May/June 2022 Volume 1 Issue 8
Houston - May/June 2022
H O U S TO N
NEED HELP RECRUITING? WE SP E C I A L I Z E I N F I N D I N G J U S T T H E R I G H T P E R S O N F O R T H E R I G H T P O S I T I O N WI T H I N A C O MP A N Y O R O R G A N I Z A T I O N .
Visit our website for more details: www.kirbyrobertsandco.com
We May Wish, But God Has A Plan A Letter From The Editor
Modern technology, such as the internet and smart devices, has changed the way consumers shop for everyday necessities. Everything from groceries to televisions, tires, medications, and patio furniture can be purchased directly from a smartphone or computer. Foot traffic in stores has been greatly reduced, and the Covid 19 pandemic may have played a big role in that also. Anyhow, many retailers have adjusted how they make their products accessible in order for them to survive. As a child, I remember the huge department store catalogs that would come in the mail every year, usually around the Christmas holiday season. I would look at them and prepare my list of items that I wanted before submitting it to my mama. Sometimes I got most of what I wanted, but not always. Still, looking through the catalog and believing that I would get them was very exciting for me. Unfortunately, the catalogs are long gone now and have been replaced by digital ones. Awwwe, technology. I compare those childhood catalog surfing moments to some experiences I have as an adult. I have often tried to plan out my life by creating a wish list for various stages without the assistance of a department store catalog. I have made plans for various things and experiences and made plans on how to acquire and accomplish them. Those plans were submitted to God, and I’m always amazed at what I receive from God in response. See, I have learned that even though I make plans, God has the final say. What I think is good for me, God knows what is truly best for me. Even in my lowest moments, God has already prepared a path to higher ground for me. And even when I choose to follow my own way, He redirects. I strive to live a better life, a life that is connected to God through obedience and grasping a better understanding of what He desires for me. I admit that I don’t have all the answers, and sometimes I make mistakes. It’s good to know that even when I get off track in life, God’s love never changes.
Terry L. Watson 4
www.huamimagazine.com Terry L Watson
Terry L. Watson Monica Montgomery Ellen Richardson Dorjea’ McClammey
Writer Writer Writer Writer
Fredro Star Photographer Todd Youngblood Photographer Still Shots Photography Photographer Howard Gaither Photography
For General Inquiries firstname.lastname@example.org
Greensboro, NC 2021 All Rights Reserved
The Wealthy Book
Marrel Gravely Foushee
On The Cover
The Signature Brand HTX Calvin Williams
Huami Magazine Cutest Baby
Christina Bennett Learn more about the face and founder of Say It Sow. She is helping others find their way with words. Huntsville, AL
Leah M. Dale From Omaha, NE to Chicago, IL, learn more about her journey through physical fitness. Chicago, IL
Ernest Sanders He is qualified. Learn more about his journey, his experience, and his effort to be elected as Judge. Little Rock, AR
Houston - May/June 2022
By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided By The Signature Brand HTX His company is called Signature Brands HTX. Calvin Williams of Houston, TX, has turned his creative talent into a thriving clothing line. The Signature Brand HTX is a 100% Black and Veteran-owned company specializing in high-quality apparel and events. It is licensed and registered with CLC, Learfield IMG College (a collegiate licensing company for the NCAA). Calvin says his brand is all about promoting the excellence of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In doing so, they presently carry licenses for Alabama State, Alcorn State University, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, BethuneCookman University, Fayetteville State University, Florida A&M University, Grambling State University, Hampton University, Howard University, Jackson State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Morehouse College, Prairie View and A&M University, Savannah State University, and Southern University. Calvin points out that a portion of sales benefits each school. The Signature Brand also produces material for high schools, Greek organizations, affinity groups, and churches. Born in Monroe, LA, Calvin is a husband and father, and his family is members of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church in Houston. He is a loving and caring individual and leads his family as such. “ I love traveling and watching my kids grow. I also love designing and creating apparel for my company,” he says. Besides being the face of Signature Brand, HTX, Calvin has 23 years of government service. He is a 2004 graduate (cum laude) of Grambling State University. There, Calvin earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice. He is also an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and was initiated into the Delta Sigma Chapter (Grambling State University) in 2002. Calvin is also a life member and current Vice President of Grambling University National Alumni Association and a candidate for the Office of President. So how did Calvin begin? He shares the foundation of his employment was challenged during the 2018 government shutdown. This was during President Barack Obama’s administration. Calvin decided to put his designing gifts and event skills to use during that time. “My goal was to create a legacy for my family; one that would allow them to benefit financially,” he shares. “I started with a press machine, Cricut and blank shirts. Our initial approach was to create inspirational t-shirts with an empowering message regarding faith and black empowerment. We then created an HBCU shirt design, which generated a buzz, which grew into more requests for HBCU design apparel.”
Calvin says he enjoys designing and creating products that everyone wants. “More than anything, I am grateful for the vision God shared with me to affect our black colleges and universities positively. There’s no greater feeling than to walk into an HBCU event and see fellow alumni wearing your brand.” The Signature brand prides itself in producing quality products at affordable prices. “Oftentimes the overhead to produce, store, and ship changes. Those occurrences can have an overall effect on profit margins. Nevertheless, we continue to scale to ensure our products are top notch, so we realize a profit,” Calvin shares. As stated, Calvin is a family man, and he always puts their needs first. “I often think about the lessons I want to teach my kids and wonder how I can assist them in life. One thing that inspires me is building generational wealth for them. I would love for my kids to continue the legacy of the Signature Brand; however, in reality, my genuine desire is for them not to feel forced to do things or work a job out of a need for money. The wealth we build perhaps pays for college, or they may decide to invest in their own business or future investments. I only hope they will be inspired to pass on the wealth for future generations to come.” Calvin shares that many people and life experiences have shaped him into who he is today. He thanks God for surrounding him with great supporters, family, and friends who have pushed him to be the best version of himself. The message he sends to others who may follow a path similar to the one he has traveled is compassionate. “Starting the Signature Brand has been one of the most rewarding experiences because we have taken the next step. One of the most important elements in your business will be developing your business plan. The best way to accomplish any business or personal goal is to write out every possible step it takes to achieve the goal and then order those steps by what needs to happen first. Do not give up on your business if things take longer than expected to develop. The point is always to remain consistent and always take the next step,” he says. As the world appears to be on the upside of the Covid 19 pandemic, Calvin says The Signature Brand will continue to grow and make an impact within the HBCU community. “Our ultimate goal is to open a storefront in which we will specialize in HBCU, Divine 9, and local High School apparel. The Signature Brand will become the internet’s most sought-after brand, known for top quality original varsity apparel. We also plan to add full-service components to allow our customers to personalize their orders. Additionally, we will expand to include an in-stock selection of Signature Brand blank t-shirts, sweaters, and hoodies. To learn more about The Signature Brand HTX, please visit their website. h
www.signaturebrandhtx.com Houston - May/June 2022
Houston - May/June 2022
SugaRee Cookies By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by SugaRee Cookies Sharita Shortéy of Kansas City, MO, is living the sweet life. The young, talented, and loving woman is the owner of SugaRee Cookies, a customized cookie bakery that specializes in creating personal custom characters in the form of cookies. According to Sharita, her cookies taste amazing, and the word on the street is that the cookies are too cute to eat. SugaRee Cookies features eight different flavors to choose from. Most of their clients are of the African American community, and Sharita says she loves being there for her people. “It’s a feeling of giving back. I provide a place where they can be free to express themselves and share their visions without being judged,” she shares. So, where did the name SugaRee come from? Sharita says, “When I was younger, my uncle gave me a nickname that only he called me. It was Ree, which is short for Sharita. Before launching my business, we lost him to cancer, but I knew when I started, I wanted to use “Ree” in my business’ name to represent his love for me.” It is impossible to measure Sharita’s determination by her outward appearance. She is a self-described family woman, one who has experienced many things in life. She had her first child at age 18 and said she was scared of not knowing what was next. She’s raised five children, ranging from five to nineteen, and has enjoyed seventeen years of marriage with her husband. “I’m corky. I’m awkward, and I have a weird sense of style. I love animals, and one day I will have a great big farm,” she says. Sharita says one of the benefits of having many children allowed her to quickly realize it is easier to do everything for them herself (cooking, grooming, etc.) versus seeking outside assistance. “I literally do everything, from cutting my boy’s hair, doing my daughter’s nails, baking every cake for every birthday, and making every costume for Halloween. I’m a perfectionist, I have a vision, and I desire things to be exact,” she says.
Houston - May/June 2022
“I literally love everyone. When I create my cookies, I put all of myself into them. When I see the joy on my client’s faces, that does it for me. Knowing that whatever they are going through, at that moment, I was able to give them a piece of joy.”
Her love for serving others is evident and displayed with SugaRee Cookies. However, her path was paved well before opening up shop. She always had a passion for art, a talent she says God gave her, but never really pursued anything in the art field because nursing came easy, and she took the easy route. “I started my journey in nursing and worked in the nursing field for 18 years, up until December 2021. Taking care of others has always been my passion. I lost my grandparents at a very young age, and caring for the elderly holds an important place in my heart,” she says. The SugaRee journey began in 2019. It was then that Sharita noticed the cookie show Christmas Cookie Challenge on the Food Network. She automatically knew baking cookies was something she wanted to do in her spare time. “I started making customized cookies for my nieces and nephews and my coworkers. It gave me an outlet, and I actually loved doing it. I am not saying I didn’t love nursing, but I feel I was never appreciated for my love for the job. I was also very underpaid. When the Covid 19 pandemic arrived, everything got worse, and I found myself depressed with life. I was losing my passion for something I loved doing and needed a change. So, I finally listened to that voice and took the leap of faith and quit my job, and SugaRee Cookies was born,” she shares. Sharita’s desire to love everyone makes her a perfect fit for her role as a parent, wife, and business owner. “I literally love everyone. When I create my cookies, I put all of myself into them. When I see the joy on my client’s faces, that does it for me. Knowing that whatever they are going through, at that moment, I was able to give them a piece of joy. If smiles are all I will ever get from this business, then I’ve made it,” she says.
Houston - May/June 2022
Houston - May/June 2022
Like most small business owners, Sharita has faced a few challenges. One of them is time. “I’ve found that time is of the essence. It’s losing time. Time with my family, and my friends, talks with God, and keeping myself healthy-minded. There are days where I feel I lose myself because I’m focused on making others happy,” Sharita said. Being a business owner also allows Sharita to be the perfect example of what success looks like for her kids, and show them they can be whatever they dream of being. “You control your own destiny, and being able to teach my kids, especially my boys, how to be strong in such a cruel world brings peace in my heart.” While she gives all glory to God for the success she has enjoyed in business thus far, Sharita admits that having a sound support system and village has played a vital role also. “My husband has been my rock. When I was on the fence and trying to decide if this was something I really wanted to do, he went out and bought everything I needed to get started. He told me to quit my job and promised to have my back through the entire journey. Honestly, if it wasn’t for him, I’d probably be miserable, still working the nursing job,” she says. Sharita’s advice to others who may follow a path similar to hers is always to follow your heart and listen to that voice within you. “If you are unhappy, you should start praying and make changes. Only you can change the way your life is going. Once you take that leap of faith, God will take care of the rest. I stand on that,” she says. h
SugaRee Cookies www.sugareecookies.godaddysites.com
Houston - May/June 2022
Rhythm N Sweat Dance and Fitness
Houston - May/June 2022
By Dorjea’ McClammey Photod Provided by Leah Mayhue-Dale and Macnified Visions Leah Mayhue-Dale of Chicago, IL, is a fitness expert and founder of Rhythm N Sweat Dance and Fitness. Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Leah was raised in a household that ventured into the world of athletics. Both of her parents were athletes, and while attending school, Leah participated on the basketball, volleyball, and varsity cheerleading teams. She was also a part of her church’s praise and worship team, the place where her love of dance began. After high school, Leah studied Public Relations and Advertising at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Soon, Leah began teaching and training others about dance and physical fitness. During this time, she also came up with the idea of Rhythm N Sweat. It was 2017, and Leah was only certified in Zumba and Mix Fit, yet she started to choreograph routines with her background in dance. She also mixed weight training with dance to help women lose weight while staying toned. She says that combination appeased women who did not like or were uncomfortable going to the gym. When Leah pitched the idea to the three fitness locations she worked at, only her home location in Butler-Gast YMCA was onboard. For the next three months, the number of participants only grew, so much so that the other areas begged for her to return. Rhythm N Sweat was official. Leah realized that while Omaha was a suitable market, there were opportunities to expand her brand elsewhere. In 2020, she made her big move to Chicago, turned Rhythm N Sweat into a mobile fitness business, and incorporated a wider variety of fitness formats. Leah works with local gyms, including Garza Fat Loss Camps, where she introduced Extreme Hip Hop Fitness. She is also certified to teach seven different fitness formats. The change in location did not stop Leah’s hustle. Since all the gyms were closed because of the Covid 19 pandemic, people liked her mobile fitness concept. She says, “They called me, emailed me, and booked me. Clients would either have me come to their home, meet at a park, or have virtual sessions,” she says.
Houston - May/June 2022
While Rhythm N Sweat offers many different classes, her main courses include Dance Fitness, Xtreme Hip Hop Step Aerobics, and Xtreme Burn, a cardio hit class. She also offers Baddies Bootcamp, which incorporates the use of equipment and bodyweight exercises. Rhythm N Sweat also offers a clothing line, including t-shirts and hoodies, sweatbands, and gym bags. Her journey in building her brand, Leah likes to describe it as, “fulfilling.” “Fitness had always been part-time, but the move to Chicago gave me that push to make it full-time,” she says. While fitness has brought a lot of joy to Leah, she has also faced hardship in life. In 2020, Leah lost her beautiful baby girl Naomi. “Naomi was my biggest motivation and the most popular toddler in Nebraska. I would bring Naomi to all of my fitness events and classes. I believe she even tried to take some of my clients. Once, I left the room and walked in on her training one of my clients. When she passed, I was devastated but said it catapulted me into concentrating on what makes me happy,” she shares. Leah used to shy away from speaking about her daughter but realized that sharing her story helps and inspires others. “It humanizes you and makes you relatable. People think that they have to shut down just because they are going through something. I did not shut down. I allowed for my loss to push me.”
“It humanizes you and makes you relatable. People think that they have to shut down just because they are going through something. I did not shut down. I allowed for my loss to push me.” Leah Mayhue-Dale
Rhythm N Sweat Dance and Fitness www.rhythmnsweatfitness.com
Leah says what she loves most about being a business owner is being able to help others become the best version of themselves. “Whether big or small, I enjoy learning a new move or losing 25 pounds,” she says. One of her students, Leah says, has been training for over six months and was inspired to become a certified trainer herself. Leah says Naomi is still her number one inspiration as she continues to inspire others. “Whatever I do in life, I dedicate it to her,” she shares. Last year, she had two huge events and brought out a master trainer and the creator of the format she teaches. Moving forward, Leah is planning more fitness events. She also plans to acquire her own studio and bring in other instructors to teach various fitness formats. There are also plans to expand her clothing line. Leah offers some advice to those who are considering improving their overall health, whether it be physically or another way. “It is never too late to save your own life. It can be through health and fitness, mental or emotional health, or all of the above. When you save your life in this aspect, it will affect the rest.” To learn more about Leah and Rhythm N Sweat Dance and Fitness, please visit her website. h
Houston - May/June 2022
“I Am Qualified” 22
Houston - May/June 2022
By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Ernest Sanders Jr. People often say that it’s not how you start but how you finish that matters. As true as this statement is, we can’t ignore that it’s the journey that qualifies you in the end. Ernest Sanders Jr. Esq. is running for 5th Division Circuit Court Judge in Pulaski and Perry Counties and wants the voters to know that he is prepared and qualified to serve them. Sanders was born and raised in a small town in Crossett, in South East Arkansas. Raised by a single parent, Mr. Sanders’s beginning is reminiscent of many others. He and his three brothers were raised by his mother, and he credits his village for helping to raise him and his brothers with the love and values that have gotten him to where he is today. “My mom was, for the most part, a single parent. My father lived in the town, but my mother raised us. They say it takes a village, and it did. Between my grandmother and great-grandmother, aunts, uncles, and neighbors, we were well cared for,” Mr. Sanders explains.
Childhood innocence can be blinding, causing us not to perceive our reality. Growing up, Ernest didn’t understand that he was considered poor. “We were poor, but I didn’t realize it until I was in high school. And even then, poor meant I didn’t have all the things that the other kids had. Like the latest clothes and shoes,” Ernest explains. “This generation knows nothing about commodities. We received government food commodities like powdered milk, powdered eggs, rice, and the big block of cheese that didn’t melt. Things like that,” he continues with a laugh. “But, one thing for sure as a child, I can’t say I ever went to bed hungry or had no place to sleep. Sure, we were still buying our sneakers from the grocery store, but I had shoes. I tell my story often because I want young black men who look like me to see that their beginning doesn’t dictate their end.” Crossett, Arkansas, was still a heavily racially divided town when Ernest was a child, and although the schools were integrated, the neighborhoods were not. Black professionals weren’t a regular sighting.
“When I was in 3rd grade, my teacher asked the class what they wanted to be when they grew up. I wanted to say something nobody else did. When she got to me, I said I wanted to be an Attorney. I can’t say where I got the idea from. It must have been something I saw on television, but at the time, it was different,” Ernest explained. This desire to be set apart planted a seed in young Ernest that is still bearing fruit today. Once in high school, Ernest excelled in academia, sports, and other extracurricular activities. “I worked hard to do my best no matter what it was. I was that kid who gave it everything I had no matter what.” In high school, Ernest started to see the world, his world, for what it was. As a young black male, he became aware of the racial injustices facing him and people like him. “I remember thinking, ‘That’s not right!’ and wanting to do something about it. That’s when becoming an attorney changed from being a childhood fantasy to a passionate desire. As a lawyer, I could make a difference.” Ernest attended the University of Central Arkansas, earning a B.A. in English and minoring in accounting. “My family didn’t have money for school, so I had to be practical about my education. I studied English because I was told Attorneys had to be good writers, but I minored in accounting just in case I didn’t get into law school,” he explained. Growing up, Ernest says the closest thing to a role model was Thurgood Marshall. Ernest was the first person in his family to go to college. He chose UCA because it wasn’t far from home, and he had friends there he could catch a ride home with on holidays. He participated in track and field at UCA, which helped cover room and board, and continued to work hard at realizing the dream set by his eight-year-old self. Ernest was never under any illusion of who he could trust in a small southern town like Crossett. He went to college with that same understanding. This was challenged when he met Dr. Maurice Webb and Dr. Norb Schedler. “Growing up in a racially divided town, there are some things you don’t do. Sure, we went to school together, but when we went home if you were black, you went to “Black Town.” If you were white, you went to “White Town.” In college, those boundaries, although not physical, impacted my thinking,” Ernest said. “Dr. Webb and Dr. Norb Schedler were the two most influential people in my life during undergrad. Dr. Webb helped me by finding additional scholarships my academics qualified me for. He also got me into the honors college, where I met Dr. Scheduler, the director. Dr. Schedler took me under his wing, and although I was grateful, I was suspicious at first. These two white men were doing all this to help me, and I wasn’t used to it. But they turned out to be great guys and amazing mentors.” With Dr. Schedler’s support, Ernest became the first black graduate of the UCA’s Honors College. In 1988, Ernest applied and was accepted to law school at The University of Virginia, Charlottesville. “When I told Dr. Schedler I was accepted into the UVA, he started jumping up and down with excitement. He
went on and on about how great it was that I’d gotten in and how proud of me he was. ‘I said, well, yeah, but all of these schools have affirmative action programs. They probably let me in because I was black.’ Dr. Schedler stopped and looked me in the eye…. Thinking about what he said to me still gets me emotional after so many years,” Ernest says, taking a breath. “He looked me in the eye and said, ‘Ernest, you earned this. You are qualified, and don’t let anybody tell you anything different!’ It wasn’t until that moment that I understood how important it was that I saw myself as worthy. I wasn’t qualified because Dr. Schedler said I was. I was qualified because I had put in the work. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Schedler for helping me see that.” Ernest’s former mentor, Dr. Schedler’s words, have remained with him throughout his career. In each office and position Sanders held, he worked hard because he understood what being qualified really meant. It was vital that he proved himself and kept a good reputation. Not because he wanted to impress anyone but because he believed in what he was doing. As a result, Sanders was blessed to have many doors opened to him. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 1991, Ernest returned to Arkansas to work for the Little Rock City Attorney’s office. Next, he became a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with the Sixth Judicial District in Pulaski County. Ernest was the first African American Division Chief for the 6th Judicial District when he was appointed Division Chief over the Youth Crimes Division. This was something Sanders was passionate about. “It dealt with young people, mostly young people of color who were underrepresented. My predecessor had just started the juvenile diversion program, and I was excited to oversee it because it presented a better option for teens arrested on non-violent offenses.” According to Youth.gov, the purpose of diversion programs is to redirect youthful offenders from the justice system through programming, supervision, and support.
“What I loved about the program is that it gave alternatives for young people who probably shouldn’t have been arrested in the first place. It keeps them from the trauma of being booked and detained. It gave them a chance to make better choices and not have a criminal record follow them for the rest of their lives,” Ernest explained. From there, Ernest became an administrative law judge for the Arkansas State Parole Board. In February of 2010, Ernest was appointed Circuit Judge of the 5th Division Circuit Court in Pulaski and Perry Counties. Sanders presided over both civil and criminal cases as a circuit court judge. His appointment lasted one year. At the end of 2010, Sanders went into private practice. “I never set out to become a judge. Like anything else in my life, I wanted to do my best at whatever I set my hands to,” Ernest explains. “If I’m honest, my biggest motivation at the beginning for becoming an attorney was to escape poverty. I wanted to change my life, and in my pursuit, I learned that mine wasn’t the only life that mattered.” When he heard his friend and colleague was about to retire from the 5th Division Circuit Court position. His first reaction wasn’t to campaign for the position. “I love helping people, and my private practice allows me to do that. So, when several people, including my wife, suggested I run for election, I had to think about it. I knew it would be a large undertaking, and I wasn’t sure if this was the direction I wanted to take. But I kept hearing people say, you are qualified, and we really need someone of your quality and integrity in that position. After much prayer and consultations with family and friends, I decided that I was ready to take on the challenge. I was experienced, and having done the job before, felt I was prepared and qualified to serve as the circuit court judge.” As a man of faith, Ernest says he continued to seek God’s counsel concerning his choice to run. Then he says he received confirmation that he was heading in the right direction. “I was doing a firm walkthrough, and I shared somethings with one of the firm’s partners. He is well known in the legal community, and his endorsement carries a lot of weight. After the seated judge announced his retirement, that partner called and said, ‘I appeared before you during your appointment as a circuit judge, and you did such a great job that should you be elected, I have no doubt you would be a great judge.’ That was the confirmation I needed to know I was on the right path.” Running a campaign is expensive and exhausting, but Ernest believes that his hard work, experience, commitment to fairness, and belief that everyone deserves to be treated justly qualifies him to sit as the Circuit Court Judge of the 5th Division. He hopes that on election day, the people will agree and give him the opportunity to serve them. h
“If I’m honest, my biggest motivation at the beginning for becoming an attorney was to escape poverty. I wanted to change my life, and in my pursuit, I learned that mine wasn’t the only life that mattered.”
Houston - May/June 2022
Dr. Shmeka Gibson Innate Success Corp www.innatesuccess.com
Photos Provided By Jamaal E. Photogrphy and Carolyn Castillo Dr. Shmeka Gibson is an author, international speaker, business owner, and college professor. Shmeka is the founder and CEO of Innate Success Corp. Innate Success Corp. provides various business options, tools, and resources needed to develop business owners, organize business practices, enhance individual leader traits, and promote potential business leaders. Innate Success Core, which is one of our fivesubsidiary businesses, provides contract services to organizations in need of organizational infrastructure development and program management, research, and application to funding opportunities and data analytics. Another popular business under the Innate Success model is I.S. Cares which houses the Mentorship Program. Innate Success Corp. partners with Dress for Success Memphis to implement the “Successful Women in Business” Mentorship Program. The program utilizes the Changing the Mindset Concept© developed by Innate Success that implements a framework to help women in business and entrepreneurship. Innate Success developed and launched the program as a pilot in Fall 2020, and with the help of Dress for Success Memphis, the program flourished and now has an organizational home. The program’s goal is to help small businesses develop or enhance effective and sustainable business practices. The program participants were not required to have an established business, but if they had the time, desire and commitment, the program would help them achieve their goal of entrepreneurship. The 6-month business mentorship program offers intensive business, legal and financial consulting and resources to help businesses upskill and upscale their business. This program is offered to start-up, grassroots, and small business owners with an operating budget of less than $250,000 annually. Presently, this program has helped over 46 African American business leaders and raised over $75,000 in grant funding to support the work. The goal is to help these businesses create an organizational infrastructure and enhance stability to upscale the economy and communities. h
Houston - May/June 2022
Christina Bennett By Dorjea McClammey Photos Provided By Christina Bennett Christina Bennett is the founder of Say It Sow, a speech therapy program in Huntsville, Alabama. Their motto is “What You Speak Life Into Grows, “ which is a constant reminder for Christina. She says, “Use your words positively to speak life and manifest your heart’s desires.” A native of Houston, Texas, Christina was raised in the small town of Fayette, Alabama. In 2002, she made the trek to Huntsville to attend Alabama A&M University. There she received her bachelor’s in Communicative Sciences and Disorders and followed that by earning her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Christina stated she enjoyed Huntsville so much that she decided to build her life there. She met her husband in Huntsville, and together they’ve produced two wonderful daughters. “I love Huntsville. It’s like porridge, just right. Huntsville is not too big like Houston and not too small like my hometown.” The journey of Say it Sow began in 2013. Christina was working in a private speech therapy practice that offered services to children and adults with speech-language, swallowing, voice, and hearing impairments. She served as the rehab director for about eight years but began to feel uncomfortable and determined she needed a change. Her mentor at the time encouraged her to step out on faith and launch her own firm, even providing Christina with the company’s name. “I continued to talk to God about the situation, and He ultimately revealed to me that I was going to have a private practice. True to His word, I would have just that,” she says. Christina did one of the hardest things she had ever done and left her sixfigure job to pursue her dream, but she shared she knew God was leading her. “Being in a corporate setting for so many years and lacking the flexibility to be with my family and treat clients was a hindrance. I wasn’t happy, and my clients weren’t getting what they needed, so I vowed to be able to not only give myself the flexibility but give my clients what they deserved,” she says.
In 2020, Say It Sow was born. Christina says it was a rough start, and she had only one client that entire year. However, she remained grateful and determined to succeed, and soon her business began to flourish. Presently, Say It Sow has over 100 clients. Christina’s practice offers various services, including articulation, language delays, fluency apraxia, aphasia dysarthria, autism, dysphagia, traumatic brain injury, and voice and motor speech disorders. She also addresses Neurologic impairments such as Parkinsons and Dementia. “My services are for everyone, from ages zero to 99,” she says. She also provides in-home visits and virtual sessions and even travels to local daycare centers to help make it easier for parents. A career as a Speech Pathologist was something Christina always knew she wanted to pursue. She was once in a position like her clients as well. Christina was involved in a car accident that caused her to break both of her legs when she was younger. She also fractured her pelvis bone and sustained a severe head injury. Because of her injuries, she had to forfeit her entire 10th-grade year in high school and take speech therapy to regain her speech and language skills. After surviving that ordeal, Christina knew what her passion and purpose were. Christina says the experience of having her own practice has not always been easy. Some of the disorders and neurological impairments her clients can be difficult to work with, mainly due to the loss of speech or language. “However challenging it can be, the opportunity to help others is always rewarding,” she says. “When you teach someone who has suffered a stroke to repeat their wife’s name, or teach someone to tell their daughter “I love you” again, it makes it all worth it.” Being able to give her clients hope and help them achieve their goals continues to push Christina to be the very best version of herself. As for the future of Say it Sow, Christina plans on expanding her practice to serve other disciplines and be a complete resource to her community. She is also accepting new clients and will soon launch two summer camps.
Christina Bennett M.S. CCC/SLP Say It Sow www.sayitsow.com 256-715-1249
Houston - May/June 2022
For those who may be considering a career such as hers, Christina offers some sound advice. ‘Our field is gratifying, independent, and broad, so if you get tired of one aspect, there are many more opportunities to try under the speech pathology umbrella. To learn more about Christina Bennett and Say It Sow, please visit their website. h
Houston - May/June 2022
Houston - May/June 2022
The Wealthy Child “I am a Change Agent on the path to create a culture of wealth for the next generation” By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Ronald Pollard Delvin Sullivan is a Dave Ramsey-certified Financial Coach who believes that “The earlier money can make sense to a child, the better chance they have at being financially responsible adults.” A native of Huntsville, AL, Delvin is the author of The Wealthy Child, a book designed to teach youth about money and the world’s economic process. As someone who grew up in public housing, Delvin’s passion always led him to mentoring youth and posing as a positive role model for kids, particularly young men. Using the basic principles of wealth, he published his book to level the playing field and offer all children the opportunity to become wealthy through knowledge. Some of the topics discussed in the Wealthy Child production are budgeting, banking, investing, credit, income, and assets. “I am introducing children to the basics of financial literacy in a fun and engaging way and teaching kids about the importance of earning, saving, and spending responsibly. My goal is to ensure they understand the importance of earning, saving, and spending responsibly,” Delvin says. In addition to being an author, personal finance coach, and entrepreneur, Delvin is also a US Army veteran and recipient of the Unsung Hero Award. He holds degrees from Alabama A&M University and Murray State University. He is married to Felichia, and they have two children, Tierra and Jordan, along with three grandchildren. Delvin shares, “I began teaching at the Sparkman Homes Boys and Girls Club in 2017, and decided to develop a book and workbook that would give the students something they could take home with them.”
The vision for The Wealthy Child is connected to Delvins awareness of the many challenges that youth face, especially within his community. “Studies show 80% of crimes that send people to prison have something to do with money. I want to change that narrative by teaching children how to earn, save, grow, and respect the dollar at an early age,” he says. He shares that he loves being able to change the course of a child’s life by ensuring he or she is financially literate. He is also inspired by youth development and making a difference in his community. Growing up in similar situations that many of the young individuals he’s helping are, Delving feels that he has a sincere responsibility to create realistic opportunities for them. “I made it to where I am because of the men placed in my life at the Boys and Girls Club. It was Ugene Phillips, Cedric Wherry, and Tyrone Langford. They would preach, “if you want to be an eagle, don’t hang around turkey’s”. That kept me from becoming a product of my environment,” Delvin says. Delvin’s future goal is to continue to change the lives of millions of children by introducing them to the world’s economic process. To learn more about The Wealthy Child, please visit their website. h
Delvin Sullivan The Wealthy Child
www.thewealthychild.net 256-468-3227 35
Marrel Gravely Foushee The son of Sunny Gravely Foushee and Marrel Foushee
Houston - May/June 2022
To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature, please send a detailed email to email@example.com
Certified Trainer, Speaker, Coach with the John Maxwell International Best Selling Amazon Author Certified Professional Career Coach Certified Virtual Presenter www.facebook.com/groups/NobleSuccessGroup Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 38
Houston - May/June 2022