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RALEIGH-DURHAM

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Sept./Oct. 2019 Volume 3 Issue 1 FREE

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Understaning Yourself Is Very Important A Letter From The Editor

More than anything, a person is happiest when they can be themselves, without reservations, judgements, or ridicule. Being who we really are allows us to make the right connections in life, and add value and benefit from these connections.

There Are No If, Ands, Or Buts About It! A Letter from the Editor

If the skilled position of a football player is that of a defensive back, they will more than likely have the biggest impact on What if tomorrow didn’t arrive? All of your plans, hopes their team from playing in that position. If they are placed in and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if another position such as quarterback or offensive lineman, their everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never performance and overall impact will not be as favorable. If an happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy elephant is dropped in the middle of the ocean, the chances day, and you could spare someone the trouble of making of it surviving are much less of it simply dwelling in its natural promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired habit. today? What would you do? In both situations, each are set up to fail because their I’ve been told that I often seem like I do too much. strengths aren’t used appropriately, and their disposition might Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m a firm invoke discomfort, resulting in a poor performance. Even more, believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me when we don’t understand who we are, and what our role and that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would purpose in life is, it can be very difficult to do our best. be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity Being the best, “you” is very important. However, to be our is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge best, we ourselvesWhat first.isWe learn we are to memust is an be adventure. themust worst thatwho can happen? andIfunderstand our value. must also recognize our flaws I do nothing, I fail, andWe if I try I don’t, but instead learn andsomething look over them carefully. You may be surprised to learn new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in thatreturn your flaws arelife. actually your greatest asset. When we acquire can be ourselves, our contributions to this world are greater and more meaningful. Wegiven should exist onlywhen to please The best advice ever tonever me happened someone someone else, especially if that means depriving ourselves told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing from so theIthings that make who we really are. have pressed my us way through doors with a key that only hope provided. I have also learned the difference between In order theburden best versions what God blesses me with and what to lifebe can me with of ourselves, we must first as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and understand are. because That whenwho to bewe quiet, starts with lovingmay ourselves first. someone get it confused God haswith given everyone the being arrogant. best examples of love, simply by loving all of us unconditionally. If we love Make you tomorrow and follow God,today, that same love happen but most must dwell within our hearts. Love importantly make it count. doesn’tLife force youato adjust and and is but whisper conform, it simply asks that you we must put ourselves in a open your hearttoand share it it asis position hear what well. telling us.

Terry Watson Terry L.L.Watson 4

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On The Cover

Photo by Shaw Photography Group


CONTENTS

SEPT./OCT. 2019

RALEIGH/DURHAM

14

Church Childcare Plus

Maurice & Theressa

6

On The Cover

Invisilace Hair Spa Gail Bernardo

Dancing, Acting, Singing

Chandler Davidson

22

Who Wants To Buy

April Alford

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Victoria Nova

10

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Also Featured

La’Chasity Lyle Meet the face of Soul on Wheels Foods. There is some delicious cooking happening in the Huntsville, AL area.

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Eric Kelly The Black Business Expo USA is holding their annual event in November in Durham.

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Raleigh/Durham - Sept./Oct. 2019

Pretty Credit Consultants Meet owners, Pretty Washington and Elliott C. Washington Jr. Greenville, SC.

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Gail

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By Yasmine Regester Photos by Pharenheit Photography Alopecia specialist and lace wig technician, Gail Bernardo is transforming women’s lives, one hair installation at a time. Gail is the owner of Invisilace Hair Spa, a hair salon that specializes in non-surgical full hair replacement services in Raleigh, North Carolina. She addresses various types of hair loss conditions. All the hair used for the wigs is human hair. On the services consultation form, people can list any allergies they may have in order to reduce the chances of any skin irritation people may have to the hair or the wig caps. Clients can get a free consultation at Invisilace where a trained lace technician will measure your head and discuss your hair options with you. Although the wigs are made offsite by a third party company, Gail recommends clients return to her shop every 3-6 weeks where she and the other lace technicians can help maintain the wigs. “This is about providing a service that makes people feel more confident,” she says. The wigs are a complete hair replacement installation and can be worn for (6-8) months at time with the proper maintenance. “People are excited when they find me. It is a medical necessity for a lot of women. It’s not just about wearing a wig.” She shares she began wearing wigs after she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow. It caused a lack of energy and hair loss, something she had treated others for years but hadn’t experienced herself. She received her natural hair license in 2012. Gail says her personal struggle with hair loss has helped her understand how to be an advocate for her clients. She notes that more insurance companies are starting to pay for things like wigs because a hair loss condition is medical health condition. The national Alopecia organization is working on a bill that would allow Medicaid to pay for this prosthetic for them. Continued on the next page

“People are excited when they find me. It is a medical necessity for a lot of women. It’s not just about wearing a wig.”


“It’s no different from someone losing an arm or a leg. You’ve lost your hair and it isn’t coming back. It’s has become a part of your image,” says Gail. At Invisilace Spa, you can opt to have a wig that can be removed daily or something that can be worn at all times. Gail says that people can work out in the wigs, swim and style it like their own. “This is something very light on your head. It feels natural like your own hair.” Gail estimates that she serves about 175-200 clients, with about 50 of them who come on a regular basis. Some people order a wig only once or twice a year she shares, and she even has clients that come from as far as California to purchase one of her customized Invisilace Wigs. She names her family, clients, and friends as her biggest supporters, especially when she was going through a stem-cell transplant. Gail shares that hair loss is a sensitive thing. People may feel some sense of shame, and don’t want to share their hair loss story. “People are very hesitant and quite reluctant let others know that they have a hair condition. No one wants to wear a wig that looks like a wig, but instead they prefer to wear a wig that looks natural and very close to what natural hair looks like.”


Aside of a medical need, Gail says that cosmetologists are noticing that more women are choosing to wear wigs over getting their own hair done as much as they used to. She believes this is happening mainly due to the damage that can occur with the frequency of chemicals and other agents coming in contact with hair. Another reason she believes is the comfort and ease of wearing a wig versus when someone has to style their own hair. Other services offered by Invisilace Hair Spa are private and on-location consultations and treatments. While she doesn’t typically schedule home visits, Gail says she is willing to accommodate her clients, particularly those who may be ill and unable to visit her salon. Since relocating her salon to 804 Salem Woods Drive, Gail is now working on holding training classes and teaching other lace technicians on how to properly install the wigs. Throughout her career, she has mentored others in the field and continues to attend numerous workshops, classes and events to stay current on the latest technology in the lace wig industry. She also remains to be a diverse businesswoman and serves as a licensed hair distributor for barbershops and salons in the Raleigh area. While the future continues to look very bright for Gail and Invisilace Hair Spa, she remains grounded and humbled by what God has continued to allow for her to do. “The most rewarding part for me is making my clients happy. Seeing a client’s reaction after the first time I service them is amazing. To know that I’ve made a change in someone’s life and made them feel complete is a very satisfying feeling to me. Every day, I know I’ve done something to make someone else feel great about their self,” says Gail. Contact Gail Bernardo and Invisilace Hair Spa to learn more about their products and services. Appointments are available and each service is provided in a private and professional setting. h

Invisilace Hair Spa 804 Salem Woods Drive Ste. 101 Raleigh, NC 27265 833-lace-wig (522-3944) 919-521-5864 www.invisilacewigs.com Google: Invisilace Hair Spa


April Alford Do You Want To Buy or Sell

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By Shannon Morrison (The Writing Source) Photos by Cinema One Films April Alford is a passionate and driven leader who teaches, informs and empowers others to build generational wealth through home ownership. Every day, her goal is to help people take control of their destiny by setting them on a path towards financial security. April serves her community as a Mortgage Loan Officer with Movement Mortgage in Raleigh, NC. There her focus is to assist consumers with obtaining a mortgage loan to purchase a home. She also educates consumers about the importance of budgeting and establishing credit worthiness. “My services offer programs with 100% financing, and down payment assistance or low down payment programs. I also regularly host Home Buyer seminars to help people prepare to purchase a home. Additionally, I use the power of social media to give advice and weekly tips,” she shares. April started her finance career in 2000 as a teller for a large retail bank. In 2004, she moved to the United Kingdom and worked for a Consumer Finance company that provided personal loans to consumers. Upon her return to the United States in 2008, she resumed her career at the same retail bank, working her way up through the ranks in various positions until becoming a Mortgage Loan Officer in 2012. She hasn’t looked back since. The driving force behind April is her love for empowering families with the ability to build generational wealth through home ownership. She says, “It excites me to help someone achieve the dream of purchasing a home. It also brings me great joy to show someone, who thought they couldn’t purchase a home, how it can in fact be done. Seeing the smile on a client’s face when they receive the keys to their new home is a gratifying feeling that never gets old. It’s during these moments that reminds me of how I am walking in my purpose,” she says. April effortlessly credits the one person whom has had the greatest impact on her life. “For years, my mother worked for a large retail bank. When I was a child, I practically grew up in a bank, spending several days there after school. I watched my mom meet with her clients, while providing superior customer service. At the time, I never truly understood what her job was, but I knew I wanted to do something similar,” she said.

“Seeing the smile on a client’s face when I hand them the keys to their new home is a gratifying feeling that never gets old. It’s during these moments that reminds me of how I am walking in my purpose.” 11


In addition to her mom, April acknowledges several others who have influenced her life life over the years. “My former manager, Sekhar Pinapaka noticed my potential and allowed me to shadow him. He saw that I wanted more out of my career and encouraged me to go into mortgage lending. I wouldn’t be where I am today in the mortgage industry without his influence. My three children, Kristina, Jerron Jr., and Jaedon are truly the motivation for everything I do. I want to leave a legacy for them and I hope they will in some fashion, empower their own generation with the knowledge I provide them with,” she says. The future looks bright for April. There she plans to continue to share her knowledge with others and educate as many consumers as possible about the home buying process. In 2020, she plans to launch a Wealth Building Series that will not only focus on home ownership, but also other areas such as the importance of life insurance, wills, budgeting, credit, and real estate investments. “This information is beneficial to everyone, but I definitely plan to target our minority communities. I want to be a vessel that helps bridge the gap in minority home ownership,” she shares. h

A

LFORD

TEA M April Alford NMLS 886941 Sr. Loan Officer Movement Mortgage 4700 Falls of Neuse Rd - Ste 225 South Tower Raleigh, NC 27609 - 919-268-1878 April.alford@movement.com www.AprilAlford.com

NMLS# 886941. NC-I-170727 | Movement Mortgage, LLC supports Equal Housing Opportunity. NMLS ID# 39179 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org) | 877-314-1499. Movement Mortgage, LLC is licensed by NC # L-142670. Interest rates and products are subject to change without notice and may or may not be available at the time of loan commitment or lock-in. Borrowers must qualify at closing for all benefits. “Movement Mortgage” is a registered trademark of the Movement Mortgage, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company. 8024 Calvin Hall Rd, Indian Land, SC 29707.


&

Church Child Care Plus


By Dawn Cauthen Thornton Photos by Still Shots Photography

Investing in a child’s future is key to their success and the prosperity of mankind overall. Nourishing their young minds with creativity allows it to grow and experience a constant metamorphosis needed to flourish. Theressa Stephens and her husband Terrah ‘Maurice’ Stephens, owners of Church Childcare Center, Inc. and Church Childcare Center Plus, have taken on the challenge and responsibility of shaping the next generation of leaders and creatives and aim to provide them with alternative activities to broaden their interests. Early on in the life of the daycare center, Maurice noticed that the children, along with his own, would learn the basic things that are taught such as numbers, letters, speech, playing together, among other pertinent subjects and character traits. But not much creativity was being introduced. After years of thought, Maurice, an engineer, couldn’t simply allow the children’s budding brains to stay stagnant so he presented an idea to his wife that she fell in love with. “The whole initiative with ‘Plus’ is we know what we traditionally get with childcare and the goal was to give children some options outside of what you see in a standard childcare facility. We want to give them the option to touch things and do things that they’re typically told not to do,” explains Theressa. The couple decided to incorporate an advanced music and entertainment program so they acquired enough state-of-the-art equipment to fill a professional studio. Pieces such as synthesizers, keyboards, drum machines, sound mixers, cameras and various lighting equipment are all housed in a newly constructed event center that also doubles as a gymnasium. Now parents aren’t forced to rush and pick up their children then transport them across town to another location for certain extracurricular activities. They can simply select what they want the child to participate in, pay the additional cost (if applicable) and make one trip at the end of the work day. Some activities are offered during childcare hours.

Continued on the next page

“The whole initiative with ‘Plus’ is we know what we traditionally get with childcare and the goal was to give children some options outside of what you see in a standard childcare facility. We want to give them the option to touch things and do things that they’re typically told not to do.” 15


“Last month we had a film crew come in and help the children make a short film, which was a big hit. Over the summer we hosted a theater camp and the kids were able to do a play for their parents at the end of that week.” Almost 200 parents and family members attended the premiere of the short film. The facility also offers a sports program that includes basketball, soccer, tae kwon do, yoga, and dance. They hire professionals for a particular activity so the children can learn from someone who is well-versed in that field. Currently, the center is partnering with Huami For Kids Magazine, on a ‘kidpreneurship’ and talent show project that will introduce children to the world of business and entertainment. In October, they will offer a space for children to sell products or services they’ve created, whether it’s cookies or clothing. They will have the opportunity to set up booths and showcase their items for purchase. “It’s really all about allowing them access or giving them exposure to a certain type of talent. We’ve also brought in high school bands that come out and set up a full set of instruments. Because high school students are much closer in age, it lets the kids see what’s in reach within the next few years,” says Maurice. According to studies conducted by the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute, instrument instruction appears to accelerate brain development. Neuroscientists compared school children learning to play musical instruments with peers who weren’t. They found that the young musicians had more-developed auditory pathways, which connect the ear to the brain. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, an associate professor of education, psychology, and neuroscience at USC says, “Engagement with the arts gives you ways to think about problems as multifaceted and as being open-ended with no single correct answer.”

Continued on the next page


Ryann, De’Onna, Sommer, Maurice, Theressa, and Cierra

“It’s really all about allowing them access or giving them exposure to a certain type of talent. We’ve also brought in high school bands that come out and set up a full set of instruments. Because high school students are much closer in age, it lets the kids see what’s in reach within the next few years.” Maurice Stephens

Pictured from left to right:

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The Stephens’ seem to be on the right track by offering different artistic activities to enhance the brainpower of their students. Because it resides at the same location, it also allows the parents to streamline how many locations they’re traveling to after school, which maximizes quality time spent together. The facility opened it’s doors in September 2018 and are slowly increasing student and equipment capacity. They plan to build on the talent show aspect and offer them at least once a month to present to parents more often. A sports league may be on the horizon for the future, though that’s still being explored. They’re currently in talks with other childcare facilities nearby to offer their programs to their students. Maurice freely admits that the event space has attracted many more families to the center. “The first thing they do is head to the space to see everything we’ve done and added. And the kids are excited to show their parents what’s in there,” says Maurice. The ultimate goal is to prepare the kids for a real-world environment. The ability to speak in public will serve them well as they matriculate through school, college, then adulthood. “When we ask them to get on stage and present a magic trick, but what we’re really doing is preparing them to not be afraid to present themselves to a large crowd. I have to do that at work now, but I didn’t have that growing up,” Maurice says.

Theressa and Terrah ‘Maurice’ Stephens, owners of Church Childcare Center, Inc. and Church Childcare Center Plus, have taken on the challenge and responsibility of shaping the next generation of leaders and creatives and aim to provide them with alternative activities to broaden their interests. 18

The investment Church Childcare Center, Plus has made in the children with the enhancements to their new program has been worth every penny spent. The joy on the faces of the children that benefit from the entertainment and sports equipment far outweighs the cost. The amazement on the faces of the parents when they what their precious child has accomplished is priceless. h


Providing Transportation to Walkertown, Prince Ibraham, Cash, Piney Grove, Middle Fork

Infant Care Toddlers Pre-K

After School

4400 and 4421 Poindexter Road Walkertown, NC 27105

336-595-1001 www.churchchild.com

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La’Chasity Lyle Soul On Wheels

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By Terry L. Watson Photos by Soul on Wheels It all begins with faith, attitude and determination. If you are looking for some good soul food, then look no further. La’Chasity Lyle has some things that will surely set your tastebuds into a flavorful frenzy. The Huntsville, AL native and resident is the owner and face of Soul on Wheels, a Southern Food and BBQ establishment. Their typical clients are anyone looking to indulge in great food, whether it be Vegan, Soul Food, BBQ or Seafood. Soul on Wheels offers a variety of food selections. First is their Soul Food lunch delivery service. This service allows their customers to order their meals in advance and enjoy the leisure of having them delivered to them, without the hassle of standing in lines at a restaurant. Another service they offer is a mobile food trailer, of which they are able to set up any where, and at anytime. This particular feature La’Chasity says is great for fundraising events. The next service that Soul on Wheels offers is their catering service, Southern Chic Custom Catering. “We offer catering on all levels, including individual meal planning, corporate events, private luncheons, weddings, church events, family reunions, school functions, birthday parties, and more,” she says. Besides being a successful business woman, La’Chasity Lyle is a mother, a wife, and innovator. She is also a lover of life, a faith walker, and someone with a free spirit. Along with her husband, Robert who is also a business owner and professional barber, they have successful built their businesses and families on a foundation of love, dedication, and with sound integrity. “I’ve always had a love for cooking. I have a rather large family, and cooking came natural to me. My grandmother inspired me to cook and to be a virtuous woman to my family. My mother and step father inspired me to never give up on the things that I believe in, or my dreams. And so, in 2010, I left Corporate America to pursue my dream of cooking full-time and that’s how Soul on Wheels began,” she shares. While cooking may have come natural to La’Chasity, there is a certain kind of love one must possess to run a business such as the one she does. “I love giving back to my community, and I am able to do this by feeding our homeless citizens. I also love the relationships that I’m able to create with my customers. Being my own boss provides me security and flexibility, and because I know this is mine and everything I work for will go to my family,” she shares. Though Soul on Wheels has enjoyed a bunch of success, it has also faced it share of problems. “I feel that God puts obstacles in front of us to help us prepare for where we’re going or who we’re destined to be. I feel everything that I’ve gone through in life has prepared me for this moment. I once had a restaurant right next to my husband’s Barber Shop. In 2016, I tore my Achilles tendon in half and the restaurant closed. I was forced to figure out how to keep my catering company afloat and my household without being mobile,” she shares. She did and Soul on Wheels continued on. Moving forward, La’Chasity plans are to expand and introduce her brand to a variety of markets. She also offers a bit of advice to those who may follow in her footsteps. “You must walk by faith and by not fear. You must also make a plan and stick to it. Finally, you must be faithful to your vision and pray,” she says. h


Greensboro native, Chandler Davidson is a sophomore dance major at Weaver Academy. He has been dancing for six years. While taking dance classes in school, Chandler is also a company member of The Pointe Studio Of Dance. There, he trains in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Lyrical, African, Hip Hop, Gymnastics, Vocals and Acting. Chandler has been involved with (2) five week summer intensives, UNCSA and Charlotte Ballet. He has also participaged with a four week intensive at Debbie Allen in Los Angeles Clalifornia. Chandler has performed lead roles with his studio such as, Toto and The Wiz in “The Dance Adaption Of the Fantasy And Adventure Of Oz” and Little Simba in “Pride Land “.

He has been the The National Black Theater Festival three times with the shows “The Dance Adaption Of Annie“ and “The Dance Adaption Of The Fantasy And Adventure Of Oz“ and “Pride Land”. After high school, Chandler plans to join a professional contemporary company then go to collage and major in dance after he retires from the company and make his own studio and share his gifts with students of all ages. h

Dance Acting Singing.....Yeah, I can do that!


Eric Kelly

BLACK BUSINESS USA

Understanding a great need for technology in the homes, we provide computers to those homes where youth lack the technology to elevate their skills while providing a valuable learning tool. We also provide scholarships to those who are not ability to meet the financial obligation that is required for education. As we continue to excel in our businesses, we realize that it is our duty to give back to students who deserve to follow their dreams of getting a great education. We are asking you to join our efforts and select a booth at this year’s expo. The Black Business Expo is a 25-year organization dedicated to raising scholarship funds for underprivileged high school students planning to attend college and for students who plan to start their own business as entrepreneurs in the state of North Carolina. Our current mission is to donate ten laptop computers and ten scholarships up to $5,000.00 in the following areas: technology, hospitality, advertising, financial services, mass communications, journalism, health, marketing, art, science, business administration and entrepreneurship. With your participation, we will reach our goal of changing the lives of students during this financial aid and scholarship crisis.

By Dawn Cauthen Thornton Photos by Pharenheit Photography Black Business Expo USA Inc. organization serves a statewide movement of people using business as a force for change. The Black Business Expo USA Inc. is celebrating its eleven-year anniversary, held November 30, 2019 from 10:00am to 5:00pm at the Marriott downtown Durham City Center, 201 Foster Street. The event is free to attend and features industry experts, business-critical workshops to drive immediate action & business growth. With speednetworking sessions that create new opportunities, the Black Business Expo USA Inc. is the place to get inspired, ignite your entrepreneurial spirit and continue your ongoing path to success. As our youth, today, still stand in need of our support, the 2019 Black Business Expo organization continues to provide scholarships and computers for our youth. After conducting extensive research and discovering that single parent homes and unemployment is on the rise, our participation has relieved much pressure because of our giving. The financial crisis is real, and our brilliant and dedicated students feel it the most. We are a team of individuals who are committed to helping our society and community as we make a difference in areas that has the greatest need. Our community is our focus and that is the reason that we feel that the Black Business Expo will be a force in healing and helping our community.

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HuamiMagazine.com

Another one of our goals is to highlight the economic growth of North Carolina businesses while generating exceptional value for our corporations, sponsors and partners. The Black Business Expo events selects corporations and speakers with strict principles of change and creates events far above the market and regularly visits North Carolina companies and corporations to build relationships. Black business Expo USA Inc. is one of the largest business showcases in the history of black America in North Carolina. More leads, more customers, more branding, more sales and more exposure! We believe that by recruiting 350 companies and corporations across North Carolina to the Black Business Expo USA Inc. event will fund 10 scholarships and 10 laptops for students. How we do it is simple; the Black Business Expo will host eight events designed to showcase businesses and corporations and to raise scholarships for students. Our objective is to utilize companies and corporations’ mission of community engagement, diversity and inclusion, economic development, and business to corporation partnerships. As we continue to thrust into a new season of North Carolina’s Black Business Expo, we would like you to become a valued partner with us. As you, know companies throughout North Carolina come together showcasing their models educating the community about our services and outreach. Event Schedule: November 4-8, 2019 Black Business Week. During this week, the Black Business Expo USA Inc. selects from a pool of 500 students who send in essays on the website. The Black Business Expo USA Inc. scholarship essay pitch event will be held at Merchants & Farmers Bank corporate center. Each day of Black Business Week, the scholarship team will judge 20 students daily and at the end of the week, 10 students will be chosen from the 100 who competed

Raleigh/Durham - Sept./Oct. 2019


to receive scholarships. During Black Business Week, area corporations will host five networking lunches at five different corporations. The corporations will present their objective of how to do business with their department, diversity and inclusion, marketing, employment, economic development, community engagement or their products and services. November 16 - The Black Wall Street Gala is where the expo will honor three corporations who exemplify the core standards; community engagement diversity and inclusion, economic development and business to corporation partnership in the black community in North Carolina. The Black Wall Street Gala will highlight 10 students who will receive their Black Business Expo trophy for winning the scholarship essay contest. November 29 - Black business expo will host and invitation only VIP masquerade networking ball for companies and corporations who are participating in the expo. This evening will be a networking opportunity for businesses to meet and greet to develop partnership before they attend the expo. There will be light jazz, and hors d’oeuvres. November 30 - One of the largest business showcases in the history of black America in North Carolina will be hosted in Durham, NC at the Marriot Hotel and City Center 201 Foster Street where over 300 businesses and major corporations will be exhibiting and over 2,000 attendees are expected. What is different about our Black Business Expo? The Black Business Expo Corporation realize that most businesses and owners don’t have large budgets for marketing, advertising, public relations, and merchandising. Many businesses do not have a way to showcase or sell products and services to a mass audience. What the Black Business Expo USA Inc. does for companies is collect data from registrants and attendees from each of the eight events and shares this information with the companies, corporations and business owners that exhibit at the expo, so they can do business all year long. Our Black Business Expo team registers attendees of each event using our app. About 200 people a day during the Black Business Week, about 600 people at the Black Wall Street Gala, more than 600 people at the VIP Masquerade Networking Ball and some 2000 people attending the black expo event. Equaling about more than 4,000 registrants. Our attendee profile includes business owners, CEOs, corporation, small businesses, government agencies, entrepreneurs, and individuals looking to start and buy new companies. Why do owners want to participate? With so many problems in our society, the Black Business Expo focuses on three problems that affect our community. Our objective is to Connect, Communicate and Build the Community of North Carolina Businesses. The three crisis are the financial aid and scholarship crisis, the business financial crisis and the corporate engagement crisis in underserved communities. The financial aid and scholarship crisis: More than 905,000 low-income students who applied for and were found eligible for state financial aid for college nearly a million students never get it. States run out of money and aspiring low-income college students feel the pain. The crisis has been stoked by years of budget cuts combined with an increased number of applicants, due to a growing awareness that good jobs require more than a high school diploma. The business financial crisis: This occurs when a business loses value in its assets and the company can’t afford to pay for advertising, marketing, public relations and merchandising for

their company success. Typically, this is a significant drop in demand for knowledge about a product or service. In these cases, the company must move funds around to cover immediate short-term costs. More companies don’t have a competitive budget to get the brand out about their amazing companies. Then, they will need to reanalyze their revenue sources to look for new ways to generate long-term income as well as increase their margins. The corporate crisis: are situations where corporations have significantly ignored both the business and the underserved community. Rather than creating mutually beneficial relationships, these corporations used their brand advertising as a means of benefiting the company mission and engage in a social relationship with business and communities before they can invest in other communities. While the businesses and community support or buys their products or services there is no community embracement. Changing company social responsibility is one of the ways to address the corporate crises because these problems are typically caused by a lack of diversity and inclusion, community engagement, economic development and the neglect of customer needs. Embracing a social empowerment culture that is dedicated to both corporation and community success can reduce the chances of encountering a corporate crisis. THE EXPO SOLUTION: The first step to managing these crises is to work with corporations, business and core community agencies to resolve the issue immediately. The primary concern should be to prevent the crisis from affecting students and businesses of the underserved community. The next step is to work with our business and our corporate resources to determine how to change the system and set up safeguards to secure funding for scholarships. We intend to fund student scholarships through nine events in November focused on diversity and inclusion, community engagement and economic development. Responsive Crisis Management: When a crisis hits our community, it is important to have a plan of action ready that matches the

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Angel Green

Eric Kelly, III

President

CEO Black Business Expo USA

situation at hand. The Black Business Expo events execute that plan and handle roadblocks that may serve as cultural and social barriers. This includes communicating with corporations, informing business and organizations, and creating adaptive solutions that empower our students to reach their goals. Responsive crisis management is used for scenarios like financial and business crisis where it is imperative that not only our business community, but corporations also provide a timely response through direct engagement and involvement. Proactive Crisis Management: Proactive crisis management anticipates a potential crisis and works to prevent it or prepare for it. For example, providing ten scholarships and up to five thousand dollars to students while showcasing business and corporations across North Carolina is our plan. The BBE utilizes business and corporate missions of diversity and inclusion, community engagement and economic development to solve parts of the problem. The BBE can’t end the crisis by itself but it is another method to end the student scholarship and business crises in our community. While not all crises can be prevented or planned for, actively monitoring known threats can help our students and businesses to reduce the impact of this crisis. Recovery Crisis Management: The Black Business model is simple, we believe by showcasing three hundred companies and major corporations at the Black Business Expo and utilizing nine events in November will help counteract the scholarship and business crisis causing long-term, negative effects across North Carolina. In these cases, your company may not be able to lessen the impact, but you can begin to save what’s left of the situation. Recovery crisis management participation by corporations, businesses and organizations may not stop the crises, but it will help our community to reverse the educational crisis of student not having tools to succeed. We ask business and corporation to connect with us to counteract what has caused these unexpected crises. Why should your company or corporation become a sponsor? Help us and become a community hero! As a sponsor you will be acknowledged as a leader that is involved in the development of the whole community by investing in African American businesses and

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HuamiMagazine.com

Citah Kromah National Sales Director

education. The African American community makes up 22% of North Carolina’s population, which is approximately 2.35 million people. The Black Business Expo has partnered with locally and nationally media. The Expo has distribution networks of 100 counties, thus bringing our participation and audiences to over 3 million. Now, imagine how excited and cooperative other corporate sponsors, local community leaders, and minority brands will be to have your support. Through the Expo Event Sponsorship, you can leverage the power of collective credibility. Be a part of one the largest African American business showcases in North Carolina, here are 10 reasons to sponsor this incredible event. These are 10 solutions you can help with as company. 1. Help End the Scholarships Crisis for Students, 2. Closes the Racial Wealth Gap, 3. Strengthens Local Economies, 4. Fosters Job Creation, 5. Promotes Economic Development, 6. Holds Other Companies Accountable, 8. Encourages Diversity and Inclusion, 7. Create Visibility and Representation in the Economy, 9. Advances Community Engagement, 10. Be Recognized As a Community Hero. Join the Movement to end the scholarship crisis and connect black business to corporations across the state for economic success, social change and entrepreneurial growth and to inspire others to use business as a force for good. The Black Business Expo is all about marketing to outstanding businesses and corporations across the one hundred counties in North Carolina. By being an exhibitor, you will have your company showcased and more importantly, you will receive all attendees’ information. Because we want you to have access to all the attendees’ information, each exhibitor will receive information from all the events hosted by Black Business Expo so they can do business all year long. For more information on how you can help raise scholarship funds for students email us info@blackbusinessexpo1.com. There are business booth and sponsorships still available! You may sign up today on our website www.blackbusinessexpousa. com or call the Expo Hotline at 919-308-9090 for more details. h

Raleigh/Durham - Sept./Oct. 2019


By Yasmine Regester Photos by B Smith Photography Make Up by Deidra Mills The ability to obtain a mortgage, car loan, job, promotion or rent an apartment is all tied to one thing most people do not often think about - Credit. Though established in 2016, Pretty Credit officially launched on April 25, 2017. Pretty Credit is a credit restoration company located in the heart of Greenville, South Carolina. Owners, Pretty Washington and Elliott C. Washington Jr. strive to help everyone achieve their finance and credit goals. “The reason why I started my own credit restoration company was due to adverse credit issues I personally experienced,” says Pretty. “Unfortunately, I was told all the wrong things to do, such as contact the consumer reporting agencies (CRA’s) and by doing so the derogatory accounts on my consumer credit report would automatically be fixed. However, that was misguided information.” In her experience, she was sent from one lender to the next and became frustrated because she felt that no progress was being made. So Pretty decided to take matters into her own hands and began educating herself about the consumer credit laws to find out what kind of rights we’re in place to protect consumers. On her quest, Pretty sought the advice of a friend in California who had his own credit repair company. He gave her some useful information, including the computer software she needed to start learning how to fix her own credit. She shares the process lasted for nearly two years, but eventually she was able to raise her credit score from the low 400’s into the 700’s.

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Pretty says most of her clients are seeking fast results and that only about ten percent have realistic expectations because they don’t understand how credit repair works or exactly what to expect. Though she explains the process from A-Z putting emphasis on the time frame and that it must not be rushed. “It takes time. It’s not an overnight fix. By law, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion have up to 30-45 days to complete the dispute investigation. Determining what is on your credit reports is the first step to determine the length of time it could take to successfully complete our credit restoration program,” she shares. Pretty Credit provides a comprehensive credit restoration program that includes a free credit consultation. They also offer a paid credit assessment which includes a credit analysis report breakdown of all three credit reporting agencies. This credit assessment provides their clients with detailed information that’s weighing their consumer scores down. It also includes a customized plan of action, designed to help increase their credit scores. One part of the credit assessment is to discuss budget and finances to ensure their clients can afford the credit restoration program. Pretty shares that a satisfactory debt-to-income ratio is required to successfully complete the credit restoration program. “Our goal is to help improve the overall credit rating of everyone that seek our services,” she adds.


For existing business owners and those interested in starting a business, Pretty Credit offers business credit services which are designed to help business owners utilize their company finances for their business. Business Credit is separate from consumer credit and the credit limits are astronomically higher. With business credit you use your EIN number and not your SSN for credit purposes. Most business owners or entrepreneurs don’t even know that business credit exist or how to go about establishing it. Our business credit program comes with a 100% Money Back Guarantee that if you follow our instructions to the letter, your business will get $50K in business credit within six months or we will refund your money. The most recent program added is called “Financial Fitness” which teaches consumers how to save money, get out of debt and utilize their finances in the best way possible. Our goal is to help our clients create generational wealth. Pretty Credit’s target market is South Carolina, but they also serve clients in other states throughout the country. Community outreach is an important part of the Pretty Credit business model. “Our main goal is to empower and buildup our communities. By engaging with people in community spaces, church events, and non-profits, they can work together to spread the word and tell other’s what good credit can do for a person,” Pretty states. The goal of Pretty Credit is to have every client complete their program in (6-12) months. “We’ve had some clients complete the program in three months, but (6-12) months is the average goal. We want all our clients in the 700 plus credit club. That’s a good score to have to get some of the best interest rates and to lower your risk factors during the loan qualification process. It is not required to have an 850-credit score to get some of the best interest rates on the market. But if that’s what you want, then by all means go for it, but you only need to be in the 700’s score range,” she says. Many of Pretty Credit’s clients are seeking home ownership. She advises them to ensure their debt-to-income ratio is low. By doing so, they will be able to get the best interest rate on their mortgage loan. After they get their approval letter and before closing. During this time, it is very important not to create any additional lines of credit. Any changes to a consumer’s credit report or finances can ultimately prevent a successful closing on a new home. Even more, consumers can save time and prevent a loss of credit score points by simply being aware of their credit status. Clients are held accountable through a Client Success Checklist, which is an itemized list of action steps for the consumer to do in order to successfully complete their credit restoration program. It’s always the mission of Pretty Credit to give our clients the best advice to help them achieve their finance and credit goals. What makes Pretty Credit different from other credit repair companies is their ability to connect on various levels with their clients. “Every client is like a member of our family. Building a relationship with them allows us to relate to each person, unlike some companies who just wants to get you into a program and take your money. We work with you every step of the way. By being accessible to our clients, we believe that it makes them feel more at ease. Our clients will always have an advocate in their corner,” Pretty says. The newest addition to Pretty Credit is that of Pretty Washington is becoming a licensed realtor. In this role she can help clients get approved for their new home loan after completing the credit restoration program. “This means I get to be a part of the process from beginning to end and witness the joy of seeing someone buy their dream home. Most people don’t know what all they need to

do -- they don’t have a realtor, or don’t understand how lenders work. This allows us to be a one-stop shop for our clients. This opens up the process to people who may not be qualified for a home, but can come to one place, clean up their credit, get qualified and get to their end goal,” says Pretty. Pretty is a nationally licensed Certified Credit Consultant. She has enjoyed a career in finance and credit that spans over ten years. She understands that in order to remain relevant in her profession and to be able provide her clients with the best services and results, she must continue to educate and equip herself first. She does this by speaking on panel discussions on credit repair, attending credit seminars and conferences. She has also served as a keynote speaker at the Credit Expo in Orlando, Florida. “I have a passion for this, and I absolutely love it. This is the profession that God chose for me to work in, which allows me to help people repair their credit, fix their finances and transform their lives. God is the CEO of Pretty Credit. If it wasn’t for my faith and trust in him, we would not be who we are today and for that I am extremely grateful” says Pretty. h

Pretty Credit 2007 Woodruff Road Greenville, SC 29607 1-800-580-9549 (Toll free) 864-580-6399 (Local) www.prettywashington.com 29


Nova Victoria Edwards-Bezuglov MAGAZINE

Cutest Baby

The daughter of Destynee’ Edwards and Evgeniy Bezuglov Photo by Katrina Wize Photography

To submit photographs to be placed in the Huami Magazine Cutest Baby feature, please send a detailed email to huami.cutestbaby@gmail.com


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Profile for Terry Watson

Huami Magazine for Raleigh/Durham September 2019  

Mykel Media Company, LLC

Huami Magazine for Raleigh/Durham September 2019  

Mykel Media Company, LLC

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