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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Motivate Me Monday: Staying true to who you are

Raynell Steward aka Supa was born in New Orleans, LA. Supa is a very well known social media icon. If you know about her then I’m sure you have seen her funny videos and the various ways she helps other people. I remember the first time I came across her from seeing one of her funny videos and I automatically became a fan. As time progressed and I continued to keep up with her post I started to notice that she was more then just some videos. Supa is real, genuine, passionate, an amazing mother, friend, sister, cousin, daughter who is using her platform to not only make us laugh but help us advance in life! She allows the world to get a glimpse of her life and that isn’t always easy.

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Photo Credit: @supa_cent

As long as I have been following Supa, she has ALWAYS stayed true to herself and who she is. She has allowed the world to watch here grow as a woman and the growth is undeniable. People who are in the public eye are always judged and talked about by people who have nothing better to do with their time and it is sad. It is amazing being able to watch how Supa deals with people who question her or are out to challenge the type of person she is, the type of mother she is, and how she handles situations.

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Photo Credit: @supa_cent

 

Not only does Supa allow you to see her being a mother and a friend but she ALSO allows you to see things about her love life, she gives advice, and she shares things through the promotions she does. Often times we see a lot of people on social media who are heavily in the public eye doing things that aren’t always positive or putting on a front instead of being their true self. The reason why I am such a fan of Supa is because of how authentic she is and always has been. She never turned away from being who she is and she doesn’t apologize for it either. She has created an entire brand for herself and her following has increased tremendously but that does not stop her from giving advice, taking care of her family, and always showing love to those who truly support her.

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Photo Credit: @supa_cent

If you can learn ANYTHING from Supa it is how to stay true to who you are no matter what! Often times in life we allow things in our life to stop us from being who we really are. We allow what others say about us change us and its not a change for the good either. We have to stop doing this because there is no one in the world like you and to get the respect you deserve often time requires you to stay true to who you are. DO NOT let anyone or any situation stop you from being you; you’re true genuine authentic self.

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Motivate Me Mondays: Experiencing true LOVE

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu

No matter what LOVE may look like these days, I still believe that true, passionate, undeniable, crazy, exciting love is still possible with the right person. You can meet a person and know right away that they are meant for you, as if GOD hand picked that person just for you and nobody else. Robin and her fiancé share a strong love that genuinely shows through all that they do. Sometimes you meet a couple and you can feel the love and that is exactly what I have experienced being around this wonderful couple. I wanted to give them a chance to share their love story with others in hopes it will motivate someone to never give up on love because the person meant for you could be coming sooner then you expect. Here is their love story:
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself and your fiancé
My name is Robyn K, Harris and I’m 25 years old. I’m currently a Social Worker at Union County Department of Social Services as an investigator, CPS (Child Protective Services). My fiance’s name is Dontavius Mobley and we will be getting married on, April 15, 2017. I graduated from North Carolina A&T with my BSW. Donta graduated from Charleston Southern University with a degree in Biology. He is currently employed through Carolina Medical Center as a Histotechnologist.
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2. Where are you and your fiancé from?
I’m from Bridgeport Connecticut however was raised in Charlotte, NC. Donta was born and raised in Rock Hill, SC, where we currently reside.
3. How did you meet?
We met June 2011 at Wendy’s. We used to work together. We both have our own stories on how we met, lol. He says I stalked him and I simply disagree. Lowkey, he’s right, lol. We went on our first date July 10, 2011 and the rest is left unwritten. Stay tuned!
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4. What is special about your relationship and what makes your love story unique?
Everything about our relationship is special. It may sound cliche’ but God made me for Donta and Donta for me. We are complete opposites. I am bold, loud and outgoing while Donta is quite, calm, cool and collective; however we are the perfect balance. Donta treats me like a Queen and he notices things about me that I don’t notice about myself. He encourages me to reach my highest potential and believes in me, more than I believe in myself. I give him the confidence to be unapologetically him. I bring out the crazy, fun Donta that only a few people have seen. We compliment one another.
5. What type of role has GOD played in your relationship?
Without God, there would be no us. We are far from perfect but know without God, we are nothing. I am a big prayer and I pray about everything. Donta and I pray together as well as fellowship with one another and one of our goals is to build a stronger relationship with God as one. We found a church home that we both thoroughly enjoy and agree that God is the foundation of our relationship. Pray our strength in the Lord!
6. What are 3 key things that are important in a relationship?
Loyalty, Respect and Honesty
7. What encouraging words of advice would you give someone who feels like love is just not possible ?
God is love. Love comes naturally and shouldn’t be forced. Love yourself first and when God is ready, your happily ever after will come when it’s least expected. Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is beautiful.
8. Additional comments/add-ins/things you would like to include that is not covered in the questions above?
Thanks for allowing me to share our love story : )
Robin and Donta, I wish you nothing but love and success. Congratulations on your wedding that is coming up on April 15, 2017 and remember to always keep GOD first no matter what!
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Motivate Me Monday: Keeping it REAL

Angela Rye was born on October 26, 1979 in Seattle, Washington to Andrea Rye and Eddie Rye Jr and she is also a graduate of the University of Washington and Seattle University School of law. She is a CNN Political Commentator, an NPR Political Analyst, and the Principal and CEO of IMPACT Strategies. Angela has been featured is several publications from Ebony to the Washington Post. Angela has a long list of amazing accomplishments from NAACP Power 40 to Fortunes 40 under 40 Women to watch to DC’s most influential people.

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Angela Rye is the perfect example of keeping it real and she does it with such force and power; she does not hold back nor does she sugar coat anything. We live in a world where we are hit back to back with things that affect us more then we may realize yet people in power try to downplay it in hopes of people forgetting just how bad it is. I have not seen Angela try to downplay nor sugar coat anything and I respect her for that! She brings honesty with a heavy dose of realness to our TV screens because she is not afraid of being ignored or overlooked by other people. She proves time and time again that nothing anyone says nor does will stop her from being as real and as authentic as she can be.

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Often times in life we let what others do to us make us feel powerless and we let the words and actions of people chase us away from being our real, authentic self. Everyone in this world will not like you and they will not agree with you but that should never stop you from standing firm in what you know and believe. Let Angela Rye be the example you need to stand strong no matter what and to remain motivated when trying to achieve what you know you are meant to do in this world.

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Motivate Me Mondays: Chasing after your destiny

“Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan
I believe it is our responsibility to achieve the things our hearts desire because to live a life with regrets can cause more bad then good. We cannot let fear hold us back because the hardest part about achieving what we want is actually starting it. We can talk about it, think about it, and even dream about it but to make it become something real we must take a chance.  Todays motivational story is about a young lady who is choosing to chase after her destiny and not allowing any obstacles or set backs she may face, to stand in her way; here is her story:
Tell me about yourself
I am Robin Butler, a twenty-four year old licensed natural hair care specialist/ educator in North Carolina and the owner of Created Coily Inc. As a proud alumnus of the Illustrious North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, excellence breeds through my personal and professional brands of success. My holistic view on natural beauty and healthy hair development stems from my lifestyle, focusing on the balance of mind, body, and spirit. Our hair style is simply an expression of our inner minds. 
I’ve always loved hair every since I was a little girl. I would collect and buy so many hair magazines it wasn’t even funny. It has always been my niche; easy and fun for me to talk about. Outside of entrepreneurship and business- I enjoy learning and teaching. I’m preparing to go back to school in the next year to obtain my Juris Doctorate in Law and Masters in Business Administration. I love going to my church, spending time with family and friends, and practicing all things regarding holistic health and beauty.
What is Created Coily Inc. ?
Created Coily Inc. supports a new age of natural beauty which fosters and supports the healthy state of kinky, coily, wavy, and curly hair. Created Coily Inc. (The Experience and Style) is a organization of natural hair professionals and a thriving community of families who embrace natural hair and living. We are the home of C2 products, apparel, and a wide range of services which include Salon Services and Consulting, Educational and Lifestyle Workshops, and the CoilyCRATE subscription box; created with you in mind.
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How long have you been natural ? 
My last chemical service was done in 2013, which was 4 years ago. 
What natural hair tips do you have for all the beautiful natural hair women who are just starting their natural hair journey ?
My natural tips would be to enjoy the ride and not to rush through each stage. My hope would be for you to really take the time to learn not only your hair, but your health, and yourself. That is where the ultimate power and growth begins to transform within yourself.
What makes Created Coily unique?
Created Coily stands alone because it is not only a brand, it is also an identity to the future of Americans. Data presented by the National Geographic Center released in 2015 stated “By 2050 everyone in the United States will have curly hair and some variation of brown skin.”  Created Coily Inc is an American Curl Company, organically grown in North Carolina. We don’t just have lifeless shelf products, we have hair products that are sold in local community beauty salons which help the keep small businesses viable in our community. Our products teach our clients about their hair and are approved by the stylist treating the clients hair. Our apparel “Respect the Fro and Locs” or Black Girl Magic are worn proudly by our consumers around the country. Our quarterly subscription box meets subscribers at their door step every four months to help women stay inspired and find solutions when it comes to their hair journey. Created Coily is unique in the industry because we are natural hair care specialists creating experiences, culture, and style for each one of our customers to fit their healthy hair and lifestyle needs.
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What was the driving force behind you starting this business ?
The driving force behind me starting Created Coily Inc. was knowing that if I looked beyond myself and my own issues, I could create an identity and a platform for the future that would stand the test of time. We would solve solutions to issues and create a space to talk about it. Everyday I’m continuely reminded of this driving force because of my own hair truths, both pretty and ugly.
What set backs or obstacles, if any, have you had to overcome?
In the last two years with Created Coily, there has been a million set backs but I think that is just the nature of the business. It wasn’t one set back that wasn’t worth the experience I gained. I think one of the biggest set backs I had to overcome was having to learn and fill every role of my business until  I get to place I can hire and employ others. I am the web developer, graphic designer, financial analyst, photographer, videographer, IT, supply chain and logistics, stylist/chemist and manufacturer, production manager, public relations, shipping/delivery and legal analyst. You have to not only learn these roles but perform them professionally everyday. My degree was completed in General Economics, so for me this was a learning curve. I fell in love with my brand and that’s the only way I’m overcoming it. 
How would you define success ?
Success is your ability to stay the course and not give up on the very thing that can change the trajectory of your life.
What keeps you motivated ? 
Being able to chase after my destiny and full potential everyday. I love being able to wake every morning and look forward to going to my work space and being able to create what I see in my head then make it into a career; that keeps me motivated. 
What are 3 tips you would say are vital to the success of a business ?
Three tips vital for a successful business in my opinion would be:
1. solid marketing
2. authenticity/creditability within your industry
3. passion/love that is undeniable
Where can people go to learn more about created coily and purchase one of your products?
To learn more about Created Coily Inc. you can visit our websites at www.createdcoily.org to learn more and createdcoily.com to Shop. Be sure to follow us on IG and Twitter @createdcoilyinc. You can also follow my personal and professional journey on Youtube at Naturally Rob.
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Motivate Me Mondays: Achieving the unexpected

Jordan Peele, an American actor, comedian, screenwriter, and film director, was born February 21, 1979 in New York City, New York. Jordan went to middle school at Computer School in I.S. 44, high school at The Calhoun School where he graduated in 1997, and became a 2001 graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. Years later, in 2013, he met Chelsea Peretti who later became his fiancé in November of 2015 and his wife in April of 2016. Jordan and Chelsea recently announced in February of this year that they are expecting their first child.

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Photo Credit: People.com

Jordan Peele is known for his celebrity impersonations, his music video parody for his song “Sad Fifty Cent”, and his appearance in the viral video “Hilary vs. Obama”. Peele has been nominated for and awarded a few awards for his acting and writing skills. Peele has acted in many different TV shows and movies some of which he also wrote, produced, and directed. A few of the films and movies Peele is known for is:

Key and Peele

The Mindy Project

Modern Family

MADtv

Little Fockers

Wanderlust 

Get Out

While Jordan Peeles accomplishments cannot go unnoticed, his 2017 horror/comedy film Get Out, which he wrote, directed, and produced has earned him one of his best accomplishments to date; the FIRST African American Writer-Director with a $100 Million Movie Debut. The film also received 100 percent positive reviews from Rotten Tomatoes and Peele achieved all of this in only 16 days from the movies release date with a $4 million dollar budget and a cast containing quite a few unknown actors. This movie is nothing like your normal horror/comedy movies because the horror it portrays is the real and honest terror that a black men feels living in America. Get Out is the type of movie that requires your full attention or else you will miss the hidden messages and even some of the obvious ones that this film displays. If you have already seen the movie I would encourage you to also read this amazing post written by Jessica Wilkins entitled 15 Easter Eggs from “Get Out”; it will leave you speechless.

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Photo Credit: http://www.getoutfilm.com

Jordan Peele’s accomplishments from the movie Get Out is an example of achieving something completely unexpected; something being better then you ever imagined it would be. Peele was aware that this movie may bring about a lot of negative criticism but that did not stop him nor did it hold him back, which is more then enough proof that you should never second guess yourself when it comes to doing what you believe in. Peele had faith in the success of this movie and he was not afraid to bring awareness to things that are overlooked in todays society, while also adding a nice touch of comedy to the mix; which in my opinion helped balance out the level of intensity the movie has. Let this be a motivation to you to never be afraid to do what is right while still remaining true to yourself.

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Motivate Me Mondays: Taking a risk

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world” – Robin Williams

In life sometimes we must take risk, we must step outside of our comfort zone to achieve the things we want. In order to make something possible you must have a level of confidence in yourself so that no matter what happens you will not give up before turning that idea into a reality. Todays motivational feature is about Shanea Phillips, a young woman who took a simple idea and turned it into a reality and how it is now becoming bigger and better then she ever imagined; here is her story….

Who is Shanea? Tell a little bit about yourself

I’m just a North Carolina A&T graduate trying to change the world one small step at a time. I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people, building relationships and connecting people in my network to opportunities. This and my passion for helping others influenced both my career and entrepreneurial paths. I work full-time as a Marketing and Communications Associate for a national nonprofit that raises and grants funds to fight HIV/AIDS. In my “spare time” I’m either in class working toward my Master of Public Administration degree, planning the next Brunch N’ Grind networking event or spending time with friends and family.

 

What is brunch n grind?

Brunch N’ Grind, LLC (BNG) provides networking brunch parties for young black professionals in New Jersey and the surrounding areas. BNG attendees can expect unlimited food and drinks, great music and an opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals.

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When did you start brunch n grind? What was the motivation behind starting brunch n grind?

It all started after I hosted a brunch party for my 24th birthday. As I looked around the table I saw engineers, accountants, PHd students and marketing executives and thought we need more opportunities like these! More opportunities to just break bread, grab a few drinks and really connect on a personal level. Brunch brings people from all backgrounds together (as food and libations usually do) and is a great avenue for networking and meeting new people.  Most importantly, I saw a need for more networking and social events for young black professionals in NEW JERSEY! Many professionals are trekking to New York every weekend when there are so many talented people and opportunities right here in the state.

 

In August 2015, I nervously took the lap of faith to start Brunch N’ Grind to serve as an avenue for young black professionals to advance their personal and professional goals. The first one had about 40 people come out to eat, drink, network and socialize and I decided to keep it going

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What keeps you motivated ?

 

Honestly, I’m motivated each and every day by the people around me. So many of my peers, especially black women, are building and starting movements that support and uplift our communities. Thinking about the bigger picture inspires and encourages me to keep going. I realized directly after college that it is about both WHO and WHAT you know. It is becoming increasingly important to build a network and establish social capital while make these career and business moves. Knowing that I can help people accomplish this through my brunches encourages me to improve and grow to reach even more people.

 

How much has it grown since you started?

It’s amazing to see how much Brunch N’ Grind has grown in the past year and a half. As I mentioned before, the first event had 40 attendees, now we reach capacity at each brunch with nearly 100 young black professionals in attendance. The growth is inspiring, because it shows that we are fulfilling our mission to provide a space for people to gather, make connections and support each other

 

As you continue to expand brunch n grind, where would you like things to be in the next 2-3 years?

 

In the next 2-3 years, I hope to offer brunch events more frequently to offer more opportunities to socialize and connect. Additionally, I plan to expand to other cities that have a large young professional audience, but like New Jersey may lack opportunities to come together. Now that I am a year and half into running the business, I plan to create a strategic plan that will outline business goals for the next few years and a plan on how to get there. Part of that is looking into sponsorships and partnerships to offer even more on a bigger and better scale.

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What advice do you have for young women like yourself?

Believe in yourself. You can do anything you put your mind to! I know this may sound cliché, but I find myself lacking confidence and second guessing myself more often than I would like to admit. It’s so easy to scare yourself out of a brilliant idea by thinking you aren’t ready or capable to pull it off! I would say, the first step is believing in yourself, building self-confidence and taking that leap of faith to put yourself out there. Once you do, you’ll realize that you are more than able and fully equipped to handle anything that may come your way. You see a problem? Take initiative and get it done. Lacking in an area? Educate and train yourself or partner with someone in your network.

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Where can people go to find out more about brunch n grind?

You can visit www.brunchngrindnj.com for more information, upcoming events and to sign up for updates. You can also follow us on Instagram @brunchngrind!

 

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