Huami Magazine Greenville/Spartanburg Sept./Oct. 2022

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Sept./Oct. 2022 Volume 4 Issue 7

Tolbert Consulting Group Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022


Commercial Lending

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

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

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 andthe avoid any form of an altercation. No matter what A Letter from Editor 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 vitaldidn’t to share our thoughts Godhopes What if tomorrow arrive? All of yourwith plans, beforehand and confirm His viewpoint because God’s plan and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. Whatisif greater than anything I can decide for myself. everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy Like most people, thrill of victory is generally the reason why day, and you the could spare someone the trouble of making I compete or fight. Also, if you areopportunity anything like me, I understand promises. What if your last seemingly expired that you may hate to lose, regardless of what is at stake. Yet, I am today? What would you do? learning that I must do a better job choosing my battles because, for the mostI’ve part, every battle not mine tolike fight. been told that is I often seem I doGod toodesires much. to fight for me, and He expects to not let go and enough allow Him toI’m do aHis thing. Honestly, I feel likeme I am doing and firm I’ve learned that the car drives better when He controls the wheel. believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me

that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would I recently celebrated my birthday, and to be honest; I celebrated for be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I the entire month. That was my choice because I love birthdays. I have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity also used that time to reflect on where I am in life and where I’ve is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge come from. I wanted to know what I am currently doing to get to to me is an adventure. What is the worst that can happen? where I ultimately want to be. What was revealed is my interests and If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn efforts were possibly pointed in the wrong direction. I learned that something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in while I am blessed, God is more concerned about those individuals return acquire life. 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 The best advice ever given to me happened when someone cooperative vessel are attributes of real greatness; that’s what God told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so spoke to me. I have pressed my way through doors with a key that only provided. I haveand alsobeliever learnedinthe difference between Livinghope my life as a Christian God means that I must me with whatmoments, life can burden with trust what God. God Evenblesses during the mostand difficult if I justme show as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and up for the fight and trust God while I am fighting, I will then see when to be Him move on my behalf. The things that I may be quiet, dealingbecause with and someone may get it confused determined to be unbearable may with being arrogant. actually amount to nothing once it’s placed in God’s hand. How will I ever Makeallow you tomorrow know if I don’t God to lead me? happen today, but most importantly it count. God has a plan andmake purpose for all Life is but a whisper andthan of us, and His plan is far greater put ourselves in aI get anythingwe wemust can imagine or think. position to hear what it is excited when I think about everything us. for me. His is God hastelling prepared greater, and all I have to do is trust His process and believe what He tells me.

Terry L. Watson Editor/Founder

Terry L. Watson 4


November/December 2014 Terry L. Watson

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

Tonya Dixon Bernard Smith Terry L. Watson Photographer Still Shots Photography Alana Allen Photographer Tamara Smith Todd Youngblood Jeuron Dove Photographer Luguzy Adkins Photographer Photographers Debra Attaway Photographer Perfect Lenz Photography Todd Youngblood Photography Shaw Photography Group Still Shots Photography Howard Gaither Photography Who Shotya Photography Layout (336)340-7844 Mykel Media Company Linda Bennett (336) 340-7844 HUAMI MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Mykel Media Company. Any reproduction of any portion of this publication is prohibited without written permission from the publisher prior to doing so. Mykel Media doesn’t accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication Greensboro, NCeditor by may be submitted to the 2022 All Rights Reserved E-mail at or to Mykel Media Company, LLC P.O. Box 20102 Greensboro, NC 27420 HUAMI MAGAZINE 2014 All Rights Reserved

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SEPT./OCT. 2022



Nurturing Connections LLC

Karen Bolden


On The Cover

Tolbert Consultant Group

Julius Tolbert

Homecoming Book

La-Donia Alford-Jeffers


My Life in Poems

John C. Johnson


Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Laney Williamson



Also Featured

Richard Steadwell It may have appeared to be a impossible mission, but he got it done. Learn more about his journey. Concord, NC


Bridget Speller She made the leap from a secure job into the world of entrepreneurship. Learn more about how she did it. Charlotte, NC


Trudi B. Parson She has one goal in mind and that is to get the job done. Learn more about her brand of business. Greensboro, NC



Greenville/Spartanburg - 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


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.” 8

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

Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022


Meet The Author of The HBCU Homecoming By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by La-Donia Alford-Jefferies For those living within the Greensboro, NC community, the annual North Carolina A&T State University Homecoming can easily become a tradition. It is regarded as the Greatest Homecoming On Earth, or GHOE, and draws thousands to the Triad area, many of who are seeking to reconnect, engage, celebrate, and cheer for the Aggies . For La-Donia Alford-Jeffries, an A&T alumnus has created a couple of books, The HBCU Homecoming and the HBCU ABCs, and hopes they will educate and inform current and future HBCU students on the significance and history of the HBCU experience. At a young age, she was taught the importance of Historically Black Colleges and Universities by her mother and father, and has attended HBCU Homecomings regularly since the age of three. Her mother worked for 40 years as a full-time professor at an HBCU, and her father is an alum of A&T. She recalls how she attended A&T football games with her father and continues to sit in his lifetime stadium seats. As a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and Fort Valley State University, La-Donia continues to advocate for HBCUs. After having children, La-Donia was inspired to share her family’s experience of attending HBCU Homecomings with families around the world. Additionally, she is a former Adjunct Professor at A&T, and currently serves as the Chief of Staff for the National Organization for Women and advocates for equality.


Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022

La-Donia says she decided to write her books in 2015, but the first book was eventually published in 2019. The HBCU ABCs was self-published in 2022. “When I was pregnant with my first child, I began looking for a children’s book that would help me explain homecoming and the HBCU culture to my children. There were some HBCU children’s books, but none specifically talked about homecoming. So I decided to write one. With the success of the homecoming book, I wanted to continue the story and highlight HBCU culture for children. I then wrote and published the HBCU ABCs to tell the story of what happens after homecoming. I wanted to explain the different aspects of college for children and highlight why HBCU’s are far from inferior institutions,” she says. La-Donia says what she loves most about sharing her books is showing children what it’s like to attend an HBCU, even if they have never been on a college campus. “I’ve seen children light up when I’ve read both books. They become full of questions that lead to a discussion of higher education,” she shares. The response to her books has been wonderful. Essence magazine listed her book as one of the 50 “must read” Black Children’s and Young Adult books of the past 50 years. The production, Because of Them We Can, featured the HBCU Homecoming book, calling it “If “A Different World” had a children’s book, this would be it.” La-Donia’s parents have played a huge role in her life as they have been a part of the Greensboro community for over 20 years. They have made an impact through education, community leadership, and service and have not only supported La-Donia and her brother on their HBCU journey’s, but they have helped others attend college and have always talked about the importance of attending an HBCU. In the future, La-Donia says she plans to continue to share her stories and encourage all children to be confident. She also plans to help children learn about the opportunities available through higher education. To learn more about La-Donia and her books, please visit her website. h 11

Nurturing Connections LLC

Supervised Visitation Services 12

Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Debra Attaway Photography Karen Bolden of Greenville, SC, has always been interested in helping others. Though her initial area of study in college was criminal justice, her focus changed to Social Work after determining that punishment, not rehabilitation, was the primary focus. Karen has over 20 years of experience working with children and families in need. She is a wife to James Bolden, and mother to Zion and Carter. She was born and raised in Clinton, SC, and graduated from Winthrop University with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. After graduating from Winthrop University, she began working with juvenile sex offenders and later with children in group home facilities. She has worked for the South Carolina Department of Social Services for 12 years as a foster care case manager, foster home licensing specialist, and as foster care supervisor. After leaving DSS, she worked as a liaison between DSS and the families who needed their services. Her goal was to help develop a plan to ensure that children and families were getting their needs met to have a safe and prosperous life without further DSS involvement. A large part of that role involved reaching out to family members to take temporary custody of the children. Finding relatives and assessing their homes was something Karen says she enjoyed. As a result, she became a Certified Investigator and began completing home assessments for relatives. Today, Karen is the owner of Nurturing Connections LLC. Nurturing Connections LLC is a supervised visitation service that provides a trained professional to monitor the contact between a non-custodial parent and their child and ensures the child’s safety during the visit. Supervision is often court ordered when there is a significant safety concern involving alleged child abuse/neglect, domestic violence, parental substance abuse, unsafe parenting practices, threat of abduction, or parental alienation. She says, “That name was chosen because I believe it is important for families to not only have supervised visits, but have an opportunity to make new memories together and nurture their connections, both new and old.” Karen shares that ongoing parental involvement can foster healthy emotional and social development for children and positive parent/child relationships. Nurturing Connections LLC provides supervised visits in public locations, and in the home of the non-custodial parent or relatives. Karen’s company also has flexible service hours designed to accommodate various school and work schedules.


“I have been blessed with two amazing sons, the most important people in my life. I love to spend time with them and watch them grow into young men. I could not imagine not having the ability to see them daily and play a crucial role in their upbringing.”

Karen Bolden Nurturing Connections LLC 864-501-4017


So how did Karen get started? She says, “When I worked at DSS, a major part of working with families involved in foster care was ensuring that they have visitation with their families at least twice a month for one hour each visit. That limited amount of time is not enough to maintain family connections and relationships; however, that was all that DSS was able to offer. During that time, I also spent a lot of my time at family court. While waiting for a hearing, I met and befriended a private Guardian Ad Litem, Nela Laughridge. She mentioned needing someone to supervise visits on a private custody case, and I immediately offered my services. Based on my background and experience, she agreed to allow me to work with her on the case. That first case consisted of an 8-hour visit every weekend and was held in public and at the grandmother’s home. I worked with that family for several years until my services were no longer needed, and I continued to work with different families for about eight years, strictly as a side hustle. In February 2021, my contract job as a Certified Investigator ended, and would lead to me eventually stepping out on faith and creating my own opportunity.” Today, Nurturing Connections LLC currently serves families in counties within Greenville, Spartanburg, Laurens, and Anderson, SC. Karen says what she loves most about her business is watching the relationships between children and their absent parents improve. “When visits start, it can be awkward between the child and their parent, but with consistent visits and positive interactions, relationships almost always improve,” she says. She finds inspiration in the connection she has with being a parent herself. “I have been blessed with two amazing sons, the most important people in my life. I love to spend time with them and watch them grow into young men. I could not imagine not having the ability to see them daily and play a crucial role in their upbringing. I love watching them and seeing the positive relationship they have with their father, and having strong connections and bonds with family is important to the development of children,” she shared. Karen’s advice to anyone who may be considering a career in her profession is to have some experience or a background in working with children and families. She says having knowledge of family dynamics and the impact of divorce and custody issues will also be beneficial. “I would advise people not to get into this field strictly for the money. It would be best if you focused on the children and families that will benefit from your services,” she says. I-In the future, Karen says she plans to secure a brick and mortar location to offer supervised visits and co-parenting classes for participants. Please visit their website to learn more about Karen Bolden and Nurturing Connections LLC. h

Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022

Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022



Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022

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 self-employed 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. 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.



Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022

“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.” 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.”

“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 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.


I am Loc’d By Nature LLC 20

Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Bridget Speller Bridget Speller describes herself as a proud entrepreneur, author, and Business Coach. The Charlotte, NC, resident was born and raised in the small town of (Bertie) Windsor, NC. After graduating from high school in 2006, she attended and graduated from NC A&T State University in 2010. During her college years, she met the love of her life, Joseph Purington, and the couple has enjoyed each other for a total of 14 years, being married for nine of them. Together they share two beautiful daughters, Sage and Phoebe. With one of her business ventures, she serves as the owner and founder of Loc’d By Nature, LLC, a Natural and Organic Hair Care Product line. Bridget’s company creates natural hair care products, including shampoos, conditioners, Pomade, and oil treatments. They are uniquely designed to care for natural hair and locs. Bridget shares, “We promote growth and healthy hair. Our innovative line of organic products ensures quality and freshness.” The health of an individual’s hair and its impact on the environment are two of Loc’d By Nature’s biggest priorities. In addition to its haircare line, they have produced a plant-based pet care line designed for dogs, cats, and horses. This new line was launched in June 2022 and consists of shampoos, Pet Balms, and treats. One might ask how did the journey begin for Bridget and her companies. She says, Loc’d By Nature Hair Care was established in April 2020. She started in her home kitchen, mixing organic products as a hobby. She says, “My daughters are my why. Prior to the year 2020, I began to realize that I truly wanted to learn the science of our hair, especially since all three of us have different textures and hair types. I also wanted to ensure I was using nonharsh products on our hair. I’ve always noticed how beautiful our textures were, and I wanted to have a product line that could work perfectly for our hair and my husband. I later decided to have people with different textures try out my shampoo and give me their honest thoughts. I made up about four different formulas and once everyone tried them, their feedback helped me to determine what was working and what wasn’t. One that stood out was the peppermint and tea tree formula. In October 2020, I launched my “Mint Roots” Hair Care line of products online; the rest is history.”

“My daughters are my why. Prior to the year 2020, I began to realize that I truly wanted to learn the science of our hair, especially since all three of us have different textures and hair types. I also wanted to ensure I was using nonharsh products on our hair.”

Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022


Starting her company presented several challenges. Bridget had a great idea, but had no clue where the startup funds would come from. “I didn’t want to take on a business loan because that would involve debt and time. I also felt like I had to do everything myself as a new entrepreneur. I made the decision to avoid a business loan and use the salary from my job to get things moving. After working extra long hours, I was not only able to get the startup funds, but had enough to operate the business the first year,” she says. Although Bridget had been employed before, she knew that entrepreneurship was her true passion. She shares, “I was blessed to only have one job after graduating from college. I always loved the entrepreneur side but didn’t think it would happen. While working in the banking industry for 11 years, I experienced a short-term layoff, and I made lateral moves within the company to gain my dream “9 to 5” job. I endured many denials for positions I thought were a great fit for me. I became comfortable with my corporate salary job to the point where I was okay with retiring there. Sitting home during Covid for almost two years, God truly showed me my purpose. The spirit allowed me to sit down and figure out what Bridget wants. If it wasn’t for me working from home during the pandemic and writing out my wants, I probably would still be working my corporate job.” She resigned from her job in January 2022, became an author, and published her first book, “Attain Financial Freedom, Evolve as Entrepreneur. Loc’d By Nature has been very successful, so much so that Bridget and her husband decided to diversify their business portfolio. She says they noticed a shortage of rental cars and decided to create a business that would offer a solution to the shortage. That is how Regal Rental Cars came about in late September 2020. “Our goal was to make things easier and affordable for guests renting cars,” she shares. Outside of running multiple businesses, Bridget coaches other entrepreneurs on their purpose and shows them how to take their businesses to the next level. She also reiterates how important it is for her to leave a legacy for her children and generations that will follow. Her advice to others who may follow a path similar to hers is to put God first in anything you do and pray over your goals. “Remember, faith without works is dead. Manifest your life, and watch God work. Always know that success isn’t built overnight, and things take time.” Moving forward Bridget’s goal is to ensure the values and mission of each of her brands. She also plans to continue giving back to her community. “I love being a blessing to others,” she says. To learn more about Bridget Speller and her brands, please visit her website. h 22

Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022


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.


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.

Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022


Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022



Cutest Baby


Laney Williamson The daughter of Elise Blackmon and Dante Williamson

To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature, please send a detailed email to

Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022

It Started With A Dream

Iris Magano

By Terry L. Watson Photo Provided by Iris Mangano In the fall of 2019, Iris Mangano found herself at a crossroads. She had just left her job at a local HBCU to begin working at her “dream job” with a local Engineering & Technical Consulting firm. There she worked in Human Resources; however, on April 1, 2020, she was let go due to the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic. Discouraged and upset, but still a woman of strong faith, she began to pray, asking God for a new job. There was a sense of urgency in her request because Iris had bills that needed to be paid soon. She applied for at least 15 positions online within one week but got no response. Still, Iris kept praying and believing. A few weeks later, Iris had a dream one night. Her dream involved an unrecognizable man appearing as a security guard at her door. She says that with a knock on the door, she received a revelation that would change the trajectory of her life. “The dream I had encouraged me to be confident within my own abilities. The message in my dream reminded me that I’ve always had the keys to unlock my success. I woke up the next morning and knew what I was supposed to do,” she says. The dream that Iris had led to the birth of Beauty Butttah Skincare, LLC. Though her company didn’t officially launch until May 2020, Iris says her journey began a long time before then. “I had already begun practicing natural skincare production during my natural hair journey in 2009, making my own hair oils and butters. I also made Skin Butters from Shea Butters purchased at local beauty supply stores in an effort to solve my dry skin concerns,” she says.

Beauty Buttah Skincare, LLC is a black woman-owned skin and body care products company based in Greensboro, NC. They offer handmade premium self-care products that are healthy, effective, natural, and organic. Their products are made with quality natural plant-based butters and essential oils. They also offer a wide variety of body butters, body scrubs (sugar/salt/foaming), body oils, handmade soaps, body washes, facial care products, feminine hygiene products, men’s grooming care products, and natural hair care products. Being an entrepreneur is something that Iris says she loves. She also appreciates the positive feedback from her clients who share how well her products work. Running her business has a lot of things attached to it. “I am doing this for my kids. I do what I do with the hope of building a legacy they can participate in and be proud of,” she says. And with her kids’ assistance, she is able to keep her business running. She shares who they help with packing and shipping and are often present at pop-up shops and events. The future is encouraging and broad for the BBS brand. “We are currently on Walmart Marketplace Faire and soon to be Amazon. I want to continue to broaden my customer reach all around the globe. You will see BBS products on the shelves of Walmart, Target, Marshall’s, and many local beauty stores and spas in 2023. We are entertaining a location to be used as a showroom and as a pick-up site for local residents to gain access to our products,” she says. h



Greenville/Spartanburg - 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.

Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022


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.


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

Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022



Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022

Real Estate, Finance, and Dance....... I Do A Lot By Terry L. Watson - Photos Provided by Kara White

While Phoenix, AZ, is widely known for its often sweltering climate, someone else is blazing their own path in the black business community and helping others succeed along the way. Her name is Kara White. The young and ambitious entrepreneur wears many hats, including that of a real estate agent, financial planner, dance instructor, and director of a nonprofit organization. Kara was born and raised in Chicago, IL. In 2002, she decided to make the cross-country trek to the Desert Valley in search of a new start. That same year, she received her real estate license and followed that by becoming a licensed broker in 2009. She shares how her journey began, an experience wrapped in surprise and purpose. “While on a trip with my mother, I talked with an owner of a real estate agency. They offered me a job and even offered to cover the cost of my real estate license. However, as soon as I received the license, I left the resort gracefully and began building my clientele,” she says. Due to the ever-changing real estate market, Kara had to reinvent herself. That’s how one of her products, Kara’s Wealth Consultant, was developed, which spawned another product, Get the Money Friend. In this brand, “F.R.I.E.N.D.” is an acronym for “Financial Consultation, Real Estate, Investments, Planning, Notary Public Services, and Debt Elimination. She also offers credit consultation with services that include Credit Report Review, a Credit Repair DIY Kit Guide, and Income Protection and Budget Review. While she has demonstrated an astute business understanding, Kara’s talents expand beyond the entrepreneurial sector. She is the former Miss Arizona International. Her platform and influence were carried over into her nonprofit organization, Live Love Dance Inc. Its focus is to empower youth and lead them to live healthy, strong, and fulfilled lives via the performing arts. It also provides workshops, empowerment sessions, galas, fundraising, private lessons, and community service events. Kara shares she has always had a passion for dance. “When I was 11 years old, my first job was as a dance assistant. I quickly rose in rank from an assistant to teaching my own class. I’m disciplined in all seven dance forms, with contemporary dance being my favorite. I favor this style more because it incorporates the basics such as ballet and the freeing movement fundamentals of jazz and modern dance,” she says.

Kara’s genuine love to see others succeed is an attribute that comes into play in her personal and professional life. “I am committed to helping others, and my business endeavors must positively impact my community. The different experiences I’ve gained have allowed me to not only help others, but I’ve benefited from those that I serve, pouring back into me,” she says. The life of an entrepreneur can present unique challenges, and Kara has also experienced her share. She says that times can get complicated, but during those moments, she has to search deep within and find a way to stay positive and keep moving. “Despite my challenges, I am committed to living in the moment. I try to live and be present because time is whatever you think it is and whatever you create. I often tell others not to dwell on the past or focus too much on the future because they don’t know what will or might happen. We must live in the moment,” she says. On top of being able to help others, Kara also loves that she doesn’t have to conform to anything. Whether it’s her money world or dance world, she’s able to be personable while working at the same time. She also loves being able to work with a team of great people. As life moves forward for Kara, she expects to be involved in more endeavors and hopes to launch an event planning business. She also plans to expand her brand, Kara’s Wealth Consultant, and continue spreading financial advice in her community. Additionally, plans to continue to promote and grow Live Love Dance Incorporated. Their signature gala fundraiser is coming up in October, with proceeds going towards dance scholarships. For anyone looking to follow in Kara’s footsteps, her number one piece of advice is this; no one is going to be better at being you than you. She says, “Don’t try to be me, be better than me, be better at being you than me.” Please visit her website to learn more about Kara White and h her great endeavors. 35


Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022

Greenville/Spartanburg - Sept./Oct. 2022


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