Huami Magazine Arizona March/April 2024

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Well, the first quarter of 2024 is almost over, and the question that I ask is, what have you done so far? If you are like me, you have created a list of goals for this year, and with anything, life has happened. With many distractions and obstacles, it can often be difficult to sift through the many challenges. However, success is a close friend of determination and persistence, so I encourage you to push and persevere and remember why you made that list in the first place.

I often imagine what it would be like if everything that I imagine I could do, I get it done. It feels so good to plan, yet it does not always work out how I plan. I truly believe that God gives us each a divine plan and purpose for our lives. I believe God speaks purpose into our minds and hearts, but He doesn’t stop there. He intends for us to return to Him for guidance and instruction for our purpose.

I once heard that if God blessed us like an all-you-can-eat buffet, we would probably eat all that we can eat in one setting and never return to Him for anything more. That is not how God works. God wants us to stay connected and follow the path He creates for our lives, which is constructed with steps that must be followed as He intended.

As we approach the second quarter of the year, I want to encourage you to revisit the goals you have in place and remind yourselves of your why. If we can think about it, then it is possible. If we trust God’s plan, then it will definitely happen, and it will happen in His time.

Work on your goals and dreams and goals now. All of your hard work will pay off. More than anything, we must keep pursuing what we have asked for. We must trust God and get it done! Arizona - March/April 2024 4 Howard Gaither Photography Tamara Smith Terry L. Watson Publisher Dorjea’ McClammey Writer Monica Montgomery Writer Terry L. Watson Writer Marrissa Dick Writer Still Shots Photography Photographer Rolando Ochoa Photographer Smitha Lee Photographer Email Mykel Media Company LLC Greensboro, NC 2024 All Rights Reserved Scan The QR Code Above To Visit Our Website 336-340-7844 General Inquiries A Letter From The Editor
Terry L. Watson
Now, Then, Later....... Just Get It Done!

From assisting young people with their financial needs for college to serving members of his community, he is ready to serve.

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Artistry, Advocacy, and Leadership Chanel Bragg Tax Services and More Nakeesha Tolden-Mosley
Bluford S.T.E.M. Academy Dr. Johnita Readus
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Artistry, Advocacy and Leadership

Meet Chanel Bragg – a woman whose story is a testament to resilience, advocacy, and empowerment. Inspired by her mother’s example, Chanel has inherited similar qualities of strength and generosity. Armed with the gifts of acting, singing, directing, and producing, she uses her voice and platform to advocate for others in the arts community.

Chanel is the co-founder of The United Colours of Arizona Theater. Together with her business partner, Jacqueline Castillo, they have created a haven for artists from all walks of life, offering workshops, resources, mediation services, and support to those who’d been overlooked for far too long.

“It was important to create a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) space where all the noise of everything else could cease to exist. I noticed a learning discrepancy and wanted to level the playing field. Where there isn’t access, there isn’t practice. We wanted a place where we could exist unapologetically in an open and safe environment. We worked meticulously to create a space to bridge the accessibility gap. We achieved this by leveraging one another’s resources, networks, job postings, audition notices, etc. I have always felt that we are strong individually, but together we are unstoppable. Hence, The United Colours of Arizona Theater’s motto is “Not only Community Theater but the Community’s Theater. A place where everyone plays a vital role in making the fine arts truly equitable,” said Bragg.

Raised in the heart of Arizona, Chanel’s story is one of humble beginnings. She says, “There was a time when we lived in a two-bedroom apartment where my brothers had one room, and I slept with my mom until I was 13. My mother is an amazing woman. She worked really hard and eventually moved us into a beautiful community as a single mother. She engrained ‘Black Excellence’ in us like a mantra. She is strong and the most giving person that I know. She goes to the hospitals and to the prisons to preach and sing. I love that her middle name is Joyce because she really is joy.”

Chanel beams as she speaks of her mother, Wanda Joyce Jenkins, her two younger brothers, Anthony and Christian, and her God-brother, Mitchell Vantrease, and her business partner.


After moving, it was at Cortez High School that Chanel’s star began to rise. She discovered her knack for theater and debate and joined the vocal ensemble, which was the advanced choral group on campus. “My love for theater first started because of the high school I was able to go to. I was able to do theater in a real way,” she explains.

However, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Chanel. She says there was a moment when her theater teacher told her that she couldn’t play a character because of her race. That information hit Chanel hard, leading her to step away from acting for a period of four years. Once she returned, she was fueled by a burning desire to prove that talent knows no color.

College life was a whirlwind of experiences, Chanel says, and from Glendale Community College to Northern Arizona University, she soaked up everything she could. From the speech and debate team to broadcast journalism, there was little that didn’t pique her interest. Still, she admits it wasn’t just about classes; there was more she wanted to accomplish, and she has.

Chanel has been fortunate to have mentors to nurture her talents. This included Kirt Shineman, whom she says offered various experiences. “While at Glendale Community College, my world expanded through Kirt. He took time to cultivate me as an artist, and I could take that knowledge and share the lessons that I learned.”

Then came the curveball that changed everything. In 2013, at the age of 30, Chanel was diagnosed with cancer, resulting in the removal of one of her kidneys. It was a tough blow, but she faced it head-on, emerging stronger and more determined than ever. “After I became sick, I decided I didn’t want to work in any industry that doesn’t fill me and speak to who I am and what I stand for. Even more, my ordeal helped me to realize life was too short to waste on anything,” she says.

Years later, Chanel faced another unexpected challenge when her historic appointment as the first African American woman Associate Artistic Director in the state’s history was eliminated. Chanel states, “Presently, we are witnessing a trend of talented Black Women across various industries, falling casualty to back peddled inclusion statements. It’s pivotal moments like these that embolden me to not lose faith in my own power. It also fuels my desire to create change. Losing my position taught me that life isn’t always fair and just. I also learned that you can not interweave your self-worth into an institution or an organization,” she explains. “Trial and error has been my best friend and has taught me how to pivot. As a leader, you must know how to pivot.” Arizona - March/April 2024 8

Chanel emphasizes how her life and career have connected with Artistry. “True Artistry emerges from the utmost intention, genuine effort, strategic direction, and expert execution. Genuine Artistry lies in maintaining a higher standard of performance/ storytelling that expresses truth at an elevated level. As a producer/director, I have always strived for excellence. Whether it was producing The Soul of Broadway as a form of artistic activism, embracing a unique opportunity to provide a show entirely in Spanish to further accessibility, or curating a touring revue in conjunction with the largest touring conglomerate in “Live Nation.” These opportunities allowed me to foster my artistic brand,” she says.

Chanel’s journey has been marked by moments of resilience and courage in the face of adversity. From experiencing the disappointment of being let go from a job she poured her heart into to confronting the daunting diagnosis of cancer, the most important thing Chanel says she has learned is to pause and examine how Black women leaders are supported in the workplace.

Still, Chanel has navigated life’s challenges with grace and determination and is quick to acknowledge those who have traveled this journey with her, providing necessary support, love, and encouragement. These include her boyfriend, Anthony Dannunzio, who taught her the art of sitting still and enjoying life’s simple pleasures and her sister’s circle. “I am so grateful for my sister circle, Jacqueline Castillo, Felicia Penza, Shavonda Bragg, Nataki Garret, Hana Sharif, and so many more. It means so much to be upheld by other strong, intelligent Black women who have helped me navigate the highs and some of the lows of my life and career. They have been paramount, and I’m so grateful for their support,” she says.

Each setback catalyzed growth, prompting Chanel to pivot, adapt, and emerge stronger than ever before. Through it all, she has exemplified the power of perseverance and the importance of embracing change with an unwavering spirit. Her story reminds us that with grit, passion, and a little bit of help from those who love us, we can overcome any obstacle and reach for the stars. In the desert landscape of Arizona, Chanel Bragg shines bright, a beacon of hope and inspiration for us all.

Trial and error has been my best friend and has taught me how to pivot. As a leader, you must know how to pivot. h

Dr. Johnita Readus

Leading The Way At Bluford S.T.E.M. Academy

Malcolm X, a prominent civil rights leader, activist, and advocate for Black empowerment, wrote, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Academically, education is the transmission of knowledge, skills, and character traits and comes in many forms. Notwithstanding, an educator’s most important responsibility is to search out and construct meaningful educational experiences that allow students to solve real-world problems and show they have mastered that knowledge by transitioning it into practical skills. Teachers pass on knowledge, foster critical thinking skills, inspire students, serve as role models, and play a vital role in the holistic development of our children. Unfortunately, the people tasked with cultivating tomorrow’s societal leaders do not receive the recognition or pay they rightly deserve. Most importantly, teachers are our children’s constant motivators and inspire all students to pursue their dreams. Most already know that the United States has not always been a proponent of African Americans receiving a quality education.

Fortunately, Black leaders continued to fight for equality in all facets of human life, especially education. Laws such as Brown vs. the Board of Education outlawed segregation, especially since Plessy vs. Ferguson was not particularly advantageous to the Black community. Thankfully, African Americans have always possessed the wherewithal to press toward the mark for a higher calling. One such little girl who pressed was Miss Ruby Bridges, who, at the tender age of six, advanced the cause of civil rights in November 1960 when she became the first African American student to integrate an elementary school in the South. There is much to say about being the first.

Meet Dr. Johnita Atkinson Readus of Greensboro, NC. She is an author and educator, Guilford County Schools Principal of the Year, Guilford County Employee of the Month, and the owner of A’JAR Solutions, LLC. Additionally, she is the first principal in her family, and she has a Ed.D.

Dr. Readus credits her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson, for initiating her educational journey; Dr. Readus shares, “It all started for me with my parents because they were both educators. My mother said I would line up my baby dolls and teach them when I was five. She told my dad then that the family had another teacher. So, education has always been a part of my life. My parents were my role models. My father was also a coach, so it was nothing to see extra dinner plates set at the table when one of his ballplayers was there or when my mother was mentoring or tutoring some of her students. My parents would feed them before their parents came to pick them up, so I learned to serve others from them. I believe the gift of service is the best gift you can give others. It started with my parents leading the way. My sister, Dr. Johnette Atkinson McCain, is the Director of Aggie Academy Lab School at NC A&T State University and an educator. So, education and service have been stable in both of our lives. That’s how we grew up, and that’s what we know. As I grew up, I knew I wanted to follow in my parent’s footsteps because I always found myself working with children. I worked at daycare centers; I worked in youth programs; I always surrounded myself with children and doing something to help others.” Dr. Maya Angelou once stated, “Nothing will work unless you do,” and that’s what Johnita set out to do - - work.

Since Johnita was born and raised in Fayetteville, NC, by servant educators, she knew that attending an institution of higher education was the expectation. After graduating high school, she attended Winston Salem State University, earning her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education. Two months after graduating, she married her childhood sweetheart and the love of her life, Mr. Melbrice Readus, a career military man. According to Johnita, marrying her husband and traveling with him benefited her educational experience. She shares, “I’ve been married for 32 years, and traveling with my husband has been a wonderful experience. We’ve lived in Hawaii, New York, and Virginia. Living in those states helped shape who I am as an educator today because I saw education in different arenas, with each place having a different educational structure. I would sit back and learn the different dynamics. I was a sponge everywhere we moved, just soaking up knowledge. During this time, I realized that my passion for education was in K-12, which was a blessing for me and my children, Ashleigh and Alan. So, when my children started school, I would work in that particular grade level, perfecting my teaching techniques. When they went to kindergarten, middle,

I challenged my students and staff to do something they have never done before. If I ask my staff to do something, I feel like I need to be a part of the work, so I take up that challenge, too.

and high school, I would teach in those areas, learning policy and procedures and the logistics to be a well-rounded educator. I believe those experiences have shaped who I am as an educator. Once my husband decided he was ready to retire in 2010, we decided that Greensboro would be our home. Once settled, I started as a first-grade teacher at Cone Elementary School in Greensboro. My principal noticed that I was always giving people strategies, ideas, and resources, so when the curriculum facilitator retired, she asked me if I would like to serve in that position. Initially, I had no desire for that role because I love teaching. Still, when she explained the role, I realized I was already doing it by helping my colleagues with their curriculum planning and teaching strategies and gaining more experience by serving on several district boards, so I accepted. I stayed in that position for eight and a half years, and then, one day, she encouraged me to become a principal. That changed the trajectory of my life and jump-started my leadership journey to NC A&T State University. There I was a NC Principal’s Fellow and earned my Master’s Degree in Administration. Then I continued earning my doctoral degree in education from High Point University.” What others see in us is amazing when we passionately and humbly operate in our God-given gifts.

After earning her degrees, Dr. Readus was offered a position at Oakhill Elementary School, where she served for one year. She would later become the principal at Sumner Elementary for five years. This was her first principal assignment. After, five years at Sumner, Dr. Contreras moved her to Bluford calling her the “Culture Builder”. This awesome recognition attracted Dr. Sharon L. Contreras, the North Carolina Regional Superintendent of the Year, who recognized that Dr. Readus possessed the same passion for providing a high-quality education to each child that prompted her to ask Johnita to become the principal of Bluford-Peeler S.T.E.M. Academy. Dr. Readus shares, “This was a great opportunity to implement my leadership skills and learned experiences to help bridge two schools, build a nurturing culture for the students, and welcome the community. Dr. Contreras said, ‘I want you to bridge those two cultures together and help them thrive,’ that’s what I’ve been striving to do for the past five years, and I love every minute of it. I come to work daily with a smile because I enjoy my work. I don’t just sit behind my desk all day. I help my teachers, and I also read to my students. There’s nothing better than coming to work and seeing my students running down the hall to greet me or seeing my faculty working as a team to meet the student’s needs, working with parents, and meeting curriculum mandates.” Arizona - March/April 2024 14

The author Toni Morrison wrote, “If there is a book that you want to read but hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it”. That is what Dr. Readus did when COVID-19 changed the world. Through the pandemic, Dr. Readus shares, “I challenged my students and staff to do something they have never done before. If I ask my staff to do something, I feel like I need to be a part of the work, so I take up that challenge, too. I fulfilled my lifelong dream of writing a children’s book during the pandemic. My first book is entitled Ashleigh’s New Normal. Ashleigh was in the second grade and thought she knew all the school rules and procedures until the COVID-19 virus changed her normal school day forever. This book talks about how Ashleigh feels during the pandemic and leaving her teachers and friends to remote learning. I read this book to my students, who loved it because they could identify with her struggles. They encouraged me to write a book about Ashleigh returning to school, so I’ve written Variant Invasion: While Ashleigh Returns to School and Ashleigh Sees Herself on the Screen. All of my books are in Bens Boys in Greensboro, a wonderful restaurant in Friendly Shopping Center, and on Amazon.”

Johnita is an inspirational and motivational principal because she charged her entire staff to do something that made them feel good despite what was happening in the world.

With someone who walks her talk, it’s easy to see why her staff would nominate her for Principal of the Year. Johnita chuckles as she explains that she was nominated three times before she received that award. “I was very humbled to receive that award. I have been nominated for Principal of the Year three times. I used to tell people I’m like that bridesmaid that never goes away! She’s always right there with the bride. Regardless of whether I won, I was always happy and excited for everybody else. Still, it’s just an honor to be nominated, especially since we are the third largest district, so to know that out of 132 schools that you have been selected is a good feeling.”

Being a visionary, Dr. Readus has high expectations for Blueford-Peeler S.T.E.M. Academy. Most remember the tornado that came through Greensboro destroyed many homes and uprooted some communities. Peeler Elementary was also affected, so the two schools merged. Dr. Readus shares, “The students and parents at Peeler were displaced, and they needed to be embraced. I always tell people my job is not done until all our kids are proficient and confident that they can go out into the world and be whomever they want. It’s not just me talking to the students. My entire staff motivates our students by teaching them about the importance of intelligence and character and how each student can add value to the world. When you enter our school, there’s a sign that reads ‘intelligence and character,’ which we instill in our students because you need both to have a true education. I always tell my students that people don’t lose their jobs because of their ability. People lose their jobs because they don’t know how to get along with each other. So, we’re building character as well as intelligence. And that’s my goal, for them to be productive citizens in society and value the world while doing something they love to effect change and make a difference in the world.”

Arizona - March/April 2024 15

Another thing Johnita and her staff do is teach their students how to work through struggle utilizing a scaffolding method and critical thinking. By using these same methods in their own lives, Johnita emphasizes that you can’t be effective if you’re not healthy on the inside, either. “I make it a practice to work with each teacher so they can be great at what they do, and that’s why we have a lot of professional development here. I love collaborating with my colleagues, and that brings me joy. To know that I’m helping another person thrive and do well in their environment, well, that’s phenomenal. I believe it’s important for me to pay it forward. That’s why I continue to provide professional development to educators. I want to inspire the next generation of leaders, so I teach coaching and share educational procedures. I believe I’m paying it forward like others have done for me. I didn’t get here on my own. I am standing on the shoulders of educators who coached and mentored me. When I go back home to Fayetteville, NC, I love on all those teachers and my parents’ friends who inspired me. I’ve had mentors like Dr. Doris Brown, Dr. Renee McKinnon, and even my brother-in-law, Dr. Brian McCain, who is a principal, who’ve given me nuggets of wisdom in this field. They helped me build intelligence and character. I work hard daily but always tell people to work hard and stay humble. I live by that creed.”

Johnita is aware of the gifts God has given her and professes that He is the head of her life. She identifies as a “Servant Leader” and takes her educational beliefs with me everywhere she goes. She is a proud member of New Light Missionary Baptist Church located in Greensboro, NC, and works with the Women’s Ministry or wherever she is needed to serve. She says, “Servant leadership is probably my strongest characteristic, along with instructional leadership.” Hebrews 13:16 instructs us, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Guilford County is blessed to have an inspirational leader among us. One who is inspiring motivates others, and one who shows kindness and love towards others. She is a proponent of pressing toward the mark so her staff can be forward thinkers. She reminds them to be “that teacher where students can say they were my favorite teacher instead of saying, yeah, I had that teacher, but I wasn’t very fond of them. Which teacher do you want to be?” She also prepares her staff for life after Bluford-Peeler S.T.E.M. Academy by encouraging them to make a difference and to blossom wherever they are planted. She shares, “We might not get our flowers like everybody else; instead, it might be in a hug. Teaching is so rewarding; it’s the greatest profession ever.”

Dr. Johnita Atkinson Readus also helps inspire and motivate students, parents, and other educators outside the classroom. She is the CEO of A’JAR Solutions, LLC. A’JAR represents opening endless possibilities through coaching, mentoring, and professional development. Dr. Readus is there to assist you in developing that passion. h


Learn More About My Experience of Being A Caregiver For My Mother

CHAPTER ONE: What Do We Do Now?

I can remember the day just as if it was today. My mother had suffered an Ischemic Stroke nearly four months ago, and it took her independence and her ability to communicate and left her paralyzed on the right side of her body. Within the previous 120 days, she had visited three different rehabilitation facilities, and we had reached the point in her recovery process that required our family to make a very difficult decision.

While in rehab, Mom didn’t make a lot of progress. Her ability to speak and her speech was measured very low, as she suffered from Aphasia. (A disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language. For most people, these areas are on the left side of the brain. Aphasia usually occurs suddenly, often following a stroke or head injury. - Even more, she didn’t make a lot of progress in physical therapy and still required some assistance with every physical need. Our family all agreed that we didn’t want Mom to continue to reside in the Skilled Nursing Facility, so preparations were made for her to come home and to my home, to be more specific.

Photo Provided by Adobe Stock Photos
Yet, there was much more that my family and I would be tasked with doing, and we were thrust into the role of caregiver without any formal training or experience. The only tools and resources I had available to assist me were my unwavering love for my mother and a Godly assignment to honor her.

Coming to my home and providing accommodations for my mother’s new physical and emotional needs was something that I never imagined that I would ever have to do. Yes, my mother had new emotional needs, as she was still adapting to her new style of life, a style that depended on someone for everything she needed. At that time, I could only imagine how difficult that was for my mother, a woman who, up until the morning she suffered her stroke, was always helping anyone who needed help and putting all of her needs aside. If I could try to accurately describe the level of my mother’s independence before her brain injury, my best description would be of a servant and someone who refused to be still and rest until everyone else was taken care of.

What Do We Do Now?

The day finally arrived for my mom to come to her new home. As a family, my siblings had devised a plan to care for her. This also involved working with a reputable home care agency. With their assistance, my mother’s basic care needs would be met. All that I expected to do was coordinate the scheduling of their visits and administer my mother’s medicine, which would also involve insulin injections. We had plans in place to assist our mother with getting to the bathroom and managing things of that nature. I don’t consider myself to be a professional chef, but well before my mother’s stroke, she’d developed a love for my cooking, so I felt comfortable in that category. Yet, there was much more that my family and I would be tasked with doing, and we were thrust into the role of caregiver without any formal training or experience. The only tools and resources I had available to assist me were my unwavering love for my mother and a Godly assignment to honor her. Looking back on the previous 120 days, to even the day I got the call that my mother and best friend had suffered a stroke, and fast forward to the day my mother came to live in my home, my life would never be the same.

Welcome to the world of caregiving.

I decided to share my experience as a full-time caregiver for my mother to consult, console, and inform other families who may be going through a similar situation. As a son, caring for my mother never feels like work; if so, it is a labor of love. Please continue to follow this message, Becoming A Caregiver, in Huami Magazine. I hope that sharing my experience will help others. From one caregiver to the next, God Bless You! h

The Academy, Modeling, Dance & Leadership, LLC

As children, we all have fond memories of spending time with family and watching our parents as they lead by example. We may not have thought much about it as children, but even the little things we saw left an imprint. Dr. Ardeanna Dale Wideman, affectionately known as Dr. Dee, encapsulated what she learned and has used it to help mold and mentor hundreds of young men and women throughout Greensboro, NC, Guilford County, and the surrounding areas.

The Academy, Modeling, Dance & Leadership, LLC, located in Greensboro, prides itself on being an organization whose focus is to help children see themselves as beautiful, capable, and qualified. Dr. Dee explains, “Our team of qualified instructors takes a holistic approach to prepare its members for leadership and performance opportunities. The mission of The Academy is to offer its members training in collegiate and commercial modeling styles, various dance techniques, and leadership mentoring. Each member participates in community service, servicelearning, and fundraising activities. Members are also groomed to showcase their skills in various public arenas, and they are reminded to regularly demonstrate the three Cs: Confidence, Charisma, and Class, on and off stage. Along with the models’ access to training, we encourage them to express their uniqueness. We accomplish this by offering our TuTu Cute Fashions. The models make their own Tutu and implement their own style in fashion. These Tutu’s are also used in fashion shows. ”

At its core, The Academy was birthed from what should be the most common of places: Dr. Dee’s childhood influences. Blessed to have been influenced by three generations of women, Dr. Dee says these women shaped her eye for detail and aesthetics.

“I had the privilege of knowing and having had a relationship with my great-grandmother as well as my grandmother. My time with my grandmother was crucial to who I am and how I view the world. She was a woman who was always well put together. I remember going to her house; the decor was beautiful and immaculate. Everything had its place,” Dr. Dee shared.

Because of her exposure to the generations of women who shared their time teaching her the importance of always making sure you are as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside, Dr. Dee’s passion for fashion was ignited early in life. She shares, “As a child, I’ve always loved and gravitated towards fashion because of what I saw modeled by my mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.”

Like most working-class families, Dr. Dee’s parents worked hard during the week, but the weekend was their time to go and release the stresses of the world. “My parents would get all dressed up to go out, and of course, I was impressed by them. I remember being a little girl watching


my mother and grandmother getting dressed for a night out. It wasn’t just putting on clothes and make-up. It was an event. It was time shared between mother and daughter, between women,” Dr. Dee said, reminiscing. “I watched them as they fussed over each other and consulted each other, you know, the way women do. ‘Momma, what do you think of this dress?’ ‘Oh, that’s going to look good on you!’ ‘Hey, I got this new lipstick. You like the color?’ they’d say. It was a beautiful interaction, and I was enchanted by the richness of it all.”

Dr. Dee learned at an early age that when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you look even better. “My mom knew how to sew. She was very good at it. She taught my three older sisters to do it, and they loved it, but I never took to sewing. I didn’t like the task of actually making the clothes. Instead, I loved fashion,” Dr. Dee shared.

Her love for fashion would continue to shape her young life. When she was young, Dr. Dee says her mom enrolled her in the 4H. (4H is a community-based program that has existed for nearly 100 years. It can be found at more than 100 public universities across the nation, and it provides experiences where young people learn by doing.) Dr. Dee says one of the elements of the program she experienced was sewing and fashion design. She says, “I was only interested in the final product.”

4H also taught her a valuable life lesson that she has passed on to her students. “There was a contest where we had to attach an interfacing. It was demonstrated to us, and we were given time to go home and practice. I got so frustrated because I couldn’t get the interfacing to lay right, the sewing machine bobbin kept getting jammed, and I couldn’t manipulate the stupid sewing machine for the life of me. Finally, it was the day of the competition, and everyone was paired off. Of my three older sisters, my eldest sister was the best at sewing, and of course, I was competing against her. When it was her time to go, she was absolutely perfect. Everybody

clapped, and then it was my turn. I sat down at the machine, but before I started, I did what I do best. I started entertaining the crowd,” she shared. “I started the process, then started making jokes. ‘Now, y’all. We don’t have to be absolutely perfect. And I don’t know anybody in here who is. If you are, send me the recipe so I can apply it to my life…’ And, of course, everybody started laughing. When I was finished, it wasn’t perfect, but everyone was laughing. But guess what… I won first place.”

Dr. Dee’s sister was infuriated, but she reminded her of this important fact, “I told her, you know what? You can be the smartest and sharpest pencil in the can, but attitude will take you places that academics alone will not. If you have both, the world is your oyster!” That is an important perspective she has helped young people adopt through fashion and leadership.

While 4H taught her more about the commercial and business side of modeling, her perspective on the profession changed while she was a student at North Carolina A&T State University. She says, “At NC A&T, I participated in the Couture Productions Modeling Troop. That experience allowed me to learn more about how clothes tell a story.”

Growing up, Dr. Dee was also very involved in the church. Her mother, a teacher, was a Missionary, and her stepfather was a Deacon. It was in the church that the sparks of her passion for fashion were fanned. She says, “The bug hit me early. I was always in fashion shows and pageants at my church. Then, as an adult, my first husband, who is the father of my three sons, became a pastor. So, I was a First Lady. The way we would fundraise was to put on fashion shows.” Staying true to her 4H background, she orchestrated the shows so they would have an overarching effect. “This was a fundraiser for the church, but it was also a community event. It was an opportunity for everyone to step out and do something different.”

Jasmine White Valerie Fearrington Chef Michael Stover

Understanding that knowledge is power, Dr. Dee has empowered her passion by seeking education and certifications that assisted her success as an educator and a leader. After graduating high school, she went the traditional route to higher education but left college to marry her first husband. After the marriage dissolved, she found her bearings, and there was no looking back. “I have five associate degrees, a bachelor’s, a master’s, and a doctorate. God has been great and allowed me to even start my first organization after going back to school,” Dr. Dee says casually.

She continued her education at Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC), earning a Diploma in Cosmetic Arts in 1997 and an Associate of Arts degree in Occupational Technology and Cosmetology Instructor Certification in 1998. She also earned an Associate of Arts degree in General Education in 1999 and an Associate of Science degree in Pre-Psychology in 2000.

While studying cosmetology, she learned how hair and fashion went hand in hand. “As students, we were encouraged to go to the Bronner Brothers hair shows, which were enlightening to me. I learned so much, but the most important takeaway was learning how cosmetic arts and fashion were connected,” she explained. She also shares her knowledge of cosmetology with her models. Dr. Dee’s salon, Upper Level Styling Salon, is located at the Academy and allows members to learn more about the profession firsthand.

After Cosmetology school, Dr Dee opened a salon but continued to teach at GTCC at night, all while being a single parent. As an instructor, she was challenged to engage her students and help them get through the theoretical aspects of their studies. So, she went to what she knew and loved, which was fashion.

Dr. Dee says, “Back then, many young ladies enrolled in cosmetology school just to say they were doing something. They either weren’t ready for university or didn’t want to go that route. They signed up for cosmetology classes, thinking it would be easy because they were doing hair. However, when they started classes and found themselves in chemistry, biology, and dermatology, they would become disenchanted.”

To keep her students excited, Dr. Dee took what she learned about the fusion of fashion and the cosmetic arts and started producing hair shows at GTCC. She involved her sons and other young men and found a way to include a fashion component in the shows.

In 2003, she left GTCC to focus on completing her master’s degree. As unbelievable as it may sound, while she was teaching full-time at GTCC, Dr. Dee ran her salon, raised her three sons independently, completed her bachelor’s degree, and ran the fashion/hair shows. Oh, and she also found time to work in the Guilford County school system.

Amazingly, acquiring higher learning is something Dr. Dee has managed to do very well. In addition to the degrees that have been mentioned, she has an Associate of Arts Degree in General Education, an Associate of Science Degree in Pre-Psychology, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She was working on her Master’s in School Counseling and was close to the end before having to leave GTCC and return to the school system to complete her practicum.

Latasha Blackwell Jean Wright

Something else that comes naturally to Dr. Dee is her love of children. She says, “No matter what I have been involved with, it has involved children. I taught choir and was a choir director for several choirs in the city, and I always had them do a fashion show as a fundraiser,” Dr. Dee laughed. “But seriously, the point I am getting to is that once I became a full-time counselor at Southwest Gilford High School, I saw some of the same kids I had worked with in the choirs. Life has a way to come back full circle.”

As a predominantly white institution, Dr. Dee shares that Southwest Gilford High School didn’t have many extracurricular activities for students of color. There were quite a few students of African-American descent who attended the school, but the majority of the student body was white. The activities at the time were soccer, croquet, and things like that. She often ran into many of her former choir members, and they would beg her to give them an outlet. “I listened, and I came up with some ideas and took them to the principal. He loved them. So, I started an organization called Fashion Forward,” she says.

Fashion Forward encouraged professionalism and leadership. It was available to sophomore through senior-level students, and students had to apply. Dr. Dee used her contacts in the community and had them come in and interview the students. The criteria were based on the four A’s: Attitude, Academics, Attendance and Attire. Students would have to come to the interviews dressed for success. If students passed the in-person interview, they were called back to the modeling audition and selected from there.”

Fashion Forward wasn’t just teaching students how to be runway models. It also taught them to be role models in the classroom and the community. She says, “Community service was a big part of the program. We performed concerts throughout the city, and at Christmas time, we collected toys and took them to the children at the local hospital. Then we put on a Christmas concert for them.”

Fashion Forward allowed students to shine, and the exposure allowed some models to receive offers and scholarships. Dr. Dee also presented each graduating senior who had completed the program with a $200.00 scholarship to help with college expenses.

Eventually, the time came for Dr. Dee to leave Southwest. She would still manage the Fashion Forward program as an offcampus advisor, and her next assignment was at McLeansville Elementary School. There, she started a similar program, creating a perfect opportunity to introduce mentorship into the programs. The groups worked together, and the high school students participated when the elementary school had shows. When the high school had shows, the elementary students participated and got a glimpse of what they had to look forward to, and the high school students were role models. It was a win-win.

She has also worked at other schools and developed similar programs, including Quintessential Guys & PAW Power Ladies and the Triple T-Top Tigers & Tigeretts at Sedalia Elementary.

In 2012, Dr. Dee realized the impact the school programs were having on the participants. She decided it was time to stop limiting it to just the students in those schools. “I sat down with my legal team and talked it out. They agreed that

The MDL Models The Picturesque Models

I was proposing exactly what the community needed, and it would take off like hotcakes. This is when The Academy: Modeling, Dancing & Leadership LLC was born,” she says.

Dr. Dee pitched a multifaceted program encompassing modeling, leadership, mentorship, counseling, and community service. The program would function as a building block and strong foundation for the students who attended. It was initially called Lovely Ladiez & Gr8t Guyz Modeling & Leadership Academy, LLC. However, to be more inclusive, Dr. Dee dropped the gender-specific labels so that all would feel welcome. She shares, “I set the maximum number of students at twenty-five because I wanted to keep things intimate. The services we offer require a personal touch, and I don’t want to lose that element. I want people to know that although there is a cost for your child to attend the program, we work to keep things cost-friendly.”

The Academy has been going strong since 2012 and shows no signs of slowing down. After years of guiding and mentoring young boys and girls, it is only natural that some former students find their way back to her. “I now have the children of former students who attend The Academy,” Dr. Dee said proudly. She also created a space for adults, and the group was challenged to decide what their name would be. Dr. Dee says, “I said, ‘You know what? We all look different. We come in all different shapes and sizes, and we are all beautiful. We’re going to call ourselves Picturesque Models.”

The mission of Picturesque Models is to promote internal and external health and wealth while looking fashion fierce. With its establishment, Dr. Dee has seen her efforts come full circle. Students from the Fashion Forward program have returned with their daughters and are working side by side. This also rings true in her own life. As a child, Dr. Dee watched her mother, grandmother, and greatgrandmother model beauty inside and out. They taught her how to value herself, what strength looks like, and where true beauty comes from. Now, she is passing those same values on to her granddaughter, who works with The Academy. “I didn’t have daughters, and I named my son Gene, the male version of my mother’s name. He named his daughter Jean after my mom. Jean now works as an MDL instructor. I see the influential women in me, in her,” Dr. Dee shared.

Dr. Wideman is a proud member of The Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated Delta Alpha Iota Zeta Chapter. This organization is very supportive of the programs with The Academy.


The MDL Dancers

Nakeesha Tolden-Mosley Tax Services

In regard to profession, Nakeesha Tolden-Mosley of Caseyville, IL, is the founder of Nakeesha Tolden-Mosley Tax Services and Information Technology Professional. She also owns Nakeesha Tolden-Mosley Tax Services. Her company provides Tax Planning and Advice, Personal Tax Preparation, Business Tax Preparation, and E-Filing.

Nakeesha Tolden-Mosley Tax Services was founded in 2011. Nakeesha says her journey in business began with her searching for methods to supplement her income. She enrolled in tax classes at a local financial tax office and was given the opportunity to serve as the office manager. From there, things grew and led her to where she is today: assisting clients with their tax needs. “I’m passionate about helping others understand tax laws. I also love assisting my clients with how to make the most out of their paycheck during the year and understanding the obligation of not owing at the end of the year.”

Nakeesha grew up in O’Fallon, Illinois, and as a child growing up, she says the importance of having more than one stream of income was imparted to her. “I knew to sustain a quality lifestyle, there had to be more than one way of doing it.” Nakeesha acquired a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a Master of Business Administration from Lindenwood University. She is a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and serves as the Financial Secretary on the Climate and Culture Changers Board of Directors. Nakeesa was also awarded the Side Hustle Honors Award for 2023, a testament to her commitment to simultaneously holding down a full-time job and side hustle. Additionally, she is a member of the Hustlers Council for the Side Hustle Honors Awards.

“I’m passionate about helping others understand tax laws. I also love assisting my clients with how to make the most out of their paycheck during the year and understanding the obligation of not owing at the end of the year.”
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Tax Planning and Advice, Personal Tax Preparation, Business Tax

Being a full-time employee and holding down a side hustle can be a very daunting task for most. Nakeesha has faced this challenge head-on, along with a few others, such as marketing and growing her business and clientele and researching how similar small businesses operate. “I have had many roadblocks in this journey, but I embrace every struggle I have faced upfront. It has helped me think outside the box. I also know everyone has room to build their clientele and business,” she says. “I write down my goals (weekly, yearly, and future) and plan out my days. That is one way I meet such challenges. I have also been able to separate my full-time career by setting boundaries and allotting my time appropriately. I set up my hours to be available in the evenings and allow earlier and longer days on the weekends. I have structured my business to be virtual for clients who have busy schedules. My clients can upload their documents, answer questions, and sign their returns electronically through my secure portal. These features allow me to allocate my time appropriately and to take on more clients without them having to come in person,” she says.

Nakeesha says her approach to business has been greatly influenced by her father, who also had a full-time career as an educator and managed a business on the side. At an early age, her Dad taught Nakeesha to sustain a fulltime job that would provide benefits, stability, and funding for her business. He also taught her how to use her side hustle to supplement her income and build her legacy and future.

Looking ahead, Nakeesha says her goal is to develop her own tax software and market it to other tax professionals. Nakeesha loves spending time with her husband of 16 years, Julian Mosley, and their handsome son, Braylon, and fur baby, Blaze.

To learn more about Nakeesha ToldenMosley Tax Services, please visit their website. h Arizona - March/April 2024 28
Preparation, and E-Filing Services
Family is all we got, and we have to stick together. If one has an opportunity to lead, he must lead the family the best he can, and others will follow.

Dr. Jay Davis, a renowned A-list barber located in the southwest community of Dallas, TX, is a trailblazer in the barbering and hair replacement industry. Born and raised in Arkansas, he now calls Dallas home and has over 17 years of expertise in barbering and mentoring. Without question, Dr. Jay is a highly respected figure in his field.

In the ever-evolving world of barbering, Dr. Jay Davis has set the bar high, and his consistent passion and dedication have led to endless opportunities. Notably, Dr. Jay holds the distinction of being the youngest barber to earn a doctorate, a testament to his dedication and commitment to his craft. His passion for education and skill development led him to establish the upcoming MasterBarber University, an institution dedicated to nurturing the next generation of top-tier barbers and entrepreneurs. Dr. Jay’s innovative techniques and profound understanding of hair aesthetics have made him a sought-after professional among the A-list clientele, such as God Shammgod, Raekwon, Floyd Mayweather, and many more. Even more, Dr. Jay’s work is not just about cutting hair; it’s about enhancing each client’s personal style and confidence and building lifelong relationships.

He shares, “As a mentor, I am committed to sharing my knowledge and expertise. I am also committed to inspiring up-and-coming barbers to reach their full potential. I hope that my journey from Arkansas to evolving to being a respected professional worldwide will serve as a beacon of inspiration for many.”

Jay shares that his success is a reflection of the sound family structure he was raised in. “Family has been my main support system all of my life, and it is very important to me. I have one son, Jayden Davis. My parents were married two days before I was born and continue to be, now for 38 years. I also have two brothers and a sister, and I am the oldest of the boys and have many nephews and nieces. Family is all we got, and we have to stick together. If one has an opportunity to lead, he must lead the family the best he can, and others will follow.”

Jay graduated from a small school, Arkadelphia High School in Arkansas, with an advanced diploma in 2003. He attended a few different colleges and studied engineering before dropping out his senior year to enroll in barber school. He later graduated from New Tyler Barber College in North Little Rock, AR, in 2008 and graduated with a Crossover and Instructor License from Washington Barber College in SW Little Rock in 2015. He achieved the status of a Hair Replacement Specialist in 2017 and an SMP Specialist (Scalp Micropigmentation) in 2020. That same year, Jay graduated from Miracle University in Virginia with his Doctoral Degree.


Jay is the owner of Master Barber LLC, a brand and school that promotes education, cosmetic and barbering events, products, and much more. Jay says, “At Master Barber, our mission is to provide high-quality education and training to aspiring barbers. We strive to create a supportive learning environment that encourages our students to develop their skills, knowledge, and confidence. This includes full service grooming, image consulting, as well as hair replacement systems for clients dealing with hair loss.” He also owns Associated Building Consultants LLC, a consulting company that consults with barber/stylist entrepreneurs on their business and future decisions. Additionally, Jay manages short-term rental and cleaning companies, including Not A Trace Cleaning Co.

It’s obvious that Jay is a man of many talents. I mean, look at all that he has accomplished in such a short period of time. He shares, “I always knew as a kid that I would be successful just because of my drive and the hunger to learn things. I always strived for excellence because I wanted to be somebody. Yet, I never knew that I would be a barber or entrepreneur. I thought I would be an engineer or work in finance.”

With all his potential to be anything he wanted to be, life would present Jay with a few twists and turns. “I made a bad decision that landed me in prison; whilst incarcerated, I truly understood what it meant to be patient, seeing as that in jail, you are on someone else’s time. As I sat in a jail cell in 2009, I gained a lot of vision, and I told myself that all I had to do was put 100% into my craft and trust the Most High! I told the Most High to show me the way, and it became clear why I was there and that this journey was for me. I knew I wanted to be impactful, not just for my clients, but for my family and peers, seeing how we grew up and how many looked up to me. The vision sometimes would get blurry as I would stray away from my purpose. I would ask for guidance and strength to clear the obstacles and get back on the right path and for the strength to say no. Go home instead of being out all night, and the understanding of what it would take to be successful. My vision allowed me to broaden my horizon and do many other things outside of barbering.”

Jay says he loves the opportunity to bless someone with his grooming experiences. He is aware that many people are suffering from many things, and he realizes that hair brings back confidence and a positive mental attitude. “Self-confidence is everything, so to be able to bless them and make them more confident brings a rush of excitement to me. I love learning about different people and cultures and building personal and business relations with them. You learn to listen, and you learn to give advice. You learn it’s great to be a barber and count your blessings because so many are less fortunate. I have also fallen in love with being able to help my community and mentor the youth regarding life and the opportunities we have with the odds against us.”

It’s apparent that the challenges Jay has faced, including his past decisions and experiences, have helped him to become a better person, a better father, and an astute businessman. He adds, “Being in prison taught me how to be patient. To get home, I had to be patient so that I could be a father to my only son, who was born right before I went to prison. I had to be patient with myself to change because I was there not just for my decisions but mostly due to the lesson that was present for me to learn. Keeping the Most High first and focusing on my own spiritual growth allowed me to avoid the same mistakes I have made.”

Dr. Jay says that his life and career have been impacted by both people and experiences. Prison, as he’s mentioned, and also the Covid 19 pandemic. He also says a few mentors and business partners have helped him including Dr. Will McNeely, Curtis Smith (Xotics), Dr. David Lyons (DL Master Barber), and Arlo Washington. While his journey has been challenging at times, Dr. Jay says he wouldn’t change anything. “The journey is what made me into who I am today. We all wish we could have done something differently or sooner had we known better; however, life doesn’t work that way and had we got whatever we wanted, we probably would have lost it all for not being mentally or spiritually ready for it”. h


The McNair Foundation Incorporated “I Am About My Father’s Business”

Daryle McNair of Charlotte, NC, is the face and visionary of McNair Foundation Incorporated. This nonprofit organization focuses on preparing students for their future tomorrow. It also offers scholarships and educational assistance for deserving students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s).

The inspiration behind The McNair Foundation Incorporated is connected to Daryle’s desire to honor his parent’s legacy. He lost his father in 1995, and as time went on, he also lost his mother. Daryle shares that his mother and father made a great impression on him, and he always wanted to do something to honor them. “My father would always ask me what my plan was for my life. He wanted to know what I had in mind for my legacy and what I would do to be an asset to society, not a liability. I thought about education,” he says.

Daryle describes himself as a go-getter. He is very involved and a vital part of his community. Daryle is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. He works for Wells Fargo Bank as a Wholesale Relationship Associate in Commercial Investment Banking. Daryle is a proud Prince Hall Masonic Family member and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated member. Along with his wife Stefanie, who will celebrate 20 years of marriage in May, he has one daughter, Amiah.

The team of The McNair Foundation is composed of Daryle, the Founder and President; Dr. Stephen Cathcart, who serves as Vice President; Stephanie McNair, Secretary and Treasurer; and Ryan Howell, who oversees Fundraising and Technology. The organization also relies on the support of several volunteers.


Daryle focuses on education, specifically providing scholarships and educational assistance for students who attend HBCUs. Daryle also supports minority at-risk mentorships. “As an HBCU graduate, I was often around other HBCU graduates. I saw the importance of education and how it could prepare someone for what it would be like in the world, especially for a black man. I learned that it’s not a level playing field, and the HBCU experience helped prepare me for that,” he says.

When asked what he loves most about what he does, Daryle says it is the chance to help others. “Nothing beats the feeling of providing assistance or presenting someone with a check and helping them to continue their education. Whether it be speaking to someone and offering ideas and information, I love being able to help others. We also offer intercessory funding, which focuses on helping students who may have some funding but not enough. Knowing that I have a legacy of helping and serving others and being known for giving back, nothing beats that,” he shares.

The McNair Foundation is able to serve students anywhere within North Carolina. Their reach has extended to the eastern town of Rowland, NC, and even Durham. When an applicant is determined to be most deserving, The McNair scholarships are awarded. “We ask our prospective scholars to submit an academic resume and cover letter. When applying for a job, your resume will be the first thing someone will learn about you. The reason for doing so is we want them to get into the practice of being able to stand out on paper first,” Daryle explains.

Networking is something that Daryle has learned to master. He shares that with any nonprofit organization, you can never have enough funding. “Whether it be at Johnson C. Smith University or a cigar house, I am constantly networking and talking to people to let them know what we do and let them know what we do, just to see if we are a match. You have to be mindful of who your sponsors are. We have been blessed to have some great companies to believe in us and support our cause.”

One significant way Daryle and his team raise money for their organization is with The Annual McNair Invitational Golf Tournament. This year, it will happen on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Rocky River Golf Club in Concord, North Carolina.

Moving forward, Daryle is working on developing a virtual mentorship. Most often, to be able to make school visits to meet mentees, there is often a lot of paperwork to complete, including background checks, etc. The virtual mentorship will alleviate the need to make school visits and allow Daryle’s team to reach more people from greater distances through Zoom meetings. Daryle is also looking to sponsor an athletic league for young participants. “I think about the little guys who are playing football and basketball. Their participation can be economically challenging for their parents. We want to help ease that burden through sponsorship and allow these kids to participate. Their participation will keep them off the streets and learn the value of teamwork at an early age,” Daryle explains.



Michanna Talley Tate is a woman who wears many hats. She is a wife, daughter, sister, and friend to many. The Greenville, SC, native is also an Attorney, a Professor, and a former Scientist. Her list could go on and on, but more than anything, Michanna genuinely loves people.

Michanna graduated from Southside High School and then attended Howard University for both undergraduate and graduate school. She attended Stetson University College of Law for law school. Today, she is the founder of Access Law LLC, formerly Michanna Talley Attorney at Law. Her firm’s main practices are Real Estate Litigation, Personal Injury, and Medical Malpractice.

Michanna says that as a lawyer, she loves helping people get results. “I originally opened my law firm in the summer of 2012 under the name Michanna Talley Attorney at Law. I was teaching science courses online and also running my law firm. When I went to law school, I intended to be self-employed and start my own law firm, which is exactly what I did. I used the money from teaching to pay my office rent, supplies, and everything else I needed to run my law firm. And to gain clients, I went to lots of networking events. I always tell people that in life, you can always do something else. I have a Masters degree and a Bachelors degree in Biology. I used those degrees during my time employed as a Molecular Microbiologist. I also used those degrees to teach science courses at different colleges and universities. I also have Graduate Certification in Epidemiology & Biostatistics (Public Health), yet even with that, I decided to do something else. That something else is law.”.

The vision to become a lawyer came from Michanna’s dad, a lawyer with his own law firm. Growing up, Michanna states that being a lawyer was not something she ever wanted. However, when you are a scientist, she adds that being self-employed is next to impossible. “I went to law school because it was a degree I knew I could use to be self-employed.”

Her life has been mostly impacted by her parents and the lessons they taught her. “In my dad, I had a built-in mentor. The foundation he taught me was priceless, and I have built on that and made my firm and the way I practice law my own,” she says. Michanna also credits her educational experience at Howard University for shaping her life. “At Howard, it wasn’t just about the academics. It was also about the culture of excellence, being away from home in a big city, and having to make my own positive decisions.”

Access Law LLC

In my dad, I had a built-in mentor. The foundation he taught me was priceless, and I have built on that and made my firm and the way I practice law my own.
Arizona - March/April 2024 35

In her many years of practice, Michanna has enjoyed many memorable experiences. It comes with the territory, and they have helped her to become better. One experience she recalls involves a client whom she inherited from her dad. She says, “My client was (1 of 35) owners of 7.5 acres in Greenville County. That caused the property to become “stuck.” Recently, the judge ordered that my client owns all 7.5 acres and does not have to buy out any other family members or owners. My client drove down from New Jersey for the hearing and was so happy. He asked to hug me at least three times. I love it when my clients get a great result.”

As with any profession, Michanna has faced some challenges and has learned how to manage them appropriately. One was her desire to help everyone just because she could do so with her legal knowledge. As a result, after eight years of having her own law firm, she gave it up due to being burnt out. She became a prosecutor for about two years before returning back to her own firm. With her return, Michanna says she chose to focus on a few niche areas of law and treat her firm as a business with a goal of making a profit. Of course, Michanna is committed to helping her clients, but she wants to ensure everyone is benefiting. She is able to accomplish this by sticking to the types of cases she likes. “I have learned to say no because, quite honestly, there are lots of attorney options to choose from,” she explains.

Family is very important to Michanna. She adds that it’s essential for her to sustain her family’s legacy in practicing law because there are not many minority lawyers who handle the matters that she does. “I learned to handle these matters by receiving foundational training from my dad. My dad was one of only a handful of Black lawyers that handled real estate in the Upstate. Over the years, that same number has decreased. I am standing strong in this field and enjoying it,” she says.

Michanna remains active in her community by educating others on the law. She routinely volunteers for a nonprofit located in Greenville that assists minority entrepreneurs and speaks to new and ongoing business owners. Michanna also volunteers and speaks at other events, such as home-buying and estate-planning seminars. Last year, during Black History Month, she spoke on the issue of her property at a large manufacturing company in Greenville.

Michanna’s advice to others who may follow a path similar to hers is simple. “Everyone is not your assignment. Don’t wait until you are drained to remember this. Stick to what you like to do and do it well.”

Looking ahead, Michanna shares that she plans to continue to focus on real estate litigation, personal injury, and medical malpractice cases. That is what she likes to do. “I would love to take on more speaking engagements. I guess it is the professor in me. I genuinely love conveying information to people because I know so much incorrect information exists. I like to make sure people have the truth.”

To learn more about Attorney Michanna Talley Tate and Access Law LLC, please visit their website.

Access Law LLC 206 Green Avenue Greenville, SC 29601 864-498-7411
Lola Knight The daughter of Rashaun Knight and Zaria Knight Arizona - March/April 2024 38
Arizona - March/April 2024 39 Charlotte - Jan./Feb. 2024 45

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