Huami Magazine Denver Sept./Oct. 2022

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DENVER

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Sept./Oct. 2022 Vol. 1 Issue 4

AWG Counseling Services Denver - Sept./Oct. 2022

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Commercial Lending

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God’s Plan Is Greater Than Me A Letter From The Editor

With every ordeal or trying circumstance, there will always be more than one way to handle them. We can face them head-on, or we can turn away and avoid any form of an altercation. No matter what decision is made concerning the matter, the impact or effect of what we chose will most likely be waiting on the other side of our decision. That’s why I believe it’s vital to share our thoughts with God beforehand and confirm His viewpoint because God’s plan is greater than anything I can decide for myself. Like most people, the thrill of victory is generally the reason why I compete or fight. Also, if you are anything like me, I understand that you may hate to lose, regardless of what is at stake. Yet, I am learning that I must do a better job choosing my battles because, for the most part, every battle is not mine to fight. God desires to fight for me, and He expects me to let go and allow Him to do His thing. I’ve learned that the car drives better when He controls the wheel.

www.huamimagazine.com Terry L. Watson

Publisher

Dorjae’ McClammey Terry L. Watson Ellen Richardson Marrissa Dick

Writer Writer Writer Writer

Tamara Smith

I recently celebrated my birthday, and to be honest; I celebrated for the entire month. That was my choice because I love birthdays. I also used that time to reflect on where I am in life and where I’ve come from. I wanted to know what I am currently doing to get to where I ultimately want to be. What was revealed is my interests and efforts were possibly pointed in the wrong direction. I learned that while I am blessed, God is more concerned about those individuals He can reach beyond me, and when I don’t allow God to use me, He isn’t able to reach them through me. Being vulnerable and a cooperative vessel are attributes of real greatness; that’s what God spoke to me. Living my life as a Christian and believer in God means that I must trust God. Even during the most difficult moments, if I just show up for the fight and trust God while I am fighting, I will then see Him move on my behalf. The things that I may be dealing with and determined to be unbearable may actually amount to nothing once it’s placed in God’s hand. How will I ever know if I don’t allow God to lead me? God has a plan and purpose for all of us, and His plan is far greater than anything we can imagine or think. I get excited when I think about everything God has prepared for me. His is greater, and all I have to do is trust His process and believe what He tells me.

Terry L. Watson

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SEPT./OCT. 2022

DENVER

CONTENTS

It’s All About The Results Trudi B. Parson

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On The Cover

AWG Counseling Services Alice West-Goers

Tolbert Consultants

Julius Tolbert

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My Life In Poems

John C. Johnson

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Laney Williamson

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Also Featured

VaShaun Mosby Never judge a book by its cover. Learn more about how she uses her experiences to help others. Louisville, KY

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Richard Steadwell He set his mind on accomplishing one goal. Learn more about his brand and journey. Concord, NC

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Kim Fuller Meet the face and founder of Fuller Life Concepts Inc. Los Angeles, CA

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AWG Counseling Services By Ellen Richardson Photos Provided by Reyna Jean Photography

If the truth can be told, most people have been through something in their lives that requires some form of healing. The question is, how do we exactly heal? A general answer may be by asking for help. When that option is chosen, finding the right person to help can be difficult. Fortunately, there is someone who has dedicated their life and career to assisting others during such instances. Alice West-Goers of Denver, CO, is a licensed and experienced counselor and change agent who promotes and facilitates emotional healing. She uses her personal story as a tool to connect and assist others. “My story begins with growing up in Guam. I moved to Guam with a relative whom obtained custody of my sister and I when we were removed from our birth mother’s care. My sister left the home due to behavioral concerns and was placed with my later to be adopted family. I was 17 years old when I was adopted. This was life-changing for me and ultimately affected the trajectory of my life,” she says. After two years of being placed with her new adopted family, Alice would run away from home to locate her biological family. Her actions would eventually lead to a downward spiral. She says it also made finishing school difficult. After realizing her life was headed in the wrong direction, she decided to go back home, contacted her adoptive parents, and asked for help. “At the age of 16, I contacted my adopted mother and asked her if I could come back home. I knew this would mean that I would have to go back into a house with rules and structure, but I knew that was something I needed,” she said. The decision to return home would forge a path leading Alice to a brighter future. Along with graduating from high school, Alice could now attend Regis University college. “During my time at Regis I participated in a commitment program for kids who had trouble getting through high school, which helped with my grades,” she says.

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“I moved to Guam with a relative whom obtained custody of my sister and I when we were removed from our birth mother’s care. My sister left the home due to behavioral concerns and was placed with my later to be adopted family. I was 17 years old when I was adopted. This was lifechanging for me and ultimately affected the trajectory of my life.”

Alice West-Goers

AWG Counseling Services www.alicewestgoers.com 720-988-9482

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A new challenge would arise as Alice continued on her road toward a better life. “I got pregnant with my daughter during my sophomore year of college. With the new addition to my life, I decided to transfer to Metropolitan State University (MSU). There I received my bachelors degree in Social Work. I also served as an intern for the County of Denver. That opportunity opened the door for me to work full-time as a social worker following graduation. Life appeared to come back to me full circle. From aging out of the foster care system in Denver County to becoming an intern in the same department where I was once a foster kid, to working alongside my former social worker as a full-time employee,” Alice shares. Following her time with the city and county, Alice would acquire a master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Denver, with an emphasis in Child Welfare and Trauma. Next, she worked as a childhood therapist within the nonprofit sector and later with the childhood mental health field at Aurora Mental Health Center. She would also serve as an inpatient behavioral health therapist with The Medical Center of Aurora. Though Alice’s life appeared on the right track, her life would come to another fork in the road in 2020. “It was during the Covid-19 pandemic that I decided it was time to focus more on private practice,” she said. Although it would take time to set up this practice, Alice is now celebrating her first anniversary as the owner of AWG Counseling Services. With AWG Counseling Services, Alice practice now offers counseling services, including adult therapy, family counseling, self-esteem, and healthy coping skills to eliminate destructive patterns. There is even a childhood therapist available to assist those who are dealing with social and emotional issues. Alice has also become a member of the Therapist of Color Collaborative, where therapists of color come together to provide mental health services for those who cannot afford these types of services. With her being a therapy liaison for the University of Denver, Alice’s opportunity to connect with graduate students within the social work realm to be a guiding light towards their future is a way that she gives back. Now that she has her own private practice, what is next for this bright beacon of God’s light? Along with obtaining additional training and licensures in various counseling and becoming a licensed addiction counselor, Alice has some interest in joining various coalitions that would allow her to offer services to more of those in need. To find out more about AWG Counseling Services, please visit their website. h


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Richard Steadwell Kingzi Royal Skincare Collection

By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Todd Youngblood The first question asked of Richard was, “Who is Richard Steadwell?” The look on his face was priceless. “Of all the questions I expected to be asked, that was the one I wasn’t prepared for,” Richard explained, smiling and nervous while rubbing his cold, clammy hands. It was clear that Richard was nervous, but he slipped easily into his element as he explained his plight. Richard Steadwell is living his dream of being a selfemployed entrepreneur. He owns and operates Kingzi Barbers Lounge in Concord, N.C., and the Kingzi Men’s Skincare Collection. Although Richard has always possessed the creative spirit of an entrepreneur, there were limitations he says he had to overcome before he could realize his dream. “I’ve always been good with my hands. I love being creative and using my imagination. I always knew that using those natural talents would make me happy.” Richard called himself a kitchen barber because he’s been cutting hair since he was a teenager, but he never thought of it as a career. Richard was born in North Carolina but was raised in California. In the tenth grade, he decided school wasn’t for him. He shares, “I was struggling and getting into trouble a lot. I had convinced myself that they were teaching me the things I wanted to know. Deep down, part of my reasoning was I felt like I was an embarrassment to my mother, and I didn’t want to keep putting her through that, so I quit.” Richard explained. “My mother wasn’t happy about it, but my mind was made up.” Richard’s mother gave him two options, the military or trade school. Due to health issues, the military wasn’t a good fit, so Richard went to the Earl C. Clemmons Job Corps center in Morganfield, Ky. “My mother drove me to the center because she was serious about me not sitting up in her house without a job or trade of any kind. She said if I was going to be grown, I had to make a way for myself,” he says.

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While in Job Corp, Richard took several certification classes, including a business course. The one thing he stayed away from was getting his G.E.D. “If I had been wise and not so worried about failing, I would have just gotten my G.E.D. while in Job Corps. Things would have been a lot easier for me, and I would be farther than I am today. But, what can I say? I was young and didn’t want to listen to anybody,” Richard explains with a laugh. In his lifetime, Richard has done just about every laborious job there is. He was a self-proclaimed jack of all trades and master of none. “Wow… I can’t even begin to name all the different jobs I’ve had in my life. I’ve done everything from working fast food to construction. And at no time did I ever feel like I was doing the job I was meant for. I wouldn’t say I like working for other people. Plus, because I didn’t have a high school diploma or G.E.D. I couldn’t go any higher than entry-level work. It was frustrating,” Richard states. After years of going from one unfulfilling job to another, Richard decided he wanted something more. One day, not long after his fortieth birthday, Richard was sitting in his barber’s chair and shared his idea of going to barber college. The response he received was surprising. “I had been going to this same guy for over ten years, and I considered him a friend, but what he told me blew me away. He told me it was too old and it would be too hard for me to build up clientele at this point. I couldn’t believe my ears,” Richard said; still a little put off by the experience. “I was like, wow. I was not expecting that at all. When I left the shop, I kept thinking about him telling me it was too late for me. The more I thought about it, the more I was determined to prove him wrong.” Immediately Richard looked into starting barber college at Park West Barber College in Greensboro, N.C. As he read the requirements, the first thing that stopped him in his tracks was the requirement of a high school diploma or equivalent. “There I was again. Every time I tried to move forward, I found myself coming back to the same roadblock. All these years later, my decision to drop out of high school was still haunting me. I sat there thinking about what I wanted and the time I had wasted. I have to admit I was terrified of going back to school, but I decided I couldn’t spend one more day letting fear hold me back.” Richard enrolled at Gilford Technical Community College, Jamestown, N.C., and started working towards his G.E.D. He transferred and finished the program at Alamance Community College in Graham, NC. School was never easy for Richard, but his desire to achieve his goals was stronger than his fear of failure. “It was hard, working and going to school at the same time, but I finally knew what I was working towards. It was all going to be worth it in the end.”

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After completing the program, Richard had to take the G.E.D. Test. Most people struggle with standardized testing. Richard’s past traditional education experiences and test anxiety didn’t make things easy. He says, “I will be honest and say I didn’t do well initially on the G.E.D. Test. I failed it three times!” he said, shaking his head. “I couldn’t believe it! I had worked so hard. Before I knew it, I felt like I was back in high school. I didn’t think I was smart enough to pass the test. I was struggling and embarrassed. Then I remembered that I wasn’t in high school anymore, and my dreams were just on the other side of that test. I couldn’t let it stop me again.” On the fourth try, Richard passed and received his G.E.D. “I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. My family came and celebrated with me, and I made my mother proud. I made myself proud. I proved that I could do anything if I didn’t give up,” he said. After receiving his G.E.D, Richard started at Park West Barber College in Greensboro, N.C. From there, he became an apprentice barber, but he knew that he had to relocate to grow. “After job corp I moved back to Greensboro, and later moved to Durham, NC. to finish barber school. But after barber college, I wanted to go to an area where I could start fresh and have room to grow. Barbering in Durham and Greensboro was a crowded market. I thought about Jacksonville, Florida, or Georgia but settled on Charlotte, NC.” Richard was an apprentice barber at Bennett’s Barber Shop in Charlotte for four years. “You usually do one year as an apprentice before you can take your master barber’s licensure test, but I did four years because I felt I had so much to learn.” As Richard worked as an apprentice barber, he was free to explore his creativity. Barbering isn’t just about cutting hair. Men trust their barbers and seek their advice about looking and feeling their best. Richard noticed a small selection of beard and skin grooming products for men. The scents were basic and didn’t represent all men, especially black men. Hence Kingzi Men’s Skincare Collection was born. He says, “I didn’t like that most beard balms smelled like the great outdoors,” Richard said with a laugh. “Never have you heard a woman say she loves the smell of citrus on her man. So, I started experimenting with fragrances that I liked and ones that didn’t make my customers smell like car air fresheners.”

“I didn’t think I was smart enough to pass the test. I was struggling and embarrassed. Then I remembered that I wasn’t in high school anymore, and my dreams were just on the other side of that test. I couldn’t let it stop me again.”

Richard enrolled in YouTube university and learned all he could about creating beard balms and lotions specifically for men. Once he had the know-how, Richard started making small batched in his home and trying them on his clients.

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“My clients were willing and honest test subjects. I gave away free samples, and they would let me know what worked and what didn’t. Before I knew it, word got out, and it’s gained momentum from there.” Putting what he learned about sales and marketing in Job Corps, Richard is preparing to put the Kingzi Men’s Skincare Collection on the shelves of major shopping centers all over the country. But for now, the skincare line can be purchased locally at Kingzi Barber’s Lounge. This was his reply when asked what the future looked like for Richard. “The future is bright. Brighter than I thought possible at this point in my life. I was stuck for forty years because I didn’t think I was smart enough to pass a high school equivalency test. But when I faced my fears and pushed past them, the world opened up to me. Things are happing so fast I am having trouble keeping up,” Richard said, smiling proudly. “But I guess that’s a good problem to have.” Richard intends to continue growing his business, including lotions, skin conditioning oils for women, and a Kingzi clothing line. He concludes by saying, “If I could say one thing to my younger self, it would be this: Don’t let fear and other people’s opinions of you hold you back. You can achieve anything you set your mind to if you are willing to fail at it first. When you fall, you got know where to go but up!” h

Richard Steadwell

Kingzi Royal Skincare Collection 5975 Thunder Road NW - Suite 106 Concord, NC 28027 704-550-6287

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Charlie’s Horn

In memory of Pastor Charlie Adams, III By John Johnson

It Seemed That on Every Sunday Morn When Charlie Would Softly Play His Horn, That It Was More Than Just Playing with Love For We Were Hearing from Angels Above. The Drummer Would Start His Soft Roll And Sweet Music Would Fill Every Soul, Then We Would Open Our Mouths and Sing, Giving All Praise to Our Savior and King.

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John Johnson of Greensboro, NC, is retired from the U.S. Army and the U.S.Postal Service. He was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. His father passed away when he was only four years old. His mother passed away 12 years later. Though he only had his mother for 16 years, she made a lasting impression on him. He remembers her singing songs and reciting poetry around the house and believes that is where his love for singing and writing began. John has been married to Vera for 60 years. Their union produced two daughters, Yvonne, who passed away in 2013, and Yulonda. John continues to write and sing and credits God for inspiring every word and melody.

Stay Strong in Your Faith By John Johnson

There is so much going on In the world, today, We are running and worrying, And forgetting to pray. But God has not changed From his original plan When he sent his son, Jesus To save sinful man.

Photos Provided by Still Shots Photography

We can’t be caught up In what we hear, When the truth of God Is always so near. Stay strong in your faith From it never depart. Let the truth, God’s word Live in your heart.

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Fuller Life Concepts, Inc By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Kim Fuller You can’t help but feel a little jealous when you first meet Kim Fuller. Whether it’s the Southern California sunshine at her back, her eyes full of joy, or her bright smile full of light, you find yourself happy to have met her. Kim Fuller is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, psychotherapist, author, trainer, founder, and CEO of Fuller Life Concepts, Inc. Fuller Life Concepts, Inc. is a mental health and wellness agency that helps women, children, and families manage anxiety and depression using evidence-based models. Kim’s vision is to be a nationally recognized mental health and wellness agency for Black families and people of color. Helping people has been Kim’s passion from a young age. She shares, “I’ve wanted to be a therapist since junior high school. I took an elective that allowed me to work as an office assistant, and I would see the students coming in to talk to the counselor. I thought it was cool that the students had someone they could go to for help. My mom was a principal, and I would sometimes chat with the psychologist at her school about what they did. So, I am one of those unusual people who have known for pretty much my whole life that this is what I wanted to do.” Whether you believe in signs or destiny, life experiences helped confirm that Kim was on the right path. “As I said, I always knew I wanted to study psychology. I had a friend in high school who struggled with her identity. She was Asian American, but she wanted to be white. S o much so that she contemplated ending her life. I wanted to understand what she was going through.” Kim received her bachelor’s in psychology from California State University, Fresno. “I grew up in a pretty diverse small town in Central California, but there were no dating opportunities. I wanted to go where the men were,” Kim said with a laugh. “While there, I spent a summer with some friends, and one of the girls took a bunch of sleeping pills attempting to commit suicide. I was the first one at home, so I found her. This was another level of depression and feeling helpless for me. The challenge was that it was kind of dismissed when we got her to the hospital. They just sent her home like it was no big deal. We were only about eighteen or nineteen, so we were just kids, but there was no additional support for her or us, her friends who found her,” Kim explained. “That was traumatic, but we were just sent home. I felt like this person needed more. That night we all stayed together, none of us wanting to be alone after the experience. The next morning, I called home and started bawling as soon as my dad spoke.”

“I’ve wanted to be a therapist since junior high school. I took an elective that allowed me to work as an office assistant, and I would see the students coming in to talk to the counselor. I thought it was cool that the students had someone they could go to for help.”

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Kim credits having the support of her parents as being one of the biggest reasons she could pursue her passion. That experience compelled Kim to want to fill those gaps she and her friends experienced. As a result, Fuller Life Concepts focuses much of its energy on anxiety, depression, and trauma in adolescents and children. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Kim’s first job was with the VA hospital in their inpatient/outpatient substance abuse clinic for about a year. “I worked with a doctor researching cessation, like how to get veterans to stop smoking. That was a vital time because it helped me realize two things. One, the cessation of substance abuse and tobacco use was not my area. Two, veterans were not my population. My dad was a Vietnam vet, so that was too close for comfort. My father was my hero, and to imagine he was suffering the way these men were, was a little more than I could take.” Thinking ahead to her next steps, Kim decided to go back to school and get her master’s degree in counseling from California State University in Long Beach. “I focused my graduate studies on marriage and families so that I would have a broader range of options in my career field.” Kim’s first paying job was with an agency called LA Child Guidance, now Wellnest in South Los Angeles. “At LA Child Guidance, we worked with severely emotionally disturbed children and their families. Our goal was to help create stability within the family so the children could remain in the home. We wanted to avoid having them go into a higher level of care,” she says. She started as an intern, but once licensed, Kim was promoted to Director of the center’s learning program. “I really loved that position because I was able to help the older teens and young adults. They still needed support. Some of them were transitioning from foster care, and at that time, you transitioned at age eighteen. Since then, the laws have changed, and it’s closer to twenty-five.”

Kim Fuller

Fuller Life Concepts Inc. www.fullerlifeconcepts.com 323-334-0064

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Transitioning from a minor to adulthood is difficult for anyone, but it’s compounded for young people who have aged out of the foster care system. They lose any semblance of stability and support. This is what the program Kim worked with provided. “We partnered with the department of rehabilitation to give them on-the-job training, life skills, and experience. I am really proud of the work we did in that program.” Seeing the work she did as important, Kim took advantage of every opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who needed it. “Eventually, I left LA Child Guidance and took a position at a different agency as Director of the outpatient clinic. I managed supervisors and programs. Thanks to the fullservice partnerships with the state. We created programs that focused on the underserved and the inappropriately served. This meant we could do early intervention before things got to really bad.”


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As a mental health provider, Kim admits there were periods in her life when she had to ask for help. As a black female, Kim comes from a culture of strength, but that strength was also a stumbling block when life took an unexpected turn. “I met a wonderful man. We were both single with no children, and we both loved to travel. We did everything from skiing, sailing, scuba diving, hiking, and camping we did it. We spent about thirteen years of our lives together, but he was diagnosed with leukemia soon after we met. He initially chose to keep it to himself. So, we continue to live and enjoy life together. He was told that because of chemo, he was infertile,” Kim winced then laughed. “To our surprise, we came up pregnant. Thankfully we were blessed with a healthy baby girl. My husband died when our daughter was less than a year old.” With the demands of her career, the loss of her best friend and life partner, and then instantly becoming a single parent, Kim was starting to struggle under the weight of it all. “So much happened in that year. I got married, I had a baby, and I got a promotion. Then in one month, I was demoted, and my husband died. A few months later, I left my job completely.” Kim prides herself on having a fantastic community of supporters, but when she needed them most, she didn’t know how to ask for help. “Call it pride or ignorance, but I just couldn’t reach out. I was featured in a book about 16 successful Mompreneurs. The book starts with me trying to get a car seat into a rental car on the day of my husband’s funeral. There I am, frustrated as I struggle and tussle with trying to install this car seat, and I’m just all over the place. The thing was, my parents were standing right behind me, watching. They didn’t offer because I was so sensitive at the time that I would have snapped at them. So… I continued to struggle. It would have made sense to turn around and ask for help, but that’s not the culture.” Along with working to help children and families heal and live their best lives, Kim focuses on bringing light to the black and brown community. “We believe seeking social-emotional help is not a “black” thing. That’s not true. I was grieving and a hot mess, but I wore my mask every day because the culture said I couldn’t let anyone see my pain. I had to break down and find help. Fuller Life Concepts dispels the myth that only white people do mental health. Black women and black men are just as likely to deal with trauma. My goal is to let them know that there are people who look like them and understand who they are and where they come from that can help. That’s what the Fuller Life is all about.” h

Acknowledging National Black Excellence

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VaShaun Nicole Group By Ellen Richardson Photos Provided by Chanel Wells-Henderson

“I didn’t plan on becoming a serial entrepreneur... all of my businesses evolved from a need I saw in the community.” Successful businesswoman, VaShaun Mosby’s story is that of determination, hard work, and promise. Born and raised in Lexington, KY, she began her career in the corporate sector. VaShaun was a troubled youth who never went to college, yet she set her sights on working in the corporate sector. Without having a college degree and experience, she had to start at the bottom, and she did. She shares, “I worked from small beginnings, all the way to the vice president of Global Services and Operations before I was 30-years-old.” VaShaun had acquired 20 years of corporate experience before a last-minute ultimatum led her to a new beginning in the world of entrepreneurship. “While I enjoyed corporate life, a new path began forming for me when I received an email that said my entire department would be shipped to the Philippines. As a newly divorced single mother with two small children, I realized I had a significant decision to make.” After understanding that she had already received the skills and talents necessary to gamble on herself, this decision quickly turned into an entrepreneurial venture, VaShaun Nicole Enterprises. VaShaun Nicole Enterprises is a minority, woman-owned publishing house and marketing firm that was born from her personal story. “When I started my own business, I wanted to do so by telling my personal story of overcoming struggles,” she said. Her story would begin while growing up with a father who was a sniper and a mother who was a preacher. Together, VaShaun says they raised a troubled child who even faced jail time at one point. That was before VaShaun would find her life being dug from the ashes and climbing the ladder of success.

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“I may have been a young kid whose past even included facing 25 years in prison at the age of 19. Still, I always tell anyone who will listen to not let your past dictate your future because you could be the person that others look to for advice and encouragement.”

After publishing my first book, Behind Her Eyes, VaShaun was offered a deal from Barnes & Noble and Joseph-Bell Booksellers in Lexington, KY. There she participated in a series of tours and inspirational book signings. That experience was what she needed and opened her eyes to more opportunities. She hoped her writing would serve as encouragement for women, and soon she was on her way to publishing her second book alongside Angela Allen-Johnson. Entitled 365 Days of Attacks but God, this devotional is written from a mother and daughter’s perspective and allows readers to experience the highs and lows of becoming who God called them to be. VaShaun’s entrepreneurial journey would continue. She reveals she learned there was more to her life than just making people feel good. After giving birth to her second business, she officially launched VaShaun Nicole Consulting. “My second chance to become a successful entrepreneur stemmed from my love of helping people learn their God-given abilities. Today, our alternative staffing organization focuses on those who have criminal backgrounds or lack the professional skills necessary to scale the corporate ladder,” she shares. As VaShaun continued to climb the entrepreneurial ladder, she began to see other needs within her local community that would eventually spawn her newest business creation. Vauntech Solutions, a minority-owned tech startup, creates innovation and social services spaces that help provide the information necessary for people to meet their basic needs. Her fourth venture came about due to challenges she was already facing within her existing businesses. “As I began to grow in entrepreneurship, I noticed others within this field were not adapting within the professional setting and could not effectively present their small business,” she says. This revelation gave the “queen of entrepreneurship” the idea for VaShaun Nicole Advisors. This advisory company offers professional development for new business owners and those who may need to brush up on their skill sets. VaShaun uses 130 classes and other workshops, all based on what she learned during her time in the corporate and entrepreneurial sectors. As VaShaun continues to follow a path toward philanthropy, she remains committed to building up others who look just like her. “I may have been a young kid whose past even included facing 25 years in prison at the age of 19. Still, I always tell anyone who will listen to not let your past dictate your future because you could be the person that others look to for advice and encouragement,” she says. Please visit her website for more information about VaShaun Mosby and any of her four effective businesses.

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HuamiMagazine.com Denver - Sept./Oct. 2022


Tolbert Consulting Group “Falling Forward”

For Julius Tolbert, entrepreneurship is in his DNA. As the oldest of four, he grew up in a family of business-minded people. “I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My granddaddy was in the logistics industry. He owned his own trucking company. My mother was an interior designer, my uncle had his own trucking business, and my grandmother was the family bookkeeper. So, I understood from an early age what entrepreneurship meant. Everything wasn’t always peaches and cream. I was exposed to the good, the bad, and the ugly when it came to growing businesses as a minority in the south,” Julius explains. “The most important lesson I learned was that falling is part of succeeding. Just as long as you fall forward.” Growing up, Julius says his grandparents were his biggest influence. “Being the oldest grandchild, although we all were exposed to that enterprising spirit to some degree, I would say I had a little more first-hand experience.” When Julius was fourteen, he moved in with his grandparents, whom he credits as the center of their family’s business prowess. “My grandparents ran a fully functioning business. My grandfather was also a driver, so he was away often. I spent most of the time with my grandmother, who ran the day-to-day operations that make or break a business,” he says. The expectation was that Julius would grow up and work in the family business, but he had plans of his own. “Watching my grandmother made me realize there was more to being a business owner than selling a product or providing a service. I think that’s why I focus on the behind the scenes work. The business behind the business.” Julius is putting the lessons he learned as a child to good use. He has two consulting companies: Tolbert Consulting Group and Cornbread Consulting Firm and co-founder of Black Economic Mobility Coalition. “Tolbert Consulting Group is a nationally recognized business credit and funding company. We help entrepreneurs that are serious about getting their business started the right way the first time. We help with everything from business coaching, business funding, payroll, and bookkeeping. Our goal is to give business owners the support they need to succeed. Cornbread Consulting Firm work specifically with small business owners that are in the hospitality industry. We assist restaurant, food truck, catering company owners get in business, turnaround existing business, and/ or franchise concepts. Then there is the Black Economic Mobility Coalition which is very similar to a chamber of commerce. Our mission is to identify, address and remove barriers to economic prosperity for black business owners. All three companies were birthed from the experiences and challenges he faced along the way.

His journey has had its significant highs and lows, but now he wants to help others fall forward. Julius has always known who and what he wanted to be in life. He just had to carve his own path. Not one to take the traditional route, Julius decided the military was the best path forward. “After high school, I joined the Navy. During my time, I went through two six-month deployments. I gained knowledge and exposure I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else during my travels. I saw myself and Black America from a different perspective. I have to say it definitely affected me,” he shares. As someone who already had plans, he says his time abroad helped shape and define his vision for the future. “When you live in the same place around the same people all the time, it’s hard to imagine a different kind of life. My time away allowed me to open my mind to the possibilities of what could be.” The unfortunate side of life in black communities is that it may be hard to do anything but worry about surviving. Julius decided he couldn’t live with the status quo. When he returned home, he was full of dreams and plans for the kind of world he wanted to live in and contribute to, but his ideas weren’t met with the excitement and support he was hoping for. He says, “After having the opportunity to experience other cultures and communities, my creative juices were overflowing. I wanted to push the boundaries and show my community that we don’t have to travel the world to experience it. However, I was met with a lot of resistance and close-mindedness. I kept hearing, “Aye, bro, ain’t nobody gonna come to that around here…” Thankfully, Julius wasn’t easily dissuaded.

Watching my grandmother made me realize there was more to being a business owner than selling a product or providing a service. I think that’s why I focus on the behind the scenes work. The business behind the business.

By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Julius Tolbert

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Along with his time in the military, another important factor that pushed him to think about the longevity of a business was the loss of his grandfather. “My grandfather stepped in during a crucial time in my life. He took on the role of father and mentor. He taught me about business etiquette and how to dress and be addressed. He taught me how to conduct myself in professional settings, and even how to talk and handle business in meetings,” Tolbert explains. “He taught me to make sure I do everything in excellence. People will remember you if you take pride in everything you do.” Using his grandfather’s wisdom, Julius went from an entry level position in restaurant all the way to the corporate offices. “It was never my intention to build a career. I wanted to build knowledge. I took advantage of every opportunity to learn a new skill. I worked at several restaurants as I continued to climb the ladder. That’s how I worked my way out of the kitchen to become a corporate manager overseeing a region of restaurants.” Julius was being paid to learn how to flip, manage, and maintain a restaurant successfully. He was learning restaurant hospitality from the inside out. “My first leap into the deep end of entrepreneurship was when a partner and I opened Cornbread to Caviar Catering, which later became a fully operational restaurant,” he says. Like most chain restaurants, the employees seldom met or had a relationship with the owners. Julius and the chef of the restaurant he was overseeing decided they were done training people to become their boss or compete for their jobs, so they struck out on their own and opened Cornbread to Caviar. He shares, “Our concept was a southern-inspired menu presented with a touch of elegance and creativity. So that’s what we did, or at least where we started. We kicked off our catering company with networking events like First Fridays.” These events weren’t just for the locals. Julius and his partner had a targeted audience. “We were intentional with our invitations. We invited corporate department heads, University chairs, and others we knew had influence with their companies. As a result, we were awarded their catering contracts.” From there, Cornbread to Caviar grew into a full-service restaurant, and Julius did well for a while. The restaurant earned Best New Restaurant 2009 and at a tender age of twenty-five, he was part owner and operator of a restaurant making over seven figures per year. Then the effects of the recession hit. We went from doing $1.5 million a year in sales to $750,000, but I was operating as if we were still making $1.5 million. At this point, I realized there were areas of running a business that I didn’t know. I was running way above cost and bleeding money.” In 2008, Julius lost his grandfather and mentor. So, it was a fatality of the economic recession without any guidance on how to make the adjustments needed to keep the restaurant above water. “I struggled with self-doubt and depression when the restaurant closed. That experience taught me a critical lesson. Success isn’t how great the business is doing right now. Real success is how well the business will be doing ten and twenty years down the road.” To say he landed on his feet is an understatement. One of the reasons Julius started his restaurant consulting business that caters to small companies is because, after twenty years in the hospitality industry, he learned what the mom and pops need to know. “I have essentially taken all my years of experience with corporate restaurant chains and made it available to the little man. I share all the processes and tools the big boys use to maintain continued growth with my clients. I never want anyone to find themselves in the position I did.”

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It doesn’t matter what your business is; knowledge is power. Julius and his associates are here to make sure you have the power to live your entrepreneurial dreams successfully. He can’t guarantee you won’t fall, but he will help you use the momentum to fall forward. h


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HuamiMagazine.com Denver - Sept./Oct. 2022


Trudi B. Parson

“I Have One Goal...... To Get The Job Done” By DorJae’ McClammey Photos Provided by Luguzy Adkins of L.A. Photography

She is Coach Trudi B. Parson. Marketplace Minister, educator, generational debt eraser, generational wealth builder, business launch coach extraordinaire, CEO and Founder of Fortify | The Business Launch Firm, and International Empowerment Speaker. Trudi B. Parson seamlessly does it all. Coach Trudi has been a business owner for over 24 years and a full-time entrepreneur for eight years. She currently resides in Greensboro, NC, but is a native of the small town of Ramseur, NC. Coach Trudi attended Liberty University and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Religion and Criminal Justice and a Masters in Human Services with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy. Now back in school, her goal is to receive her doctorate in Business with a concentration in Organizational Leadership at North Central University. One of Coach Trudi’s brands, Fortify | The Business Launch Firm, was birthed out of the need to help her clients secure a life of abundance via the avenues of business, relationships, spirituality, and politics. “Securing your life from the inside out where external factors don’t determine the kind of life you want to live, I help others understand that you control that,” she says. Each business that Coach Trudi has created has experienced sustainable success. While each company is unique, three of them partner under the umbrella of Fortify | The Business Launch Firm, a strategy she implemented to ensure clients had access to all the resources needed to make their business sustainable. Fortify | The Business Launch Firm is a comprehensive coaching firm offering everything a business owner needs. They provide business tax preparation and planning, and group business coaching, grant discovery and writing, alternative business funding, business conferences, retreats, masterclasses and mastercourses.

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Like many other new businesses, Fortify | The Business Launch Firm officially launched during the Covid pandemic. Coach Trudi shares she became aware of how business owners were panicking due to the pandemic’s effect and impact. In her response, she developed solutions that taught business owners how to remain successful and helped several launch new businesses. “I taught them how to pivot into a continuation of the revenue they normally would make, yet in a different way,” she says. Fortify | The Business Launch Firm also offers five different master classes. One of them, #Buildit, is a 30-day program that helps develop an idea and connect its purpose to serve while creating a high level of monetization simultaneously. #LaunchU is Coach Trudi’s original threeday masterclass filled with foundational information that she believes businesses need when facing the challenges of a “brick wall”. #Fundit is all about the money and focuses on getting businesses adequate funding. This includes helping to find loans, obtain grants, gain government contracts, and more. Finally, the #LaunchU52 component is a year-long coaching subscription for established or aspiring entrepreneurs ready to start or expand their businesses. “When you enroll in #LaunchU 52, I will take you under my wing and teach, advise, and coach you based on what I’ve learned as an entrepreneur,” she says. As previously stated, Coach Trudi believes everyone hits a brick wall, and she is no different. Before starting Fortify, Coach Trudi helped her mother run her tax business. When her mother passed, she took over the company full-time. This was a difficult moment in Coach Trudi’s life. She shares that while everything was going fine, she began to feel like she was settling. “The business had plenty of clients, but times were changing. Realizing that I had hit my wall by failing to pivot the company into a new age, I overcame that struggle by deciding to no longer be stuck and let the growth happen,” she says. More than anything, Coach Trudi loves seeing the success of other people and seeing them take control of their lives. “I love seeing other people create the life that they love,” she says. She also loves knowing that she is a part of helping them take accountability for creating their financial freedom and being ok with accepting the responsibility and courage to do so. Coach Trudi’s shares that she finds inspiration in understanding her purpose in life. “The good, bad, and ugly all work together for my good. Knowing my purpose has kept me from falling into the distraction of disappointment. If you’re not careful, you can let your distraction be your main attraction, and your disappointment will distract you if you settle in it,” she shares. “When you walk in your life’s purpose, sometimes it will cost you everything, but it will be so worth it when you understand that your life is not your own, and what you experience is not for your purpose, it’s for God’s purpose.”

To learn more about Trudi B. Parson, please visit her website.

www.trudibparson.com

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In the future, Coach Trudi says she expects to expand internationally as an empowerment speaker and business launch coach and corporate consultant. She shares that these expansions will take place in countries with a lack and need for such services. In addition, she plans to establish global business incubators. As for Fortify, Coach Trudi is looking to start more retreat-based master courses that will minimize time but maximize the monetization of services by engaging more with groups of people, small businesses, and corporate leaders. In 2023, she hopes to share her Fortify strategies for success with churches. Her last piece of advice is aimed at the savvy and determined business owner. “When opportunities fail to present themselves, you must be willing to create your own opportunities.” h


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MAGAZINE

Cutest Baby

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