In the coolest turn of events ever, the folks at Toyota (our Blogalicious 2014 Title Sponsor) invited me to attend the Washington, DC stop of Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend Tour as their guest because – get this – Toyota is a sponsor of Oprah’s tour as well! Six degrees of separation y’all. Six degrees.
I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend – beginning with an evening with Oprah and then a full day with her Trailblazers – in fact, I’ve been quoting Oprah ever since. More on my takeaways later. One of the highlights of the weekend was watching Jas Booth of Final Salute, a Washington, D.C.-based organization Boothe founded to help homeless female veterans in the United States by providing them and their children with transitional housing – win the “Standing O-Vation” award. Thank to Toyota, Final Salute will receive a $25,000 grant in support of their outstanding commitment to supporting homeless female veterans in the local Washington D.C. community. It was such a powerful moment to witness and what was even more special was having the opportunity to meet with Jas backstage. She was so humble and focused and crystal clear that her goal was to be out of business as quickly as possible; because that would mean that there were no more homeless female veterans.
Watch her story here:
Jas shared with us that the money received from Toyota would go directly to help paying the mortgage on the home that she shares with the homeless female veterans and funding activities (like Girls Night In or Move Night) that make the women feel ‘normal.’ Hearing the truths about how veterans are treated from someone who experienced it first-hand was upsetting, and a reminder to use my platform to spread awareness about these kinds of issues. A huge ‘thank you’ to Toyota for recognizing the important work that Jas and Final Salute is doing and for supporting them in a such a big way.
The driving force behind The Toyota “Standing O-Vation” stems from the automaker’s commitment to fostering women’s interests. While reflecting the kind of stories that define the brand, The Toyota “Standing O-Vation” is an opportunity to celebrate remarkable women who are not only making the world a better place, but also motivating others to spark their own journey of personal change.
You can learn more about the Toyota Standing O-Vation Award winners from each city on the tour, HERE.
Disclosure: I was given a complimentary ticket to attend Oprah’s ‘The Life You Want Tour’ as well as media access to interview Jas Booth. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Last week Xina, Jazzy, Jana and I were invited to a premier of the new comedy series, ‘black-ish’ – set to begin tonight on ABC. I didn’t know what to expect from the show’s pilot, but I knew that Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross were both hilarious, solid actors and so I assumed it would be entertaining and a good way to spend my Tuesday evening. I was right. While watching the first episode, I realized that I was expecting it to be a challenge of the typical stereotypes of African-Americans from a humorous perspective – and it is in part – but it’s also a look at how the Black families that don’t frequently show up on television live. I quickly related to the story of the fictitious Johnsons, a well-to-do Black family living in a predominantly white suburb, since it was a romanticized version of my very upbringing in Canada. More on that HERE. From me and my sister being two of a dozen Blacks at our high school (shoutout to Shawn, Shawnette, Joel, Robert, Samuel, Vicki, Janelle, Ian, Sean, and Miki); to my playing field hockey and becoming a junior figure skating coach (for Pete’s sake); to me going to prom with a white guy; to me becoming an avid U2 and Pearl Jam fan (still am!) – I think it’s safe to say that I was definitely ‘black-ish’ for much of my childhood. Probably still am. It wasn’t until I started dating Shawn (see above), that I was introduced to ‘Black Montreal‘ and all that it entailed. And I loved it. Once I got to CEGEP (i.e. junior college), I joined the Association of Caribbean Students and immersed myself in Afro-Canadian-Caribbean culture – largely by way of going to every single party, block-o, and club possible with my long-time friend Danielle. (Thanks Dani!) I can clearly pinpoint that year as being pivotal in helping me find my way to my identity. And it was just in time too, because the next year I would find myself in the United States of America at a university of 50,000, where only 2,000 were Black – smack in the middle of rural, North Florida. Like the storyline of the show (or at least the first episode), I found peace in embracing all sides of myself and honored my life circumstances and upbringing without feeling lost in the middle. I applaud ABC for taking the risk of doing something that hasn’t been done in a smart and relatable way, and I applaud the actors for taking on the project – one that certainly will be the subject of backlash from critics, no doubt. My hope is that the show sparks conversations about identity at dinner tables across America and helps young people everywhere to embrace their full selves – because having both Guns ‘n Roses and Wu-Tang Clan on their iPod and enjoying pâté and collard greens is totally fine. Just ask me.
‘black-ish’ will air on ABC at 9:30pm ET starting tonight 9/24
She started her business with a chunky Dell laptop and $5K. Today, Lauren Berger is CEO of InternQueen.com, author of the National Campus Best-Seller, All Work, No Pay and her newest work, Welcome to The Real World, not to mention the go-to expert on all things internships.
Last month I had the chance to sit down with Lauren at her inaugural Intern Queen Party in DC. We talked blogs, the benefit of breaking the rules, how to make it without a mentor, and how a celebrity chef inspired her business.
Cara Paige: So, how did Intern Queen get its start?
Lauren Berger: I had 15 internships when I was in college…which is a little crazy… no one needs 15 internships. I was the ambitious “little-engine-that-could” and no one would help me. So, I got all my internships on my own through breaking all the rules… cold calls and everything else they tell you not to do.
When I graduated college I thought ‘what if there were a resource, person or destination that could help connect students with the opportunity of their dreams?’ Then a light bulb went off and I said fifteen internships… my friends and peers can learn so much from my experiences. Why don’t I call myself the Intern Queen? The goal was to be the Rachel Ray of the ‘internship world’ and to have a more personal website, because I knew that places like CareerBuilder and Monster could be so overwhelming. That’s how it all started.
CP: Did you have a mentor?
Not really. A big misconception is that everyone has these mentors and that’s just not true. I reached out to so many people for advice and no one really wanted to help me and I get it… I was just a girl with a laptop. So I felt that I really needed to prove myself then people started turning their heads a little bit and saying “Oh I’d love to talk to you” or “I’d love to help you.” But I think there’s a difference between the people that say they want to help versus the people that actually help. In my entire career I think there have only been a few people that have helped. I think a lot of times people are waiting for this “knight-in-shining-armor-mentor” that’s gonna turn their lives upside down, and I think you have to turn inwards and kinda be your own mentor.
CP: So why is blogging important for you?
On InternQueen.com we’re blogging about internship advice so it’s important for us to constantly be giving our audience a wealth of new information. Just when they think they’ve heard everything about their resume, they hear something else from us. We need to keep them motivated that way.
Our new site, LaurenBergerInc.com, was launched because I [personally] wanted a new challenge and a lot of the users that have been with us since 2009 are graduating and going into that first, second or third job. I wanted to be there to help them. So it’s been a fun challenge for me to launch the new book Welcome to The Real World, helping our audience connect with advice and information about the opportunities of their dreams.
CP: What’s next for Lauren Berger?
We’re taking over the world… at least that’s on my agenda today (snickers). Just kidding, our goal is always for every student in the world to know about Intern Queen. We have a lot of work to do still. Slow and steady wins the race and we’ve been in the game about 5 years now, so it’s onward and upward from here. We’re also planning on increasing our career content so that when students graduate they don’t loose Intern Queen and I, Lauren Berger can still be someone that helps them through their career.
Thanks for this insightful interview, Cara! We love hearing about smart online brands like Lauren’s. Have a ‘Getting Schooled’ Moment that you’d like to share on the Blogalicious blog? Let us know!
Friday, November 7
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Blogalicious Weekend 2014 in San Antonio, TX
Pitch your business to our expert panel of judges for a chance to win $8,000 (and other prizes) to support your business.
Contest Eligibility: One to five years in business
Submissions will be accepted via email to: info (at) beblogalicious.com and should contain a link to the video on YouTube, business plan, case study, bio and headshot.
Submissions will be judged by our expert panelists/judges based on the following:
1. 20% Originality of Business Concept
2. 50% Business Pitch
3. 30% Package Quality
Scoring Guidelines: Each submission will be rated in each category on a five point scale.
Three finalists will be selected based on highest cumulative scores as determined by the scoring process. Blogalicious will notify both the finalists, and those not selected, via email on Friday, October 31st.
The Blogalicious Family is all about community! That’s why we’re so honored and excited to help our long-time partner McDonald’s, celebrate those who are giving back to their communities by supporting the 365Black Awards.
McDonald’s 365Black Awards are given annually to salute outstanding individuals who are committed to making positive contributions that strengthen the African-American community.
Hosted by actor/television correspondent Terrence J and actress Tika Sumpter, the 11th annual awards show will broadcast on BET® Networks on August 10 at 10 p.m. EDT/9 p.m. CDT. The awards ceremony will also air on CENTRIC on August 17 at 11 p.m. EDT/10 p.m. The one-hour program will feature powerful performances from the music industry’s leading artists like Ledisi, Pastor Kim Burrell, Tank, Leela James, Jazmine Sullivan, Kierra Sheard and Mali Music. Additionally, singer/actress Michelle Williams, veteran radio personality Tom Joyner, news correspondent Soledad O’Brien, film director Warrington Hudlin, actress Naturi Naughton and news correspondent Nischelle Turner will be among celebrities on hand to present the distinguished awards.
McDonald’s 365Black Awards launched in 2003 as an extension of the company’s 365Black platform, which celebrates the pride, heritage and achievements of African-Americans year-round.
New this year, McDonald’s collaborated with Harlem’s Fashion Row – a unique movement founded to increase diversity in fashion - to provide a HBCU fashion design student the opportunity to compete to have their design showcased on the 365Black Awards Golden Carpet. Bowie State University’s TraVonne Walker’s design proved to be the winning piece and was rocked by Janell Snowden, this year’s Golden Carpet Correspondent – Congratulations TraVonne!
Tune in to watch this year’s McDonald’s 365Black Awards broadcast, Sunday, August 10, 2014, at 10:00 p.m. EDT on BET® Networks. The show will rebroadcast Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 11:00 p.m. EDT on CENTRIC-TV.
We are so inspired by the achievements of each of the honorees and we’d like to celebrate the best way Blogalicious knows how – on social media! Logon to Twitter on Sunday, August 10th, 2014 at 9:00pm ET for a fun and celebratory chat about the awards show and 365Black initiative.
Beginning just one hour before the main event, we will be giving away prizes and chatting with awards’ host Terrence J (@TerrenceJ), Honorees, Skyler Grey (@SkylerGreyArt) and Gabrielle Jordan Williams (@GabrielleIntl), and Harlem’s Fashion Row’s Brandice Henderson (@HFRMovement). They each want to chat with you so be sure to tweet them!
And remember to tune in to watch this year’s broadcast at 10pm ET on BET!
Twitter event to have a conversation about the 11th Annual McDonald’s 365Black Awards, given annually to honor and recognize outstanding individuals who make significant contributions that strengthen the African-American community, and airing THIS Sunday, August 10th at 10:00pm ET.
On Twitter! Follow hashtag: #365BlackAwards. Feel free to use this dedicated chat room for the conversation: http://twubs.com/365blackawards
Sunday, August 10th, 2014 at 9pm ET (6pm PT)
Nine (9) $25 McDonald’s Arch Cards and One (1) $50 McDonald’s Arch Card.
Giveaway open to U.S. residents age 18 and older. Visit this page for complete rules.
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It takes a village! Keeping in line with our mission to elevate our programming content for 2014, we called upon great minds in our community for their advice, feedback and guidance on how to make our conference agenda NEW, REFRESHING, NECESSARY and GREAT. Chances are you already know one or all of these bloggers and social influencers, but on the off-chance that you are meeting them for the first time, here are their bios.
Send them a tweet to let them know you appreciate them!
Using his motto “The Gatekeepers Are Gone,” Lamar Tyler, along with his wife Ronnie, has successfully leveraged social media to move the couple’s website Black and Married with Kids to become the largest independent, African American marriage and parenting site on the web. Lamar and Ronnie founded the website in 2007 after finding themselves frustrated with the negative images of black marriage pervasive in the media. Relying on Lamar’s social media expertise, the site has grown in the last five years from a small personal blog to an international brand with nearly 340,000 Facebook fans.
Among the recognition received for his work, Black and Married with Kids was named a Must Read Blog by Parenting Magazine and voted into the Babble 100 Hall of Fame. Additionally, the couple was named one of Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 in 2011 and 2012 alongside names like President Obama, Tyler Perry and Will and Jada Smith. And most recently, Tyler New Media was nominated by Black Enterprise Magazine as 2014′s Family Business of the Year.
Along with managing the website, producing and directing films and developing social media strategies for well-known brands, Lamar travels the country screening his films, speaking on parenting, marriage-related topics, and social media to a variety of media outlets, and giving advice to aspiring bloggers on how to build their brands. Lamar and Ronnie are the parents of 4 children and call Atlanta home.
Maura Wall Hernandez is the Los Angeles-based editor of LatinaMom.me, a lifestyle and parenting site for Latina moms, and the author of the award-winning food and travel blog, The Other Side of The Tortilla. As a journalist, Maura has diverse staff experience working in magazine, newspaper and online media outlets. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and has spoken at local and national-level conferences on the topics of journalism, blogging and social media, including the Accelerate with Google Partner Summit.
Maura is an alumna of The OpEd Project and has served as a fellow with The News Literacy Project, a national educational program that mobilizes seasoned journalists to help middle school and high school students learn how to be smarter consumers and creators of news. She is the immediate past president of the Association for Women Journalists-Chicago.
As a blogger, Maura has developed recipes for brands such as Avocados From Mexico, the California Milk Advisory Board, Kenmore and others, and worked on the award-winning Mexico Today campaign with the Mexico Tourism Board. The Other Side of The Tortilla has been featured by The New York Times Diner’s Journal, NBC Latino, PBS Parents, Better Homes and Gardens and various other media outlets since its inception in 2009. Maura has previously contributed to the Chicago Tribune, NBC Latino, and other media outlets as an expert on travel and food in Mexico.
Stacy Teet is a professional blogger and social media consultant, curating for major brands like Better Homes and Gardens, Etsy, CamelBak, and more.
She uses visual storytelling techniques, word of mouth marketing, and in-depth trend analysis to help her clients build an online presence, drive traffic and make meaningful connections with their target audience.
She’s been recognized by Pinterest as a Top Influencer and dubbed the “Curator of Awesome” by Flipboard, two networks on which she has built a personal platform of more than 365,000 users.
A Miami girl with an Empire State of mind, Donnet Bruce has the ability to turn ideas into brands and grow those brands into a source of influence. She serves as the Chief Influence Builder & Connector that aims to transform brands. Her integrative marketing services focus on: Branding, Digital Marketing, Creative Direction, and Events.
She and her team link brands with thought leaders and work with brands to develop impactful experiential strategy. Her recent projects include: InfluencerCon, SoFlo Brunch Series, Epicurator App, Nubian Hair Oasis, Blogalicious, Social Media Week, and additional freelance projects.
With a master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications and background in Sociology she’s not only worked in this arena she’s studied it. Crafting unique and lasting experiences for tourism, food, entertainment, culture, beauty and lifestyle brands she’s the go to person to connect your company with the right influencers to take it to the next level.
When she’s not working you can find her checking out new restaurants, traveling, or taking in the latest in the cultural happenings. Whether or not she is on assignment, wherever she is, you can bet she’s never too far away from discovering the next great influencer.
Nikola Ahaiwe is a business and lifestyle coach, motivational speaker, and blogger. She helps new and aspiring small business owners create the life and business that they desire and deserve! She’s passionate about helping entrepreneurs break through the barriers that have been holding them back and go after those BIG, scary goals that they were always too afraid to chase.
Do you work from home or out of an office space?
I work from home.
Do you work alone? Work with a partner or team?
I work alone.
Tell us about your typical work day.
My day starts at 7am. I am up getting my 6 year old twin daughters ready and out the door for school. Once I drop them off, I try to get in an hour of exercise, shower, make breakfast, and be ready to work by 9am. First order of the day is to check my email to make sure there are no pressing issues that need to be addressed. If I don’t have any morning meetings or appointments scheduled, I’m usually writing a blog post, shooting a video for my YouTube channel, updating social media, researching new opportunities, working on an upcoming project, or doing some sort of marketing activity. I try to knock all of these things out before it’s time to pick up my girls at 2:30pm. Afternoons are reserved for the kiddos…making lunch, helping with homework, and getting in a little play time. A lot of my coaching sessions are done in the evenings because many of my clients still hold down a 9-5 job. I try to juggle those between making dinner and preparing for the next day. Once the kids are in bed, my brain kicks into overdrive, so I knock out some more work or get some writing done for the book I am working on. My days are pretty chaotic and usually require me to wear a Superwoman cape, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
What are your most productive work hours?
I am a night owl so I get my best work done when most people are asleep. Usually between 10pm and 1am.
What is your biggest challenge as a solopreneur?
My biggest challenge as a solopreneur is having to wear so many different hats. Since I don’t yet have a team, I am in charge of customer service, marketing, PR, accounting, etc.
If you were given $5k, what would you do with the money?
I would invest in a blog redesign, upgrade my marketing collateral, invest in a project concept that has been in my head for a while, and save the rest for a rainy day.
The one piece of advice I wish I knew when I started out is…
That everything doesn’t have to be “perfect” to get started. The important thing is to take the first step. You can learn, grow, and upgrade as you go.
My favorite book is… and why?
My favorite book is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill because I truly believe in the power of positive thinking and manifesting the things that you want into your life. That book taught me so much.
What is your dream job? Are you doing it right now?
It has always been my dream to work for myself and impact people’s lives in a major way. Becoming a published author and accomplished speaker, traveling around the world teaching, motivating, and inspiring others is my biggest dream!
Thank you, Nikola for participating in our solopreneur series. Nikola regularly features Moguels in the Making and shares social media and business strategy tips on her website. Visit NikolaAhaiwe.com to learn more.