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November 2012 Issue Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!

BUSINESS TIPS How to maximize your business relationships after an event

FASHION Tips on How to be Both Professional and Chic

BOOKS Chere Cofield's Amazon's bestseller: The Crash That Altered My Life While Running a Business Empire

BONITA PARKER

Kimberly Williams

Co-Owner of Beyond Elegant Co-Owner of Beyond Elegant Inspired, Get Elevated! November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Events Events


Tips on How to Be both Professional and Chic While Running a Business Empire By: Sandra Salathe

There is a fine line between what’s appropriate to wear at work and what’s not. This line might be invisible to some of us who either cannot see it or pretend not to. I remember when I had my first job interview. It was at the tender age of fifteen and I had butterflies the size of baseballs residing in the pit of my stomach. The main question that was tugging at the back of mind wasn’t if I was going to get the job or not. It wasn’t even about the questions that the interviewer was going to ask me. It was simply what was I going to wear? Being fifteen at the time, I decided to go with a pink sequined dress, white stockings, and oxfords. Needless to say, that although the job was in a clothing boutique it wasn’t one of my smartest or best fashion moves. I have learned over the years that your knowledge about what is work appropriate attire is very important to your success in business. Therefore, before going to a meeting it is important to ask what this meeting will actually entail. Will there be a lot of moving around? Will there be hours of standing on your feet? Has the client set the tone of meeting as a casual one? Etc.

Before you go waltzing into your fabulous walk-incloset, take a moment to consider the audience (client) you’re dressing for. Also take into consideration exactly what type of image you want to give off. Now, a lot of you might be thinking “Tell me something I don’t know,” but how many of you can honestly say that you are a walking billboard for your business image. Are you appealing to your clientele? Do people recognize your brand through your wardrobe/physical appearance? Are they able to put a face to the name, website, and social media outlets or are potential clients caught off guard by your look? Women don’t always realize that how they look and dress is incredibly important, especially if you are attempting to establish/reaffirm a business image. The pictures you have on your website and other social media outlets speak to who you are and what you look like. Think back to some of your potential client meetings that by your standards went extremely well. You answered all the questions, you were able to connect with the client on both a business and personal level, and they really seemed to enjoy hearing about your business. But at the end of the meeting, after the follow up has been made, and you find they’ve decided to go with someone else you have consider all the reasons why. Therefore, if a client is picturing as one image and you show up completely different that might be the number one turn off and factor as to why they didn’t use your services. But there’s no need to fret because professionally dressing for work and still looking chic is unbelievably easy. With just a few tips any business woman can do a complete 180 transformation. So let’s get started!

November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!


Heels are a must for any business woman. The thought alone might make some cringe but with the right pair; some might reconsider. I like a black ankle strap because it’s simple but chic. For those of you that have to be on your feet all day, go for a pair with a wider heel and a cushioned foot bed. These elements will make it easier for those women that have to stand on their feet 24/7.

Tip 1: Outerwear

Also look for cushioned inserts to place into your heels for comfort. I like Dr.Scholls Open Shoe Inserts which are sold at almost any drugstore. They’ve made it incredibly helpful for me to wear heels at work while keeping me comfortable. Tip 3: Pencil skirts

With the brisk weather making a comeback, it’s time to rummage through our closets in search for our warm and thick coats. Since the weather isn’t unbearable quiet yet, this means that we can reach for the lighter coats instead. My go-to outerwear choice for fall would be a trench coat. Going with this choice is better because it’s sophisticated and warm without being too heavy. Plus it has such a timeless feel to it which makes it undying. Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s anyone? A Trench coat is the perfect go-to coat for any business woman and is the perfect way to transform your look from boring to elegant. Tip 2: Heels

Pencil skirts are a very chic way to be professional. Instead of going for an all-black version, try looking for one in a fun color or one with patterns. Remember that proportion plays a huge role when wearing pencil skirts. Since pencil skirts are already fitting, pair it with a billowy blouse or tank. If you’re wearing something form fitting on the bottom make sure to wear something loose on top and vice versa.

November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!


Tip 4: Structured bag

Structured bags scream superiority. They remind me of the 40’s and 50’s when purses only came in a structured silhouette. Every lady should have one of these bags in their closet in order to pull off that chic and stylish look. If you have to carry a lot go for a larger shape. A lot of designers create versions that have a larger outline which is perfect for those that carry their entire lives in their purse. Hopefully with these tips you’ll be able to pull a fashion forward look together all the while staying proficient. Who knows, you might even obtain the urge to locate a runway and strut yourself onto it. Fingers crossed!

On sale now at Amazon.com pick up this life altering book today! Named Best-Seller for Stress Management.

November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!


One on One Interview with Andrea Hancock of B Dexterous

Andrea H. : Yes, I love bringing solutions to people’s

By: Ijeoma Nwatu, Contributing Writer

Ijeoma N. : What type of education do you need for

lives. So yes, I believe it was a good business move. this profession?

Andrea H. : You have to continue to educate yourself

not only on techniques but to convey to the client that changes need to be made because that is why he or she hired you. I aspire to be a certified professional organizer (CPO). I will need to take an exam and continuing education credits just like an certified public accountant would take courses.

Ijeoma N. : What are a few dos and don’ts you learned as a business owner thus far?

Andrea H. : Read a lot about business, particularly the

Less than three years ago, Andrea Hancock was just another young, working professional. Though she admits she had an itch for the entrepreneurial life for many years, she was not ready to take the plunge until recently. Andrea now owns and operates, B Dexterous, a professional organizing business in northern Virginia. I took some time to talk her about being a businesswoman, her advice for entrepreneurs and how she manages her work-life balance.

Ijeoma N.: What lead you to the path that you are on right now?

demographic for your business idea, industry, etc. There are tons of books. Through reading, you can get ideas and develop a roadmap. I have never been a full-time entrepreneur before so understanding that there are highs and lows of getting a steady paycheck.

1. Try not to isolate yourself, especially when you are a solopreneur. 2. Join a networking group that is similar to your industry. 3. Do not panic. There are a lot of people and organizations that want your money. Slow down, create a plan. Use free resources before you spend a lot money.

Ijeoma N. : Do you think having a supportive spouse made it easier to pursue a business?

Andrea H.: For a long time, I wanted to be an

entrepreneur but, did not know which business to own. In college I was a part of the entrepreneur club. In 2010, I found the National Association of Professional Organizations (NAPO) after doing a little research online. I realized it was a real industry of professional organizers and decided to launch my own business a few months later.

Ijeoma N. : Do you feel that your decision was the right business move?

Andrea H.: I was able to do this business because my spouse has an income, insurance and provides moral support. However, if I was single, I could have moved back home and done other things to minimize living expenses. As the business grows, I would not have to drag to another person with the highs and lows of entrepreneurship. Having a business is like having a baby. It takes a lot of your time and resources. A single person has more flexibility. Ijeoma N.: What else is there to know about you?

November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!


Andrea H. : Well, I wanted to have a work/life

balance. I am learning to set boundaries. I volunteer to teach people about the Bible. Spending time with my family is important while continuing to build upon relationships that have already been there. I want to make sure that the things I value are not overcrowded by my business.

Balancing the Books: Entrepreneurs are Not Just Money Makers…They’re Money Managers! By: Alshonta Clemons, Contributing Writer

To learn more about Andrea Hancock and her professional organizing business, visit her website at www.bdexterous.com. You can also follow her via Pinterest and Twitter.

Bookkeeping requires time, consistency and organization. Good organization keeps business owners from becoming too busy to properly balance the books. Although there is software to help businesses manage accounting records, it still requires input. If a business isn’t organized, balancing the books can be quite a challenge. If the books aren’t balanced, getting prepared to file taxes could become a significant emotional event. Here are some things to consider when deciding to handle your own books or having a professional handle them. You won’t remember.

If you rely on memory, you may miss something. Track income and expenditures on a daily basis. This can be pretty challenging for some businesses, but once a routine is established it should be quick and easy. Set aside a time of day to do this every day. Minimize mistakes by picking a time where there are little or no interruptions. In many aspects, financial mistakes can be costly to a business. November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!


Business and pleasure simply don’t mix.

Keep business and personal accounts separate. This may seem like a “no-brainer,” but when starting up a small business it can be pretty convenient to use personal funds for supplies here and there. I assisted a business (Daycare) owner who simply could not figure out where she was going wrong. She found herself advancing money for daycare supplies before being paid for her services. I finally asked her if she had separate accounts. She said she opened a business account but it was easier to use one account. Once she began to use her business account, she could see her cash flow much more clearly and was able to track business expenses easier.

Check IRS guidelines on an annual basis for updates. Be sure to keep all documents such as receipts, checks, invoices, statements and other documents pertaining to the business. When a business is organized from the beginning with accurate recordkeeping, filing will be a breeze. If there is money owed to the IRS, the owner is billed. If the bill goes unpaid, a second bill will be sent. If that bill is unpaid, a final bill is sent before the IRS begins to take collection actions. Don’t take the risk. If you cannot pay the bill, contact the IRS immediately upon receipt and make arrangements.

It really is apples and oranges.

Use business funds to make business purchases and personal accounts for items personal in nature. The purchase may seem minute at the time but every penny counts and they add up quickly. Be sure to separate business and personal receipts. If receipts are taking up too much space, invest in a device like the NeatDesk scanner to help organize receipts. Don’t mess with the IRS!

November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!


Meet the Ladies of Beyond Elegant Events By: DeLisha Sylvester Bonita Parker & Kimberly Williams are both coowners of Beyond Elegant Events since its conception they have worked with some of the most influential people across the United States. Some of their highlights include planning and hosting several social events that housed known-named individuals like business guru Stedman Graham; Jennifer Williams of VH1's hit reality TV show "Basketball Wives"; R&B songstress – Chante Moore; ABC’s Secret Millionaire – James Malinchak; Mayor Mayra Taylor, Mayor of the City of Opa Locka in Florida; Commissioner Dorothy Johnson, City of Opa Locka; Lasse Larsen of VHI’s hit reality show “What Chili Wants”; Vicki Irvin Enterprises – a multimillion dollar coaching practice operated by business coach and world-renowned speaker, Vicki Irvin; and also UFC mixed martial arts trainer Master Lloyd Irvin, Jr. of Lloyd Irvin Mixed Martial Arts Academy.

Bonita Parker (left) and Kimberly Williams (right) WE Magazine got a chance to sit down with Bonita Parker and her business partner Kimberly Williams in a recent phone interview. They both discussed adjustments they face following their true passions, what keeps them going, and where they would their business to expand over the next five years.

November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!


WE Magazine: What inspired you to get into the business/field that you are in? B. Parker and K. Williams: We both have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a creative eye for design. Event planning came naturally for both of us and it was something that we found great pleasure in doing. WE Magazine: What was the goal of starting a company? B. Parker: We currently outsource a lot of services like catering, photography, music; therefore our goal within a year would be to provide those services in-house. Also over the next five years we want to attract higher end clientele larger corporations.

come to you and expect you to plan their events. Beyond just planning the event you must bring their vision from paper to reality. B. Parker: I would have to agree also in addition to planning the event we have added coaching. We provide coaching to those that have an interest in this field and walk them through the process from start to finish. We believe and take pride in the fact that we make it more than just about the dollar. We truly want our clients to get involved every step of the way to make their vision a success. We want to learn about them on a personal level, and make it more than just about business.

K. Williams: I would have to agree with Bonita. WE Magazine: As entrepreneurs you face many challenges both in starting your business and maintaining it. What challenges do you find that you face in your business? B. Parker: One of the biggest challenges is obtaining the clientele. Our goal is to reach out to corporate America, and begin to add more corporate style events. WE Magazine: What were some of your fears when first starting your business? B. Parker: Financially (it was) a big difference. (I went from) making six figures to a prayer that I could bring in 3-4 figures a month. But due to my husbands' persistent and supporting nature I pushed on and pursued my dream. WE Magazine: Moving from your fears and challenges for a second please share what makes you different from others in your field? K. Williams: We bring together both sides of event planning. Bonita's business and marketing background, and my creative mindset makes us a dynamic duo. What you must realize is that each client is different. Clients

Bonita Parker began her journey over 10 years ago starting out planning events for family members when one day she was approached by her sister, and asked to plan her wedding. At first thought she was skeptical, but she took a chance and from that moment on she was hooked to the world of event planning. She left her 9-5 job where she was making a successful six-figure salary to start her own business. WE Magazine: Awesome. Assuming that you both have children and are married share with our readers do you think being an entrepreneur is easily combined with being a wife and a mother? K. Williams: I have been doing event planning for 11+ years now and my children are both older. One is 25 and the other is 22, and I found that earlier on I had a

November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!


wonderful support system in my husband and children. They realized that all the work that I put into my business was to make sure there was food on the table and clothes on their backs. B. Parker: I am married; I have been married for about five years now. I have a 22-year-old and a 5-year-old son. My husband pushed me to start my own business and I find that as long as there is communication and delegation you can achieve anything in business. WE Magazine: This magazine is geared toward female entrepreneurs therefore I want to ask you do you think male entrepreneurs in your field receive different benefits than female entrepreneurs? B. Parker: No I don't see a big difference in benefits that males receive as opposed to females in this field. I believe that males are just as present in this field as females. I will say that we have more female clients than males which baffles me. WE Magazine: Why is that? B. Parker: We plan parties including birthdays and special occasion events. Therefore you would think that more men would want to plan an event for that special someone in their lives.

Kimberly Williams, founder of Above and Beyond Imagination, began her event planning career in a completely different state. In 2000, she began her journey in the exciting and creative life of event planning decorating. It would be through a site called Weddingwire.com that the two business women would "meet", and eventually create a lasting business relationship and friendship. WE Magazine: That is interesting. I just want to ask you both one more question before we wrap up this interview. What keeps you driven and elevated to continue on your journey? B. Parker and K. Williams: Simply put - our clients! We come in contact with a wide variety of clients who always put us to the test in our abilities to be creative and deliver on what we stand for - excellence and unique quality of service that stands out in the industry. WE Magazine: Wonderful. I appreciate you taking the time out to talk with me about your business and I wish you all the success. Do you have any upcoming events that you want to put out there? B. Parker: We have a Holiday Mixer event on December 15, 2012 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Westchester Event Center in Waldorf, MD. We will also be collecting donations for Toys for Tots at the event so please bring a gift for more information please visit http://beenetworking2012.eventbrite.com/. We also have an event called Mission Possible Bridal Expo in February of 2013. It will bring new movement in the form of ideas, inspirations, and joy to the bridal experience. For more information please visit http://missionpossiblebridalexpo.eventbrite.com. K. Williams: We are having a Beyond Elegant Events Extravaganza & Launch in April of 2013. For more information, please visit www.beelaunch2013.eventbrite.com For more information about Beyond Elegant ExposĂŠ please visit their website. Also follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!


and use her tips to guide them through it in a healthy stress-free way. WE Magazine: What do you think your readers will get from your book? C. Cofield: Readers will feel empowered to never give up in life despite trials, adversity, or stress. They will also learn effective ways to relieve, reduce, and mange their stress.

Get inspired by author Chere Cofield! By: DeLisha Sylvester WE Magazine got a chance to talk with Chere Cofield about her debut book entitled The Crash That Altered My Life. This book is meant to give its reader the encouragement and empowerment to work through any adversity. The book shows Cofield’s journey from having it all, losing it all, and the road she took to gain it all back. On the day of its debut release on September 30, 2012 it managed to reach #3 under Amazon.com BestSellers list in the category of Stress Management and #4 in the category of Self Improvement.

WE Magazine: What inspired you to write this book? C. Cofield: I was inspired to write the book because I went through a stressful time in my life and needed effective ways to relieve my stress. When you go through life’s challenges you feel you are alone with no way out, however, there is always someone else out there that can relate to your trial. As I implemented specific steps in my own life to reduce my stress and triumph through my adversity I knew others would benefit.

WE Magazine: What were the challenges you faced while writing the book? The book gives a glimpse of Cofield’s life and the struggles that follow including a divorce, a loss of financial stability, and triumphant come back. Through her journey she captures some of her good and not so good habits for coping with stress. She gives her reader the opportunity to detail their own accounts of adversity

C. Cofield: My biggest challenge while writing the book was wise time management in order to complete the book. My schedule is very busy so to sit down and actually write this book required commitment, persistence, & dedication.

November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!


WE Magazine: Is there any advice you would give women that are in your situation? C. Cofield: My advice is to never give up despite any trials you may face. Live one day at a time. Write down what you want to accomplish, overcome, or achieve and then set goals to work towards it each day. You can take baby steps until you are fully walking triumphantly in whatever your heart desires. Trials only last for a while.

WE Magazine: Is anything you would like to say to your readers? C. Cofield: Stress is real and can adversely affect your health if you don’t get a handle on it. My book will help you to do that. Please be honest with yourselves and take note of the areas where you need to make changes [in order to start] adding years to your life by effectively managing your stress. For more information on Chere Cofield follow her via Facebook and Twitter. Also catch her on the cover of our December 2012 Issue to get a real look into the woman behind Chere Cofield International.

Conference Hangover: Tips for How to Turn Leads into Relationships After Conferences By Ijeoma Nwatu Earlier this summer, I decided I needed to expand my network and meet other women who run their own businesses or are in the process of doing so. I registered as a volunteer for the 2012 Pennsylvania Conference for Women. My goal was to surround myself with women who could not only inspire me but offer real, tangible advice. At this particular conference there were a variety of opportunities to mix and mingle, and hear from amazing speakers like Arianna Huffington and Vera Bradley. Aside from gaining more business insight and helpful contacts, I learned about the importance of staying connected post-conference. Your actions after a conference or networking event shape your continued relationship with those you met. Therefore, here are a few tips to make the most out of all the information you've received after it is all said and done.

Get organized Take that conference bag and flip it upside down. Set aside the free pens and other goodies and find all the business cards you've collected and review them. For the names or conversations that truly resonated with you, jot down a brief description on the back of the card as to why the contact left an impression. Perhaps you can collaborate with the person on a future event or refer him/her to an service that you find valuable. Whatever your reasoning, make contact!

Utilize social media Enjoyed the keynote speaker? Found a session informative? Tweet a message of appreciation to the speaker. Follow the session presenter on Twitter or like their fan page. Join the conference's LInkedIn group and keep the conversations going. Remain engaged throughout the coming weeks and months. In order to develop a rapport with the contacts you want to build a relationship. Using social media is an fun, fast, and interactive way to stay in touch.

November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!


Look Ahead Still glowing even after after the conference? This is a good sign that your experience was positive. Think about offering to provide your service for the next conference. Also consider spending your time as a volunteer or joining the committee that helps coordinate the conference. You will have an opportunity to appreciate the behind-the-scenes action while donating your time or expertise. Moreover, you will work directly with the people who put in all together. Remember it takes months to plan and host a conference, so do your due diligence and make the conference last a little while longer by getting organized, utilizing social media and preparing for next year's big event.

November 2012 Issue * Women’s Elevation Magazine – Get Promoted, Get Inspired, Get Elevated!


Women's Elevation Magazine November 2012 Issue