BWIM: Panel & Awards Ceremony Recap



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On March 29th, 2014 Black Women In Media held its inaugural Panel & Awards Ceremony at Le Skyroom located in the French Alliance Institute Francaise in NYC. Black Women In Media, an organization catered to creating a platform in celebrating Black women in all facets of the media realm, boldly and successfully created a thought-provoking, eye-opening, and enlightening experience this past Saturday.

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The event began with a networking portion sponsored by Birthday Cake Wines, Sweets by Alize, & Trust In Us Catering.The who’s who of black women in media joined BWIM and engaged in building beneficial and sustaining relationships. As guests enjoyed neo soul classics, built beneficial relationships, as our caterers passed Hors D’ouevres and wine.


Our Mistresses of Ceremony, Africa Miranda of Bravo’s The New Atlanta, and host of Uptown Magazine’s Uptown Unplugged: Uptown Studios, Ashlei Stevens began the event in high spirits by greeting guests and welcoming them to their inaugural panel and awards ceremony created by BWIM. Shortly after, they introduced the CEO & Founder Judith Jacques. A young woman who has many other powerful entities under her brand such as Black Culinary Expo, Black Celebration Awards, and BLACK STREET to name a few. Judith quickly greeted her guests and gave a short overview as to why she decided to create Black Women In Media among her other brands, stating,





“I would hear others murmur about the imperfections within our community while idly watching.  Although I never stated those exact words, but the thoughts did come across my mind. I had to ask myself– What am I doing to change my community for the better?”

Hence, the creation of the powerful organization which is receiving much and deserved attention today, BWIM.


Following her greetings, the event delved right into the first panel, Mass Communications which entailed moderator Africa Miranda, MSNBC Political Commentator Esther Armah, NULYP President Brandi Richard, Fixer & Co-Founder of 135th Street Agency Shante Bacon, and Ashlei Stevens. The discussion for the panel included perfecting ones craft, building your network and how Shante Bacon so eloquently put it,


“Your contacts can turn into currency”.DSC_4324


The next panel presented was the Beauty/Health & Wellness Panel. The panelist included moderator Africa Miranda, OWN’s Love In the City Co-Star Bershan Shaw, Emmy Award Winning Makeup Artist Julia Jovone, Creator of the First Full Figured Fitness Phenomenon Anowa Adjah, Health & Sustainable Living Expert Yoli Ouiya, and Stylist & Style Blogger Joy Adaeze. Each woman provided healthy and proper alternatives to attaining the best you possible while living a healthier lifestyle.

In between panels, BWIM awarded each participating panelist including the mistresses of ceremony. Each received a note worthy introduction and were presented with an engraved crystal award.


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The event went into an intermission sponsored by MYX Moscato, entitled: MYX & Mingle. “VIP” ticket holders had the opportunity to mingle and converse with honorees, panelists and other phenomenal and elite women who joined BWIM on Saturday. During the intermission, guests enjoyed once again Hors D’ouevres prepared by Trust In Us Catering, chocolate covered strawberries by Sweets by Alize, and drinks by Myx Moscato, and Birthday Cake Wines.

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During the MYX & Mingle portion, the beautiful and talented ESNAVI gave a breathtaking and phenomenal performance for our guests. Right after the performance, the Mistresses of Ceremony encourages all guests to find their seats as the panels continue.

The next panel to go up was the Pioneer Panel with moderator Africa Miranda, MSNBC commentator Esther Armah, legendary Journalist Flo Anthony, New York 1 News Anchor Cheryl Wills, & OWN’s Love In the City Co-Star Bershan Shaw held a dynamic discussion at staying relevant, not overlooking up and coming entrepreneurs, and the meaning and sacrifice of being one. Cheryl Wills stated,





“Never overlook up and coming entrepreneurs” and “The same bridge that brought you up can bring you down.”


Flo Anthony also stated, “Entrepreneur= Entre-Poor-Neur” the real meaning to entrepreneurship; its struggle to attain a desired level of success.


Finally, the last panel TV & Lifestyle with moderator Ashlei Stevens, Bravo’s Blood Sweat & Heels Geneva S. Thomas, CBS Survivor Runner Up Sabrina Thompson, Bravo’s The New Atlanta Africa Miranda, 7x’s Essence Magazine Bestseller Tiphani Montgomery, and Lifestyle Expert Neffi Walker. This panel contained a heated debate as to whether women who are public figures should represent all Black women. Guests, and panelists/honorees, all participated in the topic of Black women, their responsibility to represent Black women as a whole, and their current lifestyle.

Throughout the entirety of the event, audience members as well as viewers from home viewing via Live-Stream; powered by WorldCast Inc., asked the panelist and honorees a series of questions. In return, each panelist provided a wealth of information in response to each question.

To conclude, Founder, Judith Jacques gave her final remarks, thanked everyone who participated and encouraged them to look forward to future events. BWIM accomplished putting together a dynamic and rewarding experience for their guests and all of its participants. Everyone walked away feeling encouraged, enlightened, and eager to venture off to their new projects. It is safe to say that Black Women In Media is rapidly becoming the source of new inspiration to all Black women!

Celebrity Painter & 3D Artist S. Whittaker debuted some of her pieces including pieces from her new line: DSC_3785WOMAN at the Black Women In Media panel & Awards Ceremony.  The pieces were absolutely breathtaking. Other partners and sponsors included NABJ, NULYP, Dynamic Endeavors, Wild Spirit Hair Products, & Doris New York Hair Products.

Photos courtesy of Kissing Lions Public Relations


Amazing Women Entrepreneurs Making a Difference in the World

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If you think you have to run a billion-dollar company to make a difference in the community, think again. In a nod to this past Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (November 19), Black Enterprise caught up with two women trailblazers for their best business advice.

[RELATED: Successful Women Entrepreneurs Share the Business Rules They Didn’t Follow]

Rahama Wright is a member of President Obama’s Council On Doing Business in Africa and CEO of Shea Yeleen, a unique social enterprise and a commercial entity that sells high-quality, unrefined shea butter products, available at Whole Foods Markets.

The traditional career or business rule you’re glad you didn’t follow.
Climbing to the top of the ladder usually requires having advanced degrees and years of work experience. I broke all the rules by launching a social enterprise in my early 20s with little business background, mediocre funds, and a tiny network of friends and family. My wild idea to start a company that directly benefited rural shea butter farmers in West Africa was driven by my desire to support a better future for women and their children. My lack of experience did not factor in because what I lacked in skill I made up in heart and persistence. I was also fortunate enough to meet people with the right skills who believed in my vision and led me in the right direction.

Of course, my journey was a slow process. I call myself the 10-year overnight success! It took about 7 years before I was able to get my products into retail and adequate funding to scale the business from a strictly e-commerce platform to over 100 retail locations, including Whole Foods Market. If I had chosen a more traditional career path, I know for a fact I would not wake up every day enjoying the work that I do!

When you first started in the business, what was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Shea Yeleen offers a premium shea butter product. We create living wages by supporting women-owned cooperatives in Northern Ghana to make a value-added product, the unrefined shea butter, instead of harvesting the seeds at a much lower cost and much lower profit. To succeed, we needed to get our products in major retailers, which presented several challenges.

When I made my initial pitch to Whole Foods Market our products were not ready to be in a major retailer. I soon learned that pitching was only part of the process and rejection was the other! After each rejection, I would take feedback and readjust and pitch again. The entire process required updating my packaging, securing investment funding, and ensuring that I had enough inventory to scale. The process was well worth it! Shea Yeleen is now sold in over 100 retail locations along the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, with new stores in the pipeline.

Many trailblazers find themselves making their own rules. What have you discovered you’d do your own way?
Starting my business at such a young age required me to always make my own rules. Probably being the eldest of five kids had an influence in my take-charge attitude that has served me well as I have developed my enterprise. Knowing early on that I was not going to follow a traditional career path required me to be a proactive problem solver, and I learned along the way.

Having to learn the business as I go makes me extremely adaptable and dedicated to finding solutions. I listen to feedback, and if it makes sense I try to implement it quickly. I take the advice I receive from vetted advisors and I trust myself to make the right decisions for my business.

The skills that I mention here are the real entrepreneur toolkit. It’s fantastic if you have an MBA or another advanced degree, but if you have an idea you believe in, you’re a problem solver, and you’re persistent, you will go very far in business.

Luvvie Ajayi is an award-winning writer and digital strategist covering everything from technology and social injustice to comedy and travel. She’s worked with a variety of major brands, such as XFINITY Comcast, Target, BET, Nielsen, HGTV, Verizon, and Toyota. She’s also co-founder of The Red Pump Project, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls. And she’s working on her first book, titled I’m Judging You, to be released in 2016.

When you first started in the business, what was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was charging what I was worth because I thought people and companies would walk away from me if they thought I was too expensive. So I’d lowball myself and then end up getting cheated because it seems that during those times when you make concessions, people will ask you for more. They pay a nickel and want a dollar worth of work. I finally had to stand strong and realize that I bring a lot of value to the table, so I’m worth what I ask for, and people can walk away. Those are not the ones I should be working with, because when people come to me for anything, it should be because they know I am the best choice. It was a tough lesson in making sure people do not take advantage of you.

We have to learn to ask for what we want with an exclamation point and not a question mark. It’s a continuous lesson, though. It never stops.




Entrepreneur Talks Finding Success by Creating Her Own Dream Job


Monica G. Coleman, founder & president of M320 Consulting, breathes life into the quote: ‘your dream job doesn’t exist, you must create it.’ “I kept landing what I thought were ‘dream jobs’ but still felt like something was missing,” said Coleman. I knew that I wanted to work in the sports and entertainment industry, but I also enjoyed some aspects of brand development and traditional marketing.

Many people felt that these two worlds were completely separate, but I saw an opportunity to combine the best of both worlds, so I launched M320 Consulting. I wanted to be at the intersection between key consumer lifestyle touchpoints like music, fashion, entertainment and corporate brands; specifically among multicultural consumers. This may seem common now, but 10 -15 years ago, companies were still figuring how to authentically connect with multicultural consumers.”

[Related: From Intern to CEO: Glenda Smith Talks What it Takes to Run a Successful Nonprofit]

Coleman’s marketing and communications firm, which is based in Atlanta, Ga., has worked with a few global heavy hitters. “Our first client was Magic Johnson’s Burger King Restaurants, which was huge for a brand new agency,” said Coleman. “However, the client trusted us, we delivered, and we’ve been growing as a multicultural marketing agency ever since.” Other clients include Pepsi, Lexus, The Home Depot, entertainment properties like Funk Fest Concerts, and the Bank of American Atlanta Football Classic, and non-profits like The City of Atlanta’s Office of Recreation, and marketing agencies like GLUE, Walton, Divine Marketing Agency, and Liquid Soul Media.

When it comes to her best career advice, Coleman says, “own your truth.” “The biggest career mistake I made was letting fear guide me by taking jobs and opportunities because I wasn’t fully committed to accepting that I was an entrepreneur. I suffered and my work did too. It’s important to fully commit to what you inherently know is the path for you, and when you do, things will begin to fall into place and you’ll have a level of peace that is indescribable.”

BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the enterprising trailblazer to learn more.

BlackEnterprise.com: Since starting your own business, what has been the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself?

Coleman: I’ve learned that I get the most professional satisfaction from helping other people’s goals and dreams become a reality. As a consultant, I’ve been able to take on clients that may have been failing, or may have known the results they’ve wanted to achieve, but lacked the strategy to get there.

What’s the biggest challenge you faced on your entrepreneurial journey?

One of my biggest challenges has been marketing my business, which is ironic because we are a full-service marketing firm. I care most about promoting and positioning my clients, so I’ve struggled with figuring out how to tell the story of what we’ve accomplished as an agency in a way that is meaningful.

The best step I’ve taken to overcome this, was hiring a firm to manage our marketing, which takes me out of the process, and that’s been great! Our new agency is helping to develop regular communication with current and potential clients, and to secure speaking engagements and other opportunities that allow me to demonstrate what the firm is delivering in the marketing space.

What are the top 3 resources you use to help manage your business?

1) A To-Do List – I start every day with this age-old tool. Some days, it may have 22 things on it, but it’s a great feeling to cross things off as they get done, and it helps me keep track of my deliverables for the day.

2) Client Communication – I make it a point of connecting with my clients by phone frequently, and I’ve found that doing this has led to honest dialogue that helps mitigate risk and sprout new ideas and programs.

3) Project Management Tools – As entrepreneurs, our instinct is usually to get going and figure things out as we go. However, as your business grows, the need to manage projects and people becomes more and more important. I use something internally called a project grid, and it allows me to track key project deliverables and timing. You can also simply create a formula that works well for you in Excel.

What are things women can do to break barriers?

Gender barriers exist, but I believe that the vast majority of professionals want to work with and learn from talented people who are going to produce results – regardless of gender. The first thing women should do is have confidence that their professional experience, expertise, and preparation have given them the right to contend at the same level as men in their desired professions. Work from a place of belonging and not a place of asking permission.

Another suggestion is to have a male mentor who is interested in your professional development. This can definitely help broaden your perspective about business and building relationships in general.

You have some pretty well-known corporate clients. Any secrets or inside tips to landing major clients? 

At M320, we focus on two key things: relationships and results. We’re interested in fully understanding our clients’ business because it makes us better able to service them, and we arm them with the metrics and tools that they need to look great internally, which makes us a valued partner.

You’re also a mom  juggling the demands of business and family. Any tips or advice for making it all work?

Balancing family and business is something that many entrepreneurs continuously try to master. Two of the most important things that I’ve learned are:

For The Entrepreneur – Your family probably doesn’t understand exactly what you do or how much work and time it takes, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t love and support you! Communication is extremely important in helping your spouse, parents and friends understand how they can best support you. Don’t assume that they’ll never ‘get it’! Spend time bringing them into your world by sharing details about your day, your work as it’s in progress, or challenges that you’re having, and it will often help increase both their understanding and support.

For the Family Member – Let go of the traditional idea of ‘normal’ because many entrepreneurs don’t work ‘normal’ hours or have ‘normal’ business habits. Clinging to what is supposed to be normal can lead to friction, misunderstanding, and resentment. Spend time collaborating with the entrepreneur in your life to determine what your normal can potentially be, and focus on that.





6 Reasons All Business Owners Should Register Trademarks


Many business owners and entrepreneurs wonder whether they should trademark their company name. I was one of those people, but once I began researching the pros and cons the answer was crystal clear. It shouldn’t even be a question for anyone who also wants to protect their company.

[Related: How to Make Sure Your Business Is Sustainable]

First, some background: in early 2015, after we changed our name from AQB to Fourlane®, we promptly applied for a trademark on Fourlane and our sister company, POSWarehouse®. Both names now have approved trademarks, or in this case, “service marks.” A trademark and a service mark really aren’t different. It just depends whether you have a product or service. A trademark—designated as ™—is used for words, phrases, symbols or designs to identify and distinguish the source of the goods of one party from others. A service mark (using the registered mark or “®”) is also referred to as a trademark, except it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than a product.

Despite the hassle of dealing with government agencies and paying for a trademark attorney to help sort out details, as well as the time it takes to jump through government hoops, here are six reasons why trademarking your name is important.

  1. It protects against impostors and copycats. With a trademark, your name is legally protected so that no one can duplicate it. A trademark protects ownership rights over the name–a logo, tagline or whatever you’ve trademarked. Once you have a trademark, competitors can’t use your name. If they try, you can take swift, legal action.
  2. It secures your brand on social media. Customers search for brand names on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media sites. The social media venues have policies in place to protect you against abuse—someone grabbing your company name and misrepresenting your brand can result in suspending the account. See Twitter’s policies for more information. Our business name, Fourlane, was formerly a Web design firm before we took over the URL. To get access to the Fourlane account, all we had to do was change the e-mail address.
  3. Trademarks never expire. Nabisco Cream of Wheat, Carnation Condensed Milk and Pabst Blue Ribbon all have trademarks over 100 years old. Once the process of trademarking is complete, you’re protected with no pesky renewals. This also means we can sell our trademark if we ever want to do so.
  4. Trademarks are inexpensive. Depending on the type of trademark you need, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office charges between $225 and $325 per trademark. The minimal fee makes the decision whether to trademark a no-brainer, but remember that this does not include any research or legal fees. I suppose you could avoid engaging a lawyer, but let’s face it; I don’t practice law, and lawyers don’t customize software for business process.
  5. Trademarks build brand loyalty and evoke pride in our employees. Registering trademarks mean you’re in it for the long haul. This reassures our customers and our staff that we’re committed to the business.
  6. Trademark safeguard against cybersquatting. Cybersquatters register domain names that are identical or similar to well-known trademarks with the purpose of selling them for a high fee. The Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act was passed in 1999 to allow the trademark owner to sue to collect damages from individuals who registered a domain name that is identical or similar to the trademark.

Trademarking may not be for everyone, but just like anything involving the government, the process takes months of research, and there is a long waiting period to get approved. However, I do not regret jumping over any of these hurdles. It’s the cost of ensuring that the business I’ve built remains solid for the long term.



Belinda Enoma, The Purpose Activator, Lets Freedom Ring on Nation’s Capital


It was a glorious gathering in Annapolis, Maryland. Outside the nation’s capital, women and men from various locations in the country met under the auspices of a common purpose and cause: intentional emancipation.

Now some may suggest that we are free; we are no longer slaves. That may be true from a physical perspective, but there are many areas of our lives that still may be in shackles. Some are still chained to past trauma or financial failure, and some are still caught in the thicket of crippling fear and limiting beliefs.

[RELATED:[2016 Women of Power Summit] Register for Empowerment Now]

The iEmancipateME Conference challenged attendees to eliminate the excuses, activate their purposes, employ life strategies to get unstuck, and walk out their destinies. An expert cadre of speakers and presenters showed attendees how to take their businesses, organizations, careers, health, faith, finances, and brands to the next level of freedom. In the spirit of celebration, there was a diversity of artists ranging from liturgical dances to saxophone selections, to soulful, contemporary and traditional gospel renditions. Attendees left the conference fired up to live more abundantly and whole– emotionally, financially, physically, and spiritually.

The iEmancipateME movement is about experiential freedom, whether serving in family, community, career, ministry or marketplace. It’s an experience that induces a metamorphosis in people’s lives that are solely based on biblical concepts and principles. At iEmancipateME, people were shown that; despite challenges, they have been equipped to win. The first step to being free from bondage, baggage, and unnecessary weights is to use your mouth to declare: ‘I emancipate me. Yes, me. Myself. I free myself. I refuse to live this way anymore. I choose to be free. I must change and I need help.’

Born in England, the conference host, Belinda Enoma, is an international speaker, purpose activator, TV personality, pastor, and business consultant. Her husband, Dr. Ben Enoma, is also a great proponent and pillar to the iEmancipateME mission and vision. Enoma has worked on various technology projects in several Fortune 500 corporations across Europe and the USA, such as PWC, Aetna, Medtronic, and SONY. The author of several books published by Dunamis Press: The Bilhah Moment, The Exalted Horn, 7 Great Business Ideas You Never Thought Of, You Can Be Set Free: Purposefully Unleash Yourself and Reclaim Your Joy; Enoma’s transformative seminars and conferences for personal, business and executive elevation are igniting many worldwide to take action, walk boldly, and be ready to win. She has taught and been featured on several internationally syndicated television networks, including TBN and LeSea. Enoma’s book, You Can Be Set Free, reveals popular excuses people make for not taking bold steps for the necessary life shift they need. The book reveals that people want to live more abundantly but do not want to take that necessary leap. People pray and believe, but do not want to take action. “You can have all the faith in the world. But if you do not act on what you believe, you will not get the results you desire,” says Enoma. The book challenges you to get off the back burner, firmly hold on to the wheels of life and confidently drive in your lane to a flourishing finish. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom, business owner, preacher or professional; regardless of your title or status, you are equipped with keys to quickly make the shift, be unleashed, and reclaim your joy. It is time to intentionally walk into the full freedom of purpose; without regrets or limits.




5 Ways Joining a Professional Network Can Help You Get Established in a New Country


I was beyond excited to have been offered an amazing job opportunity, enabling me to transfer from London to New York three years ago.

The big move went smoothly with everything falling into place. I’d even managed to dodge Hurricane Sandy by a couple of days. There was just one obstacle to overcome: how was I going to build my professional network all over again?

I’d spent 10 years cultivating a solid mix of contacts back home in London. However, they couldn’t do much for me in the big ‘city of dreams.’ I was faced with the challenge of having to build a new network.

[RELATED: [RECAP] ColorComm Empowers Hundreds of Women]

Becoming a member of various professional networks has proven an invaluable resource for me as an expat.  Whether or not you’re new to a country or just want to further your career, professional networks are a great way to build contacts, stay abreast of industry developments, and accelerate your career.

“All professionals irrespective of seniority, need access to a network that will help build their expertise and propel their career to the next level.  Through ColorComm, women are not only given the opportunity to share common experiences, but also learn from the best in their field while supporting each other,” said Lauren Wesley Wilson, CEO and founder of ColorComm, Inc.

Here are some of the advantages of being part of a professional network:

1. Mentors – membership comes with gaining invaluable access to a pool of accomplished professionals in your field. Recently, I was about to get advice from a fellow board member of Toastmasters, ahead of a big speaking engagement I had coming up. Whether you’re looking for a formal mentoring relationship or just need a sounding board, you’ll be able to tap into the expertise of your peers and the senior professionals within the network.

2. Job opportunities – Most professional networks share job listings that are exclusive to the network. Being a member gives you first dibs on the jobs that often aren’t advertised publicly. Having that visibility is a great way to stay ahead of the curve in the competitive job market.

3. Professional development – A huge benefit to being a part of a professional network is the ongoing development opportunities that will be presented to you. These may be in the form of seminars, conferences, or coffee meet-ups hosted by the ‘movers and shakers’ in the industry.

4. Leadership skills – In my communications director role for the New York chapter of ColorComm, I’ve been able to learn about the overall strategic direction of the organization. Even if you’re not looking to lead the organization, taking a leadership role in some capacity will accelerate your leadership expertise.  You will also gain greater exposure to all aspects of the network and its members.

5. Friendships – I’ve built solid friendships with some of the people in the networks I’m a part of.  These friendships are invaluable to me; particularly as I’m so far away from my friends back home.





Star Jones Reveals the Financial Mistake That Was Her Greatest Teacher


By the time Star Jones graduated from law school at the University of Houston Law Center in 1986, she had $75,000 in student loan debt and all her credit cards were maxed out.

“When I was in college, they were giving out all of those free credit card offers. It was like they were giving out free money,” Jones recalls. She was also struggling with the all-too-human inclination to “keep up.” “I was trying to keep up with the Joneses, and the Joneses didn’t have any money,” she adds.

Jones was a prosecutor with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, New York, until 1991, the same year she began her television career on Court TV. She also became a correspondent for NBC’s The Today Show and NBC Nightly News, and led the coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder as a legal analyst for Inside Edition. Then, in 1997, she became one of the original four co-hosts of daytime ABC talk show The View.

Now sitting atop the corporate ladder as president of the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), which trades on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the symbol IPDN, Jones understands the financial implications of the opportunities that came her way.

“Financially, I got a second chance,” says Jones, who paid off all of her student loans and credit card debt in 1992. She didn’t just change her finances, she changed her financial behavior, avoiding the trap that many who come into money fall into—making the same mistakes with bigger sums.

“I had to get real with the fact that I am my own backup plan,” she continued. “Women across the board who are raising children or are sandwiched between childcare and eldercare become everybody else’s backup plan. You have to know how to prioritize yourself.”

For Jones that meant no looking back. No more credit cards—with the exception of a card she has to pay the full balance on every month—and no more debt.

Jones says if she hadn’t taken control of her debt levels early in her career, she would not have been in a position to capitalize on the opportunities that came her way. “When opportunity meets preparation, there is no job that is out of reach,” she says. “People think preparation is just about having the right educational background. It also means having your financial house in order. You can’t relocate, move, be flexible, etc., if your finances are out of control. I’ve had to move, take lower paying jobs—you name it. You have to come to terms with the fact that that means you have to be financially prepared.”

Jones says she hopes her story can teach others in the black community that they can make different choices.

“Our community is burdened with a post-slavery syndrome,” she says. “That syndrome is the ‘I’m never going to have anything syndrome.’ I was not raised with money and knew that, in good times and bad, I was going to have to work for it. Black people are not afraid of hard work but they also need to think about the mindset and behaviors they need to adopt to become their own backup plan and be ready for opportunities.”

If you struggle with credit card debt, create a debt plan so you can free yourself to make choices that represent your goals and priorities. If you have more than one credit card, any account that is already past due should be the top priority when allocating extra money for payments. In addition, planners point to two strategy options:

1. Debt Snowball:  Arrange your debt in order of balance, from lowest to highest. Start by power-paying the lowest account balance until it is paid off, while making minimum payments to the others. Once the lowest debt is paid off, allocate your money to the next largest balance. This can be very motivating for those who need to see faster results in order to reach their goal of debt freedom.

2. The Ladder Method: This method involves prioritizing debt in order of interest rate, from highest to lowest, without regard to the amount owed. Start by allocating all extra money toward repayment of the debt with the highest interest rate while making minimum payments to the rest. When the highest interest debt is gone, all money should then go to the account with the next highest rate. The ladder method is often promoted as the one that saves the most money over the long term, because high interest rate debts are eliminated early.

While there are no guaranteed results, negotiating fees and interest with a creditor can make a big difference in how fast a debt is repaid. This can also result in hundreds and even thousands of dollars in savings over the long term.

Credit counseling experts also echo Jones’ advice when it comes to knowing how to prioritize yourself. “It remains important to stay in the habit of paying yourself first,” says Bruce McClary of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. “Having savings in place for emergencies will help you avoid going deeper into debt at a time when you are trying to get debt out of the picture. It is just as important to continue saving for retirement since any interruption in the process can deliver a major setback toward reaching that goal.”




Feature: Michel Wright

Michel Wright

Hear the name Michel Wright and the first thing you think is, “I heard her on the radio.” True! Recognizable and distinctly friendly, hers has been called ‘the voice that makes you smile.’ Michel is currently the mid-day host on Majic 102.3 and she host a show on SiriusXM’s most popular Adult R&B channel, Heart & Soul. Her weekend show, “The Suite Spot” is filled with artist interviews & performances, lifestyle topics, news items and some of the best R&B music from the 80’s, 90’s & today.

Michel Wright is also the ‘voice’ of the syndicated “Cafe Mocha Radio Show” which is co-hosted by legendary rapper MC Lyte. Michel’s other voice and radio work has included feature reporting and announcing with Premiere Radio Networks, Starz on SiriusXM, BET Networks, DC Cable Television, Colgate, Mercedes Benz, SHOWTIME Television and MHZ TV Networks where she created, co-produced and hosted a LIVE nighttime talk/variety show. Known for her laugh, her love of music and her big heart, Michel is also known for being a positive genuine soul that cares for her community.

She participates and speaks at many women’s empowerment events, and has a personal connection to issues relating to women and breast cancer, joining the fight against breast cancer for her sister Cookie whom she has supported in her survival journey.

Check her always thoughtful, encouraging and sometimes humorous posts on her social media using her own hashtags – #getWright #OneMic #happyhour #SoulStar, Connect with Michel Wright, IG: GetWright; Twitter: @IamMichelWright and Michel Wright on Facebook.

And hear her on the radio #mymajic1023itful