NVBCC THRIVE Magazine May/June 2023

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Leading Business Magazine for Black Entrepreneurs

e r u s i e L

BUSINESS Sheila Johnson Leisure Mogul

The Business of Travel

Health Mindset Health Business

May/June 2023 www.northernvirginiabcc.org

THRIVE Magazine 6/13/2022-6/13/2023 The Leading Business Magazine for Black Entrepreneurs


THRIVE Thank You! contributors Robin McDougal Editor in Chief Tonya White Poindexter Managing Editor Jocelyn Johnson Health & Wellness Editor Cynthia Jefferson Contributor Erica Moore Contributor EDITORIAL OFFICE 8300 Boone Blvd, Tysons Corner, VA 22182 (703) 442-4472 | thrive@northernvirginiabcc.org



Image by Robin McDougal





ecently, I had an opportunity to take some time to decompress from my daily grind to gain a fresh perspective on business and life. By slipping away for a few days, I was able to reconnect with my personal purpose and business goals. "Why?". The beauty of waking up somewhere new brought me one step closer to my goals by giving me a different way to look at the same old thing. Whether you are planning travel for business or simply leisure, the travel industry is booming. According to trend tracker, Statista, the Travel & Tourism market will generate 74% of total revenue through online sales in the U.S., representing $190 Billon. The biggest growth areas include cruising and packaged holidays. The Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to bringing our network timely and valuable business information designed for success. So, if you are in the business of leisure or considering launching your travel start-up, this issue will share the important information necessary to


Robin 5

Trivia night is the perfect opportunity to get together with friends, enjoy some tasty food and beverages, and put your knowledge to the test.


"It takes the same energy to think small as it does to think big. So dream big and think bigger." -Shonda Rhimes





TRAVEL ENTREPRENEURS The travel industry is heating up with cruises, exotic excursions, and speciality experiences. Is it your opportunity to start a travel service. Learn how.

38 Y O U R H E A L T H Y W E L L B E I N G Maintaining a healthy well-being plays a critical role in your personal and professional success.

20 S H E I L A J O H N S O N - M O G U L



42 P L A N T I N G Y O U R S E E D

When it comes to the business of leisure, Shiela Johnson's Salamander Hotel & Resorts is the definition of luxury.

ISOLATED ENTREPRENEURS Starting a business can be stressful and time consuming. Gain insight on how to stay connected

EFFECTIVE NETWORKING The best way to grow your business is by networking. So, what makes networking effective?

When you’re coming up with new concepts or services, you must work on nurturing the seed of your idea.



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Leaders Who THRIVE!


Michael Anthony Director of Operations and Community Engagement A big welcome goes to Michael Anthony, the new NVBCC Director of Operations and Community Engagement. Michael brings an array of talents such as Director, Producer, Writer, and Trans-media storyteller (telling a single story or story experience across multiple platforms and formats using digital technologies.) to the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce. Due to being a long-standing NVBCC member, volunteer, and events co-committee leader, he brings a unique talent for understanding what our membership needs and how to create an atmosphere of collaboration for the greater good of our community. Micheal's background in media gives him the versatility to perform various duties, from media creation to social media engagement and planning c-suite events. Known for his belief in "Tell the truth, but make it fascinating", his highlevel production, "The Story of the Dudley/A&T Uprising,” film was featured at film festivals. He was nominated for best documentary film sponsored by HBO and CNN. In addition, Michael has received numerous awards for his media work in producing Distance Learning modules, Best Short Films, and Audience Awards. He is a passionate, dedicated, and creative content creator driven by the dedication to truth, justice, and entertainment. Michael holds a B.F.A. in Professional Theater with a concentration in Directing from North Carolina A&T State University and an M.F.A. in Experimental and Documentary Arts at Duke University.


"Remember, you belong in every room you walk into." -Shonda Rhimes

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How to Become a Travel Agent Some states require travel agents to have a business license, to register with the state, or to meet other conditions. Requirements vary by state. Contact individual state licensing agencies for more information.

The Travel Institute American Society of Travel Advisors

TRAVEL E N T R E P R E N E U R S U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics














Chair& CEO

500 N Pendleton St Middleburg, VA 20117

Im a g e c re di t , S a l a m a n d er Ho te l & Resort


I m a ge c re d it , S a la m a n d er Ho t e l & Resort

The Business of Leisure With more that 160 Rooms and an array of suites, the business of luxury leisure is on full display in Middleburg, Virginia at the Salamander Hotel & Resort. The Salamander Hotel & Resort's vision was launched in 2002 when founder and CEO, Sheila Johnson purchased the 350-acre estate belonging to the late Pamela Harriman in Middleburg, Virginia. Sheila Johnson went on to build the Salamander Inn & Spa marking the birth of Salamander Hospitality LLC, a hotel resort and spa management firm. Believe it or not, although she was worth hundreds of millions of dollars, financing was not readily available. As a result, she funded most of the Middleburg property with her own money. Today, management of hotel properties owned by others is a preferred business model. Time, experience and key capital partners make deals easier these days for Ms. Johnson as evidenced by her successful portfolio of properties in Florida, South Carolina, Montego Bay, Jamaica. Her most recent crown jewel is the $87 million Salamander Washington DC (former Mandarin Oriental Hotel)

acquisition of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in


Washington, D.C., named Salamander Washington, DC.

Salamander Hotel & Resort Nestled in Virginia's famed horse and wine country, the Salamander Resort & Spa is just an 50 minute drive from Alexandria, VA.

Image credit, Salamander Hotel & Resort


It is always tough to get people to believe in your vision, don't give up! Sheila Johnson Hotel Magnate, Film Maker, Sports Team Owner

Image by Robin McDougal


What is Venture Capital?

Venture Capital 101 What is Venture Capital? learn more

Venture Capital (VC) is funding given to a startup in exchange for equity in the company. Often VC funding is used to take a business from one level to the next, especially to cover an emerging company's expenditures associated with staffing, product development, and/or marketing efforts.


Become a Member Network with members Connect with Vendors Attend entrepreneurial Events




ALL NVBCC Members Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce thanks you for your continued membership. It has been our mission to create an environment where Black Owned businesses in Northern Virginia can thrive. It has been our honor to be your partner as you make a positive impact on our community with your products and services. Here’s to another year of collaboration! We’re excited to see what the future holds.


NVBCC Members

New and Corporate Members 28

NVBCC Members

Chamber Night Out 29

NVBCC Members

Board of Directors 30

"Never walk into a negotiation you are not willing to walkaway from." -Shonda Rhimes


Entrepreneurs organize, manage, and assume the risks of a business or enterprise (Merriam-Webster)

Celebrate Wins


Find Like Minded Individuals



THE ISOLATED ENTREPRENEUR Written By: Tonya Poindexter White

eing an entrepreneur can be an exhilarating and rewarding experience. It can create many new skills in the business owner that would have otherwise gone undiscovered. The new opportunities and income that entrepreneurship brings are unmatched. Unfortunately, with the many fruitful aspects of entrepreneurship also come challenges, including isolation.

As an entrepreneur, you follow what you believe to be your purpose. This means you have a true passion and a belief in what you are doing. This passion evokes emotions in you that you never thought you could feel for anyone or anything outside of your loved ones. But the truth is, to you, your business is a loved one. So those losses truly cut deep. And those wins … those wins are heavenly. But who else cares enough to understand the true impact of the wins and losses?

Britannica defines isolation as the state of being in a place or situation that is separate from others, which perfectly describes an entrepreneur, especially the small business owner. Those who start the entrepreneurial journey without support are responsible for every aspect of their business. Startups do not usually begin with a large amount of capital to pay for resources such as labor or materials. Because of this, the entrepreneur takes on more than one person should handle. This means they start their day early in the morning and stay up late at night, knowing that no matter how much time they spend, there will never be enough time to handle the many tasks set before them; but they never give up. They know that every moment they stay up working alone is one moment closer to achieving their goals. But their tireless efforts in business operations are not what makes the entrepreneur feel so completely isolated. The loneliness comes when they realize they do not have anyone to share their victories or their failures with. There is no one who really understands what the true impact of those wins and losses really means to them.

Depending on the nature of the business, not everyone can get as excited or as passionate about what is happening in the business and, therefore, cannot relate to the emotional experiences the business owner may be going through: the excitement of signing a large new contract; the failure of losing a bid; having someone question the integrity of your work when you know the amount of time, effort, and talent you put into it. Moments like that can be emotional, and not everyone can completely understand the failures or the wins. At this point, the entrepreneur may shut down and internalize their feelings. The isolated entrepreneur will not express themselves because they know they will not be fully understood by anyone else.


So, how does the entrepreneur get to a point where they can maintain a healthy mental state? Internalizing their emotions cannot be healthy and will definitely do harm to their mental health if it continues. They become lonely and isolated, which damages their mental well-being. Finding ways to engage with other professionals who can relate to similar wins and losses is the best way to maintain a healthy state and end isolation.

Joining organizations that hold networking events, such as the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, is a great way to engage with other like-minded professionals. Dr. Alonda Alloway, of Loudoun Counseling & Coaching LLC, advises, “Entrepreneurial isolation is more common than is discussed. People typically look up to entrepreneurs for the freedom to do what they want, but that freedom comes with a price - isolation. Joining organizations such as Chambers of Commerce can help to reduce feelings of isolation by bringing together groups of like-minded individuals who happen to have a commonality of growing their businesses.” If you are an entrepreneur growing your business, understand that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Take some time to join networking groups, go to a coffee house to work around other people, and attend happy hours to engage with others. There are many opportunities to connect with other professionals. You only need to take the first step to leave your desk. Meeting with others and ending entrepreneurial isolation creates a healthy mindset and establishes new business relationships. This increases the business’s income and is another reason to no longer suffer as an Isolated Entrepreneur.


"I seek progress over perfection and community over competition." -Shonda Rhimes


THRIVE Magazine


Contributors Invited! Share Your Story


THRIVE Is About You!

THRIVE Magazine is dedicated to bringing our network timely and valuable business information designed for success. We are committed to providing resources, leadership, and advocacy to promote prosperity within the African American Community. We invite you to collaborate with us to facilitate the economic empowerment of black-owned businesses with the latest trends, insights, and data from your area of expertise.

"Your voice is important. Click Here to tell us what our community needs to know." We invite you to share information that will: 1) Amplify the voices of NVBCC members and their services 2) Showcase events, resources, and expertise available to our membership community 3) Inspire and elevate the NVBCC community



Venture Capital The Virginia Founders Fund (VFF) is focused on providing venture capital for Virginia’s traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs. Proceeds from the Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation's (VIPC) successful Virginia Venture Partner (formerly GAP Funds) investment program are being reinvested into the Virginia economy through the VFF, which specifically supports female founders and founders of color developing companies in such sectors as software, hardware, life science, cleantech, and technology-enabled services. Since 2005, the Virginia Venture Partners, formerly CIT GAP Funds, has invested in Virginia’s leading technology, clean tech, and life science start-ups. VVP invests for both impact and ROI, generating significant economic returns for entrepreneurs, co-investors, and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Investment Criteria 36


Throughout her life, Elaine Welteroth has climbed the ranks of media and fashion, shattering ceilings along the way. Now the groundbreaking journalist unpacks lessons on race, identity, and success through her own journey, from navigating her way as the unstoppable child of an interracial marriage in smalltown California to finding herself on the front lines of a movement for the next generation of changemakers. Brimming with vulnerability, humor, and hardearned wisdom, More Than Enough is, fittingly, much more than a memoir. It is a moving affirmation for anyone who's ever faced fear-and persevered anyway.

"when the world tells you to shrink, expand" — elaine welteroth



LONELINESS AND YOUR WELLBEING: Loneliness is at epidemic proportions; sadly, this is not surprising. Loneliness, not to be confused with lone or alone, is an unpleasant feeling due to a lack of connection or community; the feeling we get when our need for rewarding social contact or relationships isn’t met. You can be alone and be perfectly happy, just like you can be amongst many people, but without a feeling of connection to the people, you find yourself lonely. As social media grows and the damaging effects of isolation that came with the pandemic, the loneliness issue (which already existed) worsens— even epidemic.

Four Types of Loneliness: Psychologist Becky Spelman categorized four types of loneliness, general scenarios that would lend themselves to having touched many people at one time or another. They are: Emotional – unexplained inner feelings of loneliness; may require inner work or counseling to resolve this feeling Social – usually experienced by those who struggle in social settings because they are shy, socially awkward, and/or have low esteem and have a hard time making connections Situational – being in circumstances where it is difficult to establish friendships or are experiencing isolation within a particular event such as a bad relationship, or moving to a new city or away from family and friends) Chronic – loneliness that has gone on for so long it’s become a way of life


On the other hand, someone coping with situational loneliness can attempt to remedy it by becoming involved in activities with the people and connections they seek. It is such a 6 subjective matter that I came across a ton of 6 suggestions in my research, but the list from Web MD had both holistic and pragmatic ways in which to start:

What may be experienced as a ‘feeling’ has some very real physical and mental effects on our health and wellbeing, and what used to be a more considerable concern for the elderly, because of the isolating effects of social media and the pandemic, has now become a problem with younger people. According to 2022 research by the Cigna Group, “79% of adults aged 18 to 24 report feeling lonely compared to 41% of seniors aged 66 and older.” I don’t want to make social media the bad guy, but he’s definitely the guy that is creating a false sense of connection. Thousands of virtual friends that you really don’t know, a constant flow of ‘likes’ that you end up fiending like an addict is rarely equivalent to friends we can interact with and to which we can form deeper connections. Even more alarming, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), loneliness and isolation are linked to some severe health conditions such as the increased risk of premature death rivals smoking and obesity, increased risk of dementia, increased risk of both heart disease and stroke, higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, and chronic illness.

Be kind to yourself Be kind to others Use social media wisely Plan ahead (identify situational loneliness triggers and feelings) Adopt a pet Rediscover a hobby like sewing or writing Reconnect with friends Find your why Get outside in the fresh air Move your body Seek out a mental health practitioner Learn to cherish alone time Similar to mental health, there is sometimes a stigma attached to admitting to loneliness; it’s an area of vulnerability that can be very uncomfortable. However, research supports that humans are social beings and need human connection. It is safe to assume that most people have felt loneliness at some point. Whether it is family, friends, or romantic partners, seek and nurture connections as the valuable and healthy experiences that they are

What Are Some Ways to Deal with Loneliness How to combat loneliness will depend on which type you are dealing with as the source of your loneliness. For instance, someone dealing with emotional loneliness must do the inner work to determine why they feel this way. By: Cynthia Jefferson, Certified Health Coach


Say YES to doing something that scares you. It makes you POWERFUL

-Shonda Rhimes



Effective Networking When I first went into business for myself, I was given lots of advice. One thing I heard repeatedly was, “the best way to build your business is through networking,” so I took the advice. I joined my local Chamber, as well as a couple of other networking groups and filled my calendar with networking events. I smiled, shook hands, made small talk, passed out business cards and then waited for the phone to ring. It didn’t! At some point, I was told I needed an elevator pitch and I thought, for sure, that’s what was the missing element. I’d heard plenty of elevator pitches at the networking events, so I mimicked the best of them and created my own. Armed with my new elevator pitch, I went back to networking. Although the stacks of random business cards on my desk kept piling up, the phone still wasn’t ringing. The problem was, I had no idea what I was doing; I didn’t know how to network. I was told by a very wise man, that if you’re not getting the results you want, the problem is one of two things. You’re either not doing something enough, or you’re not doing it right. I was convinced that networking was the key to growing my business and I was definitely doing it enough. It had to be the latter, I was not doing it right, so I went on a mission to learn how to network. Here are three things I have learned over the years that have helped me become a better networker and ultimately grow my business. business. ·Networking is about building relationships – I used to think that my objective at a networking event was to find someone to buy what I was selling. Every now and then, I would bump into someone who had an immediate need for what I offered, and they would buy. I quickly realized I couldn’t build a sustainable, predictable business based on chance meetings. People do business with people they know, like and trust and these three things happen only over time. You have to spend time with people so they can get to know you. I used to attend networking events with an objective of connecting with as many people as possible. I have since adopted a strategy that is a lot less overwhelming and a lot more effective. I identify two or three people I would like to get to know and schedule a coffee visit. During our visit, my objective is simply to get to know them. If we like each other, determining whether there is synergy is a natural next step. At the very least, I have likely created a new connection and possibly a new friend. ·Seek to give – Giving is the most powerful thing you can do in networking. Be generous in helping others make connections or find the resources they are looking for. To be a giver, you must become a great listener. Be genuinely interested in others and ask lots of questions so you can discover how you can help. As you identify ways you can help someone, commit to providing that help.

It could be making a key introduction, or even something as simple as commenting on and sharing their social media posts. Be sure to follow through on whatever you commit to. Being a person of your word builds credibility! I believe wholeheartedly in the law of reciprocity. If you give, you will receive. This does not mean you will receive directly from the person to whom you give, it’s much bigger than that. This also does not mean you give to receive. Give generously with no strings attached and you will be amazed by how much you receive from sources you could not possibly imagine. Another great way to give is to get involved. If you’re going to join an organization like the Chamber, make a contribution. You have valuable skills and expertise that could be beneficial to the organization. Consider using them by joining a committee, taking on a leadership role or even helping out on an as-needed basis if you don’t have the bandwidth to make an ongoing commitment. You will meet new people and be seen as a leader which also gives you credibility. ·Network everywhere – Understanding that networking is not just for networking events was a game-changer for me! I’m a bit of an introvert, so walking into a huge event filled with strangers is still a little intimidating for me. When I learned that I could network anywhere, even while doing things I genuinely enjoy or already do, it changed everything! Since networking is all about building relationships, I started networking with the parents at my kids sporting events, the people at church (I don’t go to church to network, but I meet lots of people there). I love to read, so I started a book club called “Black Girls Think & Grow Rich”. Six years in, I’ve built some incredible relationships while doing something I love. One of the relationships that has come from my book club is Tonya White of The Write Touch. Tonya is a member of the NVBCC Board of Directors and the Managing Editor of Thrive Magazine. She has also become an amazing friend. Networking requires patience and persistence. You may not see the fruits of your efforts immediately but hang in there and keep networking. Each new connection opens up thousands of possibilities that will be cultivated over time. When I walk into a room of unfamiliar faces, even today, the butterflies in my stomach persist, and that will probably never change. I am glad I decided to power through, because the relationships I have built over the years have been well worth all the uncomfortable moments. In addition to clients and strategic partners, I have found a best friend and a work-out partner through networking. Relationships enrich your life, not just your business. Happy networking!

Erica Moore Professional Networker


Planting Seeds for the Future by: jocelyn johnson, MSN, LDN, CNS Spring is the season of planting seeds and renewal. Think about your business, and when you’re coming up with new concepts or services, you must work on nurturing the seed(s) you have planted to reap the benefits for years to come. Begin growing edible plants in a window planter, balcony, or patio in the early spring. Small container gardening allows you to grow various edible plants in window boxes or planters on your balcony. Some of my favorite plants I like to grow on my balcony are culinary herbs like peppermint, spearmint, rosemary, and thyme; planting these types of seeds in the spring gives you the ability to enhance each dish by adding bright flavors to any dish.

In years past, I liked growing tomatoes, small cucumbers, summer squash, and green beans on my balcony. I love the seasonality of all of these foods. You can buy seeds from Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes, to name a few. Read the seed packs to identify how much direct sun the plants can withstand. If they are sensitive to direct sun, have an umbrella handy to shade your plants from the heat of the sun. Plant, Love & Grow



Come Together Work Together Brag Together Be Powerful Together Lifting One Another Up!

-Shonda Rhimes


Watermelon, Cucumber, Arugula & Feta Salad This summer salad is refreshing delight that will brighten up any brunch and dazzle your guest!

Salad Ingredients: 2 cups watermelon, (seeded, medium-dice) 2 cups 2 cups 1 cup 1 cup thinly) 4 oz.

cucumber (seeded, medium-dice) arugula orange segments (optional) small red onion (cut in half & sliced

¼ cup

mint leaves

feta cheese, (medium-dice) (optional)

Vinaigrette Ingredients: 1 tbs. lemon juice 2 tbs. lime juice 2 tsp. honey ¼ tsp sea salt ¼ cup olive oil (cold pressed organic avocado oil) ¼ tsp black pepper (to taste)

The Method: 1. In a small bowl, whisk together the citrus juice with the honey and sea salt. 2. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. 3. Stir in the mint, and black pepper, set aside until needed. 4. Combine the melon, cucumber, arugula and red onion, toss with the vinaigrette, then gently fold in feta and mint leaves. Prep time: 10-15 minutes Serving size: 8; ½ cup portions Adapted by, J. Johnson (2018)





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