Friday, January 11, 2019

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Christal Luster

Christal Luster is a singer/songwriter, speaker, published author and entrepreneur from Chicago’s south side. Coming from a long line of visionaries in the beauty industry, she is no stranger to hard work and dedication it takes to build a solid legacy. Christal creates content to heal and inspire.

What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
In the beginning, it was a lack of resources. Either I didn’t have enough money, or I didn’t have people to help me. That common theme of lack instilled in me one of my most powerful beliefs: a lack of resources breeds creativity. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. We just have to find the will.

What inspired you to break into your particular industry? I decided to answer the call of my God-given gifts. Not only did I have an innate desire to create, but I also had this burden for people like me who wanted to break into the industry but were held back by fear of compromise and rehab centers. I’ve committed myself to be a light in the entertainment industry.

How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance? One thing entrepreneurs, creatives and millennials have in common is that they find it hard to “turn off” for a while. I got married in 2017 determined to not become a statistic. So, even when it’s challenging to prioritize and compartmentalize, for the sake of a healthy marriage and a healthy life, I balance with my husband’s help. He reminds me to rest.

What is an inspirational quote that you live by? “Be where your feet are.” – George Madden It’s a reminder for me to be present at the moment.

Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way? My mother, Josie Luster, has pathed the way for my womanhood. It’s because of her that I’m becoming a Proverbs 31 woman. My sister, Karen Luster Lockhart, was the best person I knew. She held me accountable, dreamed with me, cheered me on, prayed with me and shared her life with me. Even in death, she inspires me to leave a legacy as amazing as she left for me. My sister Stephanie has taught me a lot about maturity and growth. She is probably one of the best examples I have in my life for growth. Alisa Bell has been a strong leader in my life since I was 7 years old. She’s taught me how to be a woman of wisdom and integrity. Last but not least, my good friend Aaja Corinne. She inspires me so much. Such a woman of faith and excellence. Whenever I’m looking at my business, I think to myself “what would Aaja do?” and I usually end up on the right track.

What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong? I must have Jesus, because without hearing from Him in my life, I couldn’t possibly fulfill my destiny and, therefore, would be laboring in vain. I must have laughter. Entrepreneurship is HARD. I’ve found that the best anecdote is laughter. I must have a clear vision of my “why.” I always tell people that in life, your why will lead you to your who. Knowing my why not only gives me direction, but it also keeps me on track by reminding me I have a part in the grand scheme of things.

What is your definition of a BOSS? To me, a BOSS is someone who affects positive change in the lives of others. Whether it’s a small business or a large corporation, a BOSS should empower people to discover and pursue their purpose. It’s always about the greater good.

Provide us with two words that describe you? 

Inspirational Creator

Learn more about Christal: Twitter: @christalluster

The Key Ingredient for 2019; Resilience! by Felicia Shakespeare

Resilience is defined as ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness. The ability to spring back; elasticity. (

As I’ve been out taking care of some much-needed post-holiday back errands these first days of 2019, it’s amazing how if you take note and reflect there are lessons to be learned in the simple things. I’m observing we will have to remain resilient for the outcome that we desire in a situation. Here’s a little backdrop; the week before Thanksgiving my (under 1-year-old) “state of the art” vacuum cleaner went plum out! We all know how cleaning is so integral for preparing for the holidays. After taking the machine back to the store location (you will know the name) where I originally made the purchase, they did not take it back. My general practice is to save the original box of any pricey purchases because the bar code can link it back to the store (this year I vow to now store all paper receipts). The store personnel directed me to the manufacturer.

So I reached out to the manufacturer via phone and after three call attempts to Hoover (on different days) with very long hold times and NOBODY answering, I researched the second option, emailing. After three exchanges over several weeks after Thanksgiving and one internal escalation; the company refused to take their product back (with confirmed serial numbers, manufacturing numbers, barcodes and all)! I could have stopped right there but I didn’t! I did, however, purchase a new “basic” machine in the interim and waited to determine my next move.

This week I decided to go to another store location in the chain to speak to another manager about my experience with the other store and manufacturer. Within seconds I was offered a refund. Finally, after a month and many layers I would receive my refund. This is what resilience looks like! My definition of resilience; NEVER giving up until you gain the results that you want!

Here are three steps to take in 2019 to stay resilient in all you do no matter the circumstance:

1. Stay the course
No matter how rocky the road is, learn to navigate through the obstacles and stay the course. We can’t be moved by visible roadblocks. We walk by faith and not by sight; not falling off by what we see and sometimes what we can’t see!

2. Keep the task at hand before you
We’ve all heard this; “keep your eyes on the prize!” Never forget the outcome that you want or expect to see in your situation when you do the work. Stay focused on that.

3. Never quit
Enough said! I am a firm believer that no is not always the final answer. No for me means “not now” but not necessarily “not ever.”

Let’s start this year out accepting that from time to time there may be obstacles, there will be no’s, but this should not stop you from going for the outcome that you want. Press in, press on in the spirit of resilience!

To learn more about Felicia Shakespeare Twitter: @iamfelicias

Saturday, January 5, 2019

BOSS Spotlight: Tiffany Allen

Tiffany’s financial services career has spanned over 25 years. It began with Northwestern Mutual and a considerable amount of time was spent with major corporations such as ADP, AFLAC, and Bank of America. The primary focus now includes Protecting Your Family, Living in Retirement, Financial Strategy, and Saving for Education.

What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?

I faced many obstacles getting started. On one hand, I was so very sure of myself and I knew that I was walking in destiny, but that did not mean I wasn’t fearful. I had grown accustomed to working a corporate job and getting a paycheck and the reality of that not happening was very scary. I also had friends (and very close friends) who did not understand that I absolutely had to make this leap of faith. They did not understand why I just couldn’t be happy in my corporate role. Lastly, I had a limited amount of capital and I knew I had a limited amount of time to make it work. Failure was just not an option.

What inspired you to break into your particular industry?

I’ve been in this industry for over 20 years working for someone else. I have a passion for the financial industry as I was raised on a life insurance policy by my mother who lost her husband and my father at an early age. I also have a passion for legacy planning. We as black people are $250,000 behind as it relates to wealth and I want to reach as many people as I can to do my part in closing the gap. I want to make sure we protect all the people we love and our beloved organizations by understanding how we can bequest life insurance and leave a legacy in that way.

How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
My business is personal and the work I do with my clients is very personal. I do list manage myself daily. I use a calendar and put my personal things on the calendar first. I have three children and a grand-daughter so I want to make sure I attend their events and spend quality time with them. I also need to make sure I stay physically fit and well-groomed so all that goes on schedule first. Everything else works around that. Now, I make sure I have a productive workday each day, but I also work when my clients need me and that could be 7 days out of the week. I measure my week by my productivity and personal goals.

What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
There are several…but I wake up every day knowing that I can’t eat the elephant in one sitting. You eat it by taking one bite at a time.

Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
My entire body of work is dedicated to the memory of my father. I also worked for a businessman when I was 16 and he owned the first black Baskin Robbins in my community. He went on to help others open various franchised businesses and he is a mentor to me until this day. I have a few mentors that I don’t know like Oprah…she reminds me to be my authentic self and that I can truly do whatever I want…just maybe not all at the same time.

What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?
My faith is key. My health and endurance are key. I work and exercise these items every day.

What is your definition of a BOSS?
A BOSS to me is a woman who is authentically true to herself and all that she loves. She is focused on what she believes in. She is focused on her financial success, her intellectual success and supports others around her to do the same. She is a leader and has compassion and walks in great character.

Provide us with two words that describe you? 

Financial Coach

Learn more about Tiffany: