Wednesday, October 18, 2017

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Jamila Trimuel, Founder of Ladies of Virtue

From the south side of Chicago, Jamila Trimuel is a results-driven leader and encourages others to pursue purpose at all costs. She is the Founder of Ladies of Virtue, an award winning mentoring program that has empowered over 1,000 girls to become confident leaders.

1. July 1, 2017 marked your 1 year anniversary since you left your 9-5 to pursue Ladies of Virtue full-time.  What obstacles have you faced and what keeps you going?

When I made the decision to leave the stability of a lucrative 9 to 5, there wasn’t a big grant on the way.  With the support of my husband, I walked out on faith because Ladies of Virtue (LOV) was the only thing that I wanted to do. My biggest obstacle has been learning how to build an organization that can support me full-time and the growth of our organization. What keeps me going is that LOV provided opportunities for girls to visit the National Museum of African American History and Culture, tour Howard University, speak to over 200 people at the Project Management Institute – Chicagoland Chapter dinner meetings, meet with politicians the MENTOR Summit in D.C., and in 2018 some will be traveling to Latin America. Many of them would not have experienced this if it weren’t for their participation in LOV. We are changing lives by teaching girls how to lead and getting them out of their comfort zone.  

2.  What inspired you to launch Ladies of Virtue?
Growing up in South Shore, my father said “You are an African girl and you can do anything you put your mind to” every time he put me to bed.  My mom used to sing “Me and you will conquer the world”. These affirmations provided me with the confidence to know that I could achieve my dreams. I noticed at an early age, however, many of my friends did not have a similar upbringing.  I remember thinking, what if they had someone to help them along on their journey.  This is what Ladies of Virtue is all about.  We stand in the gap for girls who may not have positive role models in their lives.  Most importantly, our mentors serve as part of the village to help each and every one of our girls achieve their dreams.  

3.  Tell us about your upcoming “Leading with Virtue” Cocktail Reception.  Why is it important to lead with virtue?
We are celebrating 6 years of providing mentoring and leadership programs to over 1,000 girls living in under-resourced communities!  On November 3rd, we will honor 5 phenomenal executives and entrepreneurs who lead with purpose, passion, and perseverance.  
Oftentimes when people talk about success they mention something that can be placed on a resume - how much revenue they raised, new business deals or a recent promotion. Leading with virtue is important because it speaks to your legacy. What do people say when you are not in the room? Are you dependable? Are you trustworthy? When you are no longer on this earth, your character is what people will remember.
For more info or to purchase a ticket, please go to

4.  What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
Matthew 10:20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
This reminds me to keep focusing on what matters – Are my efforts making a difference? Are we changing lives?
Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
When I was a Junior at the University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign, a guest professor stated, “choose your career based on what you would do for free”. I don’t remember what he looks like and I don’t know his name but those words always stayed with me.  This is how I live my life!

5.  What are your “must-haves” to keep your career or business going strong?
Mentors!  When I started LOV full-time, I mentored many girls but I never had one!  My first mentor was Risa Davis and she is a VP at United Way.  I met her through the IMPACT Leadership Development program hosted by the Chicago Urban League. She is still my mentor even though the program is over.  Now, I have three mentors. Each one has a different role and pushes me to be better.  

6.  What is your definition of a BOSS?
My definition of a BOSS is someone who lifts as they climb. As women, we can all go further when we stop competing and start collaborating.

To find out more about Jamila Trimuel, visit her at:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Staying in Your Lane by Jena Bell

How often have you heard the expression, “Just stay in your lane?” Maybe it was directed to you or about someone who you know.  Or, was it a little voice you whispered to yourself when you were feeling uncertain about your next project or opportunity?

Reflecting on my personal journey, I recall an individual saying those very words to me.

It was the end of spring 1977. I was excited and full of joy because I was enrolled in driver’s education.  I planned to practice all summer so I could convince my parents I would be ready to drive by the fall.  At that time, driver’s education was taught at school and my favorite teacher, Coach Bean, was my instructor.   I loved his training  because I trusted him and he made it fun.  We started the lesson driving local roads.  Once I mastered those, it was on to the highway.   I felt confident driving on familiar roads  but the highway was a different story.  I was terrified!  It was congested and the cars drove too fast. As we approached the interstate, my anxieties skyrocketed.  Merging onto the road, my hands shook with fear. The speeding cars, heavy traffic and big trucks, rattled every nerve.  It was so bad,  every time an 18-wheeler approached me, my palms dripped with sweat and my heart pounded.  I was so scared, I moved the car to the shoulder of the road to allow the trucks to pass.  Sensing my fear, Coach Bean commented, “Bell, just stay in your lane.” The next session he challenged me to stay  in my lane and to not spill his coffee.  I made it!  As my confidence increased, he commented, “Great, glad to see you’re  staying in your lane, nice and steady.”  I felt proud!  I had mastered  staying in my lane and found my comfort zone.  The following session, I repeated my style easing into my comfort zone. I didn't want to rock my grove.  As I eased into my zone, Coach Bean turned to me and said, “Bell, at some point you must speed up and change lanes, otherwise,  you‘ll never get what you want.”  Wow, what a powerful statement.  I had learned the basics, but I needed to reposition and change my pace to grow.  I had to face new challenges, but with each challenge came greater mastery, decision-making, awareness and mental reflex.

That’s the way I see life. We have to learn when and how to change lanes.  It may be  uncomfortable, but we do it anyway learning to keep pace with oncoming traffic, but eventually setting our own pace.  We weave in and out of our zones but never stop challenging ourselves.  We continuously raise the bar to never settle for less than our full potential.  I believe staying in your lane is appropriate at times but, your greatest possibilities will be unleashed when you exercise the courage to change lanes!

To find out more about Jena Bell, visit her at: Twitter: @jenalbell

Balancing Your Personal and Professional Brand as a Young Professional by Tamica Smith Jones


With the surge of social media, we have a greater need to manage our own brand and reputation – both online and in real life.  In today’s workforce, the sensitivity of personal and professional time within boundary varies.  I believe as individuals and as leaders, we have to make a full-time commitment to the journey of defining ourselves and observing the core values that our organizations signify.  This thought will shape the manner in which we will lead and serve others modeling what they see as successful professionals in industry.  My goal in this blog is to inspire you to identify your personal and professional brand, assess any variance between the two and consider blending and balancing your brand to support your level of commitment to your best life and work as a business professional.

Brand awareness is essential to any business and assessing your own personal brand is necessary to support respective visions and missions, development as a leader and advance your career.  Simply stated a brand is a mark of distinction or how others notice, recognize or distinguish you.  Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those your lead and serve – in my case collegiate athletes, investors in young professionals at the University of California, Riverside, the Inland Empire and diverse communities across the globe. I have learned that managing your personal brand as a public figure involves being a role model, mentor and/or voice that others can depend upon.  Essentially your personal brand should be a natural and instinctual part of who you are as “a person not a position.” 

Whether in a professional setting with co-workers and colleagues or a personal social with friends and family, I am mindful of what others are experiencing with me and how the message will be managed without me around.  Incongruously, some folks seem to be accountable to others and what/who they want them to be rather than being true to themselves.  So many people are working harder to “act the part.” 

As an educator and business woman in sports, I have enjoyed owning my authenticity, building my brand, sharing the journey as one of only three African American female directors of athletics at the division one level in the country.  It’s black girl magic!  I take pride in sharing the complex story in my memoir “A Ball and a Dream” available for purchase where books are sold. It’s an honor to be an illustration of hope for other underrepresented minorities striving to shatter glass ceilings professionally. 

In closing, be 100 percent authentically you!  Trust that living and managing your brand confidently and consistently will accelerate advancement opportunities, afford you the ability to earn and maintain unconditional respect and ultimately position you to best serve, lead and prepare others for successfully navigating the game of life.

Learn more about Tamica Smith Jones by visiting or her website and follow on Twitter: tjsports23

Self Care is Necessary by Sharice Bradford

Have you ever found yourself so engrossed in life, work, and taking care of others that you become mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted?  When is there ever time for you to breathe and collect your thoughts?  Most days the answer to this question is that there is no time.  Lack of self-care often leads to stress and illness.  We need to find time to take care of ourselves before we give our all to others.

Lack of self care effects every part of your body.  When working with clients on self care issues I like to use the airplane analogy.  When flying you are told that in the event of a change in cabin pressure, a mask will fall from overhead and you are to put on your own mask before you assist anyone else.  We need to carry this principle through life.

Here are some ways to practice self care:
  1. Review your daily schedule and routine.  What can be eliminated, what can others assist you with and what tasks can be grouped and handled at a later date/time.  For instance instead of cooking everyday, meal prep for the week and cook as many meals as possible on the weekends and freeze them so that cooking time is minimized during the week.  Think of purchasing daily household items in bulk so that you don’t have to make those weekly runs for household items.  This can add more YOU time to your schedule.
  2. Be intentional and unapologetic about your time.  Auntie Maxine (Waters) said it best, “Reclaiming My TIME”.  If Friday from 4-5 is YOUR time, make sure to adhere to that being YOUR time.  Turn off your phone, no social media, do whatever activity YOU want during that time.  Schedule YOU time just like you schedule anything else. 
  3. Ask for help.  If you are overwhelmed and there are others who can help you, ask for help.  If you are married ask your spouse to cook a meal or two a week.  If you are a single parent ask a family member you trust or another parent for an hour of babysitting time.  For work assignments, don’t try to do everything yourself. 
  4. Stop being everything to everyone.  Too often we don the cape of Wonder Woman or and try to do everything and be everything to everyone when we are the ones who are suffering in silence.  STOP IT.  Stop putting yourself last on the list, when you should be first.  
Self-Care is necessary period.  Once you begin to pay more attention to yourself and your needs watch how your life changes.  You will sleep better, and longer.  You will wake up and start your day feeling refreshed and not tired.  You will be more productive and find moments where you can just sit and be still instead of running around like a toddler having a temper tantrum.  YOU must find the time and ways to make YOURSELF a priority.  Why not start today?

Learn more about Sharice Bradford via her website at and follow her on Twitter @CoachSharice7

Monday, September 25, 2017

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Jena Bell, Founder/CEO of J Coach International


Jena Bell is a life coach, entrepreneur and motivational, transformative speaker that inspires her audiences with her message of “your setback is your next comeback.’  She is a former Senior Healthcare Executive with over 30 years experience. She was the first female and African American to head a $29 billion national health program.

1.    What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career? I have been on the journey for over 32 years with 30 years in the corporate environment. The obstacles as an entrepreneur are similar as a corporate executive. There are four key learnings I had to apply early on.  Firstly, whether a career professional or running a business, you have to market (promote) yourself because you are your brand. This is sometimes easy to forget as a soloprenuer.  Secondly,  I learned to have the right systems in place and to outsource certain tasks so I focus on the development side of my business.  Thirdly, obtaining a mentor/coach early on was important. No matter what stage you are in, learning from others and being willing to be coached are important success keys.  Lastly, acting early and taking steps to align with others in my field. Networking, identifying the right organizations and strategically focusing your attention on building your network through active communications and in some instances, strategic alliances.

2.    What inspired you to break into your particular industry? My inspiration to enter the coaching and speaking business emerged as I transitioned out of corporate.  I chose to take time to really focus on me, my hopes, my dreams and my relationship with God. Through that period, my purpose was revealed. I answered my calling to serve others. Coaching  and speaking became the vehicles matching my purpose, passion and profession with my gifts.  I believe we all have inherent gifts and a call to purpose and when we harmonize the two, we find ultimate joy and greater rewards.

3.    How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance? It’s alway a struggle for anyone that is passionate about what they do to know when to break away and truly experience downtime.  But what I learned when going through my personal transformation, I must make time to refuel, reset and restore my inner being and spirit.  To accomplish that requires that I make time for the downtime. My favorite examples are working out, holistic self-care, travel, weekends off, and sometime a day off in the middle of the week. I may close down and simply take in activities that  I enjoy without ever feeling guilt.  It’s a choice.   

4.    What is an inspirational quote that you live by? I am inspired by two bible quotes, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and “I walk by faith, not sight.”  I believe that all things are possible when we believe, think it, and act upon it.  

5.    Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way? There are so many people who have influenced my path.  The persons I hold dearest are my parents who always supported me and taught me to believe that I could achieve whatever I wanted,  if I worked for it and put forth my best. That belief,  was supported and validated throughout my life and my career by teachers and mentors who were influential as early as kindergarten and throughout my college career.  I am blessed to have champions who have lifted me through encouragement. I still remember them all!

6.    What are your “must-haves” to keep your career or business going strong? My must-haves to keep my business strong and impactful include continuing to invest in my personal development as a continuous learner who shares her gifts, development of  products and services that impact and transform lives,  a strong, diverse network of like-minded people, faith, a voice that makes a difference in the lives of others, systems, processes, technology, and a strong team.

7. What is your definition of a BOSS?
A visionary, compassionate, leader who influences and impacts others,  who is not afraid but willing to partner with others unconditionally. She shares her gifts and talents so that others walk in greater enlightenment.  She does not compete, she collaborates.

Jena L Bell - “The #1 Possibilities Coach”

To find out more about Jena Bell, visit her at:

Twitter: @jenalbell

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Leadership: Building A Great Team by Dr. Catrina Pullum

Over the past few weeks, I have been asked by entrepreneurs and business leaders to provide training on to build a great team. How do leaders create and sustain change? What style of leadership is needed to motivate people to undertake change? A leader provides resources and rewards in exchange for motivation, productivity, effective goals, or task accomplishments. An effective leader can get their team members to change and to lead change. This type of leadership
empowers employees to make a difference.

As organizations demand more from their work forces, they are finding that the old tried
and true methods of staying late and working longer aren’t working. Instead, this is creating an energy drain on the employees, which is being seen as the cause of lower productivity. This is due to the employees being exhausted, disengaged, and stressed out to the point of becoming ill. Employers should develop practices to help employees renew four different aspects of their personal energy: physical energy, emotionally energy, mental energy, and spiritual energy. By helping their employees build habits to renew those aspects of energy usage, it opens the door to increase overall productivity for the employee.

A good business owner can also implement strategies to save poor performing employees
from well-meaning managers. What could be happening when poor performers fail to improve? Sometimes it is the manager, unintentionally setting the employee up to fail. A failure on the employee’s part leads to micromanagement on the manager’s part, which causes the employee to doubt himself and shy away from decision-making, leading the manager to trust the employee less and micromanage more beginning a death spiral. You might call this the “set-up- to-fail syndrome”. You ultimately wind up with an overworked manager, and usually a lost employee. It does not have to be fatal; it can be reversed with a simple course of treatment. The primary treatment being to change the communication dynamic between the manager and the employee to help restore trust.

To build a great team, a leader must understand how to create the experience of team
building to develop an effective team. To do this, your team must: Be Innovative; Be Collaborative; Communicate Effectively; Be Organized; Have a Robust Work Ethic; & Promote Diversity on the team. Innovative thinking involves risk, so you and your employees must demonstrate the courage to thrive. Your team members should encourage each other to be successful and build on one another's accomplishments. A diverse team allows more perspectives and introduces new and unique ideas. Having a diverse team enhances creativity and group problem solving.

As a leader, my team and I quote one of our favorite Lady General Facts (KC Fox, The Lady General Foundation), "No Woman Is Greater Than Her Team".

Learn more about Dr. Trina via her website at www.pullcorp.comand follow her on Twitter @drpullum

How Adopting Mindfulness Can Benefit You and Your Business by Dr. Toya Wilson

What is mindfulness?

A simple definition could be stated as: the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. It’s a pretty straightforward word. It suggests that the mind is fully attending to what’s happening, to what you’re doing, to the space you’re moving through. That might seem trivial, except for the annoying fact that we so often veer from the matter at hand. Our mind takes flight, we lose touch with our body, and pretty soon we’re engrossed in obsessive thoughts about something that just happened or fretting about the future. And that makes us anxious.

Why should business owners care about mindfulness?

Top executives are starting to see by decreasing how much they stress out over today's problems, and decreasing anxiety over tomorrow's potential woes, they pave the way for mental clarity, creative thinking, higher-level awareness for better decision making.

But what about entrepreneurs: The startups, the one-woman show, life coaches, mentors, speakers, and authors— those out in the wilderness on their own, taking risks and trying to change the world in their own little (or big) way. How can mindfulness help these ladies?

When we give ourselves 10 minutes (or more) of space to quiet our mind we become better at noticing the opportunities that otherwise might pass us by as we go around in a state of overwhelm. As you create a regular time for yourselves you’ll notice that you can achieve more in less time, interruptions become less bothersome and life feels more effortless.

By creating time and space for you to think, to quiet your mind and focus you can grow your business without distraction and hard work. I don’t mean you don’t need to work hard, I mean it doesn’t have to feel like hard work. Here are 3 mindful practices you can incorporate into your day to help yourself and grow your business:

1. Create time for a ‘Creative Hour’ where you turn off all external distractions, gather your thoughts, settle into what you want to achieve for the day and bring your full attention to the tasks at hand. Perhaps you don’t need an hour – do what works for you.

2. Make time for regular breaks – get outside if you can and go for a walk around the block. It can transform your mindset and bring inspiration, focus, and insights.

3. Practice "active listening". When we focus on listening fully to what the other person is saying we have to be present. Go into conversations with clients/potential clients/stakeholders with an open mind, trusting your intuition to guide you to say or do the best thing.

The benefits of all this on your business will be reduced stress, more time to think about your business and making decisions from a place of wisdom and authenticity, and strong working relationships with those you do business with and the clients you serve.

Learn more about Dr. Toya via her website at and follow her on Twitter @DrToyaK

#Winning by Dr. Deborah Tillman


For too many of us, perception has become reality, but perception is not always the TRUTH. The emergence of social media has afforded people the opportunity to become professionals at making their lives look like an awesome photo album of sheer perfection. We are bombarded with images of flawless faces, powerful positions, remarkable relationships and astounding abundance. All of which is wonderful and harmless if countless hours weren’t spent comparing and critiquing our lives based off of the “appearance” of someone else’s. We are not always the people we pretend to be which serves no purpose of showing the world what #Winning really means. Let me be transparent, it would seem in 2013,
I was #Winning. Founder and CEO of three schools serving over 300 children and families, the host of a Lifetime Television show America’s Supernanny, speaking and traveling all over the world and married for over two decades. However, the reality was within three years, I had to give up two schools, a show, and a 25-year marriage that left me with the broken pieces. But somebody said, broken pieces can still color. I have learned that #Winning is less about what we “get” in life and more about our ability to “give up” what we think serves our soul in order to “gain” life more abundantly.

#Winning requires us to Face Our Fears
Henry Ford said, “one of the greatest discoveries a man makes is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do. Never allow fear to stop you from being all that God has called you to be. When your knees are knocking, have the courage to do it afraid.

#Winning requires us to Fill our Hearts with Humility
It’s tough to be transparent and open–even those who consider themselves humble don’t want to look like they’ve messed up. But, as human beings we all make mistakes. It is through the lessons of life that we are able to provide value and be a blessing to others. As my Pastor would often say, we can’t heal it until we reveal it.

#Winning requires us to Focus on our Faith
We win when we believe that there is light at the end of a dark tunnel and
continue walking toward it even though we can’t see it understanding that if God brings us to it, He will bring us through it.

Finally, #Winning requires us to Finish Well
It is not what we go through in life that matters, it is how we respond to it.
So Yes, in 2017, I am #Winning because of my ability to get back up when I got knocked down still committed to my calling, daring to dream and fighting for my future with the understanding that Dreams Deferred are not always Dreams Denied. If we are going to be TRUE to #Winning in life, know that the race isn’t given to the swift or to the strong but to those who endure to the end.

Learn more at about Dr. Tillman via her website at and follow her on Twitter @deborahltillman

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Kelli Fisher & Tana Gilmore "The Matchmaking DUO™"

Kelli Fisher & Tana Gilmore, The Matchmaking DUO™ , are Certified Life/Relationship Coaches, Certified Matchmakers, national speakers, and authors of the critically acclaimed book, “Relationship DUOvers.”  Together, they own Fisher Gilmore, Inc., an exclusive agency which specializes in helping women of power balance a successful career, personal life, and love.

1.    What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
In the beginning process of starting our business we faced many obstacles.  Because our business is so unconventional, especially with two of us as principals, there were not many blueprints to follow. We had to clearly define our individual roles, strengths, weaknesses, and strategy both short-term and long-term.

2.    What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
As two African American women, it was apparent that there was a need in the marketplace to rebuild, restore and uplift each other coupled with the tools to find an optimal match. So often we as women have clearly defined goals to move forward in our education and careers which is great because it's easy to forsee the outcome with hard work and dedication. However finding and maintaining love, healthy relationships, and overall happiness in our personal lives we quickly learn is not an exact science and doesn't always go according to plan.  We quickly learned that finding the right balance was a universal issue and we were armed with the life experience and tools to help. 

3.    How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
We use a shared calendar so we can easily plug in time off for personal commitments, vacations, or just family time.  When we first started our business we were so excited and wanted to work around the clock but quickly learned that it's easy to get burned out without clearly defined schedules and time off.  We learned to work smarter and group various types of meetings on certain days and stick to the schedule, which helped us to use our time more effectively.

4.    What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
"If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room."  We share the sentiment that there's often so much to be learned from others even if they're not in the same field.  Our goal is to always seek more knowledge in many areas of business and life.

5.    Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?  
There are so many influential people who encourage us.  Two mentors who we meet with consistently for feedback and support are Minister Christina Lee, Chaplain to the NFL Mothers Association and President of Paradigm 360 Coaching and Jai Stone, Master  Brand Coach.  They

6.    What are your “must-haves” to keep your career or business going strong?
A few "must-haves" to keep our business going strong are, we are life-long learners and constantly staying abreast of new trends. We pride ourselves on being innovators and trying our best to work more efficiently. We set obtainable goals often and hold each other accountable.  Additionally we push ourselves to try new things which may be outside of our comfort zone to help others such as sharing personal stories in our book, Relationship DUOovers, launching our new podcast, The LovHER Show with The DUO and accepting invitations to speaking engagements or media opportunities that push us to stretch.

7. What is your definition of a BOSS?
A Boss is someone who is a leader. Someone who not only has the ability to be a visionary but can execute with ease under pressure.  Most importantly, a BOSS doesn't have to announce it.  She walks in and her very presence, humility, and knowledge speaks for her.

To find out more on The Matchmaking DUO, visit them at:

Twitter: @MatchmakingDUO 

Friday, September 8, 2017

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Adriane Massey "Corporate Trainer & Executive Coach"

Adriane founded Strengths Zone, an organization that specializes in Gallup-Certified Strengths Training & Executive Coaching. She leads training nationwide and coaches countless women through career and personal hurdles, using their natural talents. A former hospital VP, she earned a BA from University of North Texas and MA from Stanford University. 
1. What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
When I founded Strengths Zone, a business specializing in Gallup-Certified Training and Executive Coaching, I was a newcomer to Atlanta. I moved from the familiar surroundings of Dallas, TX to the ATL. While I enjoyed tons of family ties in Atlanta, I had few business connections. I was an outsider. It was imperative for me to strategically attend networking events. I learned to place myself “under the roof” of people who are my ideal clients. This meant mastering the virtual roof of LinkedIn, attending early morning events, scheduling coffee intros, “never eat alone” lunches and seeking business after hours evening activities.

2. What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
I was inspired to pivot to executive coaching/training/consulting during my time in Leadership Texas. My initial exposure to the science of Strengths took place in Leadership Texas. I was one of 115 women leaders selected from across the state to participate in the longest-running women’s leadership development program in the U.S. In one of our first sessions, we debriefed our results from the StrengthsFinder 2.0 online assessment. I was floored by the accuracy of the report of my Top 5 talents: Achiever | Maximizer | Analytical | Intellection | Deliberative. The insight explained nearly every aspect of my successes and failures.

Once exposed to the tool called StrengthsFinder, I strongly felt that everyone ought to know this information about themselves. Everyone ought to specifically know their natural way of thinking, feeling and behaving. Like most women, I had plenty of loving and astute advice over the years, but none succinctly tapped into my natural wiring. I was inspired to help people and companies apply real data, not guesswork, toward their professional and personal development.

3. How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
I prescribe to harmony, more than balance. Simply put, there are times when we will work more than play, and vice versa.

4. What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
I’m a quote junkie. To narrow down just three of my all-time favorites, here goes:

“Own your own development.”  Adriane Massey

"I know who I am, I know who I am not. Both are okay. Because of this, I am free to embrace who you are, who you are not, without judgment. - DeAnna Murphy

“Great Minds discuss ideas. Average Minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

5. Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
Mentors made all the difference in my career launch. Largely, members of the Dallas-Fort Worth Association of Black Journalists, the local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) guided me. Their influence, in combination with my parents, extended family and landing a four-year college internship under the INROADS program, set me up for early success.

6. What are your “must-haves” to keep your career or business going strong?
My Top 3 must-haves for keeping my career or business going strong:
  1. Technology – use it!
  2. Vision boards – post them!
  3. Strong mind, body, spirit – live it!
7. What is your definition of a BOSS?
My definition of a BOSS is being a woman who influences others by modeling, motivating, mentoring and multiplying.

To find out more on Adriane, visit her at:

Twitter: @AdrianeWilson


Monday, August 28, 2017

BOSS Spotlight: Tamica Smith Jones, Author of "A Ball and a Dream"

A Ball and a Dream, by Tamica Smith Jones, the Athletic Director at the University of California Riverside, was published by MEWE, LLC, located in the metropolitan area of Atlanta, GA.  Jones writes about her life’s high points – success on the basketball court, marriage, the birth of her children – as well as the lows she goes through – lashing out at a fellow student and having to change schools as a result, and later, struggles in her career such as unemployment and questionable employment practices. Jones’ course in life is anything but a smooth journey, but she has faith that God is guiding her.  A Ball and a Dream is available in paperback and eBook online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and wherever books are sold. This is the first book by Jones. The Atlanta native of resides in California with her family, who fully support her in ministry.

1. What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
Finding my career niche, focus and purpose, as an entrepreneurial spirit very verse in my skills and ability as a thought leader.

2. What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
I always wanted to be a business owner and obtain a degree in business administration but got a call from a former coach who asked would I be interested to join his staff as a graduate assistant basketball coach. My mom encouraged me to continue my education and that has made the difference in my journey.  So I worked with the student athletes and coaches all day and then balanced graduate school class in the evenings from 6-10:00 pm.  I had a lot of traveling and did almost everything the full time head coach did which was a tremendous growth spurt as a professional.  So I went from a player to pro with one encounter where someone saw a gift in me that I didn't see in myself. I was not just a leader but remained coachable!

3. How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
I absolutely have to prioritize everything and have it accessible on my handheld calendar. I realize that if I don't maintain a healthy lifestyle: physically, mentally, spiritually, etc. I will be no good leading or aiding others I care about or responsible to.  So I try to eat well, exercise daily, read devotionals to keep my spirit up, vacation and when I have conflicting interest I ask myself "what's most important to me right now?... And that's what I do, unapologetically.  Over the years I have been more selective of things I add to my already busy life and more thoughtful of what I compromise if I take on more responsibility.  I also take what I call "love breaks" whereas I will step away from the busyness of the day to go peak in on team practices, my children at school, call my mom or text best friends, colleagues or significant others to let know I am thinking about them.  Other than that I continue to find a way to get for family vacations. So, life has been good and I can't complain.

4. What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
Life is what you make it, always has been and always will be is a favorite because it's about perspective.  

5. Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
My parents were there from day 1; dad encouraged and funded me in sports and mom pushed education, my core values and faith to see it through. Outside of that, probably single handedly the president who appointed me to my first director of athletics job has been the most influential.  He was a very authentic leader and fearless.  Very direct in his approach so he sharpened my skills like no other and really prepared me to work and excel in a male dominated industry like intercollegiate athletics.

6. What are your “must-haves” to keep your career or business going strong?
Good people are must haves. Being in the people business where you are aspiring to empower and provide access to education for youth and young adults we must surround them with the best leaders to develop and prepare for an impactful career and life.  

7. What is your definition of a BOSS?
My definition of a BOSS is a person who is the head or director with vision and extraordinary instinct.  One who will not just point but also knows enough about the details to participate. It's a person who has resources to lend. A person who is always going to be above the standard and gets uncomfortable being status quo, always striving for better. A BOSS has good judgment, high business acumen and influential amongst a diverse audience.  BOSSES make sure whatever the task at hand, it gets done with no excuses – they find a way or make one!

To find out more on Tamica, visit her at:

Twitter: @tjsports23