business and lifestyle that matters. In 2014, along with our SWIBA Awards ceremony, the conference emerges to new heights. Building upon a solid foundation, we're including powerful breakout workshops on personal and business improvement, special meetups, and intimate development sessions—all in a vibrant new city and refined venue set to exceed expectations. Come join us!

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Celebrity Nike Trainer www.deannajeffersonfitness.com

Deanna Jefferson is the Queen of #TeamFabBody, your favorite trainer and most of all a one of a kind motivator. Jefferson is a graduate of University of Maryland, College Park, where she received her Bachelor’s of Science degree double majoring in Kinesiology and Public & Community Health. She has over eight years of health and fitness experience and is currently the sole proprietor of My Fitness Boot Camps, LLC and owner of Fab Body Factory gym in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Jefferson has had the joy of training an array of celebrity and V.I.P clients. She also conducts fitness training for men, women and children through her group exercise and personal training programs. Jefferson draws from her experiences as a former NCAA collegiate athlete in competitive cheerleading/tumbling and acrobatics, and from her experiences working with both athletes and non-athletes alike.

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Deanna Jefferson is highly qualified as a health and fitness expert, working over 11,000 active hours in her career field. She holds a nationally accredited personal training certification from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). She is also a licensed coach holding a professional-grade coaching license from the United States All-Star Federation (USASF), the national federation that governs competitive all-star cheerleading in the United States. She has additional specialty certificates and education in: First Aid; Adult and Infant/Child CPR and AED; Health, Safety, and Nutrition; Health Programming and Planning; Health Behavior; Women’s Health; and Drug Use and Abuse. As fitness guru Jeanette Jenkins is Deanna Jefferson’s mentor, she has learned and absorbed the energy that Jenkins has shown when it comes to leading people to healthier lifestyles. Jefferson was named an official NIKE trainer in 2012 and acts as a brand and fitness ambassador, taking part in several small and large scale campaigns and events. She instructs a weekly Nike Training Club (NTC) class in District of Columbia's flagship Nike store and lead the warm-up for 15,000 women at the inaugural Nike Women Half Marathon in Washington, DC in April 2013. She also instructed a large scale Nike Training Club workout for over 300 women on center court of New York's renowned Barclays Center. Jefferson was named “Top 30 Under 30” by WKYS 93.9 FM, and also received a distinguished "30 Under 30" award by Refinery29. She was featured as an expert panelist at the 20 th annual NBC Health and Fitness Expo on "How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off", and has been featured in Black Enterprise Magazine, JET Magazine, Oxygen Magazine, The Washington Post, The Washingtonian, The Examiner, Fox 5 News and several local and national blogs. She was also recently named fitness contributor for BlackEnterprise.com where she writes health and fitness articles. Through her media and press coverage, Deanna Jefferson has been able to capture an entire region with her charismatic style of workouts and vivacious personality.

I would tell my 18-year-old self to not dwell on hardships. Tribulations will help to connect all the dots. Trials made me who I am today. "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28. Live in your purpose, and the rest will fall into place.

“Hard work, dedication, and sacrifice got me to where I am today. I've had to stay focused on my goals and make decisions that would bring me closer to them. From college, to internships, to continuing education classes, to networking opportunities, to hanging out with the right friends, all of my decisions have affected where I am today. I've always dreamed of being a self-employed entrepreneur and although the work input can sometimes be harder and longer than a 9-to5, it’s super rewarding at the end of the day!” 31


Cici and Ryann www.ciciandryann.com After graduating from Texas State University in 1992 with a degree in Journalism / Advertising / Art, Kathy Gamble moved to Dallas to work for advertising agency, Publicis. At Publicis, she worked her way from staff assistant in the TV broadcast department, to assistant broadcast producer to broadcast producer. At this point she made a move to acclaimed ad agency, The Richards Group, as a broadcast producer. This work included producing TV commercials for national companies: Zales, Home Depot and BMW. When her first child was born, Gamble returned back to Publicis to work as a broadcast manager and then senior broadcast manager. This job entailed negotiating music contracts and talent contracts along with managing production budgets. After the birth of her second child, she left the advertising world, but her creative spirit didn’t subside and she started her journey into designing and making children's fashion. Gamble’s first clothing company, Two Monkeys Designs, thrived and grew for seven years before making the switch to wholesale and starting CiCi & Ryann Clothing Company. CiCi & Ryann is now in its 2nd year and already a national company.

The experience that has forever changed my life is having a son with special needs. Having a child with special needs changes you profoundly; for me it was a change for the better. It has altered the way I feel about everything in life, from the way I respect and interact with vendors, customers, friends and strangers to how I live my life. Everything I do in my life is done with a new meaning and appreciation for the little things because of him. He is my hero and has taught me more than I could have ever imagined! 32


I am a southern girl with lots of creativity and drive. My parents both taught me how to work hard and be independent. I studied advertising / art in college and dove immediately into a fast paced and fun career in advertising; working in TV & radio commercial production proved to be the jumping ground for my second career.

When my son was born with special needs, I made the decision to stay home and take care of him. This included daily trips to Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas and lots of therapy sessions. I started sewing after my daughter was born as a hobby to make her cute and unique things. I sold my designs on EBay and to friends. At the same time, my son, who was then three, was officially / unofficially diagnosed with Autism and Severe Developmental Delay. We were told he would need 40 hours of extensive therapy that was not covered by insurance. Since not getting him this therapy was NOT an option, I decided to get serious about my business. I started selling my line, formerly called Two Monkeys, at local boutiques, on ETSY and on my own website. I started to have a very loyal following of customers who would buy my entire line every season.

When Two Monkeys got too big for just one person to create and sew, I started to look into production houses and offering it to boutiques. I changed the name to CiCi & Ryann, after my daughter, who is a model and my muse for the line. The first collection of CiCi & Ryann debuted at the Dallas Market Center in August 2011 and it was immediately scooped up by boutiques all over the country. As soon as the collection started to hit the stores, they were immediately calling to re-order. We are most known for our mix of vibrant colors, patterns and textures in unexpected ways and for new marketing ideas that will hopefully put us on the cutting edge of how children’s fashion is purchased. We are also very proud to be made in the USA. We are constantly thinking of ways to recycle, reuse and give back. As I grow the company, there are so many things I want to do with it. We are expanding into some new product categories this year. I am also super excited to give back to the special needs community that has embraced my son. Now that my son is 11, he is doing well. He is in a special needs class in Frisco ISD. He is a happy, sweet boy with an infectious smile! He does not need as many hours of therapy these days, but he and my daughter are still my inspiration for the spirit of my designs.

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Tyler New Media www.blackandmarriedwithkids.com Ronnie Tyler, along with her husband Lamar, has used social media to build an online movement around promoting healthy families and marriages in the African American community. The Tylers are the creators of the award-winning blog BlackandMarriedWithKids.com (BMWK). The site has been featured in The Washington Post, Parenting Magazine, Essence Magazine, Ebony Magazine, on CNN’s Headline News, NPR, Sirius\XM and many other print, broadcast and online media outlets. In November 2012, for the second year in a row, Ronnie and Lamar were named one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100, a list of the top 100 movers and shakers in the Black community which lists President Barack Obama, Beyonce and Jay-Z and Tyler Perry among its ranks. The Tyler's strategic approach of using social media to promote their independent film projects has resulted in a huge following as well, including a fan base of over 195,000 on Facebook. They've leveraged that fan base to build relationships, and to develop a grass roots distribution network across the country for their films. By following their passion, they have stumbled into their purpose. From blogging, to speaking, to creating films with sold-out screenings across the country, the Tyler’s are loving life and each other along the way.

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I attended Spelman College where I received a Bachelor’s in Mathematics and I have a Master’s in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University. I spent the majority of my career as a certified project manager for a large IT company. When I met my husband, who also worked in IT, I was a single mother of two. We have now been married for eight years and we now have a total of four kids. We started BlackandMarriedwithKids.com (BMWK) in 2007, out of our desire to promote positive images of marriage in the African American community. By 2009, the site had taken off. We'd won several awards and had been recognized in several national publications and news outlets. We also directed, shot, and edited our first documentary in 2009. Today we have over 20 writers for BMWK and we are currently in production with our 5th and 6th documentary films. I focus mainly on the day-to-day operations of the site and social media, interacting with brands and utilizing my skills as a certified project manager to produce our films.

Don’t be afraid of the word “No.” In relationships, don’t be afraid to say “No” to things that don’t align with your morals or your goals… things that don’t feel right. Your true friends / lovers will stick around and will respect you more in the long run. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want… the worst that you can hear is “No.” For my first job after college, I asked for a $10,000 sign-on bonus and $12,000 more in salary. Guess what? I received it. I was the only one in the training class that received that bonus. It's about knowing your worth and being confident enough to ask for it.

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Kayce Hughes www.kaycehughes.com

When Kayce Reagan Hughes finished college, she employed her artistic talents working for Ralph Lauren in the women’s design department. She gave that up six years later after the birth of her first child, son Reagan. Four years and four more children later, Hughes began turning vintage fabrics into nightshirts for her daughters. “They were so cute that I had a seamstress make some dresses and shorts for me as well”, she says. Marketing them under the labels Pears and Bears, Hughes took her tot-size garments around to a handful of stores who snatched them up.

What began with a simple nightshirt has now expanded to an over 200 piece collection that includes children’s apparel, gift and layette collections, a flower girl collection and an ever expanding women’s line of clothing and accessories.

“I would tell my 18-year-old self to wear shorter skirts… 18 is a great age for legs.”

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I was very fortunate to work in design at Ralph Lauren for six years. Those years were invaluable; teaching me about so much that I have used in growing my own line. We now have a women's and children's line that is sold in boutiques around the country as well as three of our own retail locations. All of that can't happen without a great team of people.

I would tell my 18-year-old self to wear shorter skirts‌ 18 is a great age for legs. I would also tell her to be a bit bolder and less reserved both in college creating art and later on working in New York City.

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Danielle Dowling www.danielle-dowling.com Dr. Danielle Dowling is a writer, blogger, life coach, and founder of SOUL CANDY. She holds her doctorate in psychology and is an intuitive strategist who works with women leaders who are ready to stop compromising on the things that matter most—selfrealization, soulful companionship, and accessing innate power. Her goal is to inspire women to live inspiring lives; to help them experience a life better lived and to help women achieve their dreams whatever they may be.

I spent the majority of my twenties in the midst of family chaos, deep disappointment with a relationship, career confusion + growing self-doubt. Daily, I second guessed my instincts regarding what was in my best interest and what in life made my heart sing. I hit a dismantling rock bottom around the age of twenty-eight. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. It was by hitting my knees, folding inward and being very patient with myself that I rebuilt my psychological and emotional foundation. I'm 37 and have enjoyed a brilliant (nonetheless sometimes It will all be more than okay. You are forever safe. Shelve your fear and really lean in.

difficult) journey of evolving at my best self. I am a work in progress with many more chapters to write, but nothing lights me up more than being in discovery of self—of riding my own leading edge and of leading and guiding other women to enjoy their own inspired lives!

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Sharlendipity www.sharlendipity.com Sharlene Ottley obtained her undergraduate degree from Andrews University in SpeechLanguage Pathology / Audiology and completed her Master’s degree at Gallaudet University. As a speech-language pathologist (SLP), she has provided services to bilingual Spanish-English speaking children and children with hearing loss. Currently, she’s pursuing a doctoral degree.

However, she has always had a passion for vintage fashion and for helping others find their own personal style. As a result, she recently decided to learn more about the concept of fashion styling and studied to become a Certified Image Consultant (CIC). This is also how the concept for the blog, Sharlendipity, was born. Ottley received numerous requests from family members and friends asking her to help them discover their own styles and tackle the mystery of “thrifting”. Therefore, she believed the blog was a great way to showcase how pieces obtained from thrift stores and consignment shops could be incorporated into vintage inspired outfits. Now, in whatever spare time she has, Ottley assists others in planning outfits to enhance their personal style, for events, and for photo shoots.

Photo credit: JAR Media & Design, Scrole Vision, C.tHru.Lens

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By no means do I feel like I have fully evolved. What do I mean by this? Well, when reflecting on my spiritual upbringing, I fully believe it is God that has brought me where I am today and will lead me to where I am going. My parents and family were instrumental in instilling the traits of perseverance and determination which in turn, allowed me to accomplish goals that at times seemed daunting.

On my journey to accomplish my professional goals as an SLP, I realized a particular joy when browsing through my mother's photo albums from the 60s and 70s. I remember saying to myself, "Wow Mom, that dress, why didn't you save it for me... what were you thinking? Seriously?!". The styles of clothing from previous eras that I saw in these albums caught my eye and led me to the mainstream stores. Unfortunately, I was unable to locate exactly what I was searching for. I remember protesting when my mother used to make me go into thrift stores and consignment shops looking for clothes when I was younger. But as I frequented these stores more and more, I realized that I could find things similar to the clothes I saw my mother wearing back in the day. Not only were the styles unique, vintage, and often of better quality than

I would have taken time while pursing my studies to develop my

what I found in mainstream stores, they were offered

personal interests in the area of fashion and the arts. I was so

for significantly discounted prices. Walking away with bags of this classic vintage wear for just a few dollars

intent on “finishing� and doing well that I often let other things that I was passionate about fall by the wayside. My advice to other young women would be: developing interests outside of

led me to believe that I was beginning to find another

your profession that are important to you enhances the quality

niche in life—stumbling upon fashionable treasures.

of life and makes you a well-rounded person.

And so, Sharlendipity was born. 41


Authentically emmie www.authenticallyemmie.com | www.authenticallysocial.com

Emily Sandford is the blogger behind Authentically Emmie (formerly Skinny Emmie), where she writes about finding fitness and plus size fashion. She and her blog have been featured on the websites and publications of Shape

Magazine, the New York Post, Prevention Magazine, Skirt! Magazine, and the Lexington Herald-Leader. She is also the owner of Authentically Social, a social media marketing consultancy. The company was founded in 2012 after eight years working in product and brand management. Her results-oriented social media, blogger outreach, and community management plans have earned her clients across the United States.

42 Photo credit: Emily Moseley


I have always been interested in advertising, and

After eight years of corporate work, I was exhausted,

how I could use that (plus marketing) in the business

stressed out, and my health wasn't improving as much as

world. I left my entry level marketing job, earned my

I wanted to. I had lost 100 pounds, but something still

MBA and then went on to start work in product /

wasn't right. It was then that I left my job to focus on my

brand management. In my spare time, I began to

blog and social media clients and founded Authentically

write a blog about my efforts to lose weight after a

Social. Every day, I get to work with great brands that I

failed attempt to get on “The Biggest Loser�. My

love and manage their presence on my favorite social

writing was therapeutic, and people started reacting;

media sites, while still being an active blogger still finding

following along and encouraging me. That was

the way to healthy (with doses of plus size fashion along

when I learned the power of community. I took my

the way).

marketing background and used social media as a way to build community around my blog as a brand.

I just rebranded my Skinny Emmie blog to Authentically Emmie, shedding the restrictions of the search for

"skinny" in an effort to be okay with me. It's the beginning of a new chapter in this solopreneur / writing / social media life that I love.

the power of communities. EMILY SANDFORD, AUTHENTICALLY EMMIE

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Everly Clothing www.everlyclothing.com In January 2009, Everly was created by sisters Fabiana Choi and Adriana Leaw whose vision was to ultimately make beautiful clothes for beautiful girls. Brought together by their complementary personalities and shared passion of beautiful prints and clean lines, Choi and Leaw set out to create a young, contemporary collection for the modern girl. Their idea of meshing life and fashion together has developed a brand filled of wardrobe classics that are stylish and playful. For the girl who loves to be well and dress well, every design is made with love and with the evolving Everly girl in mind. 44


Ever since we were little, our personalities were so

FABIANA CHOI: In all honesty, I wouldn't choose to re-

different that we never imagined we would ever be

do anything in my life because I truly believe I would

able to work together. Choi was very creative whereas

not be the person that I am today. Anything negative

Leaw was more intuitive and loved the business world.

that has happened in my life has made me a stronger

Our parents were manufacturing clothing for over 20

and better person today, and for that, I am grateful.

years and growing up in it, it was very normal for us

Life has been throwing us lemons here and there, but I

to be around fabrics, clothes and patterns all the time.

always try to make the best out of my situation and I know in the end, everything will be okay.

Once we both got to an age where we wanted to start something on our own, it was only natural that we ended up in the fashion world窶認abiana Choi

being the creative director and Adriana Leaw being the business director. In January 2009 we decided to start Everly with a vision to make clothes we would

ADRIANA LEAW: I would tell my 18-year-old self:

love to wear with the hopes of inspiring girls to be

don't care about what everyone else thinks. Just be

better and to reach for their dreams. Everly started

yourself and have a blast. Your dreams can and will

with a lot of hope and love, but no expectations. We

come true as long as you keep on reaching and

are beyond grateful for all the love and support we

never give up. When you meet good people, keep

have received over the years and we can't wait to see

them close to your heart and always treat others as

what the future holds for us.

you would want to be treated. There is a time for everything. Play hard now, but never think you are too young to make things happen. 45


Memento LLC www.shopmemento.com | www.greeklifegirl.com Terri Johnson is the creator, owner and heart behind Memento—and the original creator of all the designs and products that Memento offers to its customers. Seven days a week, Johnson pours her heart into the day-to-day business; to make sure Memento continues to offer the highest level of customer service and deliver on the quality and innovation in Memento’s products that has propelled a little personalized gift business to become a repeat favorite gift item to give and receive. As Memento has expanded and grown, she has added nine employees and expanded production capacity more than 600%—targeting to surpass the one million dollar sales revenue milestone this year. In the last year, Johnson has been showcased in Wired Magazine, has been nominated for Forsyth County’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, and launched two new brands to the Memento portfolio: Greek Life Girl and Greek Life Guy.

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Johnson’s vision with Memento was to offer products that represented a person's legacy, individual taste, or made a unique statement about an individual's spirit and character. Memento is not just a product. It’s an experience and a timeless reminder of a special moment, person, place or time. It's a gift that's fun and creates smiles and laughter. Gifts can represent a special sentiment or reminder that conjures up memories or tears. Most importantly, Johnson wanted to offer products that made gift giving easy and personal. She believes their selection of products and personalized touch, offer friends and loved ones a gift that is as unique and special as they are. From all of this, Memento was launched.

Terri Johnson lives in Cumming, GA. She and her husband Ron have been married for 17 years, and have two amazing children—her daughter Liberty (seven years old) and son Maverick (five years old). When Johnson was younger she had no idea she was the entrepreneur “type”, but discovered it’s very much part of who she is. Before Memento she launched two business ventures which provided the experience, confidence and courage to launch Memento. She learned a great deal from the first two ventures; she desired one more shoestring funded and creative in nature.

When I started Memento I was pregnant with my son and had a two-year-old daughter. I wanted a creative outlet and a way to use my talents. I had no idea five years later I would have eight ladies that now work for Memento. I borrowed $7,000 from my amazing mother to buy my first commercial embroidery machine. I told her I would pay her back in three years. That was my first goal with my business. By year two, I had the money to pay her back but with the business growing at double the pace of the prior year, I needed to buy a second machine. Every time I had the money, I bought an additional embroidery machine. Thank God for mothers believing in their children and supporting them completely. Much better than a bank! By year two, I started to hire seasonal help for graduations, Mother's Day and Christmas. My business continued to grow over 100% every year. One year it grew 300% and in 2012 it grew a stunning 580%. I hired a wonderful lady to do contract embroidery for me in her home for two years and between the two of us I was able to keep up. But as the business kept growing, I knew I needed to start to operate more like a real business and not a lady in her basement. I had gone from one room in the basement to evicting my kids and husband and taking over an entire floor of our house. In August 2011, I hired my first full-time employee. In April 2012, I moved into a 2,000 square foot commercial space. Now in 2013, I have nine amazing ladies that I call the Memento Girls! They share my heart and passion with all the items we create and interactions with our customers. I am very blessed to have been able to grow a business especially in a down economy with a product selection that would not be considered “need to have” items. I learned early on that our success has really come from our focus in a few niche markets, especially wedding items for brides, and our matching apron sets for families. Personalized bridesmaids gifts are more than a gift; they are an experience and a memory. Brides take photos while getting hair and makeup done on their special day and we are part of capturing that intimacy and friendship between the bride and bridesmaids. We sell matching monogrammed robes which create beautiful photos and memories. We also make matching family apron sets from chef designs for mom, dad, boys and girls, to our cupcake aprons with polka dot ribbons for mother and daughter aprons. Memento launched a new brand in July 2012 for the sorority market, Greek Life Girl. I wanted to take the high quality, impeccable customer service and unique fabrics and font designs that made Memento successful to the Greek product line. We are forecasting our revenues to break the one million mark this year, which is a tremendous milestone for me to reach.

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I love this question because I am a firm believer that what happens in your life makes you have the skin you have. I am who I am because of the amazing and wonderful things that have happened in my life. Likewise, that same “me” is made up from the hurt, scars, disappointments and failures in my life. Through it all, I can honestly say that I would not change one thing as they would not make me the Terri Johnson I am today, or give me the life I have today. Past business failures, and all of the lessons learned, has been a contributing factor to the success of Memento today. I might have tried to offer too many products or tried to take on too much inventory, or took my eye off of cash-flow, if I had not had a business that failed once before. I’m a girl with a strong sense of principles and conviction. The business that we closed (my husband and I) had been in operation for 15-months. We set a target date to shut down after 12months of not breaking even on our monthly costs. The month we were supposed to close I got a $30,000 deal from a big Atlanta event venue. Did we still close the business? Yes we did. In spite of this big deal, we suffered 14 other months of loss that we couldn’t recover from—closing was inevitable. It took a huge emotional and financial toll on us personally and professionally, but as a couple and as individuals we were stronger than ever. It did shake my belief that I was a good business woman though. I wanted my husband to sign a document saying he would never ever start another business again. We laugh at this now because he never wanted me to sign any such document; here I am with a business that is far more successful than the one that nearly scared me away. Did I make choices or decisions that I wish I had made differently? Absolutely! However, those decisions made me a better wife, mom, friend and business owner. I still have things I work on and I am not the perfect boss by any stretch. My passion and drive is a good quality, but, can also be challenging. I am learning to grow into the role of a business owner just as I learned to be the mom that I never knew I could be.

With marriage, I needed to trust God. I had too many examples of broken and uncommitted marriages. I knew I wanted love to be enough and to marry the right man for me. Ron, my husband, is beyond extraordinary. He truly does complete me and we’re a match made straight from above. I don’t cook, he does all the cooking. When we say Mama’s cooking, it means we are going out for dinner! He supports me and is my biggest cheerleader.

I envisioned I wasn’t the mothering type. I am not patient, I like things a certain way; I am not a baby person. But God had different plans for me. He changed my heart to trust him, so I could be the mother He needed me to be.

With my past, present and future I know that all these things are who I am. My story is one that will make you gasp, cry and cheer. More than anything, I truly believe that Memento has given me an opportunity to invest and influence others around me, and a “platform” for my entire story to be heard and help those who need to hear it. In time I know God has a plan for my business success and my story to all come together. I don’t see it as, "How God could let the difficult situations happen?” I see it as “There was God.” Growing up, I often had people tell me I was weird and I’d refer to myself as “independently unique”. In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.

I adore my two children. We laugh, dance and have lots of fun, silly, times. I always ask them, “Don’t you think other mothers are goofy like me?” They respond with a resounding “No!”

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LC Associates www.lucindacross.com Lucinda Cross is a visibility coach and platform strategist specializing in supporting women in leveraging and monetizing their message.

She is the CEO of LC Associates and has been branded as the Activator! Mrs. Cross is the author of Corporate

Mom Drop Outs, and a contributing writer for three other bestselling business books. She is also co-owner of the Super Mom Entrepreneur Conference and Expo. Her journey into entrepreneurship began when she became a mom and she has been building businesses ever since. She has defied all the odds both in life and in business I am the bestselling author of The Road to Redemption, which is my life’s story of how I went from being an 18-year-old freshman in college to making a life altering decision that resulted in serving a 4 ½ year sentence in federal prison.

I have since then made it my life’s mission to inspire, encourage and uplift women to build businesses from their message and experience. I graduated from Mercy College, left my corporate job and built several successful businesses. I am now married to the man of my dreams, raising a family and speaking nationally on overcoming fears and obstacles against all odds.

and has mastered the ability to turn adversities into advantages. She travels the world sharing her message and inspiring women to Activate in all areas of life.

Cross has been featured on ABC, NBC, Black Enterprise, NY1, NY Daily News, Essence Magazine, Tom Joyner Morning Show, WLIB the Al Sharpton Show, Black Star Web, and over 100 internet talk radio shows and several blogs including Babble.com, Top 50 Mompreneurs 2012, and listed #2 on the Top 100 Mompreneur Blogs to follow by www.blogtrepreneur.com, and more.

The sudden death of my mother this year in May is something that has changed my view on life and will change my life forever. It has shown me a new level of faith, strength and meaning. 49


Grace and Charm | Dreams DO Come True www.graceandcharm.com

dynamic ball of innovative fire who can help

In addition to being a Certified Image and Etiquette/Protocol Consultant, she is a former instructor for the John Robert Powers

you jump start your business and your brand

International Finishing School, coach for the Ms. Michigan Beauty

through her Grace and Charm Success System

Pageant, image consultant for the Urban League, and an

signature products.

Ambassador for Dudley Beauty Corp, LLC.

Her mission is to equip entrepreneurs with the

Walethia Aquil believes in serving and giving back to her

skills, training and information necessary to ensure that their personal and professional

community. In an effort to help alleviate the financial and peer pressure experienced by high school senior girls, My Dreams Do

image does not distract from the

Come True was created. My Dreams Do Come True’s mission is

productiveness of their professional efforts.

to offer donated new and used formal gowns to deserving high

For over 25 years, she has coached business leaders and teams, politicians, entertainers,

school girls.

Walethia Aquil, CEO of Grace and Charm, is a

beauty pageant winners, and society’s elite. Aquil has helped thousands of people to boost their confidence, and to improve their bottom lines and their business and personal

Aquil is the resident etiquette expert on NBC TV 25, an NBC television affiliate. She is routinely quoted in national media outlets such as Certified Professional Stagers, Exceptional People Magazine, Gigare, Be You Girl Magazine and many more.

relationships via television, radio, seminars and personal coaching. 50


Walethia and her team working with clients

My entrepreneurial journey began on the night of my senior prom—what should have been a special event turned out to be one of the worst nights of my life. I was an incredibly shy and insecure child from a family without many resources, and as a result I didn’t have a date until the last minute. In fact, I didn’t have a date for the senior prom until the desperate guy asked the desperate girl! Having found a date, of course I needed a dress. I didn’t have much money, but I’ve always had a knack for style, so I went downtown to a high-end store, where I found a gown on sale that I knew would suit me. I styled my own hair and manicured my nails. I already had long white gloves, and I had a pair of shoes dyed to match my gown. I thought I was all set for my very first date, but I’d forgotten that the evening involved dinner at a restaurant. And as my family couldn’t afford to eat at restaurants, I simply didn’t know how to deal with a formal table setting. I was so embarrassed. I ordered something from the menu, but when it came I had no idea what it was. Looking back, it was just clams and shrimp and maybe scallops. But the only thing I could identify then was shrimp, and I was so self-conscious that I just couldn’t eat a thing. I felt like the whole restaurant was staring at this girl who didn’t even know what fork to use. After all my efforts to look right, I realized that I didn’t know how to behave. It was a terrible night, and I vowed then to never find myself in that kind of situation again.

That determination drove me to learn how to present myself in the best possible way. Throughout my career, I worked in a number of industries and at various different levels, and I gradually realized that I could achieve even more in my life by complementing hard work with what is generally called etiquette, in other words: good manners, grace, charm and poise. When I had that realization, I looked around and saw that many other people could benefit from my experience—people from all walks of life, and in all business sectors; small business owners who weren’t earning half of their potential; candidates who were failing job interviews even though they had the best qualifications and experience; women who were getting passed over for promotion because of how they dressed; attorneys whose client base seemed stuck at a certain level and who couldn’t figure out why they always failed to attract bigger clients. It was that inspiration that ultimately led me to become an expert in etiquette and image and to develop the Grace and Charm system. Because the first stage in being able to communicate with someone is feeling confident. You have to know how to behave, and how to present yourself. It may seem trivial, but if you’re worried about which fork to use at a formal business dinner, how can you successfully present yourself as a potential business partner? You’re concerned about yourself, while you should be thinking about what the other person needs and how you can fulfill those needs. I provide people with the social skills to forget about themselves in company so they can truly focus on the other person. 51


I have developed techniques, tips and tools that people can use immediately for instantaneous results. I show people how to break down the barriers around them, to move easily in all social circles and to interact with people who can really make a difference, both professionally and personally. If you can make people comfortable in your presence, then you have an opportunity to authentically connect with them. And in today’s shallow world, a genuine connection is such a rare thing that it – and you – will be remembered. I get immense pleasure from sharing these techniques. I’ve even started programs for girls so that they can learn how to overcome their shyness and insecurity. I feel that it’s extremely important to give back to the community, and what better way than to teach the next generation the skills they need to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace? Ideal Girl Global is a personal development program for girls between the ages of eight and 18, and My Dreams Do Come True provides donated prom gowns to girls who would not otherwise have been able to afford to attend, and who might have dropped out of school as a result. The pride I get when I see these girls, all dressed up in what might be their first ever dress, is incredible.

And it all stems from that terrible night when I sat there in that restaurant and wanted the earth to swallow me up. Looking back, and looking at what I’ve achieved as a result, I think that maybe it wasn’t such a terrible night after all!

I would say Walethia you are beautiful, even though there are those who call you Black and “nappy-headed”. I would say embrace your beautiful smooth dark skin and full head of hair—follow your dreams, it does not matter that other people don’t see your dreams. I would say Walethia stop trying to fit in and trying to emulate others. You are you; very special and unique.

Author of the highly anticipated book Women Who

Co-Author of Sister to Sister: A Guide for African American Girls (2011)

Co-Author of Madam CEO: How to Think and Act Like a Chief Executive (2011)

Co-Author of Think Like an Entrepreneur: What You

Win: Business Etiquette Tactics that Lead to Success in Life and Business (2010)

Need to Consider Before You Write a Business Plan (2012)

Received certifications from the Protocol School of Washington, John Robert Powers, Nxphase – The Global Institute of Enterprise Development

             

10 Most Intriguing Women 40 Most Influential Women 101 Blogs to Watch Top 100 Women in E-commerce Daring Doer, Troy Johnson Instructor, The Global Institute Nominated Small Business Influencer Up Woman Leader Athena Nominee Approved Lawline Presenter Girl Advocate of the Year Award Recipient Approved Alexandria Translation Presenter Approved Certified Staging Professionals Presenter Named one of 40 Most Influential Women to watch by the National Association of Women on the Rise Recognized as an Exceptional Person by Exceptional

People Magazine

Walethia, value your body don’t allow men to use you and mistreat you—love yourself first, only then, can others love and respect you. Don’t listen to the naysayers, they don’t count anyway; only God knows the plans he has for you. 52


www.feverishicecream.com

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Kelly Lynn Adams Intl www.kellylynnadams.com | www.theboudoirbusinessbootcamp.com Kelly Lynn Adams, CPC, is a Certified Professional Business Leadership and Life Coach, motivational speaker and writer. After more than 10 years in corporate America, Adams was overworked, stressed out and had hit rock bottom. After becoming a self-help junkie, Kelly Lynn Adams turned her life around: She decided to channel her passion for business, spirituality and self-love into creating her own dynamic brand. Her mission is to empower women entrepreneurs to build profitable businesses while helping them shift their mindset, increase their confidence and step into their own divine power. She does this through private coaching, live events and group coaching programs; her latest live program being The Boudoir Business Bootcamp. Adam’s mission is to leave a legacy for the next generation of women to come by helping one woman and one business at a time realize that they can be, do and have anything they desire. Kelly Lynn Adam’s work has been featured in Forbes and many other media outlets. You can learn more about her strategies by downloading her ebook, The Little Pink Book Manifesto: 10 Powerful Tools That Will Transform Your Life and Your Business. 54


After 10 years of life in corporate America, I was overworked, stressed out and hit rock bottom. I invested my time and energy into myself and became a self-help junkie and turned my life around and took the spiritual journey inward. I decided to turn my passions into profit and start my own dynamic business in order to empower, inspire and teach other women that they can be, do and have whatever it is that they desire.

I would tell my 18-year-old self to have fun at everything you do and not to worry or stress about anything because the universe always has your back. You are loved, beautiful and powerful, so own those qualities. Don’t compare yourself to others as you were born unique and there will be no one on this earth just like you and to treat other women like your sisters (because they are; we are all connected). Find compassion for others as each person is going through their own struggles. To be easy on yourself as you are exactly where you need to be in this moment. Life is short and to say what you need to say to the people that you love as you are not promised tomorrow.

Do not judge. Do not hold yourself back. To invest in yourself as you are your own best asset. Do what you love, follow your passion. Try not to get side tracked. Surround yourself with people that you admire and want to be like. Always be growing mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Love with all of your heart. Speak nicely to yourself and to others. Treat others how you would like to be treated. You are loved and will always be loved. YOU ARE MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH.

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Meredith Hill, former president of Hills of Africa Travel, founded the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE) to empower frustrated and struggling travel consultants by helping them to connect with their passion again, attract ideal clients, and build a business that makes a positive difference in people’s lives. In 2007, faced with a long-standing struggle of not having enough clients in her travel business, Hills of Africa Travel was on the verge of closing its doors. Instead, Meredith Hill used her gift to find the path to success no matter what the odds.

Global Institute for travel entrepreneurs www.travelbusinessu.com Realizing they had to revolutionize their marketing, Meredith Hill and business partner, Sandy Salle, looked to other industries for direction, and began applying cutting edge, effective marketing techniques for the small business—learning in the process, the importance of passion, mindset and support for entrepreneurs in travel. Thanks to their determination and efforts, the company doubled its income within the first year. During three of the most difficult economic years in travel history, Hills of Africa quadrupled its business and was doubly proud of hitting a milestone in 2010, when they surpassed $1.6 million in sales. Meredith Hill has a never-ending love for Africa, but her deepest passion lies in empowering travel business owners who want to make a difference. She founded GIFTE after noticing that many travel professionals were alone, at a standstill, trying to navigate the unchartered waters of an industry experiencing major change. Hill’s goal is to revolutionize the travel industry by helping people connect with their passion again, adopt a mindset for success, get desperately needed support and build successful travel businesses that change people’s lives. She continues to use her gift to blaze new trails and guide her clients to success.

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The word "safari" means journey in Swahili. For 10 years, I planned incredible safaris and was blessed to explore southern Africa, both physically and through my clients. Sounds romantic, right? Rewind 10 years earlier. I left an amazing job on Wall Street where I had everything: recognition, multiple six figures in pay, invitations to high profile parties, and a promising future. Yes, I had it all, except one thing—a passion for my work. So I did a courageous thing. I left it all and traded it in for a life of entrepreneurship. I followed my passion. If I only knew what a bumpy ride I would have for the next ten years, I probably would have stayed. As I planned safaris and journeys for my clients over the next decade, I would experience one hell of a journey myself. I may not have encountered meat-eating predators: lions, leopards and cheetahs—like my clients did, but I certainly felt like that many times. Six years into my entrepreneurship journey, my life was unraveling. I hit rock bottom. I woke up one day and decided to be honest with myself—my marriage was falling apart, my children were trying to get my attention by acting out, engaging in unusual behavior, and experiencing strange medical issues; my business' financial state was practically non-existent. The only thing that did have my attention was my business—but it wasn't giving anything back. One day, I decided to take notice of the train wreck that was about to happen. I thought long and hard about giving up, and I almost did. But I didn't. I wanted to prove to my children that you can follow your passion and make a profitable business out of it. Instead of giving up, I went on a mission to learn everything I could about marketing and success for the entrepreneur. I read books, took online courses, went to workshops, purchased home study systems, you name it. And slowly, but surely, it worked. My business partner and I went from $96,000 in revenue to just over $500,000 in three short years.

But just when it was time for me to sit back, relax, and take in our success, the entrepreneurial bug bit again. Truth is, in the last 12 to 18 months in my travel business, I was questioning whether or not I was truly following my passion—because I think it [your passion] can change. What I learned about myself was that I was a teacher at heart and didn't feel I was using that gift to its greatest potential. It took a lot of courage, but I made the decision to start over and founded the Global Institute for Travel Entrepreneurs (GIFTE). I found it so amazing to realize that the acronym of my new venture was GIFTE. My 10-year journey of owning my business had been about discovering and claiming the power of your own gifts and then using them to drive your business.

I would choose to NOT re-do anything. Mistakes and bad choices are a part of life. They offer huge valuable lessons and I wouldn’t trade a thing for them. Successful people have more failures than non-successful people. Life is about learning from those wrong choices and mistakes. Without them, I’d have no direction and be of no service to the world.

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t+j Designs www.tandjdesigns.com

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Tiffany Ish and Jennifer Worman grew up inspired by their glamorous mother and have always shared a love of fashion. Guided by their passion, Worman pursued a career in merchandising and successfully worked as a merchandise manager for eight years for several big box retail brands. Ish spent most of her career in the corporate world and in a need for a creative outlet, started her blog, I am Style-ish. She shares her style and latest obsessions and is now read by thousands of readers every day. Worman followed in her sister’s footsteps and started her blog, Red Soles and Red Wine to share styling outfits and the latest trends. With their creativity, love of fashion and dream of owning their own business, they came together to build t+j Designs.

JENNIFER WORMAN: I got my degree in accounting and business and started my career as an auditor for a big five accounting firm. Unhappy at my job after two years, I sat down and thought about what I was passionate about. I have always been obsessed with fashion and started looking around for schools to see what type of career I could work in. I went back to school for a year program at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and figured out merchandising was exactly what I wanted to pursue. After graduating I started as an assistant merchandiser at a large retailer in San Francisco. In two years, I became a merchandising director managing two large departments. I loved my job and worked long hours, learned a ton and worked with great people. After five years I moved to New York and worked at Tommy Hilfiger in women's and men's. I got to travel to Paris, London and Spain to shop for trends 3-4 times a year and gained so much experience in merchandising. Although I loved New York after three years, my husband and I decided to settle down in Chicago. Since the fashion scene is much smaller in Chicago and the search for a great position was limited I decided to take the plunge and start my own business with my sister! It has been fast paced, long hours, but so rewarding.

TIFFANY ISH: That no matter how much you plan your life, it will always have unexpected twists and turns and to embrace them with open arms as each change has led to something wonderful and fulfilling. Change is not as scary as you think!

JENNIFER WORMAN: I was in Chicago for a conference as an auditor when 9/11 happened in New York. In order to get back home to San Francisco, my team had to drive from Chicago as there were no flights heading out. During the drive back I decided that I was going to quit my accounting job and pursue what I loved. I worked hard, was motivated, so why not put that energy into something I knew I'd do forever? I never looked back after quitting my accounting job. My love of fashion and my motivation for success has brought me to where I am now and owning my own business.

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OnyxQueen Media www.onyxqueenmedia.com Reneé Lowe is the CEO and founder of OnyxQueen Media, which provides event planning and PR services to small businesses looking to expand their lifestyle brands. Lowe personally oversees every client, event and project using her creative strategy. With degrees in journalism, media / communications / PR and a certification in wedding / event planning, she has been sought after by corporate and private upscale clients. She’s a professional speaker and has written for various publications about women and business. Lowe is also an esteemed member of the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC). The BOSS Network (voted one of the 10 Best Career Sites For Women by Forbes), chose Lowe as one of the "50 BOSS Members To Follow On Twitter" in 2011. Reneé Lowe has worked in account management for over ten years, speaking, organizing and maintaining million dollar client contracts. She is wellqualified in working with federal government and private companies, which gave her the opportunity to forge many trusted business relationships.

It's always interesting when people ask me how I got to where I am today, because there are so many factors that contributed along the way. Here are my top three: The most important one is God. A solid faith will always keep you grounded and when you go through those rough patches, sometimes it feels like all you have. The second is my family and close friends. The support and words of encouragement has been one of the things that have helped me through the years. You are never too old to hear that your family and close friends are proud of you. Lastly, is my creativity. I have always been very creative as a child. I used to come up with ideas for everything from stories to recipes. Being in media is not a shock to anyone that has been the victim of my makeshift microphone created from a hair brush! I laugh about that now, but these are all the things that groomed me to be where I am today.

Honey, you have NO IDEA what is coming down the road for you! Folks who you think will have your back—won't, but stick with your ideas because a few unlikely supporters will shock and amaze you. Love is going to seem like it hurts sometimes, but you’ll get past it and see why you needed to go through those experiences. When the opportunity comes for you to mentor, make sure you do it. You are going to learn more from the young person you are teaching. Don't be discouraged with your burdens in starting your own business, because they will pave the way to blessings. 60


t+j Designs aim to provide quality fashionable jewelry at affordable prices. Tiffany Ish and Jennifer Worman curate from the best designers around the world and develop and design many of their own pieces.

Accessories complete every outfit and every woman deserves to have affordable, stylish, and glamorous jewelry. t+j Designs provides affordable glamour for everyday life.

tandjdesigns.com

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Nadia aboulhosn www.nadiaaboulhosn.com Nadia Aboulhosn is a fashion blogger with publications in Elle, Complex Magazine, The

New York Times, Refinery 29, Teen Vogue, Lucky Magazine, and many more. She has modeled for companies such as American Apparel, Seventeen, and Addition Elle. Currently, she’s engulfed in a few new projects set to debut soon. Additionally, she’s a magazine contributor and will showcase a new capsule collection designed all her own. 62


While in my first year of college, I planned to become a journalist. I wanted to go overseas and bring awareness to issues that are downplayed here in America. While in college, I started fashion blogging and somewhere down the line, people liked what I was about, how I looked, and that I was relatable. I enjoyed fashion and started appreciating it so I figured why not major in fashion design? After graduating with my Associate’s degree, I applied to Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and they denied me. I gave myself 10 minutes to be upset about it and then decided to make my fashion career happen without a degree. I posted more frequently on my blog, did some interviews, and all of a sudden people started labeling me as a plus size model and I had never professionally modeled in my lifetime. I was then contacted by

Seventeen Magazine and shot for them twice. I ended up winning American Apparel's XL Model search. My blog and I were both being recognized and featured in major publications. There are still many huge projects in the works. It took a lot to get where I am today. A lot of work, a lot of convincing myself I could do what I set my mind to. There were a lot of failures but I flipped the negatives into positives and learned from it. I reached out to people instead of waiting for things to come my way.

I would tell my 18-year-old self to really spend as much time as I could with my family, to appreciate it and make more memories. 63


For four years, I've been working for myself making and selling jewelry. Two years ago, I also started a business with my brother called Stitchtagram that allows you to design your own throw pillows and purses with your Instagram photos. They are all sewn in Washington, DC, where I handle order fulfillments and the design side of things. I've recently been featured as one of Refinery 29’s “30 Under 30” list in DC, and have also been featured in magazines such as Bust, Time Out New York, Washington Post Express, among others.

I graduated from Brandeis University in 2008 and got a job in the Boston Museum of Science, working in design challenges. During that time, I worked on a tiny little desk in our apartment, teaching myself the basics of jewelry making. Luckily for me, my dad is a jeweler, so whenever I had a question, I could always ask him. A series of events lead to me and my husband moving to DC, where he landed a job. I've continued to work from home ever since.

Rachel Pfeffer www.rachelpfeffer.com

I would tell my 18-year-old self to just keep doing what I was doing, even if it seemed too wacky or weird. If you want to turn that fire hydrant outside your dorm room into a gnome by making clothes and accessories for him out of paper and tin foil, then you do that. I would tell myself to just work hard and keep being as creative as possible.

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Vernetta R. Freeney enjoys her life now and encourages other women to forget about the ups, downs, and turnarounds of life and stay focused on being a “Gamechanger”. She worked in nonprofits for five years, taught elementary for four years and taught ESL to corporate employees in the oil and gas industry for 1½ years. After graduating with her Master’s in Education Administration, she decided to step away from the 9-to-5 after being forced to resign from teaching. She now runs an award winning, popular business blog for women entrepreneurs and is the owner of Women Are Gamechangers, LLC. Freeney created Fusion Tour which is the first national networking tour for women entrepreneurs. She speaks and writes to help women understand not just the importance of networking but how to do it effectively, which leads to long lasting business relationships. Through speaking, blogging, online chats, live events and producing her own show Freeney connects women to Gamechangers in business. She is a chocolate lover, TV scripted drama watcher, film fanatic and the biggest Dallas Mavericks fan.

Women are gamechangers www.womenaregamechangers.com

I was forced to resign from teaching and didn't have a Plan B. A friend suggested I start blogging to fill my time since I was only working contract work at that time. Two months after blogging, I was approached to write for a DC website and was paid. I immediately began to attend events, conferences and workshops to learn how to run a business. While attending, I noticed women weren't really making any connections. That's when my signature event was birthed. Fusion Tour has gone through some changes and improvements since its inception. The one thing I've done is constantly look for ways to maintain a consistent message and keeping this event relevant to the needs of women entrepreneurs. Through hard work, strategic planning and collaborations Women Are Gamechangers has been able to continually grow with steady steps from a local Houston business to a national tour.

I would say losing my teaching job has forever changed my life. I'm not sure if I would have started Women Are Gamechangers if I was still teaching. If it wasn't for that one door being slammed in my face, I would not have had the opportunity to meet so many amazing women, learn new things or be featured along with the other ladies in this publication. Losing my teaching job was the catalyst for propelling me to owning the Gamechanger within me.

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Aliah Public Relations www.aliahpr.com Aliah Davis-McHenry is president and founder of Aliah Public Relations, a public relations, digital marketing and events management firm. With ten years of experience in nonprofit management and public relations, Davis-McHenry is a strategic visionary who creates, implements and manages innovative public relations and digital marketing campaigns for a wide range of clients. Driven by creativity and relentless energy, she is a hybrid communications professional that delivers compelling and multifaceted solutions. A graduate of Rutgers University, Davis-McHenry serves as vice-chair of the Association for Women in Communications (AWC) and as chair of the organization’s National Marketing and Communications Committee. She recently served on United Way’s Northern New Jersey’s Women Leadership Council and New Jersey Performing Arts Center’s Women’s Association. Aliah Davis-McHenry is also an accomplished writer, blogger and speaker. She speaks on social media, mentorship, women’s issues and entrepreneurship and has spoken at events such as The Newark Museum, The New York Social Media Summit, and The Center for Nonprofits Success Leadership Series in New York City. I balance my professional and personal life as a working mother of two sons (eight and 10), married for more than 11 years, and being a volunteer and pursuing my passions of writing, photography and healthier living. I credit tenacity, family support and an insatiable need to try new and different things that keep me balanced and focused.

Davis-McHenry blogs about fitness and healthy living on The Get Fit Diva; fashion and travel on This Diva Travels, and career and finding balance as a millennial working mother and wife on The PR Diva. Recently, she was listed as one of Young, Fabulous and SelfEmployed’s Breakout Business Moguls and honored by Diva by Design’s Hustle Column and profiled on the PR Woman.

I would tell my 18-year-old self to never let anyone steal your joy! When I was younger, I would listen to others on how I should lead my life and would let the naysayers (those that never followed their dreams) rain on my parade. Don’t ever lose that “take the world by storm” mentality. Make your voice known and don’t let anything (or anyone) deter you from reaching your professional and personal aspirations.

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Womensocially Felecia Hatcher

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FeverishMiami

Feverish

Whitney Pozgay

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WHIT_NY

WHIT

Jo Mousselli

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XtremeLashes

Xtreme Lashes

Allison Sosna

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ChefAlliSosna

Allison.Sosna

Janice Ferebee

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GIGOWorldwide

Got It Goin On

Brittney Castro

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BrittneyCastro

Financially Wise Women

Deanna Jefferson

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DeannaJefferson

Deanna Jefferson

Kathy Gamble

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CiCiRyann

CiCi & Ryann

Ronnie Tyler

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BlackandMarried

Happily Ever After

Kayce Hughes

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KayceHughes

Kayce Hughes

Dr. Danielle Dowling

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DDowling_

Danielle Dowling

Sharlene Ottley

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Sharlendipity

Sharlendipity

Emily Sandford

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AuthEmmie

Authentically Emmie

Fabiana Choi & Adriana Leaw

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EverlyClothing

Everly Clothing

Terri Johnson

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ShopMemento

Shop Memento

Lucinda Cross

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LucindaSpeaks

Lucinda Cross Speaks

Walethia Aquil

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GraceandCharm2

Grace and Charm

Kelly Lynn Adams

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KellyLynnAdams

Kelly Lynn Adams

Meredith Hill

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MeredithHill

Global Institute (GIFTE)

Tiffany Ish & Jennifer Worman

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tandjDesigns

t + j Designs

Renee Lowe

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OnyxQueenMedia

OnyxQueen Media

Nadia Aboulhosn

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NadiaAboulhosn

Nadia Aboulhosn

Rachel Pfeffer

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Rachel_Pfeffer

Rachel Pfeffer Designs

Vernetta Freeney

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WomenGameChange

Women Are Game Changers

Aliah Davis-McHenry

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AliahPR

Aliah Public Relations

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KARLENA WALLACE Stiletto Woman Media Born to Lead: How to Master Your Innate Greatness

LISA STEADMAN WooHoo, Inc. How to Become Woohoolicious

DELORES PRESSLEY UP Woman Network The Power of an UP (Undeniably Powerful) Woman

JACQUELINE BOONE 6 Months to Live Break Through Fear & Live Your Dreams

National Walk In Stilettos Day™ is a campaign for women to collectively celebrate their independence and reaffirm their innermost dreams and aspirations. This year we're hosting the virtual symposium: Unlock Potential & Master Your Life! This event is dedicated to living a fulfilled life both inside and outside business. The Symposium promotes personal growth, self-acceptance, authenticity, reinvention, and fearless living. This FREE virtual event will be held on September 22, 2013 from 12:00pm – 5:00pm EST. We're presenting four experts, who'll each deliver their own teleconference workshop. We’ll conclude the day with a #NWISD Twitter Party and offer giveaways exclusively to registered participants.

12:00pm - 12:45pm EST | How to Become Woohoolicious Speaker: Lisa Steadman, WooHoo, Inc. 1:00pm - 1:45pm EST | The Power of an Undeniably Powerful Woman Speaker: DeLores Pressley, UP Woman Network 2:00pm - 2:45pm EST | Break Through Fear & Live Your Dreams Speaker: Jacqueline Boone, 6 Months to Live 3:00pm - 3:45pm EST | Born to Lead: Master Your Innate Greatness Speaker: Karlena Wallace, Stiletto Woman Media

4:00pm - 5:00pm EST | Twitter Party & Giveaways

We will correspond with our audience and offer exclusive giveaways to registered participants. During the party, participants can post images of themselves in heels (or flats) supporting the movement on Twitter. This is our unified declaration and affirmation to honor our truest selves. JOIN THE TWITTER PARTY AND TWEET WITH US USING HASHTAG: #NWISD

4:00pm - 5:00pm EST | Twitter Party & Giveaways

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About the company Stiletto Woman is a Forbes-ranked leadership-centric lifestyle improvement company for modern working business women. Simply put, through our mission to empower women to dream big and believe in the impossible, we advocate healthy businesses and healthy lives. We accomplish this by helping women transition into entrepreneurship, build sustainable businesses, and up-level their careers. Our principle message encourages women from all walks of life to live courageously on purpose and elevate their influence in business. Stiletto Woman has become a premier destination particularly for women in the solo / micro business sector. We offer a multi-level approach to meeting the needs of women business owners, and have established a great platform for next generation thought-leaders. In 2013, Stiletto Woman was named one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women” by FORBES; a “Top Career Blog to Follow”, and She Owns It recognized Karlena Wallace as one of the “Top 50 Women to Follow on Twitter”. In 2012, Stiletto Woman was also named one of the “Top 75 Websites for Your Career” by FORBES, and a “Top 25 Site for Women Entrepreneurs to Love”. Visit us online: www.stilettowoman.com | www.stilettowomanthrive.com

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About the founder Karlena L. Wallace, Womenpreneur Lifestyle Expert™ known as the nation's leading "Stiletto Woman", is founder of Stiletto Woman Media, a leadership-centric lifestyle improvement company for modern working business women. Wallace found early entrepreneurial success a decade ago after landing an esteemed business cover story in one of New York Times sister newspapers. As Chief Stiletto Officer (CSO), today she’s an advocate for women in business; Wallace launched Stiletto Woman Magazine, an independent publication that's become a trusted source of inspiration and real talk for women entrepreneurs. She also created the womenpreneur lifestyle conference and event series, Stiletto Woman Thrive which encompasses the awards initiative, The SWIBA Awards. In 2012, Wallace released her second book, Stilettopreneurs Rock! Trading in Your Corporate Stilettos for the CEO Mindset, which gives cubicle dwellers a roadmap to solopreneur success. And through the National Walk In Stilettos Day™, she empowers women to claim their courage and confidence to ignite their innermost passions. Adored for her authentic marketing, vibrant branding, and razor-sharp business acumen, women across the nation connect with her empowering approach to business. Using her extensive entrepreneur experience, Wallace offers foundational "girlfriend" advice to help women break down barriers in business and life to make the seemingly impossible—possible! Connect on Twitter: www.twitter.com/stilettowoman

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Stiletto Woman Presents 2013 Amazing Women of the Year  

2013 Amazing Women of the Year

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