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Tag: Inspo

2023 Aug. Mag

2023 August Mag

Helen Giddings is president and CEO of Multiplex, Inc., a specialty concessions company, which she founded in 1989. Giddings also serves as honorary consul of South Africa for Texas. She is the founder and chair of the Women’s Leadership Summit, an organization created to empower, strengthen, and transform women leaders. Among many accolades and awards, Giddings served in the Texas House of Representatives for 26 years.

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Helen Giddings is president and CEO of Multiplex, Inc., a specialty concessions company, which she founded in 1989. Giddings also serves as honorary consul of South Africa for Texas. She is the founder and chair of the Women’s Leadership Summit, an organization created to empower, strengthen, and transform women leaders. 

Previously, Giddings was an executive in retail responsible for human resources and community affairs in an 11-state area, and she was the vice president of leadership development at the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce. 

House of Representatives

Giddings also served in the Texas House of Representatives for 26 years. She is a former chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus and a previous Dallas Area Legislative Delegation co-chair

During her tenure in the Texas Legislature, Giddings chaired the Business and Industry Committee for three terms, having served on the committee for 10 terms. She was the vice chair of the State Affairs Committee for her last three terms prior to retiring from the Texas House of Representatives. Giddings served on the Appropriations Committee for seven terms (including her last five terms before retirement) and held leadership roles as chair and vice chair of select Appropriations subcommittees. Giddings also served on the Higher Education and Calendars Committees. In addition to the aforementioned committees, the speakers of the House appointed her to special commissions and other committees, including the Texas Legislative Council Governing Board, Financial Institutions, Public School Finance, Redistricting, House Administration, Joint Interim Committee to Study Alzheimer’s Disease, and the Supreme Court of Texas Permanent Judicial Commission for Children, Youth and Families. 

Public Service

Strongly committed to public service, Giddings served as president of the bipartisan, 1,600-member National Foundation of Women Legislators. She was the first woman of color and the first Texan in the organizations history to be elected to this prestigious position. Additionally, she was a member of the executive committees of the Women’s Legislative Network of the National Conference of State Legislators and the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women. 

Giddings also served as the board chair of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, vice chair of the Dallas Transit Board, and a member of the following: Dallas Planning Commission, Visit Dallas Board of Directors, State Bar Grievance Committee, and the Dallas County Grand Jury. 

As an avid and loyal supporter of the arts, Giddings’ board service includes leadership roles in the African American Museum, Dallas Symphony, Dallas Summer Musicals, Dallas Historical Society, and the Dallas Theater Center. Her contributions to the African American Museum led the museum to name a room in her honor. 

Currently, Giddings is a member of the International Women’s Forum, The Dallas Assembly, The Dallas Summit, Trinity Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, Methodist Health System Board of Directors, and the Caruth Police Institute Executive Advisory Board.


Giddings has been recognized by Ebony Magazine as one of the Top 100+ Most Influential African Americans and featured in Black Enterprise, American Way (American Express), and Jet magazines. She has also been featured in the Dallas Morning News and D Magazine. 

Giddings has received additional recognition and numerous awards for her civic service and business acumen, including the City of Lancaster, Texas naming its amphitheater, the Helen Giddings Amphitheater, in her honor; the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce Quest for Success Award; the DFW International Airport SOAR Award; the National Forum for Black Public Administrators Award; the Texas House Democratic Caucus Legend Award; the Association of Community Schools Most Valuable Legislator Award; the Outstanding Legislator Award from Mothers Against Teen Violence; the TexProtects Children’s Champion Award; the NAACP Juanita Craft Freedom President’s Award; the Eddie Bernice Johnson Trailblazer Award from Who’s Who; the James Belt Lifetime Achievement Award; the Latino Center Leadership Development Adelante Award for Lifetime Leadership; the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce Excellence, Innovation and Education Award; the Gifford K. Johnson Community Leadership Award from The University of Texas at Dallas; the African American Museum Heritage Award; the Texas Women’s Foundation Maura Women Helping Women Award; the Dallas Can Academy Woman of the Year Award; an honorary doctorate from Paul Quinn College; the United Negro College Fund Masked Award; the National Association of Historically Black Colleges Alumni Award; The University of Texas at Dallas Science and Engineering Advancement Award; the Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) Humanitarian Award; the Texas Southern University (TSU) Presidents Medal; presidential scholarships at PVAMU and TSU and a scholarship from the Concerned DeSoto Citizens named in her honor; the Texas PTA Life Membership Award; the Texas Library Association 100 Library Champions of the Century Award; the AFRIMMA Transformational Leadership Award; the Texas Medical Association Patient Protectorate Award; and the American Heart Association Heart of Honor Award. 

Women in Leadership

In 2018, Giddings founded the Women’s Leadership Summit. WLS brings together women who have risen to leadership positions with younger leaders, forming stronger networks, sharing knowledge and skills, celebrating achievements, and addressing challenges for Black women. 

These extraordinary women, limited to 300, leave inspired, motivated, and determined to become full participants in our world, helping to create a better society for all. Please go to to learn more about this unique conference which will be held September 8th and 9th at the Statler Hotel in Dallas. Cerese will be there! You should be too.

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2023 July Mag

2023 July Mag

Noted publisher and civic leader Sylvia Perry, has a very special mantra that she shares with audiences, “excellence is the fine line between what you can do and what you’re capable of.” Sylvia Perry

Image of beautiful black woman smiling in front of a white draped background wearing a cream colored suit jacket and a large green stone pendant with gold chain on a Cerese D magazine cover

Choose to Lead

While some may choose to follow or turn their head at destiny, Sylvia Perry chose to lead.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, the daughter of an entertainment executive turned publisher found treading in her mother’s footsteps a natural progression. She served as Student Council President in high school, and in college worked alongside famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump to elevate Florida State University’s Black Student Union to unparallel heights.

“Those days were crazy. Ben was the BSU president and I was the communications director. We created the BSU’s first newspaper and challenged everything. That was before the age of the internet so our publication was a hot commodity. I am so proud of what we both did and what we are doing now.”

Professionally, she is the publisher of the Free Press of the Jacksonville Free Press, a 36-year-old weekly newspaper serving the African-American Diaspora of Northeast Florida. Her responsibilities include the overall production of the weekly newspaper including procurement and assignment of articles, representation of the newspaper throughout the community, selection and assignment of photos, quality control and maintaining industry standards.

Trying Times

She maintains that yes these are trying times for her industry, especially in the age of social media. But while there remains a thirsty customer base, the publication will continue. For Perry, her service to the community doesn’t stop with educating the masses.

Image of beautiful black woman smiling in front of a white draped background and sitting on white chain wearing a cream colored suit and a large clear beaded necklaceWhile Crump is making waves throughout the country fighting for the underserved, Perry has made her mark just completing a four-year term in The Links, Incorporated as its Southern Area Director. Armed with degrees including a B.A. in Mass Communications, Masters’ in Organizational Leadership and a Jurist Masters, she utilized her business savvy and communication acumen to lead the Links’ southern region.

With so much going on in the world and pulls for attention, how does one choose to be committed to one in what seems like a full-time job?

“It’s been said “to whom much is given, much is required,” said Perry. I live a good life and am blessed to pay it forward through a historic well-respected entity like The Links, Incorporated. 

Passion for Productivity

You can walk into any room Links occupy and you smell the passion for productivity. Whether it be a luncheon, town hall meeting or community forum, the like-minded sisters of color all have something in common – making a difference.

Representing seven states and The Bahamas in one of the oldest women’s service organizations in the country allowed her to continue her dedication to service throughout the Southeast.

Under her tenure, the area’s 84 chapters received over $1 million in funding. She also introduced the Southern Area (and open to the country at large), to a series of  Virtual Town Hall Meetings as an innovative approach to community programming in the pandemic.

“The pandemic was rough. We had to pivot to stay on our mission and create content that was interesting and motivating to the community,” she shared.

Under her leadership, the organization’s award-winning program team presented a series of social justice virtual town halls with nationally recognized leadership with topics such as Justice or Just Us, Thriving, Surviving and Mobilizing in the New South, and Moving Beyond Our Kind of People.”

She selfishly admits one of the best parts of the job is being able to visit and see members while sharing how a difference can be made.


“I adore hanging out with my sisters. The sister circle always make you feel good as we trade war stories on everything from our personal and private life to fashion. I can always look around and see one thing in common. You recognize successful looks will always include a piece of Cerese D jewelry.”

As the look of success is the tie that binds so is the commitment to community investment.

In alignment with the organization’s national agenda. Perry created several initiatives for chapters to apply to their grassroots communities. Healthy Homestead, Closing the Gap, Artist Noir, Links in Pink, SA Links Love HBCUs and Connecting Threads were all implemented with guidance toolkits and grants enabling chapters to make a difference.

“Whether your chapter’s advocacy agenda was breast cancer awareness, arts exposure, HBCUs, or even STEAM, we had something that could be done. My team took the excuse out of making a difference,” said Perry.

“Even in the pandemic, all of these programs were able to be implemented virtually to keep the underserved at the forefront of the agenda.”

The result exposed thousands in Southern communities to benefit from the opportunities Links chapters had to offer. To celebrate the end of her tenure, the Southern Area established an $85,000 HBCU scholarship.

Community Engagement

While presenting stellar service in Links’ leadership, Sylvia continued her professional work on the home front as a newspaper publisher.  Her community engagement includes having served on numerous civic boards and committees including Planned Parenthood, Jacksonville Urban League, Leadership Jacksonville, and more. Over the years the Free Press has received awards from prestigious organizations including the NAACP, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Sickle Cell Association, Girl Scouts, Clear Channel, Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce and the Onyx Award among others. Her travels as a seasoned journalist have taken her to locations such as Libya, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, Sudan and The White House.

In addition to owning a boutique PR firm and a property management company, she maintains that continuing the legacy began by her mother over 36 years ago is “something that she has to do.”

Now that her Links’ tenure is over, Perry said it’s no need to wonder what she will tackle next.

“I can say thus far it has been an interesting, charmed life full of opportunities. And while this juncture has come to an end, what I’ve learned and experienced will take my contributions of service to the next level.”

What that “level” will be – who knows, but one thing is for sure, following and getting out of the way has never been an option.

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2023 June Mag

2023 June Mag

Paula Fontana was created to inspire and motivate others to be the best version of themselves in her personal life through motivational Spoken Word and her professional endeavors.

smiling black woman holding a microphone to her mouth wearing a purple sleeveless v-neck dress and a large beaded white necklace in front of a dark red curtain on a cerese d magazine cover

Paula Fontana was created to inspire and motivate others to be the best version of themselves in her personal life through motivational Spoken Word and her professional life through co-leading the National Black MBA Association as Interim President. 

The mission of the National Black MBA Association is to lead in the creation of educational, wealth-building, and growth opportunities for Blacks throughout all stages of their careers as students, professionals, and entrepreneurs. Paula’s commitment to understanding customer needs and creating products and programming to fill those needs, intertwined with her passion for impacting and enriching lives through diversity initiatives provides the platform to make an impactful difference in serving NBMBAA members. 

image of smiling black woman staring through a round mirror light wearing a white top and tan pants with a marge beaded necklace in front of a white backdropPrior to joining the Association, Paula worked in MBA Career Management for 9 years where she developed and implemented student advising strategies and programming. While at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, she managed the career programming targeting diversity students and national MBA diversity conferences to increase student participation and success rates.

Before pursuing a career in higher education, Paula had 12 years of experience in marketing research and brand management in the consumer-packaged goods and textile industries. Paula earned her MBA from the University of Georgia and her Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University.

Fontana was born and raised in Chicago, IL, where she attended a private school in the heart of the city’s South Side. There, she developed a love for God and a passion for studying His word. Since most of her teachers and classmates also attended her church, a sense of community and accountability were commonplace. It was during those formative years that the importance of understanding and serving others were imprinted in her mind, although it would not materialize until years later.

Paula has used her gift of Spoken Word on LPs, for weddings, funerals, and birthday parties. You can also find her delivering a daily motivational word clothed in her unique statement-making Afrocentric style on social media platforms. The foundation of Paula’s life, and her pieces, is rooted in her faith and scripture.  Her favorite passage is 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9: “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

Paula lives in a southern suburb of Atlanta, GA along with her husband Tony and her son Colby, a rising senior at Tennessee State University.

Contact Paula: 


LinkedIn – Instagram – TikTok

  • image of a beautiful black woman looking downward wearing a flowing linen white top and tan loose slacks with a large long beaded necklace infront of a white background

  • image of smiling black woman wearing a stunning black blouse with wide ruffled sleeves and a large beaded white necklace and matching bracelet standing in front of a white background

  • Sharon Caple Mcdougle jumping in orange flight suit

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2023 May Mag

2023 May Mag

Ms. Joya Hayes is a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Beyond her service to the Sorority, Ms. Hayes has tirelessly served the greater Austin community in many ways, and has received over 35 community awards for her dutiful service. On top of all this, she is a dynamic and energetic speaker known for her humor and powerful energy.

Smiling woman wearing a light brown top and leaning with one car against a wall with a large beaded necklace on a Cerese D magazine cover

Joya is wearing Cerese D’s Pearl Angel Necklace

Ms. Joya Hayes is a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She was initiated in the fall of 1993 as a second-generation member of the Beta smiling woman waering a bright pink top standing in front of a window and wearing a large beaded necklace with matching earrings.Kappa Chapter at Huston-Tillotson University. At the chapter level, she has held the positions of President, Vice President, Graduate Advisor to both the Beta Kappa (Huston-Tillotson University) and Delta Xi (the University of Texas at Austin) Chapters and has chaired numerous committees and fundraisers. At the international level, Ms. Hayes has served as the South-Central Representative, and later the International Chairman, to the Graduate Advisors’ Certification Committee, where she personally trained and certified over 5,000 members of the Sorority. On the regional level, she has served as Cluster Coordinator for the Southwest/Central Texas Cluster, planned, and executed four cluster events, served as Chairman of an Undergraduate Round-up, and presented workshops at ten regional conferences, eight cluster retreats, and four Boules under the leadership of four Regional Directors. Ms. Hayes is a proud Silver Member and serves as the 26th South Central Regional Director.

Beyond her service to the Sorority, Ms. Hayes has tirelessly served the greater Austin community. Currently, she is a board member of Child, Incorporated (Austin’s Head Start Program), and is a 20-year board member of the Austin Area Heritage Council (responsible for Austin’s MLK March and Festival celebrations). She is also a member of the Town Lake Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and a former licensed foster parent in both Virginia and Texas. She has received over 35 community awards for her dutiful service. And her greatest reward has been her son, Robert Elijah Hayes, whom she adopted in June of 2016.

Professionally, Ms. Hayes is a cum laude graduate of Huston-Tillotson University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, and a graduate of Texas State University, where she received her master’s degree in Public Administration. Ms. Hayes has 22 years of experience in human resources, training, and organizational development, community-based programming, policy & procedure development, and executive-level planning. Currently, Ms. Hayes is the Director of the Human Resources Department, and Director of Civil Service for the City of Austin, Texas.

As a motivational speaker, Ms. Hayes has delivered speeches to over one million people in six states and two countries. She is a dynamic and energetic speaker known for her humor and powerful energy. She is also an extraordinary emcee and speechwriter and has written speeches for elected officials in three states.

Joy is wearing Cerese D’s Peppi Pink Necklace in photo, top left.

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2023 Apr. Mag

2023 April Mag

Annie B. Augustin is a highly effective strategic visionary with a history of successfully spearheading technology and organizational transformation initiatives in government and industry.  Though educated in technical fields, she possesses a demonstrated ability to excel in leading strategic organizational development and effectiveness initiatives – demonstrating expertise in cross-functional collaboration, institutionalizing new concepts, aligning business unit priorities with corporate strategy, challenging conventional thinking, and implementing innovative solutions to expand business capabilities; and a track record of success leading multi-disciplinary teams to create value for the organization.  Author of a children’s book, Hopper: A Name for a Friend, the first  on a planned series. 

Image of smiling woman with black curly hair and red lipstick wearing a black leather top with large turqouise beaded necklace with silver tassels

Annie is wearing the Crumbling Towers Necklace.

Annie B. Augustin has led numerous change and transformation efforts, including serving as program manager for the merger of two electric utility companies and leading numerous organizational change initiatives for different teams within her current employer, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  In this regard she maintains a keen focus on change management and culture creation.

Annie is a manager with the Federal Aviation Administration where she serves as the division manager of the Air Traffic Systems Test & Evaluation Division.  In this role she leads a team of approximately 150 federal and contract engineers and computer scientists in testing, analyzing, and evaluating air traffic management, surveillance, and mission support systems, services, and new capabilities for the National Airspace System.  In line with her passion for employee and organizational development, she previously led the development of a technical curriculum, training courses, a micro-credentialing program, other learning and development opportunities, and technical competency models.


Image of smiling woman with black curly hair and red lipstick wearing a black leather dress standing with hands on hips with large silver beaded necklace with silver tasselsAnnie’s formal education is as an engineer having obtained a Bachelor of Science degree Summa Cum Laude in Electrical Engineering from the North Carolina A&T State University, the nation’s largest HBCU, and a Master of Science degree from George Washington University. In addition, Annie has completed both the Executive Development and Women’s Executive Leadership programs at the Wharton School; the Links Leadership Academy of The Links, Incorporated; the Anna Easter Brown Leadership Institute of the North Atlantic Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®; the Federal Executive Institute’s Leadership for a Democratic Society; and the FAA’s Senior Leadership Development Program.

Annie is a member of the Atlantic City (NJ) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated where she serves as the chapter president, the Theta Kappa Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated®, the Atlantic City Chapter of Jack & Jill of America, Incorporated (associate member and former president), the National Association of Parliamentarians, the National Society of Black Engineers, the International Test and Evaluation Association, the American Heart Association South/Central NJ Regional Board of Directors, and the Ocean Wind PRO-NJ Grantor Trust Advisory Committee.

What We can Conceive – We can Achieve

Annie’s lived philosophy shows up in what sometimes serves as her email tagline, “What we can conceive, we can achieve!”   The concept starts with a clear vision, in which we can see ourselves being or doing whatever is called for in that vision.  Our ability to create is limitless if we align action to purpose. She believes that the only limits on us are self-imposed; although we sometimes unknowingly adopt the limitations that others choose to impose. Scripture tells us to put our vision in writing and make it clear so those who read it may respond quickly. Accompanying the idea of our limitless ability to manifest our future is the idea that we co-create our reality by what we do or fail to do. This serves as a constant reminder to Annie of the need to MOVE. Whether we have chosen an entrepreneurial, corporate, government, or non-profit path, as we put in the required work aligned to our purpose and vision, we are able to create without limitations.

During a personal transformation intensive Annie uncovered that her purpose is to “speak for those who have lost their voice.”  One might lose her voice in many ways and circumstances. Annie has spent her life being the voice at the table for those not included in the discussion. In her next career after retirement, she is called to become an additional voice, among many others, for the homeless – especially women and girls – and is excited about where this next path will take her!

Spare time is spent traveling with her husband, Claudy, spending time with millennial sons, Nigel and Miles (when they allow it), hanging out with sisters and sister friends, and jogging daily along the Atlantic City boardwalk or other local trail.  Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” serves as a constant companion and reminder to trust God’s plan.


On today, I honor my mom, Hattie H. Bullock, who would have been 100 years old on April 1, 2023.  She lived to be 94. My mom was unconventional for her time.  She had five children between the ages of 28 and 40, while her contemporaries were having children mostly in their late teens or very early twenties.  My mom was always older than my girlfriend’s mothers.  She was a staunch believer in education and was so excited when I started a PhD program – having only achieved high school herself. One day I will finish that degree just for her since I’ve already completed about 95% of it.  Mom had great confidence in me, believing I could do anything and so I believed the same.  Therefore, on her 100th birthday I implore you to contact someone in your life who may be struggling with a decision or challenge and let them know that you have great confidence in them. I also urge all parents to continue to encourage your children to SOAR with confidence – they have no limitations.  They can go as far as anything they can imagine; the world is waiting to hear from them. Happy birthday mom!

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2023 Mar. Mag

2023 March Mag

Dr. Stacie NC Grant
God’s Media Ambassador & 21st Century Communicator 

Dr. Stacie NC Grant is an award-winning international speaker, master facilitator, best-selling author, influencer, producer, actor, publisher and celebrity emcee. Dr. Grant is living her divine calling to LEAD, TEACH and INSPIRE! Described as “God’s Media Ambassador & 21st Century Communicator”, she ignites her audiences with her captivating smile, intoxicating humor and boundless energy. 

Smiling black woman with hair in a large bun on top of head and beautiful makeup waering a bright blue and white v-neck dress and a large blue and white beaded necklace

Stacie is wearing a Blue Grand Necklace and Earrings.


Servant Leader 

Dr. Stacie NC Grant often quotes this message from Ghandi “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” This is how she has built a global platform of service. Dr. Grant has spent countless hours quietly volunteering her time and service in the community through her civic engagement and youth mentorship. From working closely with local elected officials to support community outreach to volunteering her time speaking with students in her local schools, to serving on PTA Boards, Dr. Grant gets the greatest joy from serving others. She has received numerous awards from the White House, NYS Senate, NYS Assembly, NYC City Council, Office of the Governor of NY, and national and local organizations including her most recent recognition as a Woman of Distinction by the Continental Societies, Inc. Her body of work is punctuated by receiving the 2016 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service from our 44th President Barack Obama, an appointment in 2017 as a Fellow of the Most Excellent Order of International Experts (FOIE) and a recipient of the 2019 I CHANGE NATIONS (ICN) World Civility Ambassador Award. In 2021 Dr. Grant was named as one of The Power 50 MWBE Businesses in New York State & New York City, VIP Global Magazine Top 50 Women in Business and The Network Journal’s 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business. In 2022, Dr. Grant was recognized as the Business Person of the Year by the Queens NYC Chamber of Commerce, Visionary of LOVE Award from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Nu Omicron Chapter, NYC Black Women’s Political Club InspireHER Awardee and The Exceptional Woman Enterprise Humanitarian Award Recipient. 

Chief Faithpreneur 

In 2014, Dr. Grant founded Destiny Designers University®, “A CLASSROOM WITHOUT BORDERS; WHERE WE GRADUATE TO THE NEXT BEST VERSION OF OURSELVES BY TURNING INSPIRATION INTO RESULTS! Destiny Designers University® is the only training & development platform for Faithpreneurs® (faith-based entrepreneurs and faith-based professionals) who grow their wealth-generating practices around an affinity to God and FAITH by learning how to leverage their Relationships, Resources and Revenue to create sustainable legacies by being cash flow positive and unapologetically profitable! 

Smiling black woman with hair in a large bun on top of head and beautiful makeup wearing a bright blue and white v-neck wrap dress and a large blue and white beaded necklace standing outsideTraining is delivered through live and self-directed courses and supported through books, products, and other merchandise. Since 2009, Faithpreneurs gather weekly on the Saturday Faithpreneur VIP Prayer Call for fellowship and encouragement. Since 2018, Faithpreneurs gather annually for the Faithpreneur® Weekend Experience. Coming out of the global pandemic of 2020, Dr. Grant expanded the multi-media platform opportunities to include the launch of The Faithpreneur Magazine, Quarterly Night of Healing Events and The Faithpreneur®TV Network. Learn more at 

MWBE Small Business Owner

Dr. Grant is the Chief Brilliance Officer of C&G Enterprises Unlimited, LLC an MWBE founded in 2016 that specializes in meeting facilitation and professional development training for Government and Corporate Clients. During COVID-19, C&G began offering decontamination services to other small business and meeting spaces to ensure the safe gathering in these public spaces. Dr. Grant is currently the Facilitator for the JFK International Airport Redevelopment Community Advisory Council, a 19 billion-dollar redevelopment project. Learn more at

Prior to 2016, C&G Enterprises provided purpose-driven event strategies for community-based and not–for–profit organizations. C&G has been featured on Access Hollywood, Fox 5, Metro TV, and WE Television. The event strategies utilized focused on producing successful outreach events that brought value to the participants and community at large. Clients included Mentoring in Medicine, Inc., Sister to Sister International, Inc., St. Paul Community Baptist Church, Inc., Own Your Power Communications, Inc., Achieving Leadership’s Purpose, Inc. and Inspired Girls, Inc. Under Dr. Grant’s leadership, C&G has received numerous awards, honors and citations from various organizations and government officials for outstanding commitment to excellence in service. 

International Speaker 

Dr. Grant has been a featured speaker for the Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Summit, FraserNet Annual Networking Conference, NYC Department of Corrections, Bronx Community College, St. John’s University, Project Enterprise, Mary J. Blige FFAWN Foundation, Women’s Academy of Excellence, Medgar Evers College, The 1209 Affair SuccessNet Series, Peak Performance Institute, Women Doing It Big Foundation, MACY*S, WBLS, L’Oreal, Black Women of Influence, Brooklyn College, Women in The Black, AARP, The New York Urban League, The Eagle Academy Foundation, NYC Department of Education, The Port Authority of NY & NJ, Celebrity Guest Host for The Network Journal and many more. Dr. Stacie NC Grant also has the distinction of being one of world-renowned Les Brown’s notable Platinum Speakers, one of his Expert Trainers and past host of Les Brown Motivational Monday Night Calls. 

Civic Leader 

Dr. Grant is a member of the Queens NY District Attorney African American Advisory Council and community consultant to members of the NY State Assembly and NYC City Council. Affectionately called the “Voice of NYC”, her voice is heard hosting numerous community programs and ceremonies across the city including Inaugurations, Graduations and the annual Queens Juneteenth Celebration. 


July 24, 2022, Dr. Grant became the International President & CEO of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. She is the 26th President of this 103-year-old organization with over 130 thousand members and close to 900 chapters across the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Bahamas, Japan, Korea, Barbados, Haiti, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Trinidad/Tobago, and most recently Accra, Ghana. Dr. Grant leads the programmatic agenda of the organization as a premiere community-conscious action-oriented organization. Learn more at: Dr. Grant declared 2023 as The Year of the International Women, Serving & Advocating for Health Justice at Home and Abroad, as she has charged her sisterhood to Embrace The S.W.E.L.L. of Service, Worldwide Wellness, Extraordinary Leadership and Legacy!

Smiling black woman with hair in a large bun on top of head and beautiful makeup wearing a bright blue and white v-neck wrap dress and a large blue and white beaded necklace standing outside with her arms spread wideDr. Grant is also the Co-Founder of the Queens NYC Affiliate of the National Cares Mentoring Movement (founded by Susan L. Taylor) whose mission is to recruit, connect and direct mentors to vulnerable young people. Additionally, she is the past secretary of her Church Choir, past President of the St. John’s University Black Alumni Association, and Associate Member of Jack & Jill of America, Inc. Queens Chapter. 

Dr. Grant currently resides in Queens, New York with her husband, Andrew, and 2 sons, Josiah and Jeremy. With God as her guide, our global community will be better for her service to humanity.

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2023 Feb. Mag

2023 February Mag

Dr. Tekisha Dwan Everette is a successful executive leader and public policy strategist. Tekisha is passionate about social justice and is a profound public speaker. But that’s not all… 

a smiling woman wearing red lipstick and wearing a green top and a large beaded necklace with a lake in the background

Tekisha is wearing a Striped Graphite Necklace and Earrings.

Tekisha’s passion for health justice is fueled by her personal experiences and influences as a child. As a youth, she experienced delays in diagnosing asthma and faced challenges accessing and navigating the health care system. These experiences gave her first-hand knowledge of the importance of health and healthcare access. This, combined with her passion for public policy and the law, inspired Everette to dedicate her life’s work toward eradicating health care inequities through advocacy and policy.

Policy Strategist

A successful executive leader and public policy strategist, her career experience includes service in the non-profit, state, and private sectors. Currently, she is the Executive Vice President at Trust for America’s Health, a non-partisan public health policy, research and advocacy organization that envisions a nation that values the health and well-being of all and where prevention and health equity are foundational to policymaking at all levels of society. 

Smiling woman wearing brown and lack eye glasses and wearing a multi-color shirt sitting in front of a bookcase

Tekisha feeds her entrepreneurial spirit by running the consulting collaborative she founded called TDE Consulting Group. The collaborative brings together talent from across sectors to provide equity-centered policy and strategic management consulting to different businesses.

Recognized for Achievements

Tekisha earned her doctorate in Sociology from American University with a concentration in race, gender, and social justice as it relates to social policy. She received her Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Center of Public Administration and Policy at Virginia Tech and holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Interdisciplinary Studies from the same institution. She has completed all the requirements for the Master of Public Health program at Yale University and will graduate in May 2023. 

Tekisha has been recognized for her achievements in health policy and advocacy. She is an alumna of the Master Series for Distinguished Leaders and the National Urban Fellows America’s Leaders of Change program. She is a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Association of Black Sociologists, and is a member of the Links Incorporated. She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum. 

When Tekisha is not advocating for health care policy and social justice, she enjoys fulfilling her thirst for cultural enrichment through travel. She believes seeing the world helps one to expand their worldview and cultural understanding and her goal is to visit every US state and touch every continent at least once.  With a trip to Kansas planned this month, she only has 7 states left to visit in the US and one continent. In her spare time, Everette enjoys listening to music, writing poetry, dancing, and cooking. She is a proud fur mommy, a native Virginian, and a Prince fan.

Social media handles: 


IG: @crimsonqueen5 (personal) @sirjewdjazz (puppy)


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2023 Jan. Mag.

2023 January Mag

Cerese D is excited to introduce you to Gloria Mayfield Banks, our first Celebrity Jewelry Line Collaborator! Gloria Mayfield Banks is a global speaker, coach, author, and confidence building expert whose passion is to take women from Ordinary to Extraordinary. Her ‘Super Bad All Day Long’ brand calls for the ambitious, winning woman to be unapologetically powerful. Cerese D is proud to partner with Gloria to bring the bling to her Super Bad, women propelling culture. We are pleased to announce the collaboration launch of “Gloria Mayfield Banks X Cerese D Jewelry”. Gloria will also make a cameo on January 8, 2023 on the Cerese D Jewelry “One of A Kind” virtual pop up event. Register here. 

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Gloria Mayfield Banks is a global speaker, coach, author, and confidence building expert whose passion is to take women from Ordinary to Extraordinary. Her ‘Super Bad All Day Long’ brand calls for the ambitious, winning woman to be unapologetic in her pursuit to create her Queendom. Gloria’s expertise in leadership, sales, and life skills can be acquired through her events, online coaching programs, and books.

Gloria’s expertise in leadership, sales, and life skills can be acquired through her keynote speeches, events, online coaching programs, and books. 

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Foundation for Success

Gloria considers her childhood to be a huge part of the foundation for her success, “My parents were very intentional about our self-esteem. They raised four girls who are all entrepreneurs now. Neither one of my parents were entrepreneurs. It wasn’t in our family at all, but my parents were very wise. They took us all around the United States, made us go to every single museum and were extremely intentional in our Black history. It gave us a great foundation of strength and fortitude. All of us are well-educated, and they were too. We had a lot of extracurricular activities and faith was a big part of our upbringing. We had a solid foundation in our church.” 

Gloria’s passion is to inspire others with her story of courage, resilience and faith. Long before rising to the top of the network marketing industry, Gloria was diagnosed with dyslexia in middle school. Her days were spent learning to overcome and beat the odds, and that’s exactly what she did. She often coaches women to operate in their gifts. Operating in her gifts is the very thing that allowed her to push through her circumstances and begin to break barriers.  A graduate of Howard University, Gloria holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. 

Record-Breaking Career

Dr. Banks is well-known for her 33-year career with Mary Kay, Inc. In 2021, she finished as the #1 company earner, expanded her business to 9 countries, and broke many company records. Her success with building and sustaining her #1 team inspired her book, “Quantum Leaps”.

Gloria began her professional career in the computer industry; first as a sales representative for IBM, and later joining Stratus Computers as a manufacturing marketing manager. She went on to become Assistant Director of Admissions at the Harvard University School of Business, where she traveled nationally and internationally to represent the university.

In 1988, as a single mother of 2, faced with a difficult divorce, Gloria began selling Mary Kay products to supplement her income. Gloria says, “When other women look at me, they see a very smart and successful woman. They would never guess that I was in a domestic violence situation for 10 years.” As a Domestic Violence Survivor, Gloria travels the world speaking to other women about the importance of creating financial independence to increase your choices.

Within a year of beginning her Mary Kay business, she set company sales records. She grew her business to over $24 million in retail sales and a sales group of over 6,000 consultants. Her record-breaking rise to Elite Executive National Sales Director, the highest sales position, was faster than anyone in the company’s 50-year history. She held the #1 position in all of Mary Kay for the last 6 years of her career with the company.

Energy in Motion

She is best described as “Energy in Motion”. Her speaking spans the globe, as she is always on the go, traveling and speaking. Gloria’s enthusiasm is contagious and her message is strong. “Success is a choice that once committed to can be achieved!” A dynamic storyteller, Gloria presents her ideas and thoughts in a conversational style and uses creative humor to impact her audience. She has demonstrated by her own example, that through determination and hard work, any goal can be achieved.

Gloria has shared her secrets to success with national media audiences appearing on CNN with Soledad O’BrienABC-TV, and CNBC with Donny Deutsch on The Big Idea. She has also appeared in Fortune, Connect,  Black Enterprise, Glamour, Working Woman, PINK, L.A. Style,  and  Ebony Magazines. 

Most recently, Gloria has enjoyed sharing the stage with Oprah, Iyanla Vanzant, Lisa Nichols, and other powerhouse entertainers and industry leaders. There is a Harvard Business School case study included in graduate level textbooks and taught to many business students nationwide named, Gloria Hilliard Mayfield at Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Create Your Queendom

Gloria’s Create Your Queendom program teaches women confidence-building techniques and strategies for how to create a plan to increase income and manage relationships while identifying and achieving their life goals. “There is so much that can shift if you become intentional about being confident and louder about what you are creating,” she explained. Gloria developed a program for leaders of leaders called Quantum Growth. It shows the already successful business woman how to move into 6 and 7 figure growth. 

Gloria is married to Ken Banks who is also a business owner and self-made millionaire. He is the founder of Banks Contracting Company and Banks Development Group. Gloria and Ken share four adult children, five grandchildren, and reside in Maryland. Their new podcast Banking On The Banks premieres early 2023.

To learn more about how to work with Gloria:

For Booking Inquiries:

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2022 Dec. Mag.

2022 December Mag

Have you met Tremelle I. Howard? Let’s get to know her – community leader, advocate, attorney, published author and nonprofit leader. She’s had her ups and downs but her strong community of friends, sorority sisters and family have helped her weather the many storms she has faced.

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Tremelle I. Howard, Esq., is a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She grew up in the South Philadelphia community where faith, family and friends were stressed during her early rearing at the New Central Baptist Church under the leadership of Rev. Leonard M. Howard, Sr. Tremelle was active in her church through graduation and began her initial move south, starting in College Park, Maryland where she attended the University of Maryland. 

A daughter of a social worker, Tremelle studied Sociology and African American studies earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1993. During Tremelle’s time in Maryland, she served as an editor for the Maryland Black Explosion Newspaper, sang in the Gospel Choir and pledged her commitment to Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Theta Nu Chapter when she was initiated on March 29, 1992. A 30 plus year member, Tremelle has remained committed to serving her community through direct acts of service, leadership and raising funds for scholarships. At present, she is a member of the Sigma Omega Omega Chapter in Douglasville, GA and has served as a two-term president, foundation president, membership chairman and fundraising chairman to name a few. 

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(Tremelle is wearing the Liam Green Necklace.)

Life Dream

Professionally, Tremelle is a licensed attorney in Georgia and Pennsylvania. She earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1997. She began her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Doris A. Smith-Ribner, on the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court and one year later, she joined the City of Philadelphia Law Department. At the Law Department, Tremelle was hired by the elite Civil Rights Unit getting to live her life dream of litigating in federal district court on issues that impacted her Philadelphia community.  

After a successful career with the City of Philadelphia, Tremelle entered private practice in 2004 and operated her own law firm for two years before moving to Georgia.  Since making the West Georgia community her home, Tremelle has practiced law in Atlanta, Georgia mostly as a federal labor prosecutor. As a result of her stellar work performance, Tremelle currently leads a federal legal team that is committed to protecting workers and retirees with offices in Atlanta and Nashville. Tremelle is the first African American woman to hold this role in the region and the only African American woman Senior Executive in her agency.  She is a trailblazer who has made an indelible impression in her agency and department. In addition to her law duties, Tremelle is a DEIA leader and champion, ensuring that her agency provides cutting edge training to its more than 700 employees by designing ways to build DEIA into its infrastructure from recruitment, onboarding, and the retention of employees. 

Community and Faith

Tremelle’s time in Georgia has had its ups and downs but her strong community of friends, sorority sisters and family have helped her weather the many storms she has faced. Let’s delve a little deeper into Tremelle’s story.

Tremelle what has been your greatest challenge since moving to the metro Atlanta area?

Wow, that is a huge question, I would say the passing of my daughter, Mikayla Courtney. Mikayla was born July 10, 2007, and was the joy of my life. Her life was tragically cut short when she drowned at a residential pool in Miami, Florida on June 16, 2012, just three weeks before her 5th birthday.

Can you share what that was like for you- losing your only child to such a traumatic accident?

It was hard for the obvious and not so obvious reasons. First- it was extremely hard because I was hundreds of miles away so when I got the call that she was in a pool accident I could not get to her. It was also challenging because there were so many questions that were never answered. Also, I went from living what seemed like this perfect life to living a nightmare. We came home to an empty house. A house that no longer was filled with a child’s laughter or the patter of small feet- the silence was deafening. 

How did you manage such a loss?

I managed each day with great faith, family, my sorority sisters, and friends. Everyone was so supportive. My family and even some friends traveled to Georgia to stay with us- just to be there. Sorority sisters (Sigma Omega Omega and Theta Nu alumni) were always on the ready. Whether it was sending daily and weekly texts or just making sure they saw me during a business trip while in Atlanta. 

And my church families- that’s right it is plural- Zion Hill (Atlanta), Enon Tabernacle (Philly), New Birth (Miami) and Elizabeth Baptist (Atlanta) prayed for us, visited us, and supported us. I could not have done it without my family, church family and sorority sisters. I am truly blessed to have such a great village. I am forever grateful.

I can’t imagine losing a child let alone an only child. How do you cope with the pain?

I prayed and served. Serving others has helped me fill the void of losing Mikayla.  I poured myself into helping others whether through the sorority programs or serving domestic violence survivors through my service as a Board member on the SHARE House Board of Directors in Douglasville, Georgia. I also turned to what I knew which was my faith. Without God I truly do not know where I’d be. I am beyond grateful to my mother who introduced me to Christ at an early age. I doubt that I would be Still Standing if I didn’t have that spiritual foundation.

What are you doing today to honor Mikayla’s memory?

In the fall of 2021, I established the Mikayla Cares Foundation, Inc. a 501c3 organization. Mikayla Cares’ mission is to help children learn to swim, provide swim equipment and educational scholarships to students attending college. This past June, the foundation hosted its first fundraiser, All Stars for Mikayla where the foundation was unveiled to the metro Atlanta community in Douglasville, GA. Supporters came from near and far styled in their favorite chucks and summer chic attire to raise awareness and funds for water safety and education. The fundraiser was a resounding success. We plan to support children in the metro Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Miami area. 

Why have you selected those areas to service?

I decided on those service areas because they are the areas where Mikayla visited the most in her short life and these places were special to her. First, she is an Atlanta baby. The metro area is where she lived and loved. And while she lived in Douglasville, we worshiped in Atlanta, she attended a preschool in Atlanta and spent a lot of time in the metro area. Philadelphia is my hometown, and it is a place where Mikala found safety and love. As a result, I am committed to blessing children in the Philadelphia community. And finally, Miami, this is a city that was Mikayla’s second home and unfortunately the location where she passed. I need to honor this area because with the hurt that represents Miami, Florida there are also so many blessed memories. Further with swimming being a true year-round activity we want to ensure children get the support they need to be safe around water.

I understand you are also a published author. Tell us a little about your book?

Yes, June 25, 2022, I released my first book, Still Standing: Blessings, Burdens & Brighter Days After the Loss of a Child. My book shares the story of my life- but specifically how my upbringing as a believer in Jesus Christ helped me persevere and press forward after losing Mikayla. I offer hope to the reader and provide suggestions on how to handle trauma and why finding your passion in response to trauma is essential. 

Smiling woman wearing a velvet green jacket sitting in front of a christmas tree and wearing a large necklace with long amber beadsAs we wrap up this article, I wanted to mention that in addition to Tremelle’s legal work, her commitment to her foundation and now the marketing of her book, she is involved in various organizations that is focused on helping and building others up. Some of her affiliations include: the National Coalition of Negro Women, Northwest Georgia Section – Charter and Life Member, Current and Chartering President of the West Georgia (GA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, South Atlantic Regional Representative to the International Constitution Committee of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and member of the Board of Visitors, University of Pittsburgh School of Law. 

In and through these roles, Tremelle has also:

  • Awarded scholarships to graduating seniors through the Mikayla C. Fishburne Scholarship Endowment Fund administered by Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Educational Advancement Foundation
  • Volunteered with the Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, providing free legal services to non-profit organizations
  • Created an Annual Law Day Clinic for under-served high school students since 2012
  • Spearheaded fundraising campaigns for numerous nonprofits that aligns with her commitment to service.

Tremelle has also been awarded numerous awards and recognitions for her work and service too numerous to list. However, most recently she received the 2021 DEIA Award from her employer, the 2021 Community Service Award from SHARE House of Douglasville, the 2017 Sisterhood and Service Award, the Georgetta Royals Silver Soror Award in 2018 and Sister of the Year from her local sorority in 2012. 

In concluding our feature, we asked Tremelle what she wanted readers to remember, and her response was: “God is amazing. He has kept me when I couldn’t or didn’t feel kept. He used family and friends to be my very help in my time of need. One of my favorite scriptures truly embodies what I know has been the grace of God these past 10 years, Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” I know that HE is working it out for my good so no matter the obstacle, I will continue to STAND knowing that God will never leave me or forsake me.”

To learn more about the Mikayla Cares Foundation please visit:

If you are connected to a school, recreation center or corporation that is interested in partnering with our foundation, please visit our website or contact us at:

Copies of Tremelle’s book, Still Standing: Blessings, Burdens & Brighter Days After the Loss of a Child, and information about book signings and speaking engagements can be found at  

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2022 Nov. Mag

2022 November Mag

Cathy Dabney is an author, keynote speaker and lifestyle blogger. Cathy is uniquely gifted at captivating her audience with her contagious energy and invigorating passion to equip, empower and elevate others.

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Cathy Dabney is an author, keynote speaker and lifestyle blogger. Cathy is uniquely gifted at captivating her audience with her contagious energy and invigorating passion to equip, empower and elevate others.

Cathy is the founder of New Birth Enterprises & Cathy Dabney Ministries. Cathy serves as CEO of New Birth Enterprises, which incorporates the self-help books she has authored, public speaking, and her youth empowerment programs. Cathy is a former broadcaster on the HSBN network, and has attended Yale Divinity School and is currently attending Christian Leaders Institute.  

Additionally, Cathy works with corporations facilitating training to ensure executives, management & staff are maximizing their full potential personally and professionally. Cathy has partnered with NBA athletes, doctors, hospitals, school districts, universities and public and private corporations.

A licensed educator, Cathy found her passion in the human services industry at the age of 15 when she began employment with the Lansing School District. Cathy’s tenure at the Lansing School District prepared her for her future endeavors in education at Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Le Cordon Bleu College, Saint Leo University and Arizona State University. 

A serial entrepreneur, the year was 1995 when Cathy launched De Leon Consulting, “Maximizing Your Career & Personal Development”. A Consulting Firm dedicated to providing clear and concise seminars, coursework & materials to help maximize both career and personal development in staff and management. Simultaneously, Cathy founded Cathy’s Word Processing Service. Servicing law firms, school district, county, state and government agencies with transcription, word processing and professional development materials. 

Women Who Win

A resident of Las Vegas, Nevada, Cathy works alongside her husband managing their family businesses while preparing to release her third self help book titled Girl Go Get It with a release date of late November 2022.

Some of Cathy’s career highlights included, but are not limited to:

  • Educational Excellence Award
  • Women Who Win Honor
  • Excellence in Leadership Award
  • Salesperson Of The Year Honor
  • Distinction for Excellence in Leadership Certificate
  • Philanthropic Newsmakers In The Community Honor
  • Saleswoman of the Year Award
  • Elite Status Honor 

Join Hands

“I believe it is our moral responsibility to join hands with other women and facilitate the push that is required in order for them to birth the dreams that reside in their hearts. Look around you, whose dreams can you help give birth to? I pray it starts with the woman in the mirror.” ~Cathy Dabney

Stay connected with Cathy by subscribing to her Girl Go Get It online magazine at a magazine designed to uplift and empower. Subscribers receive this monthly in their email. 

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IG: @cathysdabney

FB: @authorcathydabney

Pinterest: @cathysdabney

TikTok: @cathysdabney 

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