Tuesday, November 27, 2018

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Dorothy Williams

Dorothy Williams, a mother, wife, entrepreneur, and the founder of Cre’A’s love Butter!
Cre'A's Love Butter is an all-natural, homemade brand that’s made with Love, Passion, and Organic Ingredients that are meant to moisturize the skin and enhance the beauty you already possess. 

What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career? The first obstacle was letting go of self-doubt so that I could actually start the business. The second was not knowing how to actually “Run” my business. Timing was an obstacle at the beginning because I had to literally learn the basics. Lastly, Patience. My business was growing so fast that I had to take a step back. Companies wanted my product in their stores but I couldn’t because of legal reasons. Turning down money was a very tough thing to do.

What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
I was known as “Lady Bug” because I had a little dry spot on this little round fat face as a teen. Once I had to become conscious of my health, I realized that it was not only the food I ate but also the chemicals that I was putting on my skin. My family would ask me to make it for free so my husband, Andre suggested that I sell it and three years later, here we are!

How do you balance your personal life and professional life or have you been able to find balance?
Despite all that I’ve been through in this short life, I’ve always found balance. Being a young parent, I cooked, cleaned, and yelled at the same time. I put the husband to bed and got back to it. Sometimes I include personal in small details of professional, and when I am overwhelmed, I have three options, meditate, write, or wine and dine myself.

What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
“My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Maya Angelou

Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
My mother, children, husband, Maya Angelou, my God-mother Mrs. Cameron, and my three sisters, Martha, Francyne, and Carmel.

What are your “must haves” to keep your career or business going strong?
First, Self- love. Self is where you’ll find what it is you love and is passionate about. Second, Knowledge. Know everything there is to know about what it is you do so that you create or enhance what’s already out there.

What is your definition of a BOSS?
A person that wakes up knowing that life is separate from the grind, and stick to the plan. A person that will remove all nouns that causes them to sway from the plan.

Provide us with two words that describe you?
Creative expert.

To learn more about Dorothy

Sacrificing For The Big Picture by Brittany Applegate

The moment you truly commit to the reality of what it takes to achieve and maintain the success of your dreams will be the moment you begin to truly sacrifice. We often travel down the road we see our peers traveling, but the alternate route, probably the route you're own right now, will take a lot of sacrifices. So what are you willing to sacrifice? Here are my personal sacrifices I've made over the years, to focus on my bigger picture.
LIVING AT HOME WITH MY PARENTS: If you have the opportunity to stay at home with mom and dad for a bit longer - do it! That extra time I spent at home allowed me to invest in my business, fund my organization, Brand Chicago, and most importantly - SAVE MY COINS. That time will allow you to grow a healthy savings account and live on better terms.
NOT DATING: I often viewed a relationship as a distraction, and the truth is sometimes they are. By embracing my singleness, I became laser-focused on simply what was in my control. While single, I spent a lot of my "free time" loving myself, working, attending networking events, building new friendships, and in counseling. When the time is right, he or she will be right on time.
WORKING A JOB YOU HATE: Although today's trend is to leave Corporate America and work for yourself - it's just not that easy. It takes a lot of wisdom, planning, preparation, and prayer to make such a leap; but what can you do while at the job you hate? In the midst of being at a job that made me miserable, I learned how to properly plan experiential events, valuable experience that has carried over into event planning for my organization, Brand Chicago. Once the lesson was realized, God allowed me to transition. Pay attention to what it is you're supposed to take away from the job you hate that will prepare you for The Big Picture.
TIME: When focused on The Big Picture, you don't actually lose time, you just become very particular about where it's being applied. If an outing isn't on my calendar you may not see me there. If you call me without an appointment or pre-call text, I may not answer. Why? Because my time has become reserved for doing all the things necessary for The Big Picture. 
So what does the big picture look like for you? It may look like:
  • ·  Starting and funding your new business!
  • ·  Covering the down payment and closing costs on a new condo/house!
  • ·   International vacations that don't deplete your savings account!
  • ·   Accepting an offer at a new job you actually like!
  • ·   Getting out of debt!
  • ·   A healthy relationship with someone who gets you!
  • ·   Starting a college fund for your child who doesn't even know how hard you're working right now for their bright future!

Define your big picture, and identify the uncomfortable sacrifices you'll need to make to make it happen. Don't get caught up in anyone else's journey - focus on what's in front of you, because here's the reality - if you do what is easy, your life will be hard. But if you are willing to sacrifice and do what is hard your life will be easy. 
To learn more about Brittany www.brittanyapplegate.com  Twitter: @BrittApplegate

Sunday, November 25, 2018

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Felicia Shakespeare

Felicia Shakespeare is an author, speaker, educator & entrepreneur. Felicia's career experience spans through many years in the business and education sectors, working for Fortune 500 companies & for the third largest school district in America. Felicia’s mission is to inspire others to be intentional about living a life of faith & purpose.

1. What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
One of the major obstacles that I faced many times over when starting my career was (by no control of my own) being the only person or woman of color within the organization. In most instances, the level of effort required to succeed was inequitable whether it would be for promotion opportunities, raises, etc. It was unfortunate that each time I joined an organization, I had to prove the value beyond the color of my skin, age and/or gender. Another obstacle at the beginning of my career was finding someone to truly invest in my success through sustained mentorship efforts. It took some time, but after the intentional efforts of seeking someone out, I did not only gain a mentor but a lifetime friend.

2. What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
I really enjoy the aspect in the business of meeting the goals of my organizations and the needs of my clients. After entering the business arena at such an early age I saw that if people received what they thought they wanted or deserved from an interaction with you, they were willing to invest in themselves and in you in some capacity. Whether in a referral for more business, a recommendation to management, etc., it all counts. A high level of commitment and professionalism is key. This mindset has transferred to everything I’ve done in every sector.

3. How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance? I am always seeking new ways to balance my life personally and professionally. The first method of operation for me is always “prioritization”; God, Family, then everything else. When thinking of the top two, it’s about how I allocate my time and all of who I am.

4. What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
There are two:
“This above all, to thine own self be true” ~ William Shakespeare
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” ~ Maya Angelou

5. Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
Local Mentors:
I’ve been influenced and deeply impacted by the life and actions of my mother, Ruthie Shakespeare. She is a woman of wisdom and resilience. She’s shown me how to persevere through the twists and turns of all components of life (personally, spiritually and professionally).

Virtual Mentors:
Bishop T.D. Jakes and Oprah Winfrey I’ve followed on a consistent basis for many years and they both continue to inspire me to live a life that includes my dreams. I’ve seen them “stretch out” in areas that may have seemed impossible to achieve, but through their life, I see what “IS” possible.

6. What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?
Innovation and inspiration. I have to stay “in the know” of technology, resources, processes and means to stay the course of being on the cutting edge in what I’m doing. I also “must” stay inspired and motivated to keep going regardless of whatever obstacles I face in life. I refuse to quit!

7. What is your definition of a BOSS?
Being an authentic person. One that knows how to dwell in the space of humility
Staying strategic in business and personal affairs
Slowing down enough to celebrate the wins (no matter how big or small)

8. Provide us with two words that describe you? Empowerment Speaker

To learn more about Felicia Shakespear www.mclass.me Twitter: @iamfelicias

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Daraiha Greene

Daraiha Greene is a Google exec, leading external community affairs, the Digital Coaches Program, and multicultural engagement for the CS in Media initiative. She’s the founder and CEO of Rays of Sunlight, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization focused on life skills, mindfulness, and creative expression. She’s a proud alumna of Dartmouth College. 

1. What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
When I began my career at Google, I was a part of the Human Resources Associate Rotational program. This was an incredible learning experience, but the challenge was that as soon as I found my groove in a role and reached a strong level of domain expertise, it was time to rotate to the next position. I had a brand new team each time and at least 2 managers per rotation. I’m not a huge proponent of change, but I truly felt like I “grew up” at Google. For this program to be my first full-time experience, it undoubtedly set me up for success once I graduated into my permanent position. It helped me realize early on that you have to be patient and adaptable. I didn’t necessarily like everyone, but I appreciated the exposure to all the different working styles. I also have a pretty big network within Google!

2. What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
I didn’t envision myself working at a tech company because I wasn’t exposed to many people who look like me - Black women - in the field. Google came to my college campus and held an orientation. I was immediately inspired by their initiatives for diverse communities in tech. I interned at Google and fell in love with the collaboration, innovation, and the people who work at Google. I was offered a full-time position and I haven’t looked back!

3. How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
I make time for what’s important to me. In order for me to be successful and productive in my full-time role, I need to have creative outlets for self-expression. Outside of Google, I’m a dancer and an actress. I ensure that I’m able to do two things: 1) Find ways to incorporate my own creative flair and talents into my work so I remain passionate and energized 2) Stick to my non-negotiable time dedicated to dancing and acting, time with loved ones, and days for self-care.

4. What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
“Be the example that you needed / If it doesn’t exist, create it!”

5. Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
My parents always told me that I was smart and beautiful and that I could do anything if I put my mind to it. This boosted my confidence tremendously and empowered me to make strong decisions. Valeisha Butterfield Jones has also been an exceptional mentor to me. I see her achievements and know that my goals are possible. She is one of the most humble and brilliant people I have ever met. My partner is also someone who I truly look up to because his work ethic is unmatched. It’s nice to come home to him after a hard day because he is a master at putting things into perspective and motivating me to get back up when I’ve fallen down.

6. What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?
Communication, trust, well-being, support, inspiration, creativity, teamwork

7. What is your definition of a BOSS?
A BOSS is someone who unapologetically brings their full self to everything that they do and understands the importance of meeting their own standards. A BOSS finds the learning opportunity in every challenge and always reaches back to help another BOSS climb as they succeed.

8. Provide us with two words that describe you?
“Inclusion Guru”

Learn more about Daraiha at www.raysofsunlight.org 
Twitter: @daraihasunshine
Instagram: @daraihasunshine

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Monique Wingard

Monique Wingard is a seasoned Digital Media Professional who has held leadership positions with organizations including Ohio University, Jeffrey M Consulting, McDonald’s Corporation, 1871, Black Girls CODE, and Urban Ministries, Inc. She is an advocate of women and youth in STEAM, founder of The Civic Tech Collective and owner of SAVVY Consulting & Communications LLC.

1. What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
A major obstacle faced at the beginning of my career was finding positions that paid. I spent a lot of time working for free as an unpaid intern, fellow, or volunteer in order to get experience. While some believe “That’s part of the game.” The reality is that FREE labor does not get the bills paid (student loans.)
...or put food on the table. So like many of my millennial peers, I had to spend some time working in unrelated career fields after college in order to survive financially.

2. What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
I have always aspired to work in public media--behind the scenes. Over time, my aspirations to work in traditional broadcast media spaces has led to opportunities in digital media and marketing. Many of the skills needed to be an asset in tv/radio are also needed to adequately manage the online presence of a brand or company.

3. How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
The ability to maintain balance in my personal and professional life requires me to do self-checks fairly often. Self-care is one thing, but slowing down to simply be still, prioritize my time, life in order to prevent burnout has proven to work better for me. 

4. What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. - Marianne Williamson

5. Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
My mother, grandmothers, mentor (Tosha Poteete, also known as Tosha Love in Atlanta), Simona Rollinson, Cameka Smith, my NABJ family, and many other friends/women who do not even know that their demonstration of confidence, strength, and purpose inspires me every day.

6. What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?
I am a true introvert, so time alone is an absolute “must” to recharge my battery. But I also have to work in some time back home with my family as well. Automation! Any tools that allow me to not always be so hands-on with social media are life-savers. My favorites right now are Later.com and Buffer.com.

7. What is your definition of a BOSS?
My definition of a BOSS is someone of great character. They walk the walk and talk the talk even when the cameras are off and the “likes” aren’t rolling in. A BOSS embodies leadership and empowers others to find their inner “BOSS” as well.

8. Provide us with two words that describe you? 
Social Entrepreneur

To learn more about Monique: www.moniquewingard.com

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

ANNOUNCEMENT: BOSS Top 50 Business Stars Of 2018


2018 is coming to a close and it seemed only right to highlight some amazing women, who represent leadership, excellence and support the BOSS mission. 

This list highlights business women, who inspire us by taking destiny into their own hands. They are leaders and change agents for the next generation of bosses. We salute them in all their greatness as they continue to make BOSS moves. Follow these bosses!

Aaja Corrinewww.aajacorinnethebrand.com @aajacorinne
Alicia Alstonwww.prudential.com@AlstonPruPR
Autumn Merrittwww.sirandmadame.com@sirandmadame
Bershan Shawwww.bershan.com@bershanshaw
Beverly Claibornwww.abideproducts.com@AbidingBeverly
Bridgett McGowenwww.bridgettmcgowenhawkins.com@1bmctalks
Cassandre Charles-Pierrewww.ccharlesconsulting.org@CCharlesConsulting
Cheryl Pearson-McNeilwww.powerfulpenny.com@powerfulpenny
Cora Jakes Colemanwww.corajakescoleman.com/@CJakesColeman
Corvet Williamswww.corvetwilliams.com@corvet
Cristy Clavijo-Kishwww.dimemedia.net @latinomarketing
Daraiha Greenewww.raysofsunlight.org@DaraihaSunshine
Dr. Cozette M. Whitewww.myfinancialhome.com@CozetteMWhite
Dr. Jacquie Hood Martinwww.jhoodandassociates.org@jhoodmartin
Ericka Pittmanwww.erickapittman.com@ErickaMPittman
Felicia Shakespearewww.feliciashakespeare.com/@iamfelicias
Jamila Parhamwww.jamilaparham.com@jamilaparham
Jewel Tankardwww.jeweltankard.com/@Jeweltankard
JinJa Birkenbeuelwww.birkcreative.com@birkcreative
Kayla Tucker Adamswww.kaylatuckeradams.com@KaylaAdamsPR
Kimberly Joneswww.kimberlyljonesconsulting.com@Sheboss100
Kyra Kyleswww.mythlabent.com@thekylesfiles
Lakara Fosterwww.shespeaks.institute@grownwomanguide
Latasha Owenswww.verizon.com@latashahobdy
Leslie Andersonwww.bmo.com@bmo
Marilyn Bookerwww.morganstanley.com@MarilynBooker
Monique Jacksonwww.prudential.com@elja43
Monique Wingardwww.moniquewingard.com@MoniqueWingard
Pam Perrywww.pamperrypr.com@SMSperrypr
Patricia Motawww.haceonline.org@PMota
Perri Smallwww.wvon.com@PerriSmall
Porscha Hargrovewww.affirmingblackvoices.com/@affirmingblkvoices
Rhonda Thomaswww.rhonsway.com@rhonsway
Robin Beamanwww.beamaninc.com@beamaninc
Salli Richardson Whitfieldwww.imdb.com/name/nm0724757/@sallirichardson
ShaMeca Oliverwww.iamshamecalatai.com/@IamShaMecaLatai
Sharice Bradfordwww.structuredsoulwellness.org@coachsharise
Sheila Harriswww.essence.com@sistasheila
Syreeta Talbertwww.syreeta.biz@ItsRhee360
Tamara Garrison-Thomaswww.maneelementz.com@maneelementz
Tammy P. Moorewww.tammypmoore.com@tammypmoore
Tana M. Sessionwww.tanamsession.com@tanamsession
Tecarra Carmackwww.carmackmediagroup.com@tcarmack
Tiffany Reddenwww.theladyredd.wix.com@LadyReddPhotos
Tyra Martinwww.wgntv.com@TyraMartin
Tytannie Harriswww.tmhbehavioralservices.com@TMHwellnessred1
Valeisha Butterfieldwww.valeisha.org@valeisha
Waukeshia Jacksonwww.jllawgroup.com@JLLawGroup
Yvetta Thompsonwww.surge365.com/yvettathompson@ygtresources
Yvette Gavinwww.yvettegavin.com@yvettegavin

To learn more about the BOSS network visit us and join at http://www.thebossnetwork.org The BOSS Network is a women's networking organization dedicated to highlighting, connecting, and empowering professional women and entrepreneurs while creating opportunities for growth through networking beyond events. The BOSS Network was named by Forbes.com as one of the Top 10 Best Career and Entrepreneurial Sites for Women. Inc.com listed us a Top Website for Entrepreneurs.

Will you be a shining business star next year? #TheBOSSNetwork

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Kyra Kyles

Kyra Kyles, a co-founder of Myth Lab Entertainment, is a multi-platform media executive and former EBONY Editor-in-Chief and Senior Vice President, Head of Digital Editorial. A journalist and speaker on issues of representation, Kyra has won many awards over the course of her career, including being named one of Folio magazine’s Top 100 media executives, “Top 40 Under 40 Game Changers” and Chicago Defender’s “40 Under 40 to Watch.”

1. What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
The biggest obstacle in my industry is a lack of diversity, which is all too true for many lines of business.  I was able to overcome it due to my education at Northwestern University and extensive experience in high school and college as a writer/journalist, but in looking around at the newsrooms I worked in, it was saddening to me to see a group of people representing diverse cities with a very homogeneous staff.

2. What inspired you to break into your particular industry? 
I have wanted to be a writer/journalist since I was a very young child.  I remember sitting in front of the mirrors of dressing rooms when my parents were shopping and pretending to talk to “viewers.” 

3. How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?

I balance my personal and professional life by making sure to have a plan for myself.  By establishing priorities, both daily and weekly, and working along a quarterly timeline, I make sure I am staying on track but also building in time for my favorite activities, which include checking out plays, museums, traveling, new restaurants and reading sci-fi/horror novels.

4. What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."—Wayne Gretzky

5. Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
My late father, who was a successful entrepreneur and mentor to his employees, is a big inspiration for me.  He was an executive salesman who went on to found his own medical equipment sales company and then became a Burger King franchisee.  My mother is another huge inspiration. Her incredible creativity, love for reading and writing, as well as an innate ability to come up with fun ways to impart her wisdom has been hugely influential on my own content production trajectory.  Last, but never ever least, my sister and Myth Lab business partner Kozi is #goals.  She is one of the smartest and most creative people I have ever met in my life.

6. What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong?
My (fully charged) laptop, an endless supply of notepads (old-school, I know), my beloved multicolor Pilot Pens, highlighters, and soooo many stick-it notes.

7. What is your definition of a BOSS?
A talented, resilient and focused individual who not only blazes trails for herself but also forges a path for her sisters.

8. Provide us with two words that describe you? Ex. "Success Coach" "Beauty Expert."
Writer. Executive.

Find out more about Kyra www.kyrakyles.com Twitter: thekylesfiles