God Is A Much Better Driver Than I Am
What if? That thought comes to mind when I consider what my life could be. What if I didn’t live in a particular city, or attend a certain high school? What if I had chosen a different career path or traveled a different road in life? What if I had never applied action to my dream? What if God didn’t choose me to be paired with His vision?
I will be the first to admit that my life has been anything but simple. For the most part, it has been full of winding roads and quite noisy at times. The love and encouragement of my mother, grandmother, and others surely help to soften me; I surely miss my grandma. Yet, the storms and shortcomings I’ve endured have done their job and toughened me a little.
I have learned that my peace lies in the space between the good times and bad times, and for me to enjoy and experience peace, I must work for it. I have also learned that life will get tough, and when we get knocked down, God doesn’t expect us to stay there. There are lessons in all experiences, and getting up and trying to get it right again is part of God’s lesson.
There was a point in my life when I didn’t know if I was coming or going. With every move I made, it was the wrong one. There were also times when I would move or react to whatever thought came into my mind. Again, that turned out to be the wrong thing to do. My point is everything I had done, I did it without seeking guidance from God beforehand. I was driving my own ship, yet I was going nowhere and fast.
While I made a mess of my life, God was there, like He always has been. He allowed me to make those bad decisions and provided grace to ensure I would survive them. During the times when I continued to make the same mistakes over and over again, God continued to cover me because there was a lesson that I needed to learn.
Despite everything I have experienced thus far, God has been right there with me. When it appears things aren’t moving fast enough, I know that God is governing the speed at which things are happening. When we get in God’s way, we block Him from blessing us. Get out of God’s way and allow God to drive. You might just learn that life is a lot easier from the passenger seat.
Learn more about her journey of becoming a successful entreprenuer. Latitude Training Center. Detroit, MI
Her journey to become physically fit has turned into a full fledged business. Creole Fitness.
He does it all. Art, music, barbering, and comedy. Learn more about how his childhood experiences shaped him into the man he is today.
Karen Nana K’s Gourmet SeasoningBy Terry L. Watson
Great food always begins with great seasoning. Arizona resident, Karen HarrisBeauchamp, understands this concept and has devoted her professional career to mastering it. She is the owner of Nana K’s All Purpose Seasoning. She says, “Oftentimes healthy eating is associated with almost zero flavor. We want a healthy but also a palate pleasing taste. This is what prompted me to launch my company. Our seasoning is highly concentrated and subtle, yet it brings the best flavors forward. You won’t need another spice once you try ours. If you are looking for the taste of mom’s home cooking, then NANA K’s is what you need.”
Karen is originally from Milwaukee, WI. She honed her skills as an entrepreneur and culinary artist from the time of her youth. As a teenager, she worked for a catering business owned by Bob Thomas, the owner of a local newspaper. That exposure to business intrigued her, and soon Karen would find herself running a business of her own.
Karen and her aunt opened and managed a successful restaurant and catering business. The name of their company was Mardi Gras Catering, and they had clients such as Miller Brewing Company and Summer Fest Vendors in Milwaukee. They also served the Children’s Hospital, the Milwaukee Bucks, the National Bar Association, the United Way, and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.
Her execution, leadership skills, and wealth of knowledge eventually enabled her to acquire full ownership of the company. Soon, she would lead the business to become the most successful catering and event planning business in the greater Milwaukee area. Their business would eventually enjoy success in Milwaukee for over 30 plus years.
Alongside her many entrepreneurial endeavors, Karen is also an actor on television shows, commercials and print advertising. Her credits include Facebook, Wingman, Consumer Cellular and several others. She is also a full-time lifestyle model.
Karen says she is a very passionate and family-oriented person. She married the late and former NFL player Joe Beauchamp, who played with the San Diego Chargers. Karen and Joe were married, and she says he has greatly impacted her life and career.
Karen now focuses her 40 years of restaurant, catering, and event planning experience on consulting small businesses with particular emphasis on social entrepreneurship. With Nana K’s All Purpose Seasonings, Karen focuses on creating products for cooks and chefs who love the robust flavor in their dishes.
Karen says what she loves most about what she does is giving her clients an opportunity to enjoy good food. “Good food brings a lot to so many things. It brings comfort to your home, it encourages fellowship, and it creates opportunities for people to connect,” she says.
She credits her grandmother, Mildred Lee Harris for inspiring her the most. She also credits her Aunt Charlene for working with her and pushing her to start a business.
“Good food brings a lot to so many things. It brings comfort to your home, it encourages fellowship, and it creates opportunities for people to connect.”
Like most business owners, many walls have presented themselves to Karen along her journey. “Starting out as a young entrepreneurial female was challenging for me. Caucasian males dominated our market at that time. One thing that changed the game for me was being a preferred vendor for Miller Brewing Company. Doors opened for me after that connection was made, and I in turn, I was able to employ others and introduce them to the craft and art of culinary,” she says. “Quality has been my mantra and remains my mantra. I instilled in my team members that we only have one time to make a first impression.”
Karen’s advice to others who may be interested in jumping into the world of entrepreneurship is to stay true to yourself and stay true to your brand. “You must do the necessary work and reach for the low-hanging fruit first. Stay transparent and equitable and ask for help if you don’t know the answers,” she says.
As she moves forward with her brand, Karen says her goal is to change the game. In addition to collaborating with other businesses, she plans to participate in national food shows. Nana K’s All Purpose Seasonings is working with various platforms to get their products on more shelves and in more places, including Amazon. They are also expanding their retail and wholesale presence.
Be on the lookout for Nana K’s All Purpose Seasoning. To learn more, please visit their website. www.nanakseasoning.com
He is best described as a God-fearing man who loves being a husband and father. Those who don’t know him would probably say Stony is arrogant, but he says that’s far from the truth. “If anything, I try to motivate and encourage people to chase after their dreams and to live life to the fullest and with purpose. Life is already challenging, so I try to offer the advice I want someone to give me during times of adversary,” he shares.
Stony Murphy of Pensacola, FL, reflects on what he was told as a child, how he was treated as a black sheep and would fail in life. He has stood on that skepticism and, in turn, used it as a source of inspiration. He credits his mother, Gloria Murphy, for being an excellent example for him to live by. Stony shares that her strong will and determination to raise him, while being a single black woman helped him learn that anything is possible, just as long as he believed in himself.
Stony is a man of many talents. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and is a certified Master Barber, Chef, and Graphic Designer. He is a songwriter, entertainer, stage performer, and actor, and just here recently, he was blessed to have his own radio talk show.
Again, Stony connects his successes to the direction and example set by his mother. “I don’t know how life would’ve turned out. I was rebellious, but mom never threw the towel in on me. She continuously reminded me that if I wanted better, I had to do better,” he says. Another one of his great influencers was his grandmother, Roxana Caves. She was the first black woman in Pensacola to own and operate a cosmetology school. At the age of eight, Stony shadowed her whenever she was in her salon, which happened to be attached to her house. By the time he turned ten, Stony was allowed to cut alongside her. Years later, he followed in her footsteps and became a Master Barber.
Today, Stony has firmly planted himself as a staple in his community. Along with his “twin flame”, best friend, and my lifelong partner, Renee Murphy, Stony has created the brands, L&L Smoothies and L&L Art Collectionz. “L&L Art Collectionz is an art that is one of a kind. I never paint the same piece, so when you get a painting from me, you know it’s an original, not a duplicate,” Stony says. L&L Smoothies LLC provides all-natural plant-based smoothies that aid individuals dealing with diabetes, high blood pressure, digestive issues, and more. Stony and Renee share love in their businesses and how they live. “We have been together for nearly a decade, and I would do it all over again. She is a great mother, daughter, sister, friend, and fabulous wife. Her support, love, and loyalty keep me thriving and determined to achieve any goal I set out to accomplish,” Stony says.
As for music, he acknowledges his uncle Willie Pritchard for inspiring him. He was a writer also and passed the gift of writing down to Stony. His uncle played the drums, shared the stage with many oldschool legends, and allowed Stony to sit in during rehearsals. Art, on the other hand, Stony says, was more of a hit-and-miss hobby. “I would grab the Sunday newspaper cartoon section and draw the characters just for fun. Never once did I ever think that I would gain the recognition of being an artist years later,” he says.
Art holds a special place in Stony’s life. He shares that as a writer and performer, the art of music allows him to tell his story through stories that transform into songs. “I am very transparent and honest when I write my songs. I want listeners to know they are not the only ones dealing with life’s challenges. It’s my way of exhaling, so I can move on without bottling up. My expression of how grateful I am for overcoming situations.” Being a painting artist is just the same for Stony. “I can illustrate my thoughts on a stretched canvas. Painting takes me to a place of serenity and allows me to shake off the stress of life.”
Like most business owners, having a solid support system is vital. Many entrepreneurs go into business with the mindset that family and friends will provide support. Stony says that is not how it goes. “Walking into the unknown is intimidating, so going into a situation with the backing of your immediate circle helps deal with pros and cons in business. I’ve learned to deal with business challenges by praying and asking God to cover my decisions and to surround me with people with a simpatico mindset.”
The future looks bright for Stony. He has launched a new radio show, “2 Tears in a Bucket……Y’all know the rest!” This show is filled with theories, facts, good music, and fun conversations. He also plans to remain ambitious, innovative, humble and focused. “I will stay prayed up and open to new ideas. Building prosperous relationships is my objective from this point forward.” h
Knotty-N-Natural Hair Fest The CEO of TheBy Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by B Smith Photography
The natural hair revolution has begun, and Black women are fully embracing it. It’s common to see black women wearing their natural hair in all its curly, coarse, silky, and robust glory. Companies that cater to the naturalist with products that promise to promote healthy growth and beautiful locs and tresses are also becoming more and more commonplace. So many products claim to be good for natural hair but are petroleum jelly with fragrance and ground sage. With so many options, how do we decide which products to use and what to look for?
Porscha Davis, owner and proprietor of The Salon by Porscha Danielle is a natural hair stylist who has made it her mission to cut through all the hype. As a seventeen-year veteran in the styling industry, she has a lot of wisdom to offer, but surprisingly becoming a hair stylist wasn’t on her “when I grow up” list.
“As a kid, I never thought about cosmetology as something I wanted to do. It just wasn’t an interest of mine. I didn’t learn how to braid until college,” Porscha explains. “A guy friend of mine came and asked me to braid his hair. I was like, ‘I don’t know how,’ and I was okay with that,” Porscha said, laughing. “But he insisted I braid his hair. Finally, my suitemate came in and wanted to know what the commotion was about. I told her what was happening, and she said, ‘Oh, that’s easy. I can teach you.’ So, she did. And it was absolutely horrible!” she scoffed. “But I kept trying, and eventually, it got better. Then other guys started asking me to braid their hair. I initially said no, but then they offered to pay, and the rest is history.”
“As a kid, I never thought about cosmetology as something I wanted to do. It just wasn’t an interest of mine.”
Porscha continued to practice braiding until it became her “side hustle.” We all had one in undergrad. It wasn’t until she had a frank conversation with her mother, did Porscha see becoming a stylist as a real option.
“In high school, I was an average student without studying. Once I got to college, I did what I thought was studying and would flunk my test. After a while, my mom sat me down and told me they weren’t sending me any more money for school. She said I was making good money doing hair and suggested I attend cosmetology school,” Porscha says.
Porscha left University and enrolled in cosmetology school, where she learned that she, like many
June 10th, 2023
Greenville Convention Center - Greenville, SC
“I did a lot of competitions while I was in school. In fact, I won the Midwest Beauty Show in Chicago, Illinois. I was the first-place winner in the United States, which qualified me to be on the World USA team. I went to Moscow, Russia, for the Hair Olympics and took fifth place in the world,” Porscha shared.
With all of her success in school, Porscha worried that her star had burned out, so once she graduated from cosmetology school, she was afraid to go for her license. “I had achieved so much as a student that I was worried I wouldn’t be able to live up to the reputation I had created for myself. I was afraid to fail.” It would be almost a year later before Porscha had the courage to take the state boards to become a certified cosmetologist.
By the time Porscha was licensed, she was living on her own, and because she didn’t want to use the financial support of her parents, she worried she didn’t have the time it took to build a stable client base. “I had real bills, so I went and got what I felt was a real job. It takes time for a beautician to build a clientele that qualifies as a full-time career.” As a result, hair became her side hustle once again.
Porscha worked in corporate America until 2017, when she was laid off. While looking for a new job, she was reminded that she already had a career, a stellar reputation, and the credentials to back it up. “Honestly, I could have gone full-time as a beautician before the lay-off, but I worried about job security. But being let go gave me the push I needed to launch into the deep,” Porscha explains. “I launched The Salon by Porscha Danielle in November 2017. Thirty days after I opened, I had over thirty new clients,” she says.
Located in Greenville, South Carolina, The Salon by Porscha Danielle has been going strong for six years. As a natural hair stylist, she has no shortage of clients, but it is time to look toward the future. On June 4th, 2022, Porscha hosted her first Knotty-N-Natural Hair Festival.
Owning a hair salon and styling hair are not the only things important to Porscha. She is committed to serving her community and hundreds and thousands of people at once. With the Knotty-N-Natural Hair Festival, she is able to do that. “A lot of people have a lot of questions regarding natural hair. With the festival, I am able to connect trusted vendors who have trusted products with individuals who need their questions answered,” she says.
The need for such an event in Greenville was obvious, but the question was who would make it happen. Well, the question has been answered by Porscha. “It all started when I went to my business coach and told her I wanted to do a food truck festival. I love food, so it made sense to me but not to my business coach,” Porscha laughed. “After talking it over, she suggested I have a Hair festival with food trucks. So that’s what we did. That’s how the Knotty-N-Natural Hair Festival was born.”
“A lot of people have a lot of questions regarding natural hair. With the festival, I am able to connect trusted vendors who have trusted products with individuals who need their questions answered.”
At this point, things were set in motion for the Knotty-N-Natural Hair Festival. “I love what I do, but I can only connect with one client at a time in the salon. I can’t tell you how many people have questions on behalf of their mom, sister, cousin, or friend about how to care for and manage healthy natural hair. I answer the questions, but it frustrates me because I can only reach one person at a time,” Porscha shares.
The 2022 Knotty-N-Natural Hair Festival hosted over 500 guests. Porscha projects that the 2023 festival will see over 2,000 guests. Porscha states, “It’s getting bigger and better. This festival is not just about hair, but it’s a safe space for us to come and explore what is beautiful about us (black Americans).”
Porscha is passionate about equipping people with accurate information about caring for their hair. “Because natural hair has become this booming market, so much misinformation is designed to make money. Then we have the information passed down from our parents and grandparents. I’m not saying they gave us bad information. It’s just that with all the new technology and research available to us, there are some things we have to unlearn,” Porscha explained. “This festival is also an opportunity to teach people the latest in hair care routines and techniques so that they won’t fall prey to some of the products that are damaging their hair.”
Looking back at the obstacles she’s had to overcome to get to where she is now, Porscha says this is what she wants people to know, “If you can dream it, then it’s possible. Faith is the central part of who I am, and without it, I couldn’t have come this far. There is no way I could have conceived or achieved all that I have on my own. It was divine inspiration. Knotty-N-Natural serves my community, and as we come together and celebrate what’s great about Black hair and cosmetology, we will only get stronger.”
Way” Latitude Training Center
Tiawna Bryant describes herself as an elite member of the healthcare industry.
The Detroit, MI, resident, and native is a Registered Nurse with over 20 years of healthcare experience. She is a mom, a caregiver to her parents, and a leader in her community. She is also the owner of Latitude Training Center.
Her company educates and trains aspiring healthcare workers in basic nursing services. Her students learn how to properly and safely perform Activities of Daily Living (ADL) for those who are ill or debilitated, need assistance, or can’t perform ADL care independently. ADL care consists of grooming, toileting, feeding, dressing, and helping with ambulation and transfers. Through the American Heart Association, Tiawna is a certified CPR Instructor. Additionally, her students are trained in emergency response care. Latitude’s four-week program equips individuals with job-ready skills, the kind of skills that are transferable and remain with them for life.
Tiawna obtained a degree in Applied Science from Davenport University. She began her journey of teaching CPR in her basement. She later expanded in 2018 with the assistance of an entrepreneurial training program. She continued to grow her professional services to a brick-and-mortar location and added healthcare career training. She says, “My vision for creating the Latitude Training Center was formulated while working as a Nurse Educator at the corporate level. During my tenure, I noticed there was a lack of caregivers to support the growing population of our elders. I also became aware of the idleness of our young adults in the community.” Learning those things propelled her into action.
Tiawna’s love for healthcare happened as a child. “As a teenager approaching high school, my mother frequently showed me the Sunday newspaper. She would show me the classified section and always emphasize choosing a career pathway that was in high demand and offered job stability. Becoming a nurse or an educator would provide that. Both nursing and education struck her interest, and from there, the rest is history.
“My vision for creating the Latitude Training Center was formulated while working as a Nurse Educator at the corporate level. During my tenure, I noticed there was a lack of caregivers to support the growing population of our elders. I also became aware of the idleness of our young adults in the community.”
L. WatsonPhotos Provided by Tiawna Bryant
Tiawna says she is inspired by the impact she has on her students. “My students look up to me and see themselves as leaders, nurses, caregivers, and educators. When my students ask questions about what direction they should take or how to handle a situation in their personal lives or issues at school, I am amazed and so grateful that I can be a resource. Whether it’s helping someone overcome a hurdle or giving a small nugget of advice, helping with their resumes, or just leading by example on how to conduct yourself and exude professionalism, I am grateful,” she says.
As a new business owner, the challenges never stop, and Tiawna says the one she has faced is learning how much working capital is actually needed to sustain a viable business. “You can have a beautifully well laid out business plan, but without projections and a method for growth and expansion, things can start to look quite different from when your business was just a thought on paper. Working capital is important. Having good personal credit has helped me leverage a lot of the funds that I lacked in my first year of business,” she says.
While the experience has been great for Tiawna, she says she would have done some things in business differently if given a chance to do so. “I would not have put my dreams to the side. When I initially had the inclination to be an entrepreneur, I doubted the timing and ability. The reality is once you have swallowed the idea and it starts to digest in your spirit, it will never go away. I would have started sooner in life and spoken more self-affirming words into the universe to support the thoughts that would have gotten my actions to align with what I knew to be true. Now that I am here and in the midst of it all, I am focusing on the bigger picture.”
Her advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs is to be ready for your circle to change and be ready for the naysayers. “Be ready to sacrifice and fight; your vision is your vision. Things and people will come against you that you may never have imagined. It can get rough, and you will ask if this is what I signed up for. My advice is to do as I did. Do your own research and hire professional consultants to help you polish your brand and get your back office paperwork together,” she says.
In the future, Tiawna plans to continue to encourage young adults to invest in themselves and their community. She also plans to continue expanding her brand and enjoy the opportunities and blessings of owning her company.
For more information about Latitude Training Center, please visit their website.
Smart Technology Corp.
At that point, Christopher was so tired of starting over. His wife, Jackie, encouraged him to start his own company, and on the 5th day in October 2020, Smart Technology Corporation was born. “Smart Technology Corporation is a place where we do everything smart. We use the best materials and employ the best people to produce products. Our motto is, “there is no wasted time with Smart Technology”. If you can imagine it, we can make it,” he says.
Christopher has customers from all over, including the medical field, consumer goods, the communication industry, and small and local businesses. “When you come to Smart Technology with an idea, no one is turned away. We can design, develop, mass produce, and market our client’s products. Any plastic or metal products, tools, pieces, big or small, we can make,” he says.
He is described as someone who can make just about, well, anything! Christopher Jackson is the owner of Smart Technology Corporation. Based in Greensboro, NC, Smart Technology Corporation is leading the way in the areas of Precision Machining, Injection Molding, and Assembly Fabrication. They also offer various services, including engineering design assistance, reverse engineering, prototyping, and flexible, shortrun production. Additionally, Smart Technology Corporation offers 3D scanning capability and can capture up to two million measurement points for a scanned subject, resulting in a precision of about 1.5 microns, or 0.00006 of an inch.
Christopher currently resides in the Triad area of North Carolina but was born and raised in Warsaw, North Carolina. He grew up playing baseball and was very good, so good that he had plans to play professionally. Unfortunately, tragedy struck when Christopher became a victim of a crime that put him in a coma. When he came out of it, he was on disability for three years, and his doctors said he would be 80% medically dependent for the rest of his life. Christopher did not let this discourage him, and he continued to work hard and ultimately regained his mobility.
Now outfitted with a new lease on life, Christoper attended Guilford Tech Community College and received a degree in machinery technology. He also became a machinist and tool maker. After about eight years, he enrolled in North Carolina A&T State University and obtained his Applied Engineering degree. Christopher would later work in various industries, including medical, consumer goods, and automotive, gaining plenty of experience from processing tools, plastics, and materials. Soon he would begin to design his own tools.
Christopher worked as a senior engineer for a company that extruded rubber and helped them launch the X5, X6, and X7 BMW series. He was also working on the new X8 BMW when the Covid 19 pandemic hit, resulting in his being laid off.
At Smart Technology Corporation, a culture of inclusiveness and teamwork has been established. By having those components in place, the feeling of ownership has been easily embraced by everyone. “I don’t say you work for me. You work with me,” says Christopher. “Having that type of work relationship creates a culture of loyalty within the business.”
What separates him from the competition? While getting certified, Christopher wanted to become a Minority Business Enterprise. That certification gives his company access to connect with other billion-dollar companies looking to work with minorities. By 2025, corporations will aim to do trillions of dollars in business with certified MBEs in America. While there are over 30,000 companies in the same industry, African Americans run only six, and Smart Technology is one of them.
Getting his footing in such an underrepresented industry has come with some challenges. One was obtaining capital funding and resources to buy the equipment needed to operate. With continued research, he was able to create a joint partnership with a company that already had the facility and resources.
Despite the challenges, Christoper highlights his family as the #1 inspiration that keeps him going. He aims to create a legacy for his kids that will give them financial independence. In addition, he wants to leave something as a reminder of who their father was and what he did.
Moving forward, Christopher plans to provide an opportunity to NC A&T and GTTC students affiliated with the applied engineering department. These opportunities include internships, co-ops, and job opportunities. The goal of Smart Technology Corporation is to become a billion-dollar company with a true community impact. “Yet, the biggest dream is to be one of the first black billionaire companies in the United States of America or the world.”
Christopher’s advice for future entrepreneurs looking to follow in his footsteps is sensible. “If you want to start your own company, find a mentor, find someone willing to give you information, and how to do and what to do. I wasted time and money trying to do and learn everything simultaneously,” he says.
Christian ANDERSONBy Terry L. Watson
If someone in authority grants you something, or if something is granted to you, you are allowed to have it. That is the meaning of Granted Access, the brand developed by Christian Anderson, an award-winning gospel artist and savvy businesswoman.
Born and raised in Tennessee but now residing in North Carolina, Christian is widely known for singing and ministering the good news of Jesus Christ to help build the Kingdom of God. She is a psalmist, student-teacher, preacher, and lover of life and God’s people. Her genuine love for God has opened the door for her soulful, heart-touching sounds to bless the ears who desire intimate and compassionate worship. “My genre of music is Gospel. I sing to others to let them know how much God loves them and that they can do anything through Christ, who gives them the ability and strength to do so,” she says.
Christian says one of her most significant accomplishments was becoming a mom to her beautiful daughter Yael Maylean. Christian lost her mother, the late Minister Maylean Anderson when she was just seven years of age. She would be raised by her father, William Anderson, along with her siblings. Life would happen for Christian, and she adjusted as it did.
She attended the Job Corps right after high school and studied Phlebotomy. She shares that she always loved the healthcare field and knew she wanted to help people somehow, so becoming a nationally certified Phlebotomist was a way for her to do so. She worked in that field for nearly six years before becoming a licensed cosmetologist.
Christian says her initial inspiration comes directly from God. “Knowing He has begun a good work in me, and knowing I have the responsibility to live out what He has given me,” she says. Christian has faced several trials and storms in her life, and has learned some lessons as well. In addition to her mother passing, suffering abuse at the hands of her stepmother, and even marrying someone God told her not to marry, Christian testimony amplifies the story of an overcomer. “My testimony inspires me to tell it to as many people who will hear it, and show them what healing, victory, grit, and freedom looks like. It’s no goodness of my own that I’m still here. It’s only by His grace, mercy, and blood constantly covering my life.”
When not singing, Christian serves in full-time ministry with several business ventures on the side. One business is called “Melody Bedtimes Stories”. It’s a show and innovative idea she says God gave her, and one that she shares with her daughter Yael. “I sing books to children all over the World. We encourage, enlighten, affirm, and uplift them. We also let them know they are important, valuable, and needed!”
She references scripture in the bible, 2 Corinthians 2:14 which says, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.” With her brand, Access Granted, Christian says it consists of her “VICTORY OV” Merchandise. “God has granted us access to having victory over every area of our lives. If you are dealing with depression, the merch will read, “VICTORY OV Depression”. Granted Access isn’t limited to clothing, it is a mindset we must carry everyday,” she says.
In addition to being inspired by her daughter, Christian finds inspiration in her pastors, Kendall and Quierra McDowell, the founding leaders of Revival Now Global Church. “My pastor’s stand on the Word of God with no compromise, and they Truly Love God’s people. They love me, correct me and help guide and encourage me. I’m truly grateful for them and the impact they continue to have on my daughter’s life and my life. I can honorably say my life has never been the same since becoming a part of Revival Now Global Church.,” she says.
She also credits her manager Jessica Williams for having a huge impact on her life and career. “She goes above and beyond the call of duty and is truly a God-sent. I often tell the story of how she became my manager and how we attended the same church, but I didn’t know her personally, nor did I know her name at the time. The Lord put it in my heart to have a concert named “I’m An Overcomer”. I didn’t have a team, nor did I know of anyone who could help me, so I prayed and asked God to send help. Her face literally popped into my head. I approached her, thinking she’s going to think I’m crazy. I informed her of what God told me about her, and she agreed to help me assemble everything. I later asked her to be my manager. She said no at first but soon obliged, and we have been rocking since 2017,” Christian shared.
Being able to make an impact on the lives of God’s people and be the voice some so desperately need is what makes it happen for Christian. “I enjoy the opportunity to be the intercessor, the encourager, the mentor, the motivator, the testament of triumph over any and everything the enemy tries to keep God’s people bound in,” she says.
As Christian looks to the future, she has several projects underway. One is publishing her first book titled, “I WANT WHAT YOU WANT”. Her book will provide a description of her life, spanning from a little girl to adulthood. It will share the many challenges she faced, the disobedience she walked in, and the consequences of it. It will show the Triumphant Victory she now walks in as well.
More than anything, Christian says she looks forward to growing more in God. She also wants to grow more in knowledge and understanding and obtain the necessary wisdom to walk life’s journey. “I want to be a better, anointed mother, love my family and friends, and love God’s people the way He requires for me. I am also looking forward to meeting my purpose partner so we can purposely build the Kingdom of God together and make hell nervous!” h
My testimony inspires me to tell it to as many people who will hear it to, and show them what healing, victory, grit, and freedom looks like. It’s no goodness of my own that I’m still here. It’s only by His grace, mercy, and blood constantly covering my life.”
Dr. Nicholas Sturdifen
Changing The Landscape of Baseball in The TriadBy DorJea’ McClammey Photos Provided by Life Push, LLC
Businessman, family man, author, and visionary. Dr. Nicholas ‘Nic’ Sturdifen appears to do it all.
Nic, as he prefers, is a proud product of Newport News, Virginia. As a man of Christ, he loves being able to show the love of Christ in everything he does. Nic has several degrees, an undergrad, two master’s, and a doctorate. Nic is a Qualified Mental Health Professional certified by the Virginia Board of Counseling. He is an author and has written two books, the Center of Influence and the 5 Phases of Human Engagement. Also, Nic owns High Point Hush Puppies, a collegiate-level summer league baseball team located in High Point, NC.
With all his endeavors, Nic has found time for more; he co-owns Life Push LLC with his wife, Kaylin. Founded in 2014, Life Push LLC is a human services engagement company that offers mentoring, counseling, and family development. They are also directly engaged with public school systems.
Why did a very involved businessman decide to buy a minor-league baseball team? Nic responds, “I’m big on access. Baseball can be an expensive sport that not many minorities have access to play. I wanted to create a space for athletes of all shades where they could engage and play,” he says. Nic shares he also wanted to let young black men and people of color everywhere know that they don’t just have to play the sport; they can own a team too. “I really want us to be an example of what that looks like, someone who looks like them and is involved with team ownership.” Most importantly, The High Point Hushpuppies helps to support players who wish to create a path to professional baseball.
Nic’s athletic background doesn’t include baseball. He grew up playing soccer and played football at the collegiate level. “Baseball always sparked my interest, yet unfortunately, like many other minorities growing up, I didn’t have access to the sport and wasn’t introduced to it. I know that baseball is deeply rooted in communities across the country, in the world for that matter, and I figured it would be good to be a vehicle to help underserved communities,” he says.
“I’m big on access. Baseball can be an expensive sport that not many minorities have access to play. I wanted to create a space for athletes of all shades where they could engage and play.”
Having The Highpoint Hush Puppies located in the Triad made good sense to Nic. He says he wanted to continue upholding and honoring High Point’s history. While he supports getting more African Americans involved with the sport of baseball, he says he doesn’t want to make it a black-and-white thing. “This isn’t a black team, it’s not a white team, this is a team open and accessible for everyone,” he shared.
Nic says his biggest inspiration is time. He explained that we all have a limited time here on earth, and he’s motivated by wasting his share. His focus is to help others and lead them into a better place. His biggest fear is when it’s all said and done, he’ll look back and wish he had done more and pressed harder. He wants to leave empty, knowing he gave it all and left behind a legacy for his kids and generations.
He also finds rest in the work of others who have come before him. He shares, “I look back at each generation, and I can see the progress. Every generation is responsible for building on the shoulders of the previous generation. From my great-grandparents to my children, work happened, and the work must continue.”
As for the future of Nic and The High Point Hushpuppies, he plans to continue growing the team and changing the perspective of baseball and what it can be. He also plans to continue helping others, providing affordable entertainment to families, and bringing more revenue to the Piedmont triad area. Yet, his vision doesn’t end with baseball. Nic plans to own a soccer team and even build a school.
For those who may follow his path, here’s some advice that Nic offers. “Understand this, to be successful, especially in entrepreneurship, you will have to be either lucky or blessed. I recommend being blessed because luck can run out. You must have strong-rooted faith before you jump in. Also, stop waiting on other people to believe in you, because their beliefs have nothing to do with your success,” he says.
To learn more about Nic Sturdifen and The High Point Hush Puppies, please visit their website.
Nicole Hornsby-Harrison’s mission to help others is rooted in her belief that healing comes through a sound emotional and spiritual foundation. Her passion for the mental and physical well-being of those around her has helped to grow her fitness empire, Creole Fitness.
Nicole owns Creole Fitness, and is the Executive Director of the A.G.A.P.E Project, a nonprofit that focuses on her community’s physical and mental health. A native of Amite, LA, she is also a dynamic certified personal trainer, actress, author, Army Veteran, and woman of faith who is passionate about helping people journey through life as their best selves.
As a personal trainer, Nicole offers various services and products, including meal prep consultation, meditation, weight training, boxing, and many CrossFit workouts. She also makes custom blend supplements, waistbeads, and detox drinks. She says her products are designed to assist or motivate those on their fitness, mental health, and wellness journey. Additionally, Nicole is a mental health coach, author, and motivational speaker.
So how did Nicole get started with fitness? She shares, “I have always been an athlete, but I was burnt out on anything fitness when I exited the military. I took a few years off and began boxing and supporting my youngest daughter while she trained as a UFC fighter. I never thought about training anyone, but somehow I started working with one client, and things took off from there.”
Several academic achievements complement Nicole’s passion. She has a master’s degree in criminal justice and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Public Administration. She is married to Rashund Harrison, and they have five kids: Desiree, Kierra, DeAndre, Xavier, and Tiara. They also have five grandchildren: Aijah, Reign, Raelin, Keem, and Kayden.
Helping people reach their goals and conquer their fears are two things Nicole says she loves to do. Embarking on her own personal fitness journey gave her a sense of empowerment, which she tries to duplicate with her clients. “Working on myself helped me to transform her from an insecure young woman to a passionate wife, mother, businesswoman, and community leader,” she says.
Working on herself is something Nicole learned to do after facing a huge challenge in her life. On the eleventh day of February 2022, Nicole suffered a heart attack. “My life changed in a matter of minutes. I had zero blockages and learned that my heart attack was stress-induced. Since then, I’ve been spreading awareness of mental health while caring for myself. Months following my heart attack, I held my first annual Mental Health and Wellness 5k Run/Walk. I’ve visited five countries and written three books, one memoir, and one journal. I am living now, and I do not take anything for granted anymore,” Nicole says.
Other challenges Nicole has faced include getting her culture to change their relationship with food and fitness. “The younger generation is catching on, but I have a lot of work to do for my generation,” she says.
As a businesswoman and entrepreneur, Nicole remains willing to share information and tips with other aspiring business owners. She says, “Whatever you do, don’t give up. Run towards your fears and invest in yourself. If your friends and family can shop at Walmart and Target and not question their prices, then they shouldn’t question yours. Do not allow family and friends to depreciate or devalue your product and service. Real friends won’t ask for discounts or freebies, they will support you without hesitation and won’t mind paying.”
Be on the lookout for a future brick-and-mortar location for Creole Fitness. Nicole’s vision does not only include a gym but also “ninja warrior” type obstacles for those who love to push themselves to the limit. She also plans to spread mental health and wellness by promoting her memoir, Pruned, and her journal and recipe book, Pruned By June. Her annual “It’s Ok Mental Health & Wellness 5k Run/Walk is scheduled for July 2023. Please visit their website to learn more about Nicole Hornsby-Harrison and Creole Fitness. h