Huami Magazine Philadelphia July/August 2022

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PHILADELPHIA

July/August 2022 Volume 1 Issue 9

The Divine Connections Agency Philadelphia - July/August 2022

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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 Whatfunction if tomorrow didn’t ofme. your plans, hopes efficiently without one.arrive? That’sAll just and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if everything that youI decided to put untilsomething tomorrow to never On the other hand, am grateful foroff having look happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy forward to doing. While often things may appear overwhelming, day, and could spare theme trouble of experience. making I can rest in you the fact that Godsomeone has chosen for this promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired This is my assignment. It’s not a “why me Lord” question that I ask; today? What would you do? instead, it’s a “why not me Lord” affirmation expressed.

I’veare been told ways that I to often seem likeorI comprehend do too much.God’s There several understand Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough andwork I’m adiligently firm assignment upon us. We can face it head-on and to believerthe in knowing wouldn’t put anything on me when complete mission orthat not.God What I find so fascinating is that that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes how life would God initially blessed me with purpose, Iwonder wasn’t shown what the end be ifbe I chose to sit idlebrief and accept what it presented to me. I would like. He didn’t me 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 blessing that isn’t thus afforded everyone. challenge I have learned anything far, I to know that theAsame pattern will to me is an adventure. What is the worst that can happen? likely repeat itself at some time or another. Still, once I tapped into If I do nothing, I fail, and iffor I try instead learntime for God’s presence and listened HisI don’t, voice, but I realized it was something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in me to get moving. And that’s what I did. return acquire life. God also gives us the freedom to ignore our assignments. While The bestrunning advice ever mecalls happened whendelays someone it’s not wise, fromgiven what to God us into only our told me make myGod’s tomorrow happen today. In doing so and destiny andto purpose. word says His yoke is easy to bear, have pressed myisway through doors with aHis key that my onlydesire to theI burden He gives light. Because I believe word, hope provided. I have also learned the difference between complete my mission is ignited. Even more, I understand that I am blesses and what can burden me with notwhat aloneGod in the fight,me andwith someone elselife is actually carrying the bulk as well. compare it to when confident and and of my load. I All I have to doknowing is put one footto in be front of the other when to be quiet, because move. someone may get it confused beinginarrogant. Thewith blessing our assignments is revealed to us once our attitude about Make you tomorrowWe can the assignment is changed. happen today, but most embrace the assignment and trust the process or ignore make it. Remember importantly it count. that God gives a choice. He and also blesses Life isusbut a whisper us with with that gift comes welife; must put ourselves in a a plan. position I encourage youwhat to tapitinto to hear is what God has assigned telling us. you to do and enjoy a life full of purpose and promise.

TerryL.L.Watson Watson Terry Editor/Founder

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HuamiMagazine.com

November/December 2014

www.huamimagazine.com Terry L. Watson

Publisher

www.huamimagazine.com Ellen Richardson Editor In Chief Writer Terry L. Watson Writer Terry Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Editor Ellen Richardson Writer Dorjea’ McClammey Writer Writers

Tonya Dixon Rob Lay Terry L. Watson Photographer Fredro Star Alana Allen Photographer Tamara Smith Still Shots Photography Jeuron Dove Photographer Photographers

Perfect Lenz Photography Shaw Photography Group General Inquiries Still Shots Photography

Who Shotya Photography huami.philadelphia@gmail.com Layout

Mykel Media Company Linda Bennett

mykelmedia@yahoo.com (336) 340-7844

terry.editor@yahoo.com Email HUAMI MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the 336-340-7844 Mykel Media Company. Any reproduction of any Mykel Media Company LLC portion of this Greensboro, publication NC is prohibited without written permission the publisher prior to 2022 All from Rights Reserved doing so. Mykel Media doesn’t accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication may be submitted to the editor by E-mail at terrywatson@huamimagazine.com terry.editor@yahoo.com or to Mykel Media Company, LLC P.O. Box 20102 Greensboro, NC 27420 HUAMI MAGAZINE 2014 All Rights Reserved

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JULY/AUGUST 2022

PHILADELPHIA

CONTENTS

MomSpace&Co.

Antonia Boakye

On The Cover

The Divine Connection Agency

Tijania Goodwin

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Baker Unified Fitness

Richard Baker

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Curly Gurl Fitness

Marquitta Foster

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Huami Magazine Cutest Baby

Love Monae’ Anthony

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Also Featured

Tiffany E. Slater If you are a small business with Human Resource needs, she may be able to assist you. Learn more about her. St. Louis, MO

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Sawand Belcher This young man is committed to making change in his community. Learn more about how he is taking action. Greensboro, NC

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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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Tijania

G oodwin The Divine Connections Agency By Dorjea’ McClammey Photos Provided by Tijania Goodwin Tijania Goodwin of Philadelphia, PA, is the owner of The Divine Connections Agency. The self desrcibed “jack of all trades” shares how the plight for her success began as a young child. Her mother enrolled her in the best magnet schools. Yet, at eight years old, Tijania was thrust into the responsibilities of life after her mother suffered nerve damage from an accident. Tijania didn’t allow these changes to slow her down, and she made the most of her life, enjoying it with her mother as they traveled all around the world and more. As life continued to happen for Tijania, the picture would become clear that she was destined to leave a positive mark on the world. She would attend West Chester University and receive a Bachelor’s of Science in Professional Studies. Minors in Health Education and Sociology. She later received her Master’s Degree from St Joseph’s University without missing a beat. With all of her accomplishments, Tijania knew there was more she needed to do. Currently, Tijania is the founder and owner of The Divine Connections Agency. Her company received its official name just four years ago, but she says it has been developing over the past ten years. “It all started when I left my corporate job to become a full-time event planner and entrepreneur. My first company, Events

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to the T, allowed me to plan birthday parties, weddings, and more. Yet, I still felt unfulfilled. Next, I created ‘The Tijania Experience’, a graphic design agency. I was on the right track, and both of these experiences helped me to establish valuable connections,” she says. “I realized that if I can assist a client in developing what people see, I can also help them become more in tune with their target audience.” Soon Tijania figured out what she wanted to do, and The Divine Connections Agency was born. TDC offers three branding packages; however, Tijania can tailor a product based on a client’s specific needs. In addition, TDC has a la carte services such as makeup artists, photographers, videographers, available resources, location scouting for upcoming events, and product content development. Her versatility helps TDC to be an all-in-one, one-stop-shop for branding services. Like any other entrepreneur, there have been challenges that Tijania has faced along her journey in business. “I was my biggest challenge,” she says. Tijania explained that there were moments when she was developing TDC and did not feel worthy enough to do what she was doing. “In the back of my head, I know I can do it, but then I would find excuses for not doing it. For a while, this kept me from reaching my full potential.” Through it all, what Tijania loves most about her business is the reactions she receives from her clients after her work is done. Being able to help others and give them the advice or strategy they may need to execute their business makes it all worth it, she says. “Knowing that people trust me enough with their brands, gives me all the excitement I need to keep going.”

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“I was my biggest challenge....In the back of my head, I know I can do it, but then I would find excuses for not doing it. For a while, this kept me from reaching my full potential.”

As for her inspiration, Tijania loves seeing other entrepreneurs win, especially other Black women, “I fall in that bracket as well, so when I see them winning, I know I’m winning,” she explains. “I enjoy seeing all accomplishments, especially the little ones, because I know that the small victories are the bigger dreams.” For anyone wanting to follow in Tijania’s footsteps, she advises you not to get discouraged and let the naysayers say what they want. “It’s easy for us to get discouraged, especially when we’re building something for ourselves. While we can’t see the future, we must be hopeful about the end result. You must resonate and sit in the process, prepare and enjoy the ups and downs, but don’t doubt yourself. Also, find your support system, even if it’s just two or three people,” she says. As for the future of The Divine Connections Agency, you can expect continued growth. Tijania plans to start working and collaborating with corporate clients so that more people can see her agency’s value. She also plans to dive into more production projects. Her final bit of encouragement for the readers is, “Being an entrepreneur is dope, it’s a good place to be and something people should consider. You are an entrepreneur, and you will win. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.” To learn more about Tijania Goodwin, please visit her social media pages, and check her on YouTube.

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Instagram @thetijaniaexperience Facebook @DCagency Check out her podcast: Purposely Bossin Up

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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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MomSpace&Co, Inc By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Antonia Boakye

Antonia is Boayke of Baltimore, MD describes herself as a caring and funloving 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.

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“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 is inspired mainly by people, and she is always looking for opportunities to serve, offer solutions, and give back. 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.

www.momspaceco.com

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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


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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. 21


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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By Terry L. Watson Photos Provided by Lance Omar Thurman

HR TailorMade

If you are a small business owner, HR TailorMade will most likely be able to serve and meet your needs. Led by Tiffany E. Slater, who serves as the I am also the CEO and Senior HR Consultant, HR TailorMade promotes itself as the human resource (HR) solution for small organizations. “The work we do for our clients not only supports their team but also helps the owner to work in a more balanced and efficient way,” she says. “Our goal is to essentially take the HR ball away from business owners and manage it for them. We serve as the virtual HR team that manages the day-today operations required to effectively employ a high-performing team.” A native of St. Louis, MO, Tiffany launched her company in 2018, after realizing that her dream job was not what she had hoped for. “I started with faith. I prayed diligently that God would order my steps and that I would have the courage to follow his lead. When I started, I was miserable and needed to find joy in the work I had been doing for over 20 years. As an HR Professional, I had seen firsthand how integral maintaining a proper work-life balance was to a healthy and happy lifestyle. I not only wanted to create a joyful work experience for myself, but I also wanted to teach small business owners how to do it for themselves by removing the HR burden from their long to-do list,” she says. Four years later, Tiffany is still in business, and it’s growing. HR TailorMade offers additional services: employee handbook development, benefits implementation and administration, and onboarding. They also provide compensation structure development, employee recordkeeping, policy and procedure development, and leader and team support. “We serve our clients through monthly retainers, project-based work, and on-call service,” Tiffany says.

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Tiffany is a wife to Michael Slater, mom to MJ and Donovan, and a loving daughter, sister, and friend. She has a master’s degree in Human Resources Management from Washington University in St. Louis and a PhD in Organization Management from Benedictine University at Springfield. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. Professionally, she serves as the President of NAWBO St. Louis. Helping and serving others comes naturally for Tiffany. These are attributes that come in handy in her chosen profession. She also loves helping small business owners and founders to create joyful work experiences for their teams. “Doing so means I get closer to fulfilling my vision of making the world a better place, one employee at a time. I believe happy individuals make the world a better place,” she says. Tiffany also enjoys having the freedom to create new programs, policies, and experiences for her clients. While Tiffany says her mother has been the most impactful person in her life, she credits her aunt, Lathea Morris, and her upbringing as her biggest inspirations. “My mother exposed me to so many amazing things and people. I was surrounded by entrepreneurs, female entrepreneurs who were highly successful and doing great things in the community. She made it her life’s mission to keep her timid child (me) involved in activities in hopes I would grow out of my shyness and navigate this world fearlessly,” she says. “My aunt, Lathea, has always been my idol. She was always so cool to me. She rose to the C-Suite of a large insurance company. After finding her way to the top, she left and became the Assistant Secretary of State for New Jersey. When her term ended, she started a business that has been operating for over 25 years. Watching her throughout her career inspired me to dream big.” Tiffany says the journey of running her company has come with a few challenges. The biggest ones were learning how to move through her fear and building a plane in the air. “I learned that fear led to my procrastination. If it were something I hadn’t done before or wasn’t sure about, I would research as though I was looking for the end of Google. That is when I learned to build a plane in the air. I had to move to seek perfection, avoid mistakes or failure, and still get things done.” There isn’t much Tiffany would change about her journey in business. She says everything that has happened has taught her a great lesson. Most importantly, she has learned what she needs, what she doesn’t want, what she can’t do, and what doesn’t work. She advises others who may follow a path similar to her: not to allow the fear of others to cause you to be afraid of chasing your dreams. “Go for it! There is enough out here for everyone. Give more than you take!” In the future, Tiffany says she envisions HR TailorMade as a multi-million dollar business supporting small businesses across the country; world, perhaps. She also expects her company to be ranked in the Top 5 Best Places to Work. To learn more about HR TailorMade, please visit their website. h

Tiffany E. Slater www.hrtailormade.com 636-400-7944 26


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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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Sawand Belcher This Is Me Taking Action By Back the Block

By Monica Montgomery Photos Provided by Tory Bass Sawand L. Belcher is the founder of Belcher & Belcher Properties, LLC, also known as Buy Triad Homes. Sawand and his wife LaMicah have five children, with number six on the way. Don’t be fooled by his easy-going casual demeanor; Sawand is serious about leveling the real estate field. He makes buying and selling real estate look easy. After building his company from the ground up, Sawand is ready to show just how easy it is to own our future. His real estate coaching services, This Is Me Taking Action, will show you step by step how to navigate the world of real estate, and you’ll be making a profit in no time. Sawand learned early in life that anything worth having is worth working for. “I’ve always been a great salesman. I remember when I was in sixth grade, my dad told me I couldn’t have something. But he said I could have whatever I wanted if I had my own money. So, I went over to his computer and came up with the catchy phrase, Wan’s Lawn & Dog Sitting Service. I made some flyers and started cutting people’s grass. I did that all the way through high school.” Sawand went to college at North Carolina A&T, where he studied political science, but in his senior year, his life took a new direction. “I loved my time at A&T. I studied political science not because it was my passion but because my parents wanted me to. My aunt, Hon. Romonda Belcher was the first African American female judge in Iowa. My parents wanted me to follow in her footsteps. But in my senior year, I found out I was going to be a father. That changed everything.”

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Sawand, always the entrepreneur, bought his first car by buying auto parts online and selling them locally. With him and his partner expecting their first child he had to shift things into high gear. “I left A&T fourteen credit hours short of my degree and got a job. I had new responsibilities, and those came first. That’s just how God made me,” Sawand explained. “Since I was familiar with car parts, and always liked cars, I went to a car dealership and applied to become a car salesman. I was hired on the spot.”

“We were going out to bars and clubs and spending the

With mentorship from his GM and sales manager, Sawand did well. Selling cars came easy to Sawand, and in less than seven months, he had made over $100,000.00. “I had an amazing leadership team at Crown Honda. Scott Bisbee was my GM, and Mike Hilton was my sales manager. They were teaching and mentoring, not just me but everyone. I learned so much about business and sales from them, which served me well.”

money just as fast as I could

The next step in Sawand’s journey would take him from making money, which he found easy to do, to having and investing money.

make it. The finance manager

“So, there I was, making money hand over fist, and one day one of the financial managers at the dealership asked me what I was doing with my money. I told him I was spending it,” Sawand said, laughing at his younger self. “We were going out to bars and clubs and spending the money just as fast as I could make it. The finance manager told me I should find a place to put my money. He suggested I buy a house. I had every excuse in the book. ‘I have bad credit,’ ‘I don’t have any money,’ ‘Nobody will lend a young black man money.’ You know those kinds of things. But the sales manager told me to go to the bank and at least see what they would give me.”

told me I should find a place to put my money. He suggested I buy a house.”

To Sawand’s surprise, they offered him a $120,00.00 loan. He didn’t take the first offer, but that helped him see that getting a loan and buying a home wasn’t so far out of reach. As a surprise for his girlfriend, Sawand purchased their first house. But the surprise was on him. “I wanted to show LaMicah that I was ready to be responsible, so I surprised her with a house. She surprised me by saying she didn’t want to move in. I tried to back out of the sale but couldn’t, so we ended up renting the house out. It wasn’t a lot at first, but it got me thinking. This was when I got the concept of real estate investing.”

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Sales-based employment means that you get a percentage of what you sell if you make a sale. This means if you make a sale, you get paid, but if you don’t, you don’t get paid. Sawand realized that with his rental property, he had regular income regardless of what kind of sales day he had. “When we bought our second house, we looked at off-market or unlisted properties. LaMicah and I were looking at a house and knocked on the neighbor’s door to see if they had any information on the owner. The woman invited us in and asked us what we thought about her house. We looked at each other and said it was cool, but we were looking for info on the house next door. The woman asked if we would make an offer on her house.” By the time the couple left the woman’s house, they had agreed to purchase the woman’s home for one-third of its market value. Sawand and his family live there to this day. With his new appreciation of being a property owner, Sawand decided to buy another off-market home. “Once we completed renovations on this house, I immediately started looking for the next one. I found a vacant house at the end of the street. I go the house under contract for $45,000. Like the first two, I didn’t have the money. I go to the bank, but this time they turn me down because I have two existing loans out. I had a debt-to-income problem. I started to get depressed because I had contracted to buy this house and couldn’t. So, I went to church. A friend from church, James Cox, said did you know you could sell the paper? I had no clue of what that meant.” Philadelphia - July/August 2022

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Sawand learned that because he had a signed contract on the property, he could sell it to someone who had cash looking to buy properties. He shares, “I sold the paper for $1,000.00 nonrefundable upfront and was promised another $4,000.00 at closing. I made $5,000.00 and didn’t spend a dime. I realized I didn’t need money to buy real estate. I was like, ‘I’m in!’” Sawand has purchased over three hundred houses now. One thing Sawand says that has helped him find his path is his faith and trust in God. “When I started making money from real estate, a coworker from the dealership said I should quit my job. I wasn’t ready to take that risk. But three weeks later, I decided it made sense. Yet it was still a difficult decision. I worried about failing. I didn’t want to let my family or myself down. I knew I could depend on my job, but I had to trust the one who made me.” Sawand used his faith as the foundation for running his business which led to financial, personal, and spiritual growth. As his business grew, Sawand understood the need for training. He was a great salesperson and was making great strides in the real estate market, but what he didn’t know was how to run a business. “I took a course from Carlos Rayez out of Arizona. He taught me how to organize, when to hire, who to hire, and basically how to run a successful and profitable business. Now I have ten amazing employees, and we work well together as we move the business forward.” Over the years, Sawand had learned a lot about the real estate business and mastered strategies and skills that helped him succeed. His goal now is to pass that on. “My program, This is Me Taking Action, is about helping people take ownership of their lives and their future one block at a time. The cost of the program is so low because I have a target audience—young, Gifted, and Black. I want young black men to know they don’t just have to rep their neighborhood. They can literally own it. We can create generational wealth today for ourselves and those around us,” he says.

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Baby MAGAZINE

Cutest Baby

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Love Monae’ Anthony The daughter of Alneshia Torian

Philadelphia - July/August 2022

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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