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

Meet Yvette Lloyd of Life Her Podcast! Get Uplifted and Motivated Through Candid Conversations

Yvette Lloyd is a Philanthropist and Media Personality who partners with CEOs, executives, and solopreneurs to grow their personal and professional brands. Yvette has spent nearly a decade being a CEO for Fadia Young Women’s Program and owner of multiple learning centers. She has been honored with her own day, named the “Yvette Lloyd Day,” December 20th from the City of Akron, Commendation Summit County Council, and Congressional Recognition. Yvette’s organization Fadia Young Women’s Program received many features such as LSherie Alert, Rolling Out Magazine, SHEEN Magazine, Bombshell BLU Magazine, BET Experience, 19 Action News, Madamennorie, Devil Strip, Ohio.com, WKYC Channel 3 News, and more. Yvette creates such a positive and comfortable space for all the women and men she interviews. Trust and vulnerability are rare feelings that are difficult to experience with someone we have never met before. ButYvette has landed media coverage in print and broadcast outlets around the world, including the Super Bowl LIV 2020 private party with Dwayne and Theresa Bowe, BGR Fest, Zaytoven Beats private party at the Trap House Museum, I Am Queen Magazine Feature, Akron Beacon Journal National Black Guide and Boss Chicks.


Patrice: What does it mean to be a pretty woman who hustles?

Yvette: A woman that walks with confidence, make sacrifices and hustle.

Patrice: Podcasts are the new virtual and audio talk show of the century and they have so many wonderful shows from great podcasters like yourself! What made you want to start a podcast?

Yvette: My mother encouraged me to start a podcast. She was supposed to start it with me. But, she passed away before we were able to launch it together. So, now I have a passionate purpose to continue to uplift, inspire, and help women’s voices be heard on my podcast.

Patrice: Why do you feel that empowering and uplifting women is much needed in the world we live in today?

Yvette: Women are the root to making things happen. We endure so much in this world we live in and still manage to get up and go daily no matter what the circumstances may be going on in our personal lives. That’s why I created my platform to give all women the opportunity to be themselves, feel comfortable, and be vulnerable for once on a media outlet.

Patrice: The fact that your mother wanted to start the ‘Life Her Podcast’ with you and later she passed. You still had the strength to continue the legacy and start the podcast still. I applaud you for that! Since then, has things been difficult knowing your mom wasn’t physically there with you for the podcast?

Yvette: A lot of times it has been extremely difficult for me to keep pressing forward. However, with me coming from my mother’s womb I still feel her spirit and the connection I have always had with her. My husband also helped me and guided me a lot when she passed away too. Then, later I loss him as well. But, my purpose still serves a purpose to be that women that other women are everyday not even realizing it.

Patrice: Your podcast has received over 6,000 downloads! Congrats on your amazing journey! What do you want others to learn when they listen to each one of your episodes?

Yvette: Thank you so much! Yes, it has. I want each woman to develop strength, knowledge, wisdom, and courage from each woman I interviewed. We all carry something similar to each woman. We just have to listen to each other’s hearts more and love ourselves more to hear what God is trying to show you. Each journey in our lives serves a purpose and you listening to each woman on Life Her Podcast at that very moment is a reason for that because you could’ve occupied your time doing something else.

Patrice: Tell us more about being a CEO for Fadia Young’s Women Program. What was that experience like?

Yvette: It was a beautiful experience mentoring young girls in the community. It actually helped me to become the woman I am today as well. Sometimes we don’t recognize mental health issues in ourselves not until you see a reflection of yourself. I saw that in every girl and being an advocate and mentor for them is one of the best moments of my life.

Patrice: You also had celebrity features on your podcast such as Trina, Pretty Vee, Kissie Lee and more! What was it like having those heavy hitters on your podcast?

Yvette: I honestly don’t see a difference in them than we see in any other women. I loved every moment with them because it was an opportunity for me to let people see them for them on the inside instead of a celebrity. Sometimes people aren’t considerate of other people’s feelings and believe everything in the media. I want Life Her Podcast to give women that are celebrities a chance to be who they really are within instead of someone making them feel uncomfortable speaking about nonsense.

Patrice: Are you currently working on any new projects at the present moment?

Yvette: Yes! I’m actually working on a new show connected with Life Her Podcast that will feature my close friends. Also, I will be launching my new Networking Channel Called “Black Orange Network” that I started with my best friend Tommy Cherry.

Patrice: What can we expect more of on your podcast?

Yvette: More authenticity and more real life stories from women. Also, I will be interviewing some men as well real soon.


Connect with Yvette:

Facebook: Life Her Podcast

Instagram: @ lifeherpodcast

Twitter: lifeherpodcast

Website: http://www.lifeherpodcast.com

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

Meet the CEO of MKCircle CEO Institute, Dr. Karen Semien-McBride

@thatriverzgurlbrandllc

Dr. McBride’s executive coaching programs have produced a generation of exceptional leaders who have transformed industries using sustainability and innovation while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. “The focus is on building emotionally intelligent leaders and helping them understand and conceptualize the concepts of emotional intelligence with applying self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-motivation,” Dr. McBride says.

Her upcoming book explores the psychological theories and their applications of the operational style assessment, making it the new ‘Leadership Language’ of the 22 Century. “It gives you a deeper insight on how to utilize the theories to benefit how you engage others, communicate, make decisions, and how to fully show up in your professional and personal life.”

Dr. Karen McBride provides Entrepreneurs, Influencers & Thought Leaders with the insight and expertise necessary in the areas of entrepreneurship, corporate structure & business acumen, as well as, counseling/mentoring professionals dedicated to providing them moral support and actionable value in both their business and personal lives; empowering, strengthening, encouraging, and challenging them in identifying their unique purpose, equipping and enabling them by teaching them transformative lifestyle changes to live positive, dynamic, impactful, influential lives by supporting & propelling them to show up to lead & win.



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

Dr. Karen: I was raised in the inner city of Compton, California. I was destined to reach higher heights in the entrepreneurial and leadership space. I was leading and starting businesses in elementary school. As a teenager headed to college, I sold my flower business to a florist and received $11,000 to pay towards my education. I was always an entrepreneur. I always believed in leadership, bringing me to realize my goal was always to lead people. Not just lead people, but in a way that would produce results, that would create opportunities, and that would shift the norm of what people would consider leadership to be.

Additionally, I believed in education and how it would support my business acumen. I did not plan to have 5 degrees. However, I worked hard to establish an impressive college background, obtaining my bachelor’s in business administration, a master’s in management and organizational leadership, and two doctoral degrees in business administration/ organizational psychology, psychology/management & consulting, and human letters honored for research.

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman that hustles?

Dr. Karen: Ha-ha, I love that! I see, ‘pretty’ as an internal state of your being. Meaning, the work I do, is because of my inner awareness of who I am, and how I can use my expertise to help others. I train small business leaders and executives to become emotionally intelligent leaders. I teach the highest level of leadership theory to reach the most significant level of growth. So, with that, I would deem it equates to a “pretty awesome hustle.”

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

Dr. Karen: MKCircle Enterprises: CEO Institute Executive and Business Coaching.

MKCircle Enterprises, LLC offers individuals, small business owners, entrepreneurs, corporate, non-profit, and civic leaders a one-on-one curriculum that support professional growth, life planning, and goal setting.  It also explores personal and professional pressures that may hinder progress and growth—introducing several tools that support daily decision-making and leadership, all of which can be shared with other leaders, colleagues, and subordinates.

The CEO Institute offers executive coaching, leadership development team building, and engagement programs that provide one-on-one, cohort and team curriculum that supports professional advancement, personal growth, success strategies, and tools to create the best YOU! It is like no other program in the market. The focus is on three main theories: Operational Style Language, Emotional Intelligence, and Mindset. We explore personal and professional pressures that may hinder progress and growth introducing several tools that can be shared, as well.

We offer:

1:1 Executive Coaching Programs (Executive Leaders, Small Business Owners, Civic Leadership, Entrepreneurs)

Cohort Leadership Program

Team Building and Engagement Programs

And, much more.

Patrice: Have you faced any challenges in your business?

Dr. Karen: Starting as a small business and now scaling into a more mid-level business, presents some challenges. Our main challenges have been funding for expansion and hiring new coaches with the proper education credentials. But if I am speaking about my small business clients, they experience the same challenges around funding. However, they also need support in marketing, customer engagement, understanding their business, and making it profitable and sustainable within their community. The pandemic has been a struggle for some of my small business clients, but it’s also been profitable for some. I always encourage my clients to use my EOES Business Growth Model to plan for the unexpected. The EOES Business Growth Model represents, Emulate, Originate, Establish and Sustain. We support them in creating a plan using the model to follow, which ultimately promotes sustainability during challenging times.

Patrice: What projects are you currently working on?

Dr. Karen: I have several projects that are happening simultaneously. I will share three that I am extremely excited about.

First, I am teaching a Business Health 101 course to legacy business owners in the Los Angeles area. This project is so near and dear to my heart because I grew up in the inner city of Los Angeles. I am a proud product of the inner city. This is an opportunity for me to bring my expertise back to the inner city to support economic growth.

Secondly, I was offered the opportunity to publish a section in Business Matters magazine, for 12 issues, called “Executive Coaching Corner with Dr. Karen.” This is so amazing because I can reach an audience not just in the US, but in the UK and Australia. I get to coach individuals monthly with tips and resources that support professional growth and business sustainability.

Lastly, with my longtime colleague, we created the Operational Style Assessment. It embarks on a new leadership language that will help leaders communicate effectively and learn about their true selves. When I speak of leaders, I speak of everyone who leads their professional sector, in their personal lives, and social circles. The language is universal.

The assessment is available on my website at: https://www.mkcircle.com/assessment/ It is life changing.

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

Dr. Karen: I wrote a quote that says, “High heels are not about being comfortable; they are for leveling the playing field.” I wrote that in closing on a talk I was giving to a group of young female professionals who needed to hear that we are enough. We are tall enough, we are smart enough, we are strong enough, to stand equal to our male counterparts in any sector. Although we have come far, there is still inequity in pay, position, and perception. That quote represents my stance, my obligation as a leader to stand when injustice, a lack of inclusion, and a lack of diversity are present. I believe it is my job to pave the way for women who walk behind me and alongside me and support them in their growth.

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

Dr. Karen: Work-Life balance is a priority for me. I teach work-life balance within the CEO Institute programs because as leaders and hard workers, we get caught up in what I call the loyalty spiral. We misconstrue loyalty by not leaving work on time. We discount our needs and place them behind our work. What we fail to realize is that it is a dysfunction and more of a hindrance to our growth. If we continue to work in that capacity, the inevitable is resentment, unhappiness, not being fulfilled at work or home. I do my best to balance my work and personal life. I leave my office when it is time to go home. I don’t take client meetings during my off days or off times. I’m a better leader, a better teacher, a better coach if I have that balance, and I want to be a role model for my clients. I want to practice what I teach.

Patrice: How would you say your business differs from others in the same industry you work in?

Dr. Karen: There are countless times that I hear from a corporate client or an individual client that there is no other coaching firm doing the work that you do, how do you do it? Our results speak for themselves. Our research showed me that 1:1 dyad executive coaching breeds the highest results. It was essential for us to make our coaching programs about our client’s needs, not about time or money.

Not only are we business strategists and an executive coaching firm, but we are also a research firm. We believe the data that we produce. The data offered that we needed to teach theory in a practical way and create training with tools that would be used and not forgotten. All our programs are 4 to 12 months long. We do not have one-week executive coaching programs or 1-hour group trainings. We have a results-based curriculum, and to teach that curriculum takes time on task, repetition, and engagement. We base all our training on sustainable research and the results that our clients receive. That is what makes us different.

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

Dr. Karen: To me, it means that I have the opportunity to welcome diversity of thought, engage in like-minded leader projects, teach my curriculum, make a difference in individual’s lives, and support business growth. I also have the opportunity to create, collectively build, individually and intentionally shift sectors of business that I would not have typically engaged in my previous role as a COO of a large corporation. The most important part of being an entrepreneur and a business owner is doing the work I love every day.


Connect with Dr. Karen:

Website: www.mkcircle.com

IG: @drkaren.execoach

Twitter: @drkaren.execoach

FB: @CEO-Institute-Executuve-Business-Coaching

YouTube: Dr. Karen Semien-McBride

OWN’ Ready To Love’ Reality Star Ashlee Akins Debuts New Book “Authentically Ashlee”

Ashlee Akins is more than just a face on the OWN network. She’s an educated, entrepreneur making her way while using her platform. After being on Will Packer’s Ready To Love, she decided to take advantage of her loyal fan base she had on the show and create a brand bigger than herself, empowering women, managing artists and plenty.



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

Ashlee: I motivated myself!! Ok let me keep it real I have a huge support system .my brothers are a blessing to me and my mother is the fire behind everything I do.   I always knew that I wanted a business. I just wanted to make sure that it made me feel good about myself when I went to sleep at night! You know, it embodies who I am. 

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman that hustles?

Ashlee: What makes me a pretty woman the hustle is my go getter mentality there is nothing that I won’t try and I can’t do.  During my college years my stepdad and mom had opened a family restaurant named Ashlee Diner. I loved being a young restaurant co-owner but I then understood all the hard work running a business took. I guess you could say I was a young hustler. I was able to go to school and understand what it takes to run a full restaurant business. I’ve always been a hustler I’m always trying to figure out ways to make money. It’s no question that I’m beautiful. Lol, I looked in the mirror. I received, I believed that I am that!!! I am definitely pretty woman that hustler I’m going to hustle to the day I check up out of here. More or less my mom and dad prepared me for my life now!!

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

Ashlee: The name of my business is AA Dimensions; it’s an entertainment and empowerment company. We offer photography, music, dance and fitness, books, community events and more to come. I knew that I wanted to continue my life in the entertainment field. After being on the hit show ‘Ready to Love’, I wanted to make sure whatever business that I involved myself with I empowered people. I love making a difference. So my mother didn’t hesitate when I brought her my ideas. Then boom we birthed AA dimensions and have been going strong since 2019!

Patrice: Have you faced any challenges in your business?

Ashlee: Yes, I have definitely faced challenges in my business. It’s tough trying to juggle everything plus your life and make a profit with your business. You go broke before you get rich! Lol; everything that glitter is not gold! But what I have learned is that hard work pays off and consistency is key. Keep going!

Patrice: What projects are you currently working on?

Ashlee: Yes, I am currently working on some projects!  I have a brand new book out titled “Authentically Ashlee” and it’s available on all platforms. You can get it directly from http://www.chocolatereadings.com/authenticallyashlee

Also I am planning my first community fest on June 5th in my hometown in Jackson, Tennessee where we are going to highlight gun violence awareness, mental health awareness and I am definitely working on bridging the gap and getting my community back to a safer state and creating an opportunity for networking and bringing all of the entrepreneurs the small business and large businesses out in my community!!!

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

Ashlee: It’s simple! I don’t face diversity when someone is doing something that is not God- like. I simply take a deep breath and figure out a way to go around that speedbump. At the end of the day that’s all it is; a speedbump!  I don’t let diversity bother me; I move around diversity.

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

Ashlee: Honestly, yes sometimes it can be difficult to balance everything. But I got to keep it real yall. To be honest balancing your career personal life and work life can be done with a little scheduling LOL. But you make time for what you want. Understand that you need to set short-term goals because you don’t want to cram your brain or your week. Always save some time for yourself each day!


Connect with Ashlee:

Ig: @_iamashlee007

Fb: Ashlee Akins

Twitter: Ashlee Akins


Cross-Genre Author Takes a Walk on the Mystery-Thriller Side with Novels By Jodaea

Born on June 14, 1973, Jodaéa is a cross-genre author of romantic suspense and mystery thrillers. Raised in both Washington, D.C. and Prince George’s County, Maryland. She attended Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland as well as Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia. She is also a Registered Nurse and member of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc. All of her life, Jodaéa always seemed to find herself either in or around the most unusual {and sometimes unbelievable} situations, often asking herself ‘Why me?’  From witnessing a neighbor’s death in 1979 at the age of 5; being the first on the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident in 1999; to observing the supernatural in a hospital room in 2006.  In 2008, after much encouragement from family and friends to chronicle her past experiences, Jodaéa finally decided to give writing a try. She says her inspirations come from recalling past experiences then asking herself, What’s the worst that could have happened? Then letting the stories write themselves!     


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

Jodaea: I wanted to do my books my way and I felt like “why waste my time trying to convince someone that my stories are good enough for print when I have all the tools to do so myself?” So, I took my degree and put it to use.

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman that hustles?

Jodaea: I don’t take NO for an answer. What one won’t do, the next one will. I don’t fear having to go back to the drawing board to regroup. I’m a firm believer in the fact that sometimes we have to take one step back in order to take more steps forward.

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

Jodaea: NOVELS BY JODAEA, LLC. I started it as a means of self-publishing my work but it has since morphed into more of a brand with NBJ merch, book bundles; and book boxes. In addition to assisting others in their self-publishing journeys I also donate bundles of my titles to community services to support reading programs.

Patrice: Have you faced any challenges in your business?

Jodaea: Yes. When I initially started back in 2009, I really just flew by the seat of my pants, eager to see my work in print. After falling on my face, I realized there’s a process and I had to learn it. I took some years off, learned literary terms and the importance of networking and came back stronger with my second novel CAREFUL WHAT YOU PREY FOR.

Patrice: What projects are you’re currently working on?

Jodaea:  My third novel is with the editor now. I have some expos and book fairs on the schedule as we’re beginning to reopen from COVID and I am ALWAYS looking for new opportunities for NBJ to shine.

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

Jodaea: Not really because my family works with and fully supports me. They know if I win, WE WIN!

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

Jodaea: It means independence. It means being a role model to my children and my people. Most importantly, it means being able to put respect on my family’s name.

Connect with Jodaea:

Website: NOVELSBYJODAEA.COM

IG: @JODAEANOVELS

FB: NOVELS BY JODAEA


DEBUT AUTHOR KIMBERLY GOWDY SHARES HER TRUTH IN THE BOOK “THE COLORLESS WOMB”

Debut author Kimberly Gowdy tackles the topic of surrogacy and infertility head-on. In The Colorless Womb, Gowdy talks about her struggles to conceive and carry a child. She discusses complications of three miscarriages and being trapped in an abusive marriage with her former spouse who valued his drug addiction more than his wife. The book follows her journey in search of alternative ways to have a family and how her faith kept her strong even in the darkest of days. After seven failed surrogacy attempts with two embryos left, the biggest surprise comes in an unexpected package.

Gowdy’s openness to share her truth is refreshing and brings the reader along for an emotional ride sprinkled with humor, pain, encouragement, faith, and transparency. She proves that help in any form can come in unseen ways and in people. “Since this is a true story, it was just a matter of telling my truth. The Colorless Womb shows that even with the racial tensions in our country, love is above racism. The person on the inside matters more than what is on the outside,” Gowdy says.

Patrice: Who is Kimberly Gowdy?

Kimberly: Kimberly is the eldest of eight children.  A woman who previously lived a life under the secret of domestic abuse, the shame of enabling drug addiction, and a believer that she would never carry the title of mom,  who’s now living her best life as a business professional, wife of a doctor and mother to a son.   

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman who hustles?

Kimberly: I’m a woman who has looked down the barrel of life’s darkest days and still decided I wanted more.  I’m a woman who knows struggle, pain, and disappointment, but I also knew how to use it for my good. We can be blessed even by the mistakes we make.  It all works together for your good.

Patrice: What is the name of your book, and what is it about?

Kimberly:  “The Colorless Womb. “The Colorless Womb” is about the most painful part of my life.  It’s about loss, brokenness, and the journey it took for me to become a mother.  I’ve always believed that I would someday wear that title, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes God saves us from ourselves.  The timing, the person, even the place may not be right.  This book is a testament that our blessings may not always be recognizable. 

Patrice: Did you face any challenges in your journey when writing your book?

Kimberly: I faced some challenges.  The first was a matter of time.  When I thought about writing, my son was two years old.  My husband and I were also caregivers to my 90-year-old father-in-law.  Having a child and a senior citizen in the house, we were going from the pediatrician for my son to the geriatric ward for my father-in-law all in the same week.  I was a wife, mother and working full time outside the home. Between that challenge and not believing enough in my writing skills, it was difficult.  But obviously, I overcame those barriers.

Patrice: What does a pretty woman who hustles mean to you?

 Kimberly: A woman who is about her business.  A woman who drowns out the negativity that she hears and sees on television and social media.  A woman who believes that if I don’t believe in me, no one else will.

Patrice: Are you working on any current projects right now?

Kimberly:  I am working on writing my second book.  I’ll just say it’s more political.  I’m also working on developing MOBY™.  Mommy Older Baby Younger.  It’s a name I trademarked to represent women who became mothers at or over 35.  There are many of us.  Not just actresses but everyday women.  Women who may have married someone with children, surrogacy, adoption, or the good old-fashioned way. But we are to be celebrated because we didn’t focus on society’s timeline. 

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

Kimberly: I’m new to this industry, but I will say the books that I plan to write will reach a wide audience.  Growing up in Connecticut, in a very diverse community, my experiences dictate that I will be cast a wide net in terms of those who will appreciate my stories.

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

Kimberly: It can be difficult at times. I work hard, both in my profession and now as an Author.  Most women are guilty of doing way too much to please others, it’s just what we do.  When it gets too overwhelming, I step back, pray, and then imagine life without those around me who need me, and that usually takes me out of my pity party, that and a glass of Cabernet.

Patrice: What does being an entrepreneur mean to you?

Kimberly: It means leaving a legacy. It means knowing that when I leave this earth, there will be something with my name on it.  I can say “Google me,” and you’ll see more than just my previous address history; you’ll see hard work, dedication, and commitment to my dreams.

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

Kimberly: That with race relations at an all-time low, we are more alike than different.  And that one of life’s greatest blessings may come in an unsuspecting package.

Connect with Kimberly:

Instagram: colorlesswomb_

Twitter: colorlesswomb_

Facebook: thecolorlesswomb

Website: www.thecolorlesswomb.com

FELESHIA SAMS SHARES HER JOURNEY ON NOT ONE, BUT THREE BUSINESS VENTURES! THE ‘GO-TO-GIRL’ INDEED!”

I believe pretty is not about the outer appearance, but instead what is deep within you~ Feleshia Sams

Feleshia was considered the “go-to-girl” for make-up in college. Now she is the CEO of the Atlanta-based Academy of Advanced cosmetics (AAC,) a cosmetic training academy and hub for beauty technicians and artists. Feleshia is also the CEO of Coz Tat, a mobile app created with cosmetic artists and consumers in mind and 365 Greens, a holistic brand that boasts a green superfood powder that has proven to strengthen weakened immune systems and energy.


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

Feleshia: From the age of 5 I was saying that I told myself that I wanted to be the boss.  At that time I had no idea of what I was going to do all I knew was that I wanted to run my own business.  Growing up as an only child with only my mom and I.  I saw how she was able to build her own business and that inspired me to want to do the same one day. 

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman that hustle?

Feleshia: I believe pretty is not about the outer appearance but instead what is deep within you.  You can have a pretty face, body, and gorgeous hair but a ugly heart.  Physical appearances fade and who we truly are resides within us forever.  Being pretty is what do we do for our families, communities, those around us.  How we live, work, and give back.  Its my mission to be that “pretty” example for both my children and those that may look up to me and want to do what I’m doing today. 

Patrice: What is the name of your business(es) and what does it intel?

Feleshia: I have 3 businesses. 2 are cosmetic related and 1 is health and nutrition. 

Academy of Advanced Cosmetics is a cosmetic training academy that trains, mentors, supplies our very own cosmetic tattoo products to students in the industry. 

CozTat is my app that connects cosmetic tattoo artist and clients together.  We provide a complete business system for our artist to manage their calendars, take payments, send electronic consent forms, and showcase their work. The app is free to clients where they can check out reviews, artist pictures, check certification / licensing credentials, schedule, and pay all within the app.

365 Greens is my green superfood powder.  This is a superfood powder that is a daily powder that can be mixed in water or your favorite drink to provide you all the multi vitamins and nutrients you need.  It’s simple to mix and taste really good unlike most powders on the market. 

Patrice: Have you faced any challenges in your business?

Feleshia: Being in business has a lot of ups and downs. Some recent challenges that I had to face was finding the right contractors and support for some of my businesses.  For example, when I see that someone or company is not providing me what I need I have learned to move on, but before I do I always have a backup.  When I initially started my app I started with one developer and then found that I was not getting what I wanted.  As a result, I left and moved on the next.  Yes, it was costly but in the long run I feel as though it was going to save me a lot in the long run.  The same with my superfoods brand.  Having my own vision of what I want and what others say they can do can sometimes cause you to redirect your vision to what they can do.  So just as with the app I found myself moving to another manufacture that was able to give me exactly what I was looking for.  Bottom line I have to trust my gut and stick to my guns and know that this is my vision.  Sometimes others can’t see it and that’s okay but I know at the end of the day if I’m paying I need to get what I’m paying for. 

Patrice: Are you currently working on any current projects right now?

Feleshia: I have a new project coming out that is an online business course.  It’s called PMU Resources make 6 figures while working 3 days a week or less.  This is through my Academy and will be available to all permanent makeup artist.  I wanted to layout the blue print on how I did this my first year in and how they can do this to. Also, I am coming out with a green superfood for kids in May 2021.  This is through 365 Greens and will be specifically for kids. 

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

Feleshia: I would say while developing my app it was sometimes a challenge.  Being that the tech field is so male dominant.  Also, I was creating something as a woman for mainly women and they knew nothing about it.  It was huge challenge. In the development phase we would have weekly conference calls and it would be all these men and then me.  I knew from the first meeting that if I wanted my app to be a certain way I was going to have to drive my point across and let them know that yes this woman has voice.  Despite the fact I was spending my money I always felt that I had to defend my view on why I didn’t like their ideas.  This was part of why I switched developers.  I’m still with a bunch of guys but I find this new group is way more respectful and inclusive. 

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

Feleshia: Yes, yes, and yes!  Lately it has been a lot but I feel that once I get through these next few months I’ll be able to get more balance.  I consider myself to be an extremely organized person so this helps tremendously along with a terrific staff. 

Patrice: Do you have any new projects or events coming up?

Feleshia: At the Academy we use to do an annual PMU and Micro blading event.  Due to COVID-19 we delayed it so the plan is to do it again March 2022. 

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

Feleshia: Being an entrepreneur means that I have no limits on what I can do in my career.  As an entrepreneur there’s no glass ceilings and no climbing that corporate ladder.   This is so rewarding to me and I am so blessed to be where I am today.  It’s hard-work but I wouldn’t trade it for any 9-5. 

Connect with Feleshia:

Instagram: feleshiasams

Website: http://www.aactraining.com

Instagram: aac_training

Facebook: Academy of Advanced Cosmetics

Website: http://www.coztat.app

Instagram: cozTat

Facebook: cozTat

Website: http://www.shop365greens.com

Instagram: shop365greens

Facebook: shop 365greens

UNLOCK YOUR HEALING POWER BY REFUELING, REFOCUSING AND REVAMPING YOUR LIFESTYLE WITH CEO OF D.O.P.E. HEALING

A natural-born optimist, registered nurse, and practitioner, Keisha Brown has always believed that positive energy makes you feel healthier, happier, and more empowered. With over 5 years of experience at the helm, Keisha is an ER travel nurse who specializes in Pediatric and Adult Emergency Medicine. Her love for helping others was initiated at a young age and, over the years, has revolutionized that experience by infusing comprehensive wellness methods for clients all over the country. This carefulness has continued throughout her career, especially when serving as a frontline nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having learned the intricacies of patient testing, Keisha went on to serve as a primary wellness practitioner at Tyler Perry Studios and Warner Brothers, in an effort to enforce safe filming practices for talent and staff. The founder of D.O.P.E Healing, a concierge IV therapy and wellness clinic, Keisha specializes in helping clients unlock the healing power of holistic health.


“Never underestimate my potential, I’ve been essential,” ~Keisha Brown


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

Keisha: To give back to my community. Weather it was by providing nursing services, different resources or being able to create jobs.  Instead of hosting or participating in conversation about wanting change. I decided to start by being the change that I wanted to see in this world. 2020, was a dark year for the myself and the world.  After coming off the frontlines and experiencing depression, I had to find a way to get back to my safe place of happiness. I do that by helping others. I got tired of wrestling with the thoughts of choosing money and politics over morals. I knew my community needed help. I witnessed the world loosing trust in HealthCare. And they had good reasons to feel the way they did. I wanted to help bridge the gap and gain the public’s trust again. But we have to work together and have empathy for one another. Once I found other ways of keeping people safe and alive, then I choose to take that route. So that meant me leaving the bedside and getting back into my community. My focus was to keep people of out the hospital, especially if it wasn’t urgent or emergent. So in my mind I’m helping my fellow colleagues and the community at the same time. I also wanted to do something special with my daughter, usually men work on cars or build houses with their son. So I decided to build a brand and create a legacy with my daughter. This is me braking generational curses.

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman/man that hustle?

Keisha: I’m a beautiful woman driven by the success that is reflected towards my passion for what I love to do. I enjoy what I do, helping a patient, putting a smile on a face, healing, helping, being a gift to others. Being of service. My journey has not been short or easy, however it was worth the travel, the experience and the lessons along the way. Along this road, I’ve lost people close and dear to me and I learned their impact carries in me. During the dark times that will come, I may bend, but I won’t break.

” Never underestimate my potential. I’ve been essential” Keisha Brown

Patrice: What is the name of your business and what does it intel?

Keisha: D.O.P.E. HEALINGD.O.P.E.  stands for Delivering Only Positive Energy. We offer concierge nursing services, IV Hydration, Vitamin Injections, Rapid Co-VID testing, FIT testing, lab draws, urine drug and STD screening, CBD products and more.

“Energy is everything. Where the mind goes the body follow.” Keisha Brown, BSN,RN

Patrice: Have you faced any challenges in your business?

Keisha: Absolutely! I allowed loyalty to keep me in places that common sense would have taken me out of.  Once I understood my purpose was greater than anyone’s opinion of me, I was ok with leaving people and opinions where I found them. Developing a business automatically comes with trials and failures because of the people you have to learn and adapt to (photographers, web designers, lawyers, etc.) Learning to mind the business that pays me, saved me from losing a lot of things like my mind, money and time.  I have to protect my energy and peace at all costs. The energy that you have is the energy you put out. protect yourself the way others won’t.

Patrice: Are you currently working on any current projects right now?

Keisha: Yes. I’m working on starting non -profit organization. I’m planning an event on Mother’s Day in honor of my later mother Paula Nixon, who passed away unexpectedly January 16, 2021. My mother had a larger- than- life personality and a heart that loved without limits. This will be my 1st Mother’s Day without her, undoubtedly the hardest one so I want to put my heart into the world and make someone else smile.  Over the summer D.O.P.E. Healing will be partnering with business owners, community leaders and sponsors for community health based events (Covid-19 testing, vaccine distribution, etc.) pending the events can be conducted primarily in regards to public safety. 

You can find these announcements and/or updates on my website http://www.dopehealingatl.com, IG page: d.o.p.e.healing, Facebook: D.O.P.E. Healing.

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

Keisha: Day by day with a strong team in support. What is expected in any business is that there will be trials and tribulations. That is a guarantee. However how you choose to respond is what will define you as a person and will reflect in the strength for your business. Losses are inevitable but the perseverance is detrimental to success. Foundation to your motive of your business is also pertinent to success. Money is a side result of the service or product you provide. For that reason, stay grounded in your belief and your motive will exude and produce results.

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

Keisha: Absolutely.  I’m a wife, mother and CEO. For a while I felt as though I could only depend on myself to complete a task. Developing the right team to complete assignments was a challenge. Needless to say, I had trust issues, it was extremely stressful in itself. Because delegation and prioritization is a must to help cultivate a healthy balance to prevent yourself from burning out. So I had to learn how to trust, but verify. It’s still a work in progress.

For that reason, commitment to your business is imperative. If you don’t believe in it with consistency and passion, who will. One thing that I’ve learned and continue to work on, is separating my personal life from my business. But making sure I take care of things in my personal life first, so it does not show up in my business.  Separate your titles, you are not your job, your job is what you do. you are not where you work but when you work is a reflection of you.

Patrice: Do you have any new projects or events coming up?

Keisha: I have several community events that I’m lining up for the Summer time. These events are contingent based and will only take place if it can be conducted safely.  You can find these announcements and/or updates on my website http://www.dopehealingatl.com or on my IG page: d.o.p.e.healing

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

Keisha: As an entrepreneur I am independent. I am responsible for a service and a production. As a business owner I have the capability to impact lives and provide jobs that are needed in my community. I provide an example to those who see me and see past their circumstance. It’s not about the destination. It’s the journey for me. Being the change.

I AM a woman who has a soft touch, but also one whose presence is felt.

Connect with Keisha:

Instagram: d.o.p.e.healing

Facebook: DOPE Healing

Website: http://www.dopehealingatl.com