Huami Magazine St. Louis May/June 2024

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May/June 2024

Volume 2 Issue 8

® Ardor Hair Co 336-303-9814 FB-LadyE_Specs IG-lady_especs Exclusive Specs for Men and Women

It Will Only Get Better From Here

A Letter From The Editor

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

A Letter from the Editor

I recall a message I heard many years ago. I was at church, and the pastor shared with everyone present about the roles and abilities of a visionary. As I listened inquisitively, I learned that a good visionary is someone who can convey their visions and ideas to others. A visionary must also possess sound leadership skills, as these two attributes go hand in hand; what a visionary sees can only come to fruition by being comprehended by those under their direction.

What if tomorrow didn’t arrive? All of your plans, hopes and dreams wouldn’t have a street to park on. What if everything that you decided to put off until tomorrow never happened? There would be no reason to save for a rainy day, and you could spare someone the trouble of making promises. What if your last opportunity seemingly expired today? What would you do?

Like many other aspiring entrepreneurs, my journey began with a vision. Because I am unable to see what the end will be, each step of the journey is dependent upon my ability to see what is next. However, this journey began with a conversation with God, and every move that I make is done by faith, and moving by faith doesn’t always allow me to see what is next. Instead, I must align my vision with the reasons I even started and constantly remind myself that God has assigned this journey.

I’ve been told that I often seem like I do too much. Honestly, I feel like I am not doing enough and I’m a firm believer in knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me that I couldn’t handle. I sometimes wonder how life would be if I chose to sit idle and accept what it presented to me. I have found that to be very boring. In my opinion, opportunity is a blessing that isn’t afforded to everyone. A challenge to me is an adventure. What is the worst that can happen? If I do nothing, I fail, and if I try I don’t, but instead learn something new about myself. Relinquish your pride and in return acquire life.

There will always be ups and downs in life, regardless of what path we choose to take. God didn’t promise that our journeys would be easy, but He did give us an option to include Him. By including God, we have access to the greatest mentor and counselor, and even more, He is pleased when He is involved. Where do I turn now? What should I do next? Should I build, invest, or fall back? How can I accomplish all of that? God has the answer to all of our questions.

The best advice ever given to me happened when someone told me to make my tomorrow happen today. In doing so I have pressed my way through doors with a key that only hope provided. I have also learned the difference between what God blesses me with and what life can burden me with as well. I compare it to knowing when to be confident and when to be quiet, because someone may get it confused with being arrogant.

As our assignments continue, we must continue to focus on God. Focusing on Him will eliminate the distractions that hinder and slow our progress. As we continue, we must read His word and pray without ceasing. While praying, we must not only ask God for what we need, but we must also speak with confidence and expectation.

Make you tomorrow happen today, but most importantly make it count. Life is but a whisper and we must put ourselves in a position to hear what it is telling us.

Remember, God has chosen us for a specific reason and purpose. What we do does not only impact us; Our calling is part of a strategic plan that God has devised for something greater.

4 4 November/December 2014 Want To Advertise? Call (336)340-7844 Editor In Chief Terry L. Watson Alana Allen - Deputy Editor Writers Tonya Dixon Terry L. Watson Alana Allen Jeuron Dove Photographers Perfect Lenz Photography Shaw Photography Group Still Shots Photography Who Shotya Photography Layout Mykel Media Company Linda Bennett HUAMI MAGAZINE is published quarterly by the Mykel Media Company. Any reproduction of any portion of this publication is prohibited without written permission from the publisher prior to doing so. Mykel Media doesn’t accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication P.O. Box 20102 (336) 340-7844 On The Cover Photo by Shaw Photography Group
Howard Gaither Photography Todd Youngblood Photography Tamara Smith Terry L Watson Publisher Dorjae’ McClammey Writer Terry L. Watson Writer Sherry Rogers Hill Writer Monica Montgomery Writer Ashleigh Crawley Photographer Troy Anthony Photographer Katrena Wize Photographer General Inquiries Mykel Media Company LLC Greensboro, NC 2024 All Rights Reserved Scan The QR Code Above To Visit Our Website (336)340-7844 General Inquiries


Natorsha Hammonds

Regardless of the challenges she faced in life, she hasn’t allowed any of them to stop her purpose. Learn more about her new testimony. Greenville, SC

Dr. Tiffany Fuller and Jayden

Together, they share a bond of mother and son, as well as the love for photography. She has passed her gift along to him. Greensboro, NC

The Boston Dynasty continues to expand its reach. Learn more about their newest business venture.

Danville, VA

MAY/JUNE 2024 ST. LOUIS CONTENTS 6 On The Cover Also Featured
Hair Co. Erin Butler
Mike Boston
McNealey Speech Therapy
36 24
35 AffirmMePlease
Purple Ribbon Office Solutions Sandra Day Huami Magazine Cutest Baby Houston Gilmer
Houston Gaddis

Ardor Hair Co

After years of wearing various hair extension brands and facing numerous issues with quality, consistency, and customer service, a trio of women decided to seek the best quality hair on the market and help solve this same issue for other women. They dedicated a year to discovery, research, and testing in hopes of understanding the hair industry and hair extension products. As a result of their study, a new company was born; Adror Hair Co.

It was in 2022 when St. Louis, MO, resident Erin Butler, along with co-founders and college friends Jerdona Caston and Mo’Shai Gibbs, combined their wits and talents to form Ardor Hair Co. Erin shares, “We weren’t focused on the façade, and that is still true today. What you see is what you get. Pure, quality, and premium hair. Ardor Hair Co. is more than a luxury hair extensions company; it’s a lifestyle and a community. We are devoted to educating and empowering women of color, especially black women, to love and wear their hair with confidence.”

Erin describes herself as a driven, innovative, and diversely experienced entrepreneur and a marketing and project management professional. In 2009, Erin received her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and Sales from Southern University and A&M College, located in Baton Rouge, LA. In 2018, she received her Master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri- St. Louis. She enjoys sharing her life with her husband, Michael, and being a mother to two beautiful and amazing daughters, Kimber and Karis. She also loves a great bottle of wine, spending time with her village, and reading. Erin is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Jack & Jill of America, Inc.

For a great portion of Erin’s life, hair has played a significant role. She grew up in a salon, and her aunt owned a reputable salon in St. Louis for over 30 years. Her grandmother worked there, as did Erin’s mother. Erin followed suit and worked there, too. Firsthand, she saw the importance of the hair community and how much one’s hair impacts it. “My aunt’s grind as an entrepreneur, her support of women, and the safe space she provided were a huge inspiration for Ardor Hair Co.,” Erin said.

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Photos Provided by Erin Butler

As a business owner, Erin says her primary focus is providing sound and consistent customer service and being present and involved in the community. “We have a variety of customers with different needs. Some have experienced hair loss due to alopecia or post-partum. Some struggle with maintaining their hair or finding their look, and while others love hair extensions. I love being able to serve them, and it warms my heart to receive text messages, emails, and reviews from women who trust and love our products and continue to support us.”

Erin shares her life has been impacted by some amazing women. “First and foremost, my mother, Kimberly Jones, has had the biggest impact on my life. She consistently motivated and pushed me to think outside the box and take risks. I lost my mother to breast cancer in 2009 when I was a senior in college, and although she’s no longer physically present with me, every day, I hear her voice and feel her spirit, which is a constant motivator. One of the last things my mother said to me was, ‘You’ll be fine, I taught you everything.’ And she was absolutely right. There’s so much she instilled in me to help me keep going. She was a creative individual and entrepreneur as well. My mother loved fashion and empowering other women through beauty and fashion. What I do is for her.”

I lost my mother to breast cancer in 2009 when I was a senior in college, and although she’s no longer physically present with me, every day, I hear her voice and feel her spirit, which is a constant motivator.

Having a background in business has been helpful for Erin. However, she has faced some challenges that have required her to dig deeper within. Such challenges are funding, staying on top of competitive headwinds, market changes, and maintaining balance. She shares, “As an entrepreneur, it’s essential to have individuals and connections you can talk to and consult with. Having a support system of individuals who aren’t afraid to share learnings and resources is so valuable. I love learning, and I’m a forever student. I regularly research my business landscape to stay on top of market trends.”

Erin’s advice for others who may face a journey similar to hers is clear. She says, “Go for it! Why not? While doing so, give yourself grace. Some days, you won’t have the energy, and some days, you will feel like giving up. Those are the times when you should remember what sparked the fire inside you and keep pushing. Also, remember to make great connections, be vulnerable, and remain open to learning.”

Looking ahead, Erin hopes to continue to build Ardor Hair Co. and increase its product line. Personally, Erin has been in a transition phase. She adds, “Out of transition, new things come to life, and old ideas resurface. One thing that’s been on my heart is to write a children’s book focused on loss and grief resulting from losing a loved one to cancer.” One thing is for sure: Ardor Hair Co. will continue to impact the hair care industry. h

A New Testimony Organization Natorsha Hammonds

Her life is a living testimony.

Natorsha Hammonds, also known as Danielle by many, enjoys being a mother. She has six children, with one being deceased, and is also the founder of a non-profit organization, A New Testimony, which focuses on building teens by offering mentorship and love and pushing them to be great. “We are an organization that believes in second chances for teens,” she says.

Dealing with the challenges of today requires problem-solvers who bring different perspectives and are willing to take risks. A New Testimony Organization LLC emerged out of a pursuit to inspire and support the community and a desire for actions to speak louder than words. Some programs and services offered by A New Testimony are Adult Programs, Majorette Dance Team, Cheerleading, Praise Dance, Mime Dance, Budgeting Classes, Job Placement and Training, Housing, Rehabilitation, and Speaking.

A former high school graduate, Natorsha now attends college and is pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. She shares that in 2017, God gave her a vision to launch her organization soon after her daughter was killed by her dad. “The vision was clear, and so was my calling. It was to help the youth and keep them on the right track,” she says. “My passion is dancing, mentoring, and helping kids grow into wonderful humans, and seeing the growth that takes place in them is what I love most about what I do.”

Natorsha shares a bible message that she lives by daily. It is Psalm 103. “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion” (Psalm 103:2-4). She adds a note to her younger self that says, “I use that verse every day to get through my past, my present, and my future. I know that people aren’t perfect, and that’s why I fall short all the time. I always feel like if I had just found my faith and walked in my journey with God when I was young instead of trying to live up to my parents, expectations and living in the streets, the process would’ve been easier as far

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Photos Provided by Natorsha Hammonds

I know that people aren’t perfect, and that’s why I fall short all the time. I always feel like if I had just found my faith and walked in my journey with God when I was young instead of trying to live up to my parents, expectations and living in the streets, the process would’ve been easier as far as healing. St. Louis - May/June 2024 14

as healing. I’m so sorry and I hope that when you read this, you will forgive me and put in your heart to push past our circumstances. I love you, younger self. It got worse, of course. As I got older, my mom beat me, not believing me , and becoming jealous of me. Never congratulating me. Needless to say, I still don’t have a mother figure. Part of my older self still tries to find out where I messed up, how I messed up, and why I messed up. I taught myself how to love, and sometimes I still fail at it. I’m not gone lie; this world is lonely, and being the black sheep is very uncomfortable. If I could go back, I would do everything differently. Writing this is very hard because I never knew how bad my unforgiveness was. As of today I will go deep in my prayers and take this time to transition into the woman that God wants me to be and still grow from that little girl.”

Looking ahead, in addition to helping other individuals who may be affected by domestic violence, Natorsha shares she plans to open a community center and help youth learn their passion. For more about her organization, please visit their website.



Live Boldly & Reign Supreme:

MENtally AFFIRMed Collection by AffirmMePlease

Information and Photos


May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and there is no better time to shine a light on a revolutionary movement in the realm of men’s mental health and spiritual well-being. AffirmMePlease, a Christian apparel and lifestyle brand, proudly presents the MENtally AFFIRMed collection, a line designed to inspire Kingdom-based, positive thinking in men globally.

Embracing the Power of Positive Affirmations

In a world where mental health challenges are becoming increasingly prevalent, AffirmMePlease stands out with a mission that transcends mere fashion. The MENtally AFFIRMed collection isn’t just about clothing; it’s about embracing a mindset that aligns with the core values of faith, strength, and resilience. The brand’s tagline, “Live Boldly & Reign Supreme,” encapsulates the essence of what AffirmMePlease aims to instill in every man who wears their apparel.

The Why Behind the Collection

The inspiration behind the MENtally AFFIRMed collection is rooted in the belief that mental and spiritual health are interconnected. Rodney Gaddis, husband of Foluke Houston-Gaddis, the founder of AffirmMePlease, shares that the collection fills a gap in the market for apparel that not only looks good but also serves a higher purpose, specifically for the fellas. “Men need to feel good about themselves too...feel appreciated. Most times, society only views men as providers and do-ers, but we are more than that, and we need affirmation and validation also.” Each piece in the collection is designed to be a wearable affirmation, a daily reminder of God’s promises and the power of a positive mindset.

Faith-Based Affirmations: The collection features designs that incorporate scriptures and faith-based affirmations, serving as a constant reminder of God’s love and strength. These affirmations are more than words; they are declarations of faith that empower men to overcome daily challenges and rise above adversity.

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Making a Difference

As we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to recognize brands like AffirmMePlease that are making a tangible difference. The MENtally AFFIRMed collection is a beacon of hope, reminding us that through faith, positive affirmations, and a supportive community, we can conquer even the toughest battles.

Join the Movement

In a time when mental health awareness is more crucial than ever, the MENtally AFFIRMed collection by AffirmMePlease offers a unique blend of faith, fashion, and positive affirmations. It’s a reminder that with the right mindset and support, we can all #LliveBoldlyReignSupreme. This Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s embrace the power of positive thinking and make a statement that truly matters.

AffirmMePlease invites you to be a part of this transformative movement. Explore the MENtally AFFIRMed collection and discover how attire that inspires can empower you to live boldly and reign supreme.

Quality and Comfort: Understanding that comfort plays a crucial role in mental well-being, AffirmMePlease ensures that each item in the MENtally AFFIRMed collection is made from high-quality, comfortable materials. This commitment to quality ensures that the wearer feels good inside and out.

Community and Support: The collection also fosters a sense of community. By wearing MENtally AFFIRMed apparel, men become part of a larger movement that supports mental health awareness and promotes a positive, faith-based lifestyle. This sense of belonging can be a powerful tool in combating feelings of isolation and depression.

Highlight Pieces from the Collection

One of the standout items in the collection is the “Powerful Man of God” t-shirt, a bold declaration that our men have that divine power within them that can triumph over anxiety. Another popular piece is the “Nothing to Prove” hoodie, perfect for the modern Christian man who walks confidently in God’s grace— no approval needed.

Each item in the MENtally AFFIRMed collection is more than just clothing; it’s a statement of intent. Whether you’re wearing a t-shirt, hoodie, or accessory, you’re reminded to live boldly and reign supreme in all aspects of life. St. Louis - May/June 2024 18

Visit - - to learn more and shop the collection.  Great for gifts that women can purchase for the special and strong men in their lives.


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


TW0: Think Fast and Learn As You Go!

As a single man, a single, mature, grown man who had enjoyed living alone, I now found myself sharing my home with my mother. I know she never imagined it would come to this, as I had asked her on many occasions prior to her suffering an Ischemic Stroke to move in with me, but she always refused. That is just who she is, always holding on to her independence.

With the help of my brother, we began to care for Mom. All of her medications, we had to learn fast how to administer them. This included insulin injections. We also had to learn how to prepare her meals and wash her clothes. All of the things that an independent person does for themselves on a daily basis, my mother now needed assistance, and her children would be the ones to give it to her.

Seeing my mother in a disabled nature was truly heartbreaking. My mother is highly intelligent, and all of her children and friends were blessed to benefit from the therapeutic conversations with her. My mother was a great talker and an even better listener. Now, due to the savageness of the stroke, she was almost speechless and struggled to get words out. The inability to communicate effectively frustrated her, so much so that she would often burst into tears when she couldn’t express what she wanted to. Yes, it frustrated me also to see her in this condition, but I was determined to be a voicebox for her. I am her son, and having thousands of conversations with my mother would pay huge dividends. I had learned to know what my mother’s facial expressions meant, and I felt as if I understood how she thought. More than anything, I had the patience to work with her, and I was there for it.

As my mother now resided in my home, this meant that my other siblings, her friends, and other family members would have to come there to visit Mom. There was no shortage of visitors either, and Mom, in her sophisticated ways, would only allow visitors when she felt suitable and comfortable enough for them. If her hair wasn’t done, there were no visitors. If she wasn’t dressed well, no visitors. And getting dressed meant that someone, such as me, my brother, or another caregiver, would have to dress. We had to think fast and learn as we went along because my mother’s care and well-being hung in the balance.

On visitation days, Mom always seemed very excited, especially when she knew and approved of who was coming. It’s not that she had a problem with anyone; I learned that she had developed a level of isolation, and to be quite honest, she didn’t really care to talk to a lot of people, only a small and select few, many of whom she had been in contact with in the months and days before the stroke. What amazed me more than anything was how her friends would respond to seeing my mother’s new level of dependency. Before, she was always doing for others: cooking, cleaning, giving, talking, and listening. That was who she was. Now, she sat silently, with a modest stare, a little confused, a little embarrassed maybe, scared, but remarkably, still in control of what she wanted from others. Though she was slowed a little, and her new deficits confined her to the recliner or wheelchair, she continued to dawn a look of sassiness on her face. I knew my mother was OK, and I was determined to do all that I could to help her adjust. h

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


Mother and Son..... Sharing A Love For Photography Tiffany and Jayden

Together, they share a bond that is strengthened each day by unconditional love and guidance. Jayden Allen-Michael Fuller and Dr. Tiffany Michelle Fuller have more in common than just mother and son. Many years ago, Dr. Fuller birthed her photography business, TMFPhotography, incorporating her unique style and flavor into every image she captured. Fast forward to 2024, her protege, Jayden, has established himself as an aspiring lensman and, by doing so, accepts the inherent gift that began with his mother. It’s common to see this duo working on a photography set together. They seem to move in concert, as Tiffany leads by experience only, and Jayden compliments her with his unique creativity. In 2024, his mom bought him a 360 Photo Booth. In no time, Jayden grasped full operation of the new device and has since managed that sector of their business, naming his part as Jf360.

At just ten years old, he matured really quickly. With JF360, Jayden focuses on giving people waiting in line for many of their other services some time to have fun while they wait. After his first event, he knew how to run the software and the 360 himself. He has added props and extra lighting and has also learned customer service. Full of wisdom, Jayden is sure to do nothing for free and charges $150 per hour for all events.

Jayden has grown up knowing a lot about North Carolina A&T State University, mainly due to his mother teaching at the Historically Black College and University for twenty-four years. He attended the Child Development Lab on Campus and now attends Aggie Academy for Elementary school. Jayden has also attended summer programs at NC A&T, football and basketball games, and homecomings there (G.H.O.E.) and participated in the homecoming parades. He met the Chancellor and the Provost and asked them if they knew his mom. Additionally, Jayden is a member of the Swim Team and swims at the Greensboro Aquatic Center. St. Louis - May/June 2024 22

Dr. Tiffany Fuller is a proud Aggie and graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. She acquired a Bachelor of Science in 1998 and a Master of Science in 1999. While in school, she was awarded a scholarship in academics and athletics and played softball for four years. After completing both degrees, she began teaching for the Lincoln County School system at just 22 years old. After two years of teaching, she enrolled in an Exercise and Sport Science doctoral program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

At UNC-G, Dr. Fuller is also an Associate Professor and teaches at the John R. and Kathy R. Hairston College of Health and Human Sciences and the Department of Kinesiology. As an Associate Professor, she teaches, advises, provides service to the university, and prepares research. Her research interest is on physical activity levels among youth and adults. She also teaches about the barriers of exercise among women. Even more, Dr. Fuller is the Secretary of the Faculty Senate and oversees Student Success in the Department of Kinesiology, which has over 700 students.

In 2002, she began teaching and working on her Ph.D at the same time. She earned tenure in 2016 and Poste Tenure in 2021. Presently, Dr. Fuller has been teaching in the state of North Carolina for 24 years. She still enjoys teaching and has taught courses at both the Graduate Level and Undergraduate level.

Now, with Jayden onboard, TMFPHOTOGRAPHY specializes in Wedding Photography. However, they still take pictures at many events, including family reunions, graduations, sporting events, and portraits. Since its inception in 2006, Dr. Fuller has captured a plethora of likes through her lens. She has also captured a few celebrities, such as Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Hudson, Robin Thicke, Keith Sweat, Mike Epps, and Fantasia Barrino. Carl Anthony Pane II, Tasha Smith, Rain Pryor, and Huggy Bear.

Dr. Fuller says she was thinking about how she could get her son involved with her photography business. He was always with her, and knowing that kids will mimic what they see their parents do, she decided to get him involved by buying him a 360 Photo Booth. “It took us a while to get things fully operational. I thought of it as a project and turned it into a business.” Jayden’s first event was in Charlotte, and he is excited about being booked this summer in Jekyll Island, GA, and South Carolina.

As a mom, Dr. Fuller shares she desires to teach her son how to run a business, manage money, and buy things that will make him money. “We have to teach and educate our kids about everything, including managing money,” she says.

As their future unfolds, Dr. Fuller and Jayden are preparing to enhance the products and services their company offers. Jayden is heading to middle school next year; he will continue to swim and, of course, run his business. For Dr. Fuller, it will be her 25th year teaching at NC A&T SU. Retirement is still a few years out, but when it happens, she plans to run her business full-time.


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We have to teach and educate our kids about everything, including managing money.

Purple Ribbon Office Solutions

Indianapolis, IN, resident Sandra Day is best described as a problem solver. She also finds fulfillment in providing valuable solutions to her clients, improving efficiency, and positively impacting the workplace.

Sandra is a seasoned entrepreneur with a wealth of experience in launching and scaling startup businesses. With a career spanning over 12 years, Sandra has successfully navigated the intricacies of industries such as Healthcare, nursing homes, daycare facilities, and beyond, earning a reputation for her strategic acumen and hands-on approach to business development.

As a black woman, Sandra has had to work hard to overcome the obstacles of being a minority in the business world. However, she has never allowed this to hold her back but used it as fuel to drive her success. As the face and founder of Purple Ribbon Office Solutions, Sandra is charged with providing administrative support to her clients and many other services. In addition to TSA Pre-Check, Purple Ribbon Office Solutions offers Statement and invoice printing and mailing, Bulk Statement Mailing, Business Consulting, Co-Working Space, Conference Room Rental, Private Office Rental, Business Credit Coaching, Marketing and Branding Material, Membership Plans, Bulk Postcard Mailing, Virtual Mailboxes (with a real mailing address). They also offer DOT Physicals, DOT Drug Screening, and DOT Hazmat.

Within Purple Ribbon Office Solutions’ Business Consulting arm is Days Business Consulting. “With Days Business Consulting, we believe in the power of innovation, collaboration, and personalized solutions to drive business success. Our team of dedicated experts is committed to empowering entrepreneurs and business owners with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in today’s competitive market landscape,” Sandra says. “We offer a comprehensive range of consulting and training services tailored to meet each client’s unique needs, whether you are a budding entrepreneur seeking guidance on launching your first venture or an established business looking to expand into new markets.”

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Photos Provided by Sandra Day

Having a BA in business and an MBA in Education, without questions, Sandra is equipped to help others. Inspired by her own experiences and leaning on industry insight, Sandra launched her company in 2020 with one goal: to solve a problem. “My vision stemmed from identifying a gap in the industry as having a one-stop shop for administrative support for small and medium-sized businesses,” she says. “I saw a need in the community that would give businesses access to essential office and operating services. My response was to create a business incubator that meet this need in a variety of ways.”

Every business faces challenges, whether it be competition, financial constraints, or operational hurdles. For Sandra and Purple Ribbon Office Solutions, one of her biggest challenges is finding a dedicated team of employees who will convey her vision. She’s tackled this by staying adaptable. She has also sought advice from mentors, continuously learned, and maintained her resilience.

Sandra offers some helpful advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs who may follow a path similar to hers. She says, “Stay true to your vision and be prepared to pivot when necessary. Also, it is important to build a strong support network, stay committed to lifelong learning, and embrace failure as a learning opportunity.”

To learn more about Purple Ribbon Office Solutions, please visit their website. St. Louis - May/June 2024 26
saw a need in the community that would give businesses access to essential office and operating services. My response was to create a business incubator that meet this need in a variety of ways.

The Boston Dynasty Invades Virginia

What is the most up-and-coming city in Virginia that’s a stone’s throw away from North Carolina? You are correct if you said the City of Danville, VA. Founded in 1793, Danville is perhaps best known for its role in the Civil War, when it was an important railroad stop for the Confederacy and became the last Confederate capital after Richmond fell to the North. Today, the City of Danville includes all cultures, bolstering a sense of community and belonging.

The residents of Danville are inclusive and neighborly, optimistic and forward-thinking, and enthusiastic and supportive. Even more, they are genuine and down-to-earth people who believe the City of Danville is the perfect place to raise their families. Maintaining its small-town feel, Danville is steadily progressing with futuristic plans to ensure its economic growth and has all the amenities of any major city. Companies such as Tyson Foods, Morgan Olson, Goodyear Tire Rubber Company, Buitoni Foods, formerly Nestle, and Caesars Casino see the potential of this rising community.

One person who believes in Danville is Mike Boston, Sr. of the infamous Boston’s House of Jazz in Greensboro, NC. He believes the City of Danville is the best place to establish his new restaurant, Boston’s Bourbon Street Bistro and Bar, located at 680 Lynn Street in Danville, VA.

Mr. Boston said, “Boston’s new restaurant will open in late 2024. It has a nice New Orleans feel. I believe it will pair well with all of the new things that are happening in the River District. We came in at the right time because the city is undergoing a redevelopment project and is courting new businesses to move into that area. Traditionally, I understand that that particular area has had a high crime rate in the past, but they have done a good job cleaning it up. The restaurant is located in a remodeled warehouse. We have about 7,000 square feet to work with, which is great. The square footage allows us to design and decorate the restaurant with that New Orleans French Quarter type of feel. The menu has a Cajun influence, too, with peas and rice, jambalaya, shrimp and grits, gumbo, oysters, Po’boys sandwiches, and other things. The restaurant will be open from Wednesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner, and we’ll also have some late evening hours from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. to accommodate the casino clientele. The late nights will include live entertainment and feature some favorite major artists. I also plan to have a jazz brunch every Saturday and a gospel brunch every Sunday. The cool thing about the gospel brunch is that we will feature one of the local pastors, along with his first lady and praise team, to sing during the brunch and feed them. My wife and I support church ministries because they do great jobs supporting the community. My son, Tirant, and I have been attending Bible Way regularly, so we know firsthand how vital the Christian community is to Danville. The one thing that people may not know about me is that I am a Christian. I’m not without sin, but I have a strong relationship with the Holy Ghost. I bet many people will be surprised to read that about me. I love the Lord. Always have and always will.” The Bible says in Matthew 7:1-5, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?”

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The Boston dynasty understands that keeping up with futuristic growth is important for any dynasty’s success. With that idea in mind, Mr. Boston has been asked to write his life story of success. The title of his book is From Sunset to Sunrise. The title comes from him growing up in the Sunset Community in Reidsville, NC. He traveled to Africa and immersed himself in his thoughts while fully reflecting on his humble beginnings and his rise in acquiring generational wealth for his children. Just a hint of what’s to come in his book is the recent discovery of a daughter, Sharmeen Dalton-Robles, who he never knew existed.

Mr. Boston shares, “I’m excited about this book because it will show who I am as a man. I have my faults, but I’ve always lived up to them. My book will discuss my life and how I became the man I am today. It’s also going to highlight a daughter I never knew I had. Can you believe it? I have a 49-year-old daughter that I could never love on, protect, and spoil,” he shares.

Mr. Boston says it all happened because his son, Mike Jr., enjoys history. He has traced both sides of Mr. Boston’s mother and father’s family back to the slave ships, and he’s even trying to go back further than that. “A week after North Carolina A&T State University’s homecoming (GHOE), my son calls me and says, ‘Dad, I found a woman on who has a 94% chance of being my sister. Do you want to meet her?’ Of course, I was taken aback by the news, so I told him to check it out. So, I talked with the young lady and found out who her mother was. I met her while traveling with a band; you can take it from there. So, Michael Jr. orchestrates a DNA test. She found the sister facility in her town in DC, so we scheduled the DNA test on the same day. When the results came in, in the words of Maury Povich, ‘It has been determined that - - you are the father!’ I am her father, and she is my firstborn daughter. I was blown away. So, we met, and she looks just like me, it’s unbelievable. Our first meeting was organic, and I’m glad she didn’t hold any animosity against me because she knew I was unaware of her existence,” Mr. Boston explains. St. Louis - May/June 2024 30

To think that she’s been looking for him all of her life breaks his heart, Mr. Boston shares. What’s ironic about this whole thing is that she graduated from NC A&T State University, actually ventured many of his establishments, and came to Greensboro every homecoming. “We were around one another but never met, so meeting now is a miracle. I had a coming-out party to introduce her as my daughter.” She’s a part of the Boston dynasty now.” Mr. Boston shares that meeting his firstborn doesn’t diminish any love from his other children. They have all connected with one another, and it’s like she’s always been there.

You may wonder what other surprises Mr. Boston has for the world. He has several ventures already in the works. These ventures are sure to strengthen his desire for a generational legacy. He shares, “I’m a risk taker, and that’s who I am, and that’s who I will always be. Taking risks has gotten me to where I am today. I need to provide for my family, so taking risks is necessary. I have a legacy that my grandchildren and, hopefully, my great-grandchildren can build from. My sons, Mike Jr., Clarence, and Tiant, are busy in Charlotte and Atlanta with HippinHops. They also own two funeral homes in the Atlanta area. Triant has been my legs in Danville, helping to open Boston’s Bourbon Street Bistro and Bar, and Aisha has her hands busy with expanding Father of the Bride. I must include Sharmeen in the dynasty because she’s my child, too. I’m 70 years old and getting older, so I’m passing on many things I’ve been doing to my children,” he says.

Mike Boston says the Boston Dynasty is not just about his family; it’s also about letting the world know that African Americans know how to do business. “We’re still one of the very few freestanding breweries in the world. Another thing I like about this opportunity in the City of Danville is that I can open an additional restaurant, except this one will serve soul food. Expanding in Danville is phenomenal because everybody’s trying to get there. The potential for opportunity and growth are endless.”

In conclusion, Mr. Boston wants to share an important nugget that all successful business owners must learn. “You can’t be afraid to take risks.” Mr. Boston also believes that applauding the success of others is also a requirement. “When I was coming up, the older guys, the heavy hitters from back in the day, for whatever reason, took an interest in me. One of them told me never to be jealous of anyone else’s success and to not beat others down, and I’ve always remembered that advice and lived by it.”

Private and Celebrity Chef Irving Williams, is the menu consultant for Boston’s Bourbon Street Bar & Bistro St. Louis - May/June 2024Charlotte - Jan./Feb. 2024 45
Houston Gilmer The son of Houston and Larissa Gilmer

McNealey Speech Therapy, LLC

For some, the professional path taken in life can involve various twists and turns. What is initially planned doesn’t always align with where the road ends. For Huntsville, AL, resident Asia McNealey, helping and caring for others has always been her primary objective. After graduating from high school, she enrolled at the University of Alabama as a Nursing major. She made it all the way to her senior year before coming to the realization that nursing wasn’t what she desired to do.

Photos Provided by Asia McNealey

In her freshman year at UA, she participated in a work-study job at the autism clinic on campus. Asia worked with SLPs and Psychologists and volunteered at Arts n’ Autism. She eventually became an employee at the clinic, which she describes as the best decision she could have ever made. “Over the years at UA, little did I know that these jobs would set me up for success. I was gaining so much knowledge and experience about Autism and Down Syndrome, as well as different aspects of communication and behavior. My career focus shifted from Nursing to Communicative Disorders. However, I maintained my minor in Psychology, and I know it was nothing but God. He placed me in those job environments because He knew what was best and what would come later for me. That was my first encounter working with nonverbal children who were dealing with extreme behaviors stemming from ASD. Those experiences changed my life,” she says.

Asia would eventually receive her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communicative Disorders from The University of Alabama with a minor in Psychology. She also obtained her Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology from Francis Marion University. Presently, Asia is a Speech Language Pathologist, entrepreneur, and member of the Air Force Reserve. She is the owner of McNealey Speech Therapy, LLC. Her company offers speech and language therapy for the pediatric population. This entails articulation therapy, which works on speech sound production, fluency (stuttering), alternative augmentative communication (AAC), receptive and expressive language skills, feeding, and play therapy. For parents and family members of her clients, she offers parent coaching and parent education to help them navigate through life and understand their child’s delay or communicative/cognitive disorder. Asia’s services are designed for the pediatric population, with a majority of her clientele falling between the ages of two through elementary, but she has also worked with individuals from six months and adults. She is a pediatric SLP who specializes in Autism Spectrum Disorder, articulation, and language therapy and is an autism advocate. Additionally, Asia provides direct services and teletherapy options.

Asia says the vision to start her company came after working in different settings, from private practices to clinics and schools. She confesses she desired to have her own business and eventually open up an autism clinic in the Huntsville area. “My goal is to be a positive leader, advocate, and service provider to many and impact the lives of precious little ones,” she says. After college, she applied action to her goal and came back home to Huntsville. Upon her arrival, she realized the demand for the services she offers, as well as the lack thereof. Asia knew it was time to get to work.

Asia is the daughter of Aretha McNealey and the late Frank McNealey. At 28 years of age, Asia’s heart has been captured by her four-month-old daughter, Kaslyn Lynch. She also shares her love with her clients and says their progression and smiles make it all worth it. “I appreciate the support of all of my clients. I am grateful to witness the overall positive impact of helping a sweet little one with their needs.”

Due to her obligations to the US Armed Forces, Asia cannot commit 100% of her time to McNealey Speech Therapy, LLC, and not being able to has impacted her business’s bottom

line. Additionally, she is currently operating as private pay and cannot accommodate all interested clientele. This has been challenging for her, but Asia addresses it by serving those she can and staying positive.

Looking forward, Asia plans to partner with daycares in the Huntsville area. She also plans to open an autism clinic there that is sensory-based and will offer respite nights and job skills, including transitional living skills for those high school graduates 18 years of age and up and on the autism spectrum. “I want McNealey Speech Therapy, LLC to grow and have different branches of autism clinics in different cities in the years to come,” she says.

“Over the years at UA, little did I know that these jobs would set me up for success.  I was gaining so much knowledge and experience about Autism and
Down Syndrome, as well as different aspects of communication and behavior.  My career focus shifted from Nursing to Communicative Disorders. However, I maintained my minor in Psychology, and I know it was nothing but God.”
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