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!

 

Let Tay Tell It

Motivate Me Mondays: Breaking Barriers 

Mahershala Ali, born Mahershalalhashbaz Gilmore in Oakland, California on February 16, 1974, was raised by Willicia and Phillip Gilmore. He was raised Christian but later converted to Islam and graduated from St. Mary’s College of California in 1996 with a degree in Mass Communications. His interest in acting came about after taking part in the staging of Spunk which helped him land an apprenticeship at the California Shakespeare Theater. After a sabbatical year where he worked for Gavin Report, Mahershala enrolled in New York University’s graduate acting program, obtaining his masters in 2000. He is married to Amatus Sami-Karim and on February 22, 2017 they welcomed their first child, a beautiful little girl by the name of Bari Najma.

Mahershala Ali is known for being seen all over our TV screens, on the “BIG SCREEN”, and on stage in quite a few plays. Some of his works are:

House of Cards

The Hunger Games

Luke Cage

The Wronged Man

The 4400

Blues for an Alabama Sky

Smart People

Moonlight 

These are just a few works where he showed his brilliant acting skills but make no mistake there are many many more. The rewards he has recieved show the many accomplishments he has and continues to make in his career. One of his most recent accomplishments is becoming the first Muslim to win an Oscar for his portrayal in Moonlight

Mahershala most recent and awesome accomplishment speaks to ones level of determination to never let anything hold you back. It also speaks to being patient and trusting the process because often times we want success and money right away without putting in real time and effort, while remaining dedicated to the ultimate goal. Do you know what your ultimate goal is? What are the things that you want to achieve that will make you feel like you’re on your way to breaking barriers? These are important questions to think about and refelect on because we all view success differently and we all have ways we can and want to achieve that success. Let Mahershala Ali be all the proof you need that having the right level of determination can get you very far in life!


Photo Credit: Gq.com

Let Tay Tell It