Saturday, December 29, 2018

Clutter: The Reason Why You May Be Unable to Move Forward by Sylvia Duncan

Last month, I took on a task that I’ve been putting off for some time; I cleaned out several closets that were becoming stuffed with stuff.  While doing so, I discovered something about me; I discovered that I had a little bit of a “storing” problem. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but I didn’t say hoarding problem, I said storing problem, as in, just put it away until you can find a purpose for it later. You know how it goes; you look at an item you’re thinking of tossing and you say to yourself, “I could use this for something”, so you put it away and wait for the time when you really could use it, and when that time comes, you’re glad you had the good sense to “store” such a useful item.
Well, although I had convinced myself that cleaning the closets would be a daunting task, once I put a system in place, the task became quite simple; take everything out of the closet, examine each item before deciding its fate.   Either, it would be placed back in the closet, make it to the “store again” pile, (that pile where you are not sure what to do with it), to a donate pile, or the pile where it’s fate would surely be, without hesitation, the inside of the garbage.  If after a month, I hadn’t found a use for the item in the “store again” pile, it would either be donated, or it too would find its way into the garbage. 
My system was working well. While sorting through items in the first closet, I came across my daughters prom dress, instantly I seemed to be transported back to the day when Pooky, (her nickname) was preparing for her high school prom, I reminisced about how beautiful she looked and envisioned the moment her date, arrived to pick her up, handsomely dressed in the colors they had agreed on, probably months ahead.  Those are moments I want to hold on to and never let go, so the prom dress was placed in a protective covering and back into the closet.
What Are You Storing?
Tell me, what sense does it make to hold on to anything that brings grief and pain? Any emotional baggage such as anger, resentment, unforgiveness and bitterness that keeps you stuck, should be tossed.  Holding on to these self-depleting emotions is like storing a ridiculous item you’ll never use, you’ll fill your spirit with useless emotions that only take up precious space in your mind and heart.  Isn’t it more sensible to toss these negative emotions to live a happier life?  I challenge you to do what I’ve done and make the rest of this month “Clear the clutter” month.  Go through the closets in your home and the inner closets in your heart and mind and clean them out. Begin now to be intentional about making room for a healthier, happier you, and when the New Year comes, you won’t have to join the resolution herd, you’ll be ahead of the game.

Clutter Clearing Guidelines:
Here are a few guidelines to follow when you begin clearing the clutter from your home and life. With each item you come across, ask yourself the following:
Is the item useful?  If you think there is a possibility that the item can be used again, put it in the “use again” pile and revisit it in a month, if you haven’t found a use for it…. toss it.
Is what I’m feeling useful to me or the goals for my life?  If so, be specific, what value does it hold? 
Is the value masquerading as a get even opportunity? If so, it’s really unforgiveness, and holding on to unforgiveness is like having to guard your prisoner, as long as the prisoner is in prison, so are you, so the only way to free yourself is to let your prisoner go, so toss it.
If you’re honest with yourself and toss everything that holds no value, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a clutter-free home and a happier you! By the way, if you’re wondering what the item was that brought back the negative emotions; I have to say……it doesn’t matter.  What matters is I now have space in my emotions for peace.
Learn more at
Twitter: @LifeDetoxCoach

Content is King in 2019 by Brittany Applegate

I've been studying which marketing trends to pay attention to in 2019, and as always, strong content development is at the top of the list! Good content is one of the strongest tools in your marketing toolkit to earn trust and credibility, build your brand, generate qualified leads and site traffic, and raise awareness for your business.

Coming out of my research, I’ve compiled the top 5 content creation trends you need to adopt in 2019!

1. Like Netflix, create binge-worthy content. What do I mean by this? I’ve you’ve found yourself binge-watching shows on Netflix like Orange is the New Black or The Ozarks then you know how exciting it is to log into your profile and get carried away in new episode after episode.

Netflix has mastered the art of creating original, quality content and releasing it all at once. Giving viewers the opportunity to watch it all at once, or occasionally on their own time. Something to consider in 2019 is creating a series of content and releasing it at once so your followers and website visitors can get lost in what you have to offer. (source)

2. Interactions are better performance metrics than reach. Aim for engagement. We get so caught up in how many people have viewed or read our content, that we lose sight of how important ENGAGEMENT is. What’s engagement? Comments. Shares. Retweets. Likes. Think of it this way, if no one is truly engaging with your content, it might not be that good. And that’s okay. Challenge yourself to create better, engaging content that entices people to engage. Use calls to action asking viewers and readers to like, share, and comment. Remember, views are not enough in 2019. (source)

3. Short form video is the best performing content format. If you enjoy vlogging or creating video content in general, stick to two minutes in length or less. Why? Because most viewers attention spans just don’t last long enough these days. If you can hook your viewers in the first 10 seconds of your video, that’s even better! If you haven't gotten into video, now is the time. (source)

4. Share content focused on previous customer success. People buy results. If you can share real-life results and testimonies in your content, you’re more likely to convert a reader or viewer to a new customer. (source)

5. Develop good content to transition your brand from vendor to partner. Develop content that builds trust. There's so much selling going on, you can be undercut at any time, but a relationship...that's hard to get rid of. The best way to stand out is to avoid being too salesy, and more supportive and resourceful. (source)

If you’re ready to get a head start on planning great content in 2019, I’ve created a “Hashtags & Holidays” Content Guide to help you plan content around the most anticipated holidays and events in 2019. It’s available now at!
To learn more about Brittany  Twitter: @BrittApplegate

Friday, December 28, 2018

Passion, Purpose, and Goals by Felicia Shakespeare

"Do you know your purpose in life, why you're here?" I recently attended an event and when this question was posed I saw matured (30 plus age) adults who did not raise their hands. What? To me, that is a complete travesty. If you don't know why you're here by age 30 plus, then you have made yourself vulnerable to whatever, whenever, however, and nothing great can come from that.

Another occurrence was when I had a doctor's appointment a few weeks back and after striking up a conversation with the administrative clerk who checked me in, I learned she was still trying to "figure out" her calling in life. Well, she had indicated prior to that comment that she had a daughter in college (she’s a mother) and had been married over twenty years (she’s a wife). To have had so many major milestones of life and not have a sense of purpose I begin to think must be debilitating.

There has come to a point in all our lives that we won't be denied our destiny which is our point of destination (where we are going). I'm a true believer that we all are here for a specific purpose and at the point that we understand what that is, then and only then will we have a "true" sense of contentment. You will not always know all of the specifics of how you will get there, but you should at least know the direction in which you're going.

Below I’ve shared three simple but important pointers for clearer direction as we prepare to enter 2019 that can help you if you’re stuck in your career, life, or business:

1. Seek direction...
First and foremost, I believe in the "power of praying" to God for guidance. Now that's me (but do you)! In addition to prayer, I also believe we can avoid a ton of mistakes if we listen to good counsel. Whether a trusted family member, a proven mentor, even a professional coach, do what YOU have to do to get where you where you need to be! Time is waiting on none of us.

2. Pursue what you're passionate
Once you’ve figured out that thing that you feel purposed to do it’s time to go for it! Start finding ways to do what you love, even if you don't get paid monetarily at the onset. Every single thing you do towards purpose will count! For example, we gain opportunities to perfect our craft when we volunteer. You sometimes gain invaluable lifetime relationships, future clients, referrals for paying clients and as I always say “not now never means ever! Stay true to who you are and what you love.

3. The signs will manifest
You will get there at the level you, believe, sacrifice, and do if you stay consistent! Opportunities will begin to manifest. The best way I can describe it is that it feels like something magical begins to happen in your dealings. Some people say “all the begin stars align.” Simply put you will begin to see everything “fall in place” like a puzzle piece (one piece at a time). I can't tell you exactly when in time or where that "ah ha" moment will happen for you, but you will know.
So I leave you with these last words, NEVER stop pursuing YOUR passion, YOUR purpose and YOUR goals! It will happen...

To learn more about Felicia Shakespeare Twitter: @iamfelicias

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  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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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)

Provide us with two words that describe you?

Empowerment Speaker

To learn more about Felicia Shakespeare 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 
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 and

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:

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 @aajacorinne
Cora Jakes
Cristy @latinomarketing
Dr. Cozette M.
Dr. Jacquie Hood
Kayla Tucker
Salli Richardson
Tammy P.
Tana M.

To learn more about the BOSS network visit us and join at 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 as one of the Top 10 Best Career and Entrepreneurial Sites for Women. listed us a Top Website for Entrepreneurs.

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