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
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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: 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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Why Do We As Women?

Why do we as women try to put a title on something before even talking to the guy we are dealing with?

Ladies, whether we do it on purpose or not, we often end up in situations that we know we could have avoided if we handled things differently. I truly believe that some of the problems we encounter and the hurt with deal with, when it comes to men, could be avoided if we asked a guy what his intentions are in the beginning. You have to go into these situations with guys knowing what you want and expect and making those things very clear. Either a guy is going to respect it and be on the same page with you or he is not and one thing is for sure, YOU CANNOT PUT A TITLE ON A SITUATION IF YOU ARE NOT ON THE SAME PAGE WITH THE GUY YOU ARE DEALING WITH.

Sometimes we get involved with guys and determine how things will be before realizing that the guy isn’t even on the same page as us. We start to care more, do more, and expect more from a man that does not care. Don’t get me wrong, guys lead us on a lot of the time but SOMETIMES we as women also play a major part in things falling apart as well. Sleeping with a guy and “talking” to a guy DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY MEAN YOU TWO ARE EXCLUSIVE; how can you automatically assume something when no conversation has happened about where things are and where they are going. You also have to know the type of woman  you are when it comes to men because it will help you to avoid a lot of the hurt you may deal with.

I understand wanting more from these men then they are ready to give us but recognize the part you may be playing in the situation that has done you more bad then good. Once you realize it remember it and carry that with you into the next situation so you won’t make the same mistake again. Now, this is not me saying that you will deal with this when it comes to all men, this is me saying that the way things went in the last situation you dealt with should tell you that something needs to change moving forward. If you have certain expectations you are no longer willing to budge on, make that clear. If sex before a relationship is something you cannot handle, make that clear. If you are at a point where playing around and dating different men isn’t you’re thing any more, make it clear.

As a woman you have every right to make it clear what you want and expect NO MATTER WHAT but what you SHOULD NOT do is put a title on situations before even talking to the guy you’re dealing with; you are guaranteed to get your feelings hurt. If you can avoid getting your feelings hurt or ending up in situations that aren’t good for you, DO IT.

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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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Why Do We As Women?

Why do we as women say things we do not mean in relationships?

Ladies, just try to hear me out on this one, okay? It has become a natural and pretty much normal thing to hear guys talk about what a female really means when she says certain things. For example as a female when my man asks me “What is wrong with you” I will typically say “nothing, I’m fine” but my man knows deep down that if he just says okay and does not ask me again or try to get me to talk, it becomes a problem. How about when you are having an argument and you say to your man “leave me alone” but in reality we do not literally mean for you to leave us alone. These are just a few examples of us women saying things we don’t really mean; it is almost as if we want to test our man to see how far he would go to make sure we are okay. This is good and all, SOMETIMES, but then you have other situations where you say mean things to a guy because you’re hurt or because you’re dealing with a good guy and you don’t know how to handle it.

You play a tricky game when you say things you do not mean, you have to be careful. If your man is asking you what is wrong, tell him; he’s asking because he cares so don’t make him beg you every time. If you are in a situation and you want to tell your man to leave you alone just to see what he will do, don’t get mad if he actually leaves you alone; guys take things literally so most of the time they will not automatically think that you telling them to leave you alone, doesn’t actually mean that. With that being said, there are some times where I am all for making your man work hard to figure out what is going on especially if he is the cause of problem and knows what he did wrong; sometimes guys will “act” as if they do not know but they do.

We also have to be careful saying mean things in the heat of an argument. Ladies it should come to no surprise that our words can cut a man deep especially if it comes from a woman he truly loves; he may not show it how effected him like we as women do but it definitely does. An argument and/or disagreement should not the time where we try to hurt each other because nothing gets accomplished and feelings get hurt off of things being said that a person probably didn’t even mean. You do not want to loose someone you love from saying something that you didn’t even mean. I have seen women use their words to try to tear down a good man because lets be honest; dealing with good guys these days seems rare. If all you have ever known are lying, cheating, dishonest men why wouldn’t you expect a good to be putting on a front? Why wouldn’t you start to doubt the situation after while? Why wouldn’t you start to question things? I understand but to tear down a good guy by saying things that aren’t true can cause more harm then good so don’t push that good man away, embrace him.

From testing your man to tearing down a good guy plus any and everything that falls in between that, all results in saying things we do not mean. Things should flow pretty easily in a relationship so do not make it a permanent habit of saying things you do not mean or you may cause more problems then necessary. Also, always remember that your words hold more power then you may know.

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Why Do We As Women?

Why do we as women judge other people for the things they deal with as if we’ve never been in similar situations?

As a woman who has been in plenty of situations that I never expected to be in I always tread lightly when it comes to speaking on the things I see other people deal with. I have learned that I cannot always judge another person for what they are dealing with when I do not know their story and when I have been in the same or similar situation myself. However, seeing things like people sleeping with married men and/or trying to mess up another persons relationship on purpose is something I definitely judge BUT that is another topic for another day. Today I am simply referring to situations such as the ones we find ourselves in when it comes to our relationships.

I cannot tell you how many times I have seen other women talk down about someone who continues to stay with a person that has done them wrong as if they haven’t been that woman before. People hurt people in so many ways by cheating, lying, being deceitful, mentally and physically abusive, being conniving, putting other people and things before her and the relationship, not taking her feelings into consideration, constantly running away from problems, etc. You cannot always prevent someone from hurting you so when you also have to deal with people judging you for how you deal with it makes things even worse.

I remember seeing Tammy Rivera Malphrus, who is the wife of rapper Wakaflocka, publicly dealing with her husbands infidelity in their marriage. Tammy made a decision to separate from her husband for awhile because simply put, she could not deal with the disrespect any longer; she was fed up. She did not divorce him or bash him she simply did what was best for her at the time but this did not change the fact that she was still married nor did she fully give up on her marriage. Leaving her husband had women showing her so much love and support trying to uplift and encourage her but the minute Tammy decided to work on her marriage and take her husband back things changed. I saw so many comments from women judging her, tearing her down, criticizing her, and ridiculing her as if she was wrong for working things out with her husband. Tammy married this man and vowed to stick with him through the good and the bad and a lot of women have been where she is but were quick to judge her for the decisions she made.

Ladies if you are a woman who is now in a better place in life, try not to forget where you came from and what you had to deal with and put up with to get to where you are today. Do not look down on other people because they have not reached that point in their life yet because you too use to be exactly where they are; we have to be a little more understanding. This not only applies to relationships, but also friendships, financial status, job status; you too may have struggled in these areas just like the next person. We also have to remember to not judge people when we have our own personal problems and flaws that we need to work on so the more you focus on yourself and try to uplift others the better off you will be.

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