Huami Magazine Dallas/Fort Worth July/August 2022

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DALLAS/FORT WORTH

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July/August 2022 Vol. 2 Issue 6

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We Are Winning Dallas/Fort Worth - July/August 2022

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Commercial Lending

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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

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CONTENTS

JULY/AUGUST 2022

DALLAS/FORT WORTH

Marlessia Yancey 20 MiZo Coffee Co.

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On The Cover

We Are Winning

Remon & Candace Tuck

New Zion Grove Worship Center

Stephen Robinson

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Ava & Associates

Ava Smith

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Love Monae’ Anthony

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Also Featured

Bernard Moore III He is the face and founder of Moore & Moore Sports Management. Learn how his story began. Jackson, MS

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

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

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We Are Winning By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Candace Tuck They are a great example of what a power couple should be. Currently celebrating 20 years of marriage, Remon and Candace Tuck of Dallas, TX, are the founders of The Couples Lounge, a marriage movement and ministry. Its purpose is to restore, inspire, and encourage God’s union of marriage. Candace says the vision came about nearly 16 years ago in their home. “It began in our living room with newly married couples exchanging conversations about their experiences with being married. That lasted for about three years, and we paused for a while before resuming in 2006,” she says. After resuming, they began speaking about their experiences on podcasts and other platforms to create opportunities for other married couples to talk. Candace is a native of Fort Worth, TX. She describes herself as a child of God. She is also a spiritual life coach who fully embraces the calling on her life. Candace is a graduate of Jarvis Christian College, an HBCU. There she received her undergraduate degree and later received her Master’s degree from Tarleton State University. She also acquired her Spiritual Life Coaching from Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Life Development, under the leadership of Iyanla Vanzant. She has spent 20 years in the field of education, with eight spent as a teacher and twelve as a counselor. In 2020, her course in life changed as she stepped out on faith and pursued a career as a life coach. Like Candace, Remon is also an educator with seventeen years of experience under his belt. He describes himself as a family man and child of God, and someone who takes life head-on. Born in the small town of Mineola, TX, Remon says he is an author and optimist. Like Candace, he also graduated from Jarvis Christian College, the place where their introduction happened. Remon says what he loves about The Couples Lounge is the opportunity to connect with other married individuals. “When we first start working with other married couples, more times than not, the guys are reluctant to open up. Seeing the couple transform and recommit to loving one another makes it all worth it,” he says. Candace says she enjoys seeing the transformation but also appreciates the podcast sessions. “During the podcast episodes, it allows us to clown around and have fun. It allows us to connect and grow in our marriage also. I love seeing other couples reconnect and fall in love again.”

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For the most part, The Couples Lounge is a form of ministry. Candace shares that the experiences of her own marriage with Remon have played a significant role in getting them where they are. “We almost got a divorce ten years into our marriage. The first year was amazing, but we had some challenges and got out of alignment. I took on the mindset and put myself above Remon and that almost led to a divorce. We got some counseling and eventually got back on track. We committed to one another and gave our marriage all we had,” she says. From that point on, Candace and Remon were tracking. One thing they point out is for things to work in a union, both parties must be committed to being in the flow of marriage. When one person shifts, the other one must be willing to shift. Remon doesn’t hide behind the mistakes he’s made in life and his marriage. There was some job instability, but he persevered. He had a run-in with the legal system while in high school, but still, he persevered. “The struggle of an unhappy marriage changed me and also helped me to become a better person,” he says. While listening to Remon and Candace talk, the strength of their union becomes quite evident. The challenges and being able to overcome them have obviously played a role in making them a genuine example of God’s love in marriage. “The faith my wife has in God and in our marriage makes me want to do better,” Remon says. “My desire to give my children a better experience than I had also inspires me.” Candace shares that understanding she is expected to fulfill the calling and assignment that God has on her life. “I have learned that it’s my duty to help people to become a better version of themselves. I have always been the person to help and encourage others, but to be able to do it from a ministry perspective, truly inspires me. I want for my kids to have the best, and I am appreciative to have the opportunity to lead them by example,” she says. Their advice to others who may follow a path in life similar to theirs is to make sure to allow yourself time to heal. “Healing for yourself and your marriage is important. When you are able to work together as a team, you can get further. Though it may not look good when you first start out, know that with God, it will get better.” In the future, Candace and Remon hope to continue to impact our married couples through the Couples Lounge. They also plan to launch a television show and grow their podcast to be nationally syndicated. They also plan to participate on other platforms, including church conferences, not only in Texas, but around the country. To learn more about The Couple Lounge, please visit their website. h

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

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

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

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

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Pastor

New Zion Grove Worship Center By Ellen Richardson Photos Provided by Pastor Stephen Rohinson

And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. (Jeremiah 3:15 KJV)

Have you ever felt a calling from our Heavenly Father that didn’t align with the path you thought you were on? Allow us to welcome you to an area pastor who has walked this path and is here to tell you why following your heavenly calling will lead you towards your best life. Born in North Little Rock, Arkansas, Pastor Stephen Robinson grew up the youngest child of a faith-filled family of five. He was raised by Pastor Emeritus Ulysses, Jr. and the late First Lady Emeritus Lee Ella Robinson, and began his spiritual journey on a more musical path than that of his father. “As I was growing up, I used to tell my father that I would never preach or pastor,” said Robinson. “Instead, I wanted to sing and perform at various gospel revivals.” This dream began when Robinson was the tender age of three years-old. “My brothers and I performed together at my father’s church revivals. In fact, I sang my first song in front of a large crowd before the age of five. Before long, I was singing regularly at my church, and by the time I was getting out of college, I began singing with a gospel group called Purity.” he said.

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After Purity recorded its first album with PepperCo Records that reigns from Columbia, SC, Pastor Stephen rejoined his equally talented brothers, Bishop Kenneth L. Robinson and Ulysses Robinson, III. “I performed alongside my brothers for 15 years before going out on my own,” said Robinson. “After recording my first album called “I Still Have My Smile”, I really fell in love with the industry. That is until I had a personal encounter with God.” This encounter occurred in 1996 and Pastor Stephen says he was hanging out with his best friend one night when the Spirit of the Lord visited him. “The spirit told me that God had more for me than just singing and performing. He then showed me that he wanted me to preach His Word. This was around 1:00 a.m. in the morning and I remember getting up, driving to my father’s house, and falling into his arms, crying, telling him that I had been called to preach. The best part is that my father already knew I would come to tell him this because the Holy Spirit told him as well that I would be called to preach.” Following this encounter, Pastor Stephen went back to school to obtain his master’s degree in theology from Slidell Baptist Seminary, and later began serving as his father’s assistant pastor at New Zion Grove Baptist Church in 2004. This happened before he stepped into his father’s shoes in 2009. “In August of this year, I will have been serving my home church as its pastor for 13 years. I am so grateful to God for leading me into this role,” he said. Today, through his God given vision of Empowering People for Next Dimension Ministry, Robinson is making every effort to empower and lead his people towards God’s restorative love. “I love seeing people empowered and restored by His love and even seeing marriages restored by His power,” said Robinson. “I believe that God has ordained His people and their families to be empowered by His love in order to ensure that His might strengthens both our communities and churches. These days people need to see a picture of what

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“These days people need to see a picture of what a marriage and family look like inside of the church, and I believe that the enemy is very busy targeting these families because he knows that the stronger they are, the better the community, as well as the church and other ministries, will be.”

a marriage and family look like inside of the church, and I believe that the enemy is very busy targeting these families because he knows that the stronger they are, the better the community, as well as the church and other ministries, will be. As someone who knows the challenges that the enemy can have on both a marriage and family, it has been my mission to help these families be healed through God’s spirit of love.” What does the future look like for this servant of The Lord? “I aspire to lead my family and my flock by being the example of what it looks like to walk through trying and tough times with the help of God,” said Robinson. “I always say that the world may change, but God never changes, and I just want to show others what it looks like to lead knowing this.” To find out more about Pastor Robinson and New Zion Grove Worship Center, please visit their website. h

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MiZo Coffee Co. 20

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

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

www.mizocoffeeco.com

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Bernard Moore Moore & Moore Sports Management

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By Dorjea’ McClammey Photos Provided by Bernard Moore III Bernard Moore III of Jackson, MS, is the founder of Moore & Moore Sports Management. Ever since he was a kid, sports was the one thing that always kept Bernard sane. His choice of sports was versatile, while his top three were baseball, basketball, and football, with football being his all-around favorite. His journey began when a member of his neighborhood was trying to do something better for the community by recruiting young boys to play sports for the park recreational team. The connection was made, and Bernard and his brother instantly liked football. From there, he says it blossomed. During the Summer of 2005, Bernard worked with a college teammate with hopes of figuring out a way to help his community. “I wanted to organize an event for the Walter Paige Scholarship Foundation, but while working on that, tragically, Hurricane Katrina hit and wiped out all of our hard work. After that, I was back at the drawing board and decided the best way to accomplish my goal was to combine my love for sports and become a sports agent,” he says. Thus the creation of Moore and Moore Sports Management. To get started, he researched how the field of sports management differs between different leagues and sports sections. He made connections, and things began to move for Bernard, but he still wanted to know more. So he began searching for a mentor and called different agencies in the Mississippi area, yet they all rejected him. Still, Bernard stood firm. “I told them I wanted to learn the game, and I will have my own agency,” he says. Soon he connected with an attorney, Benjamin Wilson, with the Beveridge and Diamond law firm and taught Bernard how to get started. He says the information he obtained from Benjamin Wilson laid the groundwork for how he runs his agency now. Benjamin Wilson gave Bernard the entire client list they worked on together. However, Bernard had not received his certification to work with NFL and NBA clients. Not to be denied, he found a way to work with clients by becoming a consultant until receiving his certification to become a full-time agent. By 2010 Bernard was on his own, branching out into different fields such as managing and consulting college athletes, former coaches, and even triple-A athletes, also known as the highest level in minor league baseball. With his business continuing to grow, clients began to ask for Moore’s help in planning events such as fundraisers, sponsorships, and advertising. Now, Moore & Moore Sports Management offers many services, including Marketing, Endorsements, Sponsorship Services, event planning, draft preparations, and so much more. He also contracts other professionals for mental health counseling and financial planning services.

“Use the gifts that God has blessed you with, and continue to be a helpful hand in society and all you do.”

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Like any other business, Bernard has seen his share of challenges. He says the Covid 19 pandemic put a hold on many of his events, a delay lasting nearly two years. “With the restrictions in place, many venues were closed, and even with the ones I could obtain, many fans could not attend. This hurdle resulted in a loss in profit,” he says. However, it didn’t stop everything; Bernard would continue his sponsorships and fundraisers online and even worked with radio stations in the area to help spread the word. Speaking of community work, Bernard has worked with many individuals and organizations in and around Jackson, including Butterflies by Grace, Designed by Faith, and the Susan G Coleman Foundation Mississippi Chapter. He has also worked with Jackson Public Schools Athletics, of which he is a proud product of. Out of all the perks, Bernard loves seeing his clients succeed. As for his inspiration, he says that just doing the will of God inspires him to move forward. ”God blessed me with the ability to play football throughout college,” he says. For anyone looking to follow in his footsteps, Bernard says never to let anyone dictate what your outcome may be because you are in control of your creation. “If you want success, you must work hard for it.” Bernard says to expect nothing but growth for the future of Moore and Moore Sports Management. He plans to continue helping individuals who want to flourish in their careers and to be a willing vessel for God to use. He leaves with a quote from the Bible from Corinthians 12: “Use the gifts that God has blessed you with, and continue to be a helpful hand in society and all you do”. Please visit their website to learn more about Bernard Moore and Moore and Moore Sports Management. h

Bernard Moore III www.mms-management.com 601-260-3509 26

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

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

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

JenSa Massage

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I’m Here To Serve

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By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Latisha Miles

She is known for her unceasing devotion to serving others, an attribute the Upstate area of South Carolina has grown to cherish and appreciate. Without hesitancy, she eagerly answers the call to assist in any way, whether in business or from a personal perspective. In addition to leading and serving, Ava Smith is also an accomplished entrepreneur. She is the owner of Flat Fee Recruiting and Ava Smith & Associates. Flat Fee Recruiting is a permanent placement recruiting firm that provides quality employees at affordable rates. It also assists companies in various industries and with all types of vacancies. Ava Smith & Associates is a full-cycle HR Consulting firm that operates as an outsourced HR Manager or Director for small businesses, non-profits, and ministries throughout the United States. Some offered services include onboarding, compliance, benefits, risk management, wellness, and training. The New Jersey native holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from Limestone University and is a Lifetime Member of the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society. She has over 25 years of experience as a Human Resources Professional. That includes employee relations, compliance, recruitment, retention, and training. Ava began her career in the non-profit sector and shifted into manufacturing, the corporate arena, and staffing. Throughout her career, Ava progressively moved upward in her positions, serving in various roles from HR Assistant to HR Director. In August 2002, Ava began her own firm, HR Specialties, which specialized in providing HR services, training, and recruiting. She later expanded this firm by adding additional experts and rebranded it into what is now widely known as Ava Smith & Associates. In 2010, she formed a permanent placement agency called Flat Fee Recruiting. Her agency received the Minority Business of the Year Award in 2013 through the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. Ava is also a noted Diversity Trainer and has delivered hundreds of sessions throughout the Southeast since 2005. Her clientele involves corporations, manufacturers, non-profits, service organizations, government officials, municipalities, universities, hospital systems, local chambers, and faithbased organizations. Ava is known for her unique style and approach that captures her audience’s attention, allowing them to discuss diverse topics easily. Even more, she was the Recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Diversity Award, given by the Greenville, SC Chapter of SHRM.

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Ava has served the Upstate of South Carolina in various roles, including current Board Member with the Simpsonville Area Chamber of Commerce, current Board Member with The University Center of Greenville, Board Member with Greenville Technical Charter High School, Board Member with Junior Achievement (Greenville, SC), Diversity Director of the SC Society of Human Resource Management State Council, Advisory Board Member with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Steering Committee Member with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Advisor with Greenville Chamber of Commerce CAPACITY Builders program, Chair with Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s Greenville Women at Work (GW@W) initiative, Advisory Board Member for Virginia College, Advisory Board Member for ECPI School of Technology, Board Member for the Greenville Society of Human Resource Management (GSHRM), Chair of the Diversity/Inclusion Committee for GSHRM, President of the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Greenville, Board Member of Fostering Great Ideas, Advisory Board Member for Clemson Small Business Development Center, Steering Committee Member for MLK Dream Weekend, a member of the Clemson CU-ICAR Diversity Committee, and member of the Greenville Technical College Multicultural Advisory Board. These accomplishments and contributions have resulted in her being honored extensively. How did Ava get to where she is now? She says, “I originally started my career in accounting. After obtaining a two-year certificate, I became a bookkeeper for a large finance company. I thought I was destined to have a 10key calculator under my hand until I retired. However, a restructure left me without a position. As a single mom, I had no choice but to pursue any vacancy I could find to make ends meet. After searching for several weeks, I found a position at a local non-profit that would change the trajectory of my life.” Her career in HR began when Ava was only 24 years old. “At that time, the industry called it the “Personnel Department”. My job description had two line items. I was to pass out applications and answer the phone. I was unsatisfied with those simple tasks and began asking for more responsibility. A year-and-a-half later, I was the HR Manager of a facility with 400 employees. As my career continued, I would eventually hold HR roles in various industries,” she says. Ava says while serving in her previous HR roles, she realized a common need for employees accompanied by the inability of their small budgets to cover the cost of staffing. To address this, in 2009, she launched Flat Fee Recruiting. When asked what she loves most about what she does, Ava shares how she loves bringing solutions. “I am a problem solver for businesses that need HR support without having the workload that requires a full-time position. I also love being a part of their business strategy team. My clients include me in their vision and long-term plans, and I assist them with walking it out,” she says.

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Ava shares how she finds inspiration in her children and grandchildren. “I always want to be their role model, and knowing they look to me as an example pushes me not to give up. I am also inspired by my father, who recently passed away. He left such a feeling of “legacy” that it has shown me that I am not only working for what is in front of me, I am also working for what I plan to leave behind,” she says. Becoming an entrepreneur, Ava says, was not something she had planned to do. “I was not prepared, and I had to identify training and learning opportunities to gain knowledge on how to be successful. I was challenged by having to build a network with other business owners and people that could support me on this journey. Being open-minded and believing that failing could still be a form of winning helps me overcome challenges on a daily basis.” For anyone who is considering starting a business, Ava offers some advice that may be of assistance. “Knowledge is power. If you are pursuing entrepreneurship, take business courses, be aware of what your legal and financial obligations will be so that you will be prepared. If you are currently in business, continuously find ways to stay innovative and an expert in your field. Choose yourself even when you feel like no one else will.” Please visit her website to learn more about Ava Smith and her companies. h

Ava Smith & Associates Ava@YourFullCycleHR.com 864-448-0939

Flat Fee Recruiting www.flatfeehiring.com 864-326-4211

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Baby MAGAZINE

Cutest Baby

Love Monae’ Anthony The daughter of Alneshia Torian

To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature, please send a detailed email to huami.cutestbaby@gmail.com

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Dallas/Fort Worth - July/August 2022