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Editor’s Note Domestic Violence is everyone’s problem. We give it one month of the year. But it happens 365 days of the year. We need to speak up and make a difference. We must quit looking the other way. We must band together and change the laws to protect the victims and the many children who are caught in the violence. We must make our elected officials do their jobs. Blaming the victim or looking the other way is no longer acceptable. We must hold the abusers accountable! Our laws must change! And we must stop asking what the victim did to cause the situation! We must step up and stop the violence. This issue is dedicated to those who fight the fight. For those who stand in the gap! For those who rescue the victims. Those who help them rebuild. Those who help mend the broken. Those who are there for the victims. It’s time for you to be one of those warriors! Join us and let’s end the violence.

Teresa Hawley Howard is a best-selling author, blogger, empowerment coach, and radio host. She lives in Murchison Texas with her husband Rickey. She is a mom and a Mimi.




Coming late 2017 and 2018




Non Profit 101—Getting your grants is just like Preparing to Go Fishing!

1. Get a Fishing License. Grant Guidelines, IRS Determination Letter, Audited Financial Statements, pay AFP dues, get CFRE credentials, adhere to Donor Bill of Rights, etc. 2. Cast in Proven Ponds—People and Places funding yours or similar causes. Read plaques,

Annual Reports, Websites, headlines. Attend Galas. Network like Crazy! 3. Use Proper Tackle. Project plan, brochures, video, roster, asker, time/location. 4. Dangle the Hook. Mission, Stories, Stats, Impact, Measurable Outcomes, ROI. 5. Be Quiet. Make the Ask, then ZIP THE LIPS! Seasoned fishermen call this “Listening the Gift.” Pray or meditate silently to keep the focus on Win-Wins for All Parties. 6. Wait & Watch. Read Donor Body Language--like a Bobber on the surface.

7. Catch & Release—If Your Charity’s not a fit, say so! (Referring to a peer NPO is the ethical route when yours can’t deliver on the Gift Specs.) 8. Rise Early—Plan Ahead! Ask corporations early in the budget year. Meet deadlines. Bundle multi-year asks. Groom future members and volunteers years in advance. Allow ample time to proof and check figures, spelling & grammar, route to meetings, practice scripts, etc. Plan the Work & Work the Plan.

9. Fish in Pairs—Ultimately, It’s All About Relationships! People give to People. Clean Your Nets—Send Reports, Acknowledgements, Share and Bask in the PR.

10 Commandments of Fishing for Dollar$ KAREN K. MARTIN, MBA, CFRE #PhilanthropicArchitect @KMartinCEO Leaving People, Places and Profits Better than Found

Karen Kernodle Martin applies a donor-focused, marketing philosophy as advisor to philanthropists and charities. Her niche is designing infrastructure advancing 501c3s—from start-up social service agencies to higher education. Martin launched annual, major & planned gifts programs and improved fiscal controls as CEO and finished a $55 million campaign goal for Texas Woman’s University-T. Boone Pickens Institute of Health Sciences-Dallas w ith His & Her s endow ed ch air s in nur sing. A Rodan + Fields skincare consultant, her passion is Leaving People, Places and Profits Better than Found by building business teams worldwide. Photographic recall, enthusiasm and organizing are gifts. Colleagues say “You KNOW everybody!” Board/staff development and strategic planning ar e led in ballr oom s and boar dr oom s. She w as Texas PTA’s Chief Architect of the Governance & Leadership Model restructure adopted by 2012 Convention delegates. It became the blueprint for 49 state PTA associations. Her ‘Pedagogue’ (ENFJ) style inspired lifelong speaking and faculty experience in the areas of leadership, marketing, career and business development. Skills honed as Executive Director translate to executive search and interim roles. Credentials include Certified Fund Raising Executive, Competent Toastmaster and First Class GOLD Girl Scout. Mar tin h olds Public Relations and MBA degrees from Baylor, where she was Student Foundation VP and the University’s 2nd female development professional. The Wynne, AR native married Karl D. Martin in 1984. They

have 2 adult children, Kameron and Kamille, and granddaughter Kyler. Karen’s a grateful 16-year breast cancer survivor. A lifelong Baylor FANatic, she follows the Baylor Bears and fishing trends—for funding and fish! 214.632.3949 Instagram: karenmartin5489




Spotlight – Jacqueline J. Smith Jacqueline J. Smith is an insurance professional that has been in the Human resources and benefits field for over 25 years. With her knowledge and understanding of these fields, she is poised to educate people who have no insurance coverage or who have no knowledge of the coverage that is appropriate for them. In addition, Jacqueline was named 2017 Courageous Woman of the Year, was profiled in Courageous Woman Magazine, and has also been a featured speaker at the ‘Dawniel Winningham’s Las Vegas,’ Florida, and Indiana conferences. According to people who have been fortunate enough to work with Jacqueline, they describe her as extremely humble, empathetic, inquisitive, very resourceful, excellent strategist, and a visionary. Jacqueline earned a Master’s Degree in Human Resources and has held positions in both profit and non-profit companies before venturing out to start her own consulting firm in 2008. She now assists individuals, families, and small businesses with their life insurance and retirement needs. Over time, her family members joined the firm and it has since grown into a family agency; ‘Families, assisting families.’ Known for her compassion, her sheer love for people and her undying zeal to affect change, Jacqueline is moved to ensure that more individuals get life insurance protection against the unexpected passing of family members. Time is out for relying on selling fish & chicken dinners, collections, carwashes, and crowdfunding to bury our loved ones. We are Spotlighting Jacqueline J. Smith’s Book ‘Family Financial Review.’ When she is not changing the world, Jacqueline can be found connecting with her Aquarian roots near any body of water. She also enjoys travel, photography, and watching airplanes defy gravity with her family near Boston, MA.


When asked Jaqueline what inspired her, she responded; “Imagination and the infinite possibility it holds.” “What we can see is only a small percentage of what is possible. Imagination is having the vision to see what is just below the surface; to picture that which is essential, but invisible to the eye.” ~ Unknown Jacqueline’s statement on giving advice to another Woman Entrepreneur; “If you have a job, use your job to fund your entrepreneurial pursuit. Use your job to pay your bills regularly and on time. Use your job to keep a roof over your head. Use your job to care for your family. Your job has used you to accomplish their goals, now it’s your turn…” Her desire in 2017 is to educate people about the importance of Life Insurance and dispel some of the myths. Jacqueline gave birth to a 1 lb. 13.5 oz preemie who is now a junior in college. He needed Extended recovery and Rehabilitation after undergoing doubleknee replacement surgery. Children’s father passed away during their mid-teen years. He had no life insurance. Jacqueline’s father heartbreakingly passed away suddenly from a heart attack leaving her and her sisters the responsibility of taking care of his home-going services. Interestingly, he had life insurance but he had just purchased the policy; so the only thing they received was the one month of premium he paid. You can find Jacqueline at: Facebook, Twitter, Periscope. Instagram, LinkedIn: @LSWLegacyLady YouTube: Jacqueline J. Smith-LSWLegacyLady Ask a Question: Email:



Available on


Spotlight- Venessa D. Abram “If I can reach one person and save their life; then my living is not in vain. It’s Self-Discovery Time. Get into position to prosper on purpose.” Venessa D. Abrams Based on Venessa’s personal and practical life experiences, she is a firm believer that, “When we know better, we do better.” Therefore, as we walk life’s journey, it is expected that we mature mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually so we can grow into all that we are destined to be and become ‘extraordinary’ and ‘set apart’ and hence learning to embrace life to the fullest, without lack. Even though her brother’s death was tragic; Venessa vowed to make sure her brother’s life and his death was not in vain by becoming a Suicide Awareness Advocate and American For Suicide Prevention Board Member where his legacy continues to live. She is and plans to be the voice for those Veterans, and Civilians that are not being heard and suffering in silence by way of mental illness. Venessa- “I pray to reach the masses and provide awareness around mental illness and suicide.” She fights each day to embrace the pain and loss of her brother by way of suicide 10 months ago. His suicide changed her life and the pain so intense she is now going for therapy to learn how to grieve and cope in a healthy way. Vanessa says – “As Roman 8:28 states.” “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called, because that was his plan.” Venessa D. Abram was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. Venessa is the wife of twenty-three years to Anthony Abram, Sr. and they are blessed with three beautiful children; Brie’aunna, twenty-nine, Anthony, Jr., twenty-four, DaVontre, twenty and Chocolate, their Cocker Spaniel son, thirteen. Venessa’s education includes a Master’s of Business Administration Degree with a focus in Human Resources Management and Bachelor of Administration Degree in Business Management. Venessa is humbled to be 2015-16’s Past Toastmasters District President in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as earning her Toastmasters Certifications for both Competent Communicator (CC) and Competent Leader (CL). Venessa’s passion is mentoring, coaching, developing and praying with others to reach their untapped potential by introducing them to mindset change. We are Spotlighting Venessa D. Abram’s book ‘ A Daily Journal’ and her many accomplishments within her community and beyond for suicide prevention. Venessa is an Inspirational Speaker, Coach, Grant Consultant, Radio Personality and American For Suicide Prevention Board Member. Venessa has open slots for coaching, which are filling up fast. She is also available for speaking opportunities. Her journal: ‘Self-Discovery – A Daily Journey’ was birthed in December, 2015 and is the epitome of how we should embrace each day with the mindset of becoming better from trials, tribulations and the pains of life.


Upon tapping into the mindset and understanding that we are capable of change, realignment and readjustment, a mental shift should begin and as we are tapping into the mindset and understanding the importance of change and repositioning, a mental shift will manifest. Venessa says she is humbled to be a Multi-Amazon Award Winning Author for: "SelfDiscovery. A Daily Journey Daily Inspirational Book and Journal, "The Valley of Transfiguration: 40 Days with God in My Grief" and Co-Authoring with 23 women on the ‘Soul Source Anthology Book,’ which was featured in Huffington Post Newspaper. She is a Contributing Writer and Business Partner with Owner, Sherrill Valdez of "Today's Purpose Woman Magazine,’ and member of the ‘Black Speakers Networking Group.’ Venessa is the Radio Personality of Self-Discovery - A Daily Journey; that is aired on Steel City Gospel Internet Radio. She has also been a featured guest on Today’s Purpose Woman Roundtable, ‘WGVE Radio Station,’ ‘We Are Beautiful Magazine,’ as well as several other Radio Shows and Platforms. For Bookings, please visit her website:

Email: “My Valley is my Victory. God used my pain to propel me to His Purpose, as I worship while wounded.” Venessa D. Abrams


Wanda McKinley Spotlight Wanda is a Domestic Violence Survivor. She has chosen to use her pain and her past to make a difference in this world. She has started We Are Survivors! An organization that helps those in the midst of Domestic Violence! She speaks out for those who have no voice. She is a light to those in the darkness and she is a beacon of hope! We are so honored to spotlight her and her amazing organization this month! Please reach out to her if you can partner with her on one of her many projects. Or if you need help or know someone who needs help. We must stand together to stop Domestic Violence.

Mission: Our mission is to provide a stable environment for abused and battered men, women and children in providing temporary shelter, counseling and provide employment training. We want to help men and women transition from abusive situations to being self-sufficient in society. Vision: To empower men and women so they can and will survive and thrive in society on their own and to uplift them and provide them a new life, a new prospective of normalcy by enhancing and elevating their lives.


Wanda McKinley has been a part of the Dallas community for over 30 years. Her family relocated here from California when her father retired from the Navy. She has been educating families for over 22 years in the Insurance and Healthcare Industry, believing that knowledge is power. Mrs. McKinley has worked in Long Term Care Industry for 18 out of the 22 years taking care of the elder population and educating them on the correct way to spend retirement funds as a licensed financial advisor. November 2013 God showed Mrs. McKinley her purpose in life. Being a survivor of domestic violence; God told her that she must be transparent to men, women and children by sharing her story so that they would find comfort through her. Wanda was a victim of abuse for 24 consecutive years. Her biological father molested her from the age of seven and eventually it escalated to sexually penetration at the age of thirteen after her stepfather raped her taking her virginity and the rape continued to the age of eighteen by both men. Mrs. McKinley met her ex-husband at nineteen and married at the age of twenty-four. She suffered physical, mental, verbal, sexual and financial abuse for eleven years. Through the grace of God she survived.

Her calling and passion is to help others. We are Survivors was formed as a 501Š3 nonprofit organization for abused men, women and children. Their mission is to provide a stable environment for abused and battered individuals by providing temporary shelter, counseling, and employment training. They want to help them transition from abusive situations to being self-sufficient people in society. Understanding the pain on a personal level will help her relate to the men, women and children God sends to her, but she will also be able to provide professional counseling. Mrs. McKinley is a best-selling author domestic and international, a recipient of an International Humanitarian Award, 2016 Advocate of the Year for Domestic Violence, an ambassador of a project called Black Girls Land in Nigeria, a strong Domestic and International speaker. She has a weekly blog talk radio show as well as a live streaming television show called We are Survivors with Wanda McKinley. Mrs. McKinley has also launched an apparel line called ROAR through her LLC named Hear me ROAR which focuses on domestic violence. Mrs. McKinley has also been named 2017-2018 Who’s Who in Black Dallas and is working on McKinley Consulting Firm to help others through coaching and mentoring. Believing in God and hearing him has carried her thus far. She is a child of God and has embraced what he has for her. May God be given all the glory as she continues on her journey.


We Are Survivors Board of Directors Wanda McKinley - President/Founder Jasson Stansell - President's Assistant Katrina Lokko - Vice President La Nelle Renfro Faulk - Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing Holly Duncan - Executive Secretary/ Human Resources Tiffenny Harris - Chief Operating Officer Tahirah Samuels - Board Member Deon Washington - Advisory Board Member John McKinley - Advisory Board Member Jasson Stansell Jasson is the personal assistant to the founder Wanda McKinley. He is a new addition to the team and has hit the ground running. Always willing to help out where and when he can. Currently Jasson is the Clinical Director at Mark J Spector, DPM and has been for the last 6 years. He is also the H.I.M. Director at Crystal Creek at Preston Hollow and has been with them for the last 2 years. He is also very active in the Dallas Children's Charity. Jasson has been volunteering with them for the last 6 years, including fundraising efforts for the annual Margarita Ball which serves as a toy drive for Dallas Children's Charities annual Love for Kids Festival in December. Thousands of kids from all over come and have an amazing time at the ranch while presents are placed on their buses. Truly and amazing experience to give Christmas to deserving kids in need. As a survivor himself, Jasson is personal with everything he does and wants others to feel welcome and safe within the community. We look forward to seeing him grow in the organization. John McKinley John is the president and founder of the McKinley Group DFW. They specialize in all real estate transactions including home purchases, new builds, real estate investments, and rental properties. He is a licensed realtor, as well as a series 62 and 22 license holder. John is a seasoned professional with a practical experience in sales and a solid understanding of a diverse range of business management applications, including marketing analysis, sales, marketing, team building, and quality assurance. He is highly trained and has the ability to select, train and retain self-motivated customer oriented employees. John has presents caliber presentations and has strong negotiating and closing skills.


LaNelle Renfro Faulk VP of Public Relations & Marketing We Are Survivors Foundation Originally from Iowa, LaNelle moved to Dallas, Texas from Des Moines, Iowa in 2001. Having studied accounting before her relocation she proceeded to work in a fast paced, upscale environment in major companies such as Hibernia/Capitol One and Fidelity Investments. In 2008, her daughter Khayshea began a successful modeling career that she managed for roughly 8 years. This exposed her heavily to the Dallas entertainment industry, which allowed her to venture into other opportunities further expanding her network. Passionate about writing she freelanced for local magazines and with encouragement from friends and family in 2013 she launched an event planning/multimedia company to pursue more of what she loves to do, alongside her business partner and husband filmmaker and photographer Junior Soultrane (Junior Soultrane Films & Photography which is also under the Dyvyne Group umbrella). She would not be disappointed with her foundation of “God/ Family / Career” as projects to work with great organizations soon came her way such as The Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation's Mentoring Program for Boys, FELA Academy, etc. She also assisted in promo video production for Lil G of the R&B music group Silk, FootAction commercial shoot featuring Kenyon Martin, Rehab Masters of Dallas, and the Christian Literary Awards to name a few. You can always find her involved in charitable events that give back to the community whether organizing or supporting. Having dealt with abusive situations in her lifetime she became enamored with the We Are Survivors movement and joined the organization as the VP of Public Relations. This has brought about the best relationships and partnerships she feels, simply saying “this team ROCKS!” It has afforded her the ability to combine work with pleasure and heading up planning for The 3rd International Women’s Conference & D&K Suomi Humanitarian Awards Gala 2017, which was brought from Europe to Dallas, was the biggest project to date. “I can go on for days regarding the challenges, but it’s truly been the most rewarding,” she adds. She is a dedicated wife and mother who is full of joy and works towards promoting those whose flames are low and are in need of encouragement and the tools to change their lives. We Are Survivors is a movement that is going to change the community first and the World next. And we’ll have cake and celebrate making memories all the way! LaNelle Renfro Faulk We Are Survivors Dyvyne Events Offc: 469-906-7500 Facebook: Dyvyne Events/ Productions & Media IG: DyvyneGroup Twitter: DyvyneCeo 21

Deon Washington Deon Washington is a well diversified Administrator. Her life’s journey has lead her down various paths, along the way gaining knowledge while utilizing her skills to promote growth and team enhancement. Some of her professional experience includes: Network Provisioning, Quality Control Analyst, Quality Control Auditor, Accountant Manager and Project Manager. Deon’s first love is the Almighty God. She comes from an extremely strong religious family foundation spiritually empowered by a plethora of Pastors, Ministers and Evangelists. She is the Director of Music at True Gospel Ministries where her father was the founding Pastor. Deon wears multiple hats consisting of Hair Stylist (received her cosmetology license), Confidant and Advisor (for family and friends), assists in Event Planning and excited about future endeavors which includes exploring her culinary passions. Deon has a heart filled with love, compassion and a willingness to help in any capacity. When the opportunity was extended to assist with a non-profit organization, We Are Survivors by the founder Wanda McKinley, there was no hesitation. One of We are Survivors main focus

Holly Duncan Holly was born in Lapeer, Michigan and was raised by her mother and stepfather whom raised her as his own. She lived near the Detroit area until 2013 when she and her daughter relocated to Dallas, Texas. Holly had her daughter shortly after she turned 16 years old. Because of the demand in her home life, she dropped out of high school. She then home schooled herself so she could receive her high school diploma. Right after this accomplishment, God repaid her and she started work at an insurance company where she climbed the ladder until she became supervisor. Holly suffered both physical and mental abuse from the two long term relationships she had previous to moving to her new home in Texas. No matter what rough roads that have been placed in her way, she has always found a way to triumph and overcome those difficulties. With the help of her friends and family, she is a survivor. She will now continue to extend her hand and her knowledge to let other women and children know that no one will be left behind and there is always hope. They are not alone.


Tahirah Samuels, LCSW Tahirah has an extensive history working with families whose children have suffered abuse and neglect, through Child Protective Services. She is now contracted to work with the Department of Family and Protective Services’ Adult Protective Services program, where she provides counseling to adults who have also experienced abuse or neglect. Tahirah is passionate about Mental Health and has been in this field for over nine years, working as a Clinical Therapist in an inpatient setting, and having her own private practice. Within her private practice, she facilitates a group called Survivors, a support group for individuals who have suffered traumatic experiences. Tahirah works with a wide variety of clients, is culturally sensitive, and attuned to their needs. Her belief in holistic health allows her the ability to work with patients and clients on their journey to overall well-being.

Deborah K Funmi Mupapa The President and Founder of DKsuomi DKsuomi Foundation and We Are Survivors collaborated to bring you the International Women's Conference and D&Ksuomi Humanitarian Award 2017.

The International Women's Conference and D&Ksuomi Humanitarian Award is brought to you by D&Ksuomi Foundation. DKsuomi Foundation is a non-profit organization started in 2008 from the city of Tampere Finland, throughout Africa. The main strategy is based on giving back to humanity especially in Africa where the need for care, love and peace cannot be over emphasized. From far and wide across Africa, crying and fighting together, DKsuomi Foundation has partnered with others to come up with solutions to alleviate the struggles of the African women and young girls especially. By empowering them with resources (i.e. internet, workshops, mentoring programs), and needed guidance; the platform has been created where women can build their positive self-energy and work towards escaping poverty stricken circumstances. 23

Tiffenny Harris Tiffenny Harris is the President and Founder of Abhati Energy, a holistic wellness and vibrational healing center. Tiffenny has practiced yoga and energy healing for over 10 years and is a registered Yoga Instructor, Nutritional Health and Life Coach and a Bio-Energy Healer with certifications in Reiki, Crystal Healing, Sound Healing, Chromotherapy, Chakra Balancing and Aura Balancing. Tiffenny began her life-long love affair with yoga and energy healing in the late 90s to calm her overactive mind. But it was not until 2009, when she suffered a lumbar spine injury that rendered her unable to walk for over 3 weeks, that she dedicated herself to the work of self-healing. Faced with the possibility of spinal surgery she set out on a path to find methods of healing herself naturally. Through a combination of Chiropractic care, Acupuncture, Yoga and Energy Healing, Tiffenny was able to regain her life, drug and surgery free. From this experience, she committed herself to sharing these practices with everyone she encounters, with one purpose in mind – help others “Live Life in Balance”. Her passionate and free-spirited teaching style is influenced by her studies in Hatha, Yin and Ashtanga yoga. She is the creator of Lifestasis, a philosophy that blends the use of yoga, meditation, energy bodywork and balanced nutrition into a fresh and modern way of practice to encourage individuals to embrace their unique balance in life – both on and off the mat. In April of 2017, Tiffenny joined the board of We Are Survivors Foundation as their Chief Operating Officer utilizing over 20 years in the banking and technology industries as a project manager, product manager and consultant, to help the organization prosper and meet its goal of eradicating domestic and family violence. This is a cause that is imbedded in the fabric of who she is as she became a survivor herself at the age of 11 years old when she was molested and raped by her uncle. At the age of 18, she was subsequently raped on a date by a young man she had just started dating. It was yoga and self-healing through journey work that helped her to release negative energies related to past abuse and put her on the path of wanting to help other survivors do the same. Tiffenny’s mantra is, “I AM WHO I SAY I AM.” She is passionate about helping others to positively define who they are by helping them change the language they use. How you speak to yourself is more important than how others speak to you. When you hold yourself in high esteem you won’t allow any negative energy to evade your being, from yourself and definitely not from others. Tiffenny resides in Mansfield, TX with her husband George and two puppies Niko and Ace. She is the mother to two daughters, Jour’Dan who is a sophomore in college and Morgan who is Navy seaman. You can reach Tiffenny through her website at or through email at


Katrina Lokko Katrina is CEO/Founder of Women of Abundant Wealth, Owner of WOAW Media & Production, Magazine editor, International Speaker, TV Talk Show Host, Actress, Author, Business Consultant and Trainer. With 20+ years of entrepreneurship, Katrina’s business expands to challenge individuals to live a bold and unique lifestyle in every area of their life. Growing up with learning disabilities, Katrina realized at an early age that her uniqueness would be used to help set others free of negative labels and stereotypes. She was voted one of the Faces of Success through the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, featured guest on: 1. Women on Weekdays 1400AM WJZM with host Diane Welker. 2.

Love of Hearts Movements with Sheryl Jones


Modern Day Woman with host Teresa Hawley Howard.

4. Guest on We Are Survivors with Wanda McKinley. 5. Featured in Off Beat Business Magazine (Blazing Brighter Communities).

Nominated woman entrepreneur of the year through WERE Community and non-profit organization that helps women owned businesses. Talent scout for Molto Molta Model & Talent Agency, Drama Coach, Play Write, single women’s pastor. She is an advocate for single parent families, founder of Interactive Entrepreneur Council, Co-Founder Club of Champions for inner city youth and founder of Diamonds 300, a program for young ladies 7-21 years of age. Several non-profits and various business associations have groomed her leadership skills, and her life experiences have given her the knowledge and wisdom to mentor others.




Spotlight – Vernessa Blackwell God Bless You and Always remember, "With God, All Things Are Possible.” Matthew 19:26 Vernessa Blackwell is an author and certified grief support and joy restoration coach. The loss of both parents and all her siblings, to include three sisters and a brother, sparked her purposeful journey into coaching. Vernessa is the author of The Grief Helpline, mentor, expo host, and speaker. We are Spotlighting Vernessa Blackwell for her ‘Grief Relief Kit’ that is helping those suffering with grief and her wonderful book ‘The Grief Helpline’ a ‘Devotional for Your Time of Need (Loss of a Loved One’) This superbly written, 100 day devotional, is perfect for anyone who has lost a loss loved one. The author shares her personal account of overcoming the obstacles and the loss, of both parents as well as four siblings to include; a brother and three sisters. Vernessa Blackwell carefully leads you through scripture that gives strength and encouragement. She addresses different types of issues surrounding the grief process. Her personal experience has allowed her to verbalize exactly how a griever feels. This book is full of hope and understanding. It will bring on tears associated with many different emotions but “That is all a part of the grieving process,” Vernessa Said. Vanessa is known as “The Grief Strategist” Vernessa is ‘Inspired by and Dedicated to;’ inspiring and empowering individuals for personal and professional success. Vernessa would like in 2017 to become a one stop shop for grief recovery. Vernessa Blackwell is known for challenging and motivating clients to take action, and to move forward in grief and life transitions. Vernessa is also a coach for teens and adults coping with different types of loss. Vernessa’s speaking programs include information on different ways that people grieve, how children and teens cope with loss differently than adults, how to listen with compassion, strategies and tools for grievers, and friends of grievers, stories from her extensive experience as a grief recovery specialist and counselor, a wide range of resources and support for children, teens, and adults who are coping with grief due to all different types of loss. She is the Founder of the ‘Grief Helpline’ and Vernessa provides sessions via Skype and by phone, and also makes home visits or community calls as a consultant. She conducts presentations and training programs throughout the U.S. and Canada. She created the Essential Grief Relief Kit to help individuals get to the Other Side of Grief. You can purchase the Kit at:


She is passionate, energetic, and a charming presenter who engages her audience with inspiring interactive workshops. She specialized in ‘Joy Restoration Coaching.’ Vernessa has a heart for serving and wants to see people healed, and set free. She has received her healing from the Lord and she understands what you are going through and knows how to get you through it. Through coaching, training, and mentoring, Vernessa Blackwell offers hope, encouragement, and support as individuals navigate the challenges and adversities of life and loss. She is the Founder of the ‘Grief Helpline.’ With Presentations, Workshops, In-Service Training, Assemblies, Classroom Programs and Keynotes on Topics Pertaining to Grief in the lives of Children, Teens and Adults Faced with Different Types of Loss. When asked what advice she would give to another Woman Entrepreneur, Vernessa replied; “There is no one who owns a company who knows all the answers or has all the skills.” “The best advice I could ever give anyone is to never be afraid to ask other people for their help or their advice. I have definitely not launched my business by myself. I’ve had a ton of support and a ton of great people who have supported me. You’re always going to find yourself at a roadblock, whether it’s learning about a sales tax, developing a new website, or creating a new marketing plan. Always just ask for help. It’s so simple and it sounds so trite but it’s true. People want to see a person be successful. The key to success is to help others succeed.” Vernessa Blackwell, MBA, MCLC, CJRC, CGC To find where Vernessa will be speaking next, or has spoken previously, go to her Calendar page. For information about Vernessa’s book or to book Vernessa for one of your programs; Please contact her at Vernessa@griefhelpline.coachor call 1-240- 270-1722

Sign up for a free monthly ‘Grief Helplines’ Newsletter which is full of information, resources and suggestions on different topics that relate to loss. Vernessa is now a full time speaker and advocate for grief, living in Waldorf, Md. To interview Vernessa Blackwell about her vital message please send an email with the name of the show, your contact information, a proposed date and time, and the calling details. Vernessa Blackwell The Grief Strategist Ceo/Founder of -The Grief Helpline (240) 270-1722




Insight to Making Healthy Decisions

This article not to condemn anybody but to inform. Everybody make mistakes. When you know better. You do better. You are wonderfully made. You are GOD creation. You define you. Don’t let other people’s perspective of you define who you are. You are GOD creation. GOD didn’t make any junk. I don’t care where you come from or what you been thru. The only person that didn’t make any mistakes, that walked this earth is Jesus Christ. Nowadays, some people have a strong need to be better than someone else. Don’t and if you are stop asking people for directions to places they haven’t been for themselves. That is how Bad Karma comes into your life. That person wasn’t meant to be in your life in the first place. S/he doesn’t have or can’t get it for themselves. How do you expect them to show you the way? Always know, check and keep your inner circle close. Just because people smile, speak, talk to you and hang around you. Doesn’t make them your friends. Just because they say they are your friend. That doesn’t mean they are sincere towards you. Just because they don’t laugh and talk with you. Doesn’t mean they don’t like you. They may be the one that stands up to defend you when no one else does. Pick your friends and your battles wisely. Some people are in your life for a season. They are not to be grouped with true friends. Don’t get confused. They are the people that you know of. They are not the people, you go out with or bring home to meet your family or any type of connection outside their purpose. For example, the people I work with or previously worked with. I am not going to work to form friendships/relationships. That is not good business. There are too many activities outside of work that I can participate in. There are some people who don’t know how to have a healthy relationship. Then there are some people who you don’t want a relationship with, for whatever reason. There are also people who don’t want a relationship with you, for whatever reason. Know the difference. Respect the other person’s decision and leave them alone. Everybody cannot be your friend. Due to different values, background, interest and experiences. If that person doesn’t value you. You are wasting your time. It doesn’t make any sense, to ask them why they don’t like you. Because they probably not going to be truthful with you. But you can ask them, if you have offended them in anyway. Whatever their response is, apologize and leave them alone without the drama. Do not try to retaliate against them. Because you are validating to that person, that s/he was right about rejecting you. There are 50 million people on this planet, there is somebody that will like you for you. Also, others will see you as being insecure and desperate for love. That is not what you want. Life is too short for this.


Some will pretend to be your friend. So, they can destroy you. People can pretend well. Also, some will be true to you, as long as, it is beneficial to them. But, when you stop being beneficial to them, so will your friendship with them. It is better to be by yourself, than with someone who cares nothing about you. Don’t try or stop trying to change their mind about you. By offering gifts, favors or trying to create situations, such as, “you need me” for you to be included in their life. That comes across as you are desperate for relationship. You will probably be setting yourself up to be used. Again, abuse can go either way, by the one who does the offering or the one who is receiving. If a person is constantly degrading, humiliating, and disrespectful of you. Don’t keep trying to control or change their behavior towards you. Take and receive the message that they are giving you, is to leave them alone. It doesn’t matter what their reason is. Nothing is more important than your wellbeing. Now if you constantly keep pursuing people who mistreat or disrespectful of you. The problem is not them it is you. Even if they apologize to you. They are playing with your emotions. That is not healthy; therefore, they are not safe for you to be around. When you know better. You will do better. Again, you are GOD’s creation. Respect yourself. You have to love yourself first before anybody else can love you. Take care of you first. You have a right to keep yourself safe from people who don’t value you. You are in charge of your own happiness. Author Ms Chardae, LLC Bio I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. I was raised by my Mother, her sister and their parents. I was my parents’ only child. We lived with my Grandparents. I attended and finished from Chicago Public School. Where I had to stand my ground with the other kids at school, a lot due to my light complexion. When I got to the age where a girl needed her mother. My mother wasn’t available to me. A lot of things I had to find out the not so easy way. There has been some people that have told me, throughout my life, that I will never amount to anything. I went away to school for two years, but finished at DeVry, Chicago. I obtained my Bachelor degree in Computer Information Systems. I got a job, working downtown Chicago, for a company. I was able to obtain my own first apartment within 6 months of employment. Then after a year and half working there, my company filed Chapter 13. I was one of the majority employees that was laid off. I didn’t want to move back in my Mother’s house. So, I decided to join the Navy Reserves. I didn’t know at that time, that I would travel all over the world. That I would spend considerable time living overseas. I am a recipient of Iraq Freedom Medal. I spent 14 years in the US Navy Reserves. After my last deployment to Kuwait/Iraq, I decided to relocate to Marietta, Georgia. I was tired of living in Chicago and the cold weather. I have gone from wearing combat boots in the sandbox to wearing heals in Corporate America. It wasn’t an easy road. But I made it. Some people have disliked me due to my complexion, abrasive and that I am a female veteran. People can be cruel. So, I took all the lemons that were throw at me and made lemonade out of it. I have participated in various 5k walk/run in the Atlanta area, such as, March for Babies, Diabetes, Devine Nine, Cancer to raise money for their causes. I found the GOD of my understanding, Jesus Christ. I joined and serve at church faithfully. I went back to school and got certified in my field. I am in the process of publishing my 1st book in month. I have written 3 articles for 3 different magazines.


Know the Early Warning Signs of Domestic Violence Recognizing the warning signs and symptoms of spousal abuse is the first step, but taking action is the most important step in breaking free. Being a domestic violence survivor twice over has motivated me to help others to see the early warning signs. Here are a few I have listed below; Feeling uncomfortable or being afraid in your relationship is the number 1 red flag that your relationship is not healthy. Estimates are that 1 out of 4 women will experience an abusive relationship and there are often many early, detectible warning signs. Domestic Violence is about Power and Control. Controlling behaviors often are the first indicators – anything they ask or demand you do to change who you are, your appearance or behavior seem like simple, compromise-type relationship concessions but are often veiled warning signs that this relationship may turn abusive. Domestic violence — also called intimate partner violence occurs between people in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence can take many forms, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse and threats of abuse. Men are sometimes abused by partners, but domestic violence is most often directed toward women. Domestic violence can happen in heterosexual or same-sex relationships. While some relationships are clearly abusive from the outset, abuse often starts subtly and gets worse over time. You might be experiencing domestic violence, if you’re in a relationship with someone who: • Calls you names, insults you or puts you down. • Prevents or discourages you from going to work or school. • Prevents or discourages you from seeing family members or friends. • Tries to control how you spend money, where you go, what medicines you take or what you wear. • Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful or controls your phone and phone calls. • Gets angry when drinking alcohol or using drugs. • Threatens you with violence or a weapon. • Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or your pets. • Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will. • Blames you for his or her violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it or Threatens to kill you or ‘himself’ or ‘herself’ if you leave them. If you’re lesbian, bisexual or transgender, you might also be experiencing domestic violence if you’re in a relationship with someone who: • Threatens to tell friends, family, colleagues or community members your sexual orientation or gender identity. • Tells you that authorities won’t help a lesbian, bisexual or transgender person. • Tells you that leaving the relationship means you’re admitting that lesbian, bisexual or transgender relationships are deviant.


• Says women can’t be violent. • Justifies abuse by telling you that you’re not ‘really’ lesbian, bisexual or transgender. • Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or your pets. • Forces you to have sex or engage in sexual acts against your will. • Acts jealous or possessive or constantly accuses you of being unfaithful. Is Someone You Know Being Abused? There is no way to tell for sure if someone is experiencing domestic violence. Those who are battered, and those who abuse, come in all shapes, sizes, colors, economic classes and personality types. Victims are not always passive with low self-esteem, and batterers are not always violent or hateful to their partner in front of others. Most people experiencing relationship violence do not tell others what goes on at home. So how do you tell? Look for the signs: Injuries and Excuses: In some cases, bruises and injuries may occur frequently and be in obvious places. When this happens, the intent of the batterer is to keep the victim isolated and trapped at home. When black eyes and other bruising is a result of domestic violence, the person being battered may be forced to call in sick to work, or face the embarrassment and excuses of how the injuries occurred. When there are frequent injuries seen by others, the victim may talk about being clumsy, or have elaborate stories of how the injuries occurred. In other cases, bruises and other outward injuries may be inflicted in places where the injuries won't show. This too is a tactic used by an abuser to keep a victim from reaching out or from having the violence exposed. Absences from Work or School: When severe beatings or other trauma related to violence occurs, the victim may take time off from their normal schedule. If you see this happening, or the person is frequently late, this could be a sign of something (such as relationship violence) occurring. Low Self-Esteem: Some victims have low self-esteem, while others have a great deal of confidence and esteem in other areas of their life (at work, as a parent, with hobbies, etc.) but not within their relationship. In terms of dealing with the relationship, a sense of powerlessness may exist. A victim may believe that they could not make it on their own or that they are somehow better off with the abuser as part of their life. Personality Changes: People may notice that a very outgoing person, for instance, becoming quiet and shy around their partner over time. This happens because the one being battered "walks on egg shells" when in the presence of the one who is abusive. Accusations (of flirting, talking too loudly, or telling the wrong story to someone) have taught the abused person that it is easier to act a certain way around the batterer than to experience additional accusations in the future.


Fear of Conflict: As a result of being battered, some victims may generalize the experience of powerlessness with other relationships. Conflicts with co-workers, friends, relatives, and neighbors can create a lot of anxiety. For many, it is easier to give in to whatever someone else wants than to challenge it. Asserting needs and desires begins to feel like a battle, and not worth the risks of losing. Victims may also exhibit overly-friendly behavior, particularly to those that they perceive as being in a position of power (like the abuser's in-laws, a boss or a supervisor at work, or even to advocates if a victim seeking help from a domestic violence program. This can manifest as everything from sending cards to only very casual acquaintances to making dinner or providing over-indulgent attention. Passive-Aggressive Behavior: For adults or children who have experienced violence from a loved one, the ability to identify feelings and wants, and to express them, may not exist. This could result in passive-aggressive behavior. Rather than telling others what they want, they say one thing but then express anger or frustration in an aggressive manner (such as burning dinner, or not completing a report on time for their boss). Self-Blame: You may notice someone taking all of the blame for things that go wrong. A co-worker may share a story about something that happened at home and then take all of the blame for whatever occurred. If you notice this happening a lot, it may be a sign that this person is being battered or experiencing emotional abuse. Isolation and Control: In general, adults who are abused physically are often isolated. Their partners tend to control their lives to a great extent as well as verbally degrade them. This isolation is intended to make the abuser the center of the victim's universe, as well as to purposefully limit the victim's access to others who might attempt to help the victim escape. You might notice that someone: has limited access to the telephone, frequently makes excuses as to why they can't see you or they insist that their partner has to come along, doesn't seem to be able to make decisions about spending money, isn't allowed to drive, go to school or get a job; or has a notable change in self-esteem which might include inability to make eye contact or looking away or at the ground when talking. If you or someone you know is suffering from Domestic Violence, Be a voice. Break the Silence.

Written by: Sharon Gulley of Beautiful Expectations of Faith 2017


Sharon Gulley – of Beautiful Expectations of Faith Sharon Gulley is an Author, Co-Author, Editor, and Creative Writer, Article Writer, Spiritual Healer & Coach, Motivational Speaker, Domestic Violence Survivor and Advocate. Sharon Gulley spiritually counsels Women whose lives have been touched by Domestic Violence to help them to move on from the past in a healthy and productive way. She has also had a secret love for the field of Ancient Medicine; so she is studying in the fields of: Medicine vs. Science, Metaphysical Healing, Ancient Medicine and Spiritualism. She wants to bring back to the world, the Traditional but Ancient ways of healing for those who have been told they are terminally ill. Sharon’s Books & Co-Authored Books: From Fear to Freedom, Echo’s in the Darkness, Sisterhood of Stories, The Beauty of Color-Poetry & Prose, I am Beautiful, Resilient, and The Butterfly Flutters By - Poetry. Books can be found on

Connect with Sharon Gulley at: – Sharon Gulley – website Twitter- @greenilygulley – Sharon Gulley – Sharon Gulley – Sharon Gulley

1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)




No One Has The Right To Hurt You! This month is not only Breast Cancer Awareness but Domestic Violence Awareness as well. I want to touch upon Domestic Violence. This is going to very deep and yet delicate. I hosted last month a Telesummit called She Is You! What Is She Going Through? It was powerful. One the first day Tamika Sims shared her personal story of abuse.. Well, I want to cover abuse. I know when we hear the word abuse or domestic violence, our minds often go right to physical abuse. Well, there are other forms of abuse as well.

Abuse is never right! There is physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, neglect abuse, discriminatory abuse, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, financial abuse and child abuse. I know there are many more. I want to cover some of these. In order for one to really understand completely about abuse let's start with the definition of abuse. Abuse is improper or excessive use or treatment. Language that condemns or vilifies usually intemperately, angrily and physical mistreatment. The effects of abuse is also bad. One loses their self- respect and it lowers their self- esteem. I want you to know that There is hope! One can get out only when they are ready. Prayerfully before it really gets worse. Let's take a look at emotional abuse. I can say I have experienced emotional abuse. I think many of us have and never realized that this was what was happening. Emotional abuse is subjecting or exposing, another person to behavior that may result in psychological trauma, including anxiety, chronic depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The abuser uses verbal words, fear or humiliation to undermine the other person's self-esteem. Taking away someone's identity, dignity and low self-worth. Again, abuse of any kind is never okay. Please don't think that you deserve it! No one deserves to be miss-treated. Often times when one really looks at the abuser, they come to find out that they have been abused in their life at some point. Still it is never okay. Here are some signs of emotional abuse. 1. You are afraid to express your feelings to them. 2. They make you feel bad about who you are. 3. You put them first in your life. 4. You are afraid to bring them around your friends and family fearing that they might humiliate you in public. 5. You think that you are the problem. 6. They don't support you. They have no interest in things that matter to you.

7. You feel like you can't get out. Trapped or in a prison. 8. They treat you very inhumane. 9. They control everything in your life. Money, whether you can go here and there. Who are you friends.


10. They blame you for everything. No matter what it is! 11. You start to feel you are not enough; worthless. 12.You make excuses for their behavior. 13. You constantly do everything they ask. 14. You think you deserve this. The effects of verbal abuse is long lasting. It takes time to heal but it can be done. If you or someone you know is being abused please don't hold it in. Speak with someone that you trust. If not, you can call The National Domestic Violence Hotline domestic at 1-800-799-7233. You are worth being saved! Abuse over time causes serious health issues. I would like to discuss these issues and some myths about abuse as well. One thing that I think is important here and I want to really stress is that abuse is not your fault. Period! I used to believe that abuse was a normal way of life. The reason being is as a little child, I saw someone in my family that was abused. I never saw them being abused. I never knew the details but overheard things. You know how grown-ups get together and they talk and when we are little they think that we don't understand. Well, I didn't understand fully but I just thought it was normal because it was being discussed. So, first things to dispel this myth! Abuse is not the normal way of life. Another myth is that the abuser says they didn't know or don't know that they are abusing someone. This is not true! They know exactly what they are doing because they are doing it consistently. One other myth which are several more but one that really stands out is that its only certain type of women that gets abused. No, not at all. It can happen to any woman. Abuse does not discriminate. Health issues that abuse causes is:

1. Stress- PTSD 2. Nightmares 3. Anxiety 4. Depression 5. Suicidal Thoughts 6. Low self-esteem 7. Drug and alcohol abuse 8. Loss of appetite 9. Ulcer 10. Headaches Abuse can cause long lasting effects that just don't go away overnight. Healing needs to take place and time. 41

Lastly, I want to address psychological abuse. Think about this. You may not even know that this has happened to you. The example I want to use is a medical condition. When someone you know has a medical condition that requires maintenance it is not your responsibility to take on their illness. Because when you do it is not only draining physically but it is mentally. They will start to come to you for all of their needs in regards to their condition. They will blame you for when things go wrong. It is hard alone to take care of your own life but to take on someone's medical issues isn't right when they make you feel responsible. It causes stress. No one has the right to put their issues past and present onto you no matter who they are. We have to step back from this type of situation to maintain your sanity. Mind games is what I call this. We many know someone that is being abused or has been abused. Let's help educate one another and be able to be there for those who need our help. We have to be very mindful of others. People show you what they want you to see. People are afraid if they tell you that they have been abused or are being abused that one will think less of them, not understand them and they are embarrassed. When you are dealing with people that have been abused and currently are just listen. Show them that you are a safe place to share. No judgements or criticism just listen. They keep their pain bottled up inside and they do need a way to escape their pain. Please remember.. ALL WOUNDS ARE NOT VISIBLE.

Cheryl Peavy is Founder of She Is You. She works with young girls and women from diverse backgrounds faced with life traumatic situations are nurtured and supported resulting in personal abundant growth and transformation. Cheryl also helps women find their inner beauty through God. She gives inspiring messages of strength and courage. Cheryl says her greatest accomplishment is her son. Born on September 11th 2011, the day the twin towers went down. He challenges her daily and has given her the strength to go one after the loss of her mom and grandmother in 2012. Cheryl is a best seller co-author of “Fabulous New Life Volume II” Aprille Franks-Hunt, Saba Tekle’s “20 Most Beautiful Women.” Sharon Blake “ I Am Beautiful The Evolution of Beauty.” Nakia P Evans “The Woman Behind The Mask” And Teresa Hawley Howard “His Grace Is Sufficient.” Cheryl is also the author of an eBook, “Take All the Time You Need” that shares her personal experience with grief, and the five stages of grief. Cheryl is a speaker and Certified Inner Life Coach Specialist. Cheryl is a member of National Council of Negro Women. She is a contributing writer for Huffington Post, Thrive Global Magazine and Authentically You Magazine. When she is not serving in her many capacities, Cheryl loves to read, cook and write. To contact Cheryl, visit her website at


5 Tips When Shopping With an In-Store Personal Stylist/Shopper So you walk into the mall, go into your favorite clothing store…and you see a sea of clothing all over and do not know where to begin. One of the employees sees the confusion on your face and approaches you and asks how they can help you today; but you don’t even know where to begin. You don’t know what you are looking for anymore. But you know that you are on a mission to upgrade your wardrobe, a mission to purchase an outfit for an event or a special occasion. And you ask yourself ‘How can I tell her what I am looking for when I don’t even

know what I am looking for?’ As former clothing store retail manager I have learned alot when it comes to helping customers understand what they are looking for when shopping. I have seen the customers who walk in clueless; I have seen the customers who walk in overwhelmed; I have seen the customers who are lost; I have the customers who have no idea of who they are…And you may fit one or many of these categories. Not only does this cause frustration but it can also lead to unwanted purchases, spending over budget, and/or leaving with a sense of guilt because you didn’t accomplish your goal. Here are my 5 tips to help you in your shopping journey with an in-store personal stylist/shopper: Be Prepared: If they do not measure you, make sure you get your measurements done by you or a family member. It’s important that you know and understand your body type, so with these measurements you will be able to determine what your body type is, which in other words will help you know what clothing to say no and yes to. Also learn what your color complements your skin tone. All of this information is great to have ready for your personal shopper. Some important questions to ask are: How to care for the product? What brand of clothing works with your body type? What clothing are universal and versatile…meaning does it fit your entire lifestyle (work and play)? Know what you are shopping for: Have a shopping list ready. Do not be blindsided or distracted by the extras but be sure in what you need. Have a budget – Do not, and I mean, Do not spend more than you are planning to spend. Have a budget plan ready. Never shop without having a spending limit…this will benefit you in the end. Know who you are – This is very important! You want to make sure the items you purchase fit your personality style. Do not compromise who you are but be firm in your NOs and your Yeses.

My goal for my clients is to never leave a clothing store feeling as though you made a mistake in the items you purchased; never feel that you have to purchase an item that is being suggested. It’s all about standing your ground and being true to who you are.

LaTonya Knox Style Strategist Follow Me: FB: @imageandstylebylatonya 43


Sunday’s at 5:30 PM CST join host Katrina Lokko on DfW channel 47.2 or 27 if Verizon is your provider / Birmingham, AL & Northeast Mississippi 16.4. If you are not in any of those viewing areas, not to worry because you can watch online from anywhere in the world on any device at click watch live at the time the show is on.


Advancing Your Career People are often challenged and frustrated when faced with obstacles while trying to grow their career. What they fail to realize is advancing in your career must be strategic, intentional and targeted. One great analogy is to approach career advancement the same way politicians run their campaign. People have to know and like you if you want them to support and vote for you. Here are some steps you can follow which will help lead to guaranteed career advancement and success: Identify your core team or Board of Directors, those who are cheering for you from the front row. This team should include a solid mentor, a strong internal advocate or sponsor, a coach to help you work through your blind spots or any areas for development outlined on performance reviews, and an internal advisor who can help you avoid landmines within the workplace. Each of these core team members should provide you with candid feedback and help you develop and grow to the next level in your career. Think of this group as your campaign management team. Let your immediate manage know what your career goals are. They can’t read your mind, and if you are doing a stellar job in your current position, the perception may be you are completely satisfied where you currently are. Raise your hand to take on more projects or stretch assignments on other teams. This will give you exposure to other managers and other areas within your company. This step will also help build your reputation as someone who is reliable and who takes action. Be certain to exhibit excellent attention to detail and follow through skills and deliver quality work. Seek ways to over-deliver on any promises you make. Attend company social events. People like to work with people who they feel they know and like. That means you have to spend some off-duty hours getting to know your co -workers and other managers. Holiday parties, after work happy hours and other events are an effortless way to let your guard down and not talk business. Have fun!

Join professional organizations and learn how to network. This is where you will meet like-minded people in your industry or specialized field who work for other companies or own their own company. Networking events is also where you learn about the hidden job market. Make the annual membership fee investment. You will certainly see a return on your investment as you grow your career. Your network is your net worth! Steps 2 – 5 are where you are building your constituents, which is essential to every campaign. Professional development is essential to growing your career. Whether you take on certification courses or pursue an advanced degree, there is no substitution for investing in your own personal and professional development and education. If your company doesn’t pay for education, make the investment for yourself. Education is something no one can take away from you!


Start identifying your core team members and develop relationships with them. Also, look for ways to give back to your network. You have to feed your network before you look to fish from your network. You don’t want to be one of those people who only reaches out to someone when you need something, like a new job or a reference, so keep in touch with them on a regular basis. This will go a long way in establishing your professional brand, and people will reciprocate for someone who they feel gives more than they take. Following these steps will help lead to career advancement, but it won’t happen overnight. Remain persistent, strategic and intentional, but be patient.

Tana M. Session, MBA, PHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP Tana Session is a certified Career and Life Strategist and the best-selling author of “Get Your Career Life in Order”. Noted as a powerful motivational speaker, Tana shares her poignant career and life coaching tips with audiences from a personal perspective.

Tana M. Session Speaker/Coach/Trainer/Consultant


available on



Say NO to the Seasonal Seven! As I look out my kitchen window or drive in my car this time of year, I am mesmerized by the explosive and dynamic colors of this season - such bountiful colors and it makes me smile. This time of the year is absolutely stunning in the Northeast! Fall is certainly upon us and we are even experiencing warmer than normal temperatures.

This time of year also brings about feelings of oh my gosh, it’s October - we are in the last quarter of 2017! The Holidays are fast approaching and the stress of the upcoming holidays and everything we have to do creeps up on us out of nowhere - it’s the season of seven and overwhelming proportions. In the wellness and fitness world, a lot of health professionals refer to this time of year, from Halloween to New Years as the “Seasonal Seven”; meaning that the average adult typically gains 7 pounds from October through to New Years. Sadly, in my opinion, this figure has doubled and even tripled in some cases where the average weight gain is now between 14-21 pounds. No wonder why area gyms and fitness centers see an increase In their memberships after January 1st. As a wellness/transformation coach, I take this very personal - I was that person that would gain 10-14 pounds this time of year and I used to joke about it; I was hiding and covering my misery and found comfort in ALL this time of year had to offer and so much more! What can I do as a Wellness Professional to combat and get the word out there about the Seasonal Seven? Educate my readers and family and friends on the importance of following an investment plan to combat the Seasonal Seven with tools and practical strategies to implement. An investment plan to combat the Seasonal Seven? Yes, an investment plan. It sounds categorically different and perhaps a little strange - I totally understand; however, what if this toolbox could help you have a happy and healthy holiday season - would you be apt to try it? If your answer is yes, let me share with you some of the tools I personally use. The Candyman Can’t - depending on how many children trick or treat on Halloween at your home: Buy candy that you don’t like. If you buy a lot of different types of candy, bring the remaining candy to work or simply throw it away - don’t let it sit around the house! It’s way too tempting to have a bowl of candy that you walk by several times a day and every time you walk by it, you grab 1 or 2 - that adds up! Before going to a Halloween party or celebrate at a local establishment, hydrate! Drink at least (2) 8 ounces of water. Thanksgiving and Christmas Day - turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce - yummy! Can you say tryptophan? Ahh, that nice full warm and snuggly feeling that emanates after eating a Thanksgiving and a Christmas dinner - there’s nothing like it or you may have that feeling that you can’t believe you ate the whole thing - yikes, over indulgence! Obviously, you want to avoid the I can’t believe I ate the whole thing scenario! Hydrate before you start to snack on the appetizers. Make a plan to choose a small plate for appetizers and make it a point to only serve yourself one small serving.


Dinner time - if you can, use a small lunch plate. If you use a dinner plate, keep your portion sizes as small as possible. It’s not only practical but you will avoid an upset stomach in the process! Hydration - keep that water coming! Hydrating seems to be the least favorite coping mechanism in the toolbox but I can’t stress enough its’ vital importance. Keeping your body well hydrated will assist in keeping you fuller for longer and you will be less likely to overindulge. Movement - yes movement; that activity some people refer to as exercise! Commit to yourself to movement at least 3 days per week during this crazy hectic time of year. This will not only assist in keeping the additional weight off but will also help your mind and body with the stresses of the holiday season. What better way to burn those extra calories and combat stress than a good workout! Release those good endorphins and feel fabulous! The above are simple strategic solutions to assist you in making logical and clear choices when it comes to the holidays or any time of year. Catching the Seasonal Seven is like getting the flu - you know it’s there, it lurks and lingers around like a bad penny. Sometimes you can’t see it until it creeps up on you. How do you know when this happens? You just know! Say NO to the Seasonal Seven!

Janis Melillo lives in North Haven, Connecticut with her husband, Gary. She is a Transformation/Wellness Coach who works with women on their transformation path towards wellness through fitness and nutrition by implementing small changes leading to a healthier lifestyle overall. She is a certified health coach having received her training through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is a former licensed massage therapist and certified personal trainer and brings a different perspective on living a nutritious life. Janis brings her love of wellness to reach as many people as possible on social media. She is the host of a few Facebook groups: Circle of Hope, FitnessByDesign-411, GlutenFreeByDesign-411, and Busy Entrepreneurs Wellness Hub with Janis Melillo. She is the owner of her health coaching business WellnessByDesign. Her Facebook business account is: @WellnessByDesign411. You can also find Janis on Twitter: MelilloJanis Instagram: Along with fitness and nutrition, Janis is an International Best Selling Co-Author and has co-published 6 books so far this year! She obviously loves to write and five of the books she co-authored hit the International Best Seller List - 2 claimed the #1 spot! Her other co-authored book recently hit #1 Amazon Best Seller in its category. She has also written a couple of articles for different on-line publications and will now be a featured monthly contributor with Tribute Magazine. If you are in need of Janis' assistance and are ready to embark on your wellness journey, you may contact Janis through her website at:, (386) 717-0914 or email:






There is Always Hope Even When the World is Crashing Down Anxiety. It’s a difficult word to look at and not have preconceived notions about. When I think of anxiety, I think of a crushing weight on my shoulders and chest, causing me to not be able to get a full, deep breath. I think of the list of all the things-just all the things that never gets completely checked off.

You may have a completely different notion of what anxiety is. It may be something that is so completely beyond your control that you just crumple to the floor and don’t know if you can get back up. But there is hope…even in the darkest moment of anxiety…even when you can’t remember who you are anymore because of the anxiety…there is hope! I have battled with anxiety for over half my life. And it hasn’t been until the last few years that I have found things that truly help me. These may not be things that will help you, but one of my tools may help you think of something that will. I am not a psychologist, just a woman who has lived with anxiety and walked out the other side.

This may seem silly, but create a playlist that is happy, yet calm on your phone. Seriously, when you feel the anxiety coming, turn the playlist on shuffle so you don’t know what song will be next and just listen for a few songs. It can get your mind off what is causing you the anxiety and help you refocus. I really like quiet worship music, but you can choose anything that works for you. Another thing you can do is memorize scripture, or if you are not religious, encouraging statements. There are so many books and websites that are dedicated to this, to find a few encouragements or verses is relatively easy. Write them down on cards and to keep near you so you can look at and remind yourself of what it says. Make the encouragement personal-instead of using you, use I or me. One thing I wrote down when I was going through a particularly tough time with anxiety was: “God loves me. He created me for a purpose. He hasn’t forgotten or left me. I am beautiful and loved by the creator of the universe.” This is just as true for you as it is for me. Read books about other people who have battled anxiety and defeated it. I didn’t start doing this until a year or so ago, and was surprised how much seeing someone else describe what they were going through, validated me. It helped me to not feel alone and be able to better handle the anxiety when it did come. A few random things you can do-light a gentle smelling candle or diffuse essential oilslavender or wild orange are great for anxiety. Call the most encouraging person you know and ask them to speak life or joy over you. This is only if you feel comfortable enough to call this person. One of my best friends will pray over the phone for me and just hearing words of encouragement and hope really helps to not feel alone. If the anxiety is so paralyzing you cannot get out of it, don’t hesitate to talk to someone who can give you medication. It is not weak to ask for help or medication. Sometimes it is completely necessary. 56

Learn what triggers you to have anxiety. If watching the news causes you to have anxiety, only watch the news once a day and follow it up with something that causes you to have peace. If having a messy house causes anxiety, consider paying for someone to come once a week to clean or ask a relative or friend come help you. If it is loud noises, stay away from places that are loud. I can’t be in a crowded room without being so anxious I will almost faint. I stay away from concerts and parties because of it. I don’t feel like I miss out because I don’t have anxiety nearly as much as I did. Interestingly enough, when I was in high school I would have major anxiety during the passing period-because I was in halls full of teens, loud, rambunctious teens at that. But I didn’t connect that I couldn’t be in crowds until I went to my first concert when I was 21. There is hope for you. These tools may not help you, but it may help you think of something else that will be a tool for defeating anxiety. Please, don’t feel like you are alone in anxiety. What causes you anxiety, may be different from other’s but you are not alone.

Crystal Awsum I grew up in Kaufman, TX. My husband and I live in Ennis, TX. We have been married five years. We have two beautiful children, one girl and one boy. As a homemaker and homeschooling mom, I have a passion for seeing women live to their full potential and not let fear or comparison hold them back. Another passion is to help women see that God has created them with a unique purpose that does not include being overwhelmed, but to trust in Him in the day to day, minute to minute of their lives. 57

Love Shouldn’t Hurt Melissa Holmes is a two domestic violence survivor turned advocate 6 years ago, after surviving her last relationship that almost claimed her life. She decided that after being choked within seconds of dying, she would start a non profit organization called Love Shouldn't Hurt NY Inc., which originally started as a Facebook group in 2010, for domestic violence survivor and victims. She wanted to create a safe forum for others that needed help in leaving abusive situation, or just needed comfort in knowing that they were not alone. Since 2010 she has been strongly campaigning against domestic violence by paying forward in the community to try to assist with building healthy relationships. She has and continues to reach out to resources to continue to share whether it's tv interviews, news interviews, magazines, radio interview and being a motivational speaker, encouraging and inspiring others who are misunderstood or afraid to speak out. She guides them in a way that makes them understand it's nothing to be embarrassed about, it's not there fault or anything they did to cause someone to abuse them. Melissa has just launch a domestic violence seminar/workshop Oct 24th 2015 called "From Pain To Purpose, My New Chapter that has taking off into other city like New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Maryland to name a few. She just finished the last seminar for 2015. So if anyone needs assistance or needs her to make an appearance in their city, you can reach her via email or through social media. Closing Words: I'm NO longer a victim, I'm a VICTORY! Anyone can leave an abusive relationship it takes courage and strength, help is available.




Tribute Magazine October 2017  

Tribute Magazine featuring Wanda McKinley with We Are Survivors

Tribute Magazine October 2017  

Tribute Magazine featuring Wanda McKinley with We Are Survivors