Huami Magazine Memphis July/August 2022

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July/August 2022 Volume 3 Issue 6

MEMPHIS

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P 3 Human Capital Solutions Memphis - July/August 2022

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Commercial Lending

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

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The Benefits and Burdens of Your Assignment A Letter From The Editor

With the onset of each new day, there is always a list of things for me to accomplish waiting for me. I prepare my day based on the available hours; you can probably say that I am routine. I would beg to differ and counter by saying I work better in blocks of time and with a plan in place. I have been fortunate to learn that I don’t efficiently function without one. That’s just me. On the other hand, I am grateful for having something to look forward to doing. While often things may appear overwhelming, I can rest in the fact that God has chosen me for this experience. This is my assignment. It’s not a “why me Lord” question that I ask; instead, it’s a “why not me Lord” affirmation expressed. There are several ways to understand or comprehend God’s assignment upon us. We can face it head-on and work diligently to complete the mission or not. What I find so fascinating is that when God initially blessed me with purpose, I wasn’t shown what the end would be like. He didn’t brief me on the events that would occur, and I must say, there have been some good and some bad ones. If I have learned anything thus far, I know that the same pattern will likely repeat itself at some time or another. Still, once I tapped into God’s presence and listened for His voice, I realized it was time for me to get moving. And that’s what I did. God also gives us the freedom to ignore our assignments. While it’s not wise, running from what God calls us into only delays our destiny and purpose. God’s word says His yoke is easy to bear, and the burden He gives is light. Because I believe His word, my desire to complete my mission is ignited. Even more, I understand that I am not alone in the fight, and someone else is actually carrying the bulk of my load. All I have to do is put one foot in front of the other and move. The blessing in our assignments is revealed to us once our attitude about the assignment is changed. We can embrace the assignment and trust the process or ignore it. Remember that God gives us a choice. He also blesses us with life; with that gift comes a plan. I encourage you to tap into what God has assigned you to do and enjoy a life full of purpose and promise.

Terry L. Watson 4

www.huamimagazine.com Terry L Watson

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Terry L. Watson Ellen Richardson Dorjea’ McClammey

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Tamara Smith

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CONTENTS

JULY/AUGUST 2022

MEMPHIS

Marlessia Yancey 22 MiZo Coffee Co.

On The Cover

P3 Human Capital Solutions Foluke Houston-Gaddis

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Curly Gurl Fitness

Marquitta Foster

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Synergy Hospitality Group

Daymain Smith

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Love Monae’ Anthony

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Also Featured

Monique Simone Joe Having and maintaining healthy skin is very important. Her line of skin care products will help you. Huntsville, AL

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Richard Baker Becoming physically fit is a journey. Learn how Baker Unified Fitness is helping others along the way. Richmond, VA

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Ava Smith She has spent her entire life and career serving and pouring into her community. Learn more about her journey. Greenville, SC

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P 3 Human Capital Solutions P Human Capital Solutions

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Foluke Houston

Foluke Houston-Gaddis has a very clear and simple goal; to connect people to their purpose and passion. The Vicksburg, MS, native and current Germantown, TN, resident is the face and founder of P3 Human Capital Solutions. This diverse and woman-owned organization provides strategic solutions, enabling talent and organizations to develop and sustain high-performing and inclusive environments. The company’s guiding principles are the most practical parts of P3, which Foluke clearly outlines. “Our universal, enduring principles guide our organization in all circumstances, irrespective of changes in project goals, strategies, and work climates. Following these guiding principles, we create bigger and better value for our stakeholders and clients in collaboration with innovation and integrity,” she says. “We stand on Integrity, First - Trust & Service Always. We believe that feedback serves as a gift. We also understand the value of simplicity, and we do not allow anyone to stand alone and are always value-focused.” Foluke is the wife of Rodney Gaddis and the youngest of six children. She is a national keynote speaker, award-winning community leader, and Human Resources expert that values service and excellence. As a global talent leader, Foluke brings unique perspectives from her experience working within Fortune 300 and Fortune 100 private sector organizations, local and federal government agencies, and community groups within the HR space.

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Using real-world examples, Foluke says her personal and professional mission is to positively impact others through her gifts. “P3 was a vision in my mind for over ten years; however, like so many others before me, I was apprehensive about stepping out on faith. I had this vision, but something was missing. In late 2021, I was referred to a non-profit organization, Innate Success Corporation, which provides business mentoring to aspiring and new business owners. Innate provided me with the missing ingredient of business start-up knowledge and confidence. Still, I needed guidance on the “how” of entrepreneurship, such as how to create my business plan, how to complete the legal compliance steps, etc. Once I completed the program, P3 was ready to roll,” she shares. Before completing the program with Innate Success Corp, Foluke had secured contractual collaborations with two national organizations and provided them with services such as Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging(DIB) program assessment and training development and facilitation. Foluke shares that she loves the opportunities P3 provides her, especially connecting others with their passion and purpose. She also loves connecting with individual clients and organizations and witnessing the positive impact of empowering someone to operate within their purpose. Anyone who has had a significant encounter with Foluke understands how important God and her family are to her. “My name, Foluke, means “Placed in God’s hand” and I truly understand the power my name possesses. My faith and upbringing have kept me humble while persisting that I operate in my purpose and excellence,” she shares. Foluke says she is inspired by transparency and being connected to authentic and transparent people. She also states her professional journey has not been easy but has been fulfilling and successful. “My testimony is that I can and will be transparent at all times to inspire others.” Every part of Foluke’s journey hasn’t been easy. There have been a few challenges she’s had to face. Still, she confesses that she wouldn’t change anything. “Every accomplishment, connection, and misstep has led me to this moment. I have learned so much since arriving in Tennessee. It has all played a part in the inception of P3.” For those who may follow in her footsteps, Foluke offers some sound advice. “Rest in the promises, not the paranoia. A lot of times, we sabotage our own success by thinking, “what if I fail” or “how will I sustain my business?” My advice is to rest in that God would not have placed the business idea in your spirit and heart unless there was a provision already waiting for you to take action. Also, know that it’s not about you. Someone or some organization needs your gifts. There is a call on every one of our lives, and your “yes” to starting a business or a non-profit will impact someone’s life. You are the answer to someone’s call for help. And finally, render the pen. We are not the author or finisher of our fate, and as business owners, we like to control outcomes with our perspective. Do your best, build relationships, provide excellent service, and trust that everything will work out the way it should.” Moving forward, Foluke says that P3 is deeply committed to helping her individual clients realize their worth and what they bring to the table. She is also committed to helping leaders, teams, and organizations evaluate their current practices and culture and influence true, positive change. She also states the P3 website is in production and will be live by mid-August. In the meantime, they are open for 20222023 consulting services and projects. Individual clients and organizations can book their initial consultation at https://calendly.com/p3hcs

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I’m Here To Serve

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By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Latisha Miles

She is known for her unceasing devotion to serving others, an attribute the Upstate area of South Carolina has grown to cherish and appreciate. Without hesitancy, she eagerly answers the call to assist in any way, whether in business or from a personal perspective. In addition to leading and serving, Ava Smith is also an accomplished entrepreneur. She is the owner of Flat Fee Recruiting and Ava Smith & Associates. Flat Fee Recruiting is a permanent placement recruiting firm that provides quality employees at affordable rates. It also assists companies in various industries and with all types of vacancies. Ava Smith & Associates is a full-cycle HR Consulting firm that operates as an outsourced HR Manager or Director for small businesses, non-profits, and ministries throughout the United States. Some offered services include onboarding, compliance, benefits, risk management, wellness, and training. The New Jersey native holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Human Resource Management from Limestone University and is a Lifetime Member of the Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society. She has over 25 years of experience as a Human Resources Professional. That includes employee relations, compliance, recruitment, retention, and training. Ava began her career in the non-profit sector and shifted into manufacturing, the corporate arena, and staffing. Throughout her career, Ava progressively moved upward in her positions, serving in various roles from HR Assistant to HR Director. In August 2002, Ava began her own firm, HR Specialties, which specialized in providing HR services, training, and recruiting. She later expanded this firm by adding additional experts and rebranded it into what is now widely known as Ava Smith & Associates. In 2010, she formed a permanent placement agency called Flat Fee Recruiting. Her agency received the Minority Business of the Year Award in 2013 through the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. Ava is also a noted Diversity Trainer and has delivered hundreds of sessions throughout the Southeast since 2005. Her clientele involves corporations, manufacturers, non-profits, service organizations, government officials, municipalities, universities, hospital systems, local chambers, and faithbased organizations. Ava is known for her unique style and approach that captures her audience’s attention, allowing them to discuss diverse topics easily. Even more, she was the Recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Diversity Award, given by the Greenville, SC Chapter of SHRM.

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Ava has served the Upstate of South Carolina in various roles, including current Board Member with the Simpsonville Area Chamber of Commerce, current Board Member with The University Center of Greenville, Board Member with Greenville Technical Charter High School, Board Member with Junior Achievement (Greenville, SC), Diversity Director of the SC Society of Human Resource Management State Council, Advisory Board Member with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Steering Committee Member with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Advisor with Greenville Chamber of Commerce CAPACITY Builders program, Chair with Greenville Chamber of Commerce’s Greenville Women at Work (GW@W) initiative, Advisory Board Member for Virginia College, Advisory Board Member for ECPI School of Technology, Board Member for the Greenville Society of Human Resource Management (GSHRM), Chair of the Diversity/Inclusion Committee for GSHRM, President of the Board of Directors for the YWCA of Greenville, Board Member of Fostering Great Ideas, Advisory Board Member for Clemson Small Business Development Center, Steering Committee Member for MLK Dream Weekend, a member of the Clemson CU-ICAR Diversity Committee, and member of the Greenville Technical College Multicultural Advisory Board. These accomplishments and contributions have resulted in her being honored extensively. How did Ava get to where she is now? She says, “I originally started my career in accounting. After obtaining a two-year certificate, I became a bookkeeper for a large finance company. I thought I was destined to have a 10key calculator under my hand until I retired. However, a restructure left me without a position. As a single mom, I had no choice but to pursue any vacancy I could find to make ends meet. After searching for several weeks, I found a position at a local non-profit that would change the trajectory of my life.” Her career in HR began when Ava was only 24 years old. “At that time, the industry called it the “Personnel Department”. My job description had two line items. I was to pass out applications and answer the phone. I was unsatisfied with those simple tasks and began asking for more responsibility. A year-and-a-half later, I was the HR Manager of a facility with 400 employees. As my career continued, I would eventually hold HR roles in various industries,” she says. Ava says while serving in her previous HR roles, she realized a common need for employees accompanied by the inability of their small budgets to cover the cost of staffing. To address this, in 2009, she launched Flat Fee Recruiting. When asked what she loves most about what she does, Ava shares how she loves bringing solutions. “I am a problem solver for businesses that need HR support without having the workload that requires a full-time position. I also love being a part of their business strategy team. My clients include me in their vision and long-term plans, and I assist them with walking it out,” she says.

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Ava shares how she finds inspiration in her children and grandchildren. “I always want to be their role model, and knowing they look to me as an example pushes me not to give up. I am also inspired by my father, who recently passed away. He left such a feeling of “legacy” that it has shown me that I am not only working for what is in front of me, I am also working for what I plan to leave behind,” she says. Becoming an entrepreneur, Ava says, was not something she had planned to do. “I was not prepared, and I had to identify training and learning opportunities to gain knowledge on how to be successful. I was challenged by having to build a network with other business owners and people that could support me on this journey. Being open-minded and believing that failing could still be a form of winning helps me overcome challenges on a daily basis.” For anyone who is considering starting a business, Ava offers some advice that may be of assistance. “Knowledge is power. If you are pursuing entrepreneurship, take business courses, be aware of what your legal and financial obligations will be so that you will be prepared. If you are currently in business, continuously find ways to stay innovative and an expert in your field. Choose yourself even when you feel like no one else will.” Please visit her website to learn more about Ava Smith and her companies. h

Ava Smith & Associates Ava@YourFullCycleHR.com 864-448-0939

Flat Fee Recruiting www.flatfeehiring.com 864-326-4211

Celebrating Fifteen Years of Acknowledging Black Excellence

2007 - 2022

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Richard Baker Baker Unified Fitness

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By Dorjea’ McClammey Photos Provided by Richard Baker It’s never too late to get physically fit. Without question, being physically active promotes good health and positively impacts mental health. This is the arena where Richmond, VA resident Richard Baker excels. He is the founder of Baker Unified Fitness. Richard has operated in the fitness industry for over 12 years. Not only is he knowledgeable in everything fitness, but he also has a background in elementary education and previously worked as a social worker for eight years. Richard’s chosen profession didn’t happen by chance. For the most part, his journey in life has led him to it. He has played sports, beginning at age seven. This included everything from track and field, basketball, baseball, and his favorite sport, football. His passion for recreation led to him becoming a coach at Chowan University in Virginia, which happens to be the same school where he played sports. After coaching at Chowan, he moved to Richmond and continued to coach and build up his clientele. In 2017, Richard’s brother, an entrepreneur, gave him the idea to branch out and start his own fitness company. “From the student-athletes and parents I trained, my brother saw my potential before I did. He took a picture of some cash and texted it to me asking if I was ready and to start looking for rental spaces,” Richard shares. From there, Richard got straight to work, pricing all the equipment he would need, setting up the studio, putting in floorboards, and building just about everything from the ground up. With only one client at the time, Baker Unified Fitness was born. Since its conception, the brand has done nothing but flourish. Baker Unified Fitness, or “BUF” for short, offers essential personal training fitness with a twist. Richard calls it “Partner Training”, which allows clients to bring friends or partners to join them in training. He says this makes them feel more comfortable, motivated, and accountable. Another way Richard has grown his business is by renting out his fitness space to other independent trainers and for fitness events. Richard shares that his favorite type of training is Group Fitness. “The Group Fitness represents the brand’s culture,” he says. Richard always promotes accountability, and his community and clients latch on to that. He shares, “They have a sense of community and pride about our brand because that is what we talk about. It all has to do with the kind of energy you get when you’re in our space. It’s not just a gym. Clients don’t just come in to work out and leave; they stick around and connect, strengthening their community.”

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Baker Unified Fitness also offers training outside the gym, such as their annual hike. Once a year, Richard takes his clients on a hike about an hour away into the mountains. Additionally, during the spring and summer, they offer outdoor pop-up training sessions across Richmond. Baker Unified Fitness also brings in guest speakers who not only talk about fitness but nutrition as well. While the journey has been incredible, Richard also points out a few challenges he’s faced. Some of them were a lack of resources and being a first-time entrepreneur. He shares he did not have disposable income to achieve everything he wanted. Through it all, he continued to grow, build, and learn everything he could and be open to adapting and adopting new services and making his business unforgettable. He’s joined business organizations with resources and seminars which have connected him with other business owners and entrepreneurs. “Those things have allowed me to take my business to the next level,” he says. Richard says his biggest inspiration is his family. He says that watching his daughter grow reminds him how much he loves helping people develop in every aspect of his life. Richard offers clear advice for anyone looking to follow in his footsteps. “Seek information, and whatever you learn, apply it! The biggest thing that ever helped me was when I looked for information and asked questions. Doing these gave me the knowledge I needed to be a successful business owner.

Richard Baker

Baker Unified Fitness

www.bakerunifiedfitness.com 804-592-1867

Moving forward, only expect the best out of Baker Unified Fitness. They plan on reaching the next level of becoming a corporate fitness business. “We would love to take our whole style, energy, and swag and just drop it in a company,” says Richard. They also plan to continue to offer classes and personal training and share their fitness plans with others. He concludes by sharing, “Many people see fitness and become intimidated. I hope people can understand the true benefit of fitness, incorporate it into their lives, and adopt it as a lifestyle.” To learn more about Richard Baker and Baker Unified business, please visit their website. h

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Symonious Fusion By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by C. Moore For Monique Simone Joe, having and maintaining healthy skin is a family affair. Not only does she believe in the importance of having healthy skin for herself, being a Black woman encapsulated in melanin, but her passion is expressed with her husband and children. Monique is the face and owner of Symonious Fusion, a skincare company based in Huntsville, AL, that produces handmade soaps, body scrubs, body butters, and more. Monique shares that the name of her company is a fun take on her middle nameSimone, and it represents a perfect fusion of mind, body, and spirit. Her products are designed to be an alternative to harsh manufactured soaps and other products, and everything is made with the best natural ingredients. She has a women’s care line, a men’s care line, and a soon-to-be-released kid’s care line. Her journey to becoming a full-fledged entrepreneur began with her having confidence in herself and her products. She shares, “Symonious Fusion was birthed during quarantine season August 2021. The world was dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic, which was a very stressful period for adults and children. Lives were turned upside down, and people had to adjust to unfamiliar situations. Self-care became a mandatory survival concern, and I felt Symonious Fusion was a likely solution. I knew people needed something to look forward to, and one of the things I heard most was individuals wanting a few quiet minutes alone to take a nice relaxing bath.”

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Monique also believes that the five senses are very important when it comes to self-care. Knowing this, she wanted to make a product that would satisfy as many senses as possible. Using the feedback of her customer base, who expressed their desire for products that smelled good and were safe for their skin, Monique set her sights on developing products that would meet their needs. “Many products out there have such harsh chemicals, even for me. While I love a lot of the smells, my skin can’t handle the chemicals. I started researching, asking questions, and experimenting. I began with self-care products for my family and friends, but as the word spread, the demand grew, and the next thing I knew, Symonious Fusion was born. I was able to do it and meet the needs of my clients because my products smell good, feel good, and are good for your skin,” she says. Monique describes herself as a lover of life. “Everything that God has placed in my life makes me who I am. I value my relationship with God and strive daily to show myself through my family and friends and live out my purpose. I love taking care of my family and shaping the futures of my kids while having fun at the same time. I love to take care of others, but I try to remember not to neglect myself,” she says. She has enjoyed 22 years of marriage with her husband Timothy, and they share three children. What Monique loves most about her business is being able to create something useful and safe for everyone to enjoy. “I also love the creative process and being able to experiment with different scents, designs, and recipes. Honestly, I did not consider myself a creative before Symonious Fusion, but I guess I am,” she says. She shares she finds inspiration in various people and things, yet the person who has inspired the most is her mom. “She is God fearing, hard working, very smart, resourceful, resilient, funny (in her older age), and the wisest person I know. If I turn out to be half the person she is, I have done well,” Monique says.

Monique Simone Joe Symonious Fusion

www.symoniousfusion.com 256-756-7267

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Being an entrepreneur has its share of challenges. There are good days and some notso-good days. For Monique, she states there isn’t much she would change about her journey in business. “I’m taking it one step at a time and enjoying the process,” she says. The future looks bright for Symonious Fusion, and with Monique’s creativity and determination, things should only get better. To learn more about Symonious Fusion, please visit their website. h


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MiZo Coffee Co. 22

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By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Marlessia Yancey For most adults, a good and flavorful cup of coffee is an integral start of each day. Without the routine robust boost, things may appear to happen as planned. Fortunately, there is a Conyers, GA based coffee maker who is committed to satisfying the taste buds and cravings of avid coffee connoisseurs. Marlessia Fontaine Yancey is the founder of Mizo Coffee Co, Inc. Named after her two granddaughters, Mila and Zoie, Marlessia’s company is focused on producing quality products for everyone to enjoy. Marlessia was born and raised in Martinsville, VA, to Marvin and Mary Fontaine. She says that after losing her parents, she decided to honor their wishes and continue building her brand and coffee business. “At MiZo Coffee Company, we aim for a clean, rich, and balanced taste in every cup. Our coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans, which gives the brewed coffee a full body, fine aroma, and rich flavor. Our objective is to create the perfect experience,” she shares. Mizo products consist of 12oz bagged coffee (Regular/Decaf/French Vanilla/ Hazelnut) as well as a few retail items. They also offer hot and cold coffee, and a warm smile. Marlessia’s journey to becoming the owner of MiZo Coffee Company began early. She says, “I have been drinking coffee since I was about three years old. I didn’t drink milk as a child. Instead I loved sitting with my grandmother, drinking sips of coffee with her,” she says. “I wasn’t actually drinking coffee, but I thought I was. My grandmother would warm my milk and mix a spoonful of coffee in it to change the taste to get me to drink my milk.” As Marlessia grew older, she had the opportunity to interact with her mother and her aunts while they visited Marlessia’s grandmother on their weekly Wednesday night meet-up. “I was not old enough to be in the kitchen with them; however, I anxiously waited by the kitchen door, anticipating the invite in for a piece of cake or pie. Of course, nothing goes better with coffee than cake or pie.” Marlessia says what she loves most about her business is seeing the look on her customer’s faces when they try MiZo for the first time or one of their specialty coffee drinks.

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Losing both of her parents was quite a difficult period in Marlessia’s life. She credits them both with impacting her life in two different ways. “Dad was always the hardworking father who made many sacrifices to ensure his family had the things they wanted and needed. He had a way of talking to me that was stern, enlightening, and encouraging. He often spoke of challenges on his jobs to shed some light on my obstacles. My mom was a kind-hearted disciplinarian. She had an inviting smile coupled with a warm embrace that left you feeling empowered. They both pushed me to set goals, and live out my dreams,” she shares. While MiZo’s brand of coffee is proven, the journey has come with a few challenges. One Marlessia points out is with her company being compared to the larger coffee houses. “I embrace this because I have an opportunity to educate on my brand, understand hidden expectations, and improve my offerings. Still, we can stand alone because MiZo is different. We provide an experience,” she says. Things are looking great for Marlessia and MiZo’s Coffee Company. Moving forward, she plans to open a full brick-and-mortar MiZo Cafe with unique offerings, accompanied by an atmosphere of family and community. Marlessia says the aroma of MiZo Coffee wafting will be the lure for families to come together for good times and bonding. The place to come where after the first sip, you find yourself reminiscing about some of your most treasured moments....Family Her advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs is positive. “If you have a passion for something and feel strongly about it, do the research. Be prepared for negative encounters from people that don’t share your vision. Remember, it’s not their passion; it’s yours. Map out a plan. Create an outline or road map to follow and collect data points along the way. The information you collect along the way allows you to monitor and make a change as needed. Most of all, don’t quit and tell yourself every day, “ I got this!” To learn more about MiZo Coffee Company Inc., please visit their website. h

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Creating “Synergy” for African Americans in the Hotel and Hospitality Industry By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Daymain Smith Synergy is an interaction or cooperation giving rise to a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts. The term synergy comes from the Attic Greek word συνεργία synergia from synergos, συνεργός, meaning “working together.” Wikipedia Daymain Smith is the founder and CEO of Synergy Hospitality Group, based out of Atlanta, Georgia. His mission is to help African Americans conceive and receive the wealth and authority that comes with not just living their dreams but owning them. Daymain is a living example of the adage, “the only time you see success before work is in the dictionary.” With the southern charm of this Mobile, Alabama native, Daymain makes living the dream look easy. Yet he will be the first to tell you it’s not. The hotel and hospitality industry is challenging, especially for people of color. “Despite African Americans making up 45% of the population in this country, we own less than .5% of the hotel and hospitality industry. I believe it is my calling to help change that,” Smith says as he discusses his plight and passion. Daymain plans to enlighten, educate, and model the road to ownership and financial freedom. Daymain grew up in a small urban community in Mobile, Alabama. He admits that there are many layers to the path that led him to where he is today. “I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. My parents split shortly after I was born, and my grandparents primarily raised me. So, for the most part, my story is a lot like most kids who live where I lived,” Daymain explains. “My father was a pastor, but my mother struggled with addiction. So I had a wide range of influences in my life, and from all of it, I learned that there isn’t anything I can’t have if I was willing to work for it.” Memphis - July/August 2022

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“I’m not perfect, nobody is, but I don’t shy away from the fact that who I am in my faith is who I am in my company. I strive to do things the right way and make good choices when it comes to how I deal with my investments and investors.”

At fifteen, Daymain left his grandparents to live with his father. “I was about to turn sixteen when my grandparents kicked me out of the house. I went to live with my dad at a time when we both were in transition. We were trying to figure life out for ourselves and each other,” Daymain shares. After graduating high school, Smith attended Bishop State Community College. In 1998 Daymain attended the University of South Alabama, where he pledged Alpha Phi Alpha. He furthered his education at Louisiana State University. Daymain was always involved in one entrepreneurial or another, but it wasn’t until he found the world of hotels and hospitality that he found his niche. “In 2007, I had a magical moment, or rather my defining moment. It was during the 2007-2008 Final Four games when Atlanta’s first recorded tornado touched down. I was working at the Residence Inn Downtown Atlanta,” he says. According to WSBTV. COM, a powerful tornado caused widespread damage across Downtown Atlanta cutting a 6-mile path through downtown and causing significant damage, leaving mass destruction in its wake. “My hotel was horribly affected, and I had to do whatever I needed to help my guest. So there I was with a luggage cart with two guest, their luggage, and a piece of plywood, making my way down Peach Tree to the Westin Hotel. At that moment, when my natural response was to help people who needed me, I knew hospitality was where I was supposed to be. It’s my called place.” Synergy Hospitality Group is a faith-based company. Its business practices and principles are rooted in Daymain’s Christian beliefs. “I’m not perfect, nobody is, but I don’t shy away from the fact that who I am in my faith is who I am in my company. I strive to do things the right way and make good choices when it comes to how I deal with my investments and investors. I am happy to say that my partners and I are like-minded when it comes to that.” Daymain has had the opportunity to work in many different roles within the hospitality industry. In each position, he never second-guessed his called place. He learned that there is a right and wrong way to do everything. “I was blessed to have some fantastic mentors in my career. In fact, one of the partners in Synergy, Robert McCoy, was my General Manager at Premier Hospitality Solutions, Holiday Inn Orlando Airport, for several years. Bob was one of those guys who always made you feel like it was a partnership. I never felt like I was a subordinate to him. Bob has zero ego and never puts himself on a pedestal. He was a great mentor and now an invaluable friend and business partner because he showed me how to stay humble,” he says. With Robert’s mentorship, Daymain became GM for the Holiday Inn Orlando Airport, ultimately leaving to become Regional Manager over a chain of thirteen hotels.

The book featured, How To Buy A Hotel, is written by Davonne Reaves 28

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Obstacles are essential to everyone’s journey, and Daymain is no exception. As Smith continued to excel in the hotel and hospitality industry, he couldn’t ignore the absence of men and women who looked like him. On the rare occasions he did, he found himself on a detour. “I try to learn something from every experience. Even if that is simply what not to do,” Smith says with a laugh. “I’ll just say I worked for an owner who wasn’t setting the right example of what ownership should look like or be about. As a result, I was terminated from that position, which was painful, but by the grace of God, I was able to shift. God allowed me to see that it was all working for my good. I knew I wasn’t going backward because my Father in Heaven didn’t create me to be average.” Daymain and his wife created a car parking business. He says, “Following God, I made six figures parking cars!” According to Merriam-Webster, disenfranchised means to be deprived of some right, privilege, or immunity. After years of working in the hotel and hospitality industry, Daymain saw himself as part of the disenfranchised. He realized there was a missing component that had been out of reach for him and others like him. It was Ownership. “That disenfranchised component made me realize that my people were disenfranchised in the hospitality industry. I had learned the business inside and out and loved it. I was passionate about it but didn’t know how to own it. Again, African Americans represent less than .5% ownership in this industry. Once I understood what that meant, I finally understood my purpose. My purpose was not just to become an owner, but to become an educational conduit for people who look like me in hospitality investment and ownership,” he says. Synergy Hospitality Group was birthed out of one simple premise. “If I can do it, you can too.” “When I realized that I knew just as much if not more than the guys I was working for, it didn’t make sense to continue as an employee. I knew I was built for better, and that’s what I want to pass on to my people,” Daymain shares. Synergy Hospitality Group is ultimately an educational platform and resource to get African Americans to invest in the hospitality industry. “I want to help anyone ready to believe they are built for more. I had to learn the ownership side of hospitality. I have been blessed to have a great friend and mentor, Omari Head, the “Hip Hop Hotel Broker,” as a great connection and one of my biggest supporters. He has opened doors and helped me make connections I couldn’t have made alone. Because I know the value of open doors, I want to help others come through.” he explains.

www.synergyhospitalitygroup.com 202-350-1151

Daymain believes that with the help of his forwardthinking business colleagues, Elise Capital Hotel Investment Advisory and Davonne Reeves, author of How to Buy a Hotel, he can inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. He aspires to teach them how to move past just wanting to make money but see themselves as worthy, capable, and qualified to own their future. “The greatest compliment I’ve ever received was when a young black high school student told me he wanted to be a business and hotel owner like me when he grew up. I knew then that he could see himself as more than what society wanted to label him. I felt like he was waking up to the knowledge that he was built for more,” he says. h

www.synergyfinancialpartnersinc.com info@synergyfinancialpartnersinc.com 202-350-1151

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Curly Gurl Fitness By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Marquetta Foster

Denver, CO resident, and native Marquitta Foster is a self-described “go-getter”. When she sets her sights on accomplishing her goals, there isn’t anything she will allow to stop her from doing so. She is a mother, sister, daughter, entrepreneur, motivator, and accountability partner for many. Her goal is to inspire and motivate others on their journey to becoming the best version of themselves. Marquitta is the owner of Curly Gurl Fitness. With her company, she serves as an ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Nutritional Specialist, and Xtreme Hip Hop Instructor. She offers training and instruction several times weekly, online and in person. “My target audience is anyone who is looking to become healthier. These can be individuals who want to do the hard work and are dedicated and consistent. I mostly attract and train women who may feel a little out of place and uncomfortable in the gym setting. I also have several male clients that utilize my health and wellness products and nutritional advice,” she says. Being a personal trainer, Marquitta shares she aims to make people see the change from within. “A lot of people come to me because they want to enhance their glutes or lose weight, but I really want them to see that the inside matters. The goal is to love your body while you work to get to the body you want. Self-love is so important, and it’s a journey we will be on for our entire lives. You must love yourself and not compare your journey with anyone else,” Marquitta explains. Curly Gurl Fitness began in 2017. Marquitta says she was laid off from her job. It was also during this period when she learned that her three-year-old daughter was Autistic. “I had been in a depressing state for years and had developed an unhealthy relationship with food and alcohol. Being laid off forced me to evolve in so many ways. I had to really get a grip on my own physical and mental health. I started working out, and as others saw my results, they asked for my help. My drive to become the best version of myself led to personal training. Since then, my goal has been to help as many women as possible reach that same place. More than anything else, I love creating an environment that makes women feel safe to be who they are while reaching their fitness goals,” she says.

You owe it to yourself to become the best version of you! And when you get there, don’t water yourself down.

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After becoming a personal trainer, Marquitta wanted to be able to reach more people. To do so, she started conducting boot camps and became a certified Xtreme Hip hop instructor. Though Marquitta has developed a genuine love to help and serve others through physical fitness, she appreciates the various benefits her calling has offered. “I love the ability to use my knowledge, experience, and love of fitness to help enrich my client’s life. I love the sisterhood and bond that is formed between my clients and myself. I cherish being able to make positive changes in the lives of my clients and see their transformation over weeks, months, and years. Most importantly, I love being able to create a safe place, free from judgment, and the chance to build a community of love and encouragement and empower women while doing so,” she says. Marquitta says it’s imperative for her to lead by example for family and clientele. “I am a firm believer in walking the walk and talking the talk,” she says. While being naturally self-motivated, Marquitta shares that she finds inspiration and encouragement in her daughter. “Knowing that I’m her example in life encourages me to do my best and be the best version of myself every day. I also find inspiration in helping other mothers and fathers develop a healthier lifestyle. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t work as hard as I do.” Her advice to others who may follow a similar path in life that she has is to never stop studying your craft and be consistent with everything that you do. “You must be the example for people. Constantly create new and exciting classes for your clients because people get bored fast, and personal training isn’t for everyone. Always be yourself, and don’t try to be or do something the way someone else is because you attract your people, and these will be the ones to support you,” she shares.

Marquitta Foster

Curly Gurl Fitness https://curlygurlfitness.com 720-252-9503

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Looking forward to the future, Marquitta says she plans to create more classes designed to get her community moving. She also hopes to conduct more events designed to encourage a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, there are plans to open a studio next year. This will allow her to offer more classes for our youth and provide additional opportunities for the whole family. To learn more about Curly Gurl Fitness, please visit their website. h


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A Fusion of Scents & Harmony for the Body

Handmade Soaps Body Scrubs Body Butters

and more..... www.SymoniousFusion.com 36

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Baby MAGAZINE

Cutest Baby

Love Monae’ Anthony The daughter of Alneshia Torian

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

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