Huami Magazine Cleveland July/August 2022

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CLEVELAND

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July/August 2022 Volume 1 Issue 9

LaShon’s Catering Specialists Cleveland - July/August 2022

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www.cartersbbqonline.com



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

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

Terry L. Watson 4

www.huamimagazine.com Terry L. Watson

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CONTENTS

CLEVELAND

JULY/AUGUST 2022

Love, Life, and Service

Gwendolyn Wilson

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MomSpace&Co.

Antonia Boakye

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M.A.D.E.

Keyon Smith

On The Cover

LaShon’s Catering Specialists Dashon Barnes

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P3 Human Capital Solutions

Foluke Houston-Gaddis

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Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Love Monae’ Anthony

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Also Featured

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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Tijania Goodwin Learn more about the face and founder of Divine Connection Agency LLC. Philadelphia, PA

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Monique Simone Joe Having and maintaining healthy skin is very important. Her line of skin care products will help you. Huntsville, AL

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LaShon’s Catering Specialists By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by LaShon’s Catering Specialists LaShon’s Catering Specialists is a fullservice, off-premise catering company that provides for all your catering needs. This includes services for events and banquets, weddings, baby showers, corporate events, graduations, birthday parties, and family reunions. They also can manage smaller events such as bridal showers, bachelor/ bachelorette parties, as well as intimate and private dining for (2-30) people. LaShon’s also offers youth culinary camps, cooking demonstrations, adult cooking socials, and culinary service consultations. Led by Chef Dashon Barnes, the company was founded and established in the summer of 2002. It began with Executive Chef Dashon’s vision of wanting to experience the treasures of independence. After being in the food industry for more than seven years, going from dishwasher to prep cook, to line cook, to lead cook, to supervisor, and finally to sous chef, Executive Chef Dashon decided to start his own catering business in Pittsburgh, PA. He then relocated the business to Cleveland, OH in 2013. Executive Chef Dashon originally hails from Brooklyn, New York. He attended the International Culinary Academy in Pittsburgh, PA, and graduated with a degree in Culinary Arts and Specialized Technology in April 1999. The following year of establishing the company, he made his wife, LaToya, who originally hails from Cleveland, OH, coowner. LaToya is the Director of Event Planning & Banquets for LaShon’s Catering Specialists. She attended the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, PA, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Africana Studies (Human Services) in May 1999. Cleveland - July/August 2022

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“It is expected that we must prove ourselves in this industry due to an unfortunate stigma that small black-owned businesses are unprofessional and present poor quality service and/or product. We have broken those stereotypes on every level, and we continue to assure our customer service remains stellar.”

LaShon’s Catering Specialists is far from one-dimensional. Chef Dashon says, “We are a multidimensional company specializing in many services from intimate dinners for two and large banquets. We have cooking classes, week-long youth culinary camps, and offer culinary service consultations and catering out-of-state if necessary.” Dashon and Latoya both share they are inspired by the value of having lifelong independence, as well as leaving their mark and a legacy for their children. “Enjoying our independence is priceless.” Due to the over-saturation of upcoming black-owned food service start-up companies, the owners of LaShon’s says it has been a challenge to remain up-to-date with what is current. “It is expected that we must prove ourselves in this industry due to an unfortunate stigma that small black-owned businesses are unprofessional and present poor quality service and/or product. We have broken those stereotypes on every level, and we continue to assure our customer service remains stellar,” they said. While the journey has been challenging, they both admit there isn’t much they would change. “I understood the ins and outs of the food service and beverage industry. I understood the risk involved, and I kept a grounded mind. The journey got us where we are today,” Dashon says. As they move forward in the future, Dashon and Latoya say they are looking forward to passing the business on to their daughter, LaShon, whom the business is named after. They also plan to continue to display integrity and dignity for all events while servicing clients with excellent customer service. To learn more about LaShon’s Catering Specialists, please visit their website.

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www.lashonscatering.com 216-313-2514



Life, Love, and Service 10

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

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

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

www.gwenwilsonphotography.biz www.etamib.biz

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


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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

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P 3 Human Capital Solutions P Human Capital Solutions

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Foluke Houston

Foluke Houston-Gaddis has a very clear and simple goal; to connect people to their purpose and passion. The Vicksburg, MS, native and current Germantown, TN, resident is the face and founder of P3 Human Capital Solutions. This diverse and woman-owned organization provides strategic solutions, enabling talent and organizations to develop and sustain high-performing and inclusive environments. The company’s guiding principles are the most practical parts of P3, which Foluke clearly outlines. “Our universal, enduring principles guide our organization in all circumstances, irrespective of changes in project goals, strategies, and work climates. Following these guiding principles, we create bigger and better value for our stakeholders and clients in collaboration with innovation and integrity,” she says. “We stand on Integrity, First - Trust & Service Always. We believe that feedback serves as a gift. We also understand the value of simplicity, and we do not allow anyone to stand alone and are always value-focused.” Foluke is the wife of Rodney Gaddis and the youngest of six children. She is a national keynote speaker, award-winning community leader, and Human Resources expert that values service and excellence. As a global talent leader, Foluke brings unique perspectives from her experience working within Fortune 300 and Fortune 100 private sector organizations, local and federal government agencies, and community groups within the HR space.

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Using real-world examples, Foluke says her personal and professional mission is to positively impact others through her gifts. “P3 was a vision in my mind for over ten years; however, like so many others before me, I was apprehensive about stepping out on faith. I had this vision, but something was missing. In late 2021, I was referred to a non-profit organization, Innate Success Corporation, which provides business mentoring to aspiring and new business owners. Innate provided me with the missing ingredient of business start-up knowledge and confidence. Still, I needed guidance on the “how” of entrepreneurship, such as how to create my business plan, how to complete the legal compliance steps, etc. Once I completed the program, P3 was ready to roll,” she shares. Before completing the program with Innate Success Corp, Foluke had secured contractual collaborations with two national organizations and provided them with services such as Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging(DIB) program assessment and training development and facilitation. Foluke shares that she loves the opportunities P3 provides her, especially connecting others with their passion and purpose. She also loves connecting with individual clients and organizations and witnessing the positive impact of empowering someone to operate within their purpose. Anyone who has had a significant encounter with Foluke understands how important God and her family are to her. “My name, Foluke, means “Placed in God’s hand” and I truly understand the power my name possesses. My faith and upbringing have kept me humble while persisting that I operate in my purpose and excellence,” she shares. Foluke says she is inspired by transparency and being connected to authentic and transparent people. She also states her professional journey has not been easy but has been fulfilling and successful. “My testimony is that I can and will be transparent at all times to inspire others.” Every part of Foluke’s journey hasn’t been easy. There have been a few challenges she’s had to face. Still, she confesses that she wouldn’t change anything. “Every accomplishment, connection, and misstep has led me to this moment. I have learned so much since arriving in Tennessee. It has all played a part in the inception of P3.” For those who may follow in her footsteps, Foluke offers some sound advice. “Rest in the promises, not the paranoia. A lot of times, we sabotage our own success by thinking, “what if I fail” or “how will I sustain my business?” My advice is to rest in that God would not have placed the business idea in your spirit and heart unless there was a provision already waiting for you to take action. Also, know that it’s not about you. Someone or some organization needs your gifts. There is a call on every one of our lives, and your “yes” to starting a business or a non-profit will impact someone’s life. You are the answer to someone’s call for help. And finally, render the pen. We are not the author or finisher of our fate, and as business owners, we like to control outcomes with our perspective. Do your best, build relationships, provide excellent service, and trust that everything will work out the way it should.” Moving forward, Foluke says that P3 is deeply committed to helping her individual clients realize their worth and what they bring to the table. She is also committed to helping leaders, teams, and organizations evaluate their current practices and culture and influence true, positive change. She also states the P3 website is in production and will be live by mid-August. In the meantime, they are open for 20222023 consulting services and projects. Individual clients and organizations can book their initial consultation at https://calendly.com/p3hcs

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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

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Symonious Fusion By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by C. Moore For Monique Simone Joe, having and maintaining healthy skin is a family affair. Not only does she believe in the importance of having healthy skin for herself, being a Black woman encapsulated in melanin, but her passion is expressed with her husband and children. Monique is the face and owner of Symonious Fusion, a skincare company based in Huntsville, AL, that produces handmade soaps, body scrubs, body butters, and more. Monique shares that the name of her company is a fun take on her middle nameSimone, and it represents a perfect fusion of mind, body, and spirit. Her products are designed to be an alternative to harsh manufactured soaps and other products, and everything is made with the best natural ingredients. She has a women’s care line, a men’s care line, and a soon-to-be-released kid’s care line. Her journey to becoming a full-fledged entrepreneur began with her having confidence in herself and her products. She shares, “Symonious Fusion was birthed during quarantine season August 2021. The world was dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic, which was a very stressful period for adults and children. Lives were turned upside down, and people had to adjust to unfamiliar situations. Self-care became a mandatory survival concern, and I felt Symonious Fusion was a likely solution. I knew people needed something to look forward to, and one of the things I heard most was individuals wanting a few quiet minutes alone to take a nice relaxing bath.”

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Monique also believes that the five senses are very important when it comes to self-care. Knowing this, she wanted to make a product that would satisfy as many senses as possible. Using the feedback of her customer base, who expressed their desire for products that smelled good and were safe for their skin, Monique set her sights on developing products that would meet their needs. “Many products out there have such harsh chemicals, even for me. While I love a lot of the smells, my skin can’t handle the chemicals. I started researching, asking questions, and experimenting. I began with self-care products for my family and friends, but as the word spread, the demand grew, and the next thing I knew, Symonious Fusion was born. I was able to do it and meet the needs of my clients because my products smell good, feel good, and are good for your skin,” she says. Monique describes herself as a lover of life. “Everything that God has placed in my life makes me who I am. I value my relationship with God and strive daily to show myself through my family and friends and live out my purpose. I love taking care of my family and shaping the futures of my kids while having fun at the same time. I love to take care of others, but I try to remember not to neglect myself,” she says. She has enjoyed 22 years of marriage with her husband Timothy, and they share three children. What Monique loves most about her business is being able to create something useful and safe for everyone to enjoy. “I also love the creative process and being able to experiment with different scents, designs, and recipes. Honestly, I did not consider myself a creative before Symonious Fusion, but I guess I am,” she says. She shares she finds inspiration in various people and things, yet the person who has inspired the most is her mom. “She is God fearing, hard working, very smart, resourceful, resilient, funny (in her older age), and the wisest person I know. If I turn out to be half the person she is, I have done well,” Monique says.

Monique Simone Joe Symonious Fusion

www.symoniousfusion.com 256-756-7267

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Being an entrepreneur has its share of challenges. There are good days and some notso-good days. For Monique, she states there isn’t much she would change about her journey in business. “I’m taking it one step at a time and enjoying the process,” she says. The future looks bright for Symonious Fusion, and with Monique’s creativity and determination, things should only get better. To learn more about Symonious Fusion, please visit their website. h


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Richard Baker Baker Unified Fitness

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By Dorjea’ McClammey Photos Provided by Richard Baker It’s never too late to get physically fit. Without question, being physically active promotes good health and positively impacts mental health. This is the arena where Richmond, VA resident Richard Baker excels. He is the founder of Baker Unified Fitness. Richard has operated in the fitness industry for over 12 years. Not only is he knowledgeable in everything fitness, but he also has a background in elementary education and previously worked as a social worker for eight years. Richard’s chosen profession didn’t happen by chance. For the most part, his journey in life has led him to it. He has played sports, beginning at age seven. This included everything from track and field, basketball, baseball, and his favorite sport, football. His passion for recreation led to him becoming a coach at Chowan University in Virginia, which happens to be the same school where he played sports. After coaching at Chowan, he moved to Richmond and continued to coach and build up his clientele. In 2017, Richard’s brother, an entrepreneur, gave him the idea to branch out and start his own fitness company. “From the student-athletes and parents I trained, my brother saw my potential before I did. He took a picture of some cash and texted it to me asking if I was ready and to start looking for rental spaces,” Richard shares. From there, Richard got straight to work, pricing all the equipment he would need, setting up the studio, putting in floorboards, and building just about everything from the ground up. With only one client at the time, Baker Unified Fitness was born. Since its conception, the brand has done nothing but flourish. Baker Unified Fitness, or “BUF” for short, offers essential personal training fitness with a twist. Richard calls it “Partner Training”, which allows clients to bring friends or partners to join them in training. He says this makes them feel more comfortable, motivated, and accountable. Another way Richard has grown his business is by renting out his fitness space to other independent trainers and for fitness events. Richard shares that his favorite type of training is Group Fitness. “The Group Fitness represents the brand’s culture,” he says. Richard always promotes accountability, and his community and clients latch on to that. He shares, “They have a sense of community and pride about our brand because that is what we talk about. It all has to do with the kind of energy you get when you’re in our space. It’s not just a gym. Clients don’t just come in to work out and leave; they stick around and connect, strengthening their community.”

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Baker Unified Fitness also offers training outside the gym, such as their annual hike. Once a year, Richard takes his clients on a hike about an hour away into the mountains. Additionally, during the spring and summer, they offer outdoor pop-up training sessions across Richmond. Baker Unified Fitness also brings in guest speakers who not only talk about fitness but nutrition as well. While the journey has been incredible, Richard also points out a few challenges he’s faced. Some of them were a lack of resources and being a first-time entrepreneur. He shares he did not have disposable income to achieve everything he wanted. Through it all, he continued to grow, build, and learn everything he could and be open to adapting and adopting new services and making his business unforgettable. He’s joined business organizations with resources and seminars which have connected him with other business owners and entrepreneurs. “Those things have allowed me to take my business to the next level,” he says. Richard says his biggest inspiration is his family. He says that watching his daughter grow reminds him how much he loves helping people develop in every aspect of his life. Richard offers clear advice for anyone looking to follow in his footsteps. “Seek information, and whatever you learn, apply it! The biggest thing that ever helped me was when I looked for information and asked questions. Doing these gave me the knowledge I needed to be a successful business owner.

Richard Baker

Baker Unified Fitness

www.bakerunifiedfitness.com 804-592-1867

Moving forward, only expect the best out of Baker Unified Fitness. They plan on reaching the next level of becoming a corporate fitness business. “We would love to take our whole style, energy, and swag and just drop it in a company,” says Richard. They also plan to continue to offer classes and personal training and share their fitness plans with others. He concludes by sharing, “Many people see fitness and become intimidated. I hope people can understand the true benefit of fitness, incorporate it into their lives, and adopt it as a lifestyle.” To learn more about Richard Baker and Baker Unified business, please visit their website. h

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Tijania

G oodwin The Divine Connections Agency By Dorjea’ McClammey Photos Provided by Tijania Goodwin Tijania Goodwin of Philadelphia, PA, is the owner of The Divine Connections Agency. The self desrcibed “jack of all trades” shares how the plight for her success began as a young child. Her mother enrolled her in the best magnet schools. Yet, at eight years old, Tijania was thrust into the responsibilities of life after her mother suffered nerve damage from an accident. Tijania didn’t allow these changes to slow her down, and she made the most of her life, enjoying it with her mother as they traveled all around the world and more. As life continued to happen for Tijania, the picture would become clear that she was destined to leave a positive mark on the world. She would attend West Chester University and receive a Bachelor’s of Science in Professional Studies. Minors in Health Education and Sociology. She later received her Master’s Degree from St Joseph’s University without missing a beat. With all of her accomplishments, Tijania knew there was more she needed to do. Currently, Tijania is the founder and owner of The Divine Connections Agency. Her company received its official name just four years ago, but she says it has been developing over the past ten years. “It all started when I left my corporate job to become a full-time event planner and entrepreneur. My first company, Events

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to the T, allowed me to plan birthday parties, weddings, and more. Yet, I still felt unfulfilled. Next, I created ‘The Tijania Experience’, a graphic design agency. I was on the right track, and both of these experiences helped me to establish valuable connections,” she says. “I realized that if I can assist a client in developing what people see, I can also help them become more in tune with their target audience.” Soon Tijania figured out what she wanted to do, and The Divine Connections Agency was born. TDC offers three branding packages; however, Tijania can tailor a product based on a client’s specific needs. In addition, TDC has a la carte services such as makeup artists, photographers, videographers, available resources, location scouting for upcoming events, and product content development. Her versatility helps TDC to be an all-in-one, one-stop-shop for branding services. Like any other entrepreneur, there have been challenges that Tijania has faced along her journey in business. “I was my biggest challenge,” she says. Tijania explained that there were moments when she was developing TDC and did not feel worthy enough to do what she was doing. “In the back of my head, I know I can do it, but then I would find excuses for not doing it. For a while, this kept me from reaching my full potential.” Through it all, what Tijania loves most about her business is the reactions she receives from her clients after her work is done. Being able to help others and give them the advice or strategy they may need to execute their business makes it all worth it, she says. “Knowing that people trust me enough with their brands, gives me all the excitement I need to keep going.”

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“I was my biggest challenge....In the back of my head, I know I can do it, but then I would find excuses for not doing it. For a while, this kept me from reaching my full potential.”

As for her inspiration, Tijania loves seeing other entrepreneurs win, especially other Black women, “I fall in that bracket as well, so when I see them winning, I know I’m winning,” she explains. “I enjoy seeing all accomplishments, especially the little ones, because I know that the small victories are the bigger dreams.” For anyone wanting to follow in Tijania’s footsteps, she advises you not to get discouraged and let the naysayers say what they want. “It’s easy for us to get discouraged, especially when we’re building something for ourselves. While we can’t see the future, we must be hopeful about the end result. You must resonate and sit in the process, prepare and enjoy the ups and downs, but don’t doubt yourself. Also, find your support system, even if it’s just two or three people,” she says. As for the future of The Divine Connections Agency, you can expect continued growth. Tijania plans to start working and collaborating with corporate clients so that more people can see her agency’s value. She also plans to dive into more production projects. Her final bit of encouragement for the readers is, “Being an entrepreneur is dope, it’s a good place to be and something people should consider. You are an entrepreneur, and you will win. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.” To learn more about Tijania Goodwin, please visit her social media pages, and check her on YouTube.

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Instagram @thetijaniaexperience Facebook @DCagency Check out her podcast: Purposely Bossin Up

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