Coaching For Everyone
Yesterday Prepared Me For What’s Next
Yesterday Prepared Me For What’s Next
What if tomorrow didn’t arrive? All of your plans, hopes and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy day, and you could spare someone the trouble of making promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired today? What would you do?
While I was confident in my ability to fulfill the assignment, I admit I didn’t have all the answers initially. Ten years earlier, in 1997, I researched the magazine publishing industry, specifically in the Triad area of North Carolina. I did this to learn more about what is required to publish a magazine, including how to manage a publishing company, etc. Amongst all of the information obtained, I never inquired about how to support my new media company financially. That would eventually pose a problem for me and Huami Magazine.
I’ve been told that I often seem like I do too much. Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m a firm believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge to me is an adventure. What is the worst that can happen? If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in return acquire life.
Finances and their availability is vital to the survival of any business. I self-funded operating costs for quite some time, especially in the first few years of existence. However, all of a sudden, things changed. Huami Magazine would enjoy the love and support from unlikely sources, including individuals who never exhibited an interest in the product. Doors would soon open and opportunities flowed. Things were looking up for Mykel Media Company, LLC.
The best advice ever given to me happened when someone told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so I have pressed my way through doors with a key that only hope provided. I have also learned the difference between what God blesses me with and what life can burden me with as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and when to be quiet, because someone may get it confused with being arrogant.
As the face and founder of Huami Magazine, I worked hard to spread brand awareness. During this time, there were other challenges I would face, but having the support of the magazine wasn’t one of them. Sales were so good that everything needed to keep our doors open, we received it. God saw something good about Huami Magazine and He made provisions to ensure
Make you tomorrow happen today, but most importantly make it count. Life is but a whisper and we must put ourselves in a position to hear what it is telling us.
The message that I want to remind the readers of Huami Magazine is simple. When God gives you an assignment, He will also make provisions for you to see it through. All that we have to do is show up for the assignment.
Terry L. Watson Publisher
Monica Montgomery Writer
Terry L. Watson Writer
Editor In Chief Terry L. Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Editor
Dorjae’ McClammey Writer Joy Rogers Writer
Writers Tonya Dixon Terry L. Watson Alana Allen Jeuron Dove
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HUAMI MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Mykel Media Company. Any reproduction of any portion of this publication is prohibited without 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 E-mail at email@example.com
If you are in need of home repair service, she is here to help. Learn more about her journey in business.
Hampton Roads, VA
Music makes his world go around. Learn more about his journey through life and music.
St. Louis, MO
He has universal appeal. Learn more about his journey from the streets of South Carolina to success.
Dr. J. Victor McGuire, of Los Angeles, CA, is widely known as Victor, is the face and founder of Coaching For Everyone, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that strives to offer complimentary coaching and leadership support to traditionally underserved and under-resourced BIPOC(Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) populations. They also provide coaching fellowships to working BIPOC professionals interested in becoming certified coaches. This includes Pro Bono Coaching for those who may not traditionally be able to afford his services.
Throughout his life, Victor has traveled around the world and experienced various cultures. Early in his career, Victor’s initial path guided him to be a high school teacher, administrator, and professor at several universities. “As a professor, I was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to study history, politics, and educational systems in South Africa,” he shares.
Victor has worked in the leadership development space for 30 years within various sectors, including secondary and higher education, high-tech companies, mental health nonprofits, and Fortune 100 businesses. His experience involves working directly with a range of age groups, from teenagers to early-career young adults to senior executives.
“As a Certified Professional Coach and Certified Strengths Coach, I guide individuals in understanding their personal and professional strengths. I assist them with achieving their fullest potential by leveraging those strengths. It is important to me to support individuals in functioning optimally in the workplace while fulfilling a sense of personal purpose and worklife balance. I can effectively accomplish this by utilizing empathy, joyfulness, and passion,” he says. “In leading teams and organizations, it is integral that they align their practices with their organization’s mission and vision to achieve desired outcomes.”
Victor is also a Certified Professional CoActive Coach (CPCC). and is certified in various assessment tools such as The Marcus Buckingham StandOut tool and The Leadership Circle assessment. He received his doctorate from Colorado State University in Curriculum and Instruction and followed that achievement with a collective of university professorships for the next 20 years. He has served as a keynote speaker at national and international conferences and authored books on education and leadership.
Coaching For Everyone was launched in March 2020, Victor says, two weeks before the Covid 19 pandemic lockdown. He shares that what he loves most about what he does is being able to move the demographic needle of the coaching industry. “I love providing an opportunity for people who identify as BIPOC to become certified coaches,” he says.
The CFE Coach Certification, Victor says, is one of the most comprehensive coaching training programs running today. “Some of the most knowledgeable coaches teach our coaching scholars in the country. Our coaches see each session with their clients as an opportunity to transform, inspire and create a lasting impact.”
While getting their word out about their mission constantly challenges Coaching For Everyone, Victor remains encouraged and determined. He says he is inspired by seeing individuals activate their true potential regardless of the barriers and obstacles presented to them.
As he moves forward, Victor says he will continue to grow the network for Coaches For Everyone. He also plans to certify more coaches and provide coaching services to individuals who may not be able to afford the cost to participate. To learn more about Coaches For Everyone, please visit their website. h coachingforeveryone.org
Today, Tana is the owner of Cinnabar Nutrition, located in Milwaukee at Bayshore Mall. She started her business under the name of Simply Tasteful Nutrition in May 2020. “It was a way to re-engage with clients, family, and friends through baking. As I became more focused on my own health, I took my love for baking rum cakes to healthier options for baked goods, primarily donuts,” she says. As a result of needing to change her business name, Cinnabar Nutrition was born.
Tana says Cinnabar is a gemstone that represents health, wealth, healing, and personal transformation in the community around you.
Cinnabar Nutrition officially began in January 2021 as a Satellite Nutrition club. While working as Juvenile Probation officer supervisor during the week, Tana baked on Friday nights and delivered her goods on Saturday mornings. On October fifteenth, 2021, Cinnabar Nutrition opened its doors to the public.
Some of the products Tana offers are healthy shakes and smoothies, and teas.. “ We offer healthy plant-based protein meal replacement shakes, healthy energy drinks and protein baked goods. When trying one of our shakes, think about having your favorite ice cream any time of day. It’s a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner,” she says. She also offers healthy drinks, collagen drinks, refreshers, and noncaffeinated drinks.
Tana says what she loves most about her company is being able to restore her faith in her community. “Working in a tough field of Juvenile Justice for 27 years was heavy. Within two days of opening, it felt like weight was lifted from my shoulders,” she shares. “Being able to meet new people daily, smile, laugh, and form positive relationships has been a blessing. The connections and bonds created are real.”
Her own personal transformation journey has had a huge impact on Tana’s life. She says that she has developed the ability to shift her mindset from negative to positive during difficult times and find the good in every situation. Tana is also inspired by the women in her family. “I come from a long line of strong, independent women who support one another, encourage growth, and always find a way when it seems like a solution isn’t possible. There is always a solution!”
She says that her mother and my daughter both inspire her. Tana’s mother has her own floral business. Tana says she is one of the greatest examples of what it looks like to never quit. Her daughter is a full-time student and working a full-time business. Tana says seeing her passion and commitment keeps her going.
As the future happens for Tana, she hopes that both health and fitness can be provided to the community under one roof. Tana says this will help further educate others on the importance of nutrition, along with their fitness journey.
As of November first, Cinnabar has teamed up with five other women to further grow and support the community within Cinnabar’s Results Center. To learn more about Cinnabar Nutrition, please visit their website.
It’s common knowledge that black women can wear many hats, but can they all do it with a smile? Arielle “Sunshine” Middleton is proof positive that yes-we-can. She has a full-time military career and manages other skilled positions as a landscaper, carpenter, and artisan. Her most important job is as a single mother of five-year-old twins. In March of 2022, she formally launched Sunshine Home Improvement LLC. Arielle’s new company combines her love for people, her skill as a carpenter, and her artistry to create affordable design dreams for her clients.
“My reasons for getting into this were purely personal and selfish,” Arielle explains. “I’ve always been a very thrifty person. I try to do everything on a budget. I decided I wanted some new furniture pieces and home décor, but everything at these stores is so expensive. Even the marked-down and clearance items are still ridiculous. I’m like, ‘This isn’t a sale!’” she laughs.
As needs must, Arielle discovered thrift stores. “I found some gorgeous pieces for cheap. Even the not-so-beautiful items had the potential to become special with a little TLC. Usually, I could restore or upcycle items for little or nothing, and I enjoyed the work.”
Arielle’s passion for décor and restoring furniture was an outlet, so she took every opportunity to practice it. “After I finished my projects, I started doing things for my friends. When they would move, buy a new home, or want a change, and I would hear them say they needed a coffee table or a nightstand, I would think, ‘I can do that.’ So, I would find a five-dollar table, restore it and give it as a gift.” To her surprise, people loved her work.
After a year of impressing her friends with her ability to restore and transform items into something extraordinary, Arielle’s friends encouraged her to take the next step. “I had been doing my little transformations for friends for about a year when they were like, ‘Girl, you should make this a business.’ The thought had occurred to me, but my reality at the time was that I had a full-time job in the military, and I was a single mom with twins. I figured starting a business was a pipe dream way down the road,” Arielle explained. Then the pressures of life happened.
It’s no secret that our service men and women deal with highly stressful situations daily. Arielle has traveled the world with the military and has seen her fair share. When her future was uncertain, she turned to crafts as her outlet. “As I continued to think about it, there was a lot to consider. I was having trouble with my job. I didn’t know where my military career was going, and I was finding the craft work as a form of release,” says Arielle. “It turned into a mental health thing. Painting and crafting helped me stay balanced and sane. The feeling I got from sitting and painting was like talking to a counselor. It became my therapy.”
In effect, Arielle turned something basic, and a fun hobby into something she believed was life-saving. “Standing on the other side, I decided to launch the business as a birthday gift to myself.” Not wanting to jump into the deep end right away, Arielle decided to start small, but thanks to social media, her business grew overnight.
“I thought I would start with getting a few business cards printed to see if people were interested, but a couple of TikToks later, I’m getting clients from across the DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia). Next, my friends all got together and sent me to the Black Business Expo. As a result, I’ve just signed my first major contract with a brokerage design firm Red Door Realty.” Arielle will be designing and building custom closets and pantries for million-dollar homes.
The amazing thing about Arielle’s story is that she had never picked up a hammer before joining the military. “One of my many jobs in my military career was as a combat engineer. It was the first time I had picked a hammer or a saw. As an engineer, I became familiar with woodworking, concrete, and building design, because my group’s job was to build schools from the ground up. So, when I started doing the small projects, my muscle memory kicked in, and I realized I actually knew what I was doing. I could actually do this.”
With newfound confidence, Arielle went out and “thrifted” some tools, dusted off her building skills, and began her journey as a carpenter. Her skills as a designer and artist came from where most great gifts and traits stem… her mother. “I got my natural ability to paint and design from my mother. She studied art, and I learned a lot from watching and being around her. My natural talent for art and design and my skills as a builder have made this an easy process.”
Although Arielle’s original purpose for discovering her talent was selfish, it has become a passionate desire to help people who don’t have much money to spend on décor or home renovations. “My mom used her artistic talent to build a business as a nail art designer. She owned her salon for over twenty years. Plus, she had an eye for beautiful things. She could put together amazing combinations. So as a kid, I grew up in the high-end stores as she purchased the odds and ends that brought her visions to life. As an adult, I go into these same stores, and I’m like, I’m not paying that much for that!” Arielle laughs. “I decided I’m going to go over here and get the old table that the person originally bought at the highend store and make it live again.”
Believing that having a beautiful and comfortable home shouldn’t have to cost a fortune, Arielle began to respond to what others were saying. “I kept hearing about how expensive it was to do simple renovations or interior designs. I started asking, what are these people charging? Some of these prices out here are ridiculous. My main focus in launching the business was to provide people with affordable options for getting the home of their dreams.”
Arielle’s resourcefulness and desire to deliver dreams on a dime pushed her to find quality materials at a discounted rate so she could pass those saving on to her clients.
“I discovered ways to get discounted wood and paint. I upcycle furniture so clients have nice pieces without having to go and pay the new prices. I go to home sales, where people have gutted their old kitchens and put in new stuff. I repurpose the old stuff into a new laundry room for someone else at a fourth of the cost. Giving customers these options to help them achieve their goals without breaking the bank is what I’m all about.”
Since launching the business, Arielle has been busy, but there were obstacles. “It’s one thing to do the work. I love when I finish a project, and the homeowner sees it for the first time. It makes the long nights worthwhile. My biggest issue was understanding the business side of things.” At thirty-three years old and fifteen of those years spent in the military, Arielle didn’t have much exposure to what it takes to build a business.
“Getting my LLC and all that paperwork done correctly was a struggle. It was such a struggle because I had no clue what I was doing. I thought all I had to do was go online, file paperwork, and pay a fee. Thankfully I had recently hired an accountant who reached out to me the day before an important deadline and told me everything I needed to do in less than twenty-four hours. Now that was stressful,” Arielle explained. “I didn’t have anyone to talk me through those critical parts. I wish I’d had a mentor to help explain what needed to be done. Thankfully I could get everything done before I faced any penalties.”
As Sunshine Home Improvement continues to grow, it remains small and personable. “When people call, they talk to me. I mow the lawns and hang the pictures. I work with contractors for larger jobs, but for the most part, it’s all me,” Arielle said.
The future is bright for Arielle. In five years, she will retire from the military, and Sunshine Home Improvement will be her focus. In the meantime, Arielle plans to continue to do what she can to help people create dreams on a dime.
Marvin Cockrell of St. Louis, MO, is regarded as a musical genius. He is the man and the mind behind Music Focus LLC and Focus The Band. “I remind people to remember where talent comes from; mine comes from God.”
Marvin is a husband, father, member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc, and the youngest of seven children. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and moved to East Saint Louis, Illinois as an infant. As life progressed, he soon began playing the piano at seven and the saxophone at nine. “My parents began piano lessons with me,” he shares. “For the first year of piano lessons, my parents also took them to help get me acclimated.” Although his parents ultimately ceased their lessons, they encouraged Marvin to continue.
Marvin was encouraged to be an entrepreneur at an early age based on his family’s accomplishments. He is the son of an electrician and a seamstress. His biological mother owned a dry cleaner. His uncle, Leroy Garrett, was the founder of WEUP, the first Black-owned radio station in the state of Alabama and the first Black-owned 24-hour radio station in the United States. At age ten, Marvin had his first garage band, and played his first wedding at sixteen. The ambition for Marvin to be successful was innate.
“I love bringing people together and making them happy, and for me, music does that.” Marvin attended and graduated from East Saint Louis School District. After high school, he attended college and majored in music. At age twenty-two, he allowed his gift of music to be utilized for the benefit of others and began teaching and teaching elementary music for nine years. He also taught music at the middle school level, including Jazz Band, Concert Band, and Marching Band.
Many of Marvin’s students would eventually become his band members. With two music videos to date, his videos are rooted in messaging that aims to inspire and uplift. “Our World speaks to the political landscape as well as past and present-day struggles,” he says. Marvin has always found ways to implement music to address the various transitions in society and his personal life. One of his productions, St. Louis Bounce, is inspired by the loss of his late mother, who passed away in 2011. “Music helped me deal with the depression I felt after losing my mother.”
Marvin cites his marriage and having a family of his own as one of his most significant accomplishments, His daughter played the keyboard in his very first Jazz concert in 2004. “There is a sense of pride and joy when I can witness former students and family begin careers in music,” he says.
Navigating the musical landscape in Saint Louis and East Saint Louis has been challenging, and Marvins shares that, “Musically, it has been difficult to find managers and people to network.” From composing R&B in the brand 80s and 90s, Dr. Seth Brownridge collaborated with Marvin to create music. The Breeze was formed with the addition of Carl “Guitar” Watkins.
The band began to transition between 2002-2004 and eventually parted ways. Marvin Cockrell Music Focus became the business and Focus became the band. Marvin praises his wife Vivian for her support and assistance in promoting Music Focus. “If it wasn’t for the support of my wife, I would not be here five CD’s later.”
It’s apparent the path for Marvin hasn’t always been clear, yet the journey from the beginning of the musical pursuits were ordered for him to live out his purpose. “God has a plan for me and doors keep opening,” he says.
Some previous challenges for Marvin regarding management and publicity were alleviated when his very own daughter Dr. Maurya Dominica became his business manager. As such, Music Focus has an enhanced social media presence and visibility. As Marvin reflected on his journey as a musician, he realized that everything was predestined by design. He relied on his spirituality to aid him in overcoming the obstacles he encountered and shared, “Through prayer, perseverance, and determination, I was able to get my music out there.
Additionally, Marvis was given a proclamation from Tishaura O. Jones. the Mayor of the City of Saint Louis. Beginning in 2023, the month of August will be “Marvin Cockrell, Music Focus Month”. In honor of this proclamation. Marvin desires to continue impacting the Saint Louis community through musical entertainment and education awareness. Various workshops, activities, and performances will be held to commemorate Music Focus during August in the St. Louis Area.
Focus’ music has been played on various national radio stations and is available on all major streaming platforms. Mavin is recognized for starting the first Suzuki string program for preschool and kindergarten in the East Saint Louis School District. Recently, he played internationally in Rome, Italy, and Paris, France. Marvin currently serves as the Musical Director for Greater Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church.
During his career, Marvin has opened for greats such as the late Dennis Edwards of the Temptations, and Will Smith and played alongside Cameo and Saint Louis Saxophonist Tim Cunningham.
Marvin’s exhilarating passion for composing music is apparent in his everyday walk. Amazingly, the words spoken to him by his father have manifested. Marvin shares he is thankful to his father for the push to begin music lessons, “He was an electrician, he would be on the ground getting dirty, but he told me I would be in a suit and tie,” Marvin says.
In the future, Marvin plans to write two or three more cd’s and continue to host and conduct various workshops. These will focus on music education, playing, writing, leading a band, and the business of running and managing a band. Marvin desires to continue working with artists of various ages to inspire his writing and teach the next generation of young musicians. He is working on a music project to bring out the energy and passion he experienced in Barcelona, Paris, and Rome. “These three cultures greatly influenced my music and me as a person.” In addition to traveling and creating more music, Marvin hopes to cultivate an environment in St. Louis where music transcends all racial, socioeconomic, age, and access boundaries. h
Action is a necessary component required to bring change to a community. The type of action to which others who desire change will respond to. The kind of action that addresses the concerns and problems of a community and produces solutions that improve living conditions. Such an organization exists, and is answering the call for change.
Based in Houston, TX, The New Black Collective was developed by four high school friends; Ebony Joiner, Shaquala Warren, Kevin Thomas, and Jasmine Bledsoe. With each member reigning from Waco, TX, they share a variety of degrees and certifications from HBCUs to Ivy Leagues. Another member, DeAundra Moore, serves as Program Manager and is passionate about empowering and supporting others through direct community interaction.
Launched in 2019, The New Black Collective is a nonprofit organization that services the minority community through community outreach programs. The idea was born out of a need each member was aware of. They also genuinely wanted to give children and adults something positive to look up to.
“To amplify the quality of life in our community, promote culture, and education; through community intitiatives and partnerships with other organizations.”
Led by Jasmine, who believes in giving back and enriching her community, The New Black Collective operates under the mission to implement community initiatives that improve access to education, investments, opportunity, and sustainable services. “I learned that surrounding myself with people who can help me is like being surrounded by tangible Godliness,” Jasmine says. The group offers curated programs that are free to the community. They also host annual events, including a Back 2 School Drive and Coats N’ Cocoa, and collaborate with other organizations and businesses in Waco, and Waco ISD.
What motivates the group as a whole? They say, “God and people. Our love for God has inspired us to love people aloud. Our people inspire us so much. Knowing that we come from a strong people who have built so many things from the ground up is an inspiration. The tenacity and perseverance of those that have come before us will always be true inspirations. They did, we can.”
Like any other startup, The New Black Collective has endured its share of trial and error. One challenge they shared was that learning what works for them as a business and what doesn’t serve them has been pivotal in their journey. They were able to overcome such challenges through mentorship and counsel. “We believe one does not know everything. So we talk to people that know a little bit more than we do and apply what we’ve learned,” they said.
Moving forward, the plan for The New Black Collective is to be a legacy of labor and love. They also hope to expand and build sustainable and forward-thinking programs. To learn more about the program and to find ways on how to get involved with their programs, please visit their website.
“I learned that surrounding myself with people who can help me is like being surrounded by tangible Godliness.” Jasmine Bledsoe President
On the surface, Donnie Young appears to be an average African American male. However, if one looks a little deeper into who he is, one will find a lot more to this serial entrepreneur’s story. For the most part, his journey has come with a few ups and downs and bumps and bruises. Still, Donnie has found a way to persevere and now lives a life of gratitude and grace while exemplifying the love of God.
Born and raised in South Carolina, Donnie comes from humble beginnings. His mother passed away when he was just a baby, and his father was imprisoned shortly after. At such a young age and without his parents, what was next for Donnie? What would his future look like? As if someone sounded the horns, Donnie’s village stepped into place with his grandmother and aunt answering the call.
During his childhood, Donnie enjoyed playing all sports, including football. There is where Donnie could be found, on the football field, he says, until the pressure of wanting more in life pushed him toward the wrong crowd. “I looked to the streets to find my way. I began selling drugs and soon got entangled in crime. I was charged with accessory to murder and found myself sitting in a jail cell, alone,” he says. Donnie was eventually cleared of that accusation, but his past would soon catch up with him, and soon Donnie would find himself back in prison, he says, for being framed for a crime that he did not commit or know anything about. “I wasn’t supposed to be in there, but I used that time to my advantage. I slowed down, sat quietly, analyzed my mistakes, and educated myself.”
Donnie says, “Prison won’t teach you how to be a man, but it will give you the blueprint.” While incarcerated, Donnie learned as many trades as possible such as cooking to brick masonry and obtained his G.E.D. He was a model prisoner and gained a good rapport with other inmates and officers. “I was motivated to make it out and make something of myself, but most of all, I was inspired by the fear of ending up like my father.”
“I looked to the streets to find my way. I began selling drugs and soon got entangled in crime. I was charged with accessory to murder and found myself sitting in a jail cell, alone.”
Once released, Donnie was determined not to find himself in an idle situation. He went straight to working multiple jobs and mastering a new trade at each one. “When I did something, I pretty much mastered it, making it a point to be the best at it,” he says. Things were going well for Donnie but he knew there was more he could be doing, specifically for himself. That is when the spirit of entrepreneurship sat on him, and he hasn’t looked back.
Donnie shares that he became tired of growing so much with his skills and not with the companies he was employed by. He decided to break away and create his own business and do it the way he knew how, with excellence. In 2016, he launched his first brand, Universal Lawn and Floor, a high-quality landscaping and lawn care business. Under the Universal brand, he owns several sub-companies. One is Universal Flooring, which covers all floor maintenance, such as striping and waxing commercial floors and flooring installation. “Laminate, tile, vinyl, carpet, and subfloor. Anything flooring, we can install it,” Donnie says.
Other companies Donnie has produced are Universal Power Washing Solution and Uni-Klean. These offer services such as pressure cleaning driveways and homes, as well as commercial cleaning. He has also developed Universal Credit Repair and Business Consultation and UNI-Wellness.
The word “Universal” is purposely incorporated into all of Donnie’s companies. He says that word is his staple. “I am ‘Mr. Universal’. I can apply my brand to anything, no matter what you need, I can handle it,” he says. Moreover, Donnie’s work speaks for itself. That is obvious and he has several awards to validate that. He’s won ‘Best of Taylors’ award twice and ‘The Nextdoor Neighborhood Favorite’ award, amongst many others.
It is apparent that Donnie has his hands and mind involved in many things, and that is by design. He shares that while he serves many industries, his primary objective is to impact his community positively. “My past has been challenging, but I’ve decided to allow my lifes’ lessons to help others. I can do this by employing and providing real opportunities to members of my community. I want to provide an outlet for people facing obstacles, as I have. I understand that all it takes is for someone to be given an opportunity, and I am happy to be in a position to do so,” he says. “Just like how I was tired of struggling, I’m even more tired of seeing others struggle.”
Moreover, Donnie’s testimony is that he got it out of the mud, period. “I’m a very, very hard worker. I never quit, I never give up or listen to the naysayers. When people tell me I can’t do something, it makes me try harder,” he says.
What is next for this self-driven entrepreneur? He says, Don’t think for a second that he will be slowing down anytime soon. Donnie says he’s just getting started. He has plans to continue growing as a businessman and will add real estate to his list of services in 2023. It is pretty clear there isn’t much that he can’t accomplish once he sets his sights on it. To learn more about Donnie Young, and all of his brands, please visit his website or contact him directly.
There’s always a good time to drink lemonade; fortunately, a young group of inspiring entrepreneurs in Durham, NC, has made it their business to quench the thirst of lemonade drinkers.
Founded in October 2020, King’s Lemonade LLC is a siblingowned and operated business led by Corey Jr. and Ami. They also share ownership with their older sister, Jada Lyons-O’Kelly. With the support of their mother, Erica, and other family members, the duo has created over 25 delicious flavors of freshly squeezed homemade lemonades. Erica is the formal operator of the business and describes herself as the “Momager” and “Queen”.
So how do they make it happen? Corey is responsible for squeezing lemons, cutting fruit, creating new recipes, assisting with purchasing supplies, loading and unloading supplies, and serving as a cashier at events. Amir is responsible for the same duties as Corey; however, he is also the spokesman.
Initially, the idea of the business came about while Corey and Amir were at home during the Covid 19 pandemic. During this time, everyone was bored and just tired of doing the same routine, day after day. Like most families, the pandemic required most families to resort to a life of isolation. In some cases, the pandemic even added a financial strain on their budgets. Erica’s family experienced both. “The pandemic changed how we moved, so we collectively decided to think of various ways to generate additional income. We came up with various ideas, and finally, the boys decided they wanted to have a lemonade stand. I encouraged them to expand their thoughts, think bigger, and even start an entire lemonade business. With the support of their father, Corey Sr., everyone agreed. Next, we needed to create a name for the business. Everyone threw out various ideas for names but none really stuck. Finally, Corey Jr. blurted out “King’s Lemonade!” I asked him why he chose that name and he said “because I’m a king, momma!” That’s how King’s Lemonade was birthed,” Erica says.
King’s Lemonade currently has over 25 flavors of delicious, freshly squeezed homemade lemonades in various sizes. Some of their most popular ones are Strawberry Lemonade, Pineapple Lemonade, Blue Raspberry Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Very Berry Lemonade, and their classic Original Lemonade. King’s Lemonade can be purchased online, year round, and they also deliver locally within a twenty-five-mile radius of Chapel Hill, NC, for an additional fee. At various locations, King’s Lemonade can also be found around the Triangle and Triad areas.
Owning a business has been an enjoyable experience for both Erica and her two sons. She shares, “I truly enjoy learning with my children. I didn’t go to school for business. I actually went to school for Criminal Justice. Teaching my kids how to provide for themselves for the future is very important to me. They now have the opportunity to continue to build and grow their business and brand and provide job opportunities for others.”
Amir shares that working with family is easily the greatest challenge he has faced in his young business career. “No one knows how to support you like your family, but no one knows how to push your buttons like family also. Working with my mother and brother has proven to be stressful, and I’d be lying if I say if I haven’t thought about waving the white flag at one time, but after seeing how well-received our products are, I can firmly say that I believe in what I do.”
Erica says she is inspired by her children and the support of her community for their business. Corey Jr. says the positive feedback from the customers also inspires him. Amir says, “While revenue is a great inspiration, an even bigger inspiration is what I can hopefully tell the people that see what I do and are either encouraged in entrepreneurship themselves, or to support small businesses like mine.”
Erica, Amir, and Corey encourage anyone who may follow in their footsteps to be unafraid. Amir’s message is to embrace struggle and loss and, while doing so, continue to swing on. “There are days where our product doesn’t sell as well as we had hoped, and it can get discouraging. Never give up, swing on. Sometimes a closed door can open another window. Another window will open for you soon enough.”
Moving forward, Erica says her plans for both of her children’s businesses are to continue to assist them with making each better. “We would love to see King’s Lemonade in various stores and online,” she says. With persistence and good flavors available, the sky’s the limit for King’s Lemonade.
To learn more about them, please visit their website.
Dymetra McCaskill of Denver, CO, has a unique eye for detail. Her ability to look at a blank canvas and create works of art has propelled her to being one of America’s top African American interior designers.
Along with being a mother, grandmother, sister, and daughter, Dymetra is the owner and founder of Urban Esthetic Interiors, LLC. As a black designer, you will notice hints of cultural esthetics, vibrant colors, and warm textures. She describes it as a whole vibe!
With her company, Dymetra offers one-on-one, personalized design experiences and collaborates with her clients to create what she describes as a beautiful space.
Dymetra was born and raised in Denver. There she attended school and obtained a Business Management degree. All of her family resides in Denver, including the matriarch of her family, who is now a great-great-grandmother. Dymetra is also a lover of music and says, “If you come to my home, there’s always music playing and candles burning. I’m always tinkering around with something design related,” she says.
Urban Esthetic Interiors, LLC came to life in 2020 during the Covid 19 pandemic. “I worked full-time as a flight attendant, and because of the pandemic, I was temporarily furloughed. During that time, I was able to divert all of my attention to interior design, develop a business model, improve my skill set, and work,” Dymetra says.
When asked what she loves about having her own company, she says it’s all about the art of design. “I love beginning with a blank canvas and using my imagination to create a work of art. There are so many moving parts, which can be challenging at times, but that is what drives me. I test the limits with each project, make bold choices, and experiment with new trends.”
While Dymetra says she is inspired by her friends and family’s support and encouragement, she specifically acknowledges her mother for being the most significant source. Dymetra says her mom was the first to let her use a miter saw, which she thought was just a “guy thing” at the time. “I gained confidence, and it allowed me to feel limitless,” she says. Growing up, Dymetra says her mother would always rearrange furniture and have beautiful plants throughout the house. She shares that everything had its place. Even more, Dymetra’s dad is a pretty good designer in his own right. “Dad designs with class and deliberate pieces. His home shows like a model home, and I always wanted that for my space,” she says.
Additionally, Dymetra says that all things visually beautiful inspire her. “My son, who mimic’s my feature wall ideas, inspires me. My four-month-old grandson, who greets me with bright eyes and the happiest smile, inspires me. My sisters, who consistently root for me, inspire me. My aunt, who always eloquently encourages me, inspires me. My gramma, who covers me in prayer every day, showers me in love, and shows me how a fierce black woman moves and shakes in this world inspires me,” she says.
Things are going great for Dymetra, and she says there isn’t much she would change about how things have happened for her in business. If anything, she says she wishes she would have started sooner but also that she firmly believes that everything happens when it’s supposed to happen. “I’ve encountered some challenges and made plenty of mistakes; however, the beauty lies in knowing they are learning lessons. I’m creating my own formula, which makes me unique, bringing about some uncertainty, but it’s a beautiful mystery. I’m hopeful and excited about what’s to come,” Dymetra says.
Her advice to others who may follow a path similar to hers is not to allow fear to keep you from leaping. “Keep some of your thoughts and plans private, and if you decide to share them, do so with those you know will encourage you. Remember, we’re always students, so we never stop learning. This is a constantly evolving business, so be prepared to operate consistently with your creativity. Whatever your dreams and desires are, release them into the wind. Allow yourself to imagine all the possibilities, keep your intentions pure, and enjoy the ride.”
By the sounds of it, Dymetra has a bright road ahead of her. Futuristically, Dymetra plans to add to her existing brand, which will include designing commercial spaces and offering my products through retail. “If I’m not in your city, I would love for anyone to have access to an Urban Esthetic Interiors experience,” she says.
Family is essential to Flem Preacher Sr. He is the sixth Flem Preacher in his family and the second generation of leadership in the K-9 Safety Consultants firm.
K-9 Safety Consultants LLC was launched on January 29, 1985, by founder Flem Peacher V of Detroit, Michigan. K9 Safety Consultants is a household name and brand people can trust. K9 Safety Consultants has trained private firms, law enforcement agencies, celebrities, athletes, and the general public. The “K9 Safety Method” enhances the relationship and communication between dog owners and their furry friends.
Flem Peacher VI, the company’s CEO, and his wife, Talitha Peacher, the company administrator, along with his sister, Flemesha (Peacher) Armstrong, president, are in charge of securing the family-run company for the next generation.
The founder of K-9 Safety Consultants was Flem Peacher V. This business was not just a job but a calling. Birth from tragedy, the founder Flem Peacher V built a legacy that would span over forty years.
“Our story started with a near-fatal mauling. When my dad was around thirteen, he was walking down the street, and a neighbor’s pit bull got loose. The vicious attack left my father close to death. Needless to say, that experience traumatized him. After surviving that attack, my father was terrified of dogs. It didn’t matter what kind. He couldn’t be around them or see them. If someone said the word, he would panic, looking around to see if there was a dog nearby. My grandfather was concerned and didn’t want his son to continue to live in terror. He firmly believed that the best way to get over your fear was to face them head-on. So, my grandparents bought my father a puppy. This helped him see that not all dogs were the same. As he bonded with the dog, my grandparents noticed that he had an unusual gift for training the dog. This confirms that everything happens for a reason. If not for the attack, the talent my father possessed may have never been revealed.”
After overcoming his fear, Flem’s father fell in love with dogs. Everyone around him noticed his unique gift of reading a dog’s behavior. They also noticed that he could train dogs to perform practically anything on command. Through experience, he began to develop what is known as the “K9 Safety Method.” This method has been proven and used worldwide to transform millions of dogs into model citizens. “After marrying my mother, my dad moved to Arlington, Texas, and went on to receive many specialty certifications. Including Schutzhund training.”
According to the United Schutzhund Clubs of America or USCA, “Schutzhund is a German word meaning “protection dog.” It refers to a sport that focuses on developing and evaluating dog traits that make them more useful and happier companions to their owners. Schutzhund’s work concentrates on three parts. Many are familiar with the obedience work of the American Kennel Club’s affiliates and will recognize the first two parts, tracking and obedience. The Schutzhund standards for the third part, protection work, are similar to those for dogs in police work.”
Upon returning to Detroit with his wife, young son, and daughter in tow, Flem’s father, saw the need to add another layer to the training of personal security dogs. “When my father moved us back to Detroit recognized that the dogs had to be able to discern their environment. With the crime rate as high as it was, the animal couldn’t properly protect its owner in the streets of Detroit if they weren’t trained to do so. So, he trained them in real conditions.”
This led Flem’s father to go door to door, offering his services. “He went from house to house asking people to let him transform their dogs. And that’s how it started. One house, one client, one dog at a time.”
Eventually, word spread about the success Flem’s father was having, and their clientele grew. By the time Flem was ready to take over the business, the Peacher name was known by dog owners across the country.
One of the many things K-9 Safety consultants prides itself on is that they not only train the dog, but we train the owner. “What makes us unique is that we train the client and their dog. Because the dog is only as good as its handler, and the handler is only as good as the coach. As coaches, we have to educate and empower the handler. Once the owner or handler has completely boughtin to the theory behind what we do, you see a different kind of relationship between the dog and its owner.”
K-9 Safety Consultants’ “both sides of the leash” approach to training gives them success with dogs that most people won’t work with or own. “We are known for dealing with the dogs that most people have given up on,” Flem explains. “We have partnered with rescue organizations and taken on dogs sentenced to be euthanized. We’ve found that most people don’t know how to handle or respond to dogs with behavior issues. Like us, dogs have emotional issues and trauma, but they cannot express it the way we do. That’s where our approach excels.”
Flem and his sister Flemesha were raised watching, helping, and being trained by their father in the family business. Their mother was the executive administrator, and their father the CEO. Just like his name, Flem knew that K-9 Consultants would be passed on to him one day. At the age of twenty-one, he and his wife were newly married and had just purchased their first home. They were starting their new life together, and Flem was preparing to take up the torch when the recession hit.
“It had always been my dream to run the business, but because of the recession, there was no business. Our clients had to choose between paying basic utilities and paying for dog training. All I could do was stand by and watch our business, legacy, and my father’s hard work dry up. My father did everything he could to keep the doors open, but eventually, in about 2007, the banks foreclosed, and K-9 Safety Consultants was no more,” Flem confessed. With fewer clients, employees were laid off. “It was the toughest period in my life. We lost our home and our car. We lost everything. I’ve been a certified master trainer since I was thirteen. I didn’t know anything else.”
After losing everything, Flem found himself at what he said was his lowest point. “I had to work, so a friend connected me with a job as a part-time lunch aid, making $8.00 an hour. I was at my lowest point. My parents were multi-millionaires, so I never knew the kind of struggle I was experiencing. God was humbling me. Ministry wasn’t on my radar then, but God had plans.”
Taking the job as a lunch aid, Flem trusted that there was something bigger ahead. Like his dad, it wasn’t long before people noticed his unique talent. “The students at my school were rough. But they needed someone to give them structure and show them that they cared. Although I was just an aid, I didn’t sit by and allow them to be disrespectful. I knew how to give constructive discipline, and people took notice.”
Even in his dark place, God showed favor to Flem. Within ten years, he went from being a part-time cafeteria aid to Dean of students. “I didn’t want there to be a reason I couldn’t progress, so I went to school to show myself approved.” After losing everything, Flem and his family were finally starting to stand on firm financial ground. But the dream he thought was dead was only sleeping.
“K-9 Safety Consultants had closed physically, but it was always on my mind. So, once I made decent money and we were stable, I started training dogs again. I started just like my father did. I went door to door.”
It wasn’t long before K-9 Safety Consultants was back in business with over two thousand clients. Flem could leave education and go full-time into the training business again.
The company continues to prosper and be a blessing to its community. They won the business of the year in 2022. And through their K-9 Cadet program, they have mentored twentyfive hundred children and youth, ages nine to eighteen, because the Peacher family legacy is bigger than dog training. They have also granted scholarships to students who what to further their education.
“This has truly been a rollercoaster ride, but I wouldn’t do anything differently. God has blessed us beyond measure with a life and legacy that I pray will last another forty years.”