Huami Magazine Huntsville Sept./Oct. 2022

Page 1



Sept./Oct. 2022 Volume 2 Issue 7

Tashara Childs Brave Counseling & Consulting, LLC Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022


A Fusion of Scents & Harmony for the Body

Handmade Soaps Body Scrubs Body Butters

and more.....

Commercial Lending

Small Business Financing

Equipment Financing

Capital for Real Estate Investing; Flip, Renovations and Multi-Family Investing Multiple Lenders (We Will Always Find The Right Fit For Your Situation)

Minimum Credit Standards of 650 FICO (Average)

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

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

With every ordeal or trying circumstance, there will always be more than one way to handle them. We can face them head-on, or we can turn from awaythe and avoid any form of an altercation. No matter A Letter Editor what decision is made concerning the matter, the impact or effect of what we chose will most likely be waiting on the other side of our decision.What That’s why I believe it’s arrive? vital to All share our thoughts with if tomorrow didn’t of your plans, hopes God beforehand and confirm His viewpoint because God’s plan and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if is greater than anything I can decideto forput myself. everything that you decided off until tomorrow never happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy Like most thespare thrill of victory isthe generally reason why day, andpeople, you could someone troublethe of making I compete or fight. Also, if you are anything like me, I understand promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired that you mayWhat hate would to lose,you regardless of what is at stake. Yet, I am today? do? learning that I must do a better job choosing my battles because, for the mostI’ve part, every not mine fight. been toldbattle that Iisoften seemtolike I doGod too desires much. to fight for me, and HeIexpects tonot let go andenough allow Him doaHis thing. Honestly, feel likeme I am doing andtoI’m firm I’ve learned that the car drives better when He controls the wheel. believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would I recently celebrated my birthday, and to be honest; I celebrated be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I for the entire month. That was my choice because I love birthdays. have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity I also used that time to reflect on where I am in life and where I’ve is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge come from. I wanted to know what I am currently doing to get to to me is an adventure. What is the worst that can happen? where I ultimately want to be. What was revealed is my interests and If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn efforts were possibly pointed in the wrong direction. I learned that something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in while I am blessed, God is more concerned about those individuals return acquire life. He can reach beyond me, and when I don’t allow God to use me, He isn’t able to reach them through me. Being vulnerable and a The best advice ever givenof toreal megreatness; happened that’s when what someone cooperative vessel are attributes God told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so spoke to me. I have pressed my way through doors with a key that only hopemy provided. I have also the Living life as a Christian andlearned believer in difference God meansbetween that I must what God blesses me with and what life can burden with trust God. Even during the most difficult moments, if I justme show asthe well. I compare to knowing when to beIconfident and up for fight and trustitGod while I am fighting, will then see when to be quiet, because Him move on my behalf. The things that I may be dealing with and someone get it confused determined to bemay unbearable may with being arrogant. actually amount to nothing once it’s placed in God’s hand. How will I ever Makeallow you tomorrow know if I don’t God to lead me? happen today, but most importantly make it count. God has a plan and purpose for all LifeHis is but andthan of us, and planaiswhisper far greater wewe must ourselves in a I get anything can put imagine or think. position to hear what it is excited when I think about everything us. for me. His is God hastelling prepared greater, and all I have to do is trust His process and believe what He tells me.

Terry L. Watson Editor/Founder

Terry L. Watson 4


November/December 2014 Terry L Watson

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

Tonya Dixon Photographer C. Moore Terry L. Watson Still Shots Photography Photographer Alana Allen Tamara Smith TMF Photography Jeuron Dove Photographer Photographers For General Inquiries Perfect Lenz Photography Todd Youngblood Photography

Shaw Photography Group Still(336)340-7844 Shots Photography

Howard Gaither Photography Who Shotya Photography Layout

Mykel Media Company Linda Bennett Email 336-340-7844 (336) 340-7844 Mykel Media Company LLC

NC quarterly by the HUAMI MAGAZINEGreensboro, is published 2022 All Rights Reserved Mykel Media Company. Any reproduction of any portion of this publication is prohibited without written permission from the publisher prior to doing so. Mykel Media doesn’t accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication may be submitted to the editor by E-mail at or to Mykel Media Company, LLC P.O. Box 20102 Greensboro, NC 27420 HUAMI MAGAZINE 2020 All 2014 All Rights RightsReserved Reserved

Scan The QR Code Above To Visit Our Website

Want To Advertise? Call 336-340-7844 On The Cover

Photo by Shaw Photography Group

Want To Advertise? Call (336)340-7844



SEPT./OCT. 2022

Autumn & Nathaniel 12 The Golden Plant Eatery


On The Cover

Brave Counseling Tashara Childs

My Life In Poems

John C. Johnson


Tolbert Group

Julius Tolbert

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Laney Williamson



Also Featured

Kim Fuller Meet the face and founder of Fuller Life Concepts Inc. Los Angeles, CA


Dr. Cokethea Hill Meet the face and founder of Blaque KC. She is doing her part to serve her community. Kansas City, MO


Kara White Learn more about this serial entrepreneur. She knows something about dance, finances, and giving back to her community. Phoenix, AZ

30 5

Tashara Childs Brave Counseling & Consulting, LLC


Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Blake Counseling Usually, she is the one asking her clients the question. For this feature, we wanted to know who is Tashara Childs? Her answers were spot on. She describes herself as a Southern Belle and Millennial. She is also the only child raised by her two parents. She says her mom is her rock and someone she aspires to be. Her father, who passed away when Tashara was only 18 years old, was definitely his little girl. “He passed down his strong but quiet presence to me.” Tashara says writing is her first love which inspired her to obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. After working several jobs, and writing books and blogs, she transitioned careers and received a Masters of Science Degree in Counseling. “Though I am ever evolving, I believe that being a therapist and an entrepreneur is my life’s calling,” she says. Currently, Tashara is the “Boss Lady” of Brave Counseling & Consulting. Her practice offers counseling services for clients ages five and up, including individual counseling, play therapy, and family and marriage therapy. They’ve also added life coaching and business coaching/consulting. Tashara says BRAVE is a small business seeking to invest in other small businesses and entrepreneurs. “In our office, we sell adult coloring books that I create. There is also The Brave Box, which is filled with tangible coping mechanisms for anxiety and depression. I also wrote a Bible-based devotional for Millennials and a workbook focused on discovering your purpose,” she says. All of the products mentioned are available for purchase. Brave Counseling began in a tiny office with a small desk that Tashara’s 6’1” body could barely fit under. After working with agencies and private practice, Tashara says she did not feel capable of giving her clients quality care. “I used my last check and took the leap to put down a deposit on office space. The practice grew very quickly, and after a few months, I was able to expand into a larger space,” she said. With only being in business now for less than two years, Tashara and her team are currently working on opening offices throughout Alabama.


Tashara says she loves to see growth and change in people who feel as though they are stuck. “I enjoy being the light for those who feel as though life is dark. I can be the voice for those who feel silenced. I can offer hope to those who feel hopeless, and I am able to see families reunited and marriages reconciled. In a world where it seems as though we are constantly surrounded by pain and negativity, I am able to see glimpses of hope on a daily basis.” While therapy and counseling is becoming more acceptable, especially in the black community, Tashara says there are still some challenges for her to overcome. For the most part, her profession can be physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally exhausting. Some challenges are fighting against insurance companies and the negative stigma often attached to therapy. Surprisingly, she shares that renting office space has also proved to be difficult as well. “I handle these obstacles by implementing coping skills, deep breathing, maintaining a positive mindset, and self-care. I ensure that I always do things that make me smile, laugh, and feel good about myself and life.” Where does she find inspiration? Tashara’s mother, she says, has always been supportive and believes in whatever she does. “I have an incredible partner who constantly encourages me, pushes me to keep going, and supports all of my big or small ideas.”

“After my father’s death, I went to counseling, but there were no counselors available who looked like me. I felt ashamed and embarrassed for needing help. My personal experience drove me to want to change the perception of therapy.” 8

Looking ahead, Tashara and Brave Counseling have plans to continue to make their work better and effective. “After my father’s death, I went to counseling, but there were no counselors available who looked like me. I felt ashamed and embarrassed for needing help. My personal experience drove me to want to change the perception of therapy. I aspire to be the person who helps to break down the stigma of mental health. I also want to create a legacy of acceptance and advocacy for those who are suffering in silence and have the confidence and strength to seek help,” she says.

Tashara Childs Brave Counseling

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022


Charlie’s Horn

In memory of Pastor Charlie Adams, III By John Johnson

It Seemed That on Every Sunday Morn When Charlie Would Softly Play His Horn, That It Was More Than Just Playing with Love For We Were Hearing from Angels Above. The Drummer Would Start His Soft Roll And Sweet Music Would Fill Every Soul, Then We Would Open Our Mouths and Sing, Giving All Praise to Our Savior and King.


John Johnson of Greensboro, NC, is retired from the U.S. Army and the U.S.Postal Service. He was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. His father passed away when he was only four years old. His mother passed away 12 years later. Though he only had his mother for 16 years, she made a lasting impression on him. He remembers her singing songs and reciting poetry around the house and believes that is where his love for singing and writing began. John has been married to Vera for 60 years. Their union produced two daughters, Yvonne, who passed away in 2013, and Yulonda. John continues to write and sing and credits God for inspiring every word and melody.

Stay Strong in Your Faith By John Johnson

There is so much going on In the world, today, We are running and worrying, And forgetting to pray. But God has not changed From his original plan When he sent his son, Jesus To save sinful man.

Photos Provided by Still Shots Photography

We can’t be caught up In what we hear, When the truth of God Is always so near. Stay strong in your faith From it never depart. Let the truth, God’s word Live in your heart. Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022



Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

& The Plan Works Better With Two By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Autumn Shelton Autumn Shelton and Nathaniel Taylor possess a vital ingredient that a successful relationship must have. That is chemistry. In just a few short years, this young and talented power-couple has built several businesses in Nashville, TN. Their first venture, Honeyed Natural Health & Beauty Store, made its debut in 2020, during the height of the Covid 19 pandemic. Honeyed Natural Health & Beauty Store is a natural health and wellness company that specializes in alternative holistic healing. Today, the innovative product line has converted to a new identity, and is known as the Honeyed Skincare, and has increased its overall footprint with the addition of many new products. Their newest brand is the Golden Plant Vegan Eatery, a vegan-based food product line that tastes just as good as it looks. Autumn shares, “We are a vegan popup company offering fresh vegan food, catering services, and many other plantbased options. We have vegan-friendly universal items such as sandwiches, Mexican cuisine, and Veganese, also known as Vegan Chinese) BBQ, Soul, Jerk, Mediterranean, and more.”

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022


Nathaniel and Autumn have enjoyed the vegan lifestyle for nearly five years and started their vegan business in July 2022, and while they primarily serve the community of Nashville, their pop-up arm allows for them to travel around to other states frequently. Being a vegan and owning and operating a business that caters to the growing vegan population is something that Nathaniel and Autumn has enjoyed. Autumn says, “We are changing the perspective on veganism. We provide good authentic food to those who are already vegan, transitioning to this eating lifestyle, or are simply open to trying something new.” They share personal life experiences and transitions inspired them to start The Golden Plant Eatery. “After making better health decisions and chasing a healthier lifestyle, we learned a lot about alternatives. Once we shared our cooking with others, we knew they loved it and decided it was time to finalize things and open up the doors to our business.” While the Covid 19 pandemic affected many businesses worldwide, Nathaniel and Autumn have been fortunate not to be directly impacted by it’s grip. “Our biggest struggle is getting people to try vegan and understand that you can get just as creative with vegan than you can anything else. It’s more than just a simple salad,” they said. The future looks very bright for The Golden Plant Eatery, and Autumn and Nathaniel have positioned themselves for success. “We plan to move into a food truck soon and hopefully acquire a small location. We hope to open up shop in many states one day. For now, we want to take it one step at a time,” they said. To learn more about The Golden Eatery, please visit their website. h


Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022



Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

Tolbert Consulting Group “Falling Forward”

By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Julius Tolbert

His journey has had its significant highs and lows, but now he wants to help others fall forward.

Growing up, Julius says his grandparents were his biggest influence. “Being the oldest grandchild, although we all were exposed to that enterprising spirit to some degree, I would say I had a little more first-hand experience.” When Julius was fourteen, he moved in with his grandparents, whom he credits as the center of their family’s business prowess. “My grandparents ran a fully functioning business. My grandfather was also a driver, so he was away often. I spent most of the time with my grandmother, who ran the day-to-day operations that make or break a business,” he says. The expectation was that Julius would grow up and work in the family business, but he had plans of his own. “Watching my grandmother made me realize there was more to being a business owner than selling a product or providing a service. I think that’s why I focus on the behind the scenes work. The business behind the business.” Julius is putting the lessons he learned as a child to good use. He has two consulting companies: Tolbert Consulting Group and Cornbread Consulting Firm and co-founder of Black Economic Mobility Coalition. “Tolbert Consulting Group is a nationally recognized business credit and funding company. We help entrepreneurs that are serious about getting their business started the right way the first time. We help with everything from business coaching, business funding, payroll, and bookkeeping. Our goal is to give business owners the support they need to succeed. Cornbread Consulting Firm work specifically with small business owners that are in the hospitality industry. We assist restaurant, food truck, catering company owners get in business, turnaround existing business, and/ or franchise concepts. Then there is the Black Economic Mobility Coalition which is very similar to a chamber of commerce. Our mission is to identify, address and remove barriers to economic prosperity for black business owners. All three companies were birthed from the experiences and challenges he faced along the way.

Julius has always known who and what he wanted to be in life. He just had to carve his own path. Not one to take the traditional route, Julius decided the military was the best path forward. “After high school, I joined the Navy. During my time, I went through two six-month deployments. I gained knowledge and exposure I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else during my travels. I saw myself and Black America from a different perspective. I have to say it definitely affected me,” he shares. As someone who already had plans, he says his time abroad helped shape and define his vision for the future. “When you live in the same place around the same people all the time, it’s hard to imagine a different kind of life. My time away allowed me to open my mind to the possibilities of what could be.” The unfortunate side of life in black communities is that it may be hard to do anything but worry about surviving. Julius decided he couldn’t live with the status quo. When he returned home, he was full of dreams and plans for the kind of world he wanted to live in and contribute to, but his ideas weren’t met with the excitement and support he was hoping for. He says, “After having the opportunity to experience other cultures and communities, my creative juices were overflowing. I wanted to push the boundaries and show my community that we don’t have to travel the world to experience it. However, I was met with a lot of resistance and close-mindedness. I kept hearing, “Aye, bro, ain’t nobody gonna come to that around here…” Thankfully, Julius wasn’t easily dissuaded.

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

Watching my grandmother made me realize there was more to being a business owner than selling a product or providing a service. I think that’s why I focus on the behind the scenes work. The business behind the business.

For Julius Tolbert, entrepreneurship is in his DNA. As the oldest of four, he grew up in a family of business-minded people. “I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My granddaddy was in the logistics industry. He owned his own trucking company. My mother was an interior designer, my uncle had his own trucking business, and my grandmother was the family bookkeeper. So, I understood from an early age what entrepreneurship meant. Everything wasn’t always peaches and cream. I was exposed to the good, the bad, and the ugly when it came to growing businesses as a minority in the south,” Julius explains. “The most important lesson I learned was that falling is part of succeeding. Just as long as you fall forward.”


Along with his time in the military, another important factor that pushed him to think about the longevity of a business was the loss of his grandfather. “My grandfather stepped in during a crucial time in my life. He took on the role of father and mentor. He taught me about business etiquette and how to dress and be addressed. He taught me how to conduct myself in professional settings, and even how to talk and handle business in meetings,” Tolbert explains. “He taught me to make sure I do everything in excellence. People will remember you if you take pride in everything you do.” Using his grandfather’s wisdom, Julius went from an entry level position in restaurant all the way to the corporate offices. “It was never my intention to build a career. I wanted to build knowledge. I took advantage of every opportunity to learn a new skill. I worked at several restaurants as I continued to climb the ladder. That’s how I worked my way out of the kitchen to become a corporate manager overseeing a region of restaurants.” Julius was being paid to learn how to flip, manage, and maintain a restaurant successfully. He was learning restaurant hospitality from the inside out. “My first leap into the deep end of entrepreneurship was when a partner and I opened Cornbread to Caviar Catering, which later became a fully operational restaurant,” he says. Like most chain restaurants, the employees seldom met or had a relationship with the owners. Julius and the chef of the restaurant he was overseeing decided they were done training people to become their boss or compete for their jobs, so they struck out on their own and opened Cornbread to Caviar. He shares, “Our concept was a southern-inspired menu presented with a touch of elegance and creativity. So that’s what we did, or at least where we started. We kicked off our catering company with networking events like First Fridays.” These events weren’t just for the locals. Julius and his partner had a targeted audience. “We were intentional with our invitations. We invited corporate department heads, University chairs, and others we knew had influence with their companies. As a result, we were awarded their catering contracts.” From there, Cornbread to Caviar grew into a full-service restaurant, and Julius did well for a while. The restaurant earned Best New Restaurant 2009 and at a tender age of twenty-five, he was part owner and operator of a restaurant making over seven figures per year. Then the effects of the recession hit. We went from doing $1.5 million a year in sales to $750,000, but I was operating as if we were still making $1.5 million. At this point, I realized there were areas of running a business that I didn’t know. I was running way above cost and bleeding money.” In 2008, Julius lost his grandfather and mentor. So, it was a fatality of the economic recession without any guidance on how to make the adjustments needed to keep the restaurant above water. “I struggled with self-doubt and depression when the restaurant closed. That experience taught me a critical lesson. Success isn’t how great the business is doing right now. Real success is how well the business will be doing ten and twenty years down the road.” To say he landed on his feet is an understatement. One of the reasons Julius started his restaurant consulting business that caters to small companies is because, after twenty years in the hospitality industry, he learned what the mom and pops need to know. “I have essentially taken all my years of experience with corporate restaurant chains and made it available to the little man. I share all the processes and tools the big boys use to maintain continued growth with my clients. I never want anyone to find themselves in the position I did.” 18

It doesn’t matter what your business is; knowledge is power. Julius and his associates are here to make sure you have the power to live your entrepreneurial dreams successfully. He can’t guarantee you won’t fall, but he will help you use the momentum to fall forward. h

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022


I am Loc’d By Nature LLC 20

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

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

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

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022


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

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022


Cutest Baby

Laney Williamson The daughter of Elise Blackmon and Dante Williamson

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

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



Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

Fuller Life Concepts, Inc By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Kim Fuller You can’t help but feel a little jealous when you first meet Kim Fuller. Whether it’s the Southern California sunshine at her back, her eyes full of joy, or her bright smile full of light, you find yourself happy to have met her. Kim Fuller is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, psychotherapist, author, trainer, founder, and CEO of Fuller Life Concepts, Inc. Fuller Life Concepts, Inc. is a mental health and wellness agency that helps women, children, and families manage anxiety and depression using evidence-based models. Kim’s vision is to be a nationally recognized mental health and wellness agency for Black families and people of color. Helping people has been Kim’s passion from a young age. She shares, “I’ve wanted to be a therapist since junior high school. I took an elective that allowed me to work as an office assistant, and I would see the students coming in to talk to the counselor. I thought it was cool that the students had someone they could go to for help. My mom was a principal, and I would sometimes chat with the psychologist at her school about what they did. So, I am one of those unusual people who have known for pretty much my whole life that this is what I wanted to do.” Whether you believe in signs or destiny, life experiences helped confirm that Kim was on the right path. “As I said, I always knew I wanted to study psychology. I had a friend in high school who struggled with her identity. She was Asian American, but she wanted to be white. S o much so that she contemplated ending her life. I wanted to understand what she was going through.” Kim received her bachelor’s in psychology from California State University, Fresno. “I grew up in a pretty diverse small town in Central California, but there were no dating opportunities. I wanted to go where the men were,” Kim said with a laugh. “While there, I spent a summer with some friends, and one of the girls took a bunch of sleeping pills attempting to commit suicide. I was the first one at home, so I found her. This was another level of depression and feeling helpless for me. The challenge was that it was kind of dismissed when we got her to the hospital. They just sent her home like it was no big deal. We were only about eighteen or nineteen, so we were just kids, but there was no additional support for her or us, her friends who found her,” Kim explained. “That was traumatic, but we were just sent home. I felt like this person needed more. That night we all stayed together, none of us wanting to be alone after the experience. The next morning, I called home and started bawling as soon as my dad spoke.” Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

“I’ve wanted to be a therapist since junior high school. I took an elective that allowed me to work as an office assistant, and I would see the students coming in to talk to the counselor. I thought it was cool that the students had someone they could go to for help.”


Kim credits having the support of her parents as being one of the biggest reasons she could pursue her passion. That experience compelled Kim to want to fill those gaps she and her friends experienced. As a result, Fuller Life Concepts focuses much of its energy on anxiety, depression, and trauma in adolescents and children. After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Kim’s first job was with the VA hospital in their inpatient/outpatient substance abuse clinic for about a year. “I worked with a doctor researching cessation, like how to get veterans to stop smoking. That was a vital time because it helped me realize two things. One, the cessation of substance abuse and tobacco use was not my area. Two, veterans were not my population. My dad was a Vietnam vet, so that was too close for comfort. My father was my hero, and to imagine he was suffering the way these men were, was a little more than I could take.” Thinking ahead to her next steps, Kim decided to go back to school and get her master’s degree in counseling from California State University in Long Beach. “I focused my graduate studies on marriage and families so that I would have a broader range of options in my career field.” Kim’s first paying job was with an agency called LA Child Guidance, now Wellnest in South Los Angeles. “At LA Child Guidance, we worked with severely emotionally disturbed children and their families. Our goal was to help create stability within the family so the children could remain in the home. We wanted to avoid having them go into a higher level of care,” she says. She started as an intern, but once licensed, Kim was promoted to Director of the center’s learning program. “I really loved that position because I was able to help the older teens and young adults. They still needed support. Some of them were transitioning from foster care, and at that time, you transitioned at age eighteen. Since then, the laws have changed, and it’s closer to twenty-five.”

Kim Fuller

Fuller Life Concepts Inc. 323-334-0064


Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

Transitioning from a minor to adulthood is difficult for anyone, but it’s compounded for young people who have aged out of the foster care system. They lose any semblance of stability and support. This is what the program Kim worked with provided. “We partnered with the department of rehabilitation to give them on-the-job training, life skills, and experience. I am really proud of the work we did in that program.” Seeing the work she did as important, Kim took advantage of every opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those who needed it. “Eventually, I left LA Child Guidance and took a position at a different agency as Director of the outpatient clinic. I managed supervisors and programs. Thanks to the fullservice partnerships with the state. We created programs that focused on the underserved and the inappropriately served. This meant we could do early intervention before things got to really bad.”

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022


As a mental health provider, Kim admits there were periods in her life when she had to ask for help. As a black female, Kim comes from a culture of strength, but that strength was also a stumbling block when life took an unexpected turn. “I met a wonderful man. We were both single with no children, and we both loved to travel. We did everything from skiing, sailing, scuba diving, hiking, and camping we did it. We spent about thirteen years of our lives together, but he was diagnosed with leukemia soon after we met. He initially chose to keep it to himself. So, we continue to live and enjoy life together. He was told that because of chemo, he was infertile,” Kim winced then laughed. “To our surprise, we came up pregnant. Thankfully we were blessed with a healthy baby girl. My husband died when our daughter was less than a year old.” With the demands of her career, the loss of her best friend and life partner, and then instantly becoming a single parent, Kim was starting to struggle under the weight of it all. “So much happened in that year. I got married, I had a baby, and I got a promotion. Then in one month, I was demoted, and my husband died. A few months later, I left my job completely.” Kim prides herself on having a fantastic community of supporters, but when she needed them most, she didn’t know how to ask for help. “Call it pride or ignorance, but I just couldn’t reach out. I was featured in a book about 16 successful Mompreneurs. The book starts with me trying to get a car seat into a rental car on the day of my husband’s funeral. There I am, frustrated as I struggle and tussle with trying to install this car seat, and I’m just all over the place. The thing was, my parents were standing right behind me, watching. They didn’t offer because I was so sensitive at the time that I would have snapped at them. So… I continued to struggle. It would have made sense to turn around and ask for help, but that’s not the culture.” Along with working to help children and families heal and live their best lives, Kim focuses on bringing light to the black and brown community. “We believe seeking social-emotional help is not a “black” thing. That’s not true. I was grieving and a hot mess, but I wore my mask every day because the culture said I couldn’t let anyone see my pain. I had to break down and find help. Fuller Life Concepts dispels the myth that only white people do mental health. Black women and black men are just as likely to deal with trauma. My goal is to let them know that there are people who look like them and understand who they are and where they come from that can help. That’s what the Fuller Life is all about.” h

Acknowledging National Black Excellence


Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022



Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

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

While Phoenix, AZ, is widely known for its often sweltering climate, someone else is blazing their own path in the black business community and helping others succeed along the way. Her name is Kara White. The young and ambitious entrepreneur wears many hats, including that of a real estate agent, financial planner, dance instructor, and director of a nonprofit organization. Kara was born and raised in Chicago, IL. In 2002, she decided to make the cross-country trek to the Desert Valley in search of a new start. That same year, she received her real estate license and followed that by becoming a licensed broker in 2009. She shares how her journey began, an experience wrapped in surprise and purpose. “While on a trip with my mother, I talked with an owner of a real estate agency. They offered me a job and even offered to cover the cost of my real estate license. However, as soon as I received the license, I left the resort gracefully and began building my clientele,” she says. Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022


Due to the ever-changing real estate market, Kara had to reinvent herself. That’s how one of her products, Kara’s Wealth Consultant, was developed, which spawned another product, Get the Money Friend. In this brand, “F.R.I.E.N.D.” is an acronym for “Financial Consultation, Real Estate, Investments, Planning, Notary Public Services, and Debt Elimination. She also offers credit consultation with services that include Credit Report Review, a Credit Repair DIY Kit Guide, and Income Protection and Budget Review. While she has demonstrated an astute business understanding, Kara’s talents expand beyond the entrepreneurial sector. She is the former Miss Arizona International. Her platform and influence were carried over into her nonprofit organization, Live Love Dance Inc. Its focus is to empower youth and lead them to live healthy, strong, and fulfilled lives via the performing arts. It also provides workshops, empowerment sessions, galas, fundraising, private lessons, and community service events.

Kara shares she has always had a passion for dance. “When I was 11 years old, my first job was as a dance assistant. I quickly rose in rank from an assistant to teaching my own class. I’m disciplined in all seven dance forms, with contemporary dance being my favorite. I favor this style more because it incorporates the basics such as ballet and the freeing movement fundamentals of jazz and modern dance,” she says. Kara’s genuine love to see others succeed is an attribute that comes into play in her personal and professional life. “I am committed to helping others, and my business endeavors must positively impact my community. The different experiences I’ve gained have allowed me to not only help others, but I’ve benefited from those that I serve, pouring back into me,” she says. The life of an entrepreneur can present unique challenges, and Kara has also experienced her share. She says that times can get complicated, but during those moments, she has to search deep within and find a way to stay positive and keep moving. “Despite my challenges, I am committed to living in the moment. I try to live and be present because time is whatever you think it is and whatever you create. I often tell others not to dwell on the past or focus too much on the future because they don’t know what will or might happen. We must live in the moment,” she says.


Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022


Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

“I am committed to helping others, and my business endeavors must positively impact my community.”

On top of being able to help others, Kara also loves that she doesn’t have to conform to anything. Whether it’s her money world or dance world, she’s able to be personable while working at the same time. She also loves being able to work with a team of great people. As life moves forward for Kara, she expects to be involved in more endeavors and hopes to launch an event planning business. She also plans to expand her brand, Kara’s Wealth Consultant, and continue spreading financial advice in her community. Additionally, plans to continue to promote and grow Live Love Dance Incorporated. Their signature gala fundraiser is coming up in October, with proceeds going towards dance scholarships. For anyone looking to follow in Kara’s footsteps, her number one piece of advice is this; no one is going to be better at being you than you. She says, “Don’t try to be me, be better than me, be better at being you than me.” Please visit her website to learn more about Kara White and her great endeavors. h



Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Dr. Cokethea Hill

With BLAQUE KC, Dr. Cokethea Hill is giving African-American families a seat at the table within the Kansas City, Missouri, school system. Cokethea grew up in a low-income area of Kansas City. Like most black families in her community, her family didn’t have much money. In the third grade, Cokethea was part of the second wave of the desegregation order for Kansas City Schools. “I went from going to school in my all-black neighborhood and being walked to school by my brothers every day to being bussed outside my community. It was the first time I felt like an “other.” The otherness Cokethea felt was illuminated by the fact that there were very few adults at her new school with whom she could identify. “When I was headed to fourth or fifth grade, I remember wanting Ms. Wesley or Ms. Gibbs because they were the only two black teachers at that school. When I didn’t get them, I was devastated. There was a pronounced feeling of loneliness and isolation. I remember the bullying and constantly being reminded that I didn’t belong there,” she says. Cokethea attended Lincoln College Preparatory Academy for high school. “Originally, it was the only school black kids could attend.” Lincoln College Preparatory school was established in 1865, during the civil war. Lincoln has served Kansas City’s families for over a century. To this day, Lincoln remains a Blue-Ribbon school and continues its legacy of excellence in education. “Because it set very high standards, students who attend Lincoln College Prep go on to be very successful. When you walked into the school, you knew two things for sure. One that you were special. Two, you were going to college.” After her bussing experience, Cokethea finally felt at home. But in her junior year of high school, her father passed. “When I lost my father, everything changed. My parents were forty-two and forty-eight when they had me, so when my dad died, my mother was in her sixties. College was no longer an option because I had to work.” In survival mode, Cokethea focused on helping to care for herself and her mother, but her school counselor helped her refocus. “I had a wonderful counselor named Barbara Ponder. When I told her I couldn’t go to college, she said, ‘Cokethea, this is a college preparatory academy where every student has to take the ACT. Also, you must apply for college.’ I realize now that she understood the more active I was in the college prep process, the more likely I would go.” Ms. Ponder was correct. Cokethea attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She later transferred to Central Missouri State, earning her bachelor of psychology. After graduating college, Cokethea started working for the Missouri Division of Youth Services at the Northwest Regional Youth Center. “The facility I worked in was for boys ages thirteen to eighteen. They could have been there for anything from grand theft auto, robbery, rape, and assault,” she shared. Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022


Cokethea was a youth specialist. Part of her responsibilities was to help the boys with schoolwork. Cokethea noticed a disturbing trend. “Most of them couldn’t read. I knew I’d had more opportunities, but I assumed everyone had the same level of education because they were from the same district. Yet, sixteen-year-olds were reading at a fourth-grade level. There was something terribly wrong there.” Cokethea knew something had to be done. “Most of the kids I worked with had just made a bad decision out of a handful of bad decisions. They didn’t have any good options available to them. That made me want to become a therapist.” At twentyone, she decided to return to school for her master’s degree in psychology.

“Most of the kids I worked with had just made a bad decision out of a handful of bad decisions. They didn’t have any good options available to them. That made me want to become a therapist.”

To figure out why students were being promoted without being able to read, Cokethea needed to be inside the school system. “I had so many questions I needed answers for, so I got a job in the district as a guidance counselor.” It only took three years in the K.C. school district for Cokethea to call it quits. “A new policy was passed reducing the number of credits needed to graduate high school, and I was confused. We already had students who were being passed on without the basics. Now they were lowering the standard even further. I knew the rigor wasn’t there, and they wouldn’t even have enough credits to attend community college. Additionally, many students were taking remedial classes, so they were set up to fail even if they did try to attend college. It was negligent, and I couldn’t be part of that, so I quit. I was young and impulsive, but I felt it was the right thing to do.” Cokethea went on to work for Kauffman Scholars. “Kauffman Scholars is a scholarship program that targets inner city kids in grades sixth- twelfth grade. The program gives selected students additional coaching and wraparound resources until they graduate high school. When they went to college, the program gave the students financial support for their education fees.” At twenty-four, Cokethea was living the life she wanted. She was helping the demographic she felt called to and being paid handsomely. Then she felt a higher calling. “I was in the best place I had ever been in. Then here comes a man named Barack Obama announcing his bid for presidency.” Excited by the change in the air, Cokethea applied to become an Barack Obama Organizing Fellow. This initiative was focused on teaching young people the power of relational organizing at the grassroots level to bring about change in their communities and nationally, by electing the first African American president! “I knew I had to be a part of this movement, this was an opportunity to make democracy real and tangible for myself and my community..” Cokethea was accepted as a fellow, and her life as a community activist was solidified. Passion pushed her to leave her job at Kauffman Scholars to reach a larger population. Cokethea spent the summer organizing her community in housing, voter registration, healthcare, and so much more. “I made so many amazing memories. I learned how to connect with the people of the community, I learned how to listen to them, and understand their needs and desires,” she says.


Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022



Huntsville - Sept./Oct. 2022

After her time as a fellow ended, she was asked to apply for the K.C. school board. “People were like, hey Cokethea; you’re out here talking about change. Why don’t you run for the school board? I said you’re right! I should run for the open seat.” At twenty-eight, Cokethea was appointed to the school board. She sat from 2008 until 2010. She ran for a second term but didn’t win. “I was so disappointed. In the end, I didn’t have what the other candidates had. Money. There was no capital to support the running of my campaign. But I was grateful for the two years I was there. I was honored to be mentored by two amazing black women: Helen Ragsdale, a former teacher, and Marilyn Simmons, a parent advocate. I was young, passionate, and educated but also immature. These women taught me patience, strategy, tact, sophistication, and how to pick my battles. Working alongside them helped shape the person I am today.” Cokethea worked for a few more companies, making good use of her passion for helping her community. She worked for the United Way, the city of KC, and the School Smart KC program. This foundation gave money to help urban schools with much-needed resources. “I believe God orchestrated every step I’ve taken in my life. I worked at the United Way, where I learned to raise money, but School Smart allowed me to dream without limits because they had resources. I was blessed with the ability to travel the country to gain knowledge and learn new and innovative things meant to help the underserved,” she says. But as she looked deeper, Cokethea realized that although well intentioned initiatives seek to improve outcomes for marginalized children and families there are systemic and political forces that make moving the educational needle for Black children extremely difficult. “I would sit in the meetings and look at the presented data, which wasn’t making sense. These programs were supposed to be helping the urban community but looking at the data, the needle wasn’t moving specifically for black children. At that moment, everything came together. I always said if I ever got a seat at the table, I wouldn’t just sit back and let things happen. So I left my job and started a firm that would empower everyday people to challenge, deconstruct, and redesign systems that are harmful to black children in education.” The issue Cokethea struggled with was that the data needed to fix the issues in the black education system was not being shared with that community. “The people the information would help weren’t being made aware of their options. So, they continued to struggle. This was counterproductive.” BLAQUE KC was founded on May 25, 2020. BLAQUE stands for Black Leaders Advancing Quality Urban Education. “The date is burned into my head because the day we signed the paperwork for BLAQUE was the same day George Floyd was murdered,” she explained, tearing up. “God was up to something. It was a horrible time for us all, but now the light was cast on initiatives like ours. People were looking for opportunities to show support to the black community.”

Dr. Cokethea Hill Blaque KC

The purpose of the BLAQUE Playbook is to support community leaders in their efforts to control the narrative. They help fund the running of local campaigns. They support community advocacy and efficacy. They work to be a bridge between the families and community stakeholders and the educational system so that students receive the quality education they deserve.


w w w . l a d y e s p e c s . c o m

Exclusive Specs For Men and Women