Friday, October 20, 2017

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Jacqueline Miller, Founder of Jacqueline DuJour Enterprises, LLC


Jacqueline Miller is CEO and Founder of Jacqueline DuJour Enterprises, LLC.  She is a Life Strategist, who is committed to bridging the gap between high-achieving women, their aspirations for life & career excellence and the leading- edge organizations that are committed to fostering exceptional, diverse work cultures for women.

1.  What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
The greatest obstacles that I faced were the three C’s:  Clarity, Confidence and Cashflow.  I was a successful corporate executive before starting my business, yet I struggled in these areas (primarily with clarity) when beginning my entrepreneurial journey. Another common obstacle was fear- fear of change, of abandoning my comfort zone, was at the root of those temporary struggles.

2.  What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
If I was going to become an entrepreneur, I knew that I needed to do what I loved. In my previous role of a human resources executive, I loved coaching people, women in particular, in various areas of their personal lives and career development. Finding healthy harmony (aka balance) in their lives was and remains a challenge for women, especially moms. I was also committed to identifying and maintaining a talented and diverse workforce, while presenting to executive teams the business and social justification for the existence of one. Having taken my leap of faith into entrepreneurship, in addition to developing career strategies for women in the 9-5 space, I am also able to help aspiring entrepreneurs examine the possibilities of becoming their own boss. The lack of leadership skills and self-confidence can lead to substantial roadblocks for high-achieving women in business. I am committed to a mission that is focused on having more women succeeding, whether in a corporate setting or in businesses of their own. Instead of working a 9-5 and building someone else’s dream, I have been afforded the opportunity to do what I love, build my own and empower other women to do the same.

3. How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
Rather than seek balance, which I believe to be nearly impossible to find, because something or someone generally ends up shortchanged, I prefer to seek what I call healthy harmony. I believe that it is possible to be, do, and have it all. However, I realistically acknowledge that not all three can occur simultaneously, nor can they occur without regularly using a 4-letter word: H-E-L-P.

4.  What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
“Comparison is the thief of Joy.”  - Theodore Roosevelt
My goal is to achieve success by excelling in the areas in which I have expertise, not to compare or to be in competition with anyone. Engaging in the latter causes distractions. If you do not minimize your distractions, your distractions will minimize your opportunities for success.

5. Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
I have been mentored and coached by some amazing people along my journey; far too many to name.  However, two of my greatest role models have been my mother and maternal grandmother. They taught me the importance of values, hard work, and a strong spiritual foundation. They reminded me often that the world owes me nothing and that if I wanted something, I needed to go out and get it. All of these lessons have been beneficial to my personal and business successes.

6.  What are your “must-haves” to keep your career or business going strong?
I must have a “no quit” mindset, while employing outside support when necessary, a desire to expand my knowledge continuously, a willingness to explore new business opportunities, and the tenacity to remain focused on the results that I produce for my clients, not simply on my resume.

 7.  What is your definition of a BOSS?
A woman who knows what she wants and who pursues it - unapologetically. She seeks to live a life by design, not default. While a cheering squad and a tribe of supporters are always beneficial, she is equipped to go it alone if she has to. A real BOSS unequivocally believes that sisterhood is more than a hashtag and is open to offer a hand up when the opportunity presents itself.  She also understands and believes that when one of us wins, we all win.

8. Provide us with two words that describe you?
Success Strategist

To find out more about Jacqueline Miller, visit her at:

Twitter: @mogulmomdujour


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 at 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