Feature: Nyima Funk

Nyima Funk

     Nyima Funk is the host of UNDERCOVER CUPID, the new hidden camera dating show on NickMom.  She’s also a cast member on the CW’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? and Comedy Central’s Key & Peele. Here television credits include NBC’s Thank God You’re Here, MTV’s Wild ‘N Out and Short Circuitz, TNN’s LifeGame, VH1’s Basketball Wives LA, ABC’s According To Jim, UPN’s Girlfriends, The Oprah Winfrey Show, TV Guide Channel’s Countdown Shows, and The George Lopez Show.  She has also done extensive voiceover work for the Style Network’s Style Star and numerous national commercials.

Nyima worked as a writer for comedian Katt Williams, writing for the movie “Katt Williams: American Hustle” and The BET Hip Hop Awards.

Nyima is a Second City alum from the Chicago and Detroit resident stages.

You can see her perform live at Second City Hollywood with THE 313 and at The Groundlings Theater with The Black Version.  Check out her vlog on YouTube: Nyima Funk’s Mommy Vlog’s.

Nyima currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband Joshua Funk, daughter Ziza and son Moze.





6 Power Plays Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Serena Williams


I’m sitting here watching my favorite part of any sporting event: the hype. Serena Williams, one of professional tennis’ most dominant figures in recent times, is getting ready to play at Wimbledon again, and when the commentators and experts start weighing in and breaking down the match, my heart skips a beat.  Great competitors are learners and I know that, as an entrepreneur, my ability to absorb the lessons of champions is going to move my business forward.

During the Wimbledon chatter discussing Serena Williams’ match with Maria Sharapova, an opponent Williams has dominated in previous matches, it was mentioned that Williams did what some entrepreneurs fail to do: change their mindset.

Williams has hired a new coach, and with that has come the new techniques she employs to play matches.  The decision has made a formidable champion even better and I’m all for becoming a better entrepreneur.

Here are some mindset shifts entrepreneurs may want to consider if they are to improve their game.

1. Find dynamic mentors. Obtaining a coach or mentor is imperative for entrepreneurs. Yet, even with a proven mentor, you always need different perspectives from different industries in your ear.  Remember, you really are the result of the five people closest to you.  It may feel bad to say that your current crew who got you to this point can’t push you further, but upgrading the minds around you is necessary. You need experts who will push and encourage you to be your best, having seen the proven results of their expertise.

2. Be open to change. Your competition changes so your game plan has to as well. Periscope just hit the market and everyone is going for the marketing gold there.  I’m not saying it is for everyone, but I am saying that, as entrepreneurs, we need to check out the shiny new toys our customers are loving.  Even if it isn’t the best for our business, we may see an opportunity in our current marketing and tweak what we are doing to compete. For example, if you are a YouTube person now, I see a great similarity in how Periscope is taking over in the same way reality TV took over television. Reality TV is here to stay, but scripted television is also coming back (see shows like Power and Empire).  For those YouTubers who can stay the course, I think they’ll retain customers and even find some new ones in the wake of most non-video content creators joining the Periscope phenomenon.  They will, however, have to be open to a few changes to stay competitive.

3. Motivate yourself. No matter who Williams’ coaches have been throughout her career, her work on the court is self-motivated.  Mentors and coaches help get the self-motivation conversations started, but when you are at pitch competitions or wining and dining that new client, you are there on your own.  You need to learn to tap into your motivation reserves when you fumble, forget a fact, or just plain don’t get the deal. But you have to keep knocking on doors.. Cheer for yourself. Have you ever seen Serena when she knows she’s winning?  I swear she’s her biggest fan and supporter. Are you your biggest fan and supporter?  We all need outside “rah-rah” folks, but nobody knows how hard you are working better than you. You deserve to jump and shout even if the win seems small – especially if the win seems small.

5. Realize you are human. The commentators on Williams’ game were very complimentary to the now 21 title holder, but they had no problem telling us where her game can still improve. If you haven’t made all the money in your market, you still have plenty to learn.  However, we all do.  Remember that you are human and make sure you learn from your mistakes. You also want to start delegating your weaknesses to someone who is stronger at that task. Winners adjust.

6. Stay in this moment. Williams’ goals are her own, but the press puts a lot of pressure on her to win.  What’s her response? Winning each point as they come and staying in this moment. We, as entrepreneurs, have plenty on our plates, for sure, and you need to have goals for growth.  However, don’t squander the opportunity to love where you are right now. Make sure you are giving yourself the encouragement, accolades, and even the resources you need now.  “Someday” will come, but you need to prepare for it today by being the best you can in this moment. Laser focus now will be the power play you need for future success.

Champions make it look easy, but they didn’t get to the top without being willing pupils. Take these five lessons I’ve learned from Serena Williams and watch your game go straight to the top.

Ella Rucker (@ellalaverne) is in the business of mentoring entrepreneurs for their business’s success.  She is the co-founder of Weekend Startup School and director of operations for #MentorMonday; Both are safe places for entrepreneurs to learn practical advice for their big dreams. She has made her living for the past three years as a freelancer working as a writer, editor and content producer with some of the most successful personalities, brands, and blogs. She has also written an eguide for Blogalicious entitled Tick Tock Goes The Blog Clock: The What, Why and How Of Creating 365 Days Of Content TODAY.  To find out more go to EllaRucker.com.





Black Women Are the Fastest Growing Group of Entrepreneurs


The number of businesses owned by African American women has grown 322% since 1997, making black females the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S., according to Fortune Magazine.

Overall, the number of women-owned businesses grew by 74% between 1997 and 2015—a rate that’s 1.5 times the national average, according to the recently published 2015 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express Open.

Women now own 30% of all businesses in the U.S., accounting for some 9.4 million firms. Additionally, African American women control 14% of these companies, or an estimated 1.3 million businesses. That figure is larger than the total number of firms owned by all minority women in 1997, the report found.

“We attribute the growth in women-owned firms to the lack of fair pay, fair promotion, and family-friendly policies found in corporate America,” said Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, to Fortune. “Women of color, when you look at the statistics, are impacted more significantly by all of the negative factors that women face. It’s not surprising that they have chosen to invest in themselves.”

The highest concentrations of black woman-owned businesses are in Georgia, Maryland, and Illinois, but African American women are launching companies in growing numbers across the country, says Fortune. In Detroit, where city leaders, foundations, and even President Obama have promoted entrepreneurship as an economic development tool, a tiny nonprofit is making out-size efforts at helping black women become business owners.

It’s called the Build Institute and since its start in 2012 it has graduated nearly 600 students from its eight-week courses, which teaches the basics of starting and running a business, including such topics as money management and how to determine your break-even point. Nearly 70% of those students are women, and 60% of them identify as a member of a minority group.

“Our typical participant is an African American woman,” said April Boyle, the group’s executive director to the mag. “It was very intentional from the very beginning to be inclusive, because when we started we saw a gap. There was a lot of attention on high-scale, high-growth technology companies, but not a lot of support for community and Main Street entrepreneurs.”





4 Reasons Why Your Business Needs A Mentor


All new business owners or entrepreneurs should find a mentor to guide them in their business journey. It is a harsh reality that only half of all small businesses survive more than five years after launching, according to the Small Business Administration. However, there is growing evidence that connecting businesses with mentors can change this statistic.

Research shows that businesses receiving three or more hours of mentoring have witnessed a boost in revenues and market share. According to a 2014 survey by THE UPS Store, 70% of small businesses that gained mentorship survive more than five years, double the survival rate of businesses that don’t receive such counseling. Moreover, 88% of business owners with mentors maintain that having one can prove to be invaluable. Learning from their mistakes and rebounds offer insight and guidance on making more informed business decisions invaluable. Learning from their mistakes and rebounds offer insight and guidance on making more informed business decisions.

Necole Parker, founder and CEO of The ELOCEN Group in Washington, DC. She attributes mentoring to her company’s solid growth trend as a small business.  “I recognized very early on the importance of seeking out those who were where I desired to one day take my business, she adds. “More importantly, being granted the opportunity to tap into the collective wealth of knowledge mentors possess, is an invaluable experience. I’m afforded the opportunity to gain insight from their cumulative lessons-learned, failures, and setbacks, which provides greater clarity when I encounter similar challenges.” achieve revenues and increased business.

Adhering to a mentor’s advice helped Parker to directly land her company’s largest contract ever, which was a five-year $50 million dollar Food and Drug Administration contract in 2013. “Two of my mentors (who are on the BE 100s Industrial/Services Companies list), avail themselves regularly to share ideas, offer advice, and just to listen. Finally, after diligent persistence, my company gained entry into the Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection program, where Coca-Cola is our mentor company. As a result, we are receiving strategic guidance on how to grow both in scale and capacity,” adds Parker, who shared her experience on finding mentors as a speaker during the 2015 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

Mentors can make all of the different in your business success, asserts Mahisha Dellinger, CEO and founder of CURLS, the natural hair care products company based in Dallas and author of the autobiographical Against All Odds: From the Projects to the Penthouse. Dellinger was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Steve Harvey Mentoring Camp In Dallas, Texas and 2015 Women of Power Summit.

“I started a business in 2002 knowing very little about running a business. But I stuck with it, through post-partum depression, angst, lack of resources, failures and more,” she recounts. “There are so many people out there who have great business ideas… but zero confidence. Mentors can be the key to building confidence in yourself and your business.”

Dellinger cites SCORE, an organization supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, as a valuable resource. Its national network of more than 11,000 mentors delivers free and confidential advice to entrepreneurs. Business mentors are available for one primary reason – to help you succeed. But it’s a two-way street.  Since  business mentors can learn from mentees as well, the experience is usually mutually beneficial.

Below are just five key reasons how mentors can give small business owners a competitive advantage. They provide:

A Valuable Resource. A great mentor can be your indispensable adviser and life coach since he or she  has traveled the same road  and can guide you to your intended destination faster than if you take that trip solo, asserts Dellinger. Common mistakes and business-damaging pitfalls can be avoided. “I was able to tap into key contacts, vendors, expensive industry reports that were out of my reach due to my mentor. A great mentor will enable you to dramatically cut your learning curve,” she adds.

A Support System. You will invest a lot of time and resources into your new business venture. To be successful, you must have  a support system for counsel and, in some cases, a motivational boost. .  Says Dellinger:  “A mentor in your industry—or even not in your industry—who can listen to the latest startup crisis sympathetically is invaluable. When you’re starting a business, having experienced guidance is the best support system of all.”

A Sounding Board. Every idea you come up with won’t be golden. Mistakes are part of the game. Don’t be afraid to question yourself, or allow others to question you. You’d be amazed at what talking through an idea can do.  A good mentor can be that much-needed sounding board to assist you in thinking through your idea and helping you find effective solutions.

A Point of Access. Along with decades of experience, valuable mentors come with a vast network of industry connections and decision-makers in your target market. Among one of the key benefits to having a mentor can be to provide access to greater business opportunities.Key partnerships and introductions will be more difficult to secure, as will gaining the trust of key brands and influencers you may want to work with to accelerate growth,” Dellinger says. “A mentor can put their own reputation on the line for you should they decide you’re worthy of it. Without a mentor you will have to create your own opportunities. This will prove to be a much longer, slower road.”






Rose Stuckey Kirk Shares Insights in ColorComm Twitter Chat

Kirk Rose

With the ColorComm Conference quickly approaching, female media professionals are prepping for the big networking event. This annual conference, the ultimate business retreat for women of color in communications, will take place July 29-31 2015.

Recently, the group hosted an informative #ColorCommChat on Twitter featuring Ms. Rose Stuckey Kirk, chief corporate social responsibility officer at Verizon. Kirk leads Verizon’s philanthropic strategy with an emphasis on projects that demonstrate the use of technology in addressing social issues, such as education, domestic violence prevention, and online safety, according to a statement.

For more information about the upcoming ColorComm Conference visit: ColorCommConference.com.