Author: Kristin Kopaz (WerxMarketing)

Smiling black woman wearing a black top with beaded necklace on cover of Cerese D magazine

2021 Aug. Mag.

2021 August Mag.

If you’re under the impression that financial planning is ho-hum, you haven’t spoken with Melissa L. George. Melissa, the owner of Melissa L. George & Associates, is a multi-certified financial professional who is passionate about her work.

Smiling black woman in a black top wearing a beaded necklace on the cover of Cerese D Magazine

If you’re under the impression that financial planning is ho-hum, you haven’t spoken with Melissa L. George. Melissa, the owner of Melissa L. George & Associates, is a multi-certified financial professional who is passionate about her work.

As a double minority in a white male dominated industry, she has carved out an impressive business by listening deeply to her customers and sticking to her principles.

Melissa didn’t have a straight path from college to the financial district, paved with a network of connections. Instead, she took nine years to work her way through college, taking classes when she had enough money, and pausing when she didn’t. 

It was at Georgia State, studying to be an accountant, that she realized math alone would not satisfy her career aspirations. She loved everything about math but couldn’t envision a career stuck in an office immersed in spreadsheets. She needed more human interaction.

She had been working for the city of Atlanta, starting at age 16 as a lifeguard and pool manager, then going full-time with the city after she graduated from high school. In her mid-20s she took a job at Victoria’s Secret as a store manager, and there she made one very important connection. As she tells it, “One day, I was talking to the mall manager about what I was trying to do, how I was trying to figure out which career path would combine my love of math with my love of working with people. He said he had someone he wanted me to speak with.” He introduced her to another African-American woman with a successful career in financial planning; the woman who would recommend her for her first financial job and who would become her mentor.

Until that meeting, Melissa hadn’t been aware of financial planning as a career path. But it was a perfect fit for her business degree, her people skills, and her entrepreneurial spirit.

smiling black woman wearing black glasses in a dark blue top with yellow fingernail polish

Melissa speaks of her first day as a financial professional; 30 years old and just 3 years out of college. “My first day of work I started with three other new hires: White men who were considerably older than me and already had careers. CPAs, engineers, they seemed like a more obvious fit for this profession.” Her new manager asked her “How are you going to get people to trust you? To trust that you know what you’re doing?” And Melissa admitted she wasn’t sure. She told her manager, “I’m going to be honest and forthcoming, and if I don’t know the answer to something, I’ll just say so and go find the answer.”

“And maybe I’ll start wearing glasses.”

Melissa quickly realized that her retail background was a strength. Her service orientation, skill at reading body language, and ability to quickly establish rapport with customers were all abilities she could lean on while she learned the ropes of budgeting, debt reduction, risk management, insurance, and retirement planning.

Her customers gained confidence in her as she gained confidence in herself. As she shared the information about how to become financially secure and independent with her customers, she was learning too. “I’m very transparent,” Melissa shares. “I have always shared the mistakes that I’ve made right alongside the best practices that I’ve learned. And that transparency is important, because as a financial professional, you work hard to earn trust.”

Melissa offers a funny and apt trust analogy. She says that a person will make an appointment with a doctor, and without so much as checking the doctor’s credentials or history, will go into that doctor’s office and “snatch all their clothes off.” 

She goes on to say, “They’ve never met this person before, yet there they are with their feet in the stirrups. But they come to me and they are more guarded with their finances than with any doctor. So they give me a little information and a little money to work with, and I must earn some trust before they give me a little more information and a little more money to work with.” She understands their hesitancy. “I didn’t grow up with sound financial knowledge or education either. I understand the emotional attachment people have to their hard-earned money.” 

When she had switched from retail to financial services, she went from a salary to pure commission. This put immense pressure on her ability to earn an income while learning an entirely new career. “That was scary — a big step” she says. It wasn’t smooth sailing and she struggled. But she chose to believe in herself, and her willingness to take risks and invest in herself has paid off again and again.

Melissa worked six years for that first firm, learning the ropes and building skills. “But I was a captive agent, which meant I was limited in the products I could offer my clients.” In her 7th year she became a detached agent, which gave her more freedom to select products and offer services that she thought her customers needed, and in 2006 she founded MLGA.

DITCH THE COOKIE CUTTER.

“I don’t believe financial plans can be cookie-cutter,” Melissa says. “I craft plans for people based on their situation. Some people have children to consider, others have elderly parents they care for, or a family member with special needs. And more and more, I am working with individuals who own businesses, and we start by working on personal financial plans and then go on to work on business needs, operations and HR, and succession plans. Everyone’s situation is different.”

Ask Melissa about her personal family and friend support network, and she refers to her constellation which is her support system that she’s built over the years. When she talks about how she has developed her business, you can see that she’s built that constellation around her customers too. MLGA is a boutique firm with a powerful network of strategic partners. 

“I wanted to provide portfolio services, but to give the best possible advice you have to be glued to a computer screen monitoring the markets.” So, she formed a partnership with a company that only does portfolio management. She went on to create other partnerships that offer tax and legal services. Today she works with estate planning attorneys, CPAs, enrolled agents, and a wide variety of industry experts. “I want my customers to have the best financial advice there is,” so she’s assembled a network of specialists, all at the top of their game.

black woman standing in black top with empty picture frames in the background

This commitment to putting the customer first is evident in Melissa’s professional development choices as well. She has chosen to be a Certified Financial Fiduciary (CFF), which means she is legally obligated to put her clients’ financial interests above her own, and that she must disclose how she is compensated to avoid conflicts of interest in her recommendations. She is also a FINRA arbitrator, helping to resolve disputes between the investing public and the securities industry. Achieving these professional designations speaks to Melissa’s philosophy and ethical standards. 

Any conversation with Melissa includes frequent use of the word journey. College was a journey. Learning financial planning has been – and continues to be – a journey. Marriage? Ask her about marriage and you’ll get a chuckle out of her. 

“I’ve been married before,” she says. “I genuinely believe in marriage, and I’m willing to try it again, but if it’s not right, I don’t have a problem cutting the cord.” 

If there is a next time around, which she would welcome, she knows she will do a better job of listening to her gut. “When I know someone has been divorced, I ask them, were there red flags? And there always were. There were for me too. We make decisions and we make mistakes. That’s all OK. We just have to learn from those mistakes, or we will continuously repeat.” 

INVEST IN YOURSELF.

She says, “Now that I know myself well, I know my non-negotiables and deal-breakers; what I am willing and unwilling to compromise on.” So before committing again, Melissa plans to have a better handle on what the shared experience will look like. “How does a person respond when the bottom falls out? How do they treat their mother, sisters, and women in general? How are they with money management? How do they behave when they are sick? There are all these seasons you go through with someone in a long-term relationship. I think it’s important to date long enough to go through several seasons and pay attention to how each one is handled.” 

The season of the pandemic has been particularly challenging for Melissa. Since the beginning of 2019 she dissolved a significant relationship, her father died unexpectedly, she moved her mother in to live with her, the pandemic started, and both she and her mother have had surgeries. 

And during all that trauma, what Melissa decided to do was reclaim her health. “With the help of my personal trainer, I lost 60 pounds and I kept it off. I’m an avid runner. I work out, I eat well, and I’m serious about being healthy.” 

“I know how I want to ride out the 2nd half of my life.” she declares. “I don’t want to be one of those people on medications, hunched over, can’t travel. I plan to live long, be a Centenarian. But I know the next breath is not promised, so I’m making the most of my life every day.”

Black woman smelling white flowers

When asked to provide some advice to her younger self, Melissa says, “surround yourself with people who genuinely care about your well-being and listen to your inner voice. We have this innate spirit of discernment that God put that in us, and we need to learn to harness that. Build a strong inner circle. Mine is made up of my family, my lifelong friends, my sorority sisters. I know they are here for me, and I’m here for them. That’s everything. I’m Blessed!”

She continues, “Also, don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t get caught up on where you’re supposed to be or to have accomplished by the time you’re a certain age. I didn’t understand that until I got much older why my trajectory had to be so different. But now I know that God’s plan for each of us is unique…God gives us exactly what we need to grow. So just pay attention to your own path, and the lessons you need to learn to graduate from one level to the next.”

Like the glasses she initially put on to convey confidence, but which she ultimately grew into, Melissa L George is a study in becoming what you set out to be. For her, financial planning is not just about the math, nor is it just about the money. It’s about relationships and the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s about the journey.

Melissa L. George & Associates, www.melissalgeorge.com.

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2021 July Mag.

2021 July Mag

Discover how Regine T. Rousseau is blazing a path for black women in wine while sharing her passion and  changing the way people learn about wine, and making it fun!


The wine industry has been historically known to be exclusive, white and male. To further cement the industry’s image, the Association of African American Vintners reports that only 50 out of the 10,000 U.S. wineries are Black-owned. That is equivalent to .05 percent of the wineries! But according to the Wine Market Council Consumer Segmentation, Black consumers make up about 11 percent of wine drinkers in the country. While the numbers may be dismal in ownership, our July cover model, Regine T. Rousseau is helping shatter the glass ceiling, or in this case uncorking the bottle for a savory glass of wine with her company, Shall We Wine.

Regine is a wine and spirits expert, writer, presenter, and media personality who focuses on making wine knowledge accessible to people at all levels of proficiency. She was a nominee of the Wine Enthusiast’s 2020 Wine Star Awards for Wine Educator of the Year, she’s earned prestigious certificates for International Sommelier Guild Level II, and Executive Bourbon Steward, Stave and Thief. Regine has traveled around the globe sharing her wine and spirits expertise. She has authored or been featured in articles in the New Yorker, Wine Enthusiast, Black Enterprise, Black Food and Beverage, Wine Spectator, the Zoe Report, Forbes and Chicago Tribune.

TURNING A HOBBY INTO A PASSION.

Regine fell in love with wine while studying abroad during college in Besançon, France and began her career as a salesperson for a wine distributor. While in this role, she noticed a disconnect between wine professionals and consumers. Making wine approachable became a central premise of Regine’s work.

In 2013, Regine established Shall We Wine, a wine and spirits experiential marketing, event planning, and education company. Working with national and boutique winemakers, distilleries, importers, and distributors, she increases brand awareness, reach, and revenue for clients through innovative and traditional approaches. These include in-person and on-line activations, events, sponsorships, videos, media and social media services, and speaker and influencer marketing. She and her team are masters at translating complex terminology into language that individuals of every level of wine expertise and interest appreciates.

Regine’s speaking engagements as a keynote and panelist, include Blacks in Wine Symposium, Wonder Women in Wine, I.E.E.M Conference – Pinot Grigio delle Venezie, SoloCEO Summit, tastings.com, and Association of Writers and Writers’ Programs. She is a blogger on reginerousseaum.com and shallwewine.com, has served as subject matter expert for VinePair, has been interviewed on You & Me Chicago, WGN Chicago, Windy City Live, and Great Day Washington. Regine has also moderated a virtual event for Gallo International Women’s Month.

Sharing wine in many languages.

Language is integral to Rousseau’s work as a poet and published author where wine and written word are often interwoven. In her book Searching for Cloves and Lilies: The Wine Edition, Regine illustrates the dynamics of personal relationships while pairing each poem with wine that echoes the mood of her writing.

Regine is recipient of the Wine Bloggers Conference Ethnifacts Diversity Scholarship, grants from McBride Sisters Collections and Allies for Community Business, and Knox College’s 2020 Alumni Achievement Award. She is fluent in French, Haitian Creole, and English.

Regine has a BA from Knox College, studied at L’Université de Franche Comte and Centre de Linguistique Appliquée.

Join Cerese D Jewelry as we toast this outstanding trailblazer as we continue to recognize amazing women each month! Cheers!

CHECK OUT REGINE’S WEBSITE https://www.shallwewine.com

Cover Image: {PHOTO CREDIT: MS. DIG PHOTOGRAPHY, LLC & LOLLIPOP PHOTO (TM);  CREATIVE DIRECTOR: GENMA HOLMES} 

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Picture of beautiful smiling black woman in white top standing in front of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business flag

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Graduation!

photo of smiling black woman in white top standing in front of a goldman sach 10,000 small business flag

In February we announced our acceptance to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program, and after 12-long weeks we are celebrating! Deborah took on the task of tackling the program, with staff picking up the slack while she worked on her studies. We are now proud to announce that she successfully completed the program (she even has a fancy certificate to show for it!)

One of our clients that works with the Goldman Sachs Program recommended Cerese D Jewelry (CDJ) in December of 2020, we were selected to apply. We were interviewed by the 10k team, made some new friends, and were selected out of many dozens of applications to participate. We did our due diligence and spoke to at least 5 business owners that went through the program who encouraged us to accept the invitation. And we’re glad we did! 

They said it would be time consuming, and it was. The team was prepared not to see Deborah much as she would be spending a good amount of time for 3-4 months in class. The course had a lot of homework and was difficult, and sometimes frustrating (you know when you have to focus on the “un-fun” side of your business, eye roll) but the AH HA! moments made it so rewarding and gave her some new food for thought (and who doesn’t love food?!) In order to graduate, Deborah had to write a 5-year growth plan of how we would expand and scale the business. 

We got more than expected from the networking alone. Interacting with over 90 other scholars and sharing successes and challenges was great! As long as we keep up with the diagnostics that the program sends every 3-6 months, we’ll have access to the entire 10k scholars list through the 10ksb app. We are extremely proud to be part of this alumni group for many years to come! 

As a small, Black-woman-family-owned business run by serial entrepreneurs, we are always looking for new ways to innovate and manage our business and we are excited to share it with everyone (have you seen our video??) Celebrate with us, and feel free to open your own bottle of bubbles!


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2017 October Mag.

2017 October Mag.

Dr. Kay Taylor Oliver writes a true love story.


WEBSITE:  www.KayTOliver.com 

Dr. Kay Taylor Oliver is the author of Winter’s Love a real life story about how two people found love after each experienced a devastating loss. In the prologue of the book she stated, “People say that when you want to write about something that has great meaning for you that you should write from the heart. That is, just start writing and let your thoughts flow through your fingers.” Well, that is what I attempted to do. I wrote from my heart about the most significant thing that happened to me in the winter of my life.

I won’t set a stage for you by giving the time or place, simply an accounting of what now seems to be the hand of God on the lives of two people who accepted their fate to live the rest of their lives alone although content and busy with their families, friends and social organizations.

I felt that I was destined to write this book, and I did for a number of reasons. I wrote it for those who doubt that “it” can happen for them, and who continually fall prey to the negative chorus: It’s too late for me; I will never find someone to love me; Why am I looking for the perfect person who does not exist? I will settle for what is in my life now…in other words, as Luther Vandross sang, “Love the one you’re with.” I believe that we just need to open our eyes and look around. Better yet, we should look at ourselves and see the beauty that God created; a unique gift that some wonderful person is waiting for. 

I wanted women to know that love, real love, is possible at any age. It’s never too late for love. If you put away your pretentious list of qualities he must have and focus on the qualities you have, then you will attract the man who will love you unconditionally. 

I wrote the book in humorous vignettes to demonstrate how hilarious the dating scene is when you settle. I believe that we must never settle. Instead, I encourage women to discover who they are and move forward with their lives, unapologetically. 

I wrote the book to identify serious issues in relationships like, children, sex, finances and property that require time and lots of conversation to clarify what is important to each person. And finally, something I have not shared often, I wrote Winter’s Love to debunk the stereotypes often communicated by the media and showcase the love that African Americans have for each other.

About Dr. Kay Taylor Oliver 

Dr. Kay Taylor Oliver is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is married to Walter Oliver and resides in Phoenix, Arizona. She has served as Executive Director for Professional Development for Detroit Public Schools; Associate Superintendent for Philadelphia Public Schools; and Associate Professor in the College of Education at Temple University in Philadelphia. She has served as president of The Phoenix Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center Board of Directors in Phoenix. She was honored to serve as Vice President of the Board for Research for Better Schools. Kay has also been an advisory member for “The Learning Classroom: Theory into Practice” presented by Mort Crim Communications and Stanford University, an advisory member of the external Coordinating Council for Michigan State University’s Teachers for a New Era Program and the National Advisory Board for the College of Education. She is a founding member of Coaching for Results affiliated with Learning Forward, formerly the National Staff Development Council. She is a Golden Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated; a Lifetime Member of the NAACP and Chairperson of the H. LeBaron Taylor Scholarship allocated through the Boule Foundation of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity.  Kay and her husband are philanthropists and give generously to public and private initiatives. To learn more about Kay visit www.KayTOliver.com 

Winter’s Love is a best seller on Amazon with a five out of five star rating. Kay is busy attending Salons (her term for book signings) around the country and is thrilled that her book intended to appeal to women over the age of 50, is now attracting women under 40.

TO PURCHASE BOOK CLICK THE LINK BELOW

 https://www.amazon.com/Winters-Love-Kay-Taylor-Oliver/dp/0692032088/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506882615&sr=8-1&keywords=kay+oliver+winters+love

Winter's Love

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2017 September Mag.

2017 September Mag.

This larger than life smile displays my LOVE for living and how life is a celebration every day!  


Website: www.engagingsolutions.net

This larger than life smile displays my LOVE for living and how life is a celebration every day!  

My name is Debbie Wilson, 1st born and caregiver to Gloria Simmons, big sister to Harvey, Terry, Gordon, Ron, and Tim Simmons.  Highlighting the importance of both family and friends, life’s many and great experiences has also lifted me as a friend for life to a host of dear sisters and brothers whom I will cherish forever.  

I am an entrepreneur and one of four owners of one of the nation’s premier consultancy firms called, Engaging Solutions.  Known as the consultant’s consultant, I identify the issues, solve them in a common sense way, stay on time and within budget, and all the while everyone typically enjoys working with me.  As an advocate for social equity, an innovator and creative thinker, it gives me joy when I bring these talents together to create opportunities for diverse businesses on both community-based and massive municipal projects.  I am intentional about giving back to my community through church, civic and community board positions and helping women and children reach their goals and most desired potential.  Of the organizations I am affiliated with and love the most are my Links Chapter where I serve as President and my sorority, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.  

Yes, I’m as busy as you can get, but I LOVE it all!  Especially the outcomes achieved and the difference made by using my God given time, talent and treasures to make someone’s life or community better.

Introducing you to myself as that super advocate, straight shooter, poised and diplomatic professional – highlights the personality and strengths you want to have at the table when you are solving problems, thinking BIG and looking to collaborate.  And yes, it all comes together in style and sophistication with  a strong artful CereseD design that makes you stare – no not at me, but my CereseD jewelry design.  

Loving bold colors and ensembles where everything is not required to match, animal print type describes me well.  Provide me with a set of diagonals and polka-dots, and I’ll say that is a beautiful thing.  

One of the matters I think about most, is what I am doing to make this world, my State of Indiana, my City of Indianapolis, my neighborhood a better place. What about you?  Deliberate where community service is concerned and not just participating as a part of something for the heck of it is where I always try to be.  It is more important for me to put in quality time for quality outcomes.  To that end, I continue to volunteer to help many organizations fulfill their missions. From those that improve kids’ environments, sustain public television and bring dynamic development to disinvested communities in the urban core to those that create sustainable means to give voice to people who are continually marginalized.   With more than 40 years of professional experience mostly in state government and as a consultant, I have utilized what I’ve learned in my life’s journeys to shape policy and programs to create positive outcomes, and tell relatable stories to people who need to know that hope is in their palm.  Mine is a wonderful stylish life full of commitment to people and community, some challenges from time to time, great travels, and a zeal for a better today and tomorrow.  

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2017 August Mag.

2017 August Mag.

Meet multifaceted recording artist and writer Kathleen Bertrand.


http://www.kathleenbertrand.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGl7G5Dig20

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbHY_m7Q75Q

http://bronzelens.com/

Multifaceted recording artist and writer Kathleen Bertrand is a native Atlantan and Spelman College graduate, whose performances have ranged from two Olympic Games to performances before two presidents, and appearances at jazz festivals world-wide. Bertrand toured and recorded as vocalist with jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers.

This three-octave vocal artist has received numerous honors including the Kuumba Award given by East Point/College Park Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, the inaugural Impact Award from Black Women In Jazz, as well as recognition by the United Negro College Fund as one of “Atlanta’s Legends” and by Spelman College with its distinguished “Alumnae Achievement Award for the Arts & Entertainment.” Most recently, she was named the 2015 “Jazz Vocalist of the Year” by the Black Women in Jazz organization. She has been an invited performer at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland on three occasions and has made multiple appearances at the Atlanta Jazz Festival (AJF), including as a 2012 headliner and this year as part of the AJF’s Main Stage tribute to Nina Simone. In September of 2015, she performed to a sell out crowd at the historic Blues Alley in Washington, DC.

As a songwriter, she penned the national theme song for the 100 Black Men of America – What They See is What They’ll Be – as well as several songs on her CDs All of Me, No Regrets, Reasons for the Season, New Standards, and Kathleen’s most recent CD Katharsis, which was released in June 2011 and is still receiving nationwide and world-wide airplay, including 14 weeks on the UK Soul Chart top 30, 6 weeks in the UK Soul Charts Top 10, and 2 weeks at #1.

She has recently returned to the studio in preparation for her next CD release. Bertrand has opened for many of America’s finest jazz artists, including Ray Charles, Will Downing, Rachelle Ferrell, Najee, Roy Ayers, and Kenny G. Her fan base includes radio and internet listeners across the USA as well as in England, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, France, the Netherlands, and Brazil among others.

She is the Founder and Executive Producer of the BronzeLens Film Festival. The BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia is a non-profit organization, founded in 2009, that is dedicated to bringing national and worldwide attention to Atlanta as a center for film and film production for people of color. In fact, the mission of the BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia is two fold: to promote Atlanta as the new film mecca for people of color; and to showcase films and provide networking opportunities that will develop the next generation of filmmakers.

http://www.kathleenbertrand.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGl7G5Dig20

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbHY_m7Q75Q

http://bronzelens.com/

Multifaceted recording artist and writer Kathleen Bertrand is a native Atlantan and Spelman College graduate, whose performances have ranged from two Olympic Games to performances before two presidents, and appearances at jazz festivals world-wide. Bertrand toured and recorded as vocalist with jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers.

This three-octave vocal artist has received numerous honors including the Kuumba Award given by East Point/College Park Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, the inaugural Impact Award from Black Women In Jazz, as well as recognition by the United Negro College Fund as one of “Atlanta’s Legends” and by Spelman College with its distinguished “Alumnae Achievement Award for the Arts & Entertainment.” Most recently, she was named the 2015 “Jazz Vocalist of the Year” by the Black Women in Jazz organization. She has been an invited performer at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland on three occasions and has made multiple appearances at the Atlanta Jazz Festival (AJF), including as a 2012 headliner and this year as part of the AJF’s Main Stage tribute to Nina Simone. In September of 2015, she performed to a sell out crowd at the historic Blues Alley in Washington, DC.

As a songwriter, she penned the national theme song for the 100 Black Men of America – What They See is What They’ll Be – as well as several songs on her CDs All of Me, No Regrets, Reasons for the Season, New Standards, and Kathleen’s most recent CD Katharsis, which was released in June 2011 and is still receiving nationwide and world-wide airplay, including 14 weeks on the UK Soul Chart top 30, 6 weeks in the UK Soul Charts Top 10, and 2 weeks at #1.

She has recently returned to the studio in preparation for her next CD release. Bertrand has opened for many of America’s finest jazz artists, including Ray Charles, Will Downing, Rachelle Ferrell, Najee, Roy Ayers, and Kenny G. Her fan base includes radio and internet listeners across the USA as well as in England, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, New Zealand, France, the Netherlands, and Brazil among others.

She is the Founder and Executive Producer of the BronzeLens Film Festival. The BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia is a non-profit organization, founded in 2009, that is dedicated to bringing national and worldwide attention to Atlanta as a center for film and film production for people of color. In fact, the mission of the BronzeLens Film Festival of Atlanta, Georgia is two fold: to promote Atlanta as the new film mecca for people of color; and to showcase films and provide networking opportunities that will develop the next generation of filmmakers.

 

Photo Credit: Cat Max Photography https://styleblueprint.com/atlanta/everyday/kathleen-bertrand-faces/

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2017 July Mag.

2017 July Mag.

Katrina’s style has been described as eclectic and is often called upon to offer style advice, source products, and create fun looks for themed events.  


Social media:  @shoesrfun (Instagram)

Katrina L. Slaughter is known to many as “KLSSTYLE” for her love of fun fashion in particular statement accessories that will entice even the most conservative dresser to compliment her liberal fashion sense!  As an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Katrina is often called upon by her sorority sisters and other sisters in Greekdom to offer style advice, source products, and create fun looks for themed events.  Katrina’s style has been described as eclectic!

How does Katrina finance “KLSSTYLE”?  Katrina holds two degrees – a Bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership and a Master’s in Business Administration and has nearly 25 years of work experience within the Professional Services Firm industry.  She has managed, directed and provided consulting services in key firm areas such as Corporate Finance and Human Resources Management. While the culture of some firms only allow for professional dress codes, Katrina’s style is embraced within the Architecture and Interior Design firm where she is currently employed as a Controller/Human Resources Director.  Several partners within the firm have commented on Katrina’s style…. “I love your style”, “Can I wear your cool shades? My wife would love your shoes”, “Your necklace makes me happy”, just to cite a few.  Katrina’s fun “Outfit of the Day” (OOTD) makes juggling the demands of her role less stressful and more enjoyable!  You’ll often hear Katrina say “wearing a pretty necklace makes me smile”.  Katrina feels blessed to have a career that allows her to express her individuality through fun fashion!

Katrina’s sense of style dates back to her childhood as early as age 4.  She would miss the school bus because she would re-do her ponytails if she didn’t like how her hair was styled.  According to Katrina’s mom, she’d get dressed and go outside to play but would be found sitting on the doorsteps because she didn’t want to get dirty.  Katrina was born to be prissy. Her friends and colleagues will tell you that Katrina’s love of fashion has always brought and continues to bring people together for social and civic causes. 

Katrina often purges her closets and donates these items to local women’s shelters and high school students during Prom season.  In April 2017, she launched “KLSSTYLE Accessories Pop-Up Shop” and SOLD OUT of over 400 accessories and 50 pairs of shoes! Katrina is not just fashion conscious during the workday, you’ll also see her “sweating pretty” while climbing Stone Mountain or at local run/walk races.  Katrina wanted to share her love of fun accessories and designed a headband for her sorority’s chapter with the tagline “Chi Tau Omega Sweats Pretty”.

Katrina resides within the metro Atlanta area and is a family woman married 25 years to Randall who allows her to be the Fire buff SHE is through HIS career as a Fire Chief.  She’s the mother of two sons – Omari who is a Staff Sergeant currently serving in the United States Air Force and Corey a recent college graduate of Kentucky State University.  She is also the proud grandmother of 2 year old, Madison. 

As Katrina approaches her 50th birthday in 2018, she plans to continue to live her life unconventionally through fashion while inspiring others to do the same. #KLSSTYLE is FOREVER!

Katrina’s fun facts: favorite color is pink, collector of fire department/station patches, collector of hearts, loves frogs, favorite candy is gummy bears.

Katrina’s favorite hashtags: #KLSSTYLE #funaccessories #jewelryaddict #prettynecklaces #fashionfun #shoesrfun #sweatpretty #luvpink

Social media:  @shoesrfun (Instagram)

Katrina L. Slaughter is known to many as “KLSSTYLE” for her love of fun fashion in particular statement accessories that will entice even the most conservative dresser to compliment her liberal fashion sense!  As an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Katrina is often called upon by her sorority sisters and other sisters in Greekdom to offer style advice, source products, and create fun looks for themed events.  Katrina’s style has been described as eclectic!

How does Katrina finance “KLSSTYLE”?  Katrina holds two degrees – a Bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership and a Master’s in Business Administration and has nearly 25 years of work experience within the Professional Services Firm industry.  She has managed, directed and provided consulting services in key firm areas such as Corporate Finance and Human Resources Management. While the culture of some firms only allow for professional dress codes, Katrina’s style is embraced within the Architecture and Interior Design firm where she is currently employed as a Controller/Human Resources Director.  Several partners within the firm have commented on Katrina’s style…. “I love your style”, “Can I wear your cool shades? My wife would love your shoes”, “Your necklace makes me happy”, just to cite a few.  Katrina’s fun “Outfit of the Day” (OOTD) makes juggling the demands of her role less stressful and more enjoyable!  You’ll often hear Katrina say “wearing a pretty necklace makes me smile”.  Katrina feels blessed to have a career that allows her to express her individuality through fun fashion!

Katrina’s sense of style dates back to her childhood as early as age 4.  She would miss the school bus because she would re-do her ponytails if she didn’t like how her hair was styled.  According to Katrina’s mom, she’d get dressed and go outside to play but would be found sitting on the doorsteps because she didn’t want to get dirty.  Katrina was born to be prissy. Her friends and colleagues will tell you that Katrina’s love of fashion has always brought and continues to bring people together for social and civic causes. 

Katrina often purges her closets and donates these items to local women’s shelters and high school students during Prom season.  In April 2017, she launched “KLSSTYLE Accessories Pop-Up Shop” and SOLD OUT of over 400 accessories and 50 pairs of shoes! Katrina is not just fashion conscious during the workday, you’ll also see her “sweating pretty” while climbing Stone Mountain or at local run/walk races.  Katrina wanted to share her love of fun accessories and designed a headband for her sorority’s chapter with the tagline “Chi Tau Omega Sweats Pretty”.

Katrina resides within the metro Atlanta area and is a family woman married 25 years to Randall who allows her to be the Fire buff SHE is through HIS career as a Fire Chief.  She’s the mother of two sons – Omari who is a Staff Sergeant currently serving in the United States Air Force and Corey a recent college graduate of Kentucky State University.  She is also the proud grandmother of 2 year old, Madison. 

As Katrina approaches her 50th birthday in 2018, she plans to continue to live her life unconventionally through fashion while inspiring others to do the same. #KLSSTYLE is FOREVER!

Katrina’s fun facts: favorite color is pink, collector of fire department/station patches, collector of hearts, loves frogs, favorite candy is gummy bears.

Katrina’s favorite hashtags: #KLSSTYLE #funaccessories #jewelryaddict #prettynecklaces #fashionfun #shoesrfun #sweatpretty #luvpink

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2017 June Mag.

2017 June Mag.

“Chief BOSSpreneur Becky A. Davis is known as the “Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon”


Website:  www.beckyadavis.com

Social media:  @Bosspreneur (FB, Twitter, Youtube)

“Chief BOSSpreneur Becky A. Davis is known as the “Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon” for her straight-forward coaching skills that develop individuals into well-rounded business owners.  As a member of the prestigious Forbes Magazine Coaches Council, official private coach for the ultra-exclusive Odyssey Media Company, and national entrepreneur spokesperson for The Coca-Cola Company. Becky is one of the most in-demand experts for small businesses.

It isn’t her education or impressive resume that makes Becky stand out.  It’s that in Becky’s 20+ years of coaching and speaking, her real-life, in-the-trenches experience gives her a radically different view on nearly everything.  Becky realizes that every business has a unique code that unlocks a flow of clients and cash. Mentally, Becky never removes herself too far from remembering the days when she experienced the trials and tribulations of fighting to get clients and make profits to stay in business. As a speaker, Becky is known for her practical, street-savvy style; Becky’s fusion of real-life stories and her conversational techniques connect with her audience at an intimate, intense and individual level.

Becky is a Certified Executive Coach of The Leadership Circle and provides a 360 Leadership Profile Assessment.  She is also certified by Gallup for the Entrepreneur Talent Profile Assessment and a Facilitator of the Discover Your Entrepreneur Talent Workshop and continues to work with the best and brightest aspiring and veteran entrepreneurs around the world.  She hosts, workshops, teleseminars, webinars, masterminds, and private coaching to women entrepreneurs all over the world.  Becky was selected to be a member of the Forbes Coaches Council.  She was the featured entrepreneur speaker on 15-city National Tour for Odyssey Media, a marketing & communications company, focused on connecting and empowering influential and affluent multicultural women around the world.  Her national partnership with The Coca-Cola Company’s initiative to help serve five million women entrepreneurs by 2020 aligns with her heart’s purpose and mission to empower entrepreneurs. 

Before her success as an entrepreneur, in her last corporate position, Becky was Regional Vice President, responsible for Operations and Sales at Sears Optical, a division of Luxottica Retail the largest optical company in the world. She has 20+ years in retail management where she advised Regional Vice Presidents, Training & Development, Human Resources and coached employees at all levels.  MVPwork LLC is a certified woman and minority owned business with Women Business Enterprise National Council and National Minority Supply Diversity Council.

Becky has been featured in media for her contributions to entrepreneurs including ABC, FOX, Forbes, Essence, Black Enterprise, and   Huffington Post.  She has been recognized as one of 25 Women Who Inspire by Hope for Women Magazine, Woman of Excellence by Atlanta Gospel Fest and recognized as a Woman of Influence by Radio Love 860 am and Best Motivational Speaker for 2015 by Examiner.com.  She is also the author of 5 books.

Becky is an advocate for domestic violence.  She is the founder of Leading In High H.E.E.L.S., a non-profit organization that focus on provides shoes and resources to women of domestic violence and abuse.

Becky is married and lives in the metro Atlanta area.

Website:  www.beckyadavis.com

Social media:  @Bosspreneur (FB, Twitter, Youtube)

“Chief BOSSpreneur Becky A. Davis is known as the “Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon” for her straight-forward coaching skills that develop individuals into well-rounded business owners.  As a member of the prestigious Forbes Magazine Coaches Council, official private coach for the ultra-exclusive Odyssey Media Company, and national entrepreneur spokesperson for The Coca-Cola Company. Becky is one of the most in-demand experts for small businesses.

It isn’t her education or impressive resume that makes Becky stand out.  It’s that in Becky’s 20+ years of coaching and speaking, her real-life, in-the-trenches experience gives her a radically different view on nearly everything.  Becky realizes that every business has a unique code that unlocks a flow of clients and cash. Mentally, Becky never removes herself too far from remembering the days when she experienced the trials and tribulations of fighting to get clients and make profits to stay in business. As a speaker, Becky is known for her practical, street-savvy style; Becky’s fusion of real-life stories and her conversational techniques connect with her audience at an intimate, intense and individual level.

Becky is a Certified Executive Coach of The Leadership Circle and provides a 360 Leadership Profile Assessment.  She is also certified by Gallup for the Entrepreneur Talent Profile Assessment and a Facilitator of the Discover Your Entrepreneur Talent Workshop and continues to work with the best and brightest aspiring and veteran entrepreneurs around the world.  She hosts, workshops, teleseminars, webinars, masterminds, and private coaching to women entrepreneurs all over the world.  Becky was selected to be a member of the Forbes Coaches Council.  She was the featured entrepreneur speaker on 15-city National Tour for Odyssey Media, a marketing & communications company, focused on connecting and empowering influential and affluent multicultural women around the world.  Her national partnership with The Coca-Cola Company’s initiative to help serve five million women entrepreneurs by 2020 aligns with her heart’s purpose and mission to empower entrepreneurs. 

Before her success as an entrepreneur, in her last corporate position, Becky was Regional Vice President, responsible for Operations and Sales at Sears Optical, a division of Luxottica Retail the largest optical company in the world. She has 20+ years in retail management where she advised Regional Vice Presidents, Training & Development, Human Resources and coached employees at all levels.  MVPwork LLC is a certified woman and minority owned business with Women Business Enterprise National Council and National Minority Supply Diversity Council.

Becky has been featured in media for her contributions to entrepreneurs including ABC, FOX, Forbes, Essence, Black Enterprise, and   Huffington Post.  She has been recognized as one of 25 Women Who Inspire by Hope for Women Magazine, Woman of Excellence by Atlanta Gospel Fest and recognized as a Woman of Influence by Radio Love 860 am and Best Motivational Speaker for 2015 by Examiner.com.  She is also the author of 5 books.

Becky is an advocate for domestic violence.  She is the founder of Leading In High H.E.E.L.S., a non-profit organization that focus on provides shoes and resources to women of domestic violence and abuse.

Becky is married and lives in the metro Atlanta area.

    

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2017 May Mag.

2017 May Mag.

First impressions can have the most lasting effect with every event, every experience, and every introduction to a new life, new school, and new “family”, and be extraordinary.


http://www.andrewjyoungfoundation.org

Carolyn McClain Young

They say first impressions have the most lasting effect on us. Well, my first impression of Clark College, now Clark Atlanta University, impacted me for a lifetime. It was freshman year orientation week, and it was the most amazing week of my life. Every event, every experience, and every introduction to my new life, new school, and new “family” was extraordinary. By the end of the week, we had all bonded; we became brothers and sisters. Whether my classmates were from in the city or outside of the city, we came together as one and accepted each other into our new lives and this new adventure. That experience taught me a lot about sisterhood, caring for others, and accepting others as they are. It grounded me and set my footing on accepting people from all walks of life, a quality that has served me well in my work, personal and social life, and enabled me to become the woman I am today.

I was fortunate to have wonderful mentors in my life, and they all led me to Clark. There was Ernest Pharr, my homeroom teacher for five years beginning in the 8th grade. He was the yearbook and newspaper editor and used to bring his work to school to show me. My English teacher, David Stanley, was a Clark alum, as was Moses Norman, who always had me quoting great writers. My high school counselor, Eula Cohen, was also very influential on my decision to attend my illustrious alma mater. Coming full circle, it has been my passion and privilege to serve on the Board of Trustees for Clark Atlanta University for many years now.

I am fortunate to have met the love of my life. I married my husband, Andrew J. Young, in 1996 in Cape Town, South Africa. My wedding was officiated by Bishop Desmond Tutu, who spoke the ceremony in Xhosa, and Bishop McKinley Young, who spoke it in English. It was attended by family, friends and dignitaries from all over. In March of 2016 my husband and I will be traveling back to South Africa, along with a cohort of friends and associates, to celebrate our 20th Anniversary and renew our vows. Bishop Tutu will preside once again.

Attending Clark, becoming a teacher, and marrying my dear husband were the best decisions I have ever made. Because of these three choices, my life has been amazing.

Biographical Sketch:

Carolyn McClain Young is a life-long educator, civic leader, and the vice chair of the Andrew J. Young Foundation. She also serves as the executive director of “Andrew Young Presents,” the Foundation’s Emmy-winning nationally syndicated series of 20 documentaries highlighting Africa, the Civil Rights Movement and other social issues.

A dedicated fund-raiser and philanthropist, Young is a major force behind the success of the Foundation and other causes and organizations she cares deeply about supporting. She raised an endowment of more than $1.3 million for the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University; used her influence to raise and is the sponsor for the Carolyn Young Mentor Walk, held the last two years at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.

Previously, Young was an executive with the Atlanta-based GoodWorks International, LLC, a leading global advisory firm offering international market access and political risk analysis in key emerging markets within Africa and the Caribbean. In this position, she was co-owner for Protocol Contact for Foreign Dignitaries, and was responsible for planning logistics for guests and event planning for staff and corporate sponsors.

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Elementary Education from Clark College in 1966 and a Master of Science degree in Elementary Education from Georgia State University in 1971. She was instrumental in desegregating the faculty of the Atlanta Public Schools – East Lake Elementary School – as a first-year teacher.

During her teaching career, Young was recognized with several awards and honors including the 1976 Atlanta Area II Teacher of the Year, Georgia Teachers Incentive Award for Intermediate Grades, and the Southern Bell Black History Calendar as a “Teacher of Excellence.” She retired after 30 years of distinguished service with the Atlanta Public Schools.

Following her retirement, Young joined GoodWorks International, LLC with her husband, Ambassador Andrew Young, serving as Partner and Protocol Contact for Foreign Dignitaries where she played a major role planning and hosting social events, meetings, and private affairs.

Young has volunteered her time, talent and influence to a host of local, national and international civic and community service organizations holding leadership position. Some of the organizations she has served include G-Capp (founded by Jane Fonda); Steering Committee for the King Center’s King Week Activities; National Committee for the Arts; Finance Committee for the City of Atlanta Celebration of Older Citizens Month; Atlanta Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Buckhead Cascade Chapter of The Links, Inc.; Union Baptist Church; the Ebony Fashion Fair scholarship fundraiser; the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Women’s Board; the Clark Atlanta University Guild; and the Sophisticates, Atlanta Chapter. Her international work includes serving as co-sponsor of the Bethesda House (an orphanage in Soweto for children with AIDS).

She currently serves on the following boards: Clark Atlanta University Board of Trustees; United Negro College Fund; Andrew & Walter Young YMCA; Atlanta Area Technical College; WestCare; and the Board of Advisors for the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University. Previous board affiliations include the Governor’s Reform Commission for Education; Georgia Human Relations Commission; Board of the Georgia Council of Abused Children; Apex Museum; Fernbank Museum; Rabun Gap/Nacoochee School; Starlight Foundation and Literacy Action, Inc.

A full list of Young’s experience in civic, community and board service, as well as awards and honors, is as follows:

Current

Co-Sponsor of the Bethesda House, which is an orphanage in Soweto for children living with AIDS – raised money for the children and the facility.

Raised an endowment of more than $1.3 million for the Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University and served as Honorary Chair of a weekend of events honoring the school and Andrew Young.

Co-Chairman of the Patron Committee for G-Capp, which was founded by Jane Fonda to halt teen pregnancies.

Founding member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Women Board, as well as the following positions:

Served as Chair of Enrichment for Children for 10 years,

Served as the key organizer of a Christmas party for 10,000 children of Atlanta for 10 years, and

Participated and volunteered at a dinner for 2000 Atlanta seniors for 10 years.

Member of Southern Regional Leadership Team of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Co-Chair for 10 years of the Founders Day Committee of the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Co-Chair of 80th Celebration for the Southern Region of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Co-Chair for the Welcoming Committee for the National Convention for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. that was held in Atlanta, Georgia in July, 2002.

Member of the National committee for the Arts

Member of the International Taskforce and the Arts Committee for Buckhead Cascade Chapter of the Links

Member and 2005-2006 Co-Chair of 5th Annual Gala for the Buckhead Cascade Chapter of the Links.

Member of the Finance Committee for the City of Atlanta Celebration of Older Citizens Month.

Past

Founding member, Co-Chair for 3 years, and Chairman for 3 years of the Clark Atlanta University Guild

Member of the National Arts and Letters Commission for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Co-Chair for ten years and a leading fundraiser for the Ebony Fashion Fair, which is an event that raises funds for scholarships sponsored by the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Founding member and Vice-President of the Sophisticates, Atlanta Chapter

Member of the Steering Committee for the King Center’s “Celebrate a Difference” King Week Activities from 1985-1989

Superintendent for 10 years of the Union Baptist Church Sunday School

Director for 10 years of the Union Baptist Vacation Bible School

Sunday school teacher for six years

Board Positions

Current

Clark Atlanta University Board of Trustees

Atlanta Area Technical College

Board of Advisors – Andrew Young School of Public Policy at Georgia State University

Board of WestCare

Past

Governor’s Reform Commission for Education

Georgia Human Relations Commission

Board of the Georgia Council of Abused Children

The Apex Museum

The Fernbank Museum

Board of Directors for the Rabun Gap – Nacoochee School

Board of the Starlight Foundation

Literacy Action, Inc.

Honors

Recognized as the Atlanta Area II Teacher of the Year in 1976 and 1994

Received Southern Bell Black History Calendar Teacher of Excellence 1993

Received Georgia Teachers Incentive Award for Intermediate Grades in 1993

Honored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Women as a Faithful Servant in 1993

Received first MASKED Award (Mankind Assisting Students Kindle Educational Dreams) in 1989

Recognized as an Outstanding United Negro College Fund Volunteer in 1989

In 2010 received the Lady Who Leads Award

2010 Honored at the Legacy Ladies Tea

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