Huami Magazine Houston Nov./Dec. 2023

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Nov./Dec. 2023 Vol. 2 Issue 3

Tracy Thompson Speaks Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023


Elevate your style with A Few Wood Men’s empowering wooden watches!


Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023


Your Voice is Your Ticket A Letter From The Editor

Everything that will come to us in life is connected to our voice. The word of God shares there is power in what we speak. We can speak about things that can change our outlook and circumstances: greatness, healing, abundance, prosperity, deliverance, victory, etc. With the same voice, we have the option to speak of detriment and destruction. I am reminded of what my mother told me as a young boy, “Be careful what you say”. When faced with adversity throughout my life, the outcome has always been connected to what I said. Whatever thought I allowed to reside in my mind about a situation, my actions would align with it. If I believed that I could win, I won; if I thought I couldn’t, I did not. It all came down to what I spoke to myself. Imagine the challenges and adversity Brain Surgeons face within their profession. They are asked to care for patients who have suffered trauma to their head that involves bleeding, swelling, and ultimately life-threatening conditions. The degree of difficulty in their actions within the operating rooms is off the meter; still, they must remain calm and complete their assignment. If the surgeons spoke doubt and were unable to care for their patients, they would fail. They would fail if they allowed fear and disbelief to dictate their actions. Instead, they must speak with assurance, and by doing so, their confidence in their abilities will arise. It all comes down to what they speak to themselves. God speaks to us, and He doesn’t expect us to be quiet. Whatever you want and need, open your mouth and speak. Your body language should speak for you. How we treat others speaks for how we feel about ourselves. You will only go as far in life as your voice will take you. Terry L Watson


Terry L. Watson Monica Montgomery Marrissa Dick Dorjea’ McClammey

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Your voice is your ticket to the greatness that God promises. Speak about what you expect to happen in both moments of gaining and relinquishing and giving and receiving, as the impact effect is the same. We must use the voices God gives us, as it pleases Him when we do.

Terry L. Watson 4

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NOV./DEC. 2023


Dipped N Color Splat Studio

Monet Dyson

On The Cover

Tracy Thompson Speaks Tracy Thompson


Radiant Dreams & Gifts

Charronda Hairston



StyleStudio Branding


Huami Magazine Cutest Baby


Kristopher Williams

Autumn Thornton

Also Featured

Lisa J. Crawford She is known as the Hospitality Maven. In this edition she shares more information from members of her profession. Nashville, TN


Dr. Marty K. Casey The community of St. Louis has an advocate who is committed to making a positive impact. Learn more about her. St. Louis, MO


Tyler Williams Who says that good food has an age requirement? Lean more about the founder of The Cooking Besties. Indianapolis, IN




Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Tracy Thompson Speaks By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Tracy Thompson When she opens her mouth, It is a great idea to listen. Tracey Thompson of Houston, TX, is a woman of many talents. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is an author and a woman who believes that knowledge is power. Tracy shares, “My family is indescribable; they are unique. They are often associated with various aspects, including love, support, belonging, shared experiences, and mutual responsibilities. Additionally, they are commonly characterized by a deep and unconditional love.” Tracy is also the face of Tracy Thompson Speaks. Her company offers various business solutions, including virtual office space, meeting facilities, print and promotional materials, marketing and branding, public relations, social media management, business coaching, financial literacy, credit repair, and real estate funding. “My products are designed to propel every entrepreneur,” Tracy shares. “The Thompson Enterprise is here to serve the entrepreneur on the rise. We serve dreamers who simply need to understand the step-by-step process for achieving their next goal.” Tracy says she started her entrepreneurial journey in high school. She was doing hair every weekend and changed courses because she wanted to be a mortician. Then, she changed up again and decided to start a few businesses as well. With her degree in hand, she launched her mortgage business. Seventeen years later, Tracy opened a total of five businesses, and with that success, she retired from corporate America.


Tracy says she loves the opportunity her companies provide her to help and serve others. “Helping people is what we are designed to do. If I can change one person’s life, I pray they will also pay it forward,” she shares. One might ask what pushed Tracy to be the entrepreneurial force she is today. Her response is very clear. “My financial situation impacted my life. It forced me to be persistent and consistent in changing my situation. Our situations are in God’s hands. If you continue to push through the trials, your situation can change. I wanted to see that change, so I knew I had to make an effort. With prayer and me trusting the process, it was changed.” Tracy says her family, including her husband, kids, and other family members, inspire her to be all she can be. “They provide emotional support, care, and affection. I love getting those morning texts; my kids are my true cheerleaders. My husband always inspires me to push harder and to go to the next level, and with him on my side, how can I not go harder,” she says. Additionally, Tracy acknowledges her mom, dad, sister, and nieces as a constant source of love and support. “My family offers a sense of belonging and creates a safe and nurturing environment where individuals can find love, acceptance, and understanding. We are a crazy bunch, but I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.” Building her brand has required a lot of resilience and patience from Tracy, yet, she says, she wouldn’t change how things have occurred. “Trials and tribulation are meant to push your journey. If you didn’t have any hiccups, how would you learn? I look back over the years, and the growth I see now is remarkable; I know God is always in control, so I know there is more to come, and I am ready for it,” she says. Tracy’s plans for the future include continuing her quest to be a bridge for those who might be unsure of their next financial step. From blended families to entrepreneurs, she says her team is working to roll out programs that make accessing those solutions easy. She concludes by professing that 2024 is going to be an amazing year. We concur.


Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

“The Thompson Enterprise is here to serve the entrepreneur on the rise. We serve dreamers who simply need to understand the step-by-step process for achieving their next goal.” 9


Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Splat Studio By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Monet Dyson Monèt Dyson of Sacramento, CA, is a young and vibrant entrepreneur. At just 25, she has formed a business that is making waves and splashes in the heart of Old Sacramento’s business sector. It is called Dipped N Color Splat Studio. A mother of a five-year-old and an employee of the State of California, Monèt shares the vision for the company was revealed to her after a lifechanging experience of being struck by a drunk driver in 2019. “I was reminded of the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing every moment. This awakening prompted me to set aside my career and embrace the role of a stay-at-home mom, caring for my then 10-month-old child.”

“Becoming a mom allowed me to return to my inner child and see life through his lens.”

While the prospect of being home with her child, she says, was beautiful, it also brought to the forefront the challenges of her personal healing journey. Monèt grappled with anxiety, trying to connect with her child while simultaneously dealing with the physical, mental, and emotional toll of her recovery. Upon returning to work, she found herself caught in a balancing act, juggling motherhood, a full-time job, and the dream of building a business. The demanding schedule left little time for self-care, and the guilt of spending precious moments away from her son weighed heavily on Monèt. “In an effort to spend more quality time with my child, we began painting together. These creative experiences not only provided an outlet for reducing my stress and anxiety but also forged a profound connection with him,” Monèt says. Monèt really enjoys the privilege of being a mother to her son. She says, “Without him, I would not have embarked on this journey. Becoming a mom allowed me to return to my inner child and see life through his lens. How he has so much wonder about the small things around him and how excited he gets. As I grew older, I forgot how much the small things around us matter, and I want other families to experience the joy and excitement together through art.”

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023


It was during one of these painting sessions that inspiration struck. Monèt envisioned creating pop-up paint events for other families to share the joy of art together. The success of her first painting event, which sold out, validated Monèt’s belief that she was on the right path. After organizing several successful pop-up family paint events and emerging victorious in the 2023 ‘Calling All Dreamers’ competition, Monèt seized the chance to establish a unique storefront. Rather than opting for a conventional art studio, Monèt created Dipped N Color Splat Studio, which welcomes individuals of all ages and skill levels. Dipped N Color Splat Studio is a place where messy or experimental art, such as splatter painting or unconventional techniques, is practiced. “Our mission is to inspire every parent and child to connect deeply and create freely. Their vision is to empower parents and children to embrace their individuality and celebrate diversity, allowing them to be their most creative and authentic selves. We focus on bringing people together while fostering a sense of community. We also provide a safe space for individuals to explore and express their artistic talents, which can be therapeutic and stress-relieving, something that is especially important in today’s fast-paced world,” Monèt said. What started as a simple idea born from a traumatic accident has now blossomed into a forward-thinking, creative brand and business.” Monèt says some of the challenges she has faced in business is managing it and wearing multiple hats, from operating the business, taking phone calls, emails, and responding to inquiries. “Those tasks are absolutely amazing but can become overwhelming at times. I’ve managed them by outsourcing, asking for help, and having boundaries.”

Dipped N Color Splat Studio 122 I Street Sacramento, CA 95814 916-312-1912

What Monèt loves most about what she does is the smiles on families’ faces when they learn about Splat Studio. “When they come and actually experience it, how much laughter I hear, playing, singing, and families bonding through art, really makes me happy,” she says. In addition to being inspired by her son, Monèt says she enjoys seeing families laugh together and get silly together at Dipped N Color Splat Studio. “We often forget to laugh, due to the daily hustle and bustle of life. Our space was created to provide a space to laugh and connect.” While there have been some tough moments along her way, Monèt says she wouldn’t change anything. “All the ups and downs and mistakes have brought me to where I am today,” she shares. Her advice to others who may follow in her footsteps is to just get started. “Stop second-guessing yourself and worrying about what others will say about you. At the end of the day, it is your life.” Moving forward, she plans to continue to grow her business, spreading joy, laughter, and creativity. If you are in the Sacramento, CA, area and looking for a new and exciting way to engage and have fun with your family and friends, please stop by Dipped N Color Splat Studio. You may learn more about them by visiting their website. h


Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023


Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Dr. The UnGun Institute By Monica Montgomery - Photos Provided by Dr. Marty K. Casey Dr. Marty K. Casey is the founder of the UnGUN Institute. This trauma-informed company specializes in helping people recognize and work through trauma issues using the arts as their platform of choice. “I am a singer, actor, playwright, and producer. I am a wife, a mother, and a grandmother. I have been blessed to perform and speak all over the country and different parts of the world. But before Marty was any of that, she was a teenager who was struggling with unresolved childhood trauma,” Dr. Casey explains. As a child, she and her older brother were exposed to the toxic relationship between her birth parents. “It was a loving home, but it was also very dysfunctional and toxic,” Dr. Casey shares. “Our father was a violent alcoholic. There was physical and mental abuse taking place in front of us regularly. The last fight I remember happened in front of our grandparent’s house. The police were called, and I watched from the second-story window as they picked my father up and put him in the trunk of the squad car because he was so out of control.” As an adult, Dr. Casey acknowledges that exposure to so much rage seeded anger and rage in her. “We are all products of our environment,” Casey explained. “Watching my father planted a seed in me. Whether he knew it or not, he modeled how I should respond to stress or frustration. The injury or wound caused by what we saw became trauma. It didn’t just happen around us; it happened inside us.” The laws of nature dictate that whatever you plant will bear fruit after its own kind. The wounding Dr. Casey experienced manifested through anger and a short temper. “Because anger was sown into me, that’s what came out,” she shared. “I was quick to, as they say, ‘match energy!’ If I felt disrespected, then I gave disrespect. The painful part is that it wasn’t who I wanted to be. But because I was carrying someone else’s hurts, anger, and fear, I couldn’t see myself. I was bound by the toxic layers put upon me.”

“We are all products of our environment....Watching my father planted a seed in me. Whether he knew it or not, he modeled how I should respond to stress or frustration.”

Living in a violently toxic home gave way to Casey’s tendency to respond to violence with violence, which was second nature. “In eighth grade, a girl slapped me, and I responded with the full weight of my wrath. The level of offense didn’t matter. It was violent, and I responded violently,” Casey explained. “Then, in ninth grade, a P.E. teacher stepped on my hand, and when I pointed it out, she told me my hand should have been in her way. I punched her and was suspended for ninety days.” Regular discipline issues in school started to take their toll on Casey, and she wanted to drop out. Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023


Dr. Casey’s mother, to whom she attributes her strength, faith, and love for community, stepped in and pushed her daughter in the direction that helped change her life forever. “When I told my mother I was dropping out of school, she told me she wouldn’t allow it. She pointed out that my brother had already dropped out of school, and somebody from their family was going to graduate from high school. She said in plain terms that it would be me,” Casey explained. Determined to ensure that her daughter completed high school, Casey’s mother moved the family to the Webster Groves area. “My mother had been remarried to my “Step-Up” father for two years, and the new house was closer to his job.” The issue with trauma is unless it is adequately dealt with, the triggers will yield the same response. Dr. Casey says, “I wasn’t at my new school thirty days before a young lady disrespected me. I beat her with my eyes closed, then ran home. By the time I arrived, the police were already there.” Not understanding that trauma is transferrable, Casey’s mother sought help for herself but couldn’t see the issues her children were having as a result of the violence they witnessed their mother going through.

A choir teacher at her new school recognized Casey’s talent and gave her some valuable advice. “She said, ‘You have a gift, and doors will open for you, but they will close just as quickly if you don’t change what is happening inside you.’ I was confused initially because I didn’t see the big picture. After thinking long and hard about it, I realized she was talking about my attitude. I had to stop responding to every provocation. I had to decide what was more important to me. Proving that I wasn’t going to take anybody’s crap or walk through some of those doors.” Casey wanted everyone in her new school to know that she wasn’t just a problem child but that she had a valuable gift. She wanted to be seen as different from all the other labels she’d worn before. “My choir teacher told me that if I stayed out of trouble until the Black History program, I could sing a solo. Finally, I had something to reach for. I wanted the school to hear me sing more than anything else. My principal made me a hall monitor to keep me focused and busy, and by February, I hadn’t gotten into trouble once.” Standing in front of her school, letting her gift speak for her, Casey had a revelation. “It was at that moment that I realized my true power. I didn’t have to fight with my fist to be seen or heard. I could fight with a microphone.”


Today, Dr. Casey teaches people how to heal through the arts. “I use the arts to help people locate their power so that they can heal on the inside. We call it UnGun because we say that trauma bullets cause wounds. I help people remove and resolve those trauma bullets and heal those wounds using their God-given power, gifts, and talents.” Dr. Casey, a St. Louis, Missouri native, is passionate about helping people heal from and deal with the traumas we all have encountered at some level. Although her doctorate is honorary, she has more than earned a Ph.D. in life studies through her personal experiences. “I’ve lived all of the St. Louis area. I often tell people that by the time I’d made it to the ninth grade, I had attended ten different schools,” Casey shares. After graduating high school, she earned a full scholarship to Missouri Baptist College to study music. Music was an integral part of Dr. Casey’s life as a teen. Her voice was a gift from God that would usher on to platforms worldwide, including activism. “I was the first African American female to be awarded a full music scholarship to Missouri Baptist College. I was also the first African American to become freshman class president there,” Casey shared proudly. “I went from being voted class clown in high school to class president in college,” Casey laughs. In January 1990, Dr. Casey’s leadership skills were tested, and her activism emerged. “I was upset when I discovered that Mo Bap didn’t recognize Dr. King’s birthday as a national holiday. I couldn’t understand that. As the freshman class president, I felt like it was a discussion that needed to be had,” she explained. “I decided I would rally the students.” Casey persuaded the students not to attend class in protest of the school not acknowledging Dr. King’s holiday. To prepare the troops, she did what she did best. She taught them to sing. “I taught them every song I could think of. This Little Light of Mine, We Shall Overcome, Stevie Wonders’ Happy Birthday (Dr. King), and just about anything else I could think of. We marched from the dorms to the classrooms and back, but we didn’t go to class,” Casey said. But her activism came at a price. “We marched, sang, and made our position known. Then the dean of students called me in and said, ‘If you don’t get everyone back to class, you will lose your scholarship.’ I told him I couldn’t lose something I’d never had.” Dr. Casey chose to stand her ground. Years later, when the Michael Brown unrest occurred, God showed Dr. Casey how to combine all she had learned through trauma recovery, entertainment, leadership, and activism and channel it into helping others. “After the Michael Brown incident, God told me to do the same thing I did in college. He told me to be a leader and a voice for the people,” Casey explains. “What happened was inhumane and wrong. That was the wound that rioters were angry about. We witnessed what happens when people are tired of being stripped of their humanity and told it’s their fault and what they deserve. Everyone deserves to be treated with basic human respect. It doesn’t matter where you live, who you are, how much money or education you have; everyone should give and receive human decency.”


“After the Michael Brown incident, God told me to do the same thing I did in college. He told me to be a leader and a voice for the people.” Answer the call to arms, Dr. Casey used the tools she had at her disposal and founded her 501c3 organization, Show Me Arts Academy, in 2014. The Academy worked with local community centers, churches, and schools. They aimed to help children find their voice and value through the arts. “The Show Me Arts Academy serviced over three thousand youth and children. We formed a choir of twenty students called the Spreading the Love Singers, and we traveled around the country doing pop-up concerts,” Casey exclaimed. “I felt it was important to let people know that genuine love and kindness still existed. My favorite concert was on the steps of the Dr. King Memorial. My activism started with wanting to honor Dr. King and all he stood for, so it was fitting that we sang there, where it all began.” Continuing to listen to the voice of God and follow her passion for helping youth find themselves through the arts, the UnGun program was born. “I was working with the Academy when God spoke again and told me that, while the Arts Academy was great, what about those whose living conditions and situations didn’t allow them the opportunity to take part in the Academy? So, I came up with the program UnGun.” The UnGun program took Dr. Casey behind the walls of the juvenile detention center. “I had the opportunity to work with eight boys assigned to me by the center. Their charges ranged from petty theft to murder and everything in between,” Casey explained. As Casey helped the young men focus on what they liked and loved about themselves, their talents surfaced, and they came alive. “With support and encouragement, they became DJs, rappers, and dancers. All while having the time of their lives! They were no longer just a description of their past deeds and poor decisions. I no longer saw their problems; I saw their purpose.” The UnGun program was eight weeks long. The students would prepare for seven weeks, then perform in the eighth week in front of their parents, staff, and inmates. 2017 was a crucial turning point for the program. “In 2017, a few days before the student showcase, I arrived at the facility and was told that one of the group leaders would not be able to perform due to a technicality. He had aged out of the juvenile system and was waiting to go before the court. He was so depressed about not being able to perform with the other team members that he stopped eating and speaking for three days. My heart was broken. They asked me to speak with him to see if I could get him to talk,” Casey explained. “The first thing I did was remind him of the tools and techniques we teach in UnGun. One is that the mind, body, and spirit collectively work together. There must be a balance. Then, I shared with him the most important component of that teaching. I told him they could lock up his body, but only he could lock up his mind. Set your mind free so that your body will follow. Then, be grateful to God for the life you have. I don’t know how much more time you will be given as an adult or if you will receive any additional time. I know that you will be a free man if you choose life. In that instant, I saw him move.” As a result of the interaction with that young man, Dr. Casey decided to incorporate UnGun and make it a business in 2020. “Guns kill, but UnGun heals.” Dr. Casey’s UnGun Initiative and curriculum are now in St. Louis city public schools and other organizations. The UnGun tools and techniques are taught by people with first-hand experience with Trauma and what it takes to be free of it. The presenters often start the conversation with their testimonies. “We do that because it does two things. It gives us credibility in the space and helps students by modeling how to have those difficult conversations with their peers.” The purpose of UnGun is to help identify the trauma first and then unpack it so the individual can heal. “Because trauma triggers are different for everyone, this is not a one-size-fits-all system,” Casey shares. “The U in UnGun is the individual.” When God seeded the idea of UnGun, Dr. Casey didn’t know how it would grow or become such a powerful tool for so many. “I have to admit, I was so surprised at the effectiveness of the UnGun Institute. We have had the honor and privilege to touch so many lives, but I believe much more work must be done.”

Dr. Marty K. Casey 18

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023



Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

StyleStudio Branding By Terry L. Watson - Photos Provided by Style Studio Branding Kristopher D. Williams. of Lavonia, Georgia is a graduate of Franklin Co. High School. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Computer Graphics and Web Development from Westwood College. Initially, he ventured into animation, but it became clear that God had another path in mind for Kris. He is the second youngest among my seven siblings, and he shares his family bonds are incredibly tight-knit. “Our parents always ensured that we never lacked for anything, working tirelessly to provide for us, even when the path seemed uncertain,” he says. Kris says his love for church runs deep, and within his family, a treasure trove of musical talents abounds. However, Kris’s talents extend beyond music, as he has found his footing with an ability to create art. “While I can carry a tune, I’m also known for my comedic antics,” he says. In Kris’s earlier years, he was a reserved artist, gradually finding his voice and honing his verbal communication skills. Kris is also a proud father to a 19-year-old son named Kristian, who recently graduated with top-notch grades. Kris’s journey with his wife, Miriam has a touch of serendipity. He shares, “We were high school sweethearts, but life led us on separate paths for a while. When I first met her, a friend introduced me to her while she was working at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Toccoa. I asked her to be my Valentine. I remember it like it was yesterday. My family and I just got out of bible study. We dated for a while, and sadly, we broke up. Years later, I happened to find her on Facebook, and now, twelve years down the road, we are still going strong, being happily married and living a purposeful life!” Today, Kris enjoys a career as a creative professional and photographer. The name of his company is StyleStudio Branding, and it offers a variety of products and services. In the realm of photography, he provides headshot photography, catering to individuals seeking to enhance their personal brand. He also offers product photography for business owners looking to promote tangible products. His services also include event photography for parties, weddings, or graduations. On the graphic design front, his services include print and digital design services. These services span the spectrum of business branding, event promotion, and sales advertising. Additionally, he specializes in creating eye-catching materials for trade shows and conferences to help his clients’ businesses make lasting impressions. Kris shares that he always had a creative spark within, even though he didn’t fully grasp its extent until later in life. “During my school days, I was renowned for my talent in sketching cartoons and designing names with vibrant, eyecatching letters and colors. As I ventured into college, my peers introduced me to the concept of freelancing. At that point, I was clueless about what freelancers did or how to become one, so I delved into research to gain insight. Little did I know that freelancing often involves working without immediate pay to build up one’s skills and experience. Next, I embarked on unpaid work to refine my abilities and gain a genuine understanding of what it takes to complete projects successfully. That experience marked a significant departure from my previous career in manufacturing, which had spanned nearly 13 years. I was determined to escape the monotonous grind and strive for the lifestyle I envisioned. If I ever wanted to support a family someday, I knew I couldn’t continue just scraping by,” he says.

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

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Kris says the birth of his son from a previous relationship brought life into sharper focus as I suddenly had the responsibility of providing for him. Fatherhood was uncharted territory, but Kris saw it as a divine push in the right direction. To cope with the emotional strain of adapting to his responsibilities, Kris turned to my artistic talents, sketching whenever I had a moment to spare. Life experiences would take Kris on a journey from different places of employment and even back to living at his parent’s home. While difficult at times, Kris didn’t lose hope and shared he kept praying for a better path. He started surrounding himself with people making strides in their lives, holding degrees, and pursuing the kind of opportunities he had only seen on television. Kris was eventually presented with an opportunity that would change the trajectory of his life. He knew he had to discuss it with his wife, and it also meant sacrificing many material possessions. “Despite those losses, I held firm in my faith that God would honor His promise to me: “Trust me.” Now, as I embark on my 13th year as a creative, the choice I made has been more than worth it. I have worked with clients big and small, building my career path to what it is today,” Kris says. Kris says his wife and son inspire him. Most importantly, he shares that his mom has played a huge role in his life, as he says he had the gift of art and passed it on to him. When asked if there is anything he would change about his journey in business, he wishes he would have believed in himself sooner and learned how to structure a business in his teen years. As he looks forward, Kris says his plans are to take real chances on opportunities to live even more outside of my comfort zone. “My plans are to go after the desired opportunities that I know are out there. This also includes building lasting partnerships and business relationships.” To learn more about Kris and his brand, please visit his website. h 22

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

“Despite those losses, I held firm in my faith that God would honor His promise to me: “Trust me.”

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023



Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Lisa J. Crawford The Hospitality Maven

In this feature, Lisa and some of her colleagues share some of their experiences of working in the hospitality industry, and ideas of ways the industry can be improved. Information and Photos Provided by Lisa J Crawford

In the Hospitality Industry or Service Industry, it is amazing how some of the employees can smile and be gracious while screaming inside. I remember a day of revelation at work years ago. The hotel was filled with meetings and events, and it was necessary for me to be in smile mode all day. A leader called me to ask me about a guarantee for the number of attendees for an event, and I simply said I did not know it because the client was not getting back to me. He began yelling at me like a child, so I hung up. He called back to chastise me again for hanging up. This was someone that I had considered a friend, so the words cut deep. Right after that situation, I had a meeting in which I had to smile. A client called, and I had to confirm information while smiling through the phone. Then, I was able to speak with my group and encourage them to have another event with me. The entire time, I was smiling; my heart was breaking, and my soul was screaming. One of the guests said, Lisa, you are always so happy, and we appreciate your personality and can-do spirit. When I got off work, I asked myself a hard question. Are you faking at work daily, or do you really love what you do, and you just had a bad day? That was the day that I realized how much I love being of service. I had to remove the emotions from the day and turn the problem back to the one that created it. That has helped me move forward for more than 20 years in the service industry. One of the hardest parts about being of service to others in the industry is when you must add bad management, disrespect, and no standards/culture to the mix. It is at that moment that you have to decide who you truly serve and you can do it through the reality of the poor work environment. That is the reality. Do you love it enough to stay? We do not owe our guests the broken or hurt part of us; we owe them the best part. Have you noticed that since the pandemic, it appears that some people have lost the ability to be kind, genuine, and hospitable? It makes it so difficult to maintain a sweet and caring disposition when you serve as a front desk agent, server, hostess, housekeeper, nurse, tech, call center rep, or any position where there is contact with another person. Every employee in positions of service and poor work environments must be intentional about self-care. Honoring, resting, and taking time to fill their cup with whatever brings them peace In her opinion, hospitality is more than an industry; it is a way of life, and it begins within the soul first. Lisa J. Crawford is the founder of LJC MOTIVATIONS. Her company assists businesses with their workplace cultures and communication between management and hourly employees. Her services are designed to create healthy and productive workplace spaces between employees and employers. Lisa believes these spaces allow employees to feel as though they are a vital part of the company’s vision. Lisa, or LJ, is a Certified Purpose Discovery Specialist and a Certified City Strategist. A native of Chattanooga, TN, LJ’s career has reached millions of people around the world. LJC Motivations focuses on promoting positive personal growth and providing a blueprint on how to achieve it. Lisa is a devout woman of God and confesses that God has purposed everything that has happened in her life. “Where there should be hate, God has given me an understanding and a demonstration of His everlasting love and kindness for me. I am a Servant Leader to those that are forgotten in the workplace,” she says.

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023


Corey A. Moss - Conference Services Employee (Past) What has your experience in this industry been like? Because I’m introverted, it was a perfect job for me. The bad part is when my coworker’s communication skills are subpar, which leads to unnecessary disciplinary actions for not being appropriately informed. Appreciation is a foreign language to the company, so your hard work goes unnoticed. Lastly, management can be rude and extremely demanding.

How do you think things can change or improve? In this industry, there are more bosses than employees. Suppose leadership can get a grip on employees who attempt to micromanage other coworkers with the same status. It causes conflict because neither of the two complies with one another’s “demands. There should only be inquiries, requests, daily tasks, and a sense of direction, but never demands. Unfortunately, that happens a lot, and what is even more infuriating is when the Manager is disrespectful to the coworker who did the work correctly per the client’s request. If there is no team effort, communication from the Manager must be clear for everyone.

Cathrine J. Bays - Event/Meeting Planning Consultant What has your experience in this industry been like? My experience in the industry has been and still is very rewarding. I have had the opportunity to work with different associations and nonprofit organizations. I especially enjoy my work with hotel staff from the time I enter and exit the property doors. They are the clue that holds me together once I am on site. Their customer service is like no other! This has been my experience.

How do you think things can change or improve? To be honest, some people are never happy, no matter what you do. I suggest staying focused and staying present in the moment. Do not allow yourself to consume negative comments, but provide the best service for your group. Give it your all and then a little bit more, but do not lose you-your mental health and well-being are essential! It is a big stage; be the professional performer you are because at the end of each day, that is what pre-post evaluation tools are for. They can be read in the privacy of your office. I believe in our industry, two things can change for the better: Stakeholders’ buy-in and there be open communication.


Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Jasmine J Moss - Housekeeping Department “Houseman” (Past)

Not pictured

What has your experience in this industry been like? I loved the job because I was able to be flexible. I could help the housekeepers if they were in a bind, which helped the team keep our flow. I didn’t particularly appreciate how the department director put so much pressure on the supervisors. When they decided to assist, they rudely and disrespectfully barked orders to the team. When management disrespects the housekeepers, it crushes their speed because the mind has received negativity, which reflects on the employees’ actions.

How do you think things can change or improve? The ability to have the products needed to complete the job daily. Why is the housekeeping department lacking in towels, sheets, and clothes? As with every department in the industry, you must have the products available for the employees to focus more on the guests and not such things. It also appears that management cares more about appearances and not enough about the items to make things flow for the employees. h

In her opinion, hospitality is more than an industry; it is a way of life, and it begins within the soul first. Lisa J. Crawford is the founder of LJC MOTIVATIONS. Her company assists businesses with their workplace cultures and communication between management and hourly employees. Her services are designed to create healthy and productive workplace spaces between employees and employers. Lisa believes these spaces allow employees to feel as though they are a vital part of the company’s vision. Lisa, or LJ, is a Certified Purpose Discovery Specialist and a Certified City Strategist. A native of Chattanooga, TN, LJ’s career has reached millions of people around the world. LJC Motivations focuses on promoting positive personal growth and providing a blueprint on how to achieve it. Lisa is a devout woman of God and confesses that God has purposed everything that has happened in her life. “Where there should be hate, God has given me an understanding and a demonstration of His everlasting love and kindness for me. I am a Servant Leader to those that are forgotten in the workplace,” she says. Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023



Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Radiant Dreams Healing & Gifts By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by DP Photography LLC

Charronda Hairston was born and raised in Mississippi. She is the daughter of Jennifer Hairston and the late Charles R. Hairston. Charronda is also the proud mother of Alyria Denis, who will be graduating from high school in December. As an aspiring business owner and the founder of Radian Dreams Healing & Gifts, LLC, she says that sharing the tools and knowledge with others as they take their own path to greatness is awe-inspiring. After graduating from Pascagoula High School, Charronda obtained her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry from Alcorn State University. She worked as a chemist for several years before leaving the industry for a career in education. She taught Chemistry and Physics at Moss Point High School and then at her alma mater, Pascagoula, and taught aerospace engineering and robotics. “I have always been told I love a project, so even though I loved teaching and helping students reach their dreams, leaving the safety net to pursue a dream of working for myself and helping others has been one of my biggest and most rewarding accomplishments,” she says. Charronda also loves to travel, cook, read, and make her friends and family smile. With Radiant Dreams Healing & Gifts, she has an abundance of opportunities to do just that. She says, “I established Radiant Dreams in 2020 during the pandemic. I wanted to bring a metaphysical store to the Mississippi Gulf Coast that was nonjudgmental and focused on personal individual healing.” In early 2024, she plans to open Well of Radiance Holistic Wellness Center, which will be one of the first Black-owned wellness centers on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. The Well of Radiance Holistic Wellness Center is also an extension of Radiant Dreams and a result of various workshops and classes that Charronda conducted. She says they needed more room due to expanding and focusing on holistic health practices. So, the next logical step was to find a way to separate the retail store from the holistic detox services to provide her customers with the personalized relaxation services they deserve.

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023


While many of Charronda’s services are designed for women ages 18 and up, she also offers services for men and teens. Her workshops and yoga classes are open to everyone, and she says her goal is to provide an inclusive set of services to co-create with her clients in reaching their dream state of life. In the retail store, she offers various metaphysical tools and supplies one could need in spiritual practices. “We have sage, incense, crystals, candles, books, skincare, herbal teas, and organic bitters; if we don’t have it in the store, we can normally find it for our customers who ask. Currently, we offer limited detoxification and holistic health services, but the Well of Radiance will offer a full range of detox, Womb, and massage services,” she says. In 2024, Charronda will hold workshops, retreats, yoga classes, sound healing, and other activities focused on finding inner peace and community. Being a business owner has its perks, and Charronda shares she loves the connections made with each of her customers. “A quick shopping trip often turns into an hour conversation, a cup of tea, and a ‘I will see you soon’. Being able to help others physically, mentally, and spiritually reconnect to their higher selves is an awarding experience,” she says. Additionally, every interaction with her customers provides healing for Charronda. “I learn from them as much as they learn from me. The feeling of community and unconditional love is spread with every connection.” So, who has impacted Charronda’s life the most? There are a few names that she shares. “Both of my grandmothers impacted my perseverance and strength. My dad had always been my biggest cheerleader and grounder. He kept me in check, taught me to be open-minded and non-judgmental, and approached every situation with firm compassion and fairness. His favorite phrase was always “Handle It”. No matter what choices you make, you should look at them objectively and “Handle It” with grace and integrity.” Charronda also recognizes many other successful Black women who have played a key role in helping her to become the woman she is today. There is Tamika Jones, who is the owner of Let Go Let Goddess Coaching, and LaShun Teboh from The Ankh Academy of Holistic Healing. She says LaShun has been instrumental in mentoring her while she focuses on helping women heal their bodies and spirits. Additionally, she recognizes Tajuana Lee with Royal Vision Society, LLC, who she says has been one of her biggest cheerleaders. “These women have taught me how to do business as a holistic practitioner. They also lead by example and are always a phone call away. More importantly, being able to have them as part of my current network reminds me that anything is possible.”


Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023



Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

When something is new in a community, many create a scary narrative of how it works. That fear stops people from reaching their full potential and stepping into holistic healing.” Charronda says one of her biggest challenges in business has been marketing and getting customers to step out of fear and try a new way. “When something is new in a community, many create a scary narrative of how it works. That fear stops people from reaching their full potential and stepping into holistic healing,” she says. “I’m still navigating the challenges and learning how to step out of my comfort zone and put a face to the name of the business.” Charronda’s advice to other aspiring business owners is to not be afraid to take the risk to go after something you want. “If that idea or thought gives you butterflies or makes your heart flutter, go for it. Allow yourself grace and celebrate your small wins. Your journey shouldn’t look like anyone else’s. Also, remember to always lead and serve in love, open your heart, and start every day with gratitude and love. Unconditional love is the key to bringing our world back in balance. Love is gentle, kind, and freedom,” she shares. Looking ahead, Charronda plans to expand her brand even further. In 2025, she will take wellness retreats and offer more workshops, services, and events focused on physical, mental, and spiritual healing. To learn more about Radiant Dreams Healing & Gifts, LLC, please visit their website. h

Charronda Hairston Radiant Dreams Healing & Gifts, LLC 6616 North Washington Ave. - Suite E Ocean Springs, MS 228-238-3977



Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

The Cooking Besties By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Tyler Williams There is something about good food that makes one’s heart smile. In regard to Indianapolis, IN, native Tyler Williams is making some moves and raising eyebrows in the local culinary community. Tyler is the owner of The Cooking Besties, a fullservice catering company that specializes in doing just about anything to meet their client’s requests. They primarily cater to small and large organizations within Indiana and provide catering services to private clients. Tyler and his team also offer traditional buffets, private dinners, charcuterie, brunch, and dipped treats. Tyler is the son of Rick Williams and Michele McFarland. He has lived in his childhood home in Haughville, IN, for almost 21 years. He has three siblings, Jessica, Jordan, and Bryce, and one niece, Jalayah, and two nephews, Charles and Levi. Tyler graduated from Cardinal Ritter High School and earned his undergraduate degree in Tourism, Events, and Sports Management with a minor in Business Foundations from Indiana University. In 2021, he returned to school and earned a Graduate Certificate in Organizational Leadership and Human Resource Management from Purdue University. The Cooking Besties started in 2020, right in the middle of Tyler’s mother’s kitchen. He says, “I was laid off from my corporate job in May 2020 due to COVID, and a former childhood friend mentioned the idea for us to cook, and I instantly was against it. I’ve always enjoyed cooking for my family, but cooking for others and for money kind of made me nervous. I finally gave in to the idea of cooking and came up with the business name by joking and asking, “What are we going to be called…….The Cooking Besties?” On that day, we became The Cooking Besties and started doing bi-weekly comfort food meals. Those meals

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023


became popular, and often, we had a line wrapped around my neighborhood. That’s when I knew we were on to something. The following year, we secured our first large catering contract with Eskenazi Health Center and provided over 700 charcuterie boxes for their employees. The rest is history. Tyler shared that he has always dreamed of owning a restaurant. “I would sit it in my 7th grade Algebra class and map out the design of my restaurant, create menus, and write down my crazy ideas. I’ve always been a dreamer, so I would write it down whenever I had a thought.” Those thoughts would eventually become Tyler’s future, which is the title he gave them. “My Future.”

“I would sit it in my 7th grade Algebra class and map out the design of my restaurant, create menus, and write down my crazy ideas.”

Living out his dreams is what Tyler says he loves most about The Cooking Besties. Every day, he gets to wake up to cater. He says his prayer to be self-employed, successful, and booked has become his reality. “It’s the best feeling in the world,” he explained. He also appreciates his family and friends’ support and the business referrals. His church family has also played a significant role in Tyler’s success as they have pushed him to keep striving for better and offering help anytime he has large events. It takes a village, and Tyler says he is grateful for the one he has. One challenge of running your own business is to ensure that it’s profitable. For Tyler, he manages this kind of issue when he’s pricing catering packages and ensuring they yield the right return. “There have been times where I have walked away with less than I am supposed to earn, but it was simply because the math was not mathing! We now have systems in place to make pricing out our items much easier and accurate,” he says. He also acknowledges his mother for inspiring him. “I am the product of a single parent, and my mother goes above and beyond to ensure my siblings and I have the best. She has helped me scale my business by always finding areas of improvement and ensuring that everything I do in the business has a certain level of excellence,” Tyler says. Tyler’s business journey, he shares, has forced him to trust God, and he says that God hasn’t failed him yet. “God has been extremely faithful to me, and all I can say is thank you.” Looking ahead, he plans to continue running his catering business and even open a brunch restaurant. To learn more about The Cooking Besties, please visit their website. h

Tyler Williams The Cooking Besties 317-292-4379


Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023



Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Houston’s Realtor & Fitness Professional By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Monique Hoggard Monique Hoggard is a Caribbean Realtor representing the beautiful island of Trinidad and Tobago. Monique has worked as a mobile personal trainer since 2014. She has also worked as a travel agent for five years and wears many hats in business. Yet, her main goal is to help people and bridge the gap between the Caribbean Community and the African Diaspora. Monique is originally from Brooklyn, NY. Now firmly planted in the heart of Houston, TX, Monique shares she appreciates Houston’s Caribbean Community. Monique sits on the Executive Board of the Houston Caribbean Professionals Association. She is also a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Texas, Grenada Houston Association, and Nigerian American Multicultural Council. Monique shares that she and her partner lender have been working to inform others about the free grant money available through Harris County. “Many of the black and brown communities aren’t aware because we’re the last to get the information. I am helping to change that. I’ve been partnering with churches, radio stations, television stations, festivals, and just talking to individuals. If I’m at dinner, getting my car serviced, setting up at mixers as a vendor, or sitting next to someone on the plane, I am sharing information. I’m a people person, so it doesn’t take much for me to speak to anyone, especially if there’s good energy present. As long as people are willing to listen, I’ll continue to find a way to be a resource,” she says. Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023



Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

“When my clients get their keys and to see that smile on their face, it’s an amazing feeling for me. I know I was meant to be doing this.” Monique started her career in real estate a little over two and a half years ago. She credits her husband, who is in the same business, for creating the spark. Additionally, she shares that helping families who thought home ownership wasn’t a possibility is what she loves most about her career. “When my clients get their keys and to see that smile on their face, it’s an amazing feeling for me. I know I was meant to be doing this.” One of the most interesting and impactful parts of Monique’s career, she says, is dealing with investors. “I’ve had my share of shady experiences.. So now I know how to approach investors and wholesalers. It’s funny because many don’t believe I understand the business until we really started talking.” Monique’s advice for others who may follow a similar path to her is to know that real estate isn’t always easy, but it can be rewarding. “Everyone has a niche; you just have to figure out what yours is and what works for you! Don’t chase the money. This is a people business, so you definitely have to be creative. Also, know that this business is going to take you out of your comfort zone, and being shy doesn’t get you far,” she says. Monique says that International business is in her near future. She is also looking to market for Belize and the Dominican Republic next year. With her savviness, it is no telling where Monique will be. h Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023


Autumn Thornton The daughter of

Armani Thornton and Gregory (Feva) Bonds


Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023


Percy B.A Legacy Lawson of Service By Terry L. Watson Photos provided by Demetris Lawson

When defining the life of Percy Lawson, there is actually one word that can accurately capture what it is: service. At 84 years of age, Percy is still quite sharp. His memory and ability to reference life’s experiences are quite impressive. He also dotes on his family whenever he gets the opportunity and shares his love for God without hesitation. In 1938, Percy was born in Caswell County, NC. As a child, he was raised with two brothers and one sister by his mother and father. Percy served in the United States Navy for 12 years, with four of them on active duty and the remaining serving in the Reserves. He was honorably discharged from his duties in December of 1968. He has been married to his wife, Loanne, for 65 years and recently celebrated their union in September of this year. Percy and Syretha have two children. Percy quit school in eleventh grade and joined the military against his mother’s will. He initially tried to join the Marine Corps, but that didn’t work out. Percy returned home, and his mother advised him to return to school. He stayed at home with his parents, but his father continued to encourage him to do something with life. Percy’s mind was set on the military, even though his first attempt at enlisting failed. In 1956, he successfully joined the US Navy and began serving his country. After leaving the US Navy, Percy returned to Greensboro and worked as an NC Mutual Life Insurance insurance agent. He also worked with the North Carolina Department of Corrections until he became unable to walk. Percy graduated from Rutledge College in Greensboro, NC, with an Associates Degree in Business Management in 1980. He continued his education by attending Greensboro College, majoring in Accounting, and graduated with honors. In 1982, he went into business and opened the Lawson Accounting Firm. His company provided accounting and bookkeeping services to churches and businesses in Greensboro for over 30 years. He has also worked for the Internal Revenue Service. Until 2021, Percy managed Lawson Accounting Firm, but due to his disabilities, he passed the responsibilities along to his daughters, and the name was changed to Lawson Accounting and Associates. Regarding accounting, Percy says it is a very technical field. “Most people believe you should be a mathematician to be an accountant. That part is true, but it’s not a requirement. I’ve had quite a bit of training in math, but being a mathematician isn’t required. You must also be sharp in business, have sharp morals, and be pretty exact,” he says. Percy admits that his accounting career and his career with the US Navy shaped his life.


Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023

Family is very important to Percy. He has conducted extensive research on his family and found photos of his family members dating back to five and six generations from him. He has photos of his GreatGreat-Grandmother and Great-Great-Grandfather. “I had a strong father figure as a child. He instilled the importance of working for what we want in life. I feel like men have an obligation to set the trend for their families. Your family’s name is something that every man should be proud to carry on. In my 84 years of life, I have never been to prison, and I don’t intend to go now. I have also worked really hard to support my family,” he says. “I don’t have any sons, only three daughters. My only grandson was killed in Washington, DC, in 2002, and before he passed, I tried to instill things into his life that would be important to his survival. When I meet young men, I want to know what kind of work they do and what their interests are. My obligation is to let them know how important it is to have a job or find ways to support themselves. I pride my life on being honest with others,” he says.

“I had a strong father figure as a child. He instilled the importance of working for what we want in life. I feel like men have an obligation to set the trend for their families.”

Pictured above is a young, Percy B. Lawson. He served in the United States Navy for 12 years.

In addition to all of his other accomplishments in life, Percy is also an accomplished author, having written two published books, “From The Bottom To See, A Brand New Me” and the other “From Slavery to Ownership”. More than anything, Percy shares that he has loved the opportunities he’s had to serve his country and others through his business. While his journey has had many challenges, he shares that it has been all worth it. Percy’s advice to others is to live life to the fullest. “Never give up on life. Life isn’t over until it’s over,” he says. There is truth to what he said, as Percy is currently working on publishing his third book. h

Pictured with Percy B. Lawson are members of his family and wife of 65 years.

Houston - Nov./Dec. 2023



Established November 2007 Greensboro, NC Time really flies by when you are having fun! That is exactly what the experience with Huami Magazine has been like for the past 16 years. What began by having a one-on-one conversation with God has grown into a national publication that specializes in recognizing black excellence. Over the next twelve months, we invite our readers and supporters to assist in celebrating this monumental accomplishment. We will share some of the experiences, the highs, and lows and highlight key individuals who have helped Huami Magazine become what it is today. Below, we are showcasing the cover of the very first edition of Huami Magazine, which was launched in Greensboro, NC, on November 7th, 2007. Featured on the cover is Evan Chisholm, one of Greensboro’s homegrown talents. He is a fashion designer and aspiring entrepreneur. In this edition, we also showcased Pastor Lee Stokes of Destiny Christian Center in Greensboro and shared some information from the 2007 North Carolina A&T State University’s Homecoming Celebration. If you are fortunate to possess a printed copy of this treasured edition, hold on to it and share it with others. We thank everyone for their constant support, and we couldn’t do any of this without you! h

Terry L. Watson, Publisher & Founder 46

6616 Washington Ave. - Ste E Ocean Springs, MS 39564 228.238.3977 Facebook & Instagram @radinatdreamsgifts

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