Huami Magazine Huntsville March/April 2024

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2024 Volume 4 Issue 4 ® Notshyyy Maids, LLC

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Garvey P. Medium-Sized Business Owner Huntsville- March/April 2024 2 336-558-4660 O u r m i s s i o n i s t o s a f e g u a r d t h e c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y , i n t e g r i t y , a n d a v a i l a b i l i t y o f i n f o r m a t i o n s s y s t e m s , i d e n t i t y , a n d d a t a a s s e t s b y p r o v i d i n g p r o a c t i v e s e c u r i t y e x p e r t i s e , c r e a t i n g a n d m a i n t a i n i n g a r e s i l i e n t a n d s e c u r e i n f r a s t r u c t u r e , a n d f o s t e r i n g a c u l t u r e o f s e c u r i t y a w a r e n e s s .
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Now, Then, Later....... Just Get It Done!

Well, the first quarter of 2024 is almost over, and the question that I ask is, what have you done so far? If you are like me, you have created a list of goals for this year, and with anything, life has happened. With many distractions and obstacles, it can often be difficult to sift through the many challenges. However, success is a close friend of determination and persistence, so I encourage you to push and persevere and remember why you made that list in the first place.

I often imagine what it would be like if everything that I imagine I could do, I get it done. It feels so good to plan, yet it does not always work out how I plan. I truly believe that God gives us each a divine plan and purpose for our lives. I believe God speaks purpose into our minds and hearts, but He doesn’t stop there. He intends for us to return to Him for guidance and instruction for our purpose.

I once heard that if God blessed us like an all-you-can-eat buffet, we would probably eat all that we can eat in one setting and never return to Him for anything more. That is not how God works. God wants us to stay connected and follow the path He creates for our lives, which is constructed with steps that must be followed as He intended.

As we approach the second quarter of the year, I want to encourage you to revisit the goals you have in place and remind yourselves of your why. If we can think about it, then it is possible. If we trust God’s plan, then it will definitely happen, and it will happen in His time.

Work on your goals and dreams and goals now. All of your hard work will pay off. More than anything, we must keep pursuing what we have asked for. We must trust God and get it done! Huntsville- March/April 2024 4 Howard Gaither Photography Tamara Smith Terry L. Watson Publisher Dorjea’ McClammey Writer Monica Montgomery Writer Sherry Rogers Hill Writer Marrissa Dick Writer Still Shots Photography Photographer Rolando Ochoa Photographer Tay Neely Photographer Email Mykel Media Company LLC Greensboro, NC 2024 All Rights Reserved Scan The QR Code Above To Visit Our Website Want To Advertise? Call 336-340-7844 General Inquiries A Letter From The Editor
Terry L. Watson

With her business, she offers more than just tax services. Learn more about her journey and where she is going.

St. Louis, MO

Michanna Talley Tate, Esq.

She is following in the footsteps of her father. Learn more about her journey of becoming a top lawyer in the Upstate area.

Greenville, SC

Shana K. White

She know first hand what is like to be without. Her non profit organization is designed to help people. Learn more about her testament. Detroit, MI

5 Notshyyy Maids, LLC Cori Pitts MARCH/APRIL 2024 HUNTSVILLE CONTENTS 6 On The Cover
McNair Foundation Inc Daryle McNair A Caregivers Story Terry L. Watson 32 18 Huami Magazine Cutest Baby Lola Knight 29 26 Tea With Teash Podcast Artesha Fernandez 14
Also Featured
Nakeesha Tolden-Mosley
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Notshyyy Maids, LLC

From Ohio to Alabama and parts in between, Cori Pitts is making her way through the canal of entrepreneurship. Cori is the owner and founder of Notshyyy’s Maids LLC. Her company offers cleaning solutions for residential and commercial properties in Madison County and Huntsville, AL, as well as Summit and Cuyahoga counties of Ohio. Notshyyy Maids provides deep cleaning services, standard cleaning services, sanitizing and disinfecting services, construction clean-ups, and move-ins and outs.

Cori is a widower and mother of four wonderful children: three boys and one girl. Cori was born and raised in Southern California. She enlisted in the US Jobs Corps and received an Office Administrative Assistant Certificate. Her next move found her at LATC and El Camino College. There, she acquired an Associate of Science Degree in Business Management.

Being in the cleaning industry for several years gave me the knowledge to start a small company in 2019. In Huntsville, my children and I started cleaning residential homes to supplement our income. As a single mother, I find it can be tough days. Being guided by God, we have been able to come across great clients who have given referrals, whether by word of mouth, reviews, or sharing my posts on social media; we have built a small list of great clients that allowed my businesses to grow out of state.

“I love meeting new people and bringing them a sense of security by keeping their homes and offices safe and clean.”
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Running your own business can be rewarding and challenging at the same time. For Cori, her drive to succeed and help others has sustained her. She adds, “I started to help my family financially, but the love for cleaning and understanding that sometimes people are dealing with mental health issues or just can be overwhelmed in life and need help. That is why Notshyyy’s Maids LLC is here! I love meeting new people and bringing them a sense of security by keeping their homes and offices safe and clean.”

Cori credits her mother for inspiring her to be more. She shares that her mom was raised alongside multiple siblings. She came from a poverty-stricken area and didn’t have the normal things like new clothes and shoes. Still, her mother cherished what she had and focused on her education. Cori’s mom graduated from high school and moved to California. There, she worked hard, met Cori’s father, and provided a better opportunity for her family.

Cori says her journey in business has been an awesome experience, and while it has come with some lessons, she wouldn’t change how things have happened. “Some of the biggest problems I have faced happened because I was unprepared. I learned that having systems in place across the board, whether hiring and training employees to deal with customers or making sure our back office is running without micromanaging, I learned that each is important,” she says.

What is next for Cori and Notshyyy’s Maids LLC? Expansion on the horizon. She says they are accepting new commercial clients in both Alabama and Ohio. Her company is also in the developmental stages of several new services she plans to announce in the fall.

For more information about Notshyyy’s Maids LLC, please contact them directly. h Huntsville- March/April 2024 8
The staff and family of Notshyyy Maids LLC

Picking Up The Pieces

“In this line of work, one of our primary challenges is raising awareness about the importance of stability for families rather than solely focusing on housing solutions.”

What better way of helping others is to have first-hand experience and knowledge of what it feels like?

Shana K. White of Detroit, MI, is the founder of Picking Up The Pieces Inc. Her nonprofit organization focuses on offering vital support, including basic necessities and furniture. By addressing these needs, Shana strives to alleviate the obstacles linked with reentry into stable housing, ultimately fostering stability for families in transition. Shana has dedicated her time to volunteering for various homeless shelters and organizations, establishing herself as an integral figure within her community.

Established in June 2023, Picking Up The Pieces operates on a referral basis. Shana says her organization stands as a testament and reflects her commitment to the welfare of her community. Guiding families through the challenges of reentry into stable housing and reigniting their sense of “home” has become her life’s passion. “Our organization takes great satisfaction in knowing that families are filled with hope by the time we leave their homes,” she says.

Conversely, Shana’s dedication to altruism has long been evident through utilizing her interior design prowess to aid others. Shana is a mother of two beautiful children and has devoted nearly 13 years to working in a professional medical setting. Despite her career path, her true calling lies in helping people and her deep-seated love for interior design. She recalls the words of her mother, “You’re always making something out of nothing, Shana.”

Her vision for the program stems from Shana’s personal experience navigating homelessness. Her personal experiences inspired her to provide stability to families in need. In doing so, Shana realized that seemingly mundane items like forks, knives, and plates are indispensable for essential functions such as eating, and they significantly contribute to societal well-being and functionality. She also recognized that stability, distinct from mere “housing,” is essential. “The absence of basic comforts can profoundly impact children’s well-being, leading to issues such as social anxiety, low academic performance, ADHD, and depression,” she says. “Surprisingly, even after finding housing, 95% of families continue to sleep on the floor for over six months due to a lack of essential furnishings.”

Helping and serving others is not always an easy task. While it may involve pouring from one’s heart, it can also yield stress and frustration. Shana says, “In this line of work, one of our primary challenges is raising awareness about the importance of stability for families rather than solely focusing on housing solutions. We encounter difficulty in attracting donors who prefer to contribute to larger, more well-known organizations for recognition. Another challenge we face is ensuring we retain the right talent to drive our mission forward. We grapple with the overarching housing crisis, further complicating our efforts, and the funding limitations that are narrowly directed towards addressing immediate housing needs rather than fostering holistic stability present yet another hurdle for us to overcome. Still, we persevere.”

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Shana’s response to such adversities included intensifying their advocacy efforts to highlight the critical importance of stability for families over shortterm housing solutions. They’ve focused on targeted outreach to attract donors who share their mission and have prioritized creating a supportive and fun work environment, offering professional development and training. Funding is critical for any nonprofit organization, and its lack can determine who and how many people are helped. Shana and her team have strategically searched for funding sources and advocated for policy changes.

Moving forward, Picking Up The Pieces has chosen to focus on the following objectives: Enhanced Awareness that will intensify campaigns to highlight family stability’s importance through diverse channels. Diversified Fundraising that will expand fundraising strategies to engage individual donors, corporate sponsors, and mission-aligned foundations. Talent Development that will invest in team growth to retain top talent and ensure operational continuity. Innovative Housing Solutions that will involve collaborating on transitional housing, affordability, and community land trusts. Finally, they will focus on advocacy and policy reform that address homelessness’s root causes and provide comprehensive family support. “Through these strategies, we aim to overcome challenges and continue our impact on families experiencing housing instability.”

For those considering to follow a similar path of Shana’s, she offers the following advice. First, finding a cause that deeply resonates with you and aligns with your values is crucial. Your passion and commitment will sustain you through challenges and setbacks. Take the time to educate yourself about the issues you aim to address and stay informed about developments in the field. Awareness of the broader context will guide your efforts and help you identify effective strategies. Building strong relationships with community partners and like-minded organizations is essential. Collaboration fosters innovation, resource-sharing, and collective impact. Be prepared to pivot and adapt your approach based on changing circumstances, feedback, and emerging needs. Flexibility is key to navigating complex and dynamic environments. Addressing social challenges requires resilience and perseverance. Anticipate setbacks and obstacles but remain steadfast in your commitment to your mission. Balancing a passion for your work with self-care is crucial. Prioritize your physical and emotional well-being to sustain your energy and effectiveness in the long run. Lastly, acknowledge and celebrate successes, no matter how small. Recognizing progress fuels motivation and morale, inspiring continued dedication to your cause,” she says. h

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Nakeesha Tolden-Mosley Tax Services

In regard to profession, Nakeesha Tolden-Mosley of Caseyville, IL, is the founder of Nakeesha Tolden-Mosley Tax Services and Information Technology Professional. She also owns Nakeesha Tolden-Mosley Tax Services. Her company provides Tax Planning and Advice, Personal Tax Preparation, Business Tax Preparation, and E-Filing.

Nakeesha Tolden-Mosley Tax Services was founded in 2011. Nakeesha says her journey in business began with her searching for methods to supplement her income. She enrolled in tax classes at a local financial tax office and was given the opportunity to serve as the office manager. From there, things grew and led her to where she is today: assisting clients with their tax needs. “I’m passionate about helping others understand tax laws. I also love assisting my clients with how to make the most out of their paycheck during the year and understanding the obligation of not owing at the end of the year.”

Nakeesha grew up in O’Fallon, Illinois, and as a child growing up, she says the importance of having more than one stream of income was imparted to her. “I knew to sustain a quality lifestyle, there had to be more than one way of doing it.” Nakeesha acquired a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and a Master of Business Administration from Lindenwood University. She is a proud member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. and serves as the Financial Secretary on the Climate and Culture Changers Board of Directors. Nakeesa was also awarded the Side Hustle Honors Award for 2023, a testament to her commitment to simultaneously holding down a full-time job and side hustle. Additionally, she is a member of the Hustlers Council for the Side Hustle Honors Awards.

“I’m passionate about helping others understand tax laws. I also love assisting my clients with how to make the most out of their paycheck during the year and understanding the obligation of not owing at the end of the year.”
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Tax Planning and Advice, Personal Tax Preparation, Business Tax

Being a full-time employee and holding down a side hustle can be a very daunting task for most. Nakeesha has faced this challenge head-on, along with a few others, such as marketing and growing her business and clientele and researching how similar small businesses operate. “I have had many roadblocks in this journey, but I embrace every struggle I have faced upfront. It has helped me think outside the box. I also know everyone has room to build their clientele and business,” she says. “I write down my goals (weekly, yearly, and future) and plan out my days. That is one way I meet such challenges. I have also been able to separate my full-time career by setting boundaries and allotting my time appropriately. I set up my hours to be available in the evenings and allow earlier and longer days on the weekends. I have structured my business to be virtual for clients who have busy schedules. My clients can upload their documents, answer questions, and sign their returns electronically through my secure portal. These features allow me to allocate my time appropriately and to take on more clients without them having to come in person,” she says.

Nakeesha says her approach to business has been greatly influenced by her father, who also had a full-time career as an educator and managed a business on the side. At an early age, her Dad taught Nakeesha to sustain a fulltime job that would provide benefits, stability, and funding for her business. He also taught her how to use her side hustle to supplement her income and build her legacy and future.

Looking ahead, Nakeesha says her goal is to develop her own tax software and market it to other tax professionals. Nakeesha loves spending time with her husband of 16 years, Julian Mosley, and their handsome son, Braylon, and fur baby, Blaze.

To learn more about Nakeesha ToldenMosley Tax Services, please visit their website. h Huntsville- March/April 2024 16
Preparation, and E-Filing Services

Learn More About My Experience of Being A Caregiver For My Mother

CHAPTER ONE: What Do We Do Now?

I can remember the day just as if it was today. My mother had suffered an Ischemic Stroke nearly four months ago, and it took her independence and her ability to communicate and left her paralyzed on the right side of her body. Within the previous 120 days, she had visited three different rehabilitation facilities, and we had reached the point in her recovery process that required our family to make a very difficult decision.

While in rehab, Mom didn’t make a lot of progress. Her ability to speak and her speech was measured very low, as she suffered from Aphasia. (A disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language. For most people, these areas are on the left side of the brain. Aphasia usually occurs suddenly, often following a stroke or head injury. - Even more, she didn’t make a lot of progress in physical therapy and still required some assistance with every physical need. Our family all agreed that we didn’t want Mom to continue to reside in the Skilled Nursing Facility, so preparations were made for her to come home and to my home, to be more specific.

Photo Provided by Adobe Stock Photos
Yet, there was much more that my family and I would be tasked with doing, and we were thrust into the role of caregiver without any formal training or experience. The only tools and resources I had available to assist me were my unwavering love for my mother and a Godly assignment to honor her.

Coming to my home and providing accommodations for my mother’s new physical and emotional needs was something that I never imagined that I would ever have to do. Yes, my mother had new emotional needs, as she was still adapting to her new style of life, a style that depended on someone for everything she needed. At that time, I could only imagine how difficult that was for my mother, a woman who, up until the morning she suffered her stroke, was always helping anyone who needed help and putting all of her needs aside. If I could try to accurately describe the level of my mother’s independence before her brain injury, my best description would be of a servant and someone who refused to be still and rest until everyone else was taken care of.

What Do We Do Now?

The day finally arrived for my mom to come to her new home. As a family, my siblings had devised a plan to care for her. This also involved working with a reputable home care agency. With their assistance, my mother’s basic care needs would be met. All that I expected to do was coordinate the scheduling of their visits and administer my mother’s medicine, which would also involve insulin injections. We had plans in place to assist our mother with getting to the bathroom and managing things of that nature. I don’t consider myself to be a professional chef, but well before my mother’s stroke, she’d developed a love for my cooking, so I felt comfortable in that category. Yet, there was much more that my family and I would be tasked with doing, and we were thrust into the role of caregiver without any formal training or experience. The only tools and resources I had available to assist me were my unwavering love for my mother and a Godly assignment to honor her. Looking back on the previous 120 days, to even the day I got the call that my mother and best friend had suffered a stroke, and fast forward to the day my mother came to live in my home, my life would never be the same.

Welcome to the world of caregiving.

I decided to share my experience as a full-time caregiver for my mother to consult, console, and inform other families who may be going through a similar situation. As a son, caring for my mother never feels like work; if so, it is a labor of love. Please continue to follow this message, Becoming A Caregiver, in Huami Magazine. I hope that sharing my experience will help others. From one caregiver to the next, God Bless You! h

Dr. Johnita Readus

Leading The Way At Bluford S.T.E.M. Academy

Malcolm X, a prominent civil rights leader, activist, and advocate for Black empowerment, wrote, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Academically, education is the transmission of knowledge, skills, and character traits and comes in many forms. Notwithstanding, an educator’s most important responsibility is to search out and construct meaningful educational experiences that allow students to solve real-world problems and show they have mastered that knowledge by transitioning it into practical skills. Teachers pass on knowledge, foster critical thinking skills, inspire students, serve as role models, and play a vital role in the holistic development of our children. Unfortunately, the people tasked with cultivating tomorrow’s societal leaders do not receive the recognition or pay they rightly deserve. Most importantly, teachers are our children’s constant motivators and inspire all students to pursue their dreams. Most already know that the United States has not always been a proponent of African Americans receiving a quality education.

Fortunately, Black leaders continued to fight for equality in all facets of human life, especially education. Laws such as Brown vs. the Board of Education outlawed segregation, especially since Plessy vs. Ferguson was not particularly advantageous to the Black community. Thankfully, African Americans have always possessed the wherewithal to press toward the mark for a higher calling. One such little girl who pressed was Miss Ruby Bridges, who, at the tender age of six, advanced the cause of civil rights in November 1960 when she became the first African American student to integrate an elementary school in the South. There is much to say about being the first.

Meet Dr. Johnita Atkinson Readus of Greensboro, NC. She is an author and educator, Guilford County Schools Principal of the Year, Guilford County Employee of the Month, and the owner of A’JAR Solutions, LLC. Additionally, she is the first principal in her family, and she has a Ed.D.

Dr. Readus credits her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Atkinson, for initiating her educational journey; Dr. Readus shares, “It all started for me with my parents because they were both educators. My mother said I would line up my baby dolls and teach them when I was five. She told my dad then that the family had another teacher. So, education has always been a part of my life. My parents were my role models. My father was also a coach, so it was nothing to see extra dinner plates set at the table when one of his ballplayers was there or when my mother was mentoring or tutoring some of her students. My parents would feed them before their parents came to pick them up, so I learned to serve others from them. I believe the gift of service is the best gift you can give others. It started with my parents leading the way. My sister, Dr. Johnette Atkinson McCain, is the Director of Aggie Academy Lab School at NC A&T State University and an educator. So, education and service have been stable in both of our lives. That’s how we grew up, and that’s what we know. As I grew up, I knew I wanted to follow in my parent’s footsteps because I always found myself working with children. I worked at daycare centers; I worked in youth programs; I always surrounded myself with children and doing something to help others.” Dr. Maya Angelou once stated, “Nothing will work unless you do,” and that’s what Johnita set out to do - - work.

Since Johnita was born and raised in Fayetteville, NC, by servant educators, she knew that attending an institution of higher education was the expectation. After graduating high school, she attended Winston Salem State University, earning her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education. Two months after graduating, she married her childhood sweetheart and the love of her life, Mr. Melbrice Readus, a career military man. According to Johnita, marrying her husband and traveling with him benefited her educational experience. She shares, “I’ve been married for 32 years, and traveling with my husband has been a wonderful experience. We’ve lived in Hawaii, New York, and Virginia. Living in those states helped shape who I am as an educator today because I saw education in different arenas, with each place having a different educational structure. I would sit back and learn the different dynamics. I was a sponge everywhere we moved, just soaking up knowledge. During this time, I realized that my passion for education was in K-12, which was a blessing for me and my children, Ashleigh and Alan. So, when my children started school, I would work in that particular grade level, perfecting my teaching techniques. When they went to kindergarten, middle,

I challenged my students and staff to do something they have never done before. If I ask my staff to do something, I feel like I need to be a part of the work, so I take up that challenge, too.

and high school, I would teach in those areas, learning policy and procedures and the logistics to be a well-rounded educator. I believe those experiences have shaped who I am as an educator. Once my husband decided he was ready to retire in 2010, we decided that Greensboro would be our home. Once settled, I started as a first-grade teacher at Cone Elementary School in Greensboro. My principal noticed that I was always giving people strategies, ideas, and resources, so when the curriculum facilitator retired, she asked me if I would like to serve in that position. Initially, I had no desire for that role because I love teaching. Still, when she explained the role, I realized I was already doing it by helping my colleagues with their curriculum planning and teaching strategies and gaining more experience by serving on several district boards, so I accepted. I stayed in that position for eight and a half years, and then, one day, she encouraged me to become a principal. That changed the trajectory of my life and jump-started my leadership journey to NC A&T State University. There I was a NC Principal’s Fellow and earned my Master’s Degree in Administration. Then I continued earning my doctoral degree in education from High Point University.” What others see in us is amazing when we passionately and humbly operate in our God-given gifts.

After earning her degrees, Dr. Readus was offered a position at Oakhill Elementary School, where she served for one year. She would later become the principal at Sumner Elementary for five years. This was her first principal assignment. After, five years at Sumner, Dr. Contreras moved her to Bluford calling her the “Culture Builder”. This awesome recognition attracted Dr. Sharon L. Contreras, the North Carolina Regional Superintendent of the Year, who recognized that Dr. Readus possessed the same passion for providing a high-quality education to each child that prompted her to ask Johnita to become the principal of Bluford-Peeler S.T.E.M. Academy. Dr. Readus shares, “This was a great opportunity to implement my leadership skills and learned experiences to help bridge two schools, build a nurturing culture for the students, and welcome the community. Dr. Contreras said, ‘I want you to bridge those two cultures together and help them thrive,’ that’s what I’ve been striving to do for the past five years, and I love every minute of it. I come to work daily with a smile because I enjoy my work. I don’t just sit behind my desk all day. I help my teachers, and I also read to my students. There’s nothing better than coming to work and seeing my students running down the hall to greet me or seeing my faculty working as a team to meet the student’s needs, working with parents, and meeting curriculum mandates.”


The author Toni Morrison wrote, “If there is a book that you want to read but hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it”. That is what Dr. Readus did when COVID-19 changed the world. Through the pandemic, Dr. Readus shares, “I challenged my students and staff to do something they have never done before. If I ask my staff to do something, I feel like I need to be a part of the work, so I take up that challenge, too. I fulfilled my lifelong dream of writing a children’s book during the pandemic. My first book is entitled Ashleigh’s New Normal. Ashleigh was in the second grade and thought she knew all the school rules and procedures until the COVID-19 virus changed her normal school day forever. This book talks about how Ashleigh feels during the pandemic and leaving her teachers and friends to remote learning. I read this book to my students, who loved it because they could identify with her struggles. They encouraged me to write a book about Ashleigh returning to school, so I’ve written Variant Invasion: While Ashleigh Returns to School and Ashleigh Sees Herself on the Screen. All of my books are in Bens Boys in Greensboro, a wonderful restaurant in Friendly Shopping Center, and on Amazon.”

Johnita is an inspirational and motivational principal because she charged her entire staff to do something that made them feel good despite what was happening in the world.

With someone who walks her talk, it’s easy to see why her staff would nominate her for Principal of the Year. Johnita chuckles as she explains that she was nominated three times before she received that award. “I was very humbled to receive that award. I have been nominated for Principal of the Year three times. I used to tell people I’m like that bridesmaid that never goes away! She’s always right there with the bride. Regardless of whether I won, I was always happy and excited for everybody else. Still, it’s just an honor to be nominated, especially since we are the third largest district, so to know that out of 132 schools that you have been selected is a good feeling.”

Being a visionary, Dr. Readus has high expectations for Blueford-Peeler S.T.E.M. Academy. Most remember the tornado that came through Greensboro destroyed many homes and uprooted some communities. Peeler Elementary was also affected, so the two schools merged. Dr. Readus shares, “The students and parents at Peeler were displaced, and they needed to be embraced. I always tell people my job is not done until all our kids are proficient and confident that they can go out into the world and be whomever they want. It’s not just me talking to the students. My entire staff motivates our students by teaching them about the importance of intelligence and character and how each student can add value to the world. When you enter our school, there’s a sign that reads ‘intelligence and character,’ which we instill in our students because you need both to have a true education. I always tell my students that people don’t lose their jobs because of their ability. People lose their jobs because they don’t know how to get along with each other. So, we’re building character as well as intelligence. And that’s my goal, for them to be productive citizens in society and value the world while doing something they love to effect change and make a difference in the world.”

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Another thing Johnita and her staff do is teach their students how to work through struggle utilizing a scaffolding method and critical thinking. By using these same methods in their own lives, Johnita emphasizes that you can’t be effective if you’re not healthy on the inside, either. “I make it a practice to work with each teacher so they can be great at what they do, and that’s why we have a lot of professional development here. I love collaborating with my colleagues, and that brings me joy. To know that I’m helping another person thrive and do well in their environment, well, that’s phenomenal. I believe it’s important for me to pay it forward. That’s why I continue to provide professional development to educators. I want to inspire the next generation of leaders, so I teach coaching and share educational procedures. I believe I’m paying it forward like others have done for me. I didn’t get here on my own. I am standing on the shoulders of educators who coached and mentored me. When I go back home to Fayetteville, NC, I love on all those teachers and my parents’ friends who inspired me. I’ve had mentors like Dr. Doris Brown, Dr. Renee McKinnon, and even my brother-in-law, Dr. Brian McCain, who is a principal, who’ve given me nuggets of wisdom in this field. They helped me build intelligence and character. I work hard daily but always tell people to work hard and stay humble. I live by that creed.”

Johnita is aware of the gifts God has given her and professes that He is the head of her life. She identifies as a “Servant Leader” and takes her educational beliefs with me everywhere she goes. She is a proud member of New Light Missionary Baptist Church located in Greensboro, NC, and works with the Women’s Ministry or wherever she is needed to serve. She says, “Servant leadership is probably my strongest characteristic, along with instructional leadership.” Hebrews 13:16 instructs us, “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Guilford County is blessed to have an inspirational leader among us. One who is inspiring motivates others, and one who shows kindness and love towards others. She is a proponent of pressing toward the mark so her staff can be forward thinkers. She reminds them to be “that teacher where students can say they were my favorite teacher instead of saying, yeah, I had that teacher, but I wasn’t very fond of them. Which teacher do you want to be?” She also prepares her staff for life after Bluford-Peeler S.T.E.M. Academy by encouraging them to make a difference and to blossom wherever they are planted. She shares, “We might not get our flowers like everybody else; instead, it might be in a hug. Teaching is so rewarding; it’s the greatest profession ever.”

Dr. Johnita Atkinson Readus also helps inspire and motivate students, parents, and other educators outside the classroom. She is the CEO of A’JAR Solutions, LLC. A’JAR represents opening endless possibilities through coaching, mentoring, and professional development. Dr. Readus is there to assist you in developing that passion. h

Huntsville- March/April 2024 25

Tea With Teash Podcast

Artesha Fernandez, also known as Teash, is best described as vibrant, spontaneous, funny, and stylish. She is also a popular creative and the face and voice of Tea with Teash Podcast, a Tea With Teash, LLC product. Tea With Teash discusses various topics, including health, relationships, and daily motivation.

Born and raised in Kansas City, MO, Teash enjoys being a representative of the culture. “I love engaging with the public and keeping up with all the awesomeness my Brown Sisters and Brothers possess,” she emphatically says. In addition to managing her podcast, Teash works as a Medical Biller for a local clinic specializing in Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology. She has an Associates Degree in Human Service Management and Healthcare Administration.

Nearly five years ago, Teash says she thought about starting a podcast. It was in November 2023 that she made the decision to play with her craft and applied for her business license. In doing so, Teash built an umbrella for her amazing ideas and plans, and things began to really take off. “I started building my pages, researching my topics, and reaching out to those who were amazing to interview. My efforts involved individuals, both local and out-of-state. I just went for it. My intention was to become a Black Business Owner and make something remarkable out of my artistry.”

What Teash says she loves most about being a Podcaster is being able to not only share her life and my charismatic personality but also have the chance to tap into the lives of her peers. “I love saluting anyone that has really good things going on, and I love meeting new people and being able to share their attributes, businesses, products, and services. I also enjoy giving them extra exposure for their greatness in case the world has missed it,” she says.


For Teash, coming up with better ways to get exposure and create watch worthy content has been a little difficult, and while she is fairly new to the world of podcasting, her presence has been noticed. She adds, “I have definitely brought a new meaning to the phrase “being new means nothing”. I’m getting things done”. Teash appreciates where she has come from and is equally excited about where her podcast production is going.

Teash is all in with Tea with Teash Podcast but hasn’t been able to accomplish what she has alone. She credits her sons for impacting her life and career the most. Allowing them to see her in action and following her dreams is all Teash ever wanted to show them, she says. “Even though my sons are 22 and 16, they are still impressionable and watching me. I wanted to give them Mommy/Artesha and what Artesha wanted to do with her life outside of being their amazing Mother.”

Her advice to anyone wanting to follow in her footsteps is to believe in yourself when no one else does, take it one day at a day, and make every move you make your biggest move. “I have made it by asking questions, praying, and keeping at it. My advice to others is to make a lot of noise about yourself and don’t quit!”

Looking ahead, Teash plans to open her very own black-owned business eventually. She doesn’t want to reveal the type of business yet. She also plans to continue to make a lot of noise throughout her city and remain involved with everything creative, possibly TV. She says, “I would like to have a full production set for my podcast and continue to bring Positive Culture Love.” To learn more about The Tea with Teash Podcast, please visit their website. h

Huntsville- March/April 2024 27
DURHAM MILWAUKEE Established 2007 A Mykel Media Company LLC Publication Published for 23 States and 30 Markets / Online & In Print Scan Our QR Code For More Details
Lola Knight The daughter of Rashaun Knight and Zaria Knight
Family is all we got, and we have to stick together. If one has an opportunity to lead, he must lead the family the best he can, and others will follow.

Dr. Jay Davis, a renowned A-list barber located in the southwest community of Dallas, TX, is a trailblazer in the barbering and hair replacement industry. Born and raised in Arkansas, he now calls Dallas home and has over 17 years of expertise in barbering and mentoring. Without question, Dr. Jay is a highly respected figure in his field.

In the ever-evolving world of barbering, Dr. Jay Davis has set the bar high, and his consistent passion and dedication have led to endless opportunities. Notably, Dr. Jay holds the distinction of being the youngest barber to earn a doctorate, a testament to his dedication and commitment to his craft. His passion for education and skill development led him to establish the upcoming MasterBarber University, an institution dedicated to nurturing the next generation of top-tier barbers and entrepreneurs. Dr. Jay’s innovative techniques and profound understanding of hair aesthetics have made him a sought-after professional among the A-list clientele, such as God Shammgod, Raekwon, Floyd Mayweather, and many more. Even more, Dr. Jay’s work is not just about cutting hair; it’s about enhancing each client’s personal style and confidence and building lifelong relationships.

He shares, “As a mentor, I am committed to sharing my knowledge and expertise. I am also committed to inspiring up-and-coming barbers to reach their full potential. I hope that my journey from Arkansas to evolving to being a respected professional worldwide will serve as a beacon of inspiration for many.”

Jay shares that his success is a reflection of the sound family structure he was raised in. “Family has been my main support system all of my life, and it is very important to me. I have one son, Jayden Davis. My parents were married two days before I was born and continue to be, now for 38 years. I also have two brothers and a sister, and I am the oldest of the boys and have many nephews and nieces. Family is all we got, and we have to stick together. If one has an opportunity to lead, he must lead the family the best he can, and others will follow.”

Jay graduated from a small school, Arkadelphia High School in Arkansas, with an advanced diploma in 2003. He attended a few different colleges and studied engineering before dropping out his senior year to enroll in barber school. He later graduated from New Tyler Barber College in North Little Rock, AR, in 2008 and graduated with a Crossover and Instructor License from Washington Barber College in SW Little Rock in 2015. He achieved the status of a Hair Replacement Specialist in 2017 and an SMP Specialist (Scalp Micropigmentation) in 2020. That same year, Jay graduated from Miracle University in Virginia with his Doctoral Degree.


Jay is the owner of Master Barber LLC, a brand and school that promotes education, cosmetic and barbering events, products, and much more. Jay says, “At Master Barber, our mission is to provide high-quality education and training to aspiring barbers. We strive to create a supportive learning environment that encourages our students to develop their skills, knowledge, and confidence. This includes full service grooming, image consulting, as well as hair replacement systems for clients dealing with hair loss.” He also owns Associated Building Consultants LLC, a consulting company that consults with barber/stylist entrepreneurs on their business and future decisions. Additionally, Jay manages short-term rental and cleaning companies, including Not A Trace Cleaning Co.

It’s obvious that Jay is a man of many talents. I mean, look at all that he has accomplished in such a short period of time. He shares, “I always knew as a kid that I would be successful just because of my drive and the hunger to learn things. I always strived for excellence because I wanted to be somebody. Yet, I never knew that I would be a barber or entrepreneur. I thought I would be an engineer or work in finance.”

With all his potential to be anything he wanted to be, life would present Jay with a few twists and turns. “I made a bad decision that landed me in prison; whilst incarcerated, I truly understood what it meant to be patient, seeing as that in jail, you are on someone else’s time. As I sat in a jail cell in 2009, I gained a lot of vision, and I told myself that all I had to do was put 100% into my craft and trust the Most High! I told the Most High to show me the way, and it became clear why I was there and that this journey was for me. I knew I wanted to be impactful, not just for my clients, but for my family and peers, seeing how we grew up and how many looked up to me. The vision sometimes would get blurry as I would stray away from my purpose. I would ask for guidance and strength to clear the obstacles and get back on the right path and for the strength to say no. Go home instead of being out all night, and the understanding of what it would take to be successful. My vision allowed me to broaden my horizon and do many other things outside of barbering.”

Jay says he loves the opportunity to bless someone with his grooming experiences. He is aware that many people are suffering from many things, and he realizes that hair brings back confidence and a positive mental attitude. “Self-confidence is everything, so to be able to bless them and make them more confident brings a rush of excitement to me. I love learning about different people and cultures and building personal and business relations with them. You learn to listen, and you learn to give advice. You learn it’s great to be a barber and count your blessings because so many are less fortunate. I have also fallen in love with being able to help my community and mentor the youth regarding life and the opportunities we have with the odds against us.”

It’s apparent that the challenges Jay has faced, including his past decisions and experiences, have helped him to become a better person, a better father, and an astute businessman. He adds, “Being in prison taught me how to be patient. To get home, I had to be patient so that I could be a father to my only son, who was born right before I went to prison. I had to be patient with myself to change because I was there not just for my decisions but mostly due to the lesson that was present for me to learn. Keeping the Most High first and focusing on my own spiritual growth allowed me to avoid the same mistakes I have made.”

Dr. Jay says that his life and career have been impacted by both people and experiences. Prison, as he’s mentioned, and also the Covid 19 pandemic. He also says a few mentors and business partners have helped him including Dr. Will McNeely, Curtis Smith (Xotics), Dr. Darrin Lyons (DL Master Barber), and Arlo Washington. While his journey has been challenging at times, Dr. Jay says he wouldn’t change anything. “The journey is what made me into who I am today. We all wish we could have done something differently or sooner had we known better; however, life doesn’t work that way and had we got whatever we wanted, we probably would have lost it all for not being mentally or spiritually ready for it”. h


The McNair Foundation Incorporated

“I Am About My Father’s Business”

Daryle McNair of Charlotte, NC, is the face and visionary of McNair Foundation Incorporated. This nonprofit organization focuses on preparing students for their future tomorrow. It also offers scholarships and educational assistance for deserving students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s).

The inspiration behind The McNair Foundation Incorporated is connected to Daryle’s desire to honor his parent’s legacy. He lost his father in 1995, and as time went on, he also lost his mother. Daryle shares that his mother and father made a great impression on him, and he always wanted to do something to honor them. “My father would always ask me what my plan was for my life. He wanted to know what I had in mind for my legacy and what I would do to be an asset to society, not a liability. I thought about education,” he says.

Daryle describes himself as a go-getter. He is very involved and a vital part of his community. Daryle is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. He works for Wells Fargo Bank as a Wholesale Relationship Associate in Commercial Investment Banking. Daryle is a proud Prince Hall Masonic Family member and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated member. Along with his wife Stefanie, who will celebrate 20 years of marriage in May, he has one daughter, Amiah.

The team of The McNair Foundation is composed of Daryle, the Founder and President; Dr. Stephen Cathcart, who serves as Vice President; Stephanie McNair, Secretary and Treasurer; and Ryan Howell, who oversees Fundraising and Technology. The organization also relies on the support of several volunteers.


Daryle focuses on education, specifically providing scholarships and educational assistance for students who attend HBCUs. Daryle also supports minority at-risk mentorships. “As an HBCU graduate, I was often around other HBCU graduates. I saw the importance of education and how it could prepare someone for what it would be like in the world, especially for a black man. I learned that it’s not a level playing field, and the HBCU experience helped prepare me for that,” he says.

When asked what he loves most about what he does, Daryle says it is the chance to help others. “Nothing beats the feeling of providing assistance or presenting someone with a check and helping them to continue their education. Whether it be speaking to someone and offering ideas and information, I love being able to help others. We also offer intercessory funding, which focuses on helping students who may have some funding but not enough. Knowing that I have a legacy of helping and serving others and being known for giving back, nothing beats that,” he shares.

The McNair Foundation is able to serve students anywhere within North Carolina. Their reach has extended to the eastern town of Rowland, NC, and even Durham. When an applicant is determined to be most deserving, The McNair scholarships are awarded. “We ask our prospective scholars to submit an academic resume and cover letter. When applying for a job, your resume will be the first thing someone will learn about you. The reason for doing so is we want them to get into the practice of being able to stand out on paper first,” Daryle explains.

Networking is something that Daryle has learned to master. He shares that with any nonprofit organization, you can never have enough funding. “Whether it be at Johnson C. Smith University or a cigar house, I am constantly networking and talking to people to let them know what we do and let them know what we do, just to see if we are a match. You have to be mindful of who your sponsors are. We have been blessed to have some great companies to believe in us and support our cause.”

One significant way Daryle and his team raise money for their organization is with The Annual McNair Invitational Golf Tournament. This year, it will happen on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at Rocky River Golf Club in Concord, North Carolina.

Moving forward, Daryle is working on developing a virtual mentorship. Most often, to be able to make school visits to meet mentees, there is often a lot of paperwork to complete, including background checks, etc. The virtual mentorship will alleviate the need to make school visits and allow Daryle’s team to reach more people from greater distances through Zoom meetings. Daryle is also looking to sponsor an athletic league for young participants. “I think about the little guys who are playing football and basketball. Their participation can be economically challenging for their parents. We want to help ease that burden through sponsorship and allow these kids to participate. Their participation will keep them off the streets and learn the value of teamwork at an early age,” Daryle explains.



Michanna Talley Tate is a woman who wears many hats. She is a wife, daughter, sister, and friend to many. The Greenville, SC, native is also an Attorney, a Professor, and a former Scientist. Her list could go on and on, but more than anything, Michanna genuinely loves people.

Michanna graduated from Southside High School and then attended Howard University for both undergraduate and graduate school. She attended Stetson University College of Law for law school. Today, she is the founder of Access Law LLC, formerly Michanna Talley Attorney at Law. Her firm’s main practices are Real Estate Litigation, Personal Injury, and Medical Malpractice.

Michanna says that as a lawyer, she loves helping people get results. “I originally opened my law firm in the summer of 2012 under the name Michanna Talley Attorney at Law. I was teaching science courses online and also running my law firm. When I went to law school, I intended to be self-employed and start my own law firm, which is exactly what I did. I used the money from teaching to pay my office rent, supplies, and everything else I needed to run my law firm. And to gain clients, I went to lots of networking events. I always tell people that in life, you can always do something else. I have a Masters degree and a Bachelors degree in Biology. I used those degrees during my time employed as a Molecular Microbiologist. I also used those degrees to teach science courses at different colleges and universities. I also have Graduate Certification in Epidemiology & Biostatistics (Public Health), yet even with that, I decided to do something else. That something else is law.”.

The vision to become a lawyer came from Michanna’s dad, a lawyer with his own law firm. Growing up, Michanna states that being a lawyer was not something she ever wanted. However, when you are a scientist, she adds that being self-employed is next to impossible. “I went to law school because it was a degree I knew I could use to be self-employed.”

Her life has been mostly impacted by her parents and the lessons they taught her. “In my dad, I had a built-in mentor. The foundation he taught me was priceless, and I have built on that and made my firm and the way I practice law my own,” she says. Michanna also credits her educational experience at Howard University for shaping her life. “At Howard, it wasn’t just about the academics. It was also about the culture of excellence, being away from home in a big city, and having to make my own positive decisions.”

Access Law LLC

In my dad, I had a built-in mentor. The foundation he taught me was priceless, and I have built on that and made my firm and the way I practice law my own.

In her many years of practice, Michanna has enjoyed many memorable experiences. It comes with the territory, and they have helped her to become better. One experience she recalls involves a client whom she inherited from her dad. She says, “My client was (1 of 35) owners of 7.5 acres in Greenville County. That caused the property to become “stuck.” Recently, the judge ordered that my client owns all 7.5 acres and does not have to buy out any other family members or owners. My client drove down from New Jersey for the hearing and was so happy. He asked to hug me at least three times. I love it when my clients get a great result.”

As with any profession, Michanna has faced some challenges and has learned how to manage them appropriately. One was her desire to help everyone just because she could do so with her legal knowledge. As a result, after eight years of having her own law firm, she gave it up due to being burnt out. She became a prosecutor for about two years before returning back to her own firm. With her return, Michanna says she chose to focus on a few niche areas of law and treat her firm as a business with a goal of making a profit. Of course, Michanna is committed to helping her clients, but she wants to ensure everyone is benefiting. She is able to accomplish this by sticking to the types of cases she likes. “I have learned to say no because, quite honestly, there are lots of attorney options to choose from,” she explains.

Family is very important to Michanna. She adds that it’s essential for her to sustain her family’s legacy in practicing law because there are not many minority lawyers who handle the matters that she does. “I learned to handle these matters by receiving foundational training from my dad. My dad was one of only a handful of Black lawyers that handled real estate in the Upstate. Over the years, that same number has decreased. I am standing strong in this field and enjoying it,” she says.

Michanna remains active in her community by educating others on the law. She routinely volunteers for a nonprofit located in Greenville that assists minority entrepreneurs and speaks to new and ongoing business owners. Michanna also volunteers and speaks at other events, such as home-buying and estate-planning seminars. Last year, during Black History Month, she spoke on the issue of her property at a large manufacturing company in Greenville.

Michanna’s advice to others who may follow a path similar to hers is simple. “Everyone is not your assignment. Don’t wait until you are drained to remember this. Stick to what you like to do and do it well.”

Looking ahead, Michanna shares that she plans to continue to focus on real estate litigation, personal injury, and medical malpractice cases. That is what she likes to do. “I would love to take on more speaking engagements. I guess it is the professor in me. I genuinely love conveying information to people because I know so much incorrect information exists. I like to make sure people have the truth.”

To learn more about Attorney Michanna Talley Tate and Access Law LLC, please visit their website.

Access Law LLC 206 Green Avenue Greenville, SC 29601
Michanna Talley Tate, Esq.


Are you ready for a next level career choice? At Master Barber Univsersity, our mission is to provide high-quality education and training to aspiring barbers. We strive to create a supportive learning environment that encourages our students to develop their skills, knowledge, and confidence. Master Barber University will be accepting New Student Enrollment next Spring. We also offer Virtual Trainings on hair restoration and business consulting. Let us help you Stand Out to be outstanding!

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