Greentop Gifts Shares Diversity in the Black Community with African-American Characters


Jacquelyn Rodgers is the Founder of Greentop Gifts. Greentop Gifts started as an idea for her son and turned into a company bringing diverse products that reflect families for their own celebrations and holiday moments. Greentop Gifts has been featured in NBC News, Essence, People, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Jacquelyn is a recipient of the 2020 Visa • IFW Black Women Owned Business Grant, 2020 Wild Card Winner in the Stella Labs Women’s Fast Pitch Southeast Regional Competition and a participant in the 2020 Ad Astra Get to Even Founder Bootcamp. She has over 14 years of Consumer Packaged Goods experience at Nestle & Mars Wrigley. From this experience she has keen knowledge on how to take an idea from concept to actual product which has proved invaluable in the early stages of Greentop Gifts.


Patrice: What stuck for me while reading about your business is the name ‘Green Top Gifts’ which is unique. Could you tell us a little bit more about your motivation for creating Green Top Gifts?

Jacquelyn: Yes, I love telling the story of Greentop Gifts. It is an ode to my family. My grandfather had a restaurant bar in the 40’s/50’s which was called Greentop. It was a place of celebration for people in the black community because it was a place where people can go and enjoy the fellowship. This is how my grandfather got his start in entrepreneurship. My dad shined shoes there as a child. When we were deciding on names, we discussed it and that’s how I came up with the name.

Patrice: This is an amazing back story on how you came up with your business name! I like the fact that your grandfather owned a restaurant back in the day and that your dad shined shoes there as a child! Great memories to have! For those who don’t know, that Greentop gifts is an African-American décor and gift service and you mentioned that it features an African American character called Clarence Clause. Could you elaborate a little bit more on the character?

Jacquelyn: We launched the company with the idea of looking for black characters for the season that has a black Santa clause on it. I came to realize that it didn’t exist so I joked with my husband that I wanted to make wrapping paper and he just laughed. That made me start looking at manufacturers and illustrators and we created Clarence Clause that we wanted to appeal to children and adults.

Patrice: Now who would have thought of that idea? That is truly unique on how you moved on that idea of creating wrapping paper for black children! So, are the wrapping paper and other items that you guys sell specially sold online or are they in stores as well?

Jacquelyn: We currently sell online and partnered with some independent retailers in Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Raleigh. We are also looking to expand with some other retailers at the top of 2022!

Patrice: Sounds like a plan! Congrats on that! Like I stated before, your business is very unique and I love the whole representation and the whole meaning behind it. As far as diversity goes, how important is that to you and how do you empower not only kids, but adults on the importance of it?

Jacquelyn: Diversity is extremely important to me and to my husband especially since we are raising small children. We are factious about the images that we show them so that they see representation in television shows, the books they read, and even the celebration we do in our home. We try to make sure they understand and share with them the celebrations that are important to our family as well as people of other races and other nationalities.

Patrice: Well said! Diversity is extremely important in America! Besides Christmas wrapping paper, do you all have other wrapping paper for special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries or graduations?

Jacquelyn: Yes, absolutely!

Patrice: Great to hear! Your business is located in Atlanta and it has been reported that Greentop Gifts had the record-breaking in sales this past year. Congrats on that big accomplishment!

Jacquelyn: Thank you! We were excited to work with big supporters of our brand. 2020 was a challenging year for us and a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs. We really tried to fight through that by creating product and content that our consumers were excited about; we just thrived through the pandemic! We are grateful for the support from our customers.

Patrice: Are you currently working on any new projects? What can the readers expect next from Greentop Gifts?

Jacquelyn: We are launching our Happy Birthday collection, we are expanding that with other products, such as gift bags. We are also getting ready for the holidays! Also, we are trying to get our products with some retailers to expand the marketplace.

Listen to more of this interview by visiting http://www.anchor.fm/theriverzreport


Connect with Greentop Gifts:

Website: www.greentopgifts.com

Instagram (business page) @greentopgifts

First Time Author Teaches Black Families About Traveling in her Book “Ehsan Goes to Paris”

@thatriverzgurlbrandllc

L.L Leatutufu loves to gallivant around the world to eat, play, and explore other cultures with her family. After having her son Ehsan, she recognized there was a need for Black, Indigenous children of color to be represented in books as the main protagonist; especially African American males. Ehsan goes to Paris is the first book from her children’s series. The inspiration came in 2018 after she and her family traveled to Paris to celebrate Ehsan’s 1st birthday. She believes her stories celebrate and represent Black children as well as foster the imagination of children who have a wanderlust spirit. Through her book series, she wants to normalize stories and imagery of Black children/families traveling and exploring the world.  L.L. Leatutufu is a working mom from the Bay Area, she works with justice-involved youth with the intention to dismantle broken systems and radiate light where there is despair. Working with youth who have never left the city or town they reside in, also inspired her desire to be a part of exposing children to a world outside of the radius they are familiar with; even if it’s only through her books.


Patrice: Thank you so much for coming on to The Riverz Report Show and for Pretty Women Hustle Magazine.

Laneka: Thank you so much for having me!

Patrice: What led you to write your children’s book and what was the motivation behind it?

Laneka: In the year 2018, we took our son to Paris for his first birthday and the inspiration came from that. I remembered that I always wanted to write a book ever since I was a kid. Early one morning I was doing my meditation at four in the morning and I was speaking to the Spirit and I was saying that I wanted to write a book and the title ‘Ehsan Goes to Paris’ pop in my mind. I wrote the book in one day!

Patrice: When the Sprit speaks to you, we have to be ready to listen. I love the title and the concept. And the fact you wrote the book in a day shows real dedication. I definitely love the cover! It’s very unique!

Laneka: Thank you! I was super detailed with my illustrator. She was laughing stating that the project could have been out already. (laughs) I wanted things to be in divine order.

Patrice: What message do you want readers to get when reading the children’s book whether they are kids or parents?

Laneka: Don’t let this road limit you. The road is your playground and you are welcome to play. There aren’t enough imagery black family travelers enjoying the rituals of life. I want to normalize black children and families traveling aboard, representing black love, and in addition to promoting my book on diversity, but for black families to venture out.

Patrice: Absolutely and I can agree on that message for all the black families out there wanting to venture out and travel. Why do you think it’s important to talk about multicultural and traveling within kids in general?

Laneka: I want to say that it goes back to representation. It’s so much right now of us getting killed, a multi generation of trauma. Sometimes you have to detach and take the time to live; learn to play. Also exposing our kids to cultures, different cuisines, different languages, and to venture out. I think that is very important.

Patrice: With the pandemic still going on and businesses and families are still affected by this, what type of tips can you offer business owners during this time of need?

Laneka: For me I practice self-care and meditation. Getting tuned with yourself is important as well as getting out. I get out by going outdoors and taking my son to a trail or a beach. You can also do some research and figure out what you like to do and where to go. There are still some countries that you can go to; even traveling locally and getting out just to get air. Staying cooped up in the house can create those mental health issues. Journaling is good, for moms who aren’t able to get out, run yourself a bubble bath; do what you need to do to take care of you! My mom used to say “You don’t have to spend money to have fun!” There are different creative things that you can do. Hear more of this interview by visiting www.anchor.fm/theriverzreport

Ladies, Get Sexy with Amour Cache; Bringing you Sexiness with Fashion and Lingerie

Deean Yeoh is co-founder and CEO of Amour Caché, a new intimate apparel company that seeks to create space for everyone from bralette lovers to breast cancer survivors and beyond. Deean found her passion for customer-centric products while working at a digital marketing agency. Since then she’s found ways to incorporate market research data into Amour Caché’s designs. When she’s not working on new bra designs or scouting for unique fabrics, you’ll find her curled up with a book, writing, or taking 35mm photos. She’s lucky enough to work with her best friend, but in her downtime recoups via solo sports (ballet, boxing, and sailing).

Agnes Zhan is co-founder and CFO of Amour Caché. She previously headed project management at a VR company before founding Amour Caché with her best friend. She is passionate about how technology can streamline and advance “traditional” processes and hopes to incorporate this into Amour Caché’s product development flows in the future. Agnes’s dream is that one day, public perception of intimate apparel will shift to encompass beauty and function — not just one or the other.


Patrice: What motivated/inspired you to start a business?

Amour: We initially planned to create a size-inclusive lingerie company, 30–40 bra bands and XS-2XL bottoms sizes. During the course of our company’s evolution, one of our co-founders discovered she had breast lumps. Soon after, we heard from two other girlfriends who had either just discovered their breast lumps or just gotten biopsied. All these women were below 25. It was kind of existential and made us question “well, what if we did get breast cancer? How would we feel? What would we want? What would help us feel like “ourselves” in a time of distress and uncertainty?” We started speaking to survivors to hear their stories. When we did more research into the intimate apparel space, we discovered that beautiful, luxurious post-mastectomy bras were in short supply. As we continue to develop the brand, we’re realizing the same can be said for many marginalized groups that haven’t been catered to by the traditional lingerie industry. From there, we’re catering to and expanding on inclusivity, which is how Amour Caché was born and continues to grow!

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman that hustles?

Amour: We both come from entrepreneurial families. As a kid, when you bear witness to the rise, falls, and risks that come with owning your own business you want to run in the opposite direction, but as cliché as it sounds, we are driven by our passion. We both share a deep love for business and fashion. When we saw a gap in the market that we believed we had a solution for, we went for it. Lucky for us, we have very supportive families that pushed us to chase our budding business and friends who tried our products and were convinced we had a future in the industry.

Patrice: What is the name of your business(es) and what are they all about?

Amour: Amour Caché is a new breed of inclusive lingerie where everyone from bralette-lovers to breast cancer survivors and beyond feel seen and catered to unlike ever before. We also have an e-magazine that accompanies our brand called L’AMOURZINE. The e-magazine is our way of featuring individual stories and inspiring conversations around topics like mental health, body diversity, and gender identity — an extension of our brand’s goal of inclusivity. Having a space for discourse and dialogue on a wide range of topics allows us to make space for all the identities we want our brand to reach in the near future.

Patrice: Have you faced any challenges in your business?

Amour: It’s very difficult garnering organic interest in a brand as a small business; we have limited resources to spend on marketing and a limited network to draw from. However, it has made us really creative and scrappy when it comes to making genuine connections with people who believe in our mission and our products. It’s really inspiring to work with like-minded folks who care about the same things we do and share in our love for the power of lingerie.

Patrice: What projects are you currently working on?

Amour: We are currently working on launching our Spring/Summer styles and starting to develop new styles for 2022!

Patrice: How do you face diversity as a woman entrepreneur?

Amour: The lingerie industry is quite heavily women-dominated – at least from our experience. Most designers we’ve met are women and are, therefore, able to address the fit/aesthetic/comfort concerns of women. We find that increasingly, more and more lingerie startups are women-run, which is incredible to see.

Patrice: Is balancing your personal life, work life and business life difficult for you at times?

(Deean) I love painting and photography, it really helps me decompress. I’m lucky to love my job; oftentimes even when I’m “unplugged” I’ll find myself doodling bra designs or hunting for fabrics.

(Agnes) I try to balance myself by going for workouts. It’s hard to think about anything else except the actual weight that is on your body.

Patrice: How does your business differ from other businesses in the same industry?

Amour: Our company is the first lingerie company (that we know of) to cater to women of all walks of life. Alongside our extended size range, we also cater to all types of bodies and needs. Whether it’s breast cancer, maternity bras, or everyday bras – Amour Caché’s goal is to become a new breed of inclusive lingerie that caters to all your needs throughout all your walks of life.

Patrice: What does being an entrepreneur or business owner mean to you?

(Deean) As someone who loves design and tailoring, I started studying which bra cuts fit well, which fabrics were comfortable or scratchy. Being able to fill a gap in the market is really fulfilling. It’s really rewarding to read reviews where people say how much they love the bra / how they’ve been looking for a bra like this and finally found it because of Amour Caché.

(Agnes) Also a desire for control and independence. As an entrepreneur, we wanted to control the decisions made in a company, the income you have, your future. To me, owning your own business is the only way to do that independently.


Connect with Amour:

Website: http://www.amour-cache.com

IG: https://www.instagram.com/amour___cache/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1lGcQfHva9t_boYqCDXatQ/

Pintrest: https://www.pinterest.com/amourcach0480/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmourCache.IntimateApparel/

The Renaissance Woman and Media Mogul Donia Duchess Shares Insights and Experiences of Being in Media


Donia Duchess is an award-winning, two-time Emmy nominated producer, host, model, actress and motivational speaker. Having carved her own path to success, Donia is known in entertainment circles for her determination, outgoing flair, and fearless demeanor. Hailed as “one to watch,” Donia is using her distinct gift of gab to make a name for herself as a rising television personality! Upon graduation, Donia landed her first job in television production with The Maury Povich Show, where she thrived as a production assistant, helping to book and coordinate some of the show’s most watched episodes. But by 2015, Maury’s executive producer approached Donia about appearing on the show to host a national segment, and Donia’s on-air career officially commenced. Bold, beautiful and brilliant, Donia Duchess is a renaissance woman. With multiple television and modeling credits under her belt, Donia is quickly becoming entertainment’s go-to celebrity reporter, on-air segment host, and lifestyle expert. Fierce perseverance, sincere passion and an undeniable propensity have helped Donia climb the ranks as one of television’s most sought after talents, and she’s just getting started.


Patrice: Thank you so much for taking the time out to interview with Pretty Women Hustle Magazine.

Donia: Thank you for having me!

Patrice:  I was blown away just by reading your bio. It is very impressive of all the work you have done so far in your career! How did you get started in the media industry?

Donia: I always like to tell people that I started out behind the scenes. I wanted to learn everything behind the scenes to make good television, to make good entertainment, figure out how to connect with people in order to be good in front of the camera. My first job was on the Maury show and I started there as a production assistant. It was a really interesting time for me because I got to work with all these incredible people and producers and learn so much. Honestly after one season, I immediately felt like that wasn’t the kind of television I wanted to produce. I knew that type of television wasn’t really what I wanted.

Patrice: Anyone that wants to be in the media industry whether a producer, behind the camera, media correspondent or in front of the camera, a lot of people do start behind the scenes. People who work in media don’t just jump in front of the scenes, but gradually start slow. What experiences have you learned from being behind the scenes and then working your way up in front of the camera?

Donia: Ultimately, I’ve learned to have a bigger appreciation and the work that goes into making television. So for the people that sit at home and don’t know much about TV, they can watch a show and see a host on camera and you know those type of people that comment negative things on social media and say “Oh that job must be easy” They can sort of attack a celebrity or host because they feel that the job looks easy. So, that’s the point. As a talent you are supposed to make the job look easy. That’s how you know that you are doing a good job. But It’s really hard and it is a lot that goes into it and I’m grateful on how my climb has been slow and steady.

Patrice: I agree with that. Media can be quite competitive at times and may not look as easy as it may seem. Gaining all the experiences and challenges you overcame so far, what current projects are you working on?

Donia: Honestly, current project is being a mom (laughs). To be completely honest, I am just trying to get back to myself. I see that a lot of times celebrities will have kids and snap back in six weeks. And then they are showing off their abs and that is the unrealistic for the average mom who is at home with her kid. I went through a lot with my pregnancy. At point they thought my son was going to have down syndrome; it was a 92 percent chance. I had diabetes when I was pregnant, I had high blood pressure, and not to mention I was pregnant during the pandemic. A lot of doctor’s appointments I had to go alone because my husband wasn’t allowed to come in with me. So right now my current projects are being a mom, focusing on my mom and getting back to my hosting career.

Patrice: You are definitely a renaissance woman! During your career, what has been some of your favorite celebrity interviews so far?

Donia: OMG! There are so many! Boris Kodjoe was the first one. So we are doing the interview and I’m with my co-worker and he’s answering all these amazing questions. He’s a very good-looking guy; people with eyeballs can see that. Then in the middle of the interview, I said “Me and my co-worker are listening to you, but all we can say is uh-huh uh-huh” We were zoned out by how beautiful he was! (laughs) The interview was live so people picked up on that clip and thought that it was the funniest thing.  In the end I am always going to be myself and everyone ended up loving it.

Listen to more of this exclusive interview by visiting The Riverz Report Podcast at www.anchor.fm/theriverzreport

BEST-SELLING AUTHOR AND EVANGELIST PAMELA SMITH CONTINUES TO ELEVATE WOMEN THROUGH HER LITERARY TALENT

Pamela D. Smith is an Evangelist, Best-Selling Author, and Authorpreneur who has dedicated her diverse pursuits to elevating the lives of women and authors around the world. She uses her literary talent to evangelize and bring others into the saving faith of Jesus Christ. She started a movement #healedlifewholewoman to help women release past hurt and pain and live a life of purpose and abundance. As an Authorpreneur, Pamela serves as a life and book coach and a self-publishing consultant. Pamela has worked with many authors and helped them pursue their dream of becoming published. She has been featured in several magazines, articles, podcasts, and blogs. She was recently named one of 11 Women in Marketplace Ministry to watch in 2021 by Sheen Magazine. To learn more about Pamela D. Smith visit her website at www.pameladsmith.net

My inspiration comes from the things I have been able to heal and break through from. My inspiration also comes from living, breathing examples of the gospel in demonstration. People who I watch who have mastered the art of overcoming!

Patrice: For those who do not know you, tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Pamela: I am a Wife, Mother of 3 boys, Glam Ma, and an Authorpreneur. In the Author Space, I write and self-publish my books, which are used to evangelize and minister to readers, help them heal and live a purpose driven life. I coach other aspiring, faith-based authors on how to do the same.

Patrice: What makes a pretty woman that hustles?

Pamela: Her spirit. Her tenacity. Her courage. The fact that she is not truly hustling as the word defines hustle, but she is in divine flow and living her life purposefully. A healed, whole woman is a pretty woman who hustles.

Patrice: How did you get your big start in business?

Pamela: I’ve been writing for as long as I could hold a pen. From journaling to re-wording and rewriting my friends love letters to their boyfriends, it’s something I have always done. About 16 years ago I gave God my “real” yes and decided to use writing as a ministry tool so I started self-publishing my writing and then other aspiring authors started asking if I could help them self-publish their books and from there the business was birthed.

Patrice: You are a woman that wears many hats in entrepreneurship such as being an evangelist, author, inspirational speaker and more! Where does your inspiration come from?

Pamela: My inspiration comes from the things I have been able to heal and break through from. My inspiration also comes from living, breathing examples of the gospel in demonstration. People who I watch who have mastered the art of overcoming!

Patrice: I want to talk about your love to help others in the literary world. How long have you been a literary agent to new and upcoming authors?

Pamela: I’ve been helping others self-publish for the last 5 years.

Patrice: Speaking of authors, you are one yourself! How many books have you published?

Pamela: I have published 9 books.

Patrice: Out of all the books you wrote, which one seems to be the reader’s favorite?

Pamela: I think there’s a split between my very first one-E3: Encouraged, Equipped, Empowered and my last one, While at the Altar.

Patrice: What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?

Pamela: To me it means I have the liberty to enter an industry and set my own rules. Yes, I think it’s important to be knowledgeable in what is trending, but one can also be innovative and disrupt the industry. You can’t do that when you are working for someone else. Their rules and processes are their rules and processes.

Patrice: Tell us more about your business and what it intel.

 Pamela: As an Authorpreneur, I am a Christian Author, Speaker, and Coach so I write, publish, and sell books. I speak at Churches, Women Conferences and Empowerment Events. I also coach and serve as a Self-Publishing Consultant to aspiring authors to help them through the writing process and with self-publishing and launching their books

Patrice: Are you currently working on any new projects?

 Pamela: I am working on 3 client projects and from there I have some more that have already signed on. I’m booked with client projects until September. Glory be to God

Patrice: Do you plan on writing any more books soon?

Pamela: Yes. With every book I say it’s my last one because I want to focus 100% on clients, but God continues to download to me and I am always drawn back to writing another book. I have accepted that I have a writing ministry so I will never be able to get out of literary evangelism, whether that be through publishing books or blogs, God will continue to give me a message to share through a book.

Connect with Pamela:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/1pameladsmith

Instagram: @pameladsmith1

Email: smith.pamela391@gmail.com

Website: www.pameladsmith.net

Savon Speaks is Making Moves through Inspirational Podcast ‘SavonSpeaks’ and Pens First Book

Savon Holt is the owner and founder of SavonSpeaks. Her organization was established to motivate and empower women in finding their purpose. Her purpose and mission help them have and live the life they deserve. She empowers ladies who have experienced adversities and life setbacks to rebuild and get back to the life that’s destined for them. Savon is also a Licensed Practical Nurse, certified personal/confidence coach, entrepreneur, author, and mother of one wonderful son.  She has had a life full of obstacles to overcome. Being a teen mother has benefited Savon more than what she has expected. She knows how it feels to be a woman and wants to strive more but scared of her past.

 

The ideal message is letting other women know You are not alone! Many times, we go through things in life thinking no one understands us or that we are alone in this walk.

Patrice: Your vibe is so vibrant, warm and embracing to women all over! What led you to be an empowerment for women?

Savon: What led me to becoming an empowerment to women is knowing that there are women out there who have had to jump the same hurdles as me. And know that there are some women who just don’t have the energy to even jump, to take that leap to get out of whatever unwanted situation they are in.

Patrice: As a motivational speaker, what do you hope to achieve in your journey?

Savon: As a motivational speaker I hope to achieve the goal of positively changing mindsets. The goal is to inspire, empower and motivate someone who is ready to receive the help. I want to be an influencer and use that ability to bring forth positivity. As women we have it hard as it is. We take on so much responsibility that we forget about what makes us happy. So, the goal is getting women to love themselves first and live a purposeful life.

Patrice: Your show/podcast Savon Speaks is very empowering for women to come onto your platform and share their success stories. What was the inspiration of creating your platform?

Savon: I wanted women to know what Savon Speaks is about. From there I created Women Winning Wednesday’s which is my podcast and show. My featured guests discuss their journey to success. They share with their blueprint on how they overcome adversity and life setbacks on their journey to success. We talk about things such as troubled marriages, loss of child, domestic violence, surviving sickle cell disease, molestation, rape, etc, that was overcome and how they push through. Many of the women I have interviewed are businesswomen, authors, nurses, or a successful career in general. My show and podcast is set to be a blueprint for other women who are going through or have been through similar hardships but are stagnant in life because of their past traumas. So Savon Speaks WWW is to help empower, inspire and motivate them women to see that you can do it to.

Patrice: Does your platform have an ideal message for women you are speaking to?

Savon:  The ideal message is letting other women know You are not alone! Many times, we go through things in life thinking no one understands us or that we are alone in this walk. Truth is there is always someone going through worse, so lets not focus on Why those things happen or why things are happening that we feel are not in our favor, but What can we do to fix it so our future is brighter and happier.

Patrice: Because your podcast is so rich and filled with positivity and empowerment, what is next for this platform in the new year?

 Savon: The next step is to evolve. I want people to be able to listen to my podcast all over the world. I plan on making Savon Speaks WWW podcast and show national and international for people to listen and view.

Patrice: What are some of your expectations of being a life coach?

Savon:  My expectations as a life coach is to help my clients reach and achieve goals that they feel are impossible for them to do on their own. And leaving them with the skills and techniques to do it on their own. I look at it just like my nursing career. When patients are admitted, we are already starting their discharge planning. I apply the same method with my life coaching. When a client joins my BeComing H.E.R Coaching Academy, I am already planning from their end result/goal. As their coach my job is to build a meaningful relationship with them, no judgment zone, have my clients best interest at heart, challenge them, support and brainstorm with them, help them reach their goals, motivate, empower, hold them accountable, and help them surface that hidden gem within them.

Patrice: As a life coach, what message do you want others to know?

Savon: As a life coach I would like others to know they are not alone. One of the biggest steps anyone can take, is taking the step towards getting help.

Patrice: Not only are you a podcaster, a motivational speaker, a licensed nurse, a femalepreneur, but you are a new author as well! We spoke briefly last year about your new book project “My Truth” and now that it has manifested, what can readers expect from reading your debut book?

Savon: Readers can expect to get a glimpse of my journey. Past to present. My book “My Truth” is a memoir that is intended to be used as motivation and to inspire another person. Letting them know, if I could do it, so can you. Those limiting beliefs will have you miss out on so many blessings in life that you well deserve.

Patrice: Now that you are a part of the Author’s Club, how does it feel to be a new published author?

Savon:  I can honestly say it feels great. To know that I can reach someone with my story from my living room lol. Even if it just reaches one person and that person gets inspired and motivated, I will feel like it was worth they late nights and reliving my past events to write my story.

Patrice: When is your book set to be released?

Savon:  My book will be released on February 5th. People will have the chance to preorder January 22, 2021. I just wanted to make sure it was perfect and that the timing was right. It can be purchased on Amazon and on my website at http://www.SavonSpeaks.com.

Patrice: How hard was it for you to write your personal memoir and for readers to see the pain you been through?

Savon: It was tough because I had to really sit and think about the timeframes. Those events happened so long ago, and I had suppressed the memory of it. Suppressing it was my survival mechanism. But writing my bool forced me to deal with some of those issues head on. It was another self-discovery moment for me. So I would say it was bitter sweet in a sense, but I am proud of myself. I got through another challenge.

Patrice: The pandemic is still going on in the new year hurting small businesses and causing a mental destruction among the nation. Has Covid-19 affected your business as an entrepreneur at all?

Savon: I am still fairly new to the game. However, so far I have been truly blessed during these trying times. I can honestly say, things are going well. I just count my blessings! My business is going well and have a lot of support. I have landed a columnist position at Rochester Women Online, which allows me to continue getting my platform out there and I’m thankful for every opportunity.

Patrice: What can we expect from Savon Speaks this year?

Savon: You can expect more quality and greatness this year. Definitely will be putting my skills to use. For my podcast and show you can expect more great and empowering interviews. You can expect to see me doing more speaking engagements.

Patrice: Any final thoughts?

 Savon: For any woman out there, who want to do something meaningful for themselves, do it. You don’t need permission to be GREAT! You are all the validation you need. Stop being afraid to take chances. Success is the result of failure, so don’t be afraid to fall. Just get back up and find another route to your success. Grow where you are planted. Be your authentic self and watch how much easier life can be. Make 2021 be about Self-Love. Its okay to be selfish when it’s about your needs being first. Turn your pain into your purpose. Let the pain you experience be the reason you want change in your life. Opportunity don’t just come knocking at your door, you have to go get it. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Don’t focus on Why things have happened to you, because we can’t change the past.  However, what can you do to change things. You are responsible for your own Happiness. Write down your goals, plan and execute them. You got this!

 

You can purchase Savon’s Book Here: 

 

 

 

A storyteller and writer creating her own lane one opportunity at a time! Patrice Rivers is a 9x published author who created her own brand That Riverz Gurl Brand, LLC. Not only is she a certified journalist and freelance writer, but a Sickle Cell survivor and advocate. Patrice created the “Come Learn with Patricia” book series to share her personal testimony of living with SCD. Learn more about Patrice and That Riverz Gurl Brand, LLC by visiting www.thatriverzgurlbrandllc.com. Be sure to follow her on Instagram www.instagram.com/thatriverzgurlbrandllc

Get ‘GenFit’ with Fitness, Zumba Instructor Beverly Johnson

Having been a Zumba instructor for years, she knew her influence included more than fitness training when a candid conversation with an exercising client revealed that women in caretaker roles often forget about themselves. She named her new motivational fitness business Genesys Fitness because it signified a rebirth for the often “forgotten” woman: the divorce’, caretaker, and empty-nester.  Genesys Fitness (GenFit) is a community of women who recognize the need to reclaim their lives and are emotionally ready to do the work with Beverly K. Johnson, motivational life coach, fitness trainer and “girlfriend of authority”. At GenFit, self-care takes priority over caring for others because it is in caring for ourselves that we make the best caregivers. We believe that by helping women rediscover who they are after suffering a loss, she will be empowered to become her ideal self – physically, mentally and emotionally. GenFit is a safe space where women can transform their mindset, body and life in a caring and non-judgmental environment. Through candid conversations and fitness training, “forgotten” women are empowered to reclaim their identity and unveil the strength inside by working 1-on-1 with motivational life coach, Beverly K. Johnson.

 

Patrice: What makes Beverly a pretty woman that hustles?

 Beverly: I’m a mixture of faith, determination, and old school rap music. Beverly is a dreamer who’s learned to push back her fears and go after her dreams. I’ve learned to trust my instincts and take more risks.

Patrice: Was fitness something you always enjoyed doing? What sparked your interest?

 Beverly: As an Army veteran, fitness has always been a part of my life. When I was younger, I went to the gym more out of habit. I understood that I needed to exercise for my health. There were times when my friends and I would literally finish a group fitness and then celebrate Taco Tuesday at the Mexican restaurant across the street.   Now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the importance of having a healthy, balanced wellness plan. It’s a plan that recognizes my emotional, mental, and physical needs.

 Patrice: Zumba is a fun exercise to do in classes and fitness training. How long have you been a Zumba instructor?

Beverly: It’s hard to believe that I’ve been an instructor for over ten years! A decade of moving and grooving while encouraging and motivating my students to achieve their goals.

 Patrice: How did you come up with the concept of creating Genesys Fitness? (GenFit) What was the inspiration behind it?

 Beverly: Prior to passing my certification exams, I had a list of ten names that were possible contenders for my business name. Oddly enough, Genesys Fitness was not on the list! It was not the original business name. After going to my list, all the other names were taken. I remember sitting at my desk, wondering what my business name should be. I asked myself, what did I want every client to achieve. I wanted each person to experience a new beginning, a new awareness of who they are. Looking back, I’m glad the other ten names didn’t work out. I genuinely believe that the impact wouldn’t be the same.

 Patrice: Is there a particular message you want women to understand with your business?

 Beverly: One of the prevailing messages that I’ve always shared is that we are worth the love and effort that we freely give to everyone else. Self-care isn’t a selfish act. It means that you recognize that it’s impossible to nurture others when you’re depleted.

 Patrice: Health and fitness are an essential aspect of life. What advice would you give to those who are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle?

Beverly: I encourage you to start with your “why.” What’s the reason for your lifestyle change? Many of my clients have goals such as “being present for my grandchildren,” “stop taking high blood pressure medications.” Your “why” will push you when the motivation ends. I also encourage everyone to start slowly and find the activities that you enjoy. You’re more likely to stick with it.

Patrice: Any tips on keeping fit?

 Beverly: I tell my client not to overwhelm themselves. Start with gradual changes. For example, if you’re not drinking water, increase your intake. Don’t be afraid to try new foods. Before you clean out your pantry, begin with substitutions. Figure out what you like first. Lastly, rest is always overlooked. Give your mind and body time to rest and reset.

 Patrice: I do like the name Gen Fit. Could you explain what the term means for our readers?

 Beverly: GenFit is the abbreviated version of Genesys Fitness. I was in a meeting one day and mentioned it. From that day, I started using it.

 Patrice: How important is self-care, and how does GenFit demonstrate that?

 Beverly: Self-care is one of the most underutilized tools. In our culture, we tend to glorify those who work 24/7. The result usually leads to injury, mistakes, and exhaustion. And when you’re exhausted, it leads to increased consumption of sweets and junk food to keep going.  Over the years, I had to learn that women often feel guilty for wanting to rest. Part of my coaching includes educating women on the importance of self- care. More than anything, they also see me practice it.

 Patrice: What is the “Forgotten Woman?”

 Beverly: In different seasons, we’ve all been the “forgotten woman.” I often describe her like this: She’s the person who makes sure her family eats, yet often takes the smallest plate. She’s the one people know by name, but she sometimes forgets her own because she’s so tired and overwrought. The Forgotten Woman is a beautiful and selfless spirit who, in everything she does, puts others’ needs ahead of her own. She often goes unappreciated, unloved, abused, and overworked. She often feels alone, tired, sick, depressed, ugly, invisible, and doesn’t know how to express her feelings. In her heart, she desires more but has been accustomed to going without.

 Patrice: This year has been crazy, with the pandemic and small businesses closing down. Has your business been affected at all by it?

 Beverly: This year has challenged me to tap into my creativity and ingenuity. Initially yes. I also work as an independent contractor and teach at several gyms. Earlier this year, several of the fitness centers were shut down for safety precautions. I had to figure out a way to remain connected. As with everyone, I expanded my presence in the virtual world. I now offer complete online training programs. I have the capability to remain connected with the clients and classes. With the new platform, I’ve been able to increase my speaking engagements.

 Patrice: Are there any new projects or events you are working on?

 Beverly: I am in the early stages of writing a book. I have bits and pieces. It’s a matter of pulling it all together and ready for review. I’m also preparing for a health and wellness masterclass in January. I want to provide the tools for building a sustainable weight loss program.

 Patrice:  With GenFit, how is it transforming their mindset, body, and life?

 Beverly: I’ve always believed where the mind goes, the body follows. Often, we start a wellness journey with no clear plan. Many of us know that we need to go to the gym, drink water, and eat better foods. And with no clear strategy, we tend to give up in less than a month. It’s not for lack of wanting a change but more of not sure how to maintain the progress.  I provide my clients with a roadmap, based on their goals and needs, that offer strategies for achieving their goals.

 Patrice: What is next for Beverly Johnson?

 Beverly: On the immediate horizon is take a well- earned break. Usually, around the holiday season, I take some time off to rest. I practice what I preach about self-care. I’m also working on a few projects to expand the services that GenFit offers.

 Patrice: How can readers connect with you?

 Beverly: I invite everyone to join my tribe on Facebook- The Fitness D.E.V.A.S. Like and Follow Genesys Fitness on Facebook and Instagram- @bevkjohnson

 

 

Patrice Rivers is a 9x published author, freelance writer, certified journalist and owner of That Riverz Gurl Brand. She is also expanding her writing skills by writing for several online publications. Learn more by visiting her website at http://www.thatriverzgurlbrandllc.com 

 

A Dream Fulfilled! Author, Writer LaWanda Burrell Shares Her Vision To Starting Her Journey as an Author

LaWanda Lewis Burrell was born and raised in Greenville, Alabama. She was a shy, small town girl with big city dreams that learned to speak her truth in the time of adversity. LaWanda is grateful for her good upbringing, love and support from her parents and older sister. At a very young age she discovered what absolutely fulfilled her purpose was being compassionate and helping others. Her love for people and working in the community helped her to gain numerous job and volunteer opportunities. LaWanda stepped out on faith and moved to Houston, Texas in 1998, two months after graduating from Stillman College, receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. She is a former educator and HR professional believing that success has no limits, if you can dream it, then you can do it! LaWanda is a proud member of the Order of Eastern Star and her beloved Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., as she served as the undergraduate chapter President for many years. She is a leader in the community volunteering as a historical researcher and board member for the African American Library at the Gregory School Friends Group, Harris County Remembrance Project as a historical researcher, and volunteer in the greeter’s ministry at Lakewood Church. She has been a guest speaker at sorority events, churches, book clubs and Houston Baptist University Board of Directors as she plans to further her education. LaWanda was overjoyed when her book Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up was selected to be on the summer reading list for the Houston Texas Book Club.

 

 

Patrice: What makes LaWanda a pretty woman that hustles?

LaWanda: What makes me a pretty woman that hustles is having a character full of faith, compassion, respect, integrity, kindness, and love. I believe that there is no limit to success, if you can dream it, then you can do it! “To whom much is given, much will be required”. (Luke 12:48) I believe in myself and that my life has purpose. I know that nothing worth having comes easy; it takes hard work and sacrifices. I believe in the successes of others and understand that what God has for me is for me. I am open to receive God’s favor and blessings to help others along the way. Like many BLACK QUEENS, we are powerful, beautiful, talented, unique, the strongest, most educated and creative beings to ever grace this earth. We are everything to everybody, always imitated but never duplicated. No matter what knocks us down, we always find a way to get back up again stronger, better, and wiser.

We rise up and continue to stay in faith because our problems have a purpose. We teach and esteem our little black boys and little black girls about who they are and whose they are. We pray, praise, and read our bibles daily to keep our spirits lifted. I believe when prayer becomes our habit, miracles will become our lifestyle. It takes courage not to be discouraged. We are children of God; we deserve life’s greatest blessings. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) I believe in staying positive, loving one another, supporting and encouraging each other. We have a heart to hustle so that we can leave a legacy for our families. Always keep your head up and celebrate you. Dream BIG and Work HARDER!!

 

Patrice: Tell the readers a little bit about your career as an author.

LaWanda: I’ve always enjoyed journaling, it is a fun way for me to fertilize my spirit with positive self-thoughts, decrease stress, clear my mind, and give me reassurance of who I am in Christ. As a child, I was often told that I was a great storyteller with an active imagination. I love using my writing to inspire, uplift, engage, and encourage. There is no greater rush than a storyteller having the ability to share inspirational stories and discover that you have helped someone through their struggles.

My vision of writing a book happened after I accepted a position as a HR Director, but later noticed it was in a toxic work environment. Everyone will not be on board with doing things the right way, especially when it has worked the wrong way for so long. A year later, I got the courage to stand up and speak up for the unethical behaviors, but was continuously harassed and later terminated. As I prayed in the closet, I asked God to direct my path. I reached for a box on the top shelf and out fell a journal that I had written 5 years prior. I immediately started to type my first draft of my book. I was so engulfed in my thoughts that I had typed my book of over 250 pages within two weeks. I was persuaded by my husband to submit my book to a publisher, but was fearful of rejection because I had gotten rejected from job interviews a lot during that year. The harassment I endured played constantly in my head and created hatred in my heart.

Months later, I went back in the closet and asked God to forgive the ones that caused me harm. Finally, after 9 months of persuasion from my family, I submitted my manuscript, and the next week I was blessed with a book contract from Christian Faith Publishing after I forgave the ones that mistreated me in the workplace. My pain turned into my passion and God revealed my purpose!

 

Patrice: This year has been crazy with the whole pandemic, the BLM movement and violence. Have these events affected your writing at all?

LaWanda: Thankfully the pandemic and horrific events that has occurred to our black men and black women hasn’t affected my writing but has changed the way I market. Due to the pandemic, I haven’t been able to attend in person festivals and book signings like before, but I have been able to attend virtual book festivals, podcasts, and market my book on social media. It is exhausting and very frustrating to witness the injustices among our culture. Writing helps me release stress and anger, and is truly therapy for me. Our black lives do matter. This is why we should vote; it is our voice. The malicious behavior and systematic racism that our black culture have endured for over 400 years is why I write and continue to be a catalyst for change. The injustices that black women are facing is the story of my life as I experienced discrimination and racism as a teenager, in college and in corporate America.

Women sometimes don’t speak up because they don’t feel their voice is strong enough to be heard and accepted. There are so many like Breonna Taylor, Korryn Gaines, Pamela Turner, Sandra Bland, Atatiana Jefferson, and Shantel Davis, whom story was never told and didn’t make it to the media. “Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up” is a book that will encourage you to stand up and speak up for your beliefs, whether it is time’s up for un-forgiveness, domestic violence, depression, discrimination, infidelity, police brutality, fear, toxic relationships, bullying, poverty, low self-esteem, or workplace politics.  No matter what trials I endure I continue to trust God because faith and worry cannot function in the same space. Worrying kills while worshipping heals, take your concerns to God in prayer.

 

Patrice: You recently attended the 2020 National Black Book Festival held in Houston, Texas. What was that experience like for you? Is there anything that you learned from attending?

LaWanda: It was a wonderful celebration of authors of all genres. This was my first time attending and although it was virtual, it was an amazing experience. The National Black Book Festival for 13 years has invited an array of authors from the New York Time’s Best Sellers to your first- time authors, enabling everyone to showcase their books from every perspective, and offer authors critical opportunities to promote their books to a circle of readers most likely to engage with them.  It was an opportunity to listen to other author’s journeys and vision of writing their books. You get to share your struggles and strengths through group chats and podcast interviews. You are able to mingle with celebrity authors to gain knowledge of do’s and don’ts in the entertainment industry. Most were very transparent in explaining how their success didn’t happen overnight, they faced years of rejections.

They gave great tips on marketing your books, a variety of platforms to use for your specific type of genres, a lot of success stories, a lot of positive feedback to encourage the first time writer, and understanding the differences between publishing through a publishing company and self-publishing. I am very thankful for Founder Mrs. Gwen Richardson and The National Black Book Festival staff in blessing Houston, Texas and surrounding areas with this event year round.

 

Patrice: Are there any current projects you are working on?

LaWanda: My plans are to continue to market my book through radio and TV broadcasts, word of mouth, social media, podcast, magazine publications, book signings and festivals. This year of 2020 has been very challenging and unpredictable for everyone. However, God continues to bless us through the storm. Recently, I was approached by a production company in Atlanta, Georgia interested in turning my book Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up into a film. I am super excited about this once in a lifetime opportunity!! Our mission for the film will be to inspire everyone through hope, faith, forgiveness, and love. Our film will have a number of provisions in the content to help individuals understand the power of prayer, live a happy and fulfilled life of purpose, and respect and love for all mankind. This movie will make you laugh, make you cry, but most of all make you love and forgive.

Our plans are to start production of the movie Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up, in 2021.

Patrice: Congrats on that opportunity! Your book “Stand Up Speak Up Because Your Time’s Up” is based on a true story/facts correct?

LaWanda: That’s correct.  Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up is a 5.0 out of 5 stars gripping story about Ananda (main character) a shy, small town girl from Alabama with big city dreams who learns to speak her truth in the time of adversity. Her life is an emotional rollercoaster, as she deals with childhood bullying, relationship issues, happiness, death of loved ones, finding true love, health issues, loneliness, harassment, hardships, and cherishing marriage and family. I share inspirational true stories of my challenges and personal struggles where I had to lean to God for understanding and stand up and speak up for my beliefs. My book will motivate you live a life of purpose, understand your self-worth, and be kind to one another. My powerful testimony will fill you with hope and faith and encourage you to love and forgive.

 

Patrice: What messages do you want readers to take away from reading your book?

LaWanda: Everyone goes through struggles, it is not what you go through, but how you go through it. Understand that your trials and tribulations may be God redirecting your path in life. Be open to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Forgiveness is power, always trust God’s timing. Be different and learn to stand up, and speak up for your beliefs, even if you are standing alone.

Fasting from people that are not for you is very important. Mend relationships with the ones that truly matter, and stop wasting your precious time with the ones that don’t. Procrastination is a DREAM KILLER! You are the creator of your own destiny! Stay positive, Work Hard, Make It Happen

Patrice: For aspiring authors, what advice would you give them?

LaWanda: If you are an aspiring author start by thinking about your purpose of writing and the message you want to relay to your readers. Create goals and a timeline of when you may want to start and have your project completed. I wrote my book within two weeks, however it may take you a lot longer. Try a paragraph a day and before you know it, you will have completed an entire book. Make sure it is realistic and attainable goals, because you want to eliminate any pressure. Writing should be fun and enjoyable, something that you truly like to do. If you make it a chore, you won’t be able to enjoy the journey. Occasionally I face writer’s block, I lose my train of thought, don’t know what to write, or just get tired of writing. This is normal and may require you to take a break, get a bite to eat, spend quality time with your family, or take a walk.

If you get discouraged take a breath, read positive affirmations, pray, take it word by word and day by day. Your story is your story that God has blessed you to write. You don’t have to discuss your ambitions with everyone, because they may not understand your journey, and negative influences will increase your stress, and before you know it, you will have feelings to give up. Work hard in silence and let success be your noise. Always surround yourself around positive and influential people. Remember, it is just a chapter you may be stuck on not the whole story.

Patrice: How can readers purchase your book?

LaWanda: Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up is available in paperback, hardcover, audiobook (narrated by the author), and Kindle. It is available online at Walmart, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Books-A-Million, Apple iTunes, Audible and several independent bookstores in the US and UK. You can purchase signed copies of the paperback and hardcover on my website at www.sosweetauthor.com.

Email:

lawanda.burrell02@yahoo.com

Facebook:

@authorlawandaburrell

Instagram:

@wandavision2020

Twitter:

@lawandalewisbu2