Huami Magazine Milwaukee July/August 2022

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July/August 2022 Volume 1 Issue 9

Carla Lathan Beyond The Barriers LLC Milwaukee - July/August 2022


On April 14th, 2022, Lady Vwb Nature was a special guest on Southern Soul Livestream. Calvin Baldwin (host) was very inspired to learn about Vanessa and Varina’s journey to talk about their business and entrepreneurship as new business owners, the lessons learned in small business, and teaching her daughter Vatina ownership at the age of 14 to be transparent, patient and continued education in holistic healing remedies and nutrition. Vanessa has completed workshops, business coaching, marketing classes, and holistic nutrition certification, and her daughter is right by her side, taking notes. Varina is now 15 years old. We are excited about her future endeavors and what’s to come. Lady Vwb Nature has received certification from US Black Chambers. We work three local pop-up shops a Month throughout Ohio. Advice to other business owners and Entrepreneurs Be patient. You can’t please everyone, but know there is someone out there who needs your services! Keep an open mind each day will be different. Hard work never goes unnoticed! Take up workshops and business coaching it will better help you gain capital or your business. Our customers deserve the best! Check out our brand profile and get to know our natural skincare brand.

Did You Know?

In 2021, Lady Vwb Nature LLC was the first small business featured in Huami Magazine, sourced out of Cleveland, Ohio

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

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

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 Letter from the Editor theAavailable 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 What if tomorrow didn’t your plans, hopes efficiently function without one.arrive? That’s All justofme. and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if everything you decided to put off untilsomething tomorrowtonever On the otherthat hand, I am grateful for having look happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy forward to doing. While often things may appear overwhelming, youfact could spare theme trouble making I canday, restand in the that Godsomeone has chosen for thisofexperience. promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired This is my assignment. It’s not a “why me Lord” question that I ask; today? would youLord” do? affirmation expressed. instead, it’sWhat a “why not me

I’ve been toldways that Itooften seem like do too much.God’s There are several understand or Icomprehend Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m adiligently firm assignment upon us. We can face it head-on and work to believer inmission knowing wouldn’t anythingisonthat mewhen complete the orthat not.God What I find soput fascinating I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wondershown how life would Godthat initially blessed me with purpose, I wasn’t what the end be if todidn’t sit idlebrief and me accept what it presented to me. I would beI chose like. He on the events that would occur, have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity and I must say, there have been some good and some bad ones. If is a learned blessinganything that isn’tthus afforded to everyone. A challenge I have far, I know that the same pattern will torepeat me is an adventure. Whatorisanother. the worstStill, thatonce can happen? likely itself at some time I tapped into If Ipresence do nothing, and if don’t,Ibut instead learn God’s andI fail, listened forI try HisIvoice, realized it was time for new And about myself. your pride and in me something to get moving. that’s whatRelinquish I did. return acquire life. God also gives us the freedom to ignore our assignments. While The best advice from ever given to me happened when someone it’s not wise, running what God calls us into only delays our told and me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so and destiny purpose. God’s word says His yoke is easy to bear, the Iburden He gives light.through Because I believe word, desire to have pressed myis way doors withHis a key thatmy only complete my missionI have is ignited. Even more, I understand that I am hope provided. also learned the difference between not what aloneGod in the fight, me andwith someone else life is actually carrying blesses and what can burden me the withbulk of my I have toit do is put onewhen foot in of the other as load. well. IAll compare to knowing to front be confident and and move. when to be quiet, because someone may get it confused Thewith blessing in arrogant. our assignments is being revealed to us once our attitude about the assignment is changed. Make you tomorrowWe can embrace the assignment happen today, but and mosttrust the process or ignore it. Remember importantly make it count.that God gives a choice. He also Life us is but a whisper and blesses us withwe life; withput that gift comes must ourselves in aa plan. Iposition encourage you to tap into to hear what it is what God has assigned telling us. you to do and enjoy a life full of purpose and promise.

Terry L. Watson Watson Terry L. Editor/Founder



November/December 2014 Terry L. Watson

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Synergy Capital Group

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Beyond The Barriers LLC Carla Lathan


Moore & Moore Sports Mgt.

Bernard Moore III



New Zion Worhsip Center

Stephen Robinson

Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Love Monae’ Anthony



Also Featured

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


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


Antonia Boayke Learn how she has created a space designed just for moms. Meet the founder of MomSpaceCo. Baltimore, MD



Milwaukee - July/August 2022

Carla Lathan Beyond The Barriers LLC

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Carla Lathan Carla Lathan is obsessed with leveling the playing field and committed to serving her community. At 38 years old, she is a proud mother to a beautiful multi-talented 17-year-old daughter. She was raised as the middle child by Ollie Lathan, who she describes as being very resilient, an attribute that Carla clearly identifies with. The Milwaukee, WI native shares how in 2018, she embarked on an entrepreneurial journey that allowed her to center her vision on identifying community barriers and developing a curriculum that allows individuals a chance at growth. Carla is the founder of Beyond the Barriers LLC, a positioning and career development firm that promotes personal development. It also provides soft skills training, resume building, time management, financial literacy, social and emotional awareness, employment etiquette, interview preparation services, and strategic management services for small business owners. “Beyond the Barriers LLC is committed to enhancing conceptual capacity for long-term safety through love, stability, training, assessments, and employment, for the development of families and parental growth,” Carla explains. Building a business may look effortless from the outside. For Carla, she shares that starting a business after years of working at a non-profit level taught her that the early stages of entrepreneurship were anything but transparent. “I didn’t have the benefits of resources or funding, only a determination to succeed. I began learning more about housing, job disparity, and program stipulations that limit the ability of people to take full advantage of resources. I focused on what motivates the community towards growth and learned that support, facilitation, mental health awareness, compassion, and resilience contribute to the best outcomes for community growth,” she says.

“I didn’t have the benefits of resources or funding, only a determination to succeed. I began learning more about housing, job disparity, and program stipulations that limit the ability of people to take full advantage of resources.”


Academically, Carla possesses the necessary tools to assist with accomplishing her goals. She has a bachelors degree in Criminal Justice, and a masters degree in Public Administration, with an emphasis in Program Management and Non-Profit Security. Her public service involvement is validated with over ten years of experience in social and community advocacy, working directly with families regarding incarceration and rehabilitation. She has also interned with the juvenile court system and worked as a facilitator for secondary placement homes. Her list of certifications includes Certified Community Respite Worker, Cognitive Behavior Intervention Facilitator, Compassion and Resilience Facilitator, Notary Public, and African American Birth Work Doula. Additionally, Carla has served as the Adult Service Director at Silver Spring Neighborhood center since 2018. In this role, she has hosted a variety of community collaborations and secured subsidized employment opportunities. She has also provided health care training and certification courses to the community. As a Program Director, Carla has worked through the Transform Milwaukee Jobs Program, which is federally funded. Carla says she loves exposing herself to be able to retrofit growth in her community. She wants to be a voice for people who feel like they’re not being heard. “I love meeting new people and meeting people where they are in life,” she says. She is inspired by her daughter, whom she describes as being carefree. “She reminds me daily how to be a better version of myself. I’m inspired by her understanding that while everyone is created differently, we can all learn from one another,” she says. Moving forward into the future, Carla shares how she hopes to continue impacting the lives of community members. “I have plans to embrace more community collaborations that encourage growth. I desire to create avenues in our school systems that allow learning and prospects of stability for youth. I also plan to strengthen my social media awareness and following,” she says. To learn more about Beyond The Barriers LLC, please visit their website. h

Carla Lathan



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

Milwaukee - July/August 2022



Milwaukee - July/August 2022

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.”


“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 12

Milwaukee - July/August 2022



Milwaukee - July/August 2022

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. 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 202-350-1151 15


Milwaukee - July/August 2022

MomSpace&Co, Inc Antonia is Boayke of Baltimore, MD describes herself as a caring and fun-loving person. She is a wife and mother to three beautiful kids. Amongst all of her responsibilities, she has enjoyed a career as a professional hairstylist for almost 12 years. As life has continued to happen for Antonia, many opportunities have also presented themselves to her. One is the host of a podcast called MomSpace&co. “I am a hairstylist turned podcast host. I love to laugh and enjoy good company, but resetting and self-care are vital in my everyday life. MomSpace&co provides a platform for me to do that,” she shares. A mother, wife, and everything else in between, Antonia says her passion for helping others provided a path to helping mothers. She shares, “Having a village is vital for our children and the mom. Our mission is to assist in each phase of motherhood by providing resources, sharing our knowledge, and making connections throughout the community.” The podcast started in 2017 with a focus on bringing moms together to have the “taboo” conversations about motherhood and life. “We’re a nonprofit organization that moms exactly where they are; in motherhood, business, and through conversation and community. Antonia is inspired mainly by people, and she is always looking for opportunities to serve, offer solutions, and give back.

By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Antonia Boakye

Having a village is vital for our children and the mom. Our mission is to assist in each phase of motherhood by providing resources, sharing our knowledge, and making connections throughout the community.

Antonia says she loves what she does and wouldn’t change a thing about the process to get to this stage in her life. “Coming from a place where I had little to no experience operating a business put me in a position to learn and grow personally and professionally. It has helped me to become who I am today,” she says. As she looks toward the future, Antonia says she plans to receive whatever God has in store for her. “I pray it’s more meaningful connections and continued support from our community for our mission. I also hope to grow more,” she says. Her advice to others sitting on a dream or facing a similar path that she has traveled is simple. “Don’t give up. It seems so cliche, but persistence and diligence will get you where you once dreamed of seeing yourself. It’s no easy road, but it’s worth it. Also, don’t forget to celebrate yourself and the milestones you reach, both big and small!” To learn more about Antonia Boayke and MomSpace&co, please visit their website. h 17


Milwaukee - July/August 2022


New Zion Grove Worship Center By Ellen Richardson Photos Provided by Pastor Stephen Rohinson

And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. (Jeremiah 3:15 KJV)

Have you ever felt a calling from our Heavenly Father that didn’t align with the path you thought you were on? Allow us to welcome you to an area pastor who has walked this path and is here to tell you why following your heavenly calling will lead you towards your best life. Born in North Little Rock, Arkansas, Pastor Stephen Robinson grew up the youngest child of a faith-filled family of five. He was raised by Pastor Emeritus Ulysses, Jr. and the late First Lady Emeritus Lee Ella Robinson, and began his spiritual journey on a more musical path than that of his father. “As I was growing up, I used to tell my father that I would never preach or pastor,” said Robinson. “Instead, I wanted to sing and perform at various gospel revivals.” This dream began when Robinson was the tender age of three years-old. “My brothers and I performed together at my father’s church revivals. In fact, I sang my first song in front of a large crowd before the age of five. Before long, I was singing regularly at my church, and by the time I was getting out of college, I began singing with a gospel group called Purity.” he said.

Milwaukee - July/August 2022


After Purity recorded its first album with PepperCo Records that reigns from Columbia, SC, Pastor Stephen rejoined his equally talented brothers, Bishop Kenneth L. Robinson and Ulysses Robinson, III. “I performed alongside my brothers for 15 years before going out on my own,” said Robinson. “After recording my first album called “I Still Have My Smile”, I really fell in love with the industry. That is until I had a personal encounter with God.” This encounter occurred in 1996 and Pastor Stephen says he was hanging out with his best friend one night when the Spirit of the Lord visited him. “The spirit told me that God had more for me than just singing and performing. He then showed me that he wanted me to preach His Word. This was around 1:00 a.m. in the morning and I remember getting up, driving to my father’s house, and falling into his arms, crying, telling him that I had been called to preach. The best part is that my father already knew I would come to tell him this because the Holy Spirit told him as well that I would be called to preach.” Following this encounter, Pastor Stephen went back to school to obtain his master’s degree in theology from Slidell Baptist Seminary, and later began serving as his father’s assistant pastor at New Zion Grove Baptist Church in 2004. This happened before he stepped into his father’s shoes in 2009. “In August of this year, I will have been serving my home church as its pastor for 13 years. I am so grateful to God for leading me into this role,” he said. Today, through his God given vision of Empowering People for Next Dimension Ministry, Robinson is making every effort to empower and lead his people towards God’s restorative love. “I love seeing people empowered and restored by His love and even seeing marriages restored by His power,” said Robinson. “I believe that God has ordained His people and their families to be empowered by His love in order to ensure that His might strengthens both our communities and churches. These days people need to see a picture of what




Milwaukee - July/August 2022

“These days people need to see a picture of what a marriage and family look like inside of the church, and I believe that the enemy is very busy targeting these families because he knows that the stronger they are, the better the community, as well as the church and other ministries, will be.”

a marriage and family look like inside of the church, and I believe that the enemy is very busy targeting these families because he knows that the stronger they are, the better the community, as well as the church and other ministries, will be. As someone who knows the challenges that the enemy can have on both a marriage and family, it has been my mission to help these families be healed through God’s spirit of love.” What does the future look like for this servant of The Lord? “I aspire to lead my family and my flock by being the example of what it looks like to walk through trying and tough times with the help of God,” said Robinson. “I always say that the world may change, but God never changes, and I just want to show others what it looks like to lead knowing this.” To find out more about Pastor Robinson and New Zion Grove Worship Center, please visit their website. h

Milwaukee - July/August 2022


I’m Here To Serve


Milwaukee - July/August 2022

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.

Milwaukee - July/August 2022


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.


Milwaukee - July/August 2022

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 864-448-0939

Flat Fee Recruiting 864-326-4211

Celebrating Fifteen Years of Acknowledging Black Excellence

2007 - 2022



Milwaukee - July/August 2022

Symonious Fusion By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Monique Simone Joe 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.”

Milwaukee - July/August 2022


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 256-756-7267


Milwaukee - July/August 2022

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

Milwaukee - July/August 2022


Bernard Moore Moore & Moore Sports Management


Milwaukee - July/August 2022

By Dorjea’ McClammey Photos Provided by Bernard Moore III Bernard Moore III of Jackson, MS, is the founder of Moore & Moore Sports Management. Ever since he was a kid, sports was the one thing that always kept Bernard sane. His choice of sports was versatile, while his top three were baseball, basketball, and football, with football being his all-around favorite. His journey began when a member of his neighborhood was trying to do something better for the community by recruiting young boys to play sports for the park recreational team. The connection was made, and Bernard and his brother instantly liked football. From there, he says it blossomed. During the Summer of 2005, Bernard worked with a college teammate with hopes of figuring out a way to help his community. “I wanted to organize an event for the Walter Paige Scholarship Foundation, but while working on that, tragically, Hurricane Katrina hit and wiped out all of our hard work. After that, I was back at the drawing board and decided the best way to accomplish my goal was to combine my love for sports and become a sports agent,” he says. Thus the creation of Moore and Moore Sports Management. To get started, he researched how the field of sports management differs between different leagues and sports sections. He made connections, and things began to move for Bernard, but he still wanted to know more. So he began searching for a mentor and called different agencies in the Mississippi area, yet they all rejected him. Still, Bernard stood firm. “I told them I wanted to learn the game, and I will have my own agency,” he says. Soon he connected with an attorney, Benjamin Wilson, with the Beveridge and Diamond law firm and taught Bernard how to get started. He says the information he obtained from Benjamin Wilson laid the groundwork for how he runs his agency now. Benjamin Wilson gave Bernard the entire client list they worked on together. However, Bernard had not received his certification to work with NFL and NBA clients. Not to be denied, he found a way to work with clients by becoming a consultant until receiving his certification to become a full-time agent. By 2010 Bernard was on his own, branching out into different fields such as managing and consulting college athletes, former coaches, and even triple-A athletes, also known as the highest level in minor league baseball. With his business continuing to grow, clients began to ask for Moore’s help in planning events such as fundraisers, sponsorships, and advertising. Now, Moore & Moore Sports Management offers many services, including Marketing, Endorsements, Sponsorship Services, event planning, draft preparations, and so much more. He also contracts other professionals for mental health counseling and financial planning services.

“Use the gifts that God has blessed you with, and continue to be a helpful hand in society and all you do.”


Like any other business, Bernard has seen his share of challenges. He says the Covid 19 pandemic put a hold on many of his events, a delay lasting nearly two years. “With the restrictions in place, many venues were closed, and even with the ones I could obtain, many fans could not attend. This hurdle resulted in a loss in profit,” he says. However, it didn’t stop everything; Bernard would continue his sponsorships and fundraisers online and even worked with radio stations in the area to help spread the word. Speaking of community work, Bernard has worked with many individuals and organizations in and around Jackson, including Butterflies by Grace, Designed by Faith, and the Susan G Coleman Foundation Mississippi Chapter. He has also worked with Jackson Public Schools Athletics, of which he is a proud product of. Out of all the perks, Bernard loves seeing his clients succeed. As for his inspiration, he says that just doing the will of God inspires him to move forward. ”God blessed me with the ability to play football throughout college,” he says. For anyone looking to follow in his footsteps, Bernard says never to let anyone dictate what your outcome may be because you are in control of your creation. “If you want success, you must work hard for it.” Bernard says to expect nothing but growth for the future of Moore and Moore Sports Management. He plans to continue helping individuals who want to flourish in their careers and to be a willing vessel for God to use. He leaves with a quote from the Bible from Corinthians 12: “Use the gifts that God has blessed you with, and continue to be a helpful hand in society and all you do”. Please visit their website to learn more about Bernard Moore and Moore and Moore Sports Management. h

Bernard Moore III 601-260-3509 34

Milwaukee - July/August 2022



Milwaukee - July/August 2022

Milwaukee - July/August 2022



Milwaukee - July/August 2022

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Milwaukee - July/August 2022