Page 1

Page 12 Helen Ruth Sandifer Page 6

How to Dress Page 16

April Bigham Page 22

Shameka Reed Page 24


2 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016

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4 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016

Sno Biz Old Canton 6240 Old Canton Road, Jackson, MS 39211 Phone: 601-665-8192 Email: snobizoldcanton@gmail.com Website: www.snobizoldcanton.com Hours: Sunday - Saturday: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM Happy Hour is held every day from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM and 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM – half price all cup sizes!


WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • 5

Publisher & Editor Joanne Bell CEO Joanne Bell Contributing Writers Salmeilia Stewart Cover Design by James E. Roach III Cover Photo by Rodney McGee of RMcGee Photography Layout Design Latasha Willis Facebook: Woman to Woman with Joanne the Magazine

M

Joanne’s Desk BY JOANNE BELL, FOUNDER

atthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” How many times have you dimmed your light in order to save someone’s feelings? What about dimming your light to keep from leaving people behind? Or have you ever dimmed your light because people were jealous of you? The Word of God is clear. You allowing your light to shine is not for you — it is for God to get the glory from you doing what He has called you to do to the best of your ability. When you dim your light to please others, you are in direct disobedience to God’s Word. I have been guilty of being a people pleaser for most of my life. So many times because of jealousy and envy from people I thought were friends, I dimmed my light. I held back and didn’t give my best because it always made life harder. When you are growing and changing, sometimes the people around you get afraid and may even try to “protect” you from getting hurt by encouraging you to take the safe route instead of being so radically different. Don’t take it personally. Change sometimes hurts and no one that I know likes pain. We try to avoid it at all costs. Being a leader means that you stand out — it even requires you to sometimes go alone and pave the way for others to follow when they can’t see what you see. So go ahead — let your light shine. The world needs to see what you have to offer and we all have something to offer.

Website: www.JoanneSBell.com Contact us at woman2woman.joanne@ yahoo.com 601-398-6733 P.O. Box 2031 Ridgeland, MS 39158 All rights reserved. No portion of Woman to Woman with Joanne may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The management of Woman to Woman with Joanne is not responsible for opinions expressed by its writers.  Woman to Woman with Joanne maintains the unrestricted right to edit or refuse all submitted material.  All advertisements are subject to approval by the publisher.  The production of Woman to Woman is funded by advertising and sponsorship.

Love ya much!

Joanne

In This Issue Tribute - Helen Ruth Sandifer ......................................................................................... 6-7 Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress .................................................................................... 10 Cover Story: Kolean Sanders .............................................................................................. 12-15 How to Dress So You Don't Look a Mess ...................................................................... 16 A Letter from Salmeilia Stewart ....................................................................................... 19 Success Story - April Bigham ............................................................................................ 22 Spotlight: Shameka Reed ....................................................................................................... 24


6 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016

Tribute to

October 31, 1952 – August 24, 2016


WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • 7

P

roverbs 31:10 says; “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her worth is far above rubies…” We found that virtuous woman in my mom…and I miss her more than words could ever express. She was the beautiful mother of six children — four girls: Mary, Patricia, Joanne (myself) and Felicia; and two boys: Leyon and Samuel. She was the grandmother of 13 grandchildren and the great-grandmother of one great-grandson. I wanted to share a little about my mom and what I learned from her throughout the years, but more so what I learned from her these past few years. Growing up, I watched my mom as an at-home mom who took care of the house and made sure we had food ready to eat when we got home from school. She made sure we did our homework, and she did all the things mothers do, but I also watched her suffer heartbreak, frustration and

worry. To watch her go through all the things she went through during her lifetime, and to see how she still endured, still stood strong and still held her head up high, it made me see just how strong she really was. Times when I felt like she should have thrown in the towel and given up, she persevered. She never quit, and she never gave up. She never got weary in well doing. She did the best she could to take care of her family. She loved us and she was proud of us. She was 15 when she married my dad, so I can only imagine how she felt leaving her family behind — her brothers and sisters, her mom and dad. But she and my dad, Leonard Sandifer, had been married for 47 years before she passed. It hadn’t been peaches and cream — you don’t stay married that long and not have some ups and downs — but she did what she had to do as a mother and a wife every day. Her laugh was so infectious that you always left her smiling

or laughing, too. She was beautiful inside and out, and I can only hope to have the courage to be myself like she did. No matter what was going on, she never let anyone change who she was. She was always true to herself. These past few years is when I really had the chance to see the strong willed, self-motivated woman my mom really was. She knew what she wanted and she was strong enough to fight for it. I saw her rise up and fight. When she was sick in the hospital, she fought with everything she had to get better; her body was just tired. Watching her fight as hard as she did, she became the true epitome of 2nd Timothy 4:7 which says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Who can find a virtuous woman? We did, and we love you and miss you so much! Rest well, Ma…rest well.


8 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016


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10 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016

Tips to Manage

ANXIETY AND STRESS W •

• • • • • • • •

hen you're feeling anxious or stressed, these strategies will help you cope: Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head. Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand. Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks. Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest. Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below. Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly. Count to 10 slowly. Repeat and count to 20 if necessary. Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however close you get. Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?

Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way. • Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. • Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress. • Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern. • Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help. • Get help online. Lantern offers online programs guided by professional coaches to help you turn healthy anxiety management into a habit. Fitness Tips: Stay Healthy, Manage Stress • For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity (e.g. brisk walking) each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity (such as jogging or swimming laps), or a com-

• •

bination of the two. 5 × 30: Jog, walk, bike or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes. Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It's better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important. Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits. Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts or music. Many people find it’s more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy. Recruit an “exercise buddy.” It's often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner or colleague. Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.

Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Reprinted with permission. PHOTO CREDIT: BOB LOWE/FREEIMAGES.COM


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12 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016

Kolean Sanders

Where There Is Darkness, There Will Be Light PHOTO CREDITS: RMCGEE PHOTOGRAPHY


G

Part One – The Unlikely Candidate rowing up poor in a deep rural community, most would consider me an unlikely candidate for success. My life as I remember it was filled with chores. Of course, like most children, there were times when I was able to play and have fun with other friends and relatives, but most of my time was spent helping my mother as she worked around the house providing for our family. Washing clothes on a scrub board, fetching water from a distant spring, supplying the house with wood for heating and cooking were among my daily activities. Of the 10 children in my home, I was the only one my mother constantly called upon. I didn’t understand this at that time, and it made me feel mistreated. I later learned she was preparing me for her own untimely death. Somehow she knew she would soon be leaving us. Thus, she made sure of our survival, which would later become my sole responsibility. My mother taught me to cook, clean, wash clothes and manage a household all before I was 12 years old. I was also charged with the duty of “walking for my brothers and sisters until they could walk for themselves.” That was how she put it. A very spiritual woman, she daily went about sharing with me sundry maxims and advice that would not only ensure my successful household management, but which would also carry me throughout my life. Many times, I had no idea what she was trying to convey to me, but as time and fate would come, those many resounding words and life principles would resurface in my spirit at the right time. They would then make sense. A few of these concepts were, “Plant seeds today for a better tomorrow,” and, “Always know that, even if I am not here in the flesh, I am with you in spirit. Just know I am watching over you. And where there is darkness

WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • 13

surrounding you, I will make sure you have light.” She said, “Always walk in grace; you should know that you are beautiful.” Mom predicted that I would have many companies and that I would give away money, houses, cars, jewelry and clothes. She said my cup would run over, that I would be a gift to many. But these were not her only predictions. She also warned me of the many forms of abuse I would endure, which began almost immediately after her departure. I was 14 years old. Without being specific, she foretold of my betrayal and abandonment. Statistics indicate that one in four children face some form of abuse. It became apparent, in the immediate absence of my mother, this lot would fall on me in every category. Once this dramatic part of my life began, I experienced the betrayal my mother predicted. I felt the pain, the blame and the shame that comes along with it. Everyone in my house, my church and my community knew I was suffering, yet there was not one who would intervene or support me. I suddenly felt all alone in this world. Pain and embarrassment drove me into complete isolation for four years, during which time no one saw me because I never left the house. At age 18, after countless episode of being taken advantage of, I felt overwhelmed with depression, frustration and sheer exhaustion of day-to-day life. I decided

I could no longer take it. I opted to end my life. The terrain in my community was laden with tall trees, hills and crags, steep slopes and heavy brush. In the dark of one night, I weaved my way to the top of a high gravel mound, and turned my back to the edge. I asked my mother to forgive me. As I began to fall backward and let go of all my existence, dropping to what I thought to be my end, I remember seeing bright stars in the dark night. In my descent, I felt the presence of angels as though I was being enveloped by their wings. I knew for sure I was headed toward peace. When I landed, I came to the realization that not only was I not dead, but I wasn’t even hurt. Even though I had fallen from a high, steep distance, a fall that would have surely killed anybody else, I was in fact yet alive. In my mind, I felt it was not over, that I would still die. However, after this failed suicide attempt, I got up and went right into cooking greens and washing clothes for my family. Still, I felt I would die. And, when I did, my family would have clean clothes to wear and food to eat. I felt like this was just what I was supposed to do, even when I was killing myself. That night marked a major turnaround in my life. While in bed sleeping, still thinking I would pass from this life to the next, I felt a repeated brush on my feet. Figuring it to be one of the cats, I ignored it. I got up, not seeing anything, and went to use the restroom. I lay down, and it occurred again. I saw an image that I thought to be God. I very clearly heard a voice say to me, “Ye of little faith.” The words repeated, “Ye of little faith.” Then a Bible verse bubbled up within me, John 14:14. I had no idea what that verse was. When I looked up that scripture, I realized God was telling me to ask Him what I wanted Him to do.

(Continued, page 14)


14 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016

(Continued from page 13)

My request was simple: I asked humbly that He take away some of the pain, the shame and the embarrassment. I said, “You don’t have to remove it all; but just enough for me to be able to have some peace.” I also asked that He allow me to sense His presence and to know He had not left me. The next day, I walked out of my house, and for the first time in four years, I was seen by others. I went to the mailbox and had a brief encounter with the mail lady who spoke kind words. It was the first time since the passing of my mother that I began to feel love and I knew God was with me. Part Two – Relentless Pursuit n my early twenties, married and living away from my brothers and sisters, who by that time were ready to walk for themselves, I began to pursue employment opportunities. I remember working at a Wendy’s restaurant and having to walk several miles back and forth to work. My husband did not want me to work, and he proved it by not supporting me with the needed transportation. I just knew, however, when an opportunity presented itself, I had to follow my spirit and walk through the door. I had a number of jobs, working diligently until another breakthrough would come. I sold insurance for 20 years. I never will forget my first door-to-door sales presentation. I was so nervous that I literally forgot my name. One of my mentors, Joe Price, continued to hone my sales skills as he catered to my desire to improve. I also gained insight and strength from two more special mentors, Jess Rogus and Sutter Smith, both of whom took me under their wings and encouraged me in my career. I often found myself being the only one in a large class to make the cut, even winning Caribbean cruises and other performance awards. I started The Tomato Place more than 20 years ago, and over these years, it has continued to have unbelievable

I

success and steady growth. The company, located in Vicksburg, Mississippi, has been featured repeatedly in 25 to 30 food and business publications, and is documented in the national Roadside Atlas. There have been several feature stories with Mississippi Roads and the attraction has been used as the set for several Duck Dynasty episodes. I believe that opportunity is always looking for the looker. I have always sought for a better way and for opportunities to sow into the lives of others. Again, following the advice and example of my mother, I felt this was just what I was supposed to do. I discovered that God always provides seed to the sower. Along with several business opportunities that came my way, there were many ups and downs. Though I tried to stay off the emotional rollercoaster, it didn’t always work. Shortly after retiring in 1999, I went back to work for a security firm installing security systems. The company’s customer service department was not up to my standards. I was taught that people should always be respected. After months of consideration, I had an idea to start my own security firm. I partnered with Mr. J.R. Jones to form SanJo (Sanders and Jones) Security Services. As with most business success stories, ours was riddled with early struggle. There was uncertainty, and heavy doses of patience were needed as we moved through the different phases of growth and challenge. We viewed SanJo as an architect designing and building a large structure that embodied our dreams for success. Each day of construction, we were cleaning, building a new wall, adding utilities, etc. — adding those things we believed would contribute to the overall picture we envisioned. Amid the struggles, we encountered rainy days, often causing the construction of our vision to slow to a crawl. There were days when no one showed up for work, and times when funds

and operating capital were scarce or even unavailable. We found ourselves anxious, angry and upset. Further, there were days when reality hit us in the face in the form of a certified letter, taxes due, rent requested and other past-due responsibilities. As a result, we experienced a myriad of depressing thoughts, mixed emotions and self-doubt as we lost value, focus and time. However, we pressed forward, gave each other positive feedback and continued our relentless pursuit. Staying committed and relying on our faith, we found ourselves back on track. At a time when we were feeling uncertain, an angel appears — an encouraging phone call from the Small Business Administration (SBA) with an opportunity that changed our fear into faith. In August 2008, SanJo was afforded the opportunity to form a partnership with Southwest Security Service (SWSS). We headed up security operations at the Vicksburg Army Corp of Engineers as well as the Mat Sinking Unit. This multi-million-dollar contract was awarded to us on my birthday, August 29, and it literally changed the face and life cycle of the company. It opened doors for many more opportunities. Six months later, February 2009, another business opportunity came to SanJo. We took on operations with the Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). There were a number of complexities that caused us to entertain thoughts of giving up on


WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • 15

this project, but with hands-on diligence, conference calls and emails, we were able to re-posture this company and gain compliance. NOAA increased its worth and status to become the esteemed hosting party of the elite. Through our involvement with SBA, we met another partner which resulted in the opening of our facilities management division. This line of our business took its first steps in March 2010 at the Columbus Air Force Base in Columbus, Mississippi. This was followed by another security venture with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Then, in July 2010, with the help of SBA, SanJo Catering Services began and established a teaming agreement with GCH Services. In this process, we were able to change lives through employment opportunities for 380 people. One month later, on August 8, 2010, I claimed that all opportunities that were mine were on the way in His Name. Further, I proclaimed that by December 2010, these 380 new employees would turn SanJo into a global million-dollar company. How did I know? Because I was standing on John 14:14 as God’s promise to me. Did it happen? Indeed it did. We committed to use our God-sent opportunity to allow God’s will to be done. Our mission of “Planting seeds today for a better tomorrow” became the drive and guiding principle for raising our standard for success even higher. Angels were soaring around us and more opportunities were with them. In 2013, SanJo created another partnership with Suri Global Strategies and the country of Suriname in the city of Paramaribo, which entailed forming personal relationships with the vice president, his ambassadors and bank presidents in many other countries. This confirmed my mom’s foretelling that I would one day stand before kings in other countries. February 2013, I added a new division called the Cellular Network

Center (CNC). It is comprised of IT companies, and multiple domestic and international partners ranging from Jackson State University to the countries of Spain, Vietnam and more. From 2008 to 2016, SanJo has been blessed with success. With more than 550 employees, government and private sector contracts, and partnerships both domestic and abroad, SanJo is a success. We have a lot to thank God for. The future grows brighter every day. I give all praise and honor to God. I am never surprised at how He has honored His promise to me, yet I am ever humbled at His great faithfulness and favor. Part Three – The Favor of God am grateful for all the friends, family members and partnerships that I have been favored with in my life. I am particularly thankful for the Chief Financial Officer of SanJo, Mr. J.R. Jones, my business partner, for his tenacity and patience, and for his belief in my sometimes foggy vision. I appreciate his willingness to accompany me as I followed my spirit. All along this journey, I understood the angels of the Lord had been sent to help me. He has continuously confirmed His favor for me as more opportunities and new business divisions emerged. These are comprised of contracts for food service, janitorial services, grounds care, petroleum transport and supply, security forces, surveillance and monitoring equipment, and more. The venues where our services are rendered include military bases, prisons, and Naval Air stations and governments. Often I hear from old acquaintances, classmates, friends and loved ones. They make statements like, “I didn’t think you would turn out this well!” or, “You have done so well for yourself.” However, what they mean and what they are saying are not the same. The rest of their comments are, “…in spite of what you went through,” or, “…considering your past circumstances.” In fact, I was recently asked what was

I

it that gave me the will and the power to push past the hardship, the obstacles and the soul damage. My answer is always from the advice of my loving mother: “When you are going through hardship and pain, no matter how difficult, take your eyes off yourself and look to the needs of another. In doing so, God will move on your behalf.” She also said, “Just go to work!” I often reflect on the angels sent to protect me at my attempted suicide, and I know that God always had a plan and a purpose for my life. He refused to let me die that night. God favored me with the mother to whom I was born. She defined my life as a little girl, and through her words of advice, of warning and of encouragement, I am driven to survive and to do my best. My continual awareness of God’s angels encamped round about me leave me with no fear. The Holy Spirit within me has led me through many doors of opportunity. I’m in the process of writing a book. Also, I am teaming up with Mr. Maximus Wright from the movie “Soul Damage” to shoot a trailer and a movie. I know that I walk in God’s favor and that the many seeds I have sown over the decades are in their time to blossom. I am thus in my season for harvest. My life today is the “better tomorrow” that I hoped and longed for over my lengthy time of sowing. Planting seeds today for a better tomorrow is how we harvest God’s blessings for generations to come. This is what I know!


16 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016

HOW TO DRESS SO YOU DON'T LOOK A MESS

Cardigans & Wraps

Spring and fall are always wonderful seasons for transitional pieces. Cardigans and wraps are great transitional pieces.

BY DENISE DONALD

Are you headed to a football game? Pair your cardigan or wrap with a white T-shirt and a pair of jeans (don't forget to add a statement necklace)! Cute flats or ankle boots makes the outfit complete!

For the more daring ladies, try an asymmetrical cardigan or wrap! Pair with jeans, slacks or a skirt!

Need something to wear for a girl’s night out? Pair your cardigan or wrap with bold print bottoms (slacks or a skirt). Don’t forget your statement necklace! Add a pair of stilettos for a “dressy” look.

Would you like more great style tips? Subscribe to our blog. Go to www.myorangeleopard.com and subscribe! PHOTO CREDIT: PEXELS.COM


WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • 17

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18 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016


A Letter From... Dear Loves,

I am writing this love letter to encourage you wherever you are. To every woman in the world, my heart reaches out to you to remind you on this day that you are loved. You are important. Despite your current circumstances or past conditions, you are loved and you were created with a purpose. You are not a mistake, but you were handcrafted by a one-of-a-kind Creator. I know life has not always been fair and people may not have always treated you right, but the Creator has always loved you. He has a great plan for your life and He wants you to succeed. What you need in your life at this time is not more money, a house, a car, a job or even a man. What you need in your life at this time is to know that you are loved and to simply believe again, for if you knew that you were truly loved, you wouldn't have to go looking for it in other places. If you truly believe in what the Creator has said about you, then in time you will receive the money, the house, the car, the job, and yes, a great man! I don't know anything on the face of this earth that wasn't created with a purpose, so why would you think that you don't have one? When you understand the Creator’s love, then you will understand that you are significant. As a woman, you have a role to play in the universe. You have a voice that must be heard. If I can be transparent, I have my doubts and questions... Do I have something to say? Am I significant? Can I stand by myself? Am I really capable of leading when I have been taught all my life to follow? Yes, I am "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" when I'm partnered with someone, but are my ideas great alone? I have had to learn to allow my faith to echo louder than my fears. Just like you, I have my shortcomings, but that doesn't mean I don't have anything great to contribute to the world. My deepest prayer for you, love, is during your darkest hour, you are reminded that you are loved. Your life matters! This is not where the chapter ends for you. You must start that business, you must write that book, you must take that job. Someone’s life is depending on it. There is another woman out there that needs your wisdom and for you to excel. Yes, even your failures are calculated by the Creator. He knew you were going to fail. Some other woman out there needs to know that even though she failed like you, she

can rise again. Whether you believe it or not, your failures are not your own, nor are your successes. Maybe another woman needs to know that her story is not that bad. Woman of God, it is important that you succeed. Your success will not only lift you up, but your life will be an inspiration to others. We were never created to be alone. So, even in the midst of your trials, you are not alone. I encourage you, love, to give your life a chance. When you liberate yourself, you will liberate others. I have been so selfish over the years because I kept so many ideas and dreams that the Creator has purposefully given me from the rest of the world - all because I was afraid or I didn't think I was good enough. I wanted this world to give me something I wasn't willing to give to it, which was my all. However, fear is not of God. The Creator is love and love is giving. Love is rooted in servitude. I haven't been a good servant nor a good example of His love. If I can be transparent again, I have always been a writer. However, because I didn't excel in English and often compared my writings to others, I never really pursued writing until now. Over the years, writing has not only been a way to relieve stress but as a way for God to communicate to and through me. Some nights, I write, and when I read it the next day, it is so profound. I question myself: Did I write this? This is some really good stuff. I soon realized that if my writing encouraged me, it may encourage someone else. Today, I have the opportunity to encourage women around the world every month. With each passing day, I am coming out of my place of darkness and I am starting to walk in the light of my Creator. On today, I am asking you, beautiful, to simply join me. Let us believe that we are truly loved and created for a purpose. Let's all know that as long as we have air in our lungs and movement in our limbs that there is something the Creator wants us to do. He wants us to walk in His love daily. It's not over! If you are reading this, you still have time. You are loved, you are beautiful, you are HIS, you were created for a purpose and you are victorious. I love you. Let us all choose to be great! Love,

SALMEILIA JE' STEWART About the Author: Salmeilia is the mother of an eight-year-old son named Jaden and currently resides in Jackson, MS. She is an actress, writer and comedienne. She works for Phoenix Rising Entertainment. When she is not working, she enjoys taking pictures and having a great cup of coffee. You may follow Salmeilia on Instagram @Salmeilia and Facebook @Salmeilia Je'.

Salmeilia J. Stewart PHOTO CREDIT: SCISETTI ALFIO/ADOBE STOCK


20 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016


WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • 21

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22 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016

S U C C E S S

APRIL BIGHAM

S T O R Y

From the Couch to the Runway

I

was born and raised in Champaign, Illinois. I am a single mother of three sons: Cary (26), Rashard (24) and Brandon (21), and one daughter, Diamond (17). I am also a “glamma” to four precious grandbabies. I worked in the home health care and hospice field for more than 20 years. My motto is, “Family First.” I’m very passionate and dedicated as a nurturer and provider for my family, sometimes to my detriment. I now reside in Jackson, Mississippi, and I found myself consumed with taking care of everyone else and neglecting myself. I

worked from home, so I really didn’t have a reason to leave other than to run errands. My days would literally be spent on my couch, with my laptop, in my muumuu watching soap operas. When I looked up, I realized life was not waiting for me — it was passing me by. That’s when I decided to come outside of my box and begin to love myself and go after my dreams of being a model, actress and mentor. Since I made that decision, I have competed in the Curvy Idol Competition 2015, I have been a runway model for Mississippi Fashion Week 2016, I have modeled

for Fashion Unleashed 2016, I have been a model for Lipstick Lounge Fashion Show 2016, I am a Lead Brand Ambassador for Fondren Fashion House, and I have been an extra in the upcoming movie “Soul Damage” and also in the movie “Girl Trip.” I am also in the process of developing a mentorship program for children ages 10-17. I’ve obtained quite a few degrees from the school of hard knocks and have faced many adversities in life that have made me fierce, fabulous and unforgettable. I live by Ghandi’s quote, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

PHOTO CREDIT: RMCGEE PHOTOGRAPHY


WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • 23

Quatrisa Irving, Optometrist 1200 E. County Line Road (601) 957-6078 Northpark Mall (601) 957-6924 [fax] Ridgeland, MS 39157 irvingeyecare@yahoo.com

Hours of Operation: Monday - Saturday: 9:00am-6:00pm Sunday: 12:00pm-4:00pm


24 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016

Shameka Reed

S

hameka L. Reed is an award-winning public relations and marketing specialist. A 2003 graduate of Jackson State University, Shameka has more than 10 years of experience in the mass media and communications industry. In 2006, she founded Savvy Inc. PR, Marketing & Media Relations, a full-service public relations and marketing firm that specializes in working with small businesses, higher education and lifestyle/entertainment entities. In 2013, Savvy Inc. helped lead the charge for Jackson State University’s Tiger Challenge Commitment enrollment campaign that resulted in the university’s record enrollment and the university having the highest enrollment growth in Mississippi. She was also instrumental in im-

plementing marketing strategies that helped the university increase enrollment in their summer camp programs by 17 percent. Both campaigns received an Award of Excellence and Award of Merit from the Southern Public Relations Federation during the 2013 Lantern Awards. Shameka served as a guest panelist for two sessions during SAGE’s 2015 National Conference. Additionally, Shameka is an experienced and award-winning journalist. She has covered an array of stories ranging from entertainment and sports to historical features about the Underground Railroad. She uses her background in journalism, public relations and marketing to help clients build a holistic approach to building campaigns that incorporate traditional and new

media strategies. Shameka is the founder of Savvy Lifestyle Magazine, The Artisan Mixer, and the Young, Gifted & Empowered Awards, which recognizes the accomplishments of young professionals between the ages of 25 and 45. She is actively involved in her community and church through service projects and the arts. Currently, Shameka serves as the International Marketing & Recruitment Specialist for Jackson State University. Priding herself in the business connections that she has made, she continues to assist and lend professional advice to individuals and organizations seeking to use public relations and marketing to establish their organization’s brand and message. PHOTO CREDIT: JACKSON FREE PRESS


WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • 25

“Love the people, Cook them great food”

We provide Full Catering, Meal Preps for the health conscious and Personal Chef services. We meet everyone’s needs and budget. No job is too small. Contact for more information: 601-540-0518 Chefpourbankitchen12@icloud.com

Mr. D’s Food Palace 105 E. Georgetown St. Crystal Springs, MS 39059 601-892-8992 Monday – Friday 11am – 9pm Saturday – 7am – 10pm Breakfast Buffet

Darren Powell Owner

Sunday 11am – 3pm Lunch and Dinner


26 • WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • September 2016

PK’s Styling Salon PRISCILLA KENDRICK Stylist & Owner

P.O. Box 708 119 E. Cunningham Ave. Terry, MS 39170 (601) 878-5121 Appointments and Walk-ins


WOMAN TO WOMAN WITH JOANNE: THE MAGAZINE • 27


Profile for Woman To Woman With Joanne

Woman To Woman With Joanne The Magazine September 2016  

Woman To Woman With Joanne The Magazine mission is to Empower Women Beyond Their Circumstances. Our goal to tell our story in order to enco...

Woman To Woman With Joanne The Magazine September 2016  

Woman To Woman With Joanne The Magazine mission is to Empower Women Beyond Their Circumstances. Our goal to tell our story in order to enco...