Momager Recap: The Gathering of Mom Bosses

Momager Recap: The Gathering of Mom Bosses

Kris Jenner, Jonetta Patton (Usher Raymond’s mom), and Mama Knowles may be the first to come to mind when you hear the term momager, but they certainly are not the only ones working towards the success of their children.

Local communications expert, founder of Booked Enterprise and #momboss extraordinaire, Winnie Elizabeth, recently  hosted a Momagers Day Class at the CIC @ CET building in St. Louis, MO. What is a Momager you ask? A Momager serves in the role of a business manager over their child(rens) business. While the day class consisted of both novice and veteran momagers, they could all relate to one another when discussing the highs and lows of merging business and family life with their children.

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Winnie

The intimate afternoon began with a warm welcome from Tamara Robinson, entrepreneur and co-author of #MomBoss. The atmosphere was set with each attendee sharing a little bit about themselves and their story – including and outside of motherhood; Followed by the first speaker of the afternoon, Jaqui Rogers, Founder of Mama2Mama, LLC and Co-Founder & Co-Organizer of the Crooked Room Conference.

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Tamara

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Jaqui

Jaqui’s area of expertise centers around the education sector and highlights the notion that education occurs beyond the four walls of a school building. She is a natural facilitator with a heart for service.

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Moms were tasked with identifying their tribe – uniquely defined by everyone – and share the characteristics of their ideal tribe. Needless to say, this opened up an impromptu exchange of stories, contacts, hugs & tears.

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Arriel Biggs is one to ask, “what don’t you do?” She’s a non-profit expert, manager of her son’s many entrepreneurial endeavors, co-author of #MomBoss and a cancer survivor. She is regarded as the veteran of the group with years of industry expertise that she is willing and ready to share when asked.

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Arriel

The brain behind the day class, Winnie Elizabeth, commanded eyes to the front when she gathered a chair and centered herself to the room. Most known as the mother of Sidney Keys III, the founder of an all boys book club focused on encouraging literacy amongst young African-American males titled Books N Bros, LLC. Books N Bros has garnered much press and national attention but many aren’t so familiar with the hard-working hands that have helped the book club excel to its current state.

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Winnie held nothing back with highlighting her boss moments, accolades, and areas of expertise, but was just as candid with sharing her challenging moments, bouts with depression, and getting her car repossessed when Books N Bros was at the height of its success. Even in her most vulnerable moments, as I am sure many mothers can relate, she is grateful for those seasons and for the opportunity to share her story with other entrepreneurial mothers who may be feeling doubt or discouragement throughout the journey.

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The afternoon came full-circle with a much needed word from therapist Richelle Moore who said, “It is ok, to not be ok sometimes.” The entrepreneurial journey and the parenting journey are challenging within their own rights so to combine the two is not a task for the faint at heart. Richelle reiterated the importance of moms taking care of themselves first and foremost, with our mental health being just as important as the endeavors we are embarking on.

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Richelle

This day class has now become a shared experience amongst all the ladies and they can now look back on what they’ve learned for reference and look to each other for insight, suggestions, and support.Thank you Winnie for creating this space for women who are invested in the success of not only their children but themselves as well. As a mother to a 9-year-old with her own goals and ambitions, I am grateful to have been in a space with moms who have been in the game for a minute and willing to share the ins, out, ups and downs of the momager journey.

Check out what all the speakers of the Momager Day Class are up to.

Winnie

IG: @iamwinnieelizabeth

Blog: thewirehangerbywinnie.com

Website: Booked Enterprise & booksnbros.com

Arielle

IG: @arrielbiggs

Website: supportyourbizkid.com

Jaqui 

IG: @thecrookedroomconference & @mama2mamallc

Website: Crookedroomconference.com & mama2mama.net

Tamara

IG: @tamararobinson.onsulting & @dreamchasers_stl

Rochelle

IG: @restorecounselingandwellness

 

The Kinloch Doc – What? When? Where? Why?

The Kinloch Doc – What? When? Where? Why?

 

What

Documentary about the past/current condition of Missouri’s First Black City – Kinloch. If anyone is familiar with Kinloch, what they know, think they know, and what they’ve heard, more often than not will be extremely negative. From its history of corruption within local government to its over exaggerated crime to its decimated tax base and land saturated with garbage, these instances do hold some truth but do not tell the entire story of Kinloch. This documentary aims to share its historic makeup as a city of all Blacks – educators, entrepreneurs, congregations, community members, families – and how the dismantling of this city (through immoral and unethical decision making) was primed and planned long before its execution. What is being done and who is putting forth the effort to change Kinloch’s narrative and maintain Kinloch’s legacy? Well, you will see in the film 🙂

When

I began production for The Kinloch Doc in April of 2017 and man, I DID NOT know what I was doing. Granted, that doesn’t seem like it was too long ago but I’ve been diligent about learning and growing since then. In May of 2018, I made the Kinloch Doc into a four-minute short (still working on a full feature) as the final project for a media production program I was enrolled in, and submitted it to the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase where it screened in July of 2018 and then invited to screen at the St. Louis International Film Festival in November of 2018. Y’all, as a first-time filmmaker with no previous experience in media production, 2018 has been a great year for the Kinloch Doc. I’ve received a lot of great feedback from those who have had a chance to view it at the screenings and I can’t wait until I am done with the full feature. 2019 aint ready for the Kinloch Doc!

Where

I was recently asked when I would be showing the short to the public (Vimeo, YouTube or Facebook) and I wanted to be sure that I didn’t want to submit to anymore festivals before uploading. Before the summer of 2019, I will most likely upload for all to see to generate more interest and a greater following before I launch my kickstarter. If I remain diligent and disciplined, I am aiming for a launched kickstarter in May of 2019. Y’all pray for me!

*The short has recently been accepted into the Benton Park Film Festival and will screen at the end of March!

Why

First and foremost (and I say this every chance I get), this film is about family legacy. That’s how it started and that’s what will be saturated all up and through this film. My family is from Kinloch and I’ve lost many of my elders (both grandparents, 2 aunts and 2 uncles) who loved Kinloch. I never got to experience living in the city, but the way my father and many other people I have met throughout production – talk about the city and their love for the city, I feel compelled and convicted to tell the story. Secondly, the population of Kinloch continues to diminish day by day. It was once a community that housed over 10,000 empowered and excellent Black folk to now only having less than 200 residents. By way of re-development, disinvestment and industrial investment, Kinloch may not be here much longer and its story needs to be captured and stamped in time while it can still be referenced in the present tense. I am Kinloch. Kinloch is me.

See the first trailer here:

To stay up-to-date with The Kinloch Doc’s progress, follow us on IG @thekinlochdoc and Facebook @thekinlochdoc and visit the website at www.thekinlochdoc.com.

Happy First-Gen College Student Day

Happy First-Gen College Student Day

Happy First Generation College Student Day. If you don’t know what today is, don’t feel bad. It is fairly new but very much important. On November 8, 2017, the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) and the Center for First-Generation Student Success launched the very first, First-Gen College Celebration. While long overdue, I am excited that we are getting the celebratory recognition that we so much deserve. Far too often and for far too long, any and every piece of literature regarding First-Gen students lumps us in to a group of individuals that are all to vulnerable and susceptible to a myriad of distractions that could deter us from post-secondary education. Our stories are far greater, much richer, more complex and unique than the data. Here, I want to share my First-Gen story – I’ll try to keep it short 🙂

I graduated from high school in May of 2008. I would say I had a fairly easy high school education. I always strived for straight A’s, always involved in some after school activity and vying for leadership roles. I was the senior class Vice President, on prom court, and graduated with a 4.3 GPA. I never really had to try. I would do homework, listen to music, eat, watch tv, and text all at the same time. I was regarded as the student who didn’t need assistance which in hindsight, was the onset of many educational challenges I would have in the future. There is a huge misconception that high achieving students are often given preferential treatment by teachers and counselors, but that wasn’t my experience. I wasn’t given information about college reps visiting the school or scholarship opportunities. I had to research that on my own. I’m sure the preferential treatment was given to my white classmates considering I went to a predominately white school – but that’s another convo for another day.

I grew up middle class. Both of my parents had pretty decent jobs so we never really needed for anything and “access” (or what I would consider access) wasn’t an issue. It was awareness and information that set me behind the 8 ball. Granted, my parents valued education and supported me in my efforts to apply and enroll in college, but I had to take the lead and inform them of the little that I knew. I handled my business all throughout high school so they never questioned my efforts or double checked to see if anything I was doing was actually correct – they trusted me.

The FAFSA, I had to learn that on my own; best fit/match, I didn’t know the importance of that back then; tuition cost, I’ll just take out loans – I was just shooting and seeing what stuck (thank God for provision). I decided to go to the University of Missouri – Columbia (Mizzou) to feel like I was sort of far away, but close enough to get back home if needed. Little did I know, if I felt high school was a breeze, college was going to be the complete opposite.

2nd semester of my freshman year of college, I was pregnant with my baby girl. So now, not only am I a First-Gen college student but I am a student-parent with a whole new set of unique needs that more often than not, were never left unaddressed. At 5 months, I moved back home with my parents to get support in raising Addy while still taking classes at a local university. When my daughter was 15 months, I came back to Mizzou with my daughter on my hip. Freshman year by myself was challenging but it held no weight to parenting and going to school full-time.

My remaining years in undergrad consisted of financial aid appeals, gathering 343,943 pieces of documentation for my FAFSA since I was independent, food stamps, WIC, TANF, one-on-ones with professors, tutoring, on-campus jobs flexible with my schedule, daycare, bringing my kid to class, creating student groups to find other students with similar lifestyles to feel supported as a first-gen/student parent and the list goes on and on and on. This continued on to my graduate school experience as well, except this time I was GROWN grown. Didn’t make the challenges any less harsh (being a first-gen graduate student deserves its on post – not today)

First-Generation college students do not have monolithic experiences but our pride, drive, will, tenacity, relentless pursuit of completion, repeated episodes of imposter syndrome and an on-going desire to pour into other First-Gen students make our journeys that much more similar. We aren’t basket cases, we aren’t at-risk youth in need of a savior, we aren’t data-fillers and quota reachers. We deserve a quality education and to receive the same amount of nurturing support as your legacy/pay-tuition-out-of-pocket/75th-generation college students. We bring diversity to the classroom and workforce and are more apt to be of service to others because we know what it’s like to start from scratch and have to just “figure it out.”

If I were to define my college experience in one sentence, it would be “trial-and-error.” There was no road map laid out before me or a book full of advice from family members on how to navigate college because they didn’t know either. But this experience helped shaped so much of my life and I am forever grateful for this experience. Most importantly, my daughter will now have the opportunity as well as the access that I did not have. Even if she chooses not to pursue post-secondary education, she will be equipped to make an informed decision and won’t have to shoot and see what sticks.

*To read more about Addy and I’s experience at Mizzou, read here

Cheers to the First-Gens! Today is FOR US!

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Uncle Obama: Not Just Because He’s Black, but Because He’s Black

Uncle Obama: Not Just Because He’s Black, but Because He’s Black

It is believed that people create their best work when stressed, depressed, grieving, or just plain ol’ hurt. Well, just like many others across this country (across the globe) I am in mourning. Uncle O and Tee Tee ‘Chelle leaving, y’all. They can’t pass go. They can’t collect $200. There will never be another and if there is, they won’t be quite like the first BLACK family.

I was still wet behind the ears when Uncle O took office. I had turned 18 four months prior to him being voted as the president-elect so with 2008 being my first time voting, I find it nothing short of a blessing to witness such a moment. Uncle O made a trip to Mizzou (my alma mater) a few days before voting day. The line to see him probably stretched all the way down 70 and I remember several people were pissed that a few friends and I cut the line. What can I say? Much like Sasha, I had class that morning and couldn’t catch this occasion until my work was complete.

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I had never seen anything like it. The atmosphere was pleasant. No, the atmosphere was LIT but we weren’t saying LIT in ‘08 but it fits the story so there have you.

 

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This man was free of smile lines, few sprinkles of grey on the top of his head, but still had that same wide smile that made his eyes disappear when he showed his teeth. I had never been engaged in “politics” prior to this election and honestly, I never really cared to. Witnessing his campaign and his election, being able to see him in person before he became President elect, seeing him and Tee Tee ‘Chelle balance parenthood in the public eye and salvaging any type of normalcy they could find was beyond admirable to me. It makes me yearn for it all the more knowing the type of person we got coming in behind him.

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“Politics” is a funny concept. The older I get, the more I realize it is something one can never get away from and has little control over how it is executed but much control over how one responds to it. When it came down to it, it HAS and WILL effect me whether I am 17 or 71 so why not try to engage and understand it. Uncle O poured Lawry’s onto the unseasoned plate of politics and made it easier (and more attractive) to digest. To say that he ran his presidency free of mistakes and issues would be extremely naive of me, however, his successes far outweigh the failures and on behalf of MOST Blacks (I won’t say all), I’ll tell you why….

For all the Black parents whoever told their Black child, “you can be whatever you want to be…EVEN the President of the United States” not knowing if they believed themselves when they said it but got to see it come to fruition with him- not just once but TWICE!

For all the Black women fawning at how much he loves his lady and his girls – how he broke stereotypes among stereotypes that Black men don’t love Black women and they leave their children behind to be raised by the ills of the world.

For all the Black people who went to apple itunes and blasted Let’s Stay Together by Al Green after he swooned us for a few seconds at Harlem’s Apollo Theater.

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For the 12,000 inmates (most of which happen to be Black and Brown) who received a grant under the Second Chance Pell Grant Program who are now able to pursue two & four year degrees!

For all the Black men who found solace and unity amongst one another through the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.

For the many Blacks who now (for now) have health insurance coverage under the ACA.

For all the Black people who continue to push and persevere past opposition for the betterment of themselves and their families. Obama had to move past a petty a*s congress who actively chose not to stamp anything he introduced and he STILL kept it pushing.

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For all the Black people who have been letting the world know how truly racist this country is for YEARS and Obama’s administration helped exposed it. Maybe we can actually work towards progression now that we (THEY) have admitted that this country has a problem…but then there’s trump.

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For all the Black grannies who put a picture of Uncle O next to Jesus and MLK, and if they were really involved in politics – JFK.

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For the 1000+ individuals (many Black and Brown) who received pardons/commutations for a second chance at life.

For those who are super heavy into “facts” (but with the current president elect, I don’t know how….nvm), those are some facts for you. Some of which are measurable and others aren’t, but doesn’t make them any less valid.

The argument that our love for him is solely because he is Black is not accurate – it makes it all the more beautiful.


I didn’t have a Black professor until I got to graduate school in the Fall of 2015 – at the age of 25. I’ve had Black custodians, secretaries, librarians, bus drivers, lunch ladies, security guards, referees, coaches….you catch my drift? To walk in to class and see that Black lady with them long locs and her unapologetic style of teaching – I sat at attention EVERY DAMN DAY. The idea of what she had to go through to get to where she is, at one of the most prestigious private schools in the country lends itself enough compassion and empathy from me to her. I wanted to pay attention. I wanted to be engaged. I wanted to lead discussion and participate in each class session because if it took me 25 years (21 of which I was actually enrolled in school) to have a Black teacher, who the hell knows how long it would be before that happens again! I was committed to do my best not just because I wanted to get an A, but she made me want to learn.

Same with Uncle O. Politics is dry as hell to me, but he made me want to know more, made me want to understand, made me want to get involved, and made me care.


For all the butt-hurt people who to this day swear up and down that Uncle O did nothing for Blacks, the key is to understand that he is not the President of Blacks; he is the leader of the country surrounded by folks who get off on the very idea of seeing him fail and will sacrifice their firstborn to see him do it.

How engaged were you with your local elections? How many school board meetings did you attend? How many coats did you drop off to the homeless in the winter time? Did you take up a leadership position with your child’s PTO organization at school? Do you volunteer at all? What information did you give up about that unsolved murder you knew about?

If you are going to offer up some complaints, have some solutions to follow up with it.

What are you doing to help Black people? It’s a collective effort with AND without Uncle O.

I’m off my soap box.

We need to keep each other lifted in prayer. This mourning is real. Clearly, the sadness that 2016 brought asked for an extension. I don’t know about y’all but I got my incense lit, Butter Pecan ice cream stocked in the freezer for comfort, Bobby Womack cued up on the record player, and my book of Proverbs open.

In the ever-so-relevant words of Minister K Dot: “We gone be alright.”

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God Bless
*cues Please Don’t Go by Boyz 2 Men*