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Tag: Inspo

2022 June Mag

2022 June Mag

Self-described as personable and enthusiastic, Beth leads by adhering to the values of the sisterhood and  challenges herself to operate and function differently. She uses her valuable life experiences to teach others how to collaborate and how to work with people of different perspectives and views of the world.

Creative Direction: Cerese D. / Photography: Ivan P.P.

Beth Monnin, the 27th National President of Phi Mu Fraternity, 2014-2018 was initiated into the sorority at Rho chapter, Hanover College in 1980. Self-described as personable and enthusiastic, Beth led her organization by adhering to the values of the sisterhood and challenging Phi Mu to operate and function differently through policy governance.

Valuable Life Experience

Beth knows what her own sorority experience has meant in her life, the growth opportunities and support of women who are not just friends, but Sisters who have held her accountable and pushed her to grow and evolve as a person. Sorority life brings valuable experience, in that it teaches members how to collaborate and how to work on initiatives and projects with people of different perspectives and views of the world. Beth believes that ultimately, whether you are a woman entering the workforce, raising children, or chairing a community philanthropic event, this experience becomes invaluable.

Greek Life

In her professional life, Beth has had the amazing opportunity to partner her passion of Greek life with her job at CLC. CLC is the nation’s leading collegiate trademark licensing agency, representing over 700 colleges, universities and other top collegiate brands including Greek organizations in protecting, marketing and managing their brands through a customized and strategic approach focused on each individual client. 

While the Greek business is relatively new to CLC, Beth has had the pleasure of working with Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. since 2019 and more recently with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. for the past year since the spring of 2021. Through these partnerships Beth has been able to collaborate with Cerese D and the beautiful jewelry options that the business has to offer members of both organizations.

Smiling woman with brown hair wearing a blue and white flowered dress sitting at a table in a gardenEmbodying the lines of her Phi Mu Creed, “Being steadfast in every duty, small or large,” Beth exhibits this mentality at CLC when working with licensed vendors and the national organizations. “My job is to protect and preserve the brands of the clients that I am directly responsible to.  Brand loyalty is built upon consistency and quality and the partnerships I have developed with the licensed vendors mean they know that CLC and our partner organizations are holding them responsible for the integrity of the brand.   When the licensed vendors produce outstanding product that reflects well upon the national organizations, this is a win-win for all involved.”

Community Member

Outside of her professional and Phi Mu life, Beth is a member of St. Augustine Church in Minster, Ohio and has served for over 25 years as the Chairwoman of the Miss Oktoberfest Scholarship pageant (held annually in October during Ohio’s second largest Oktoberfest gathering). Beth and her husband of 30 years who was a member of Theta Chi at Purdue University, have 4 adult children.

Beth Monnin feels fortunate and blessed to have had the experiences of her sorority life provide such a strong foundation for all that has followed both personally and professionally. “I love my life-my family and my job in which I am able to extend my passion for the Greek experience and help my clients grow their brands.”

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2022 May Mag.

2022 May Mag

Dr. Mia K. Wright is inspiring people around the globe to do the unthinkable and pursue their passion for living. Her messages are encouraging that lead to stories of how she help others to begin again and complete unfinished plans.

woman with blonde hair wearing a bright pink dress smiling with a large ornate gold colored necklace

Dr. Mia K. Wright is inspiring people around the globe to do the unthinkable and pursue their passion for living.

woman with blonde hair wearing a bright pink dress smiling with a long beaded necklace sitting on a park benchMia’s book, UNTHINKABLE, has challenged readers to elevate their life’s platform by demonstrating how to overcome boundaries and self-imposed limits. Mia is a powerful speaker, who encourages others with uplifting messages, relevant life stories and life skills that apply to faith-based and corporate sectors. Her messages are inspiring as well as encouraging. Mia elevates others with purposeful thinking and action with a call to action. People respond with stories of how she inspired them to begin again and complete unfinished plans. She is a sought-after speaker, having shared transformational messages in churches, town halls, conventions, corporate venues, schools, prisons, and mud huts worldwide. 

Church Leadership

Mia is the Co-Pastor and Executive Director of Ministry at The Fountain of Praise, where she and her husband, Dr. Remus E. Wright, lead a mega-church with 20,000 members. Their church was honored to host the funeral for the late George Floyd in 2020. Mia was licensed and ordained into the ministry in 2005, and she is responsible for the social media and digital platforms that build engaging membership networks. 

In addition to her church leadership and professional speaking platforms, Mia fulfils her passion as the Executive Director of Metamorphosis, Inc., a women’s empowerment organization. “Meta” encompasses a life-changing women’s conference, compassionate projects; empowerment seminars; a mentoring program for young ladies; and international programs. Through her work, thousands have embraced life transformations, locally and abroad, in conferences hosted in Brazil, Tanzania and South Africa.

Foundation for Change

Her life’s work is to help others formulate a foundation for change. Dr. Mia K. Wright received her doctorate from The University of Southern California in 2022. Her research on Social Cognitive Motivations for Group Participation and the Development of Social Capital paved the way for future digital religious exploration.

In 2005, Mia received her Master of Divinity degree with Honors from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She participated in a Study Abroad Program on the History and Relevance of the First Century Church in Tunisia, North Africa. Her Bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Austin in Biology and Chemistry prepared her for a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Mia worked for Merck and Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals and was highly successful as a development-training specialist. Astra Merck’s 1999 Corporate Report featured her project for innovative customer engagement. 


Mia is a TEDx Speaker, a Senior Fellow with the American Leadership Forum – Class XLV, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, and The Links, Inc. In addition, she serves on the board of trustees for the Holocaust Museum Houston. She received numerous awards for her engagement and concern for her community.

Beyond her impressive academic background and professional accomplishments, her most significant achievement is her family. She and her husband of 30 years are parents to three sons who fulfill their life’s purposes as a minister, an attorney, and a medical doctor.

Go here to learn more and to purchase Mia’s book “Unthinkable: Do the Unordinary to Experience the Extraordinary

Woman with blond hair wearing a bright pink top standing on balcony with mural on wall reading the book Unthinkable

Photo Credit @ShotByBishop

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2022 April Mag

2022 April Mag

Dr. Parul Jain’s path to her dental practice in Atlanta, Georgia, began as a child and the work ethic instilled in her by her parent’s example, the perfect mentor in her father-in-law, and an incredible partner at home. This combination was the recipe to help her take the leap, even during a global pandemic, to create her “dental family”.

Dr Parul Jain in a blue top and wearing a long tasseled necklace with trees and a brickwall in the background

My journey to our family dental practice here in Atlanta started when I was just a child.  My family and I moved to the United States from India in 1983, with hopes of a better life for me and my sister.  I watched my parents work multiple jobs, while my dad was simultaneously pursuing his master’s in computer science.  I credit my work ethic entirely to my parents.

Dr-Parul-Jain-in-white-coatFrom an early age, I had an affinity for math and science.  By the time I went to college at SUNY Binghamton, I knew I wanted to go into healthcare, so I majored in Biochemistry.  Following a few externships, I figured out I wanted to be a dentist. Dentistry would give me the ability to heal the hurting patient as well as use my creativity to make someone feel more confident with a beautiful smile.  With the help and encouragement of my family, I applied for and was accepted into my top choice program at Columbia University.  There, I worked harder than I ever had before.  Following dental school, I completed a General Practice Residency at NY Methodist Hospital, where I was able to get amazing training and obtain significant surgical experience.

Thankful for Grueling Hours

When I finished my training, I was saddled with massive loans.  And unlike many of my classmates, I didn’t have any family in dentistry so there was no practice waiting for me when I got out of school.  Instead, I worked grueling hours at six different offices in New York from Monday through Saturday.  Although it was difficult, I am thankful for that experience.  It gave me the opportunity to see the varying ways a dental practice could be run from both a clinical and business standpoint.  

Dr Jain working with a patient and her teamDuring this time, I also had an incredible partner in my husband Ben. We had met the summer between my third and fourth year of dental school.  He and I were both doing externships abroad in the Himalayas, mine in dentistry and his in general medicine.  It was every bit a fairytale as it sounds.  We married in 2008 and Ben came to New York for his ophthalmology training so we could be together for the first few years near my family.  But we knew we ultimately wanted to raise a family in the south, so after our son was born and Ben finished his training, we moved to Atlanta, Ben’s hometown.

Finding the perfect mentor

Fortunately for me, Ben’s father, Jeffrey Baumrind, was a dentist in Atlanta and had a well-established practice downtown. I was incredibly lucky to practice with him for seven years.  This was undoubtedly the most influential time in my career.  My father-in-law became my mentor, and he provided me with clinical pearls daily, as well as tactics for running a successful practice.  His advice was to always take care of your patients, and everything else would follow.  After seeing so many different practice styles in my career, his was the one I wanted to emulate as it brought me the most joy, just as it did for him.  His was a small, family style practice with a tight, dedicated staff, geared towards building long term relationships with each patient.  I soon figured out that, like him, I loved to know about what was going on with my patients’ lives.  And like him, I loved to factor in time to catch up with patients at each appointment.  I knew I didn’t want to have multiple offices, and I did not want to have a conveyor belt of patients coming in and leaving.  

My father-in-law passed away unexpectedly in July 2020.  I felt lost without him.  I had always thought I would practice my whole career with him.  It seems life had another plan.

Picking up the pieces

I eventually picked up the pieces of my life after my father-in-law died and took the leap to start my own practice, Jain Dental Care, in August 2021.  I was lucky to have my dream team:  a group of three women, two of whom are sisters, and each of whom I worked with for years at our previous office as our hygienist, dental assistant, and front desk receptionist.  If that weren’t enough, I was fortunate to hire another front desk worker who is not only my best friend, but who is also married to my husband’s first cousin!  She and I also designed every detail of our dental office together, from the wallpaper to the furniture.  I feel blessed that I am surrounded by such a hardworking, thoughtful group of strong women, and we all have each other’s backs.  Our office wouldn’t be what it is without their dedication.

Jain Team

Taking The Leap

Opening a new practice during a global pandemic obviously comes with its challenges, but we have been able to thrive through our commitment to our patients.  Many of these patients are ones I’ve known for years.  Others are new to our practice.  We treat each one as part of our dental family.  We learn about their lives and their families.  We help them through their anxieties, transforming their fears of dental appointments into genuine excitement for their next visit, just as my father-in-law had done.  And we especially love seeing our patients grow and hearing about their milestones in life:  finishing school, getting a new job, getting engaged, or having children (or grandchildren).  There is no bigger success for our office than to see the smiles on our patient’s faces when they walk through the door.  My dream of having a family-style practice has finally come to fruition.  And though I miss my father-in-law all the time, I couldn’t be more excited for this next stage in my career.

Jain Dental Care:

Dr Parul Jain Team

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2022 Mar. Mag

2022 March Mag

Keisha Lance Bottoms is a CNN Political Commentator, based in Atlanta, Georgia, where she served as the 60th Mayor. A visionary leader in bringing equitable outcomes to the forefront of government and commerce, she is proof that “a dream deferred is never a dream denied” in her current position.

Keisha Lance Bottoms wearing a blkack suit jacket with pink and white detailing wearing a large white beaded neckalce on a light purple background

Keisha Lance Bottoms is a CNN Political Commentator, based in Atlanta, Georgia, where she served as the 60th Mayor. She is a visionary leader in bringing equitable outcomes to the forefront of government and commerce. Keisha became the first Mayor in Atlanta’s history to have served in all three branches of government, having previously served as a Judge and a City Council member. As Mayor, she committed herself to realizing her vision of “One Atlanta” – an affordable, resilient, and equitable Atlanta.

Sworn in on January 2, 2018, Keisha served as Mayor during one of the most challenging times in the history of Atlanta. In the midst of a global pandemic and a racial justice movement, Keisha became a leading spokesperson regarding the challenges and opportunities facing cities and leaders across America.

Proactive Measures

While navigating these unprecedented challenges, the Bottoms Administration was able to remain focused on the resilience of Atlanta, negotiating and closing the largest real estate transaction in the history of Atlanta, and one of the largest in the Southeast United States, delivering millions of dollars in community benefits to people across the city.

Keisha Lance Bottoms wearing a blue top with a large chunky beaded necklace on a blue background

Keisha took proactive measures to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the City and its agencies. As a result, during one of the worst economic  downturns the world has ever faced, the Bottoms Administration delivered four years of balanced budgets, without resorting to property tax increases, layoffs or furloughs of City employees. At the conclusion of her term, City’s reserves remained at a near high of $181M, far exceeding the requirements of the City Charter.

Shaped by a childhood and professional career that highlighted the inequalities amongst Americans, Keisha led her Administration in undertaking several major initiatives that would seek to eradicate systemic issues facing Atlanta, while creating a model for all cities to follow.

Building a Model

The major initiatives included:

  • Welcoming nine Fortune 500 companies who established a global or regional headquarters in Atlanta, helping the city add $11 billion to its total economic output and attracting $4.5 billion in total capital investment. Also ensuring that developments that would reshape Atlanta included historic levels of community benefits that would lift-up Atlanta’s most vulnerable. These benefits included affordable housing requirements, securing the funding necessary to launch a city-wide affordable housing trust fund, technical school training program, and city-wide savings account for public school children.
  • Closing the City Jail to U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees, eliminating cash bail bonds for non-violent offenders, and leading the transformation of the City’s jail into a diversion center that prioritizes providing individuals with the human services they need to make permanent change in their lives versus an endless cycle of incarceration.
  • Took the landmark decision to remove members of the Atlanta Police Department from joint operations with the United States Department of Justice due to DOJ’s refusal to allow officers to wear body cameras. Shortly after taking this action against the Federal government, the United States Department of Justice announced that Federal agents would be required to wear body cameras when executing search warrants or making pre-planned arrests.
  • Leveraging a whole of government approach to add over 7,000 units of affordable housing, including multifamily, senior-living, and single-family developments. This effort was bolstered by issuing $140 million in new housing opportunity bond funds and making nearly $6 million in financial down payment assistance available for Atlanta’s legacy residents to purchase homes.
  • Establishing the “HomeFirst” $50 million investment ($25 million public and $25 million private). Projects funded include the creation of 550 permanent supportive housing units, over 1,000 shelter beds, housing for single women and families experiencing homelessness, and legal assistance for eviction protection for over 250 families.
  • Engaging with Partners for Home to execute the LIFT Initiative, providing more than $17 million in funding for emergency hotels and rapid rehousing. This resulted in the placement of nearly 1,000 people experiencing homelessness into permanent housing.
  • Utilizing innovative and resourceful leadership, the City financed infrastructure projects totaling over $3.59 billion for airport, water and wastewater, and multi-family / affordable housing projects. This included the opening of Westside Park, Atlanta’s largest greenspace, which features a 2.4-billion-gallon water reservoir that increases Atlanta’s emergency water supply from three days to up to 90 days.
  • Leading Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, traditionally one of the busiest in the world, through the COVID-19 pandemic by quickly reducing operating expenses, implementing budgetary reductions, utilizing federal relief grants to stabilize finances, and restructuring debt for near term savings, amongst other cost cutting measures. These measures ensured the City’s airport bonds continue to be rated among the highest of airport bonds in the country. Notably, the airport became the first airport in the world to receive a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizing the City and the Airport’s sustainability efforts.
  • Ensuring diverse opinions and perspectives were brought to government processes by creating the City’s first Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Office of Violence Prevention and appointing the City’s first Director of LGBTQ Affairs.
  • Creating government transparency and fostering trust with the public by creating the Office of the Inspector General and rollout of the most far-reaching financial transparency platform in the City’s history – Atlanta’s Open Checkbook.
  • Opened three new police precincts, two new fire stations, two new EMS facilities, and two new @Promise Centers to provide all Atlanta residents, regardless of neighborhood, with access to critical services.
  • Keisha Lance Bottoms wearing a Florida Gators sweater on an organce backgroundSuccessfully hosted College Football Playoff National Championship Games, the Major League Soccer All Star Game, the National Basketball Association All Star Game and Super Bowl LIII, which included unprecedented community benefits – a $2.4 million renovation of John F. Kennedy Park on Atlanta’s Westside, more than 20,000 trees planted throughout the community and the seamless coordination of 40 federal, state and local public safety agencies.
  • Ensured several of Atlanta’s historical inequities were respectfully remembered, including the Atlanta Child Murders and the preservation of the Chattahoochee Brick Company land. Keisha’s steadfast leadership and equity-focused philosophy have led to numerous accolades and leadership positions, including having served as the Chair of the Community Development and Housing Committee and the Census Task Force for the United States Conference of Mayors and as a Trustee for the African American Mayor’s Association. She was also selected to Chair the Platform Committee for the 2020 Democratic National Convention and serves as the DNC’s Vice Chair of Civic Engagement and Voter Protection.

Keisha Lance Bottoms wearing a black blazer and a chunky beaded white necklace on a background with trees

High Honors

Tracing her family’s roots to a slave plantation in Georgia, it was Keisha’s highest honor to be named the 2020 Georgian of the Year by Georgia Trend Magazine. She also was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year and was named a member of Ebony Magazine’s prestigious Power 100 List. She has also been honored as a BET 100 Entertainer and Innovator of the Year and was named the Smart Cities Dive 2020 Leader of the Year. Keisha was also the recipient of the Distinguished Civil Rights Advocate Award presented by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law in recognition of her equity-driven leadership to help guide and protect marginalized communities. 

Keisha is the daughter of R&B icon Major Lance and Sylvia Robinson. She and her husband, Derek, are parents to four children.

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2022 Feb. Mag

2022 Feb. Mag

Wendy Turner Miller feels strongly about ignoring naysayers, not taking ‘no’ for an answer, thinking outside the box, and believing in yourself— all have one major thing in common: pushing past fear.

Smiling woman wearing red lipstick in black top with large multi-colored beaded necklace and other jewelry sitting on red colored chair

I’ve always felt that the purpose of life is to evolve and create growth opportunities for both myself and for others. The efforts we make towards achieving dreams—ignoring naysayers, not taking ‘no’ for an answer, thinking outside the box, believing in yourself—have one major requirement in common: pushing past fear. In fact, the negativity of naysayers often acts as the premium gas that motivates me to do my research, ensure I always have a strong base of knowledge, challenge myself to be constantly learning, work with an open mind, and never stop listening.

Embrace Life’s Journey

Smiling woman wearing red lipstick in black top with large multi-colored beaded necklace and other jewelry sitting on red colored chair

The essential elements of life include home life, children, family and work. The continual struggle to create work/home integration is forever challenging and forever changing. I committed myself from the onset to be the best wife and mom that I could be, all while continuously learning and practicing law. More importantly, I wanted to be an example to my children. I always wanted to show them that love, hard work, compassion for others and true commitment to your priorities can successfully co-exist, as my parents taught me. In addition to instilling in me the importance of treating others with kindness and respect, they also encouraged me to build my confidence, set out with ambition, and develop a work ethic that they knew would be important in my life’s journey.

My first job out of law school was at a small law firm that did a lot of bankruptcy work for municipalities and in the automotive industry. It was there that I started learning bankruptcy law through hands-on experience. I had my first son, Kirk, and then my second, son Kyle, 4 years later. I realized at that time that working 60 hours each week for someone else in the traditional office environment was not my vision to best integrate my work/home balance.

So I started my own law practice by taking on criminal and probate assignment work through the courts in addition to bankruptcy law, which I already knew well. In this chapter of my life, I was again pushing through the fear of the unknown, learning a totally different sector of the law, and moving towards my quest to create my own journey. During school hours I would appear in court for court appearances and would later pick up my kids from school. We did homework, played, and had dinner together each night. I would put them to bed and then work until 2am developing reports, drafting motions, and preparing for trials. The next day, I would wake up and do it all over again. During that time, I remember developing the skills of thinking fast on my feet and learning to strongly articulate my thoughts and feelings, all the while evolving and honing my skills and opinions. I learned that each new chapter of life would continue to pose different challenges and provide different perspectives.

Work Towards a Forever-Changing World

In the 1990s, Janet Reno was the U.S. Attorney General yet there were hardly any women in the US Trustees Offices and few Black females in these positions in the entire nation. Kudos to Janet Reno for seeing the need and the opportunity to make a change and to create a more equitable and inclusive membership for the Trustee panel. There were five open positions for Chapter 7 Trustees in the Eastern District of Michigan and I knew that I had the knowledge base and the experience needed to do the work, so I applied.

Fast-forward to February 1999. After multiple interviews, I was appointed as a panel Trustee by the US Trustees Offices, a component of the Department of Justice, to serve in this position. To further enhance my need to mentor and teach others, I became an adjunct professor teaching bankruptcy law at a local law school. This additional position allowed me to give back and teach something that I was very passionate about to young, eager-to-learn students. It was here, while a professor, that I realized how very important perspective is in our lives. New experiences create personal growth.

In addition to running and growing SIS, I still do trustee work today. This work gives me an amazing perspective on business—what works, what doesn’t work, and the best ways to run a business. Every day I challenge myself to constantly work on becoming my best self, learn from each moment, pick up new skills, and look at situations from new perspectives.

Challenge Yourself and Be Your Own Mentor

Soon after my divorce, I realized the absolute need, as a single mom, to create financial longevity and stability for my children, particularly for my special needs son. My law practice and Chapter 7 Panel Trustee positions were not something I could pass on to them; however, creating a company and a legacy for my children was, and it became a passion and my vision. Once again, I had to push back the fear of the unknown. I wanted to establish a business in an industry that weathered storms and would always be necessary. Through intense research and networking, I realized that service work, particularly waste management, janitorial services, and industrial cleaning were mainstays. These service industries have seen a steady, substantial gain in both revenue and the need for each in facility maintenance services. I saw an opportunity.

SIS LogoI created a business plan and incorporated Superior Innovative Solutions, LLC (“SIS”) in 2018. I started focusing on automotive work but quickly branched out to other industries including engineering firms, construction firms, utility companies, hospitals, municipalities and the US government. I am strongly committed to SIS becoming a premiere, one-stop shop for a company’s facility maintenance needs. I believe that building this business will not only provide a legacy for my kids, but will also allow for my sons to do things their own way. I want to challenge women to think outside of the traditional box. I am impelled to undertake endeavors knowing that I’m working for more than just myself.

Push Past Fear and Reach the Destination Your Past has Led You To

Are there many women who do what I do? No. There are still men who do not see my intense commitment to giving superior, safe and on-time solutions with a talented team of experts. Have I received some not-so-nice comments? Absolutely. But I am living proof that women can thrive in different industries and different positions in different chapters of their lives, and that seeing opportunities from new perspectives can build entire businesses. Maybe even empires!

Wendy’s Background

Wendy Turner Miller is an entrepreneur, attorney, adjunct bankruptcy law professor, Chapter 7 United States Bankruptcy Trustee for the Eastern District of Michigan, and servant leader who is committed to superior business and community service, all the while advocating for women’s growth in leadership and development. She received her undergraduate Degree at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and her Juris Doctorate at Howard University School of Law in Washington, DC.

She currently services as the President and CEO of Superior Innovative Solutions, LLC, (“SIS”), which company, with its roots in the automotive arena, specializes in industrial cleaning, COVID-19 disinfecting and cleaning, janitorial services, hydro-blasting, vac truck services, and waste management.

SIS is a certified, 100 percent minority/woman owned and operated business committed to exceeding the expectations of our customers with superior, innovative, safe and time driver work product and service to each of our private, public and municipal clients.

Wendy is also an owner of Blue Springs Metals, LLC, in Blue Springs, MS, and Georgetown Metal Processing, LLC, in Georgetown, KY, both ventures with Toyota Tsusho America, which involve blanking and slitting steel at the Mississippi plant and aluminum on the Kentucky facility.

Wendy further serves as a Chapter 7 US Bankruptcy Trustee since 1999, hearing over 2,500 cases per year, a job that involves the discovery of undisclosed assets, the liquidation of assets, and the payment of funds to creditors.

She has provided legal services, specifically Bankruptcy Law assistance through her law firm, Law Offices of Wendy Turner Lewis, PLLC, representing debtors, creditors and financial restructuring clients since 1995.

She is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, The Renaissance (MI) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, National Associations of Bankruptcy Trustees, National Bar Association, and The Wolverine Bar Association.

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2022 Jan. Mag

2022 Jan. Mag


5 year anniversary with a variety of colorful cerese d magazine covers

One of the greatest pleasures while growing our brand has been getting to know our community of customers and learning their stories. Among the people we have profiled over the past 5 years are leaders in their communities and churches, teachers, business owners and executives, entrepreneurs, motivational speakers, youth leaders, mothers, military veterans, and even a trainer of astronauts. Some of their stories are similar, and many are unique, but they are all about bold, strong, outspoken, and sometimes quiet leaders, that are blazing a trail towards change in one way or another. 

These are loyal clients that inspire us, and we are honored that they support Cerese D Jewelry. They are incredible role models for our brand.

Click here for the full e-magazine issue.

(Best viewed in full-screen mode)

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2021 Dec. Mag

2021 Dec. Mag

Meet Dr. Katasha S. Butler: brains, beauty and belle of the ball all rolled into one! When she is not talking pharmacy strategy and compliance by day, she’s an entrepreneur that lives her life in service to others and in pursuit of the perfect party!

Dr. Katasha S. Butler smiling next to christmas decorations in a white sweater on Cerese D Magazine cover

“Hang all the mistletoe
 I’m gonna get to know you better
 This Christmas
 And as we trim the tree
 How much fun it’s gonna be together
 This Christmas”

Meet Dr. Katasha S. Butler: brains, beauty and belle of the ball all rolled into one! When she is not talking pharmacy strategy and compliance by day, she is designing lush and luxe anniversary parties, conferences and Parisian-inspired pop-up parties at night. Katasha S. Butler, PharmD, MBA is a pharmacist and an entrepreneur that lives her life in service to others and in pursuit of the perfect party!

Katasha grew up in rural Danville, Illinois—a small, homogenous, rural town in East Central Illinois. After joining the district’s gifted program in elementary school, Katasha was the only Black female within a core group of students until high school. A last-minute decision during senior year led her to Atlanta, GA, where she attended the premier Spelman College as a Chemistry/pre-pharmacy major. Although it was like entering an alternate universe for the young Katasha, Atlanta, Spelman, and the Atlanta University Center fueled her passion for Black excellence and the Black experience.  

Pharmacy school led Katasha back to the Midwest and she landed in Indianapolis to attend Butler University. Her love for wedding and party planning started there. “Often, I would sit in the back row of class in pharmacy school looking at fashion magazines. I have always loved beautiful things. Next to my class notes were InStyle and Glamour. I studied them as hard as I studied for my class. It was not long before my classmates started turning to me as they were getting engaged. I planned and catered my first wedding for a couple that I did not know as a P4 student. That is how I made extra money while I was on clinical rotations,” Butler told Cerese D

She went on to obtain two degrees at Butler, including a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, and dove fulltime into a pharmacy career. Katasha became a pharmacy leader in less than six months after passing her pharmacy boards. Currently, a pharmacy leader at a local county safety-net hospital in Indiana, Dr. Butler worked her way up the ranks with several leadership roles:  Clinical Pharmacy Director for a federally qualified health center and a managed care plan, Pharmacy Supervisor for a women’s hospital, and Section Chief/PGY1 Residency Coordinator in the federal health care system.

Dr. Katasha S. Butler standing next to blue christmas decorations wearing a white sweaterThroughout her career, Katasha has been recognized for her leadership and hard work, including selection for the highly-competitive national Health Care Leadership Development Program and graduation from the VISN 12 Leadership Development Program with the VHA system. She’s received the 2014 Director’s EEO Award, the 2014 VISN 11 Diversity Award, two Special Contribution Awards and numerous other recognitions. She is a contributing faculty member at Walden University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Butler precepting pharmacy students in their last year of pharmacy school. She has been published in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy and has been featured in several books about pharmacy and entrepreneurship including Single. Women. Entrepreneurs., and Plan C: The Full-Time Employee and Part-Time Entrepreneur by Erin Albert and Entrepreneurs in Pharmacy: and Other Leaders by George Zorich.


When she is not in the pharmacy, event planning and community service are her other passions.  Dr. Butler started her event planning company, K Sherrie+Company, LLC in 2007.  She also co-owned an event venue in Danville for almost seven years—Social.  Social became the gathering spot for Danville! “I love throwing parties and events. I always try to make sure that the events are tailored to the client, innovative—bringing out elements that are not seen everywhere—and an experience,” says Butler. “Although I get annoyed when I see something that I have done before pop up somewhere else, I do realize there is nothing new under the sun and it is nice to be a trendsetter. If you want to do something after we have already done it, fine by me. I am very competitive with myself—making sure I up the ante with every new event I take on.” That is how Katasha came to bring Le Dîner en Blanc (DEB) to Indianapolis. Le Dîner en Blanc is an exclusive all white attire party started in Paris by François Pasquier in 1988 and has taken the world by storm for those that love to meet new dinner guests, dine under soft candlelight, and dance into the night at a public location in a place that is kept secret until the very last minute. Guests arrive from different locations to a landmark in that city. After attending the Diner en Blanc affairs in New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Chicago, Katasha decided that Indy needed its own event, and she could get it accomplished. That led to DEB Indy being introduced to the city with 1,300+ guests on the hallowed Pit Row of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2018. “The funny thing is—after the event, our contact at the motor speedway confessed that he thought we were crazy when I first brought the idea. He could not figure out how I would convince people to buy a $100 ticket to an event where they have to bring everything they need, they do not know where they are going or what they would do when they got there,” Butler explained. “I’m just glad he was crazy enough to run with us!”  And the rest, as they say, is history! DEB Indianapolis had its third installment this year, with over 1,700 guests at the Old Washington Street Bridge in the heart of Indianapolis.


Dr. Katasha S. Butler smiling and standing next to blue christmas decorations wearing a white sweaterExceptionally detailed events with crowd-pleasing intimacy are synonymous with Katasha’s professional and personal brands. It should come as no surprise that when former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to a sold-out crowd of 12,000+ people at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in February 2018, Katasha was connected to that event through her involvement with the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana Options Class 18. She believes in the empowerment of women and young girls and used her network of relationships to help promote ticket sales.  Katasha made sure that 39 of her closest friends were in attendance! The Women’s Fund raised more than $1 million at that event to support their mission.   

Katasha’s passion for creating events for causes dear to her heart also helps fuel her creativity. In 2015, Katasha spearheaded an Urban Scavenger Hunt in support of an international target for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. During the event, hunt teams flooded the Butler-Tarkington area in search of clues to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease, honor the caregivers and those afflicted with the disease, for which every day can feel like The Longest Day. She organized the Urban Scavenger Hunt again in 2016 to include Mass Ave and other downtown Indianapolis landmarks.

“I chose to do a scavenger hunt because we wanted to do something new and innovative – there are only so many walks you can do,” said Katasha. “We had a digital command center where the teams texted their pictures back and then received the next clue.” Prior to the hunt, AKA sisters across the nation prayed together via conference call for all affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s. Later, registered groups showed team spirit by dressing in costume and being ready for the challenge of the hunt. Awards were given before a closing ceremony with balloons, and in 2016, a dance party. “The balloon launch at the end was very serene for me and centering. It made me reflect on my grandmother, who was affected by this dreadful disease,” said Katasha, reflecting on her decision to get involved with The Longest Day.


Katasha is a staple in the Indianapolis civic scene, serving in leadership roles in several organizations. She has received numerous awards for her service and dedication to humanitarian endeavors including most recently being named ‘Soror Through The Years’ for the Central Region of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She is the President-Elect for Ivy Endowment, Inc., the non-profit foundation for her chapter—Alpha Mu Omega Chapter. She also serves AKA on the international level as a member of the HBCU Task Force. Katasha was one of the principal organizers and a Founding Member of the African American Legacy Fund of Indianapolis, the first and only fund expressly for the support of Black people and Black endeavors managed by the Central Indiana Community Fund. As a member of The Links, Incorporated, Katasha was a fellow in the Scott-Hawkins Leadership Institute (Cohort VI) and serves at the Area level. She has also served on the following boards: Alzheimer’s Association of Indiana State Task Force, Butler University COPHS Board of Visitors/Dean’s Advisory Council, Girl Scouts of Central Indiana Board of Directors, Dance Kaleidoscope Trustee Board, Laura Lee Fellowship House Board of Directors, Planning and Zoning Commissioner, City of Danville, IL., Shalom Health Care Center Board of Directors, and United Way of Central Indiana Youth as Resources Board.  

When Katasha is not serving others, she is always working on her craft. Forever the innovative, serial entrepreneur, Katasha managed to find time to develop a line of chic, planner accessories—starting with the debut of the Pretty Girl Planner—a disc-based planner system for the ladies of pink and green. Being organized has been one of her keys to success and her planners can help others with time management and organization. In her free time, Dr. Butler can be found recommending the best lipsticks to her friends, following political news and current events, reading, shopping, traveling the world and spending as much time as possible with her HunniBun, Lathen and dog, Marshmallow.

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2021 Nov. Mag

2021 Nov. Mag

Sharon Caples McDougle, is truly a modern day “hidden figure” who is not hidden anymore! Her long list of firsts show that shooting for the stars is possible. Her dedication to her country and her trailblazing, glass shattering contributions to science and space have not gone unnoticed.

Sharon Caples McDougle wearing purple floral top with chunky jewelry and smiling with red lips

Sharon Caples McDougle became a vital part of the the NASA family in 1990 where she worked in the Space Shuttle Crew Escape Equipment (CEE) department. She began her career as a CEE Suit Technician and was responsible for processing the orange launch and entry suit (LES) assemblies worn by Space Shuttle astronauts. McDougle was one of only two women technicians and the only African American technician when she began her career.

Sharon McDougle wearing Hidden figure no more tshirt and large necklaceMcDougle is truly a modern day ‘hidden figure” who is not hidden anymore.  Everyone knows Dr. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to go to space – but many do not know that another African American, McDougle, with her own list of firsts, was responsible for ensuring Dr. Jemison’s safety into orbit and her return to earth. McDougle was Jemison’s suit tech for her historic mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor September 12, 1992.

For over a year, McDougle trained along beside Dr. Jemison on all facets of working in zero gravity in her suit. Dr. Jemison has openly shared her respect and admiration for McDougle and once wrote, “There are so many incredible people who ensure that astronauts make it to space and back safely. Thank you, Sharon McDougle, for your hard work!”                             


In 1994, McDougle was promoted to the position of Crew Chief making her the first woman and first African American CEE Crew Chief. In her new position, she was responsible for leading a team of technicians to suit up astronaut crews. McDougle had the honor of leading the first and only all-woman suit tech crew.  McDougle along with her team met the astronauts immediately after leaving the shuttle upon return from space.

In 2004, McDougle became the only woman and only African American promoted to the position of Manager of the CEE department. She managed over 25 employees who were responsible for training the astronauts on how to donn and doff their suits that were designed to save their lives and taught all the technical aspects of their suits worn into space on the Space Shuttle for the launch and recovered the crew upon landing. She held this position until the Space Shuttle Program ended in 2011. She continued working until 2012 to help close-out the program, ending an illustrious 22-year career with NASA.

Other notable astronauts McDougle helped train for lift off into space safely and recover upon reentry are Charles Bolden (former NASA Administrator), Frederick Gregory (1st African American Space Shuttle Commander), and Dr. Bernard Harris (first African American to perform a spacewalk). She even had the opportunity to suit up a few celebrities which included actors Tom Cruise and Candice Bergen.

During her career with NASA, she was recognized with the Astronaut “Silver Snoopy” Award, Space Flight Awareness Honoree Award, and the coveted Women of Color in Flight Award from Dr. Mae Jemison recognizing her as the first and only African American woman suit tech/crew chief in her field.

Prepared for Greatness

The Air Force prepared McDougle for her historic career with NASA. In the Air Force, McDougle was an Aerospace Physiology Specialist who was responsible for training the SR-71 and U-2/TR-1 reconnaissance aircraft (“spy planes”)  pilots on high altitude operations. She performed hazardous duty as an inside observer chamber technician and as a chamber operations team member during hypobaric (altitude) and hyperbaric (dive) chamber operations. During the hypobaric chamber flights crewmembers learned firsthand how hypoxia affects their judgment while flying an aircraft. The crewmembers were taught and practiced how they would handle these types of situations and the importance of wearing all equipment correctly

McDougle also inspected and maintained flight equipment used for the SR-71 and U-2/TR-1 missions. The equipment included full pressure suit ensembles (helmet, gloves, boots, etc.), harness assemblies, and survival equipment (seat kits and parachutes, and emergency oxygen systems). She sized and fitted crewmembers’ pressure suits, assisted crewmembers in donning and doffing their suits, and performed functional tests before takeoff. She also loaded the survival seat kits and parachutes into the aircraft, strapped-in the crewmembers before take-off, and recovered the crew upon landing. During her time in the Air Force, she was awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and Good Conduct Medal

McDougle’s military training and her 22 years hidden working with NASA astronauts has given her a wealth of knowledge she shares while volunteering in her community and with several organizations. She serves as Vice President and Executive Administrator for Unveiled Aspirations – a women’s empowerment organization. Other volunteer activities include reading to children, cleaning community gardens, working in food pantries, feeding the homeless, and working in thrift stores, just to name a few.

A firm believer in mentorship and forever thankful for the teachers who inspired her to reach for the stars, McDougle is a TWST4Girls (Together We Stand Tall 4 Girls) mentor/facilitator for the Harris County Juvenile Corrections Department Program. She is also a mentor with the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship. The fellowship’s purpose is to give collegiate Black students their first Aerospace internship!

Hidden Figure No More

Sharon Caples McDougle Hidden figure wearing large black hat and animal print jumpsuit and beaded jewelryHer dedication to her country and her trailblazing, glass shattering contributions to science and space, have not gone unnoticed. McDougle has been recognized as a Mississippi Trailblazer at the 2018 Mississippi Trailblazers Awards Ceremony and Black-Tie Gala where she received two awards: The Calvin “Buck” Buchanan “FIRST” Award named for Mississippi’s first United States Attorney for the Northern District, which honors a Mississippian who holds the distinction of being the “first” in their profession, and the Dr. Cindy Ayers “Legacy” Award honoring a Trailblazer whose singular work and contributions will leave a legacy long after their lifetime.  

Other awards from her home state: McDougle was honored in the Inaugural class of Mississippi’s Top 25 Most Influential African Americans and the Living Legend Lifetime Achievement Award from the Moss Point Visionary Circle. In 2021, McDougle was recognized by Who’s Who of Mississippi Women with the Inaugural Dr. Helen Barnes Award.

The accolades continue, “That Girl” Natasha Lee and the city of Detroit honored McDougle at the “Make Your Mark Symposium.” McDougle received The Spirit of Detroit Award for exceptional achievement, outstanding leadership, and dedication to improving the quality of life and The Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan recognized her with the Leadership and Commitment of Excellence Award.

Loved Around the Country

She is not only loved in Mississippi but around the country! She was made an Honorary Citizen of Lake Charles, Louisiana by Mayor Nic Hunter and was a Remarkable Women of Houston finalist for CW39’s Houston Morning Dose News. McDougle is also a That Girl Brand Ambassador and a member of the Red Hat Society. Her Red Hat Chapter, Divas With Hattitude, recognized her as their very first Woman of the Year! She was also crowned as the 2019 Bluebonnet Queen.

McDougle has been featured in various publications, media outlets, radio shows and podcasts. She shares her inspirational story during speaking engagements, virtually and in-person, as keynote speaker as well as participating as a panel member at colleges and university STEM activities. McDougle recently became an author, penning her first children’s book titled “Suit Up for Launch with Shay!”  She also shares her story “Does God Love Me?” in the upcoming book Fearless Women Rock, Volume III.

McDougle is happily married to her husband Maronald, a diver for NASA. They have two adult children, Dominique, and Corbin. She and her husband are natives of Moss Point, MS, currently residing in the Houston, TX area.

Connect with McDougle via the web:







YouTube Channel:

The Wise Channel:

ThatGirl Merchandise   

  • Sharon Caple Mcdougle jumping in orange flight suit

  • Sharon Caple Mcdougle jumping in orange flight suit

  • Sharon Caple Mcdougle jumping in orange flight suit

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2021 Oct. Mag

2021 Oct. Mag

A southern girl with a soulful heart and a strategic mind equals the perfect power combination of being resilient and an unstoppable, progressive community leader.

Charlette Wilson Jacks is a community leader in green top with chunky green and gold necklace on a magazine cover

Charletta Wilson Jacks, a southern girl with a soulful heart and a strategic mind, currently serves as the Deputy Director of Government Affairs for the 60th Mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms. Three words to describe Charletta – RESILIENT and PROGRESSIVE LEADER. This “home-grown Savannah girl,” has traveled the sidewalks and streets of many communities and cities to help them rise up, know their value and become the best that they can be. 

Ms. Jacks accumulated over two decades of experience with the City of Atlanta prior to her current position of Deputy Director of Government Affairs, beginning as a Senior Level Urban Planner committed to educating the traditionally disenfranchised citizens and neighborhoods on community engagement and the impact of public policy decisions on their quality of life.  During the first quarter of her tenure with the City of Atlanta, she was selected and honored as one of the “Mayor’s Top 100” employees, out of 8,000 staff, because of her commitment to customer service to the thousands of city residents.

Charletta Wilson Jacks is a progressive leader in yellow suit and coral layered necklacesThe “Go-To” Professional

Her unwavering professionalism led to Ms. Jacks’ appointment as the first African American female to be named Zoning Administrator for the City of Atlanta. Every community that has adopted development regulations has an official charged with the administration and interpretation of those rules. Ms. Jacks was that official, in a position with increasingly complex regulations for a major growing metropolitan city. As a result of her dedicated work and ability to engage and educate varying audiences of citizens, she is viewed as a “go-to” professional for development of large-scale multimillion dollar residential, commercial, and industrial projects.  

Ms. Jacks’ professional executive leadership experience includes construction management and high impact projects with several architectural and engineering firms. Her portfolio also includes the celebrated 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, and her excitement goes into overdrive when she talks about the projects that have her imprint: Atlanta University Center Olympic Games venues at Morris Brown College (football field), Clark Atlanta University (football field) and Morehouse College (basketball arena), Ponce City Market, Redevelopment of Turner Field, Redevelopment of the Gulch and Atlanta Beltline, and the creation of development regulations for the sale of the Turner Field Stadium (now the home to the Georgia State University football team).

Charletta Wilson Jacks is a progressive community leader and smiling woman in fantastic orange knit suit with multiple strands of layered necklacesHelping Atlanta Rise

Atlanta has been on the rise, even in the midst of a global pandemic. With focused leadership, Atlanta has been able to continue its’ role as a vibrant city with an outstanding quality of life. A prosperous city like Atlanta depends on leadership and vision that stimulates and delivers solid development. Ms. Jacks is proud to be a part of that team. 

For the past four years, she has been instrumental in the unanimous adoption of the yearly municipal budget, averaging over $650 million. During the pivot because of the global pandemic, Ms. Jacks continues to look for new and innovative ways to provide leadership and strategic planning on community and economic development policy and implementation. Resilience is one of her core characteristics.

Mrs. Charletta Wilson Jacks is proud of the three HBCUs (Savannah State University, Howard University, and Clark Atlanta University) that poured into her and strengthened her belief that “People Matter and Education is indeed important.” Gaining and maintaining community and stakeholder trust is imperative for success and it matters. She understands the rules and counts it a blessing to be able to share her knowledge with others to ensure transformation and to ensure progressive investment in communities and people. 






Large green stoneGreen Amber

Green Amber is both a natural and man made rarity. Like all Amber, Green Amber passes through the exact same process in its journey to becoming the semi precious beauty that we know and love. Green Amber has a deep and mesmerizing quality enveloped in a world of lore and history. In many cultures throughout history people believed that this green hue of Amber had the ability to bring good luck and immortality to its wearer. 

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Put Your Beads Back On!

Put Your Beads Back On!

In the early 1920s, as the world finally started recovering from WWI, and the Spanish Flu pandemic was coming to an end, glitz was in. Women started wearing furs, fringe, bright colors, flowers, spectacular hats, and beads – lots and lots of beads. 

Check out the style of Rose Nell Johnson (Deborah’s mom and Cerese’s grandmother) on the right; and Rose’s sister, Ora Bell Wilson, on the left. These ladies made it look effortless!

Two women dressed up in mink stoles and jewelry from the 1920s

The most influential social movement of that time was the Harlem Renaissance. African American culture wowed the entire world in a celebration of music, dance, art, fashion, theater, and literature. They sure did WOW with their style!

Why? Because everyone was ready for some joy after years of fighting and quarantine. They had been reminded that life was fleeting and that we need to celebrate it while we can.

Two photos of women from 1920s-1940s dressed up in their fancies

[Harlem Renaissance women from the 1920’s and 1940’s]

Sound familiar?

It’s time to put our beads back on. It’s time to pull out the colorful, the joyful, the bold, the fanciful, the clothing and jewelry that makes us smile and feel fierce every time we catch our reflection in the mirror. We may not be done with this pandemic yet, but it’s not too early to remember that life is sweet and should be celebrated. 

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