Motivate Me Mondays: Doing what you are passionate about

There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. – Nelson Mandela
I am always so inspired by those who truly tap into their passions in life. We live in a world where people feel as though their passion has to take a back seat to the things people expect of us. I truly believe it is important to be happy in life and to be happy you must do things you are truly passionate about. Never allow anyone to make you feel as though your passion is not good enough because we all know it takes a lot of courage to do what we love. Jenell is the perfect example of someone who has never been afraid to do what makes her happy and recently she started a business to fulfill her passion in life. I was able to ask her a few questions and I hope that her answers will help someone who may be having a hard time with following through with what they are passionate about, here is her story:

1. Who is Jenell? Tell a little bit about yourself
Jenell McMillon, 26, Event Planner and Entrepreneur. I was born, raised and currently reside in New Jersey. New Jersey is home but I decided to take a huge leap of faith in 2009 by attending thee Illustrious North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University in Greensboro, NC. Being 8 hours away from home, I had to learn to rely on myself to get things done. I’ve always had that independent mentality but there is a difference between being independent in your hometown versus a new state with no friends or family at the age of 17. Although it was difficult, the transition was needed and taught me things about myself that I would have never learned. I am a passionate, ambitious, self motivated and creative young black woman. God continues to be at the forefront of my life and I give him all the credit as I walk in the path that he has laid out for me. 
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2. When did you start your business ?
I launched my business on April 30, 2017 at 7:30pm EST.
3. What was the motivation behind starting your business ?
My sister and I decided to do a watch series for New Edition at our house in January for young adults (ages 25-35) from our church. As people were coming in, I was applying for jobs. I have a tendency of reading out loud before sending things over and one lady (Cortney) decided to ask more about my event planning since she overheard my experience.
Side note: I always seen Cortney in church but never spoke to her until this one day. 

I advised her that I have been planning events for 6 years. Starting with my sorority (DST) to BET Networks to my current place of employment, the list goes on. She was so impress and asked if I was interested in wedding planning. I told her that I’ve shadowed a wedding planner but never coordinated a wedding even though it is a future interest. She immediately asked why I was waiting and that I could use her wedding as my first wedding. As you can tell, the conversation moved so quick but I knew this was nothing but God pushing me towards my dreams of starting my own company. I told her yes and the start of JNicole Events begun. 

I will forever be thankful for Cortney and Amir. Mr. and Mrs. Griffin, thank you for putting your trust and faith in me to execute my first wedding for your special day!
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4. What obstacles and/or set backs have you had to overcome ?
As an event planner, we have to find ways to stand out amongst the rest especially in an area like the Tri-State. Competition is real. I became worried that I wouldn’t receive a lot of interest from prospective clients due to my location in South Jersey. Some may say that we are a state of our own. However, I have learned to use that to my advantage because people will need events no matter where you are. Word of mouth will always be the number one marketing tactic and this tactic has continued to be an asset for my company.
5. What keeps you motivated ?
This may sound cliché but it’s the smiles and satisfaction of my clients that keep me motivated. I love knowing that every detail they could have ever imagined was executed flawlessly.
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6. How much has it grown since you started?
Whooh! I am almost 3 months in and I currently have 10 booked events until the new year in New Jersey, DC and Atlanta. Oh, we are growing!
7. As you continue to expand, where would you like to see things going in the next 2-3 years?
I would love to see my company become my full time job within the next 3 years while continuing to provide my services beyond the Tri-State area.
8. What are 2-3 goals you would like to accomplish to help with expanding your business ?
  1. Obtaining my MBA in entrepreneurship
  2. Receiving my event certification
9. What advice do you have for young women like yourself?
Never be afraid to start your own! Continue to use your strengths to help others and you will always find your passion.
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10. What sets your apart from other event planning companies ? What makes you unique?
This was my main question that I asked myself before starting JNicole Events. I’ve always noticed that when people “make it” they are hesitant on talking about the day to day struggles it took to get to where they are currently at in their career. I decided to use my love for writing and photography into my company. Before the launch, I’d blogged daily to let my readers especially my young black readers understand that we all had to start from somewhere and here’s how it begun for me. I continue to write about the daily triumphs and challenges as I proceed to turn my dream into reality. I’ve used my love for photography and videography on my website/social media to increase all levels of creativity. I’ve been able to turn my 3 passions (event planning, writing and photography) into one with JNicole Events in hopes that people will use my story and company as motivation for starting their own business. 
11. If you could tell anyone who is trying to start a business one important thing, what would it be?
Trust your instinct!
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12. Where can people go to find out more about JNicole Events?
Please check me out at www.eventsbyjnicole.com
I am also on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter: @JNicoleEvents
Let Tay Tell It

Motivate Me Monday: A true love story

“True love doesn’t happen right away; it’s an ever-growing process. It develops after you’ve gone through many ups and downs, when you’ve suffered together, cried together, laughed together.” – Ricardo Montalban

Love stories are by far one of my favorite things to share with the world. We live in a society where people do not view love the same way they use to back in the day. Often times people play with love or they simply do not believe in it anymore. There are people in this world who still believe in that true genuine love story and keeping the faith in GOD can get you to that point. In today’s world we want everything to happen so quickly with out realizing that certain things take time and they take real effort. Sasha Campbell has a very beautiful love story that she allowed me to share, here is her story:


1. Who is Sasha Campbell? Tell me more about yourself and your husband

Sasha Campbell, 27, Chemist/ Product Developer I
My husband’s name is John Campbell. We are two years apart in age. We come from 2 totally difference backgrounds, were raised differently and even act completely differently. But somehow, it works out because we balance one another. He is the calm and mellow one. I am the one to pop off with a quickness and then fuss at him for not popping off. But it always works out because he is always there to calm me. He has a lot of patience, which is something that I needed in a husband because I am not. It is crazy how we are complete opposites but we balance one another.

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2. How did you meet your husband?

John and I met at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. He was a senior and I was a sophomore at the time. I would always see him in the café around 5pm and I found myself glancing around when I was there to see if I would see him. He was the first guy to ever make me nervous so I never went to him to speak. This is not like me because I am often outspoken without a filter. But John just presented himself like HE KNEW HE WAS IT… like he was THE MAN. From the way he was always fresh with a clean cut, from the way he would always wear his Polo hat turned to the back all cool and whatnot, from the way his shoulders used to sway back and forth as he walked. His walk used to scream “Yeah you are lucky if YOU get my number. And if you do, I will THINK about picking up. I may be too busy chilling.” And I was not the only one who thought this apparently. John still thinks til this day that there is nothing wrong with how he walks and he doesn’t understand why “girls” think he is full of himself. And in reality, he isn’t… he just presents himself that way. So anyways, I had joined a local party promoting company (one of the worst decisions in my undergraduate career, just to put out there) and I was basically over the street team that promoted the company’s parties. One day I was recruiting people in the cafeteria and I pointed out John and his friend to a young lady who was helping me recruit. I remember saying “I would ask them but they are seniors… and they look so stuck up. I always thought the one with the hat was cute though.” The young lady found this comical and she went over to recruit them. To my surprise, John agreed to join. So she called me over to explain how the company worked. I later found out that John used the company just to get to know me and he never had a single interest in promoting the parties. Apparently, he had told his friend who was sitting with him (Preston, who was also the best man in our wedding) that he was going to talk to me before he graduated. Preston responded, “Man John Willie… no you not.” And John said, “Yeah I am man. I am going to talk to her before I leave here.”

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3. Give me one key story about your relationship that let you know that you two were made for each other?

God has always made it very clear that we were meant to be together. After all, our relationship all started off of a prayer. When I first officially met John in the café that day, I was actually holding on to a DEAD relationship. So we didn’t start talking right away. Me and my current boyfriend were actually on a break but I wanted to make sure that I was completely done with him before I entertained anyone else. So when John asked my relationship status, I told him that I was in a relationship. I never explained that I was on a break and just wanted to see if I was done with my current boyfriend because I did not want any distractions. I will say we met around October 2009 and I actually called off my relationship Christmas that same year. John and I had kept in contact but I never really made a move. John had actually gotten out of a long term relationship himself but wanted to find a serious relationship once again. One night, he told God that he was “ready to settle down” and it was so strange, the next day I asked him if he wanted to hang for the first time ever. John knew deep down that I was the one for him and it was a sign.
Fast forward, we start dating. We get our first apartment together and begin living together. We were both still in college… and still very much broke trying to make ends meet. I will be the first to say that I am not the easiest to live with. Everything has to be a certain way; I do not like messes or germs. Blame it on my bio degree. But one day, we had gotten into an argument… I cannot even remember what it was about. And that was the thing about John and I. We never had any REAL problems. The things we would argue about were always so small. The real big issues, you would think would cause an argument, never did. We always worked out the big issues with ease. Anywho, we had gotten into an argument about something silly and I left the house to head to work. At the time I was driving a Hyundai Sonata that would PURR. You couldn’t even tell when the car was on because it drove so quiet. As I was backing out of my park, the car made a loud SCRUUUUUUUUURRRREEEEEEECK!!! noise. John came flying out of the apartment. He thought I had gotten in a car wreck. We weren’t sure where the noise originated from so John said he wanted to drive me to work. He did not feel safe with me driving on my own. Later that night, John was running late to pick me up from work. I was still pissed from earlier so this did not help. So I called him. John told me that on his way to come pick me up… his transmission completely went out. He had no previous signs that this would happen and was very shocked and frustrated.
So here we were. Two broke college kids, stuck at the house looking at one another because both of our rides are out of commission. Now we look stupid because we have to figure out how in the world are we going to fix TWO cars. We found out that there was something wrong with my timing belt, which was expensive because my car had a V6 engine. And he needed a new transmission. But somehow, we made it work. John conveniently waited until after our cars were fixed to say, “Yeah… you probably have no idea but this was all my fault.” I replied, “What do you mean?” He says,”Well , remember that day we got into that argument and you were getting ready for work. I always knew that we were meant to be together… but for some reason, I asked God for confirmation. That is why we both got stuck at the house. What are the odds that your timing belt goes out and my transmission goes out the same day? Especially when both cars were perfectly fine before my prayer. God made it so that we were both stuck at the house and we had to work together to get through this. This was my sign.” I wasn’t sure at the time to be pissed that he had cost us so much money or touched that he cared so much about our relationship. All I could say was “Man you better be more specific in prayer. What in the world!”

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4. What is special about your relationship and what makes your love story unique?

I never knew love at first sight ever existed. But John and I have both agreed that it does. Little did I know, those days where I would glance around to see if he was in the café, John says he would intentionally try to come to the café every day at the same time in hopes of seeing me. While I thought he was unapproachable… he was actually going out of his way just to see me… just to make eye contact for a brief second. There aren’t many love stories that are “love at first sight”. In fact, many people do not believe in it. And I will be the first to say, our love story is SO DAG GONE CHEESY… but I have loved every moment of these 7 years together.

John was raised in a strictly religious household. Religion was kind of something that my parents let me discover on my own. My step mother is Jewish and up until a year before he passed, my father did not claim a religion. Thankfully, he gave his life to the Lord a year before he passed.

5. What type of role has GOD played in your relationship?

As mentioned above, God has always been present in our relationship. And what has amazed me is how we will get an answer about something so much faster vs when I pray on something just by myself. It is almost as if, when my husband and I are on one accord and we pray on something… we get an answer so fast and clear. I tear up thinking about how blessed we are at times because God has really guided our relationship. Yeah, we both have degrees, we are home owners, we have good credit… but our biggest asset is our relationship with God. I know it was God who has carried the both of us through our hardships, individually and together.

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6. What are 3 key things that are important in a relationship?

I always say that you and your partner should not only grow emotionally and mentally… but spiritually as well. I was independent at an early age. Asking for help has always been a hard thing for me to do, even when it comes to asking God for help. Every time a difficult situation arises in my life, the first thing my husband will ask is “Well Sasha, have you prayed about it.” Let me tell y’all… there is NOTHING like an obedient and praying husband.

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7.What encouraging words of advice would you give someone who feels like love is just not possible?

The biggest problem I see in our generation with relationships is that people do not like to commit. We let our egos get in the way of ever loving someone. And for those who do let their guard down, they do it with the wrong people. We have to do a better job with learning WHO is worth an investment and who is not. You have people (such as myself previously) holding on to dead relationships and it does nothing but block you from a potential blessing. For all you know, you can be wasting your time with Mr. Wrong and your Mr. Right might get snatched up by another chic because you are too busy trying to make something work with someone who was not sent for you by God. I ALMOST passed up on my blessing with John because when I was finally single… I did not want to be in a relationship. When God sent John my way, I actually questioned it. I told the Lord I was not ready for a relationship and why did He have to send him now?! But look at it all now, John is literally the best thing that has ever happened to me. Learn who to invest in… and don’t be so quick to let them go over small things. Find someone with potential. A lot of people pass by others because they aren’t where they want them to be in life. When John and I met one another, we were both broke and I had a lot of pain built up inside. But John worked through that. IT WAS NOT EASY. I was angry at the world for a long time. But he felt that I was worth it. And he did not give up on me. Find someone who loves you for who you are and wants to GROW with you. Find someone you can build with. Find someone who won’t let go even when you are ready to give up. I would not be the woman I am today if it was not for him. And THAT’S what you want in a man.

 

Let Tay Tell It

Motivate Me Mondays: Overcoming betrayal

“For me, I always wonder what’s worse: an emotional betrayal or a physical betrayal? That’s a really tough call.” – Hilarie Burton
Often times in life we always hear people say to be careful how you treat other people because you never know what other people have been through. Adriane Lanier decided to share her story of how she overcome certain betrayals in life that no one should ever have to deal with. Her story shows her strength as a woman and just as a human being because sometimes it is not easy to overcome the things we endure in life, here is her story:

Who is Adriane Lanier?
I am JMU double Duke (BBA/MBA) currently living in the DMV working as a Cybersecurity professional. I was born in California and raised in Virginia Beach by two amazing Georgia bred people.
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Do you mind sharing about the 3 different incidents you have dealt with throughout the course of your life?
My body has been disrespected in every since of the word. I have been sexually assaulted, molested, and raped by people I once held near and dear to me and strangers. The worst of them all [physically] was when I was setup by a coworker and attacked by 6 grown men. I had unspeakable things done to me and was not sure I would even make it out of there.
How did you handle dealing with all of this?
A lot of days I was literally just going through the motions of life. I felt numb for quite some time. I have had depression, severe ptsd and at one point I was even suicidal (it clearly didn’t work lol). For years I smiled and joked my way through the pain. I kept busy so I wouldn’t have to be alone in my misery and think about it until it became routine and my smiles became genuine again.
Is it possible to take back your life after something like this happens ?
It is definitely possible to regain control over your life, but a strong support system is imperative. Had it not been for my friends and sorors I would have never gotten help. It took YEARS of therapy. I have occasional flashbacks and nightmares, but its nowhere near what it used to be. There are still certain things that can trigger those feelings of fear and discomfort and I don’t think they will ever go away so I do my best to avoid them. My support system was there for me every step of the way to recovery. Discovering I had severe PTSD, facing reality of how damaged I really am, lifting me up when boys would leave me because they couldn’t handle my baggage, praying for me harder than I could pray for myself, uplifting me any time they felt like I was down, keeping me honest and always showering me with positive vibes and unconditional love.
How were you able to gain the courage to now be able to share your story with other people?
My support system has encouraged me to do it for years. I didn’t think my story would impact others, but the more I began to open up to other people I knew, the more I realized that my story can positively impact someone else who is fighting battles nobody knows about. I went from feeling embarrassed about it all to realizing that it was not my fault and I did nothing to deserve any of what happened to me. I got the courage to tell my story because I want women to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel more than I cared to bury this painful chapter of my past.
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At this very moment, if you had to choose one person to recognize that has helped you get past what you’ve been through who would that person be ?
Oh man…I can’t just choose one person because there were phases to the recovery and many obstacles. I have one best friend who was there from the very beginning up until my self declared freedom, Crystal Cole. I have friends I have grown apart from, but will always respect how they were there for me when things were at their worst (Aaron Campbell, Charlie Celesia, Kitara McMoore). However, I have met so many amazing people along the way that have helped me so much in so many ways that I could never tell my story and not think of them. When I say I have been blessed with a strong support system, I honestly don’t know what I did in life to deserve such amazing friends but I thank God for them daily (my JMU family – Its like 10 extra people lol).
What keeps you motivated ?
My desire to succeed and leave the world a better place than I found it.
How would you define success?
Success is whatever you want it to be. As long as it involves feelings of genuine happiness in most, if not all, aspects of life, I would call it success.
What is one thing you have accomplished in life so far that you are most proud of?
Learning the power of forgiveness and conflict resolution. For those who know my history and know how rowdy and unforgiving I once was, this was HUGE for me. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. When you carry hate or resentment for long periods of time it can affect your personal and professional growth. Learning to forgive makes handling conflict (personal and professional) much easier.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years I plan to be a business owner leaving my mark on the Cybersecurity industry while spreading STEM awareness and love to the next generation so they can, too, leave the world a better place than they found it.
What are some things that you have achieved that make you proud ?
I am proud of my career accomplishments, but I am more proud of my personal growth. I never imagined I would have so many amazing opportunities and be where I am in my career at age 29. I also never thought I would be where I am today. I have found myself, I have found my inner peace (and plan to hold onto it with every ounce of my being), I have found self awareness, my smiles are genuine and my happiness is sincere. THAT is what I am most proud of.
What advice can you provide to those who have been raped, molested, and/or attacked?  
It is okay for you to tell your story and work towards reaching inner peace and stability, whatever that means to you. While you cannot undo what has happened, you CAN take back your life.There is light at the end of the tunnel. Just know you are not alone and there are plenty of people who love you and want you to know that your life is worth living.
Let Tay Tell It

Motivate Me Mondays: Overcoming your struggles

‘The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.”

-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

It is not secret that in live we sometimes struggle but it is all about how you overcome the struggles you are faced with. Often time we are ready to give up before actually finding a way to make things better for ourselves. Sometimes we bring things on ourselves based off how we speak about the current situations we find ourselves in, in life. We also seem to forget that what you deal with can be worse, someone else would trade their life for yours with no hesitation. It is important to remember to not allow yourself to stay down for too long. Deal with it, pick yourself up, come up with a  plan, figure things out, and accept the blessings along the way. This is exactly what Joia did and she was willing to share her experience with others, here is her story:

Who is Joia Swanson? Tell a little bit about yourself

I am a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and a person with a big heart and desire to please others. I used to think that having these types of qualities would lead to me never being happy, but so far I have learned that they have also been my biggest blessings in molding me into the woman I am, and still becoming today. Ive learned to embody the sensitivity and heart that I have for people in everything that I do.
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How old were you when you had your son?

I was 19 and a sophomore in college when I found out that I was pregnant with my munchkin. I was on the track team and never imagined my life with a kid, and as cliché as it sounds I definitely couldn’t imagine my life without him now.  He is the epitome of love for myself and my family.
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How did you and your husband meet?

I met my husband when I worked for a call center in Hampton after a horrible break up with my sons father. I found out my sons father was cheating, and my husband was there to comfort me just as my friend and was willing to wait for me to be ready to be in a relationship; no pressure, just a natural progression of love and friendship and he is also awesome with Jaylen. He grew up with a step father and was very sensitive to the fact that being a father is a journey that he doesn’t take lightly. Being married has come with many challenges, he is the biggest teddy bear yet one of the strongest people I have ever met. He loves hard and fierce just like everything else he does in life, and he is a pusher, he has never let me quit on anything , and that was such an important quality that I admired about him when we first got together because my self-confidence was in the trash. He was very reassuring verbally with his intentions, and his love and he followed through on everything, and that consistency was what eventually won my heart over. He showed me that true love looks nothing like I thought it would because he is definitely not my “type” but the Lord knew exactly what I needed when he sent him to me.
How has your relationship with your husband and your marriage helped you on your journey of becoming a better woman? Did this help you change your outlook on men and relationships?

My relationship with my husband has really been about learning. Learning acceptance, forgiveness, picking your battles, and prioritizing relationships. These are things I can carry over into my everyday life, that have helped me push myself to become a better woman which in turn makes me a better wife. My husband is a pusher, he had a rough time growing up, and he has always had that “go get what you want” mentality. I have had the mentality but never quite as much drive as I do now which happened once I got with him. I see him working hard to follow his dreams and support our family and it makes me want to work just as hard if not harder to keep up. We push each other and support each other in weaknesses and strengths; it is an amazing balancing act, and I am so grateful to have him to lean on. So far through our relationship and and marriage he has helped me see that I am capable of so much more than I give myself credit for, and with the right support and encouragement I can do anything I put my mind to.
Being loved correctly has changed my outlook on relationships. It has shown me that effort, and consistency go a long way into breaking down barriers that we’re around my heart and allow to me to be vulnerable and rest in my femininity in a way I didn’t know was possible. I didn’t know that men were capable of such compassion and drive, while still maintaining a masculine vibe and being true to their selfs. He is a great example of the type of man i would like my son to be as well. My dad has always been my example of what a man should be and he is the sweetest man alive, and also very soft hearted. My husband has shown me that you can have that soft heart, and not give people the ability to push you around without loosing out on being your truest self.
God keeps me motivated, on the days when i want to give up on myself he definitely gives me strength. My husband and family are a great support system as well, but i always know i can lean on the lord for strength and guidance.
What else keeps you motivated ?

My faith, my husband, my son, and my family keep me motivated I have an amazing support system.
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What is one thing you have accomplished in life so far that you are most proud of?

I am most proud of starting my own business. I have taken the leap of faith and partnered with Mary Kay I am now an independent beauty consultant. I really want the flexibility to be able to support my family, to be able to work my own hours, and to be my own boss. I never felt like I was built to work for anyone else and I also want to show others how to achieve their dreams especially women with children.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years ?

In the next 5 years I see myself with at least two more children living somewhere close to the beach and making sure that I travel at least 3 to 4 times a year with my family exposing them to the culture and different parts of the world
What are 2-3 goals that you would like to accomplish ?

Things that I am going to accomplish specifically in the next two to five years would be trying to becoming a millionaire; I want to be a national sales director which is one of the highest honors in the Mary Kay business. I want to open my women’s shelter specifically for single moms I would also like to finish my master’s degree
What are some things that you have achieved that make you proud ?

Something that has made me proud would definitely be my son. I wanted to make sure that he grew up to be a productive member of society and even though he is five and a handful he definitely knows how to behave in has a very caring heart for people all of his teachers all of his friends his karate instructors say how big of a hard he has how awesome he is with his friends how polite he is house mannered and that makes me very proud something else that I’m also very proud of is sharing financial literacy with people my age I realize that something that we are very lacking in in general and in the black community so everything that I’m learn I make sure that information is shared whether it’s just with family and friends or their ladies I come in contact with or my Mary Kay Associates because that is something that you can steadily improve on and always grow in. I am also very proud of my marriage, I know as a semi newlywed we’ve only been married a year and a half that is really hard to say but I’m proud of the fact that we still stick by each other through everything and we have been through just about all of it from custody battles with my ex to being separated more than we’re apart to having jobs and not having jobs and just being really supportive of each other no matter what I think that’s strength will carry us through for the next 40 50 year however many years God blesses us with.
How would you define success ?

I think the way that success is defined is a very personal measure for each person. For example, I am trying to improve my health and fitness so for me a successful day is if my jeans fit better and I felt better about myself in general just for exercising; that was a very small success in a larger picture. Success could be getting out of bed in the morning for someone if you’re depressed or making sure that your children are taken care of so success is going to look different in the eyes of each person so you have to personally define success for yourself. I would say it’s the daily wins that you give yourself whether that is self-care or making sure that you are advocating for yourself or opening your mouth when you hear something that you don’t like because it’s very hard for us, especially as women and as nurturers who care about people, to make sure that our needs are also taken care of so I would say success is putting your self care first so you are the best version of yourself which will then allow you to take care of others.
What advice can you provide for someone who may be on the same or somewhat similar path that you were on before being kicked out of school ?

The best advice I would give for anyone in my particular situation especially someone who gets pregnant young. Find a support system, find your tribe, find a group of people to surround you, to uplift you, to encourage you, and to hold you accountable. If it was not for my immediate family, my husband, and my son looking up to me everyday and the group of ladies that I call my friends, I don’t think I would be as successful as I am now. I’m not a millionaire, I’m not even a thousand-are but I am on my way and making steady progress everyday. Don’t give up, if you believe it you can achieve it. Make sure you set goals for yourself and make them happen, find the way to achieve those goals even if it’s a small goal, achieve that goal, move on to the next bigger goal, and keep building on those goals and count every goal as a success. Count every step to that goal as a success because you are steadily making progress towards what you want your life to look like and that is something no one can take away from you, that progress and that passion and that drive then dig into it and remember to re motivate yourself and take care of yourself in everything that you do and you can be the best mother the best wife the best coach the best teacher the best the best version of Who You Are
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Motivate Me Mondays: Are you being your true authentic self?

Belcalis Almanzar also known as Cardi B was born on October 11, 1992 in Bronx, NY. You may have seen Cardi B on IG as @iamcardib or on your TV screen on the well known reality TV show Love and Hip Hop New York. Cardi B is known for never hiding anything about herself from, the people she has and does date to the way she makes her money or in the words of Cardi B her “shmoney”. She is a very lively, outgoing, vocal, down to earth, funny, real, authentic type of person who became an Instagram celebrity while stripping and once she stopped stripping she worked on pursing her dreams of being a rapper and songwriter. When she started to become well known on Instagram she started doing a lot of appearances and then when she took up rapping she shocked the world with her talent. Her most recent mixtape, GBMV2 may prove to be her best work to date.

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Photo Credit: Datpiff.com

Cardi B has faced A LOT of backlash for the type of things she says especially on Instagram but that never stopped her from continuing to be who she truly is. In today’s world, where we deal with so many people who are fake and unauthentic, it seems as though people would be able to appreciate someone who is so authentic; but of course things just do not go that way. Cardi B is the homegirl from around the way who does not care what anyone thinks of her, that just so happened to become famous. Cardi B is also all about empowering women and speaking out on the different things that many other famous people choose to be silent about and that right there alone should be more then enough for people to at least respect her as a person.

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Photo Credit: everythinggirlslove.com

Love and Hip Hop New York is where we really saw alot more of Cardi B on somewhat of a deeper level. The show gave viewers a chance to learn more about her, her dreams, and her love life. These days people are so close minded and judgemental towards people who do not fit into what they consider normal in terms of how someone should act, speak, and dress. Often times I believe that we forget that no person is the same as another person and just because someone acts in a way that you are not use to does not mean it is wrong. We have to stop letting another persons opinion about who we are make us change who we are in order to please them. There is nothing wrong with growth and change because no one stays the same but it has to be done for yourself and nobody else. In life you will deal with people who do not like you because you’re confident enough to speak on how you feel and because you have no problem with being your authentic self. Let Cardi B be an example of not allowing peoples opinions to effect you to the point that you try change who you are because everybody will not like you and that is okay.

Are you comfortable with always being your true authentic self?

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Motivate Me Monday: What is your passion?

“A passionate belief in your business and personal objectives can make all the difference between success and failure. If you aren’t proud of what you’re doing, why should anybody else be?” – Richard Branson

It is important to always be aware of what your passionate about in life because it is easier to achieve what you love then it is to achieve something you do not love. Everyone has the ability to do what they want in life as long as they keep the faith and never allow anyone or anything to get in their way. As a woman, stepping into a world that is highly male dominated world has many challenges in itself. The music world is very very competitive and certain paths such as rapping and DJ’ing are very male dominated, so as a female there are already two things you are up against from the very start. Female DJs are not rare but they are competing in a competitive and highly male dominated world which is never an easy thing to do. DJ KDOT knows and relates to this very well because she has been DJ’ing for over 5 years. She was willing to share with others about her journey in the music world as a DJ, here is her story:

1. Who is Khadijah Thomas? Tell me a little bit about yourself
My name is Khadijah Thomas but I go by KDOT  I am 22 years old soon to be 23.  I have a B.S. in Management Information Systems from the Illustrious North Carolina A & T State University. I am also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. initiated into the Amazing Alpha Mu Chapter and I am currently a technical specialist for Apple but most importantly I am an Entrepreneur. I am originally from Buffalo, New York. I consider Rosedale, Queens (NYC) home as that is where my family settled when they came from Trinidad.

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2. How long have you been a DJ and what is the reason behind wanting to become a DJ?

I have been a DJ for 11 years; I started learning at 12 right before I turned 13 and it’s something that runs in my family. I was the first girl grandchild and happened to be the first girl in my family interested in DJ’ing. My Dad and uncle were my biggest influences as they have been doing it for years.

3. How was the name DJ KDOT created? 

Well my step sister gave me the nickname KDOT back in 8th grade and for whatever reason it just seemed to stick with me and everyone. It was only natural  that it became my DJ name once I actually started to branch out underneath my family.

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4. What obstacles have you faced and/or still face as a female DJ?

As a Female DJ there are a few obstacles I face with it being such a male dominated industry. Small things like when I am going to set up for events and have a gentleman helping me carry equipment a lot of people will assume the  guy is the DJ and not me. I even get questions like “so do you really DJ or is this something you do for fun?” There is a stereotype behind female DJs not having skills and that’s one thing I focus on the most; the art and skill of DJ’ing. Outside of that one of my least favorite thing to deal with is the egos of other male DJs, especially when working together. Overall I think as a person I vibe with people naturally and stay focused on myself so I have never had a traumatic experience but it does happen occasionally.

 
5. What keeps you motivated?

Ultimately my love for music and a good time is what keeps me motivated. Also my desire to be my own boss as well. There is so much freedom within being a DJ that is   indescribable. Singing and dancing was something I did early in my life until I fell in   love with DJ’ing so the music has always been a big part of my life.

6. Who are 3 of your favorite DJs that inspire you? 

DJ Spinderella – We can’t talk about female DJs without thinking about her. She was one of the first female DJs I knew of.

DJ Kid Capri – His energy is unmatched and he puts passion behind what he   does. True entertainer

DJ MC – I met him through my network at NCAT and he was one of the first seasoned DJs to really take an interest in my craft and actually want to help me.   Most importantly he is HUMBLE.

 
7. What advice do you have for female DJs who are just starting out?

The best advice I could give is to learn who you are as a DJ because you will not be like anyone else. Find your style and also be open to work on other styles as well. If you take your craft seriously people will take you seriously.

8. Where do you see yourself in the next 2 to 3 years?

In the next 2 to 3 years I see myself traveling a lot more to DJ. Between my background and musical preferences I would like to think I am very versatile and  would love to be a traveling DJ.

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9. How were you able to make a name for yourself? Are you available to be booked for events? If so what type of events? 

Networking was the biggest thing as far as making a name for myself and ultimately my performance. I am available to be booked for a variety of events including: Weddings, Baby Showers, Birthday Parties, School events, Fashion Shows, Clubs, Mixing needs etc.

10. How would you define success?

I would define success as the point in which I have accomplished my set goals   and even though I will continue to strive for more I am content with all that I have. On a smaller scale, getting request for my business cards or compliments after my performance makes me feel successful.

11. Are there any upcoming projects and/or events you would like to mention?

I am DJ’ing a Cultural Day Party on May 6th 2017 @ Greene St Nightclub.  Outside of that I have a few private events this summer that I am excited about!

12. What are the top 3 things you have accomplished as a DJ that you are proud of?

1) DJ’ing in another country

2) DJ’ing a gym jam at NCAT that was packed with 1200+ people

3) Having one of my mix challenges go viral. My Love Come Down challenge on   soundcloud currently has 29,000 views and rising!

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13. Where can people go to learn more about you and your more of your music?

My website is http://www.theedjkdot.com. On my website I update my most recent soundcloud mixes and events. All of my social media handles are @XOXODJKDOT

If you want to book me, please email me at management@theedjkdot.com

 

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Motivate Me Mondays: Women in technology

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is the most important.” – Bill Gates

Technology is steadily growing everyday! New discoveries are being made and old ways are being redefined and improved using technology. Often times the younger generation may not always have a first hand experience at being able to learn all that technology has to offer outside of what is being taught in school. We are also still dealing with the world of technology being a male dominated field and although it is getting better we still have a long way to go. The importance of teaching technology to these young girls is important because it can make them not only very knowledgable but very well rounded as well. Technology is the gateway to so many other things such as science, healthcare, fashion, etc and having people find ways to teach younger people about technology by giving them a chance to learn, develop, and grow in the world of technology is something I am always happy to see. I truly love to see my fellow technology lovers, especially women, doing things to give back and help others and Khalia Braswell is one of them. Todays motivational story is about who she is and what she is doing to help young girls, especially girls of color thrive and grow in the technology world, here is her story:

 

 

1. Who is Khalia? Tell me about yourself 

Khalia M. Braswell, 26, UX/UI Designer & Non-profit Founder
I was born in Rocky Mount, NC and grew up in Charlotte, NC. Outside of my love for technology, I also share a love for reading and music. I was a DJ while in undergrad, both on WKNC 88.1 as the host of Soulful Renaissance, and at events around campus. I love reading fiction books the most; however, you can’t go wrong with a non-fiction book if it will enrich your life. I also really enjoy traveling and learning about new cultures.

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2. What is INTech ?
INTech is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to inform and inspire girls to innovate in the technology industry.

 

3. What is the driving force behind starting INTech? What did you plan to achieve when starting INTech?
INTech was started out of a lack of programs in Charlotte, NC that reached Black and Latino girls to expose them to technology. When I started INTech, I just wanted more girls who looked like me to learn that technology could be a career for them and to show them other Black/Latina women in the field.

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4. How important is the presence of women in the world of technology?
It is very important that women are present in the world of technology because our voices impact the direction of products being put into market. Women bring a unique perspective to the creativity process and impacts the bottom line.

 

5. What keeps you motivated ?
The fact that I have so many people depending on me and looking up to me is what keeps me motivated. I think about quitting multiple times a day; however, I think about my brothers and sister, my cousins, my family, my extended family, and I realize that quitting is not an option.

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6. Who inspires you?
Young hustlers inspire me the most. Those who are challenging the status quo and living out there dreams inspire me to continue doing the same.

 

7. What advice do you have for someone who would like to start a non profit?
My advice would be to test out a prototype for their idea, just as they would anything else, and see what kind of feedback they get before going through the grunt work of officially establishing their org as a non-profit with their state. When they are ready to make it official, I wrote an article about the steps that they need to take to get the 501(c)(3) exemption status. http://intech.camp/501c3EZ

 

8. What obstacles, if any, have you faced?
I’ve faced plenty of obstacles. I think the biggest one right now is being so far away from where the core INTech activities are taking place. Luckily, my Board of Directors agreed to implement committees to help get work done so that we are not bottlenecked by the distance.

 
9. How would you define success ?
I would define success by the number of things we say we are going to do compared to the number of things we actually do. If you actually go out and put action behind your goals, you are successful.

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10. Where do you see INTech in the next 2 to 3 years?
I see INTech expanded to different cities and states in the US, exposing even more girls to technology. I see INTech providing hands on training for girls in middle and high school who want to learn about User Experience Design, as well as, how to build websites and mobile applications.

 

11. Are there any up coming projects and/or events you would like to mention?
We have 2 summer camps planned for 2017. Our first will take place in Raleigh, NC at NC State from June 12 – 16. Our second summer camp will take place in Charlotte, NC at Johnson C. Smith University from July 24 – 28.

 

12. Where can people go if they would like to help/get involved with and learn more about INTech?
Our website is the best place to go: http://intechcamp.co

 

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