Sept./Oct. 2020 Volume 1 Issue 1 FREE
Pinnacle Solutions Group, LLC Arkansas - September/October 2020
On November 3rd #huamimagazinevote 3
There Are No If, Ands, Or Buts About It!
The Lessons of Life HaveOr A Purpose There Are No If, Ands, Buts About It! A Letter from the Editor
A Letter From The Editor
A Letter from the Editor
I am not a spring chicken, and arrive? what that clearly is that I What if tomorrow didn’t All of your means plans, hopes haveand been around the track a few times.toThat dreams wouldn’t have a street parkalso on. indicates What if that I have seen a few things, some good and some bad. My decisions everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never What if tomorrow didn’t arrive? All of your plans, hopes haven’t always correct, and there have happened? There would beano reason tobeen save for a rainy and dreamsbeen wouldn’t have street to park on. moments What if of difficulty my actions didn’t make anyuntil sense to But day, where and you could someone the trouble ofme. making everything that youspare decided to put off tomorrow never through it all, there isifone constant that hastonever changed; promises. What your last seemingly happened? There would be opportunity no reason save for aexpired rainythe lessons that only canspare provide. today? would you do? day, andWhat you life could someone the trouble of making
promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired Though may battered bruised the way, because I’veI been told that I often seem like Ialong do too much. today? Whathave would you do?and I am Honestly, still here, it proves has a purpose for adversity I feel like that I am God not doing enough and I’m a firm and a reason forbeen my existence. it may hard times, I have believer in knowing that God seem wouldn’t put anything on me I’ve told that I Though often likebe I do tooatmuch. realized that my purpose is attached to those lessons. that I couldn’t sometimes wonderand how would Honestly, I feelhandle. like I amI not doing enough I’mlife a firm be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything onme. me I There is comfort in taking the easy road in life, but the easy haveI found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity that couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life wouldway out doesn’t offerto growth. Oneaccept of the misconceptions is aifblessing that to biggest everyone. A challenge be I chose sitisn’t idle afforded and what it presented to me.isI that have silence means that everything is alright. That is not always to mefound is an adventure. What is the In worst that can opportunity happen? that to be very boring. my opinion, correct silence can mask hurt, disappointment, confusion, If aI because do nothing, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn is blessing thatI fail, isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge and disconnection. Just because someone doesn’t voice theirin something new about myself. yourcan pride and to me is an adventure. What is Relinquish the worst that happen? feelings and opinions, it doesn’t mean theybut do not havelearn any to say. return acquire life. If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, instead It could possibly indicate the exact opposite. They could haveina something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and whole circus going on the never show itwhen because it has The best advice everinside givenand to me happened someone return acquire life. become easier to remain silent and emotionless. However, God told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so desires for best us toadvice speak. I have pressed myever way given through doors with a key thatsomeone only The to me happened when hopeme provided. have also learned the today. difference between told to makeImy tomorrow happen In doing so InIwhat the holy bible, andme in with the book of Psalms 34:1 NLT, itme says God blesses and what life can with have pressed my way through doors with a burden key that only “I will the LordI have atitall times. I will constantly speak Hisand aspraise well. I compare toalso knowing when be confident hope provided. learned the to difference between praises.” offers clearand instructions God on what our whenlife tofrom be quiet, because whatThis Godverse blesses me with what can burden me with responsibilities are as Christians. We can’t stay silent when faced may get it confused as well. I compare it to knowingsomeone when to be confident and with adversity; we must speak out. Even difficulties, there with during being when to bearrogant. quiet, because is resolve and promise when we call someone on God. may get it confused Make youarrogant. tomorrow with being happen today, butismost Living in a world that importantly make count. filled with so much chaositand Make you tomorrow Life is but a whisper and only misunderstanding, being silent happen today, but most weproblem. must putmake ourselves in a fuels the When have importantly ityou count. position to hear what it is Life is buttoa speak, whisperyou andmust an opportunity telling we must put ourselves in a do so with theus. love of God in your position to hear it is your heart, and on your lips.what Though telling us.endless, love has the pain may seem L. Watson ability to fixTerry a lifetime of brokenness.
Editor/Founder Terry L. Watson Terry L. Watson Editor/Founder November/December 2014 Want To Advertise?
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Arkansas - September/October 2020
On The Cover
Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC Cory L Walker
Presidential Concrete LLC
Shamika and Jason
Blackstock Insurance Agency
Huami Magazine Cutest Baby
Morry Lee Johnson
LaRontâ€™e Watson Ellerbee He is an overcomer. Learn how this young man is making his mark in the fashion world. Greensboro, NC
Aleta Danielle She has a heart for Real Estate. Meet the face of Aleta Danielle Realty. Greenville, SC
Arkansas - September/October 2020
Amanda Eaddy McKeithan She has a way with words. Meet the face of The Literary Enthusiast. Richmond, VA
Pinnacle Solutions Group, LLC 6
Arkansas - September/October 2020
By Terry L. Watson Photos by Cory L Walker
According to Cory Walker, who is also affectionately known as Cory The Coach, the definition of a fulfilled life must include humility and service to others. He is an innovator and prides himself on being a daring risk taker. “I have been first in a lot of things in my life, now I am learning to finish strong,” he shares. “My life’s works are about service and empowerment to many. There are a lot of people whom I have been fortunate enough to help realize their true potential and thrive both personally and in business.” TThe Arkansas native, who also lived in Georgia and in Texas, has committed his life to service. Being firmly planted on a foundation of integrity, Cory describes himself as a man of his word who goes above and beyond to help people win. He is a believer, a loving husband, father, entertainer, and serial entrepreneur who does not mind telling you the truth. Public speaking and training are two of his specialties, but he is impressively multi-talented and a critical thinker. He is certified in DISC Communication & Behavior Styles and in the Motivators Models. “Training is like a ministry to me. The feeling is amazing when I take the floor and begin to speak. It’s beyond me how people’s lives are literally being changed while I am presenting,” he says. Cory has also been blessed with the ability to think forward. “I’m an innovator. I have been blessed with an incredible gift to make things better, and seemingly, to operate in the future,” he says. In 2001, he created Arkansas’ first online business directory, (www. ResourceAR.com). Its purpose was to give people …access to information for personal, business, entertainment, and worship needs. From any location in the state, users could find what they were looking for with the click of a mouse. Today, Cory is the owner and face of Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC. His company is a unique business solutions provider domiciled in Arkansas, providing services to small and medium size businesses nationwide. “We are a onestop solutions shop for making the right things happen and getting results that create opportunities for success. I have an amazing team that does outstanding work. Even better, the services we provide are customizable and affordable,” he says. Currently, Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC is well underway in its peak season of employee benefits enrollment. They are simultaneously targeting minority owned business for management consulting, employee development and training, beginning in early Spring of 2021.
My life’s works are about more than money and success, they’re about service and empowerment to many. There’s a lot of people whom I have been fortunate enough to help realize their true potential and thrive both personally and in business.
Continued on the next page
Cory shares that he believes a significant number of minorityowned/operated businesses stunt their growth because they are not prepared for growth. “Running a business entails more than just selling products and services. It entails operations management, excellent customer service, and quality control. A company’s management and staff must operate in tandem to achieve peak performance and perpetual success.” Cory’s journey as a ‘serious’ entrepreneur began in 2004, out of necessity. “I was hungry for more. I was college educated, broke, and fresh out of a job.. Ironically, the answer to my prayers came in the form of a business opportunity in October. I had to borrow $149 investment amount to get started. I had no idea I was beginning a transformation journey that would change the rest of my life,” says Cory. As a platform to add value to his business in pursuit of expanding his target market, Cory began developing a membership platform for small businesses in 2008. It never really got off the ground, but he shares it was a cool concept that eventually lead to other opportunities. In 2013, he began selling life insurance on a part-time basis. After relocating home to Arkansas from Texas, he began hosting networking events for professionals and entrepreneurs under the title of IBO (Independent Business Owner) Partners. That happened while working full time as a professional development trainer, and still selling life insurance. In that experience, he says he discovered a void that needed to be filled; small and medium sized businesses were lacking access to training and services that could help to protect and grow them. In December of 2017, he ‘accidentally’ pre-launched Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC. Though the business is fully operational and attracting new clients, the official launch event for PSG and the Southern MinorityBiz Network will take place on January 4, 2021. “This is significant because we are beating the odds for most newly established businesses,” he says.
Running a business entails more than just selling products and services. It entails operations management, excellent customer service, and quality control. A company’s management and staff must operate in tandem to achieve peak performance and perpetual success.
Some of the services offered by Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC are Professional Development and Leadership Training, Small Business Consulting, Voluntary Group Benefits, (Arkansas and Texas - Tennessee pending), access to Telemedicine, LegalShield Group Benefits and ID Shield Group Benefits (Arkansas, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma), Certified Business and Life Coaching, Freight/LTL Management, Bookkeeping & Taxes (Arkansas only), Notary Public (Arkansas only), and COVID-19 Response (South Region, Midwest, East Coast). Just as any other business, Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the quarantine presented an opportunity for Cory to position the company as a valuable resource. “So many times, I have been ahead of the market, and here I am once again, doing the future now. This time around I am better prepared to handle the demands and obstacles of introducing a unique, multifaced business platform to the market. With a portion of my target market attempting to recover, there is plenty of opportunity for us to serve businesses that need our help. However, the ability to provide individuals and families access to many of the same services is currently playing a major part in creating stability,” Cory says.
Continued on page 11
For anything to be successful, authenticity and love must be involved. Cory has them both. “I love the feeling I get from being able to design and create solutions through consulting. It’s an amazing feeling to help someone find the right path for themselves and show them how to pursue their goals in a time and costeffective manner. We are helping both entrepreneurs and professionals on various levels with various services and resources that meet their needs. It’s rewarding and exciting to think, we are just beginning to make noise in the market.” Cory is mostly inspired by his parents, Houston and Mildred Walker. He says they weren’t business professionals, but had a natural ability for conducting business. “Even in their struggles, they produced what we needed and still managed to help a lot of people in the College Station (AR) community, and beyond. Even though they are with the Lord, thinking about their accomplishments through all of their personal challenges, continue to drive me. Because I have a sincere appreciation for their drive and ambition, I am equipped to inspire others as I pursue my passion to serve and achieve success on various levels of human endeavor,” he says. “I love my parents and cherish my memories of them. They were the world’s greatest,” he says. Cory offers some advice for others who may follow in his footsteps and are planning to start a business. “You must pray and believe. Determine who you are. Love who you are. Decide what you want to do and do it no matter how many times you have to start over. Focus on your passion and let the haters and nay-sayers help fuel your fire. Don’t act like a boss – be the boss. Be humble, grateful, and serve others. Moreover, you must invest your time and money in not just your business, but into your personal growth and protection. Network and meet new people. Seek out a mentor. Do not limit your thinking and know when to let go of things that hinder you. Fight to fulfill your purpose and for the things you truly desire.” Cory is excited and optimistic about the future for himself and for his business. Presently, PSG is in the process of pre-launching the Southern MinorityBiz Network, powered by Pinnacle Solutions Group, beginning October 1, 2020. “I am expecting this network to spread across the state of Arkansas fairly quickly and with fanfare. While there is no cost to be a part of the social media group, there is a paid membership that will give minority entrepreneurs access to free and discounted services, resources, training, and referral opportunities. There will also be a chance to have some serious networking fun, with all roads leading to January 04, 2021,” he says. Along with the network, they will continue to provide services that make a difference for all small and medium size businesses. “Lastly, I will continue to speak and train, while pursing growth and success as a business leader and CEO of Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC,” he says. h
Pinnacle Solutions Group LLC www.pinnaclesolutionsgroup.net 501-487-1842
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Presidential Concrete LLC By Laci Ollison Photos by Joseph Merrill When you hear the term “power couple,” you may immediately begin to think of celebrity couples like Barack and Michelle Obama, Beyonce and Jay-Z, or Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith. But in Huntsville, there’s one couple who is breaking barriers and establishing their own definition of the term power couple. Jason and Shamika Minisee are the owners of Presidential Concrete; a residential and commercial concrete business located in Huntsville, Alabama. Their business mainly provides flatwork services which includes driveways, parking lots, curbs, gutters, and slabs. However, they will soon become a full-service concrete business offering coffee tables, concrete countertops, and more. The dynamic duo have been in business together since 2005. However, they both have a foundation in entrepreneurship and ties to the concrete business that extend much further than that. “I learned the skill trade of concrete finishing from my father,” said Jason. “Before I moved to Huntsville, I used to run their concrete business. I only had a little bit of business skills, but I had a lot of experience with this skill trade.” And that’s where his wife Shamika steps in. The St. Louis native holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University as well as a master’s degree in Business Management with an emphasis on Acquisition and Contract Management from Florida Institute of Technology. “My wife always wanted to be a business owner and entrepreneur, and that’s what she studied in college.” Jason said. “When we started our business, we were just married, and our daughter wasn’t even two years old.” At the time, Shamika was working on her master’s degree and working a job that paid $11.63. Jason was working an unfulfilling job making $10 an hour. Continued on the next page
“I came home and told my wife that I quit my job and I wanted to start my own concrete business and she was game.” Although Shamika supported her husband’s dream of starting a business, she still found herself somewhat nervous. “I like structure. So, him quitting his job on Friday and filing LLC paperwork on Monday scared me,” said Shamika. “But I understood his vision. The company he was working for wasn’t paying him his worth. I agreed because I knew the best way for him to be paid what he was worth was for him to pay himself.” And now, the couple has built a successful business with clients to include Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Progressive Union Missionary Baptist Church, Alabama A&M University, and Oakwood University just to name a few. “It’s taken a while to reap the fruits of our labor because we didn’t start out with loans,” Shamika said. “We didn’t build from loans or angel investors; we built this business ourselves.” The couple said that at the time of starting their business, they would use Shamika’s refund checks from school to reinvest in the business. “We didn’t know about outside funding,” said Shamika. “I remember having our first business account and my husband asked for a line of credit, but we were denied. We didn’t look into it any further and we were so laser focused on building that we didn’t take time to Google or do more research into outside funding.” But they didn’t let the lack of outside funding stop them from pursuing their dream of building a successful business. “The biggest thing I heard was ‘90% of businesses fail in the first year,’” Jason said. “I was determined to make it through that first year without failing.” And because of their determination, they can now show their children what it looks like when perseverance and hard work are combined. Their three children actively participate in the family business; visiting contract sites and making suggestions on designs. “It feels good to have them watching us,” Shamika said. “They take in everything we do and even make suggestions on how to market our business. My husband even took my son out to one of the job sites and it was so cute to see him with a construction hat on.” Although they value their clients, it is more important for Shamika and Jason to be role models that their children can look up to. “It’s not just about the clients for me,” said Shamika. “It’s about my kids seeing their father never give up.” Continued on page 16
Shamika and Jason have been married since 2003 and reside in Huntsville, Alabama with their three children (pictured from left to right) Payton, Jason, and Jayden. 15 15
The couple also value personal family time as well, making it a habit to not miss important moments in the lives of their children. “I try to make sure to take them out one at a time or altogether to spend quality time with them,” the mom of three said. “They’re not little for long and I don’t want them to look back and think that our business consumed us.” Outside of being parents and business owners though, Jason and Shamika are both involved in their community through professional and philanthropic avenues. Shamika is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and she sits on the board of directors for North Alabama Free Dental Clinic, Sickle Cell Leadership Consortium, and Girls on the Run. The couple are both members of Huntsville Madison County Builders Association. Jason has been gifted with a knack for management. His gift has led him to gain contracts and lead efforts from Alabama all the way to Michigan. He has acted as the project manager on projects like pole barns, grain bins, and storage facilities. During a small employment stint as a Superintendent he led the efforts on Friendship Commons, a multi-use retail and residential complex and plaza. With their busy lives as business owners, parents, and local community figures, the two both agree that they would be no where without their faith. “You have to have guidance in The Lord,” said Shamika. “For me it’s scary that Jason is so confident, but I know where his help comes from. You have to constantly pray over your business. The Lord didn’t give us a spirit of fear.” For others who would like to start their own business, Jason encourages them to not be nervous. “Just have supreme confidence in yourself and in your business,” he said. “No one is going to be as confident as you.” Shamika also tells aspiring entrepreneurs to take the leap and “just do it.” “Create a roadmap,” she said. “Don’t do it like us. We jumped headfirst not feet first. Don’t take forever but make it make sense. Don’t stop at no. Guestimate how much startup capital you will need. And if the bank says no, search for other avenues.” Shamika reminds people often that she came from humble beginnings. “If I can do it, they can too. Don’t be like me, be better than me.” h
www.presidentialconcrete.com (256)226-7152 (256)226-7103
Arkansas - September/October 2020
SPetrospect imone Coleman Pet Sitting Services Terry L. Watson Photos by Simone Coleman
Simone Coleman of Nashville, TN is a pet sitter and a natural lover of animals. She is also someone who is best described as “the not so average girl next door”. Her vivacious personality and appeal compliment her personality, skills that assist her with operating her business, Petrospect Pet Sitting Services. After a career with the NBA and working for the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat franchise’s by providing season ticket sales, Simone relocated back to Middle Tennessee. Soon her love for animals and pets in particular would play a huge role in her life. In so many words, Simone is a pet sitter. With something that initially began as a “side hustle” she turned into a serious operation. With her business Petrospect, Simone specializes in caring for larger breed dogs and those that may have a sense of separation anxiety. Some of the services she offers are In Home - Boarding (at the pet sitter’s home), In Home - Daycare, Housesitting, Drop-in Visits, Dog Park Visits, Dog Walks, Pet Photography, and Urgent/ On Call Pet sitting. The idea of Petrospect came in 2018, after someone asked Simone to pet sit. “It was an interesting idea,” she says. Soon she began accepting clients on a part time basis using the Rover app platform. Over the following two years, the feedback and encouragement from client testimonials, including how satisfied and pleased they were with her services, took Simone’s personal confidence to new heights. And so Petrospect was born.
In September of 2019, Simone officially licensed her business as Petrospect, and established it on a platform of providing pet sitting services from her home. She then created a logo, developed a brand, and launched an advertising campaign online through social media. “Things really began to take off,” she shares. As fate would have it, Simone would soon face some adversity with her business with the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic. “I thought I would never see a dog again, mainly because my business was based on people working away from their home, or when they traveled. Those things were immediately halted. Still I overcame the Covid 19 pandemic and decided to get my company bonded and insured so that I had the necessary credentials for business. After doing all of that I decided to take my business full time,” she shares. Continued on the next page
For any business to be successful, there must be a genuine love for it. In Simone’s case, her love is centered around caring for animals and providing her clients with great service. “My clients pets provide me with a second dose of mental health therapy outside of my regular therapy sessions. I’m able to not only provide a service to my clients with exceptional pet care, but I provide myself with the service of unconditional love from pets, every single day. Pets who are dealing with separation anxiety are another reason I love what I do, because I’ve learned through my own mental health therapy that separation anxiety in pets is the exact same as loneliness in humans. I do this full time, which means I’m at home enough during the day to provide less loneliness for myself and my clients pets. Even more, as a mental health advocate, I understand and appreciate the value of the services I offer. I am a three time suicide attempt survivor, and most of my clients don’t even know that a day with their pet, is a day that I am less depressed, and is a day that I have less to zero suicidal ideation. It’s a win, win situation all the way around,” she explains. Being an entrepreneur and having the ability to work full time from home has its perks. “I love being an entrepreneur because I love seeing money made by a brand, a service, and a smile that are of my very own. I love the fact that I’m an anomaly in the pet care industry as well. I am a female, and black. Statistically, blacks are currently rare in providing pet care services, and people, like myself get to be some of the groundbreaking entrepreneurs to show that the future is abundant in equality for pet care providers,” she shares. For others who may be thinking of starting a business, Simone offers some advice. “Seek a therapist. When starting a business of any sort, if you have access to a therapist, utilize it. Talk to someone that has no connection to your life so that you can focus and allow them to provide you with nonjudgmental feedback. You must also study your trade. I once thought I was not going to pet sit full time. I started researching the top market in Nashville which is real estate. One might think, what does this have to do with pet sitting. Well, I learned that in the Nashville area, more people were moving in with pets than having children. After learning this, it helped to boost my confidence tremendously and I realized that I could prosper in the Nashville area. And finally, please hire an accountant!” Moving forward, Simone hopes to continue providing a more boutique style of in-home pet care for years to come. Furthermore, she’s looking to implement a future endeavor that would incorporate pets in more lives of those with mental health issues. Contact Petrospect Pet Sitting Services today for all your pet sitting needs.
Rodney Blackstock 22
Arkansas - September/October 2020
By Terry L. Watson Photos by Rodney Blackstock If you are living in the Atlanta Metro area, and in need of insurance, there is coverage available for you. Rodney Blackstock is the owner of Blackstock Insurance Agency located 2951 Piedmont Road in Atlanta, GA. Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, Rodney has lived in several different places throughout his life. That experience he says has given him a better perspective on the world, and an innate ability to connect with people of all different backgrounds. “I’m a kid who grew up in a foster home. I bounced around and lived with different people growing up. I lost my mom at the age of 12, after only seeing her three times. To say my childhood was rocky, is an understatement. Losing my mom gave me so much drive. I wanted to be successful and establish myself, and my family where she wasn’t able to. And what better tool to use, basketball. Basketball was my saving grace. Because of it, I was able to play sports collegiately and professionally. When I was finished, I pivoted into entrepreneurship. I did all this without having the stability of a two-parent household. I had to create the change I wanted to be. I had to work for everything I have, and because of that, I don’t like excuses,” he shares. Basketball is his first love. First as a player, and then as a sports agent, basketball took Rodney around the globe and exposed him to different people and various life experiences. After six years in the game, Rodney decided to pivot to a career where I could have an even greater impact on his people. That was insurance. Rodney is a brother, friend, son, athlete, speaker, agent, and connector. As a Principal within the AAA network, he’s able to provide a number of products that can be tailored to fit the needs of any individual or family. These include auto insurance, home/condo insurance, renter’s insurance, and perhaps the most important one of them all, life insurance. They also provide umbrella liability coverage and RV, motorcycle, and boat insurance. Blackstock Insurance Agency opened in August 2020. Though the location of Rodney’s business is fairly new, he has been in the insurance industry for four years. “I began with the State Farm Agency to perfect my craft. I learned everything there is to know about the industry and obtained both my property and casualty, and my life and health licenses. It was a years’ long grind, which, at times, was quite humbling. Yet, it was a strategic move and I realized I needed that step to get started and help me to arrive at where I am today,” he shares. Rodney has a genuine care and love for people and for helping others. He shares why he decided to open an insurance agency in the first place. “It was to help people build and maintain the lifestyle they desired. When I discovered that I could make money by helping others, it was a no-brainer. I was also inspired by the idea that insurance is a recession proof business, and an essential product and service that people will always be in need of. However, the most important reason for me to start my agency was to create a stable business for my family and establish something that could be around for generations to come,” he says.
Rodney also uses his platform to educate others about the importance of being insured. “Miseducation can be a huge challenge for me as an agent. Some people don’t understand the value that insurance brings to their lives. As a black man, I’ve seen first-hand how many of our people in particular, have been taught to believe that insurance is a waste of money, or that it’s not necessary. In actuality, wealthy people view insurance as a risk management tool to make sure they maintain their wealth. My job is to educate as many people as possible while I bring them along on this journey toward peace of mind and wealth generation,” he says. Educating people about the importance of being insured is one of the top priorities for Rodney. In the future he plans to get the Blackstock Insurance Agency name out there and reach people, save people money, and help to protect families. His advice to others who may follow in his footsteps is to hustle. “With respect to my career success, hustle has been the number one differentiator. Lots of people are talented, but few are driven enough to show up early and leave late. Few are willing to come in on Saturdays or Sundays to perfect their craft. The hustler mentality helped me in basketball and in business. No one will outwork me. I’d tell anyone who wants to follow in my footsteps to trust the process and to put the work in,” he says. h
Blackstock Insurance Agency 2591 Piedmont Road NE - Suite 1120 Atlanta, GA 30324 404-835-0131 www.aaasouth.com
Arkansas - September/October 2020
Amanda Writing to Amanda Eaddy McKeithan is second nature. She compares it to the blood that flows through her veins. It gives her life. The wife and mother of two describes herself as someone who is free-spirited, optimistic, and risk-taking storyteller. Originally from Richmond, VA, she is an educator at heart and has been on a lifelong quest to creatively change the world, in many ways. She is a writer, editor, and author with eight books under her belt. “Whenever I edit, proofread, or ghostwrite for a client, I am using my creative gifts with the goal of making the world a better place, one word at a time. Words are super important to me. I believe that we can either heal or kill with our words. As a ‘wordsmith’, I strive to encourage, inspire, and put some fire under people to go after the life that they deserve,” she says. Amanda is also a business owner and the face of The Literary Enthusiast Creative Firm. “Originally, the name was A Creative Solution. I started it in 2015 and changed it to The Literary Enthusiast Creative Firm in 2019. I published my first book in 2010 and found that I loved helping others creatively share their stories as well. The more I was asked to write for someone, the more I realized that I had a business in me,” she shares.
Arkansas - September/October 2020
As a author and businesswoman, Amanda has faced her share of challenges. With most writes, there is a constant battle of “writers block”. And for Amanda, it hits her from time to time. “I struggle with procrastination. Though I have great vision, sometimes, I have poor follow through, mainly because I am a low-key perfectionist who desires to make everyone happy. That approach has proven to be sort of a downfall. “I struggle with rejection, and as a result it keeps me from taking even bigger risks and reaching for higher opportunities for my writing career and business,” she says. Though Amanda’s journey has faced its share of pitfalls and stumbling blocks, she remains optimistic and always seeks to encourage others. Her advice to aspiring writers and authors and writers is authentic and very clear. “Go for it. You must stop over thinking and write that book because your story matters. Someone is waiting on your truth and your transparency will save their life. Your story will offer them hope and encouragement; two vitally important tools that will show them to press through the hard stuff. Life will continuously present tough and rigorous challenges. Through my story and determination to succeed, I hope to show someone that no matter how traumatic things may get, you must not quit. Lastly, set an intention and stick with it. You must rid yourself of distractions and not be affected by the opinions of others. The vision is yours, and they might not be able to see it, and that is okay. Do it anyway,” she says.
The Literary Enthusiast Creative Firm offers editing, proofreading, ghostwriting, and creative assisting services for authors and busy professionals. If it needs to be written, it can be done by them. Whether it be manuscripts to creating slogans, to contracts, Amanda can do it all. She also provides tutoring services (on site and virtual) for elementary and secondary students. She has also incorporated another component into her business, StoryTime with Amanda that is geared for young authors who need reviews and exposure for their new titles.
Moving forward, Amanda plans for The Literary Enthusiast Creative Firm to launch a creative arts preschool. She will also launch Just Amanda Productions and StoryTelling in RVA Films. At the end of the day, Amanda wants to create “dope stories” that change the way people do life. She says, “In the end, nothing I desire to hear more than for God to say, ““I knew you were the baddest storyteller in the land. You survived all that earthly mess, with a pen in your hand”. h
Amanda has a genuine love for writing and helping others. With writing, she shares how she enjoys seeing someone’s story or idea come to life through her storytelling abilities. “Storytelling is my superpower. Ghostwriting is everything. It is a lot of work, but when I can get to the end of a project, and my clients are pleased, it’s so fulfilling. Every time I get positive feedback, it encourages me to keep walking towards my purpose. There is nothing greater than knowing why you were created.” Amanda graciously shares who gave her the opportunity to walk in her purpose. “God, of course. I am thankful for this gift that I have been given. God has been the best brainstormer and vision giver. Every life experience I’ve had, I can write about. They’ve impacted me personally and professionally. Each experience has made me a better storyteller and provoked the release of my creativity,” she says.
Amanda Eaddy McKeithan 804-585-4536 www.amandaeaddy.com
Arkansas - September/October 2020
Stay Networking And Grinding Zestfully By Terry L. Watson - Photos by JLG Photography
LaRont’e Watson Ellerbee, aka Ja’Natis, is an achiever, a believer, an entrepreneur. His colorful personality compliments a style that exudes confidence, sophistication, and loyalty. A native of Greensboro, NC LaRont’e is equipped with an equal share of street smarts and common sense. While he has overcome various challenges throughout his life, he has not allowed any of them to stand in the way of him living out his life’s purpose; to be better today than he was yesterday. LaRont’e is a father, son, brother, and friend to many. He also engaged to his best friend and the love of his life. While there are many ways to describe LaRont’e, the most accurate would be to say that he is an ambitious overcomer. “No matter what people say or do, as long as I don’t give up on myself, I will always win. I’ve had a rough life. I grew up in the Claremont Homes community located on the north side of Greensboro NC. I later moved to Randolph Avenue, and then to Julian Street, near Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Times were tough and due to the roller coaster of life, I built up internal frustrations from many disappointments. I had a lot of rage and anger deep down on the inside of me. I guess you could say that I suffered. I lost the woman who raised me, and then I lost my birth mother. Things didn’t appear to be getting any better for me. Yet, I still pushed on, and from there, I was able to make a life decision that worked out for me in the end, and things eventually turned out OK,” he says. Today, LaRont’e is the owner and face of SNAGZ Apparel, a fashion apparel line that encourages others to strive for greatness, and to be consciously aware of their surroundings. SNAGZ is an acronym for (Stay Networking And Grinding Zestfully). LaRont’e began his fashion line in 2013. Now his vast assortment of items include short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, snapbacks, beanies, sweatshirts, hoodies, onesies, and Covid 19 appropriate face masks. “I decided to start a clothing line because growing up I didn’t have many clothes, or the nicest clothes, or even name brand clothes. When I was younger, I told myself that I wanted to get rich and start my own clothing line and give other people more options of how to express themselves. My line is for those who couldn’t wear a certain thing even though they like it. They can wear what I have, and don’t have to worry about being judged,” he says. “I love that it’s different, it can stand out and it’s not targeting any one type of customer in particular. It’s designed for anybody, from infants to the elderly. SNAGZ is a ‘Brand For Any Lifestyle’” he says.
www.snagzapparelbrand.bigcartel.com 336-549-4553 26
In the future, LaRont’e plans to continue to design new items to add to his growing inventory. He also hopes to partner with others for the sole purpose of allowing the SNAGZ Apparel line help to make his community more colorful and expressive. Contact him to learn more about what is on the horizon for SNAGZ Apparel. h
Morry Lee Johnson
The son of Torri Johnson & James Oldham
To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature, please send a detailed email to email@example.com
Arkansas - September/October 2020
A Love For Real Estate 28
Arkansas - September/October 2020
By Dawn Cauthen Thornton Photos by B Smith Photography Aleta Danielle has always been interested in helping people. Encouraging others through tough decisions and supporting them in achieving their dreams is constantly on Danielle’s heart. “I’ve had the opportunity to gain knowledge, skills and experience, from various positions which have assisted in my development as a Realtor,” says Danielle. She worked in Corporate America for over 20 years in various roles and gained the experience from each of those positions and applied them in serving her clients. When she assisted customers in the past, she wasn’t sure what the end goal would be. She was only a small part of the process and oftentimes left unfulfilled. Choosing real estate has been one of the best decisions she’s made. In upstate South Carolina the housing market is red hot. The area has been booming within the last few years and Danielle is taking advantage of the opportunities. “With real estate, I’m involved beginning to end. That fulfillment is there because I’ve helped them attain a home,” Danielle explains. In the Greenville/Spartanburg area, several Fortune 500 companies have relocated there due to the growth which has allowed homebuilders to increase their construction exponentially. With these large companies hiring, college students who have traveled here to attend one of the many colleges, stay and vie for those jobs upon graduation. Those same new grads will soon be in the market to purchase a new home and Danielle is ready to serve them. The state of South Carolina also boasts 12 beaches. With this new pandemic that has confined families to their homes while working and schooling, living in a vacation home with warm sand at your feet has become a desire. “As a Realtor, there are so many avenues to this position that I want to be able to accentuate about myself and the services I offer.” Though it’s an interesting time, business is still flourishing. It’s certainly a seller’s market, as Agents have seen multiple offers on the same home and even homes selling within hours of going live. Neighborhoods are being built on every livable space one can think of which means the population is also increasing in record numbers.
Since venturing into a new arena she has learned that knowing how to manage yourself, having a solid plan, and pursuing your interests are the first things to consider. Most importantly, having strong faith has gotten her further than she could’ve ever imagined. “Live your dreams, is my motto, because it’s never too late to do that. But use wisdom when making decisions. Be ready to think out of the box and then get out there and make things happen.” A quote that Danielle admires is “Just as the Caterpillar thought the world was ending, she became a Butterfly.” -Barbara Haines h
Aleta Danielle Realtor
When Danielle isn’t making dreams come true, she works from home as an Account Manager for UPS. The University of South Carolina Alum has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a focus on Management and is taking steps to grow her brand using what she learned in college. The ability to work from home as well as set her own hours is quite beneficial to this mother of two. “My three year old daughter can feel that I’m home more now. She and my 14 year old son love that we get to spend so much time together,” says Danielle. Arkansas - September/October 2020
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