Featured Femme: Sandra T. Adeyeye, The Different Woman

Briefly walk us through your story.

The Different Woman started as an avenue for me to purge myself and then it has evolved into this growing advocacy platform.

How did it happen? I was abused as a child – emotionally, psychologically etc – and I found it hard to retain any form of human connection for fear of being taken advantage of. Then I realized I needed help. I learned a lot online (I’m still learning) and realized that part of the process of healing is self acceptance and the acceptance of what happened to me. So I started to tell my story. Every time I did, some woman would secretly chat me up and share their story with me and I realized that a lot of women were going through the same challenges in their lives and as an extension it is affecting our daily interactions and our humanity is gradually seeping away. That’s when I registered THE DIFFERENT WOMAN NETWORK to share my knowledge and also to bring women together to help us solve our own problems not just for today but for the future of our daughters. Keep Reading

Featured Femme: Scheryl Brown, Entertainer

Please tell us a little about yourself. 

I am a self-described extroverted introvert; outgoing when necessary but absolutely love “me” time.  I’m a divorced single mom to an incredibly bright and talented 13 year old son whom I unquestionably adore.  Family is extremely important to me as is my small circle of friends.  I’ve earned a  Business Administration majoring in both Marketing and Management from Loyola University and my career has primarily been in Advertising industry.  I like running, Pilates and generally keeping active and healthy which is necessary for my other career in the entertainment industry.  I’m borderline obsessed with essential oils, meditation & quietness, home improvement and DIY shows, the news and like so many others, shopping on Amazon!  Thanks to my father, I also know my way around a toolbox.    

Media marketing is a trendy career path, with so many opportunities to market via social media and other avenues. How did you become interested in media marketing? 

After graduating from Loyola, my goal was to have a career in the promotions department of a radio group.   For a while I had jobs outside of my “career goal” at different companies and even a position at the radio group at which I wanted my career to be, but it wasn’t in the department I desired.  After realizing the promotions department dream wasn’t going to come to fruition, a coworker referred me to an ad agency client of his, so I could, as he said “put that Loyola education to some real use”.  The position was for a media planner/buyer.  I got the job and was mentored by the media supervisor who taught me the ins and out of the position and its responsibilities.  I’ve even worked in the windy city of Chicago for a few years.  Although I work as a freelancer these days by working on specific projects, it is still rewarding and exciting to me.  The media landscape is always changing and evolving so I try to stay in the know.  Keep Reading

Featured Femme: Tresa Wallace Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner

Please tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Tresa Wallace. I am a 40 year old wife to an amazing husband and mother of two smart, athletic, handsome boys. My hobbies are shopping, reading, dancing, traveling, and surfing the net for the latest fashion trends. I received an Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Charity School of Nursing in 1999. From there I went on to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Loyola University in 2008. In 2012 I graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing from Frontier Nursing University. I currently practice nursing as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner (WHNP) in the New Orleans Metro area.

What professional achievements are you most proud of and why?

It was always my dream to own and operate my very own women’s health clinic and I did just that. My family witnessed it, which was most important to me. Challenges arose and better opportunities ensued. Even through adversity, I still feel SO accomplished! For me, success is not defined as how much money I have in the bank or what kind of car I drive; it’s defined as setting goals, small or big, and crushing them! ACHIEVING goals you set for yourself! I did just that and continue to do so!

What was your key driving force to become a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner?

My passion for women’s health was my key driving force to becoming a WHNP. I am a go-getter by nature and I was determined to fulfill my lifetime goal!

You empower women to live their best lives in your role as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and as owner of Hot Pink Diva Boutique. Where does your love for women’s empowerment come from?

As women we go through so much and balance so many roles: wife, mother, daughter, sister, entrepreneur, the list could go and on. I do believe sharing each others experiences empowers us all. We all have a story to tell. I admire our resilience!

What piece of advice would you give to someone who aspires to be a nurse practitioner or entrepreneur?

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Never give up on your dreams. Stay the course. It took me 18 years to accomplish my goal and become a nurse practitioner.

Shop Hot Pink Diva Boutique

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Photos taken by King Royal Productions. Click here to check him out!

Featured Femme: Mia Lorick, Attorney

Please tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Mia Lorick and I’m a practicing trial and appellate attorney in Houston, Texas. When I am not practicing law, I am a mom to my two year old, Scotland. I went to the High School for Performing and Visual Arts for modern dance and then obtained a Bachelor in Fine Arts from North Carolina School of the Arts in Modern Dance. I love the arts and also love taking dance class. Prior to law school, I was a modern dancer in New York City.

What was your key driving force to become a lawyer?

My mom said she always knew I should be a lawyer based on how argumentative I was as a child. When I called her after being cut from a big audition, she asked me what I would be most happy doing. I told her I didn’t know but that I knew I didn’t want to dance anymore. She told me that I would be a great attorney and encouraged me to take the LSAT. I’m so glad she did.

How do you manage work-life balance?

In my opinion, there is no work and life—there is just life. My daughter knows that I have to go to work every day and my husband is the most amazing supportive husband and girl could ask for. I make sure that I get family time on the weekends and that I make each moment with Scotti and Steve count. If I know I am going to be super busy at work for a trial or hearing, I ask my family to help out. My mom, siblings, and in-laws have been an amazing village and I wouldn’t make it without them.

 What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

 The most satisfying moment so far has been winning a 6 million dollar trial on behalf of a family that was taken advantage of in a real estate transaction. Being able to use my platform to help people is rewarding and makes the long hours worth it.

You are a young, black, female businesswoman; did/do you face difficulties related to your age, race, or  gender?  If so, how did you overcome them?

I always face difficulties because I am a young, black woman. The legal field is dominated by older, white men. I have been asked how old I am; I have been asked if I am the assistant; and, in one deposition a lawyer asked me to get him coffee. I politely said “I’m sure the receptionist can show you were the coffee pot is.” Typically, I let my work speak for itself and that usually resolves the issue. But, I am not afraid to speak up and defend myself if needed.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

 In five years, I see myself as a partner at my law firm and a legal correspondent for a news station. I also see myself growing my Sharply Suited brand into an annual women’s conference—geared towards empowering women professionals.

What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become lawyers?

The piece of advice I would give is to remain resilient. Becoming a lawyer is hard work and there are many failures on the path to getting your law license. This requires that you be resilient and not let failure defeat you. Rejection from law schools and law firms is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on your dreams. For every mountain of “no’s” there is a big “yes” so, don’t give up before you get to “yes.”

Follow Mia’s Sharply Suited Instagram Page!

Visit the Sharply Suited Blog!

 

Featured Femme: Akira Collins, Restaurateur

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Akira Smith Collins.  I am a 34 year old wife and mother of two amazing daughters:  Lauren 13, Khloe 9. We are expecting baby girl #3 any day now! I am blessed to work alongside my husband Larry, together we own Wags Food & Culture.  My favorite hobbies are brainteasers, reading, and other mind-stimulating activities.  I graduated from John Ehret High School in 2002 and completed some college hours prior to pursuing self-employment.

Akira with husband Larry

You are a young, black, female business owner; did/do you face difficulties related to your age, race, or gender?  If so, how did you overcome them?

I can honestly say I have not experienced any challenges related to my ethnicity.  This is most likely because our business is in an area populated predominately by African-Americans.  I have not experienced any adverse encounters, but my husband is more popular among other chefs.  Occasionally there may be issues related to my age when someone I am working with is older and or more experienced.  However, that only encourages me.  I am always willing to learn.  Having been an employee and employer, I have learned what to do and not to do based on past experiences with employers.  The majority of my staff has been with me for a while; most of them feel that working in our company is more than just a earning a paycheck.  They are connected to our vision and goals as a restaurateur and are willing to support us in seeing our vision come to past.

How do you juggle your responsibilities as a wife, mother, and business owner?

Family is business and love is law!  My business and family are basically run the same.  There are processes, rules, and guidelines for everything.  Whether at home or at the business, both operate from a place of love.  Juggling family and business is easy because I have become an expert at multi-tasking.

Akira with husband Larry and their 2 oldest daughters

Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?

I am presently am working on several plans. One of those plans is to open a second business in the New Orleans area.  Overall, I plan to be a relevant and iconic restaurateur and contributor to my community.  This was something that I never envisioned; God gave this to us!

What advice would you give to a young woman who aspires to own her own business?

If you aspire to own a business, your willingness to do so must go above and beyond all obstacles.  You have to be passionate in the pursuit of your dream!

Visit Akira at Wags Food & Culture located at 1601 Plaza Dr, Marrero, LA 70072

Click Here to Follow Akira’s Instagram

 

This Interview was typed and transcribed by Jacqueline Breaux Thompson

Featured Femme: RoShawn Sussmann Owner of Shawny’s Healthy Essential

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a 34-year-old wife, mother of five, (ages 15, 13, 11, 5, and 3) and business owner.  In 2002, I graduated from West Jefferson High School located in Harvey, Louisiana.  My passions are crafting and cooking.  Spending time with family and God are two things I thoroughly enjoy.  I am currently attending Delgado Community College (New Orleans, Louisiana) with a major in business management.  Prior to pursuing a degree in business management, I earned a degree in culinary arts.  While completing course work for the culinary arts program, I learned the important association between diet and health or the lack thereof.  When I had my son, I was told that I was bordering obesity, so I made lifestyle changes to improve my health.  I started following The Vegan Mom and which led me to begin the pomegranate diet coupled with an exercise regimen.  It became apparent that fruits and vegetables cleanse us, so becoming a vegan was a logical lifestyle change for me.

Shawny Creating

Where did the inspiration come from to start Shawny’s Healthy Essential?

Shortly after giving birth to my now 15-year-old daughter, she was diagnosed with jaundice.  Medical staff members at the hospital told me horrific things would happen to my child.  A few months later, my child was suffering with eczema.  Thankfully, I met a young physician who was also an herbalist, she asked if I would consider being one of her clients.  Her all natural treatment regimen worked wonders for my daughter!  She also asked me if I would be interested in joining an herbalist school and offered to pay a portion of my tuition.  She also challenged me to complete my culinary degree and add esthiology studies.  Saying yes to both proposals has changed my life in immeasurable ways!

How do you know what type of products to make?

Conducting client questionnaires and listening to what people are looking for influences the products I make. I sit with men and women, interview them and then determine what their needs are. My most powerful inspiration comes from talking to people.

Shawny’s Healthy Essential

Please share your experience with running a small business?

My journey as an entrepreneur of a small business has not been as easy one. I have had ups and downs and moments when I wanted to quit. Initially I did not have the proper documentation.  Ultimately, I had a conversation with God and asked him what to do because I was ready to throw in the towel!  In 2015, I attended a seminar that was quite inspirational. Why God gave me this vision remains a mystery to me. Nevertheless, I keep pushing and asking God for guidance, that’s how I get through it.  He has never failed to give me the help I fervently pray for.  He truly is an ever Present Help in time of need.

What advice do you have for an aspiring entrepreneur?

Pray and listen for the voice of God; write down your goals; write your business plan and see it come to past.

Click here to shop Shawny’s Healthy Essential!

Click here to follow Shawny on Instagram!

 

Interview transcribed and edited by Jacqueline G. Breaux

Featured Femme: Tequanna Allison, Overcomer

Tequanna Allison is a young multi-business owner and mother who was diagnosed with conversion disorder, which is a complex condition with symptoms that cannot be explained by medical evaluation.  Despite setbacks with her health she continues to grow and aspires to help those around her.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a 31 year old mother of three amazing children (2 boys and a girl ages 10, 8, and 2 years old). Spending time with family and “thrift-shopping” with my daughter are two things I enjoy during non-working hours. Currently, I am an entrepreneur and employed as a customer service representative at a call center. In 2005, I graduated from O. Perry Walker High School in New Orleans, Louisiana.   My fiancé (Robert Mitchell ) and I recently became business owners when we launched a transportation service and a hair care line, both of which are doing quite well.

Sistah Girl Natural Hair Products

How did you feel when you were diagnosed with conversion disorder? How did you and your family cope?

Initially, no medical expert could explain what was happening with my health.  After having medical appointments with two local medical facilities, I was eventually given a diagnosis by the second facility. At the time, I was very emotional and felt it was the end of life as I knew it. Eating and sleeping were my most common coping mechanisms.  I was hospitalized for 26 days while medical staff members tried to bring understanding and healing to the baffling disorder. My two older children took my failing health really hard.  My children, fiancé, mother and grandmother inspired me to get back to normal in more ways than they may ever know. This was quite a difficult time for my family, but we coped and eventually experienced a good outcome in spite of a somber beginning.

Styled with Sistah Girl Products

What challenges have you overcome since being diagnosed with conversion disorder?

The biggest challenges I have overcome and continue to struggle with are walking and talking from time to time. Walking is by far the most major physical challenge of the two.  During the night, I often wake up to stretch. Otherwise, my legs become extremely painful. Sometimes it feels as if I am just learning to walk; those are the most agonizing, frustrating times.

Sistah Girl Client Testimonials

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

My attitude as it relates to the conversion disorder is that I will not allow it slow me down or stop me. Conversion disorder will not win! The transportation service is growing at such a fast rate, that business with potential customers is occasionally refused because we are booked solid.  Jesseca Dupart and Delissa Alexander are both major role models for me; their words, actions, and success inspire me. In five years, I see myself exceeding my goals and more.  I envision our businesses being an international commodity. I want to take what has been bestowed on me and bless others. In five years, I visualize myself as a motivational speaker and a mentor to those who want to start small businesses and expand to their fullest potential.

Sistah Girl’s Happy Customer

What advice do you have for someone who may be dealing with a chronic medical condition?

Three words of advice:  Support, positivity, and knowledge!  Positivity is key because a positive attitude brings positive energy. With a positive attitude and humility, you can overcome and triumph over any condition you may be dealing with.  Become knowledgeable about your medical condition. Network and communicate with people in similar circumstances in order to share information and solutions. Knowledge truly is power,  especially when it pertains to the quality of one’s life!  Gather, decipher, and apply sound medical advice.  Allow it to work in your behalf for healing and wholeness.

Business Websites & Social Media Accounts:

Bam Transportation, LLC (Business Facebook Page)

Sistah Girl Natural Hair Care Products (Business Facebook & Instagram Pages)

 

Blog post transcribed and edited by Jacqueline G. Breaux

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Featured Femme: Jemyra Calais, Family Nurse Practitioner

Jemyra is a native of Lafayette, Louisiana and an alumnus of Lafayette’s Northside High School.  In 2012, she graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  From there, she started her nursing career, and eventually relocated to Houston, Texas.  While there, she enrolled in graduate school at South University to pursue her goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Breaux Bridge, LA., a small city not far from Lafayette, Louisiana.  Currently, I am 28 years old; single, with no children, and the pet mom of a cute puppy.  In 2012, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Dillard University (New Orleans, Louisiana).  I worked as a registered nurse for three years, before moving to Houston, Texas.  My hobbies include hanging out with friends; attending festivals; pampering myself with regular manicures and pedicures… typical girl stuff.  I am also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., however at this time; I am not active in any local chapter.

What inspired you to pursue a career in nursing?

At a rather young age, I knew I wanted to be a nurse.  The experience I consider the most profound turning point was watching my grandfather transition through the ordeal of lung cancer and eventually succumbing to the disease.  My family and I spent many moments in the hospital visiting and watching over “Pop”.  I do not believe it was coincidental when years later while in high school, I was offered the opportunity to enroll in a program that allowed me to shadow nurses at Lafayette General Hospital.  I was truly excited about this great chance to explore the field of nursing! 

What is the most challenging obstacle you overcame as a nurse practitioner?

One of the most challenging obstacles I overcame as a nurse practitioner was being quite young in a leadership position as a center director.  My determined nature left me with no choice but to learn and go forth as the strong leader of several nurses (many much older than me) at our clinic ran by nurses.  Thank God, for the strength and determination He gave me to succeed in this often-overwhelming role!

Where do you see yourself in the future?

All that I have experienced, the triumphs and the trials, has inspired me to open a practice in a health care shortage area.  I am confident that my perseverance and faith in God will see this vision come to fruition, in His timing. 

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in a career in health care?

My advice to anyone interested in pursuing a health career is to go for it and never give up!  Nursing school is not easy, but it will be worth the journey.  So many people in the world need good, caring nurses.

This interview was transcribed and edited by Jacqueline G. Breaux

Featured Femme: Trilby A. Barnes-Green Nurse Extraordinaire

Trilby A. Barnes-Green is an entrepreneur and women’s health registered nurse who resides in New Orleans, Louisiana. She currently practices telephonic nurse triage at Ochsner Health System. Nursing is near and dear to her heart! She routinely participates in health related community events and maintains active membership in national health organizations. Trilby served in leadership roles throughout her 40 year nursing career. She is currently treasurer of the national and New Orleans chapter of the National Black Nurses Association and a member of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses.

Trilby with Members of the New Orleans Black Nurses Association

Tell us a little about yourself.

I am happy to share that I am 62 years old! I’ve been married for 12 years this year. I am blessed to have a 27 year old daughter as well as a daughter and son through marriage. I have 4 sisters and 1 brother. I was adopted by my great aunt and uncle. Growing up some of my siblings and I lived in close proximity, and some in other states. We all have the same mother, we are blessed to know and love each other very much and have a strong sibling bond. I am proud to be an adopted child, my experience allowed me to help so many people personally and professionally.

I appreciate coming from the small town of New Iberia, Louisiana (LA). I enjoyed experiences such as youth leader and speaker, playing the piano, and leading the church choir. Those experiences gave me footage to stand and be proud! Upon graduating high school I initially enrolled at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, but I hit a stumbling block there. I thought I would have access to the same type of mentoring I received throughout my educational career, but that was not the case. I sought assistance regarding succeeding in the curriculum but the implication was you just may not really do well with nursing, and I was steered towards social studies. However, in my heart I yearned to be a nurse, that was my calling. At that moment I enrolled in school to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN).
After becoming an LPN, I asked my dad if I could go to Charity Hospital School of Nursing (CHSN) in New Orleans, LA to become a registered nurse (RN). My dad was hesitant to allow me to go to New Orleans because I was ‘too’ friendly; but it just so happened that my cousins were newly stationed in New Orleans via the Navy. My dad agreed to me living with family. I lived with them for a year while working as an LPN at the newly opened Jo Ellen Smith Hospital. After a year I moved into the dorm and began the nursing curriculum at CHSN and became an RN.

Trilby with her husband Pertnan and daughter Linzi

What inspired you to become a nurse?

Initially, I wanted to be a hairdresser, because I did hair around the neighborhood. I also had an aunt who was a hairdresser and I admired her independence. My dad challenged me to step outside my comfort zone and outside of the realm of what I saw everyday. So I had to dig deep, that brought me to nursing! All of the women in my life were caregivers. My adoptive mother took care of anyone who was sick. Now that I look back on it I realize that she was the best hospice nurse ever! She went where ever she could go to give help. Some of the women in my family/community worked as sitters, they wore their pristine white uniforms with so much pride! They were renowned in the area, everyone would hire them as sitters. That is were I got the inkling for being a nurse.

Trilby at the Neonatal Health Advisory Forum

You successfully owned and operated a nurse-staffing agency for 25 years; can you tell us about that experience?

I always had a desire to be self-employed. I was willing to move into the staffing industry at a staffing organization, but I was denied. I completed several administrative tasks including the development of the agency’s employee handbook, but the organization did not want me as a nursing administrator. So,I asked what I could do to better prepare myself for an administrative position? I was offered a non-nursing staffing position. I declined that offer and informed them that I would start my own staffing company. They laughed!

I went home that very day and started writing ideas and a business plan. I reached out to another nurse (Ellen Webster) who also had an entrepreneurial spirit and she provided guidance on issues such as contracts. She also connected me with an agency who needed a nursing administrator, so I did that for some time to gain additional experience. Ultimately, I started working for myself as an independent contractor with various hospitals in the area. It was difficult at first because area staffing agencies were fighting against independent contractors, because that meant less nurses working for agency. Soon hospitals started declining independent contractor nurses. An administrator that I met at one of the area hospitals told me I needed to establish myself as a company. I had been working on my business plan the whole time and thankfully it took me no time to develop Medi-Lend!

Once Medi-Lend was on the hospitals’ staffing roster, I had to hire additional nurses to meet the demand. After hiring additional nurses I continued to work in the hospital, I was always by a nurse’s side. I did it because I have a genuine love for nursing; I also wanted to be paid appropriately as a nurse and as a business woman. I did not want the nurses at Medi-Lend to feel like they were coming to work for me, but that we were going to work together. When I decided to close the company, I still had the desire to work and continue to do so.

Trilby with colleagues and members of the National Black Nurses Association

You recently enrolled in college to continue your nursing education. What inspired you to further your education?

I am currently in the process of earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing! The bottom line is no matter how good you are at something or how far you have succeeded in life, the academia is going to come to the forefront. So if it does not align it will not have the same relevance to some people.

To give respect to the institute of education, I decided to find out what nurses are experiencing when they speak about returning to school to get their BSN, masters, or doctorate. I’ve spoken to them and mentored some, but I wanted the actual experience. What I forgot to mention in the beginning is that when I decided to become a nurse I also wanted to open the first black owned woman nursing school! I got distracted once I became a busy entrepreneur and people around me affirmed that I did not need to return to school! Going back to school is fulfilling a dream that I had to be as highly educated in nursing as I could possibly be. I also plan to obtain a master’s degree in nursing who knows maybe even that PhD is in my horizon.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

My advice would be to get a lot of rest! Drink at least 64ozs of water daily. Take care of your body, be the best that you can be to your body! Keep your family healthy and keep your community healthy!

Featured Femme: Robyn Paigé, Blossoming Humanitarian

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I am 26 years old; my life is an open book! I enjoy people and music; I also play the violin (self-taught)! I have the most amazing Yorkie, named Fancy. Above all, I really like helping and inspiring people. Helping people comes naturally to me; I like to understand people’s stories. My alma mater is Loyola University (New Orleans, Louisiana), class of 2013; I majored in mass communication with a focus in broadcast journalism, minor in music business. Moving to Los Angeles was a huge faith move for me; I moved with $750 to my name! What I did not want out of life was regret, I did not want to get caught up in a 9-5 job, then look back and think what if I had stepped out on faith and did what God had shown me.

What attracted you to a career in the acting sector of entertainment? Keep Reading