Huami Magazine Arizona July/August 2022

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July/August 2022 Vol. 1 Issue 4

MiZo Coffee Co. Arizona - July/August 2022


Commercial Lending

Small Business Financing

Equipment Financing

Capital for Real Estate Investing; Flip, Renovations and Multi-Family Investing Multiple Lenders (We Will Always Find The Right Fit For Your Situation)

Minimum Credit Standards of 650 FICO (Average)

The Benefits and Burdens of Your Assignment A Letter From The Editor

With the onset of each new day, there is always a list of things for me to accomplish waiting for me. I prepare my day based on the available hours; you can probably say that I am routine. I would beg to differ and counter by saying I work better in blocks of time and with a plan in place. I have been fortunate to learn that I don’t efficiently function without one. That’s just me. On the other hand, I am grateful for having something to look forward to doing. While often things may appear overwhelming, I can rest in the fact that God has chosen me for this experience. This is my assignment. It’s not a “why me Lord” question that I ask; instead, it’s a “why not me Lord” affirmation expressed. There are several ways to understand or comprehend God’s assignment upon us. We can face it head-on and work diligently to complete the mission or not. What I find so fascinating is that when God initially blessed me with purpose, I wasn’t shown what the end would be like. He didn’t brief me on the events that would occur, and I must say, there have been some good and some bad ones. If I have learned anything thus far, I know that the same pattern will likely repeat itself at some time or another. Still, once I tapped into God’s presence and listened for His voice, I realized it was time for me to get moving. And that’s what I did. God also gives us the freedom to ignore our assignments. While it’s not wise, running from what God calls us into only delays our destiny and purpose. God’s word says His yoke is easy to bear, and the burden He gives is light. Because I believe His word, my desire to complete my mission is ignited. Even more, I understand that I am not alone in the fight, and someone else is actually carrying the bulk of my load. All I have to do is put one foot in front of the other and move. The blessing in our assignments is revealed to us once our attitude about the assignment is changed. We can embrace the assignment and trust the process or ignore it. Remember that God gives us a choice. He also blesses us with life; with that gift comes a plan. I encourage you to tap into what God has assigned you to do and enjoy a life full of purpose and promise.

Terry L. Watson Terry L. Watson


Monica Montgomery Ellen Richardson Terry L. Watson Dorjea’ McClammey

Writer Writer Writer Writer

Tamara Smith

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Love, Life, & Service

Gwendolyn Wilson


On The Cover

MiZo Coffee Co. Marlessia Yancey

She Is Ready To Help

Joslyn Kelly



The Think Tank

Dr. Erika Hendrix

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Love Monae’ Anthony



Also Featured

Jennifer Jones It began with providing a service to a coworker. It has become a full fledged business. Meet the face and founder of JenSa Massage. Charleston, SC


Terry Thomas Jr. He is proving that it’s not about how you start, it’s about how you run your race. Learn more about his journey. Houston, TX


Tracy Morton It required determination and compassion for serving others. Learn more about how she has built her business . Pensacola, FL


MiZo Coffee Co. 6 Arizona - July/August 2022

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Marlessia Yancey For most adults, a good and flavorful cup of coffee is an integral start of each day. Without the routine robust boost, things may appear to happen as planned. Fortunately, there is a Conyers, GA based coffee maker who is committed to satisfying the taste buds and cravings of avid coffee connoisseurs. Marlessia Fontaine Yancey is the founder of Mizo Coffee Co, Inc. Named after her two granddaughters, Mila and Zoie, Marlessia’s company is focused on producing quality products for everyone to enjoy. Marlessia was born and raised in Martinsville, VA, to Marvin and Mary Fontaine. She says that after losing her parents, she decided to honor their wishes and continue building her brand and coffee business. “At MiZo Coffee Company, we aim for a clean, rich, and balanced taste in every cup. Our coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans, which gives the brewed coffee a full body, fine aroma, and rich flavor. Our objective is to create the perfect experience,” she shares. Mizo products consist of 12oz bagged coffee (Regular/Decaf/French Vanilla/ Hazelnut) as well as a few retail items. They also offer hot and cold coffee, and a warm smile. Marlessia’s journey to becoming the owner of MiZo Coffee Company began early. She says, “I have been drinking coffee since I was about three years old. I didn’t drink milk as a child. Instead I loved sitting with my grandmother, drinking sips of coffee with her,” she says. “I wasn’t actually drinking coffee, but I thought I was. My grandmother would warm my milk and mix a spoonful of coffee in it to change the taste to get me to drink my milk.” As Marlessia grew older, she had the opportunity to interact with her mother and her aunts while they visited Marlessia’s grandmother on their weekly Wednesday night meet-up. “I was not old enough to be in the kitchen with them; however, I anxiously waited by the kitchen door, anticipating the invite in for a piece of cake or pie. Of course, nothing goes better with coffee than cake or pie.” Marlessia says what she loves most about her business is seeing the look on her customer’s faces when they try MiZo for the first time or one of their specialty coffee drinks.

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Losing both of her parents was quite a difficult period in Marlessia’s life. She credits them both with impacting her life in two different ways. “Dad was always the hardworking father who made many sacrifices to ensure his family had the things they wanted and needed. He had a way of talking to me that was stern, enlightening, and encouraging. He often spoke of challenges on his jobs to shed some light on my obstacles. My mom was a kind-hearted disciplinarian. She had an inviting smile coupled with a warm embrace that left you feeling empowered. They both pushed me to set goals, and live out my dreams,” she shares. While MiZo’s brand of coffee is proven, the journey has come with a few challenges. One Marlessia points out is with her company being compared to the larger coffee houses. “I embrace this because I have an opportunity to educate on my brand, understand hidden expectations, and improve my offerings. Still, we can stand alone because MiZo is different. We provide an experience,” she says. Things are looking great for Marlessia and MiZo’s Coffee Company. Moving forward, she plans to open a full brick-and-mortar MiZo Cafe with unique offerings, accompanied by an atmosphere of family and community. Marlessia says the aroma of MiZo Coffee wafting will be the lure for families to come together for good times and bonding. The place to come where after the first sip, you find yourself reminiscing about some of your most treasured moments....Family Her advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs is positive. “If you have a passion for something and feel strongly about it, do the research. Be prepared for negative encounters from people that don’t share your vision. Remember, it’s not their passion; it’s yours. Map out a plan. Create an outline or road map to follow and collect data points along the way. The information you collect along the way allows you to monitor and make a change as needed. Most of all, don’t quit and tell yourself every day, “ I got this!” To learn more about MiZo Coffee Company Inc., please visit their website. h 8

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Divine Strategy LLC Joslyn RW Kelly is the owner of Divine Strategy LLC, a conglomeration of services focused on building legacies while converting dreams into reality that include restaurant ownership, restaurant management, event planning and business development consulting. Joslyn is from Gary, Indiana, and is committed to giving back to the community as much as it has afforded her the ability to dream, aspire to achieve, and ultimately achieve many of those dreams. She is a graduate of Gary’s Lew Wallace High School. Joslyn completed her Bachelor’s Degree majoring in Economics with a minor in Management and Organization from Spelman College - Atlanta, Georgia, in 1996. She also attained her Masters of Business Administration Degree with a concentration in Finance from Keller Graduate School of Management - Chicago, Illinois 2014. Her professional experience spans over 20 years in the financial services industry and over ten years in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Her professional experience has fostered a customer-centric foundation that recognizes not only the needs of customers but also the importance of incorporating the fulfillment of the needs of her team. It’s through encouragement and the development of their talents. Joslyn shares how she believes that everyone is a piece of the puzzle and is vital to overall success. Joslyn’s most recent accomplishment includes the opening of the first location in 2015 of J’s Breakfast Club and soon opened a new, more prominent location in Gary on June 1, 2017. Joslyn is married to James E. Kelly, Jr. She is the mother of the Late Pvt2 Jalyn D. Jones. It is important to note that although her son is deceased, she devotes a significant amount of time to upholding his legacy and promoting life through services provided through the Love For Jalyn Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation focused on empowering youth transitioning into adults. Joslyn’s motto is “dare to dream, but make it happen,” and her mantra has become love to live and live to love.

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Joslyn RW Kelly is not only the brainchild behind This is Gary. She describes herself as being a born native and staunch advocate for all things Gary. “As the proprietor and visionary of J’s Breakfast Club, I am an individual who invests my time and effort into my beliefs,” she says. The story leading up to this celebration began with Joslyn’s journey to find a home for her restaurant. This resulted in the journey to build her very own facility. As it goes, things don’t just happen; they happen justly, she states, and after several attempts of purchasing existing buildings with the hopes of rehabbing them, she was unsuccessful. She then began the tasks of identifying spaces to build, and after two unsuccessful bids to acquire land, the third go was the charm, a charm that became a diamond in the rough, better known as 26th and Broadway. “As a result of working with several local government agencies, we finally were successful in acquiring the land that came with being further challenged to come up with a plan to locate J’s Breakfast Club and envision what could be of the entire area,” she says. “I accepted and understood the assignment.” The vision for Victory Way was born, and Joslyn worked to acquire more land. They endured for over four years and survived the Covid 19 pandemic, and have moved forward with the construction of the first phase of the Victory Way plan and the construction of J’s Breakfast Club. “Through this process, I have continued to cultivate the vision and engage numerous people who dream, hope, and work like me to be the change for our community that many dream about. Consequently, a part of this process has afforded opportunities to engage local and distant advocates to take part in the development of one of the major arteries into the city of Gary that has never been formally developed. This opportunity not only aims to change the aesthetic narrative of Gary, but will also focus on everything good about Gary, including its past, present, and limitless opportunity for the future.” The aim of this focus helped to create the initiative “Be the Change”. It began with a commemorative walkway, complete with engraved bricks that form a path that will serve as a welcome corridor amidst numerous commercial developments, art installations, an eventual amphitheater, and more. “These are big dreams that require significant investments and buy-in from our local stakeholders, starting with the people that call Gary home,” she says. h



Cutest Baby

Love Monae’ Anthony The daughter of Alneshia Torian

Arizona - July/August 2022

To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature, please send a detailed email to


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JenSa Massage By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Charlie Jones and Trenise Elmore It’s been said the first five years of running a business can be the most challenging period for them. This is typically the period when their survival or demise is determined; statistically, only 50% of small businesses make the cut. For Jennifer Jones, she wants to prove that the numbers aren’t the end of her story. Jennifer is the owner of JenSa Massage. Based in the low country area of Charleston, SC, her company offers traditional massage services such as hot stones, cupping, prenatal, relaxation, and deep tissue massage. She also provides therapeutic massage services that promote relaxation and pain relief. Jennifer shares, “I started my business making house calls to clients and local businesses. The inspiration for my business name came from combining the first three letters of my name, Jennifer, with the first two letters of my zodiac sign, Sagittarius, to create Jensa.” “I got into this line of work with the encouragement of a coworker. While working at a restaurant, I’d massage and knead some of my coworkers’ necks and shoulders after our shift ended. They appreciated it so much and encouraged me to look into it as a career. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. It was perfect for me because I genuinely enjoy helping people feel better. Later, I saw an advertisement for Miller-Motte and recognized it as a chance to get in. The 15-month program was one of the best investments I’ve made,” she says. Jennifer has a genuine love for people. The Charleston native and newlywed is also a daughter, sister, auntie, and friend. She also describes herself as energetic, passionate, focused, dedicated, and determined. “My values play a significant role in me owning a service-based business. My parents instilled a strong work ethic into my older sister, my two younger brothers, and me. They encouraged us constantly to strive to better ourselves and help those in need. These values helped me immensely during my days at Miller-Motte Technical College and my career as a massage therapist.” Being a massage therapist offers Jennifer unique opportunities to meet the needs of her clients. She says, “I have been able to meet people from all over the world. Often, clients arrive tense and stressed out due to the pain they are experiencing. However, they leave smiling once their discomfort has been relieved. Knowing I played a small part in their well-being brings me tremendous joy. I aim to make a difference, one client at a time.” Arizona - July/August 2022


Jennifer shares that her parents have influenced her life the most and demonstrated the value of hard work and commitment to her and her siblings. “I watched them both work full-time while running a successful business,” she says. Jennifer also credits her mentor for positively impacting and sparking her ambition. “Years ago, I was fortunate to participate in a women’s empowerment business group she conducted. The event educated women on how to start their businesses. She did such a fantastic job preparing me to launch my business.” Jennifer’s entrepreneurship journey has come with some shining moments and a few challenges. She has reached the five-year mark while operating in a brick-and-mortar location; previously, she worked in two spas while running her company and doing home visits. Her transition into opening her doors was smooth, and she’s been blessed with supportive clients. Though there were moments when she had faithfully believed her business would survive. She says, “As a business owner, it takes time to build up your book of clients. I had a client I would see four times a month. That was all the confidence I needed to continue building my business. My goal has always been to provide a comfortable living for herself while offering services that promote relaxation and pain relief. My business is blessed because I’ve stayed focused and dedicated to those goals.”

There isn’t much Jennifer would change about the journey she has experienced in business. She only points out that she wishes she would have bought more materials ahead of time. “I had enough to start, but I should have stockpiled massage sheets over the years. I’ve learned that you can never have too much of anything in business. You never know when you might need it,” she says. Her advice to others who may follow in her footsteps is to first find individuals already in your industry and ask them questions. She advises you to purchase supplies in advance if you can and don’t hesitate to seek assistance. “Your company is a reflection of you. Be steadfast and dedicated, and keep your enthusiasm and motivation alive. Finally, take pride in what you’re doing. Small steps often lead to bigger ones down the road.” In the future, Jennifer hopes to expand her brand and have more space to accommodate more clients. “I’ve been in the same location for five years, and it’s been great, but as my business has grown. I’m also considering hiring an employee to help with administrative duties and light cleaning. This will allow me to focus on what I love most; massage therapy,” she says. To learn more about JenSa Massage, please visit their website. h

JenSa Massage 843-330-0633 16

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The Think Tank: Building the 21st Century Church By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Still Shots Photography In 2020, the world shut down. The COVID 19 pandemic made public and social gatherings impossible and, in some cases, illegal. Stores and restaurants were closed to the public, and schools had to find a creative way to provide quality education to students nationwide. Houses of worship were not spared the closures. The bible teaches that we must not forget to gather in worship. So, like the rest of the world, the church had to evolve or die. As the world finds its new normal, many have found a convince in remote life. Attending church online is as easy as going to Facebook or YouTube. To attend church, parishioners never have to leave their house. They can give online and attend online bible study from the comfort of their living room. Many “mega” churches were already a regular presence on social media, so the adjustment wasn’t as impactful. But for the smaller family and community churches, the effects were devastating. Without the weekly attendees, their buildings fell empty, and some shut their doors. Dr. Erika Hendrix has been in ministry for over twenty years and has witnessed firsthand the after-effects of pandemic life. “In March 2020, the world was on house arrest!” she says with a laugh. “Our malls, salons, and churches were empty. But now that things are opening up, we have to find a way to move forward with this new normal we find ourselves in,” Erika explains. “Church as we know it has changed forever. Some pastors and leaders are faced with

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huge edifices, and only about a third of the congregants, they are used to. So what do they do with all of that extra space? That is where my new consulting firm, The Think Tank, comes in.” In the years leading up to the pandemic, brick-and-mortar businesses started to disappear. Companies like eBay and Amazon made point-and-click shopping quick and easy. But what about the actual buildings? Are they abandoned? This doesn’t have to be the case, according to Erika. The Think Tank is a ministry consulting firm that will help churches and businesses evaluate and adjust to an ever-changing world. “Our ministry consulting firm focuses on helping ministries evaluate how they operate and what they need to be effective in the age of online living. The church used to be the center of community life. I believe it can be again. There are businesses that require space. Space that the churches now have in abundance. Churches can rent out their excess space, allowing it to generate revenue for Kingdom building, and simultaneously provide a service to the community.” Another focus Erika’s firm helps with is shedding the excess. “Let’s be honest for a moment. Many of our churches operate out of tradition and habit. It’s always been done this way, so we should continue to do it. As we reevaluate the ministries and auxiliaries in the church, we are finding that they are a drain on space and resources. The Think Tank will work with ministries to look for the trouble spots that can be combined or eliminated altogether. This will free up finances to be reallocated to other more effective ministry areas.”

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“Our ministry consulting firm focuses on helping ministries evaluate how they operate and what they need to be effective in the age of online living. The church used to be the center of community life. I believe it can be again.”

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The Think Tank helps the church focus on these critical areas: The Spiritual growth of the ministry, social health, and well-being. The psychological health and well-being of its members. The daily business dealings of the ministry, the effect it has on the community it serves, and how to fortify the church’s infrastructure. Churches interested in hiring The Think Tank would participate in the Emerging Leadership Training for the 21st Century Church. This course is designed to help church leaders realign their vision of the church regarding spiritual and community growth. In the month of July Erika will launch The Think Tank Ministry Consulting Firm with a master class. She currently hosts an internet-based radio show on 107.9 The Source called “The Xperience Live Presents The Think Tank” on the second and third Sundays of the month. Erika is passionate about seeing the Kingdom of God grow and adapt so that it can reach everyone. By helping churches reevaluate, repurpose, and rethink how they function, she believes there will be a revival of the Christian faith like never before. h

IG-@iamdrerikahendrix YT-Dr. Erika Hendrix FB-Erika H Hendrix Twitter-Dr. Erika Hendrix Podcast - Erika Hendrix Email: 24

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Tracy Morton

Tracy Morton Memorial Chapel, LLC By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Tracy Morton

Tracy Morton is the founder of Tracy Morton Memorial Chapel. Established in 2017 and based in Pensacola, FL, TMMC provides personalized, professional, and compassionate services to families, which help lighten the burden and offer support during the difficult times that follow the loss of a loved one. Planning a funeral service can be a complicated process for families who have just lost a loved one. Tracy says it’s essential to provide those who are grieving with a supportive environment in which they can begin to find closure, say goodbye, and come to terms with the loss. “Gathering with friends and family allows everyone to connect, share memories, offer words of sympathy, and create a lasting network of comfort and support as they start the journey toward healing,” she says. There are different services available for a loved one’s burial, depending upon their individual needs and preferences. Some of the services offered by TMCC are Burial and Cremation. “The biggest misconception about cremation is that there can’t be a funeral service or visitation. This is not the case, and we encourage you to consider holding a memorial service to celebrate the life of the deceased as well,” she says. TMMC also offers Green Burial options for those who want to be more environmentally friendly with their end-oflife decisions.

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Tracy describes herself as a young and aspiring entrepreneur. She began her journey as an apprentice at Joe Morris and Son Funeral Home. During her time there, she discovered her calling. Following graduation from Pensacola High School in 1998, she immediately relocated to Miami, FL, and pursued her degree in Mortuary Science at Miami-Dade College. Upon graduating from college, she participated in an internship at Shuler’s Memorial Chapel in Delray Beach, FL, before becoming a Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer. She would later work at Fred Hunter’s Funeral Home in Hollywood, FL. In a short period, Tracy has mastered the fine art of serving families. She shares how she wanted to move back home to Pensacola to open her own funeral home, and now she is doing just that. “God led me in this field of the deathcare industry with a dream. At Tracy Morton Memorial Chapel, I create memorable services. We are a funeral home that strives to meet every need of the families that we serve,” she says. At the age of 42, Tracy is a single parent to two children. Tracy herself is the only child of Frank and Gaylier Morton, who she says have been her most incredible supporters and backbone in every way. She says what she loves most about her career is having the honor to serve families. “Just seeing a smile on the faces of those who I serve, even during a bereaving moment, does something to my spirit,” she says. Being a business owner is very formidable, and Tracy wishes she could clone herself at times. She also shares some advice for those who may be interested in pursuing a career such as hers. “Make sure this is the career you want because this industry is very demanding. It’s very rewarding, spiritually, but you give up so much of yourself.” As she moves forward in life and business, she plans to continue to grow her business based on the principles that have shaped her life. “I will allow God to lead me where He needs me. I also plan to take as much time off as I possibly can to spend with my babies,” she says. To learn more about Tracy Morton and Tracy Morton Memorial Chapel, please visit their website. h

Tracy Morton

Tracy Morton Memorial Chapel 55 Coast Road Pensacola, FL 32507 850-332-7661

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Terry Thomas Jr. Proving That It Can Be Done By Terry L. Watson

Photos Provided by Terry Thomas Jr. He describes himself as a 46-year-old black visionary. Raised by his father since the age of 13, Terry Thomas Jr. has experienced life from both sides of the coin. At one point, he had hit rock bottom, but with determination and grit, he pulled himself back up and set out on a journey of promise and has yet to look back. “My mother moved to Houston, TX, pursuing a job opportunity with my sister. I stayed with my father in my hometown of Detroit, MI. I grew up watching him work a (9 to 5) job at Ford Motor Company and running a nightclub. After graduating from Southfield High school in 1994, I attended Alabama State University. Unfortunately, I dropped out and began working full-time as a waiter. Soon I got caught up in the street life of grinding and hustling and fell into a dark psychological place,” Terry shares. “My ability to speak my vision to myself became my light through the darkness and is what kept me strong.” Things would soon change for the better in Terry’s life. In 2004 he met his wife Samitra. “The experience of meeting my wife was life-changing because she believed in the man that I was becoming and loved me unconditionally. Although I felt I didn’t deserve her, I knew she was the woman I envisioned to be my wife,” he says. Terry and Samitra dated for two years before getting married. One of the things that connected them was entrepreneurship. Terry says, “Right after we got married, we started our first business, which ended up failing. After that, we went through a series of failed businesses. While struggling to get our businesses off the ground, we birthed our two greatest joys - our sons Terry III and James.” Fast-forward to 2016, and things were happening for the ambitious power couple. In addition to having kids to raise and love, Terry found himself overweight at 305 pounds. “I had been laid off from my corporate job and had to deal with judgment from family and friends for not having an income. It was during that time that my wife suggested that I do photography. She saw my love for taking pictures, and we even published our magazine, Over Flow Magazine. I wasn’t sold on the idea initially because I didn’t think it would be financially worth it, but it was the key to my purpose,” he shares.

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With his company, Terry Thomas Photography, some of the services offered are studio and on-site photography, events, weddings, corporate functions, birthday parties, fashion shows, lifestyle photography, and so much more. He also provides a social branding component. As he began to master the art of photography, Terry also practiced living a healthier lifestyle. When he was overweight, he had to deal with high blood pressure, diabetes, and back issues, and with the new positive outlook on life, he was sure not to revert to those conditions. “I saw myself with a lean body. I saw my wife and I running a successful business from the ground up. I also saw us owning acres of land and living self-sufficiently,” he says. The things that Terry envisioned has now become a reality. In April 2022, he and Samitra closed on 10 acres of land. Today, he is known as a photography king and has has birthed T’s Tea Herbal Bar, which contains his Herbal Seasoning called T’s Seasoning and his line of herbal teas called T’s Tea Herbal Blends. “I was drinking Herbal Tea for years before it fell on my heart to share my blends with the world. Now, I grow herbs in my garden, and my first non-store-bought tea came from natural herbs that I mixed from my garden,” he says. While Terry loves to share the good things in his life, he is clear not to forget where he came from. He shares that his darkest season taught him how to live in gratitude. “I am grateful to be a husband, a father, a Herbal Healer, and a photography King. My vision has been my guide, my self-love has been my strength, and my purpose has been my foundation. Even more, my gifts are keys to doors that house the opportunity for me to be a light in this unbalanced dark reality. Today, I am set in harmony. My soul and flesh are working under my command as one, evolving to be an inspiration to all of mankind.” h


“I saw myself with a lean body. I saw my wife and I running a successful business from the ground up. I also saw us owning acres of land and living self-sufficiently.” 33

Life, Love, and Service 34 Arizona - July/August 2022

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Gwendolyn Wilson Quite often, those who’ve devoted their lives to serving others go unrecognized. It could be due to their desire not to be at the forefront; instead, it’s to impact and be a symbol of change. However it may be, there is an individual whose acknowledgment is due; and for the most part, she needs no introduction. Gwendolyn Joyner Wilson of Suffolk, VA, works hard to continue the legacy of community service started by her parents Norman and Ethel Joyner. She is a multifaceted entrepreneur and owner of ETAMIB Couture, Gwen Wilson Photography, Beautiful Ones Academy of Fashion Design and Model Management, Cou7ture Magazine, Successful Moments Magazine, Wilson’s Getaways, and 7th Year Productions 7. Additionally, she is the CoOwner of DuBeeDoo Clothing, along with her granddaughter, LaNiece Dube. Gwendolyn shares she loves being able to create new things. “I love teaching young people how to follow their dreams and also creating opportunities for others to become successful,” she says. With ETAMIB, Gwendolyn designs highend gowns and couture clothing. She just completed an International 2021 Tour with shows at the Palazzo Versace Dubai, UAE, and several locations in Paris, France. Her line was a featured designer that toured with Fashionology International, and presented by Mercedes Benz. It has also been featured at the Versace Mansion in Miami, in the Bahamas, in London, and Milan, and during New York Fashion Week, Couture Fashion Week, Atlantic City Fashion Week, Virginia Fashion Week, and more. She has worked with Tim Reid in his Spring Fashion Showcase and celebrities Miss Jay, Vickie Winans, Karen Clark Sheard, Dwight Eubanks, and Randy Fenoli, just to name a few. She also worked as lead photographer for rapper Jim Jones, co-owner of the Richmond RoughRiders.

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She is a graduate of Virginia Tech University. She has also worked in the education field for 30 years. She currently teaches Introduction to Fashion Design and Independent Living at King’s Fork High School in Suffolk, VA, and has received exemplary status on her 2022 teacher evaluation. Presently, she is enrolled in global economics graduate classes at Harvard University.

“My grandmother Carrie Murphy made blankets and quilts out of old clothing. I started helping her with her projects when I was just five years old. She taught me how to sew and would give me scrap pieces of fabric so that I could make clothes for my dolls.”

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Gwendolyn shares that her fashion journey began as a child. “My grandmother Carrie Murphy made blankets and quilts out of old clothing. I started helping her with her projects when I was just five years old. She taught me how to sew and would give me scrap pieces of fabric so that I could make clothes for my dolls,” she says. “I started doing photography at five years old also. My father was a photographer for the military, and often I would take pictures with him. He was an officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and also an entrepreneur. He traveled the world with the military and documented his journeys with photography.” Gwendolyn says her grandfather, Norman Joyner Sr, inspires her, “He was a sharecropper and purchased well over 50 acres and started his own farm, which now belongs to my two sisters and me. My mother, Ethel Joyner, was an educator and a homemaker. She inspired me to be a strong woman and go after my dreams.” Gwendolyn’s husband, Lieutenant Patrick Wilson, is a leader in their community as well, and she says he inspires her to continue to reach her goals and live her dreams. “I couldn’t do the things I do without his love and support,” she says. While she continues to build her legacy, Gwendolyn offers the following advice to those who may travel a similar path as she has. “Follow your own dreams and your own path, and know there are plenty of opportunities to create new and exciting things for the future.” As she moves forward, Gwendolyn says she plans to allow her creative juices to flow in life and business. She plans on passing her gifts down to her grandchildren. She also plans to continue to travel the world and do new and exciting adventures. To learn more about h Gwendolyn Wilson, please visit her website.

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A Fusion of Scents & Harmony for the Body

Handmade Soaps Body Scrubs Body Butters

and more..... 38 Arizona - July/August 2022

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