Huami Magazine California July/August 2022

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July/August 2022 Vol. 1 Issue 9

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

There Are No If, Ands, Or Buts About It!

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 A available hours; you can probably say that I am routine. I would Letter from the Editor 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 What if tomorrow All of your plans, hopes efficiently function withoutdidn’t one. arrive? That’s just me. and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if everything you decided to for puthaving off until tomorrowtonever On the otherthat hand, I am grateful something look happened? There would no reason to saveoverwhelming, for a rainy forward to doing. While oftenbethings may appear youfact could someone making I canday, restand in the thatspare God has chosenthe metrouble for thisofexperience. What if your lastaopportunity seemingly expired This promises. is my assignment. It’s not “why me Lord” question that I ask; today? would youLord” do? affirmation expressed. instead, it’s What a “why not me

toldways thatto I often seem like I do too much. ThereI’ve arebeen several understand or comprehend God’s Honestly, I feel I am enough and I’m diligently a firm to assignment upon We cannot facedoing it head-on and work complete theinmission or that not. God What I find soput fascinating that believer knowing wouldn’t anythingison mewhen Godthat initially blessedhandle. me withI sometimes purpose, I wasn’t shown what the end I couldn’t wonder how life would would Hetodidn’t brief on the events that would be be if I like. chose sit idle andme accept what it presented to occur, me. I and have I mustfound say, there have beenboring. some good and some bad ones. If that to be very In my opinion, opportunity I have thus far, I know that the same pattern will is alearned blessinganything that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge likelytorepeat itself at some time orisanother. Still, once tapped into me is an adventure. What the worst that canIhappen? God’s andIlistened it was time for If Ipresence do nothing, fail, andfor if I His try Ivoice, don’t,I realized but instead learn me to get moving. And that’s what I did. something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in return acquire life. God also gives us the freedom to ignore our assignments. While it’s notThe wise, running calls us into only delays our best advicefrom everwhat givenGod to me happened when someone destiny and purpose. God’s word says His yoke is easy to bear, told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so and the burden He givesmy is light. Becausedoors I believe word, desire to I have pressed way through withHis a key thatmy only complete my mission is ignited. Even more, I understand that I am hope provided. I have also learned the difference between not alone in the fight, and someone else islife actually carrying bulk what God blesses me with and what can burden methe with of my load. All I have to do is put one foot in front of the other and as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and move. when to be quiet, because someone may get it confused The blessing in our assignments is with being arrogant. revealed to us once our attitude about the assignment is changed. We can Make you tomorrow embrace the assignment trust the happen today, butand most processimportantly or ignore it.make Remember it count.that God gives choice. He also Lifeus is abut a whisper andblesses us withwe life;must withput thatourselves gift comes in aa plan. I position encourage you to tap it into to hear what is what God has assigned you to do and enjoy telling us. a life full of purpose and promise.

Terry Terry L. L. Watson Watson Editor/Founder



November/December 2014 Terry L. Watson

Publisher Monica Montgomery Editor In Chief Writer Terry L. Watson Writer Terry L. Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Editor Ellen Richardson Writer Dorjae’ McClammey Writer Writers

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336-340-7844 HUAMI MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Media Company LLC Mykel MediaMykel Company. Any reproduction of any Greensboro,isNCprohibited without portion of this publication 2022 All Rights Reserved written permission from the publisher prior to doing so. Mykel Media doesn’t accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication may be submitted to the editor by E-mail at or to Mykel Media Company, LLC P.O. Box 20102 Greensboro, NC 27420 HUAMI MAGAZINE 2014 All Rights Reserved

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Daymain Smith 10

Synergy Hospitality Group


On The Cover

This Is Andre Ray Andre Ray

YMA Financial Group

Joseph Wallace


HR TailorMade

Tiffany E. Slater

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Love Monae’ Anthony



Also Featured

Antonia Boayke Learn how she has created a space designed just for moms. Meet the founder of MomSpaceCo. Baltimore, MD


Sawand Belcher This young man is committed to making change in his community. Learn more about how he is taking action. Greensboro, NC


Nehemiah Johnson Jr. When an individual is dressed well, they typically feel good also. Learn more about how his clothing store connects with his community. Pensacola, FL

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Information Provided By Robert L. Jamison Andre Ray replaced Jeffrey Osborne as lead singer for the grammy nominated R&B BAND , L.T.D. Andre recorded the vocals on LTD,s iconic ballad, April Love Enjoy a relaxing afternoon with Live Performance by Lead singer “Andre Ray” April Love, Back in Love Again, Love Ballad, Concentrate on You, Every time I Turn Around Back in Love again,and Holding on. Andre was groomed early by his multi-talented mother and family to become the accomplished musician that he has become. Andre got his professional start in the music industry right out of high school. He became a staff writer for Solar Records at the age of 17 under the mentorship of the late CEO and founder of solar records, Dick Griffey. While with solar records, Andre wrote lyrics for Artists such as The Whispers, Shalamar, and Carrie Lucas, who recorded vocals on Andre’s song Questions which went on to become a huge hit for the company in 1980. Andre was approached by Henry Davis, the bass player for the world reunion R&B band L.T.D. Henry Davis heard Andre Ray Performing at a Black Radio Exclusive Concert in Hollywood. Davis was very impressed by Ray’s Musician skills as a Vocalist and Keyboard player and requested that Ray audition for the group LTD to place Mr. Jeffrey Osborne as Lead singer when Jeffrey left the group to embark on his solo career. During the time Andre Ray was with LTD he recorded and wrote lyrics on three Albums for LT D. The first song was from The Love Magic Album, which featured the iconic hit Ballaf, April Love featuring Andre Ray Smooth Romantic Vocals. The next two albums to follow were For You on the Montage Record label, where Jeffrey Heller of the NWA Fame was Ray’s manager. The last Album Ray recorded with LTD is called Bringing it Home on LTD’s independent record label. Andre will always say that he grew up in the LTD family. Andre Ray toured with the group from 1980 to 2010. Since that time, Ray has been featured in several stage plays and has produced several concerts at the Los Angeles Memorial sports arena. He has performed and sang the national anthem at the LA Sparks basketball game at the Staple Center in Los Angeles California, as well as the United States armed forces. Andre Ray has also developed a social program called the Zero to Hero program that helps at-risk adolescents to reach their maximum potential in the pursuit of excellent education and behavior management counseling. Andre Ray is also one of the voices on the radio station at KJLH 102.3 FM and has a new CD called, In the Name of Love, which is soon to be released. In 2010 Andre Ray started working with Musical Producer Robert L Jamison Founder of 5 Stars Music Group Concert Series located near Downtown LA. Ray became a faithful member of Jamison’s 5 stars music group because they both shared the same vision and had a desire to raise money for Diabetes and Cancer causes. Supporting The American Cancer Society and St Jude Childhood Cancer Program. As a way to raise money for Jamison Real Men Wear Pink campaign and awareness for Breast Cancer Research and treatment prevention. Dr. Robert Jamison created an Oldies Soldies Love Jam Concert Featuring Grammy Nominated Andre Ray, Former Lead Singer of LTD h as the headliner.

For booking Call 213-258-5112 Robert L Jamison Founder of 5 Stars Music Group 7


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Violas Mens Apparel, LLC By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Nehemiah Johnson Jr. When an individual is dressed well, they typically will feel good also. Business owner Nehemiah Johnson Jr. seemingly understands this concept and has built his business on the very foundation. He is the owner of Violas Mens Apparel, LLC, a men’s fashion boutique that specializes in fine clothing and accessories. This includes hats, neckwear, suits, and shoes. Violas Mens Apparel was founded 20 years ago. In 2019, Nehemiah shared how he received a call from the original owner, who is also his cousin, informing him of his planned retirement. “He said that the Lord told him that I was to be his successor. He asked me if I wanted the store, and I told him “yes”. Up to that point, I had never worked in retail nor owned my own business. Even more, we are the only black-owned menswear store in our city,” he says. When Nehemiah took over Viola’s in 2020, it was right before the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic. He says there was nothing in place to prepare him for such an ordeal. “ We didn’t receive any PPP or SBA loans. We just worked our way through it, and it was very hard,” he shares. Nehemiah Johnson Jr is the son of Nehemiah Sr. and Martha Johnson. He is a Navy veteran, an Ordained Minister, and a father. Born and raised in Pensacola, FL, Nehemiah holds an Associates of Arts degree in Supervision and Management and his B.A. in biblical studies. Nehemiah says he loves to see people smile when they put on their first suit and how the faces of parents light up when their child puts on their senior prom tuxedo. His business also requires Nehemiah to express empathy and compassion, especially during moments of grief. “We are open for the people,” he says. Being able to help people is what keeps Nehemiah going. “I had a work ethic instilled into me as a child. We cut grass, pressure-washed houses, collected cans, and even taught other kids how to skateboard to make money. That drive has kept me going throughout my entire life and keeps me going even on the days when I get discouraged,” he shares. “I have survived due to my parents and my relationship with Jesus. If it wasn’t for them, I’d close the doors but I understand that this store is bigger than me.” Being a business owner allows Nehemiah to connect with his community. “As the owner, I personally do not receive a paycheck from the store. Everything goes right back into the store and to the community. We’ve donated money towards turkey giveaways, and donated suits to second chance centers for people getting out of prison. Annually, we teach kids how to tie neckties, and after completion, we give them the necktie for free,” he says. His store also partners with male mentorship groups and donates suits to be given to their participants upon completion of their programs. Nehemiah’s advice for others who may follow a path similar to the one he has is not to be quick to jump into it. “Start modest and slow crawl so that you can see the ins and outs of business. You must also realize that everyone will not support you. You have to keep pushing through, adjust, and keep moving. Last but not least, get a team to help you. A good CPA and a marketing team will work wonders,” he says. h 9


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Creating “Synergy” for African Americans in the Hotel and Hospitality Industry By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Daymain Smith Synergy is an interaction or cooperation giving rise to a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts. The term synergy comes from the Attic Greek word συνεργία synergia from synergos, συνεργός, meaning “working together.” Wikipedia Daymain Smith is the founder and CEO of Synergy Hospitality Group, based out of Atlanta, Georgia. His mission is to help African Americans conceive and receive the wealth and authority that comes with not just living their dreams but owning them. Daymain is a living example of the adage, “the only time you see success before work is in the dictionary.” With the southern charm of this Mobile, Alabama native, Daymain makes living the dream look easy. Yet he will be the first to tell you it’s not. The hotel and hospitality industry is challenging, especially for people of color. “Despite African Americans making up 45% of the population in this country, we own less than .5% of the hotel and hospitality industry. I believe it is my calling to help change that,” Smith says as he discusses his plight and passion. Daymain plans to enlighten, educate, and model the road to ownership and financial freedom. Daymain grew up in a small urban community in Mobile, Alabama. He admits that there are many layers to the path that led him to where he is today. “I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. My parents split shortly after I was born, and my grandparents primarily raised me. So, for the most part, my story is a lot like most kids who live where I lived,” Daymain explains. “My father was a pastor, but my mother struggled with addiction. So I had a wide range of influences in my life, and from all of it, I learned that there isn’t anything I can’t have if I was willing to work for it.”


“I’m not perfect, nobody is, but I don’t shy away from the fact that who I am in my faith is who I am in my company. I strive to do things the right way and make good choices when it comes to how I deal with my investments and investors.”

At fifteen, Daymain left his grandparents to live with his father. “I was about to turn sixteen when my grandparents kicked me out of the house. I went to live with my dad at a time when we both were in transition. We were trying to figure life out for ourselves and each other,” Daymain shares. After graduating high school, Smith attended Bishop State Community College. In 1998 Daymain attended the University of South Alabama, where he pledged Alpha Phi Alpha. He furthered his education at Louisiana State University. Daymain was always involved in one entrepreneurial or another, but it wasn’t until he found the world of hotels and hospitality that he found his niche. “In 2007, I had a magical moment, or rather my defining moment. It was during the 2007-2008 Final Four games when Atlanta’s first recorded tornado touched down. I was working at the Residence Inn Downtown Atlanta,” he says. According to WSBTV. COM, a powerful tornado caused widespread damage across Downtown Atlanta cutting a 6-mile path through downtown and causing significant damage, leaving mass destruction in its wake. “My hotel was horribly affected, and I had to do whatever I needed to help my guest. So there I was with a luggage cart with two guest, their luggage, and a piece of plywood, making my way down Peach Tree to the Westin Hotel. At that moment, when my natural response was to help people who needed me, I knew hospitality was where I was supposed to be. It’s my called place.” Synergy Hospitality Group is a faith-based company. Its business practices and principles are rooted in Daymain’s Christian beliefs. “I’m not perfect, nobody is, but I don’t shy away from the fact that who I am in my faith is who I am in my company. I strive to do things the right way and make good choices when it comes to how I deal with my investments and investors. I am happy to say that my partners and I are like-minded when it comes to that.” Daymain has had the opportunity to work in many different roles within the hospitality industry. In each position, he never second-guessed his called place. He learned that there is a right and wrong way to do everything. “I was blessed to have some fantastic mentors in my career. In fact, one of the partners in Synergy, Robert McCoy, was my General Manager at Premier Hospitality Solutions, Holiday Inn Orlando Airport, for several years. Bob was one of those guys who always made you feel like it was a partnership. I never felt like I was a subordinate to him. Bob has zero ego and never puts himself on a pedestal. He was a great mentor and now an invaluable friend and business partner because he showed me how to stay humble,” he says. With Robert’s mentorship, Daymain became GM for the Holiday Inn Orlando Airport, ultimately leaving to become Regional Manager over a chain of thirteen hotels.

The book featured, How To Buy A Hotel, is written by Davonne Reaves


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Obstacles are essential to everyone’s journey, and Daymain is no exception. As Smith continued to excel in the hotel and hospitality industry, he couldn’t ignore the absence of men and women who looked like him. On the rare occasions he did, he found himself on a detour. “I try to learn something from every experience. Even if that is simply what not to do,” Smith says with a laugh. “I’ll just say I worked for an owner who wasn’t setting the right example of what ownership should look like or be about. As a result, I was terminated from that position, which was painful, but by the grace of God, I was able to shift. God allowed me to see that it was all working for my good. I knew I wasn’t going backward because my Father in Heaven didn’t create me to be average.” Daymain and his wife created a car parking business. He says, “Following God, I made six figures parking cars!” According to Merriam-Webster, disenfranchised means to be deprived of some right, privilege, or immunity. After years of working in the hotel and hospitality industry, Daymain saw himself as part of the disenfranchised. He realized there was a missing component that had been out of reach for him and others like him. It was Ownership. “That disenfranchised component made me realize that my people were disenfranchised in the hospitality industry. I had learned the business inside and out and loved it. I was passionate about it but didn’t know how to own it. Again, African Americans represent less than .5% ownership in this industry. Once I understood what that meant, I finally understood my purpose. My purpose was not just to become an owner, but to become an educational conduit for people who look like me in hospitality investment and ownership,” he says. Synergy Hospitality Group was birthed out of one simple premise. “If I can do it, you can too.” “When I realized that I knew just as much if not more than the guys I was working for, it didn’t make sense to continue as an employee. I knew I was built for better, and that’s what I want to pass on to my people,” Daymain shares. Synergy Hospitality Group is ultimately an educational platform and resource to get African Americans to invest in the hospitality industry. “I want to help anyone ready to believe they are built for more. I had to learn the ownership side of hospitality. I have been blessed to have a great friend and mentor, Omari Head, the “Hip Hop Hotel Broker,” as a great connection and one of my biggest supporters. He has opened doors and helped me make connections I couldn’t have made alone. Because I know the value of open doors, I want to help others come through.” he explains. 202-350-1151

Daymain believes that with the help of his forwardthinking business colleagues, Elise Capital Hotel Investment Advisory and Davonne Reeves, author of How to Buy a Hotel, he can inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. He aspires to teach them how to move past just wanting to make money but see themselves as worthy, capable, and qualified to own their future. “The greatest compliment I’ve ever received was when a young black high school student told me he wanted to be a business and hotel owner like me when he grew up. I knew then that he could see himself as more than what society wanted to label him. I felt like he was waking up to the knowledge that he was built for more,” he says. h 202-350-1151 15

YMA Wealth Management Group

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By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Joseph Wallace Joseph Wallace is the founder and CEO of YMA (Young Millionaires Association) Wealth Management Group in Spartanburg, South Carolina. If you are looking for business solutions, Joseph and his team are your “problem solvers.” “I solve problems. Think about it for a moment. You want to start a business but don’t have a business plan. That’s a problem. You need capital for your start-up, and you don’t have it. That’s a problem. Your credit needs attention. That’s also a problem. All of these issues are roadblocks to entrepreneurs. My job is to help navigate and eliminate these roadblocks so business owners can grow and succeed.” Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Joseph didn’t always have the focus he needed to envision his future. “I grew up in a two-parent household, but there wasn’t always a lot of money. My parents struggled to make ends meet, and sometimes that struggle made for a stressful home environment,” Joseph explained. Like many youths, I was seduced by the culture that specific music and movies glorified. He knew the path he was on would lead him to a bad end but not understanding his purpose, he chose to live in the moment. “Like most kids in my neighborhood, I fell in with the wrong sort of people. My parents and grandmother tried to point me in the right direction, but when you’re young and think you know it all, you don’t listen.” Joseph admits that after high school, he was lost and had no direction. “I didn’t know my purpose, so I didn’t know the path I needed to take. The people whose influence I see in my life today are my mother, my father, my older brother, and my grandmother. My mother taught me how to always keep striving for better. She would work two jobs to take care of her family, but she never settled or became complacent with where she was. She was always working on getting to the next level. My dad worked and was also a coach at the local community rec center. He gave back to the community by working with the kids. My brother is a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist, but my grandmother was a God-fearing woman. She took me to church and taught me about God. I didn’t appreciate it as much as I should have at the time, but I know now that God was pointing me toward my path.”

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At twenty-one, Joseph says he took his first steps toward purpose. He joined the US Navy. “I didn’t go to church or anything, but I still believed in God. I knew He was real and remembered what my grandmother taught me. One night I came home late, and a Navy movie was on. I can’t remember the movie’s name, but it was about the Navy. I went to sleep and woke up the next morning, and the first thing I saw was a commercial about joining the Navy. I can’t say I heard the voice of God, but I believed he was speaking to me. This was no coincidence. So, I signed up that day.” The Navy didn’t give Joseph purpose, but it gave him the tools he needed to pursue the purpose of his life. “To this day, I am grateful for what I gained in my seven years in the US Navy. I learned fortitude, selfdiscipline, and a new understanding of respect. These were all of the things I was missing. Most importantly, as a search and rescue team member, I learned to push myself beyond my limitations.” One of the biggest obstacles/ problems for budding entrepreneurs is not a lack of opportunity or education. It is the limits they place on themselves. Joseph believes you can start the problem-solving process once you identify the problems. After serving seven years in the Navy, Joseph tried his hands in several business startups. He was gaining success but felt that he was not walking in his purpose. “You have to make sure you do things the right way. Everything you do must be built on a firm foundation. Without it, you will fail. That was the most important thing I learned, and what I hope every reader walks away with,” he shares. In 2009 Joseph decided to change his lifestyle and environment for the better and was considering moving back to Miami. His mother had recently moved to Greenville, SC, and suggested he come there. “I knew I needed a fresh start, but I didn’t want to go backward. Understanding problem-solving means that even if you are the problem, you must be willing to get out of your own way. I had to learn the difference between my voice and the voice of God. Moving to Greenville was God putting me back on the path to my purpose, and I have never looked back.” Shortly after moving to South Carolina, Joseph met a random stranger at a restaurant in Downtown Greenville. “It’s crazy what can happen when you start to follow your path. After moving to Greenville, I took some time to get settled. I met a man Downtown, and we started talking about work and my move. We exchanged information, and about three weeks later, he called out of the blue and said there was a new call center opening in Greenville, and with my experience in marketing, I should apply. That’s how I started at Samsung.”


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“To this day, I am grateful for what I gained in my seven years in the US Navy. I learned fortitude, self-discipline, and a new understanding of respect. These were all of the things I was missing. Most importantly, as a search and rescue team member, I learned to push myself beyond my limitations.”

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In his seven years at Samsung, Joseph rose from call center agent to Senior Operations Manager. “Following my mother’s example, I worked my way up. It wasn’t easy. The first time I applied for a supervisory position, I didn’t get it. I didn’t know why at the time, but I couldn’t allow it to affect my attitude or my energy. To the people who will read this, I’d like to say you can’t quit. Things will not always go your way when trying to pursue your dreams. Even if you try multiple times and it doesn’t happen right away. Just remember you only fail when you quit,” Joseph councils. “You have to be willing to take a step back and look at what you are doing. What worked, and what needs attention. And don’t be so proud that you can’t take constructive criticism. In fact, expect it. If it isn’t given, ask for it. It’s not acceptable for someone to deny you a job or position and then say you did everything perfectly. Ask them what made them choose someone else. Then take that information and don’t just meet the expectation but beat it. When the opportunity comes back around, and it will if you don’t give up, you can show that you not only maintained what they liked but also took their advice and improved on it. If you do that, you can’t be denied.” By applying this philosophy to his own life, Joseph has grown and expanded his businesses while helping others understand how to turn their dreams of becoming business owners and entrepreneurs into reality. “We just moved on June 20th into our new Corporate Office in the center of Downtown Spartanburg. It is listed as a historic building, and when I looked at it three years ago, it was out of my reach, but I found out what I needed to do to get it. That’s what you have to do with anything you want. You may not be qualified right now, but take the time to identify the problem, then work toward a solution. Attain the qualifications to get what you want. I go to meetings and hear people who look like me complaining about not being given equal opportunities, which may be true in some cases. But when you invest the time and money into beating and exceeding those set qualifications, not only will it make you better, it will make it hard for anyone to deny you your dreams.” Joseph and his wife and business partner Rebecca are taking YMA Wealth Management Group to new heights. They have created a onestop shop for business startups, personal and business credit, and real estate. Their nonprofit YMA CARES is launching a Business Incubator program in August 2022. h .


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MomSpace&Co, Inc Antonia is Boayke of Baltimore, MD describes herself as a caring and fun-loving person. She is a wife and mother to three beautiful kids. Amongst all of her responsibilities, she has enjoyed a career as a professional hairstylist for almost 12 years. As life has continued to happen for Antonia, many opportunities have also presented themselves to her. One is the host of a podcast called MomSpace&co. “I am a hairstylist turned podcast host. I love to laugh and enjoy good company, but resetting and self-care are vital in my everyday life. MomSpace&co provides a platform for me to do that,” she shares. A mother, wife, and everything else in between, Antonia says her passion for helping others provided a path to helping mothers. She shares, “Having a village is vital for our children and the mom. Our mission is to assist in each phase of motherhood by providing resources, sharing our knowledge, and making connections throughout the community.” The podcast started in 2017 with a focus on bringing moms together to have the “taboo” conversations about motherhood and life. “We’re a nonprofit organization that moms exactly where they are; in motherhood, business, and through conversation and community. Antonia is inspired mainly by people, and she is always looking for opportunities to serve, offer solutions, and give back.

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Antonia Boakye

Having a village is vital for our children and the mom. Our mission is to assist in each phase of motherhood by providing resources, sharing our knowledge, and making connections throughout the community.

Antonia says she loves what she does and wouldn’t change a thing about the process to get to this stage in her life. “Coming from a place where I had little to no experience operating a business put me in a position to learn and grow personally and professionally. It has helped me to become who I am today,” she says. As she looks toward the future, Antonia says she plans to receive whatever God has in store for her. “I pray it’s more meaningful connections and continued support from our community for our mission. I also hope to grow more,” she says. Her advice to others sitting on a dream or facing a similar path that she has traveled is simple. “Don’t give up. It seems so cliche, but persistence and diligence will get you where you once dreamed of seeing yourself. It’s no easy road, but it’s worth it. Also, don’t forget to celebrate yourself and the milestones you reach, both big and small!” To learn more about Antonia Boayke and MomSpace&co, please visit their website. h California - July/August 2022 23


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HR TailorMade By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Lance Omar Thurman If you are a small business owner, HR TailorMade will most likely be able to serve and meet your needs. Led by Tiffany E. Slater, who serves as the I am also the CEO and Senior HR Consultant, HR TailorMade promotes itself as the human resource (HR) solution for small organizations. “The work we do for our clients not only supports their team but also helps the owner to work in a more balanced and efficient way,” she says. “Our goal is to essentially take the HR ball away from business owners and manage it for them. We serve as the virtual HR team that manages the day-today operations required to effectively employ a high-performing team.” A native of St. Louis, MO, Tiffany launched her company in 2018, after realizing that her dream job was not what she had hoped for. “I started with faith. I prayed diligently that God would order my steps and that I would have the courage to follow his lead. When I started, I was miserable and needed to find joy in the work I had been doing for over 20 years. As an HR Professional, I had seen firsthand how integral maintaining a proper work-life balance was to a healthy and happy lifestyle. I not only wanted to create a joyful work experience for myself, but I also wanted to teach small business owners how to do it for themselves by removing the HR burden from their long to-do list,” she says. Four years later, Tiffany is still in business, and it’s growing. HR TailorMade offers additional services: employee handbook development, benefits implementation and administration, and onboarding. They also provide compensation structure development, employee recordkeeping, policy and procedure development, and leader and team support. “We serve our clients through monthly retainers, project-based work, and on-call service,” Tiffany says.

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Tiffany is a wife to Michael Slater, mom to MJ and Donovan, and a loving daughter, sister, and friend. She has a master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Washington University in St. Louis and a PhD in Organization Management from Benedictine University at Springfield. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. Professionally, she serves as the President of NAWBO St. Louis. Helping and serving others comes naturally for Tiffany. These are attributes that come in handy in her chosen profession. She also loves helping small business owners and founders to create joyful work experiences for their teams. “Doing so means I get closer to fulfilling my vision of making the world a better place, one employee at a time. I believe happy individuals make the world a better place,” she says. Tiffany also enjoys having the freedom to create new programs, policies, and experiences for her clients. While Tiffany says her mother has been the most impactful person in her life, she credits her aunt, Lathea Morris, and her upbringing as her biggest inspirations. “My mother exposed me to so many amazing things and people. I was surrounded by entrepreneurs, female entrepreneurs who were highly successful and doing great things in the community. She made it her life’s mission to keep her timid child (me) involved in activities in hopes I would grow out of my shyness and navigate this world fearlessly,” she says. “My aunt, Lathea, has always been my idol. She was always so cool to me. She rose to the C-Suite of a large insurance company. After finding her way to the top, she left and became the Assistant Secretary of State for New Jersey. When her term ended, she started a business that has been operating for over 25 years. Watching her throughout her career inspired me to dream big.” Tiffany says the journey of running her company has come with a few challenges. The biggest ones were learning how to move through her fear and building a plane in the air. “I learned that fear led to my procrastination. If it were something I hadn’t done before or wasn’t sure about, I would research as though I was looking for the end of Google. That is when I learned to build a plane in the air. I had to move to seek perfection, avoid mistakes or failure, and still get things done.” There isn’t much Tiffany would change about her journey in business. She says everything that has happened has taught her a great lesson. Most importantly, she has learned what she needs, what she doesn’t want, what she can’t do, and what doesn’t work. She advises others who may follow a path similar to her: not to allow the fear of others to cause you to be afraid of chasing your dreams. “Go for it! There is enough out here for everyone. Give more than you take!” In the future, Tiffany says she envisions HR TailorMade as a multi-million dollar business supporting small businesses across the country; world, perhaps. She also expects her company to be ranked in the Top 5 Best Places to Work. To learn more about HR TailorMade, please visit their website. h

Tiffany E. Slater 636-400-7944 26

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California - July/August 2022

Sawand Belcher This Is Me Taking Action By Back the Block

By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Tory Bass Sawand L. Belcher is the founder of Belcher & Belcher Properties, LLC, also known as Buy Triad Homes. Sawand and his wife LaMicah have five children, with number six on the way. Don’t be fooled by his easy-going casual demeanor; Sawand is serious about leveling the real estate field. He makes buying and selling real estate look easy. After building his company from the ground up, Sawand is ready to show just how easy it is to own our future. His real estate coaching services, This Is Me Taking Action, will show you step by step how to navigate the world of real estate, and you’ll be making a profit in no time. Sawand learned early in life that anything worth having is worth working for. “I’ve always been a great salesman. I remember when I was in sixth grade, my dad told me I couldn’t have something. But he said I could have whatever I wanted if I had my own money. So, I went over to his computer and came up with the catchy phrase, Wan’s Lawn & Dog Sitting Service. I made some flyers and started cutting people’s grass. I did that all the way through high school.” Sawand went to college at North Carolina A&T, where he studied political science, but in his senior year, his life took a new direction. “I loved my time at A&T. I studied political science not because it was my passion but because my parents wanted me to. My aunt, Hon. Romonda Belcher was the first African American female judge in Iowa. My parents wanted me to follow in her footsteps. But in my senior year, I found out I was going to be a father. That changed everything.”

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Sawand, always the entrepreneur, bought his first car by buying auto parts online and selling them locally. With him and his partner expecting their first child he had to shift things into high gear. “I left A&T fourteen credit hours short of my degree and got a job. I had new responsibilities, and those came first. That’s just how God made me,” Sawand explained. “Since I was familiar with car parts, and always liked cars, I went to a car dealership and applied to become a car salesman. I was hired on the spot.”

“We were going out to bars and clubs and spending the

With mentorship from his GM and sales manager, Sawand did well. Selling cars came easy to Sawand, and in less than seven months, he had made over $100,000.00. “I had an amazing leadership team at Crown Honda. Scott Bisbee was my GM, and Mike Hilton was my sales manager. They were teaching and mentoring, not just me but everyone. I learned so much about business and sales from them, which served me well.”

money just as fast as I could

The next step in Sawand’s journey would take him from making money, which he found easy to do, to having and investing money.

make it. The finance manager

“So, there I was, making money hand over fist, and one day one of the financial managers at the dealership asked me what I was doing with my money. I told him I was spending it,” Sawand said, laughing at his younger self. “We were going out to bars and clubs and spending the money just as fast as I could make it. The finance manager told me I should find a place to put my money. He suggested I buy a house. I had every excuse in the book. ‘I have bad credit,’ ‘I don’t have any money,’ ‘Nobody will lend a young black man money.’ You know those kinds of things. But the sales manager told me to go to the bank and at least see what they would give me.”

told me I should find a place to put my money. He suggested I buy a house.”

To Sawand’s surprise, they offered him a $120,00.00 loan. He didn’t take the first offer, but that helped him see that getting a loan and buying a home wasn’t so far out of reach. As a surprise for his girlfriend, Sawand purchased their first house. But the surprise was on him. “I wanted to show LaMicah that I was ready to be responsible, so I surprised her with a house. She surprised me by saying she didn’t want to move in. I tried to back out of the sale but couldn’t, so we ended up renting the house out. It wasn’t a lot at first, but it got me thinking. This was when I got the concept of real estate investing.”


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Sales-based employment means that you get a percentage of what you sell if you make a sale. This means if you make a sale, you get paid, but if you don’t, you don’t get paid. Sawand realized that with his rental property, he had regular income regardless of what kind of sales day he had. “When we bought our second house, we looked at off-market or unlisted properties. LaMicah and I were looking at a house and knocked on the neighbor’s door to see if they had any information on the owner. The woman invited us in and asked us what we thought about her house. We looked at each other and said it was cool, but we were looking for info on the house next door. The woman asked if we would make an offer on her house.” By the time the couple left the woman’s house, they had agreed to purchase the woman’s home for one-third of its market value. Sawand and his family live there to this day. With his new appreciation of being a property owner, Sawand decided to buy another off-market home. “Once we completed renovations on this house, I immediately started looking for the next one. I found a vacant house at the end of the street. I go the house under contract for $45,000. Like the first two, I didn’t have the money. I go to the bank, but this time they turn me down because I have two existing loans out. I had a debt-to-income problem. I started to get depressed because I had contracted to buy this house and couldn’t. So, I went to church. A friend from church, James Cox, said did you know you could sell the paper? I had no clue of what that meant.” California - July/August 2022 33


California - July/August 2022

Carla Lathan Beyond The Barriers LLC

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Carla Lathan Carla Lathan is obsessed with leveling the playing field and committed to serving her community. At 38 years old, she is a proud mother to a beautiful multi-talented 17-year-old daughter. She was raised as the middle child by Ollie Lathan, who she describes as being very resilient, an attribute that Carla clearly identifies with. The Milwaukee, WI native shares how in 2018, she embarked on an entrepreneurial journey that allowed her to center her vision on identifying community barriers and developing a curriculum that allows individuals a chance at growth.

“I didn’t have the benefits of resources or funding, only a

Carla is the founder of Beyond the Barriers LLC, a positioning and career development firm that promotes personal development. It also provides soft skills training, resume building, time management, financial literacy, social and emotional awareness, employment etiquette, interview preparation services, and strategic management services for small business owners. “Beyond the Barriers LLC is committed to enhancing conceptual capacity for long-term safety through love, stability, training, assessments, and employment, for the development of families and parental growth,” Carla explains. Building a business may look effortless from the outside. For Carla, she shares that starting a business after years of working at a non-profit level taught her that the early stages of entrepreneurship were anything but transparent. “I didn’t have the benefits of resources or funding, only a determination to succeed. I began learning more about housing, job disparity, and program stipulations that limit the ability of people to take full advantage of resources. I focused on what motivates the community towards growth and learned that support, facilitation, mental health awareness, compassion, and resilience contribute to the best outcomes for community growth,” she says.

determination to succeed. I began learning more about housing, job disparity, and program stipulations that limit the ability of people to take full advantage of resources.”

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Academically, Carla possesses the necessary tools to assist with accomplishing her goals. She has a bachelors degree in Criminal Justice, and a masters degree in Public Administration, with an emphasis in Program Management and Non-Profit Security. Her public service involvement is validated with over ten years of experience in social and community advocacy, working directly with families regarding incarceration and rehabilitation. She has also interned with the juvenile court system and worked as a facilitator for secondary placement homes. Her list of certifications includes Certified Community Respite Worker, Cognitive Behavior Intervention Facilitator, Compassion and Resilience Facilitator, Notary Public, and African American Birth Work Doula. Additionally, Carla has served as the Adult Service Director at Silver Spring Neighborhood center since 2018. In this role, she has hosted a variety of community collaborations and secured subsidized employment opportunities. She has also provided health care training and certification courses to the community. As a Program Director, Carla has worked through the Transform Milwaukee Jobs Program, which is federally funded. Carla says she loves exposing herself to be able to retrofit growth in her community. She wants to be a voice for people who feel like they’re not being heard. “I love meeting new people and meeting people where they are in life,” she says. She is inspired by her daughter, whom she describes as being carefree. “She reminds me daily how to be a better version of myself. I’m inspired by her understanding that while everyone is created differently, we can all learn from one another,” she says. Moving forward into the future, Carla shares how she hopes to continue impacting the lives of community members. “I have plans to embrace more community collaborations that encourage growth. I desire to create avenues in our school systems that allow learning and prospects of stability for youth. I also plan to strengthen my social media awareness and following,” she says. To learn more about Beyond The Barriers LLC, please visit their website. h

Carla Lathan


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