Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Elevation Requires Separation by "BOSS Influencer" Tammy P. Moore

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We’re almost at the halfway mark of 2018 are you still on track to meet your 2018 goals?  Now is a great time to look back at how you’ve handled your life and your finances thus far.  If you have not met your goals please stop and ask yourself what do I need to do to go to the next level?
Sometimes you need to separate yourself from the things that are holding you back.  Here are a few things you should evaluate if you have not begun to strive for your full potential:


Spending Habits
You cannot change what you cannot see!  If you do not track your finances, you will not find the extra money and become debt free.  I can’t stress this enough. Find the fluff in your budget and it will give you the extra cash to get a handle on your finances. It’s not if you can become debt free it’s when!

Friends/Frenemies
Who are you discussing your goals with?  If you surround yourself with negative people who want to see you fail, you will begin to follow their bad advice.  Misery loves company. If the people that surround you don’t support you, it’s time to separate yourself from the pack.  Sometimes elevation requires separation! Soar with the eagles don’t hang out with chickens in the barnyard!

Stinking Thinking
What are you telling yourself?  Do you wake up in the morning and say I’ll never be able to save money, I will never lose weight, I will never find my soul mate or I will never get that promotion or start that business?  Well, whether you tell yourself you can, or you can’t you are right! Speak life and watch God bring it to pass. Go into the 2nd half of the year with positive words from your mouth.  Remove yourself from the stinking thinking. You CAN do anything you put your mind to… if you believe!
Be Grateful
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, thank God for what you do have and praise him in advance for what you’ve asked him for.  Everyday you wake up ask yourself these questions (and answer them):
Who am I grateful to?
What am I grateful for?
It’s hard to be negative and grateful at the same time!  Begin to separate yourself from the negative thoughts that are holding you back.  It’s not too late to make this your best year yet! Here’s to you! Live your best life!

Tammy Moore is Division President at Diamond Residential Mortgage, A motivational speaker and Credit and Financial Coach.  In her spare time, she is the Budget Conscious Fashionista, where she teaches Style $ense: How to style your outfit on a budget!

Learn more about Tammy P. Moore:
Twitter: @tammypmoore

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Power of Spiritual Power in Entrepreneurship and Leading Your Own Life by "BOSS Influencer" Dr. Jacquie Hood Martin

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There are always going to be challenges in life, obstacles to overcome, or naysayers to move out of our way. One of the best ways to move past your mountain is to stand on God's word and tell that hindrance to move! The power in your words as you take ownership of what you are facing, will empower and embolden each one of us to rise.
We each are unique and wonderfully made.
God has designed our lives so that we can be, are to be, meant to be healthy, happy, and whole. But of course, things happen and today we face what seem to be insurmountable odds. Tolerance is low. Acceptance is fleeting. Patience is fading. But for the grace of God, many of us can say 'there go I'. It is through prayer and prayers that have been prayed for us, and over us that we can walk boldly into our tomorrow.
As we approach our adversity and adversaries, let God reveal to you more and more how He is ready to take you to the next level of trust. Yes! You trusting God and God trusting you.
Today you may be struggling, but just know that whatever you are facing you can overcome. It is the power of your spiritual power that shows itself when we are not working in our own strength; when we believe that we are stronger from having endured our last challenge, and that we are greater when we stand with God in the midst of, in spite of, and because of what we go through each and every day.
  1. Our spiritual power is expanded when we pray.
  2. Our spiritual power will do its most effective work when we allow it to change us first, then allow it to have its way in the lives of others with whom we interact.
  3. Our spiritual power is exacting when appropriately channeled and challenged.
We each can attest that prayer has the ability to change people from the inside out. And, when that change is complete ... things around us start to change. It happens because we are no longer blinded by our own misconceived ideas, and the preconceived ideas and ideals of others.
Aren't you tired of others benefiting from your blindness? I sure have been and continue to be!
God shows us how to see with His sight. He opens our eyes, our heart, our mind, our understanding and our senses so that the spiritual power within us is operating to its full capacity and without blockage. As we are open to all that God birthed us to be equipped with spiritually, we forge ahead to discover our worth and embrace our God-given creativity and power. The power of spiritual power reveals to us how to sustain ourselves with the abilities in which He has endowed us; to provide a life for yourself and your family. It equally no longer renders us defenseless against forces, wickedness, and trickery that are outside the protection and provision of God.
When we each become aware, acknowledge, accept, appreciate, and anticipate that the power of our spiritual power is a chain breaker, as well as a foundation sustainer, then and only then do we create the peace we aim to attain. The power of our spiritual power is meant to be a mainstay of our existence. Through life experience we are able to tell ourselves that it is okay to toot our own horn, to shout victories from the rooftops, to pat ourselves on the back, and live a peaceful existence even when there may be a lack of peace in our world. However, our personal peace, doesn’t give us a pass to rest when so many people are unable to tap into their own spiritual power due to oppressive rules and regulations and impoverished environments. It is the work we do in the community, the businesses we start, the innovation we create, and the paving of the way for others that keeps us forging forward. Our spiritual power reminds us that it will not always be like we see it in this moment. Time is filled with many moving parts and our spiritual power has the power to shape how we perceive those encounters. A key dynamic is harnessing the power through perception and pace.
As you go along in life, in business, in your relationships please note a word of caution and warning to also keep a proper pace! Don’t run ahead of God. Keep communication with God through prayer that He may guide your steps. It is through our relationship with God that we are able to right our own mistakes, to govern our actions, redirect others who encroach on the lane in which God has given us to operate, and to live according to the plans He has marked out for us individually, and corporately. It is what you learn as you go in your daily dealings, that prepares us to live our lives to the fullest. In order to fulfill the plans God has, it is important we comply with the notion we can never lead others where we ourselves are not prepared, equipped, or are unwilling to go. Our journey to what’s next starts with activating our spiritual power and all its subtle nuances.

ACTIVATION: Join me on the next level of your journey for a 5-day Intensive Course on Putting Your Dream to the Test. Classes run June 24th-28th. More details and registration at http://www.jhoodandassociates.org/put-your-dream-to-the-test/ or on The BOSS Network site under events. Contact me at jacquiehood.com/contact for specific questions.

Learn more about Dr. Jacquie Hood Martin:
Twitter: @jhoodmartin



Sunday, June 3, 2018

5 Easy Ways to Refresh Your Personal Brand by Aaja Corinne Magee

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So, what’s the big deal about your personal brand anyway? Simply put, a game-changing, personal brand will increase your influence and make you an ideal opportunity magnet. Through the intentional activity of branding yourself, you control the conversation surrounding you to influence perception in a way that helps you to achieve your goals.

Perception is shaped by every touch point that people have with you - your presence (online and offline), presentation (wardrobe and grooming), and communication (verbal and non-verbal). After someone repeatedly comes into contact with you, they make a decision about who they believe you to be. Subsequently, an image of you is formed in their minds that ultimately becomes your brand.

If someone encountered you today, what might their perception of you be? Here are five easy ways to refresh your personal brand: 

1. Update your profile images across platforms 


A picture says 1,000 words, and image is the basis of first impressions. A clear, crisp photo with a bit of personality creates interest around your brand and keeps you looking relevant and fresh. As a rule of thumb, update your headshot each time you drastically change your look, so that you portray a consistent image online and offline.


2. Develop or update your bio

A well-written, expert style biography is a must and a great tool to help you secure new opportunities. Keep your bio as updated as your résumé and avoid using time-sensitive information that would cause your bio to appear outdated over time. (i.e. Aaja will release her book in spring 2018.)

3. Switch up the Home page of your website


Most website visitors won’t visit every page, so the Home page will serve as a navigation tool to help them access the information that they deem to be most important. Occasionally update the Home page of your website with a fresh layout, new graphics, and current information. This will keep website visitors coming back for more.


4. Streamline and/or add to your offerings

Experts understand that their success in the marketplace is a result of their ability to reinvent themselves and approach their expertise in new and creative ways. Take inventory of your current offerings and focus in on those that are performing the best. Then, find ways to create extensions and innovate around the products and services that people already love. 


5. Invest in your personal and professional development

Personal branding and personal development are parallel concepts. The evolution of you is key to a thriving personal brand. Additionally, those that are in tune with your brand are only growing under you at the rate of your personal growth. As a person of influence, it’s your responsibility to stay 10 steps ahead of the game.


Aaja Corinne Magee is a Chicago-based, Brand Strategist & Speaker, helping leaders and experts to maximize their impact through personal brand development. For more savvy advice and resources, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and sign up for her newsletter at www.aajacorinnethebrand.com.

Twitter: @AajaCorinne

Friday, June 1, 2018

How To Stand Out From The Crowd by Pam Perry

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So you want to be seen? You want to be noticed in the marketplace. You need to have a strong brand to get business. You need to be visible.

Visibility has a lot to do with the answer to these questions.

o How well-known are you?
o Do you have an email list of subscribers?
o Do you have a blog or newsletter fans and followers?
o Do you have a history as a guest speaker, both online and off?
o Are you visible and active, online and off, in your niche community?

When you go to a networking event and you meet someone, does it take longer than two sentences to tell them a little about what you do? If so, you need to work on that. And if it short, is it memorable? Does it cause intrigue or make people yawn?

Here are some tips to make yourself a memorable brand:

1. Uplevel your visual marketing materials. Have a professional brand strategist or hire a coach to help you sort out the best way to make an impact on things like logos, biz cards, presentations, websites, social media buttons, and banners. And please, have professional photos! Not just a head shot, but business branding and lifestyle shots.

2. Come up with a slogan. Not everyone has a slogan, but catchy phrases help people remember you. Mine: “Pam Perry PR – We help you brand like a superstar!”

3. Define and display your signature style. The way you dress is part of your marketing package (online and off). Depending on your business you might have a signature style that people will remember and respect. Whether it’s crisp business or urban chic or unique eyeglass framer – almost everyone has something that stands out about them. Or maybe it’s a signature color that matches your logo. Remember Mary Kay and her pink. She also always wore a bumble bee. I love butterflies – great conversation starters too.

4. Become a walking-talking billboard. Every encounter you make with someone, online or off, is a branding opportunity. Become an expert at selling yourself. Don’t be afraid to nominate yourself for awards too. If you don’t, who will? You want to win? Be ready to fill out that nomination form yourself and submit that professional photo and bio.

If you want to stand out, remember to be bold not blah. You’ll be remembered for what makes you unique and how CONSISTENT you are about sharing that uniqueness.

About Pam Perry: An award-winning PR Coach who can help you build your platform, package your expertise, pitch you to media, put you on stages, produce your podcast and promote you so you can get PAID! Visit www.pamperrypr.com Twitter: @pamperry

Stress Less, Live More by Tytannie Harris, LCSW

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Hearing about or experiencing gun violence, police brutality, racial injustices, microaggressions, foreclosures, and unemployment are only a few of the things that drain us daily. These events can be very traumatic and may cause fear, sadness, guilt, grief, and stress. Unfortunately, these are things we have little to no control over. Stress is the reaction to life challenges and obstacles. A stress-free life is impossible and as long as you’re breathing, it’s inevitable. However, there are things that we can control. A lot of the stress in our lives is unnecessary and self-induced. Let’s be honest, some of us thrive on it. We don’t feel as accomplished if we’re not busy 24/7. If we relax for too long, then we feel as if we’re not doing enough. However, life is so much more than constant movement and engagement. There are several things we can do to decrease the level of stress such as slowing down, saying no, stopping procrastination, eradicating toxic people, exercise/healthy eating, and being grateful.

Before we can decrease our level of stress, we must first identify what our stressors are. What people, places, and things contribute to the stress in your life? Are you overcommitting? Do you need to take time to unplug? Get off the hamster wheel of life and slow down. Sometimes it is ok to say “no” and remove some responsibilities and obligations from your plate. In addition, we must stop procrastinating. That book you wanted to write? There’s no better time to start than NOW. That trip you’ve always wanted to take? Just take it. You’ll be glad you did.

We all have certain people in our lives that drain us whether it’s a family member, friend, or coworker. These folks are toxic and instead of confronting them or trying to change them, sometimes it’s best to just eliminate them or disengage from the drama. Don’t give them real estate in your mind. It’ll be better for your mental health.

I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times. Exercise eliminates and aids in reducing stress. Well, I’m going to say it again – exercise! It can be relaxing, allows quiet time and helps you get in shape. When you look good, you feel good. So, whether it’s going to the gym, walking on the lake, yoga class or meal prepping on Sundays, being in shape allows you to handle the stressors in your life.

Lastly, be grateful. Having gratitude and putting positive energy into the universe will greatly eliminate the stressors in your life. I know that life can sometimes get tough, but take a moment and reflect on what you have and the people in your life. At the end of the day, tomorrow is promised to no one, but today is. Seize the moment and claim your best life!

Tytannie Harris is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Life Coach. She is the owner of TMH Behavioral Services, P.C., a group private practice located in Chicago, IL. Find out more about Tytannie at www.tmhbehavorialservices.com 


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Common Myths Associated with Mental Health and Therapy by Tytannie Harris, LCSW

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If I had a dollar for every time a client came to see me and asked if they were “crazy” I would be rich. I always tell my clients you’re “brave” not crazy and I’m proud of you for taking the first step in addressing your mental health. There’s nothing wrong with having a “mental health checkup.” Whether it’s a divorce, death of a loved one, stress at work or parenting challenges, sometimes life happens. It is a common belief that mental illness is caused by personal weakness when in fact, like most major illnesses, it is not the fault of the person with the mental conditions. Biological and environmental factors are usually at the root of the issue and needing therapy is not a personal failure. There are a few common myths associated with psychotherapy.

Myth #1 – I can’t afford therapy

The truth is, you can’t afford not to. There are a variety of ways in which therapy can be affordable. Think about what you spend on clothes, going out or dinner a few times a week. Saving just a little of your leisure money can be used for therapy. From free services in community health agencies or hourly rates in private practice, most therapists offer a sliding fee scale as well. The truth is no matter what the cost is, there is a price to having peace of mind and feeling better about yourself or your life.

Myth #2 - Therapy is for people with serious mental problems

You don’t have to be diagnosed with a serious mental illness to seek therapy. In fact, you don’t have to be stressed out or even depressed to seek help. Research has shown that most people wait until life becomes “unbearable” before they seek help. Unfortunately, this only intensifies the problem and prolongs solutions and gaining skills that can assist you in resolving your challenges. No matter what the reason is, there is no need to feel ashamed in wanting to feel better and be your best self.

Myth# 3 - I can talk to my friends and family to get mental health support

Having family and friends that you can talk to is great because they can provide love, comfort, and support. However, nothing compares to having a licensed trained professional who can help you figure things out. Therapists are trained for years on how to assess, diagnose and treat relational, behavioral, and psychological problems. In addition, it is the responsibility of the therapist to provide solutions, direction, and positive outcomes. Lastly, therapy is completely confidential and therapists are bound by laws and ethics (with some exceptions) that prevent them from sharing your thoughts, feelings, or issues with anyone else. In a therapy session, it’s all about you and your well-being.

Tytannie Harris is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Life Coach. She is the owner of TMH Behavioral Services, P.C., a group private practice located in Hyde Park. Find out more about Tytannie at www.tmhbehavioralservices.com 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Get Re-Inspired in Five Simple Steps by Aaja Corinne Magee

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As an entrepreneur, a fresh supply of motivation and inspiration is essential to producing game-changing results in the marketplace. Yet, sometimes the unthinkable occurs. After consistently going strong and climbing higher over a period of time, suddenly, we hit a plateau and lack the motivation and inspiration to move beyond that place. Have you ever been there?

I have. It happens to the best of us, even the most successful people. Of course, we'd love for every season to be an "on" season, but there is a purpose for our off-seasons as well. That's the time where most of our personal development takes place, and we get prepared for the next level.

But staying motivated and inspired is important no matter what season you're in. Fresh motivation and inspiration keeps us forward-looking and helps us to resist complacency. Not to mention, consistency in branding yourself and carrying out your day-to-day activities is so much easier as well. If you’ve fallen into a funk or simply want to prevent reaching that place, try these five, simple steps below to give yourself a much-needed boost.

Revisit Your Why 

Everything that you do should reveal purpose at its core. The work that you do isn’t about you. You’re blazing a trail for someone else to follow, so you have to keep pushing.

Commit to Something

Sometimes moving forward has nothing to do with a lack of knowledge, but rather the fact that you haven’t made a concrete decision about what you are going to focus your energy and attention on next. This is essential because when you're able to see light at the end of the tunnel, you're attracted to it. Make a decision.



Set Realistic Goals 

If you've been comparing your journey to someone else's, be set free! Apples and oranges have no basis of comparison. Everyone has a different set of life circumstances. Your goals must be aligned with your track record and output. The major key is to consistently outdo yourself.

Develop Your Vision 

You can't go where you can't see. As you make steps toward achieving your goals, the picture of you at your next level will become clearer and clearer. Continuously cultivate your vision, so you'll always have something to aim for.

Find Some Accountability 

This is crucial. Everyone needs someone around them to tell them when they are slacking and push them to do better. In order to stay motivated and inspired, you have to surround yourself with other ambitious individuals, near and far, that are diligently working toward their goals as well. You are the company that you keep!
Cheers to moving forward.

Aaja Corinne Magee is a Chicago-based, Brand Strategist & Speaker, helping leaders and experts to maximize their impact through personal brand development. For more savvy advice and resources, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and sign up for her newsletter at www.aajacorinnethebrand.com.
Twitter: @AajaCorinne

Friday, May 4, 2018

How to Pitch Yourself to the Media by Pam Perry

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You want to get on major television shows or featured in magazines but how do you cut through the clutter? How do you find the right media contacts? How do you attract media attention over and over again?

Here are three tips to help you get the PR you desire:

1. Connect with people. Yes, journalists, producers, and editors are just people. They are people that want to do a good job for their media outlets. So, make them a hero. Offer help even when you don’t want something. It’s good old-fashioned networking. One way to make yourself stand out is to provide useful tips and information when you aren’t trying to push for coverage. Give them some “scoop” or new trending information about your industry or introduce them to someone you know might be useful for their beat or show. Be a resource. People don’t like people who only call them when they need something. Also, most media are on Twitter. Try retweeting their stories; this helps their numbers. Remember, their bosses are watching the responses they’re getting from their stories or segments. Help them out!

2. Be a good storyteller. Don’t just pitch stuff so you can be “famous.” Be a person that has stories that will connect with their audience. Be as visual as possible with your words. Be funny; be interesting and practical. Hire a media coach or join something like Toast Masters or the Black Speakers Network if you need help getting your public speaking skills upgraded. Those who tell the best stories, win. Hands down.

3. Write short pitches. When you find a reporter or producer you’d like to pitch (I suggest reading the publication or listening/watching their shows first) and address them by their name. Tell them in bullet points why you think your story would interest their audience. Don’t write too much in an email. Make it a: 30 seconds read and offer to send additional information if they’re interested. They’ll appreciate your brevity and will reach out if it’s something they can use. If not, don’t take it personally. Follow up in 48 hours to see if they’ve read it and try CALLING and leaving the same pitch but only in a voice mail. If they don’t respond, again, don’t take it personally. Keep it moving.

The key to pitching any media is about fit and following. If you match the right media with your message and the timing is right. You have a hit. Next time, I’ll talk about what to give the media in a press kit. About Pam Perry: An award-winning PR Coach who can help you build your platform, package your expertise, pitch you to media, put you on stages, produce your podcast and promote you so you can get PAID! 

Visit www.pamperrypr.com Twitter: @pamperry

You are the CEO of a Company called Me Inc. By Arika Pierce

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At this year’s Boss on Campus event, I presented a workshop on each of us is the CEO of a company called ME, INC. This is one of the first topics I discuss in my new book, The Millennial’s Playbook to Adulting because I believe it’s critical to maximize your potential and take control of your life, simply by behaving like a C-suite executive.

There are five key ways to do this.

1. BUILD A POWERHOUSE BRAND. Every great company has a brand. This is the perception customers have about a product or service. As CEO’s of ME, INC you also need a strong personal brand, which is how people describe you when you are not around. Think about the characteristics and qualities you want to be known for, and work towards aligning them with everything you do.

2. CREATE A PERSONAL BOARD OF ADVISORS. Most companies have a board of directors or advisors who are not involved in the day-to-day running of the business, but who have a vested interest in the business doing well. You need the same type of board for ME, INC. A group of people who can offer you different types of advice and counsel. Mentors are a part of your board, but a strong board should include a mix of people who have different backgrounds, experiences, etc.

3. DEVELOP A STRATEGIC PLAN
. A dream without a plan is just a dream. As CEO of ME, INC you will need a plan to help you reach your goals. The plan can take a variety of shapes or form. For example, for many creating a vision board is the best way to see your goals and track the progress you are making towards your goals.

4. BE YOUR MOST LOYAL CUSTOMER. Customer loyalty is the key to success of almost every company, and it is also key for ME, INC. This means you must have confidence in yourself, promote yourself and be your own best advocate, at all times.

5. ALWAYS EVOLVE. In business, there is a phrase often used called adapt or die. What this means is that for a company to thrive you have to constantly evolve. As CEO of ME, INC. you have to make sure you are always growing, changing, and transforming. Staying within your comfort zones could mean personal bankruptcy. So get comfortable with being uncomfortable.


Find out more about Arika at www.arikapierce.com

Twitter: themillennialPBso get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Dorinda Walker

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Dorinda Walker is an Inspirational Warrior, Survivor, Community Advocate and Award Winning Corporate Executive. What is most compelling about her corporate position is the path she took to arrive there. In her first book “Protected by Purpose” Walker dives into her life story and provides the success secrets that allowed her to transition from a path to prison as a teenager to becoming one of the fastest rising brands in corporate America. 

1. What were some obstacles that you faced in balancing your corporate career and entrepreneurship?   I’m fortunate to have a successful career in Corporate America.  However, I knew that I didn’t want my career to be solely defined by what I do in the corporate world. I had a desire to advocate for those whose voices are suppressed, i.e., victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, physical and sexual abuse, etc. I want my legacy to be one of service and substance. The only obstacle I faced was having the courage to do it without knowing how it would impact my corporate career. I’m happy to report that it’s been widely embraced by my peers in Corporate America.   

2. What inspired you to become an author?   When I started sharing my story, I saw the positive impact it had on others. The first time I shared my story with a group of women, nearly 50 women stood in line and waited up to an hour to speak with me. The first woman stated, “no one knows this, but I’ve been contemplating suicide, but after hearing you speak, I know that’s not what God wants me to do.”  So many people are carrying shame and baggage from their past.  I now know that part of my purpose is to inspire individuals to let go, forgive and move on.

3. How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance? 
I don’t believe in work/life balance. It’s really about prioritization.  There will be times you have to sacrifice family time for career and times when you have to sacrifice your career for family.  The key is knowing and accepting this as part of the many obstacles that life is guaranteed to bring your way and having the faith to know that it will all work out because God will see you through.

4. What is an inspirational quote that you live by? 
“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change…I’m changing the things I cannot accept” – Angela Davis  

5. Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way? 
My husband first and foremost, he’s been my best friend and supporter for almost 30 years. I recently lost my grandmother. Although I was devastated by the loss, I am thankful to have spent 47 years of life with this phenomenal woman. She taught me the importance of love and kindness. No matter what difficulties she experienced, she always greeted others with a hug and a warm smile, she never hesitated to assist anyone in need or missed an opportunity to say, “I love you”. I will always be grateful to have known and loved her and will try my best to live by her example.

6. What are your "must-haves" to keep your career or business going strong? (1) Me time, I have to have at least 30 minutes per day to meditate and communicate with God. (2) A strong network of individuals who are doing big things, who I can learn from and inspire me to dream big. (3) Love and Laughter – Putting in the work is a given, but it’s meaningless if I don’t find the time to hug and love on the people who support me and take the time to laugh and enjoy life.

7. What is your definition of a BOSS? 
A woman who is unapologetic in owning her power and pursuing her dreams.

8. Provide us with two words that describe you?
 “
Inspirational Warrior”


To learn more about Dorinda Walker:  www.dorindawalker.com/ 

 Twitter @DorindaWalker


Thursday, May 3, 2018

BOSS Spotlight Feature: Bridgett McGowen

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Bridgett McGowen is a published author and an international professional speaker.  Prior to launching her public speaking firm, BMcTALKS, LLC, she held positions as an educational technology thought leader and a faculty development consultant with an edtech company and a faculty member for the Texas A&M University System.


1.    What were some obstacles that you faced in the beginning process of starting your business or career?
The number one obstacle I faced in the beginning process of starting my public speaking and presentation skills coaching firm, BMcTALKS, LLC, was knowing WHERE to start.  Do I need a website?  Should I speak for free?  Do I form an LLC?  The questions went on and on.  I resolved I would take it one step at a time; engage with others who were once similarly situated and who succeeded; and learn as much as possible about business ownership, networking, and marketing.  I quickly learned the following:  Do not wait for the perfect moment or for everything to be perfect.  Take one step, then another, and simply keep moving forward.

2.    What inspired you to break into your particular industry?
Since 2002, I have been a professional speaker and have made hundreds of presentations all across the country and around the globe, reaching thousands of professionals in corporate America and students, faculty, and administrators at four-year and two-year universities and colleges.  Prior to launching BMcTALKS, I was a faculty development consultant and, I made stops in over 30 states, one United States territory, and multiple countries where I facilitated professional presentations.  It was during this time I realized this was what I wanted to do on a full-time basis for myself.

In its years of operation since 2016, BMcTALKS is working hard to rival those numbers!  Thus far, as the owner of BMcTALKS, I have performed training and development for 28 different companies, educational institutions, and organizations and have presented workshops to more nearly 2,000 professionals and students.

3.    How do you balance your personal and professional life or have you been able to find a balance?
While being self-employed means you do not have a day off, it simultaneously means if you want or need a day off, you are free to make that choice. However, it helps that I am an early riser, oftentimes starting my workday at the 2am or 3am hour, so by the time everyone else awakes, I have engaged in four or five hours of work.  Although I am very busy, I do not compromise when it comes to being there for my family.  And the same goes for friends when they need me.  One of my favorite ways to bring balance into my life is, when possible, my family travels with me on my business trips, extending our travel by a couple of days to enjoy each other and the city.  No matter how many workshops I conduct, webinars I present, or coaching sessions I facilitate, family birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, milestones, and accomplishments take top priority on my calendar. 

4.    What is an inspirational quote that you live by?
The Prayer of Serenity is one of my favorite reminders.  It clarifies for me that I should embrace all ideas, people, and challenges; make an impact when and where I can; and that I must understand when it is time for me to step back or to step up.

5.    Who were some influential people or mentors that helped or encouraged you along the way?
Three influential people who help and encourage me are husband and wife power team Damon and Kiala Givehand and my husband, Aaron Hawkins.  Damon and I were on a team together at an educational technology company, providing faculty and professional development to professors all over the country.  In 2013, Kiala saw me present at a conference in New Orleans where Damon and I were presenting along with our teammates, and she immediately told me I needed to start my own business.  I brushed it off, and we had a joke at the time about her surreptitiously purchasing my domain name then, when I came to my senses and decided to open the doors to my company, she would offer the URL to me for a ridiculously obscene amount!  Of course, being the amazing businesswoman and all-around incredibly friend that she is, she didn't do that, and we are friends to this day.  She and Damon are among my loudest cheerleaders.
In short, I could not do a tenth of what I do if it was not for my husband, Aaron.  If I want to do something, then he says, "Let's do it!"  If I want to change something, then he says, "Let's change it!"  If I'm wondering about something, he asks, "What are you thinking?"  No matter what plan, pondering, or consideration I take to him, he gives it plenty of thought, tells me what he thinks, and supports me 100%.  Period.  No matter what.  I am so very fortunate and could not ask for a more incredible sounding board, best friend, or partner in life.

6.    What are your “must-haves” to keep your career or business going strong?
My must-have is faith.  Holding strong to the knowledge everything will work out as it's supposed to work out is what keeps me strong and able to get up each day and do what I do, which is remaining honest, focused, and committed to helping others be better … helping others be seen, be heard, be great!  (Yes.  "Be seen.  Be heard.  Be great!"  Is my company's tagline.  I had to squeeze that in!)

7. What is your definition of a BOSS?
A BOSS is someone who is not afraid of hearing "no;" not afraid to take chances; not afraid of (or worried about!) the naysayers; not afraid of hard work; not afraid to ask "why;" not afraid to ask "why not;" not afraid to be vulnerable; not afraid to step out on faith; and not afraid to know she's fierce, bold, and talented and that there is absolutely no stopping her.



To find out more about Bridgett McGowen, visit her at:

Twitter: @1bmctalks

Website: www.bmctalks.com


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Leadership that Blooms! By "BOSS Influencer" Yvette Gavin

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“Leaders develop the ability to manage and lead themselves before they’re able to manage and lead others.” 

It’s spring! Barring the necessary pollen, it’s a welcome season for me because this is the time where I begin to re-calibrate; i.e., assess, adjust, and align. As I’m cleaning out the closet of old, worn out, or too small winter clothes and begin to fill my yard with blooming perennials, I go through a mental and emotional process that ultimately yield blooms in my personal and professional life.

Here’s how I do it:

 Assess – Evaluate how I'm doing with the goals I set in January. When I identify an area that lacks progress, I first ask: ‘Is this something I really want to accomplish?”  If the answer is no, then I remove it from my current goal list.  When it is something that I do want to achieve, I recommit myself to accomplishing the goal and move to the next step of adjusting.


Adjust –  This is the step where I plan behavioral changes that will allow me to make progress. Whether I am on track or off with any specific goal, I make adjustments. For instance, spring brings longer days, so even when I’m on track with a goal I often will increase efforts due to the fact that I have a little more daylight. When I’m off, I look for support; i.e., training, a book, or an accountability partner.

Align – This is the step where action is required. I strongly believe in dreams but I know they don’t turn into reality without action. My alignment step is where I align my mind and body and apply the plan I created during the adjustment step.
I am on a mission to help others achieve their personal and professional vision. I hope you’ll make the time this spring to assess, adjust and align. To help you in the process, we’re offering two webinars---The 15 Laws of Growth and Executive Presence for Women. These April courses will surely have you blossoming this year!   





To find out more about Yvette Gavin, visit her at:
Instagram: @yvette_gavin


Monday, April 30, 2018

How to Start a Hair Extension Business Online By "BOSS Influencer" Tamara Garrison-Thomas

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Are you interested in starting a hair extension business but not sure where to start or if it will be profitable? Consider the following steps to get started.
  1. Educate yourself. Learn more about hair textures, styles and origins. You want to be an expert to your customer so make it your goal to learn more about hair extensions. For this you can check out my official Virgin Hair Guide. Learn more about wholesale and retail and your potential profit. The market is NOT saturated. Believe it or not there are not a lot of companies actually making money in this industry. So, prepare to position yourself to start right with a long term plan to be a part of the successful few.
  2. Find a vendor. Finding a vendor is one of the most important parts of starting a hair extension business. You want to make sure the vendor provides hair that your target market will love and want to buy again. Make sure the vendors wholesale pricing will allow you to price your hair high enough for profit! Avoid the headaches of going through vendor after vendor and check out our Little Black Book of Hair Vendors.
  3. Make a business plan. Remember, without a plan, plan to fail. A plan will help you map out your business for the first year or more. This will include your price list, expenses, your mission statement and how you will stand out in the industry! If you need a business plan specifically for the hair extension industry you can see our Business Plan for the Hairpreneur.
  4. Get to work! Now would be the time to get everything setup for your online business. From developing your brand to setting up a website and your social media accounts.
  5. Set a launch date! Set a date to officially launch and stick to this date! Decide if you will have a party of a virtual launch but make it a big deal! You’re an entrepreneur now. Time to get to work and start selling some hair!

For more Information and our free guide, Build Your Hair Brand in 7 Steps, visit maneelementz.com. The #1 Resource for HAIRpreneurs!



To find out more about Tamara Garrison-Thomas, visit her at:
Instagram: @maneelementz