This is the first time in a long time that I have started a journey in my career where I’ve been scared. It’s such a huge thing and I’m scared. But dang it I’m running with it anyway! My parents didn’t raise a punk, so I’m putting on my big girl trunks and doing this!

Storiboard Nation LLC
I Co-Founded this company with my business partner, Markeith Wood. We first met in November 2013, and by February 2014 I decided to switch my role from serving as a consultant to actually becoming a partner. In March the company was legally formed.

I serve as the Co-Founder and Chief Global Strategist (and behind the scenes wearing a bunch of other hats!)

Markeith and I both share a passion for community and especially working with and mentoring the youth. We had similar ideas for an online mentoring network, but Markeith’s idea was super-sized as his vision had potential to be global, while I hadn’t broadened my focus beyond serving one nonprofit organization near and dear to me (hint hint). We put our minds together, tweaked some of our original thoughts, and I began sharpening my techie (after many years of laying dormant).

Ladies and gentlemen I introduce you to Storiboard Nation, “an online mentoring network for youth, supported by parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors“. It’s a private network where we have students in middle school through college engaging in dialogue with their peers, with each other and with the adults who want to see them succeed.

Adults have to undergo extensive background screening before they can gain access to the network. We have student-only and adult-only forums. We have groups that meet and discuss topics from music to STEM, entrepreneurship to sports, attending college to changing the environment, and everything in between.

We’re creating an online community “where we can build tomorrow’s leaders today!

We already have teachers with more than 350 students waiting for us to open the virtual doors to them. The teachers have been part of our BETA testers along with several parents, coaches, and mentors.

We have students in grades 6-12 as well as several who are in college, who are adding their voice and creativity to helping us build the online community in a way that’s appealing to youth and not just us “old folks”.

We’re partnering with mentoring and youth organizations, as well as businesses from around the world who are interested in taking part in what we believe will be a big impact not just locally but globally.

We’re currently developing our mobile app, which will make interacting simpler and more engaging, and will give us the global presence that is needed. We’re also actively looking for team members and partners to help us build Storiboard Nation to where it needs to be.

To get a sneak peek into Storiboard Nation visit storiboardnation.com

Markeith and I are simultaneously working on other projects beyond the online community that will reinforce and nurture what we’re currently developing. Stay tuned for more announcements concerning those efforts.

Remember life is about our stories, share yours today on Storiboard Nation!

Warmest wishes,
Natasha

COPYRIGHT 2014. NATASHA FOREMAN BRYANT. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

By Natasha Foreman Bryant, MBA
 
 I love learning new things. So I get excited when I learn facts about people, products, things and places that I sometimes take for granted, for instance, I use Crest toothpaste, sometimes drink Folgers coffee, I like to pop in Bounce fabric softener in my laundry, and before I stopped drinking soda I used to love slurping back a can of Crush soda (Orange or Strawberry).
 
 


Well I was very surprised to find out that these products and more were developed by an African American chemist and executive, Dr. Herbert C. Smitherman, Sr. when he worked at Procter and Gamble beginning in the 1960s.
 
 


Dr. Smitherman developed several flavors of Crush many of which are still on grocery store shelves today.


Now I’m sure some of my friends from high school or even college will tell me that I knew this little known fact, but I honestly can’t recall—which is sad, especially since I have a degree in Black Studies. Uugh…well let me continue sharing what I found out about this great innovator.
 
 Dr. Smitherman was the first African American hired by P&G with a PhD in physical organic chemistry, and he continued working for the company for 29 years, helping to develop numerous products for them, while also helping to make P&G a more diverse company, as he recruited a great number of African American professionals to work for the company from the 1960s through the 1980s.
 
 How many of you use (or used) Safeguard soap? Well be sure to say, “thank you” to the late Dr. Smitherman, Sr for developing that for your daily use!
 
 Check out this 1960s Crest commercial: http://youtu.be/cbXuW97l3DQ
 
 Developing products and creating a more diverse environment for P&G aren’t the only things Dr. Smitherman did in his lifetime. Besides earning his PhD, the only child to an Alabama pastor (also a community activist), also served in his community, as an active member of the NAACP. He and his wife of 51 years, Barbara Flowers Smitherman, had six children and 14 grandchildren. The couple met while they attended college at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama.
 
 After retiring from P&G, Dr. Smitherman pursued a career in education, serving as vice president of academic affairs for Wilberforce University. Dr. Smitherman then started Western Hills Design Technology, a high school that was created to assist African American students in math and science. He later joined the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education as an assistant to Superintendent Mary Ronan.
 
 Dr. Smitherman passed away on October 9, 2010 at the age of 73. He left to carry on his legacy his wife, children, and grandchildren. He also left behind a history that can never be forgotten, as long as we do our part to share it in our households, communities and with the world. Some of the many patents Dr. Smitherman developed for P&G were featured in the ‘’America I AM: The African American Imprint’’ exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Check with America I AM for current and future exhibits around the country, by visiting: http://www.americaiam.org
 
 Every time I purchase a P&G product developed by Dr. Smitherman I will smile proudly at the cash register and all the way home. Thank you Dr. Smitherman for your amazing contributions to the world.
 
 Please share this story and other historical records of contributions made by men and women of color, and the African American experience, as it oftentimes goes overlooked, and has increasingly been removed from history books given to students in grades K-12. I don’t recall reading about Dr. Smitherman in any of my K-12 classrooms, and he’s not searchable on Wikipedia, so I know that the majority of students today don’t know about him and other pioneers, innovators, and leaders—don’t forget, many of them go to Google and Wikipedia for their research and fact checking.
 
 Knowing this, let’s do our part to keep the light lit and the information churning!
 
 
 
 Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved. Natasha Foreman Bryant.

A book review written by Natasha Foreman Bryant

Let me start off by saying that this may not be like any other book review you have ever read. Okay, now that I have prepared you, let’s do this!


I absolutely love Real Money Answers For Every Woman: How to Win the Money Game With or Without a Man. It encourages women to Woman Up and get their lives right. I have known Patrice C. Washington personally and professionally for roughly three years and it’s both an honor and privilege to write this review for this awesome woman, wife, mother, author, and entrepreneur. Hopefully after reading her book you will do the same, and share the book with others.

Patrice has done an amazing job taking the lessons she learned the hard way and combining them with the lessons she has learned from others, and those she has taught her clients over the years, and she is now sharing all of this proven wisdom with her readers.

Regardless of your financial situation, the health of your financial portfolio, your job title, or knowledge of this topic—you should read this book and share it with others. I intend to purchase this book for family members, friends, and my mentees. I intend to purchase this book for women who know (and those who think) they have their financial worlds together, and I’m going to encourage them to read and review it, and then share it with others.

I’ve been a personal and professional CEO for over 25 years. I know you’re saying to yourself, “huh how can you be both a personal and professional CEO?” Well when I train adults in the business and community settings, and speak with youth in classrooms and youth centers, I always tell them that they need to see themselves as the CEO of their life, that they are a brand and that they need to live and act accordingly. So it was great to read that Patrice teaches the same to her clients.

This book encourages and empowers you to build your personal brand and live your life as the CEO of that brand, while also showing you how you can professionally become the CEO of your very own company (or as an Intrapreneur you can see through the lens of the CEO of the company where you work).

I always share with clients and those that I work with in the community that I am the CEO of my personal brand, Natasha Foreman Bryant (formerly Natasha L. Foreman). How I live affects my branding. I am the CEO of Foreman & Associates, LLC, a business management firm. The decisions I make personally and professionally affects my company and its stakeholders. If I’m irresponsible, lazy, shiftless, fearful, prideful, or stubborn my brands are negatively impacted. Every day I must consider my brands.

We all should live our lives thinking this way. Patrice will help you to begin thinking this way and I’m so glad to see that she is dedicated to this, because not all authors, consultants, and leaders focus on that.

Trust me, there is something in this book that you don’t know, forgot, hadn’t seen delivered (or explained) a certain way, or you hadn’t fully applied to your own life.

Now you can use these tools to begin the necessary steps to provide the sense of security you want and need, and from there you can create or maintain the financial wealth that could possibly sustain future generations in your family.

There isn’t a dull page in this book. Patrice jumps right in, no sugar-coating, no trite regurgitation of things you already heard, and no “mumbo jumbo”. If you want an enabler, this isn’t the book for you. If you want a rah rah session filled with frills and fluff, this isn’t the book for you.

This is a book for women, not immature females who want to call themselves women. If you have fallen and you need to pull yourself up, this is the book for you. If you want to make sure you are on the right path, this is the book for you. If you want to become more interdependent and less dependent, co-dependent, or obnoxiously independent—-this book is for you.

Let me explain my thinking here. You can be broke and alone but you can’t be broke and independent. Trust me you’re depending on someone. On the flip side, you can have all of the money and resources in the world, but you still need someone’s help, guidance, support, and encouragement. You didn’t make it to the top alone. Gain the knowledge to grow into a healthy interdependent woman that can stand on her own but has the sense to ask for help when needed, quickly seeks out the resources you need to learn and grow, and is reliable enough where someone can come to you for counsel and assistance.

Woman up!

Here’s the thing, even the areas that you may already be well-versed in this book has great tips, affirmations, stories and testimonies that you or someone you know might find extremely helpful. As you turn each page you will instantly gravitate to Patrice’s “Real TALK”, “Real MONEY”, “UN REAL”, and “AFFIRM” sections. There is where you will find the quotes, affirmations, statistics, and tips that Patrice has gathered from research (and spending time listening to and learning from experts in the field) and shared with clients and in workshops.

It was great seeing one of my husband’s (John Hope Bryant) favorite Winston Churchill quotes in the Wealth Begins Within chapter (pg. 16) that said, “…success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm“.

Every person should memorize this quote, and apply it to their lives. Every successful person and every person who has gotten back on their feet after failing knows this quote to be true, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. I started my first business when I was 11 years old, and have since owned several businesses that I have started, stopped, and failed at—-and that doesn’t include the business ideas that failed before I could get them started.

Failure is inevitable. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. How do you deal with it and how quickly do you realign your thinking so you can get back up? Patrice’s book helps you switch your thinking about your failed financial situation, your failure to not succumb to excessive spending, and your failure at reaching or maintaining the wealth you desire.

The biggest problem in our personal debt crisis is our pride, shame, and yes even our greed. Greed is also the reason our country had a financial crisis.

People have lost their homes, cars, and more because they were too prideful or too consumed by their shame to admit they needed help, and to go get the help that could save them. Oftentimes our greed is what first got us there. We buy cars and homes that we know deep down inside that we can’t afford, but we convince ourselves that we have to have it, and that somehow someway we will pay those bills each month. Then when times get tough our pride and shame kick in and we never get help, or we wait until it’s too late. We lose our car, home, lifestyle, dignity, and sometimes our family and friends.

Patrice’s book helps people face this fact, and take the necessary steps to save themselves and build the lives they have always wanted, with the wisdom to not repeat bad habits and make fatal mistakes. Her book isn’t a one-size fits all nor is it the solution for all of your financial problems. But it’s a start and it gets you to the next level where you can see the finish line, or the goal you’re reaching for.

If you think you don’t need this book and you have it all figured out. You really need to get this book. If you discover you were right, then great, pay it forward and give the book to a loved one. You can vouch for it and help someone else attain their goals.

Maybe you haven’t figured it out and don’t have top-rated credit, zero debt, and a top-notch portfolio. Are any of the scenarios below similar to your current reality:

1) Do you have student loan debt, credit card debt, facing foreclosure or repossession of your vehicle, or barely making ends meet? Read this book.

2) Have you lost your job, car, or home, or a combination of the three? Well you need the resources to get back on your feet. Buy this book.

3) Do you have problems saving money and reducing debt simultaneously? Read this book. You can pay off your debt and save money at the same time!

4) Do you have problems with budgeting effectively? Read this book. Do you wonder if you really need a budget? You really need to read this book.

5) If you don’t have a professional financial team providing counsel, helping you with financial decisions, and helping you to build a healthy portfolio then please read this book.

6) If you’re clueless about financial portfolios, then you really need to read Patrice’s book.

7) If your credit score is below 850 then you should read this book. Yes, even having a high 700 credit score doesn’t make you financially savvy or secure. You are only a few late pays (or one high credit card limit) from dropping to a mid-to-low 600 credit score. Trust me, it happened to me more than once. Co-signing for someone could drop your credit score. Acquiring that awesome no-limit credit card could drop your credit score. It’s possible, and Patrice’s book (and the access to resources, professionals, workshops and other books) could help you.

More applied knowledge leads to growth and wisdom. Take what you learn in this book and apply it to your life, and then do check ups twice a year to make sure you are staying on track.

8) If you are married or considering marriage, please please please read this book. The number one cause for divorce is behind money and debt. This is not the 1950s ladies. Change your thinking that it’s solely your man’s responsibility to handle all of the finances.

As we have taken on more professional roles and responsibilities, and achieved greater heights in education over the past 50-plus years we have also further exposed ourselves to more financial debt.

Unfortunately most women don’t share the details of their financial position and amount of debt they have taken on while they are in the courting and dating phases of their relationships. Instead it’s usually not until they get married that they drop the debt bomb on their spouse. I’ve seen it happen with my friends, and I swore that I would never do it to my husband, and I didn’t. Upfront we put our cards on the table so that there weren’t any postnuptial surprises.

Here’s why:

For 20-plus years your spouse has been focused on their budget, debt, and responsibilities. Understandably he believes that you have been doing the same for the past 20-plus years. How do you think he would feel finding out that now your debt pile has been added to his? He feels blindsided and possibly like you played him.

What if he isn’t strong in that area, what will you do? What if he passes away and you’re left to handle everything on your own? Additionally and most importantly, your personal debt shouldn’t be his burden. Woman up and take care of your responsibilities. Patrice’s book encourages this and I love it.

You wouldn’t want your spouse handing you his pile of credit card, mortgage, car loan, and student loan debt expecting you to pay all or most of it, so don’t convince yourself to do the same.

Look at it another way, if your finances aren’t in order and his finances aren’t in order (or something happens that disrupts his financial conditions) how will that impact your relationship? The blame game will begin quickly and your marriage may take a hit that you may not recover from.

Remember, the number one cause for divorce is behind money and debt. So be proactive and get this book!

Here are some other reasons to buy Real Money Answers For Every Woman:

9) Do you have children or want some? This is a no-brainer. Buy this book immediately!

10) Are you the person that friends and family come to when they need money, “a loan”, “help”, “a favor”? Trust me, buy this book and read it.

11) If you are a big spender, giver, or a push over, you need this book to help you realize what you can and cannot afford to do in your life, and for others. This book and the other resources Patrice shares from other authors, will help you learn to say “no” to yourself and to others, learn how to become more disciplined, learn how to reprogram your thinking and habits, and learn how to live the life you want and need, while learning the real difference between wants and needs.

12) If you want to invest in yourself, your family, your career, and in your future. Then invest in this book.

While reading this book I found myself saying, “yep I remember doing that”, “uugh, yep I’m guilty of this”, “okay okay, I’m on it”, and “oh shoot I need to share this with so-and-so she really needs to read this”. Trust me you will too! There were things that I already knew, already committed to habit, and then there were things that I have procrastinated on, or hadn’t seen explained the way Patrice did. What is also great is when she shares updated statistics that you may have been unaware of, it’s both informative and useful.

As a wife, daughter, sister, friend, mentor, entrepreneur, and PhD student, I can say that Patrice’s book covers all or most of the areas in a woman’s life that needs help, tuning up, restructuring, or reevaluation. For less than $20 what sane person wouldn’t want to invest in themselves by purchasing this book?

As I prepare myself for a future life of motherhood, I will use this book again to check up and check in, as I work to balance my roles of wife, mother, community servant, and entrepreneur. My children will need to learn early on their responsibility in life, how to grow the wealth they have inherited from their parents, and make the right decisions in order to be productive personally, professionally, and in the world in which they live. If they can’t learn from me and their father, then who will they learn from? My goal is to be their first role model and the one they can turn to and emulate throughout their life.

If that is also a goal of yours for you and your family, then make sure you invest in and read:

Real Money Answers For Every Woman: How to Win the Money Game With or Without a Man

Purchase Patrice’s book and check out the 5 stars I gave her here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0985908017

Here’s to your success,

~ Natasha Foreman Bryant
Servant leader, wife, change agent, PhD student, CEO of Foreman & Associates, LLC, and CEO of the Natasha Foreman Bryant brand!

By Natasha Foreman Bryant, MBA
 
 Part one of this series was a call to action for the men in the world to stand up, speak out, and to be proactive in our communities. Today I continue my plea. Today I go even deeper and broader.
 
 I want to see more positive male role models showing young girls and ladies what a man and father is all about and that although these females may not have a real father in their life, they should not go through life looking for one in every male they encounter, nor should they lower themselves to fighting over men or plotting and planning to take one from another woman.
 
 I want to see these male role models speak up and tell women that “he who findeth a wife finds a good thing” and that a real man will find them and will do right by them, encourage them as they grow in their career, and will marry them first and not rush to turn them into a “baby mama”. I also want these men to shed light on the labels of “baby mama” and “baby daddy”, and that a woman should not want to be labeled as such or be in a position to have a man not worthy to be called the father of her children, or her husband.
 
 I want to hear from the men as they explain to young girls and women that their value is not between their legs, but rather within their brains, and that it is a rare man who is interested in marrying and staying in a committed, monogamous, and healthy marriage with a woman who spreads her legs like an eagle or frog for almost every passerby. I want men to stand up and let females know that the only man interested in a “loose” woman is not a man, but he is rather a snake who is pimping not only her but others for their “goodies”, and once he is done with her he will move on to the next and the next, and the next.
 
 Young ladies need to know that they don’t need to fight for, manipulate, trick, or set up a man. A good man, a decent man, a man qualified to be a husband, will seek them out and they will complement each other. I want to see the men stand up and tell these young ladies that trying to get pregnant to keep a man will only make their lives a living hell, and increase the probability of their children growing resentful of one or both parents.
 
 I want to see men stand up and let these young girls and women know that the words “I love you” are used casually as well as manipulatively to gain power over another person, and the truest sign of someone’s love is when they don’t ever make you feel desperate, weak, vulnerable, less than, second to, dependent, alone, lonely, ugly, stupid, trapped, incompetent, worthless, or like a body part.
 
 When a man gives a woman the space to grow, learn, experience life, take on challenges, chase your dreams, set and achieve goals, pursue and complete your education, follow your passions, work for the job and career you desire, start your own business, have a social life outside of him, spend time with friends and family, live interdependently—-that is love. The same is true when a woman provides that environment for her man. That is what I want to hear men share with these young ladies.
 
 I’m asking the men to stand up and keep telling these young males to pull up their pants, dress with respect and dignity like they want a career and have aspirations beyond living for today. Tell these young ladies to dress with class and not like prostitutes. I’m asking for the men to stand up and tell both boys and men to stop calling women bitches and hoes, chicken heads, side chicks, side pieces, and other disrespectful (and belittling names). I also need you to stand up and tell the females to stop answering to and calling each other these same names, and to stop disrespecting men by calling them out of their names. Females need to stop tearing down, beating down, and psychologically castrating men—a man can’t lead if he’s been kicked down. Let them know this. Explain this to them. Help them to see what you see.
 
 Men I need you to stand up, stand up, stand up, and get to work. Don’t close your eyes or turn your head, get to work. We have a world to save!
 
 If you are serious and ready to commit to turning our communities around for the better, in addition to your active pursuit of change, take part in the Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action through Operation HOPE’s Project 5117 by visiting http://operationhope.org/join5117 and select one of the options, or click “Other” and type in your specific commitment to saving our youth.
 
 
 ~Natasha Foreman Bryant
 
 
 
 Link to A Call to Action for Men: Part One: https://natashaforeman.com/2013/12/12/a-call-to-action-for-all-men-part-one/
 
 Copyright 2013. Natasha Foreman Bryant. All Rights Reserved.
 
 
 

I just posted to my Breaking Bread blog a prayer and reflection that I felt could also be shared on my other blogs. It doesn’t just focus on our family members who lie, cheat, steal, and get high. It focuses on you, on us, and how we deal with that person. It also focuses on our lives and those frequent moments when we betray God with as much or more intensity and intent as the family member who betrays us. It’s such a crazy cycle.
 
 How do we heal from our self-inflicted “crimes” and how do we heal from heinous acts committed against us? How do we go through the steps needed to forgive ourselves and others? How do we factor in the person who hurt us? Do we disown them or slowly begin to allow them back into our lives? When do you let them back in? After they are “healed” from their “infliction” or during the healing process? Below please read the excerpts from this post and then share your thoughts.
 
 Excerpts from Breaking Bread:
 
 

Has a loved one ever stolen from you? Blatantly lied to you? Been abusive towards you? Coldly disrespected you? Manipulated you into believing that they were a certain type of person, or lived a certain type of way? Have you suspected that they were stealing from you and others but your interventions fell short of any real results?
 
 Do you have a loved one who is abusing drugs and/or alcohol yet you keep ignoring the problem? How many times have you known that this person has been behind the wheel of a car? How many times have you witnessed the aftermath of their binging behavior? How many times have you bailed them out of jail or financial binds?
 
 I just spent the past hour reading forum threads about family members, young children and adult children, who stole from their family, were abusing drugs and/or alcohol, were blatantly disrespectful and sometimes abusive, and their family didn’t know what to do. I read of parents and other family members who just couldn’t take the betrayal any more and they kicked the perpetrator out of their home and forbid their return for any reason. Then I read of instances where people continued to forgive and let “slide” the offenses even when extremely valuable and sentimental items were stolen.
 
 Have you ever experienced this phenomena? Are you experiencing it now? It’s painful to have a stranger steal from or betray you. But it feels like your insides are being gutted when it’s done by a loved one….

 
 

…I think that just like God lovingly allows us to stumble and fall into valleys, yet never completely cutting us off, we too must lovingly let our perpetrator-family member go so that they can stumble and fall—-because we can’t go farther down when our faces are on the ground. We can either stay there or get up, and we can’t get up without God.
 
 Lovingly keep those who are inflicted with the thieving, lying, abusing/abusive “bug” at a safe distance, so that you can allow God to have complete access without your interference. Every time we interfere and think that we can do God’s job and fix something faster, we end up being the victim. There’s a big difference between an intervention with tough love, and trying to “fix” someone. Set and stick by boundaries and rules to protect yourself and other family members, and let God handle the details. The perpetrator will only get and accept help when they want it and see the need for it. Until that time they are like a nonstop tsunami that will destroy anything and anyone in their path.

 
 If YOU are the perpetrator then you will either deny wrongdoing (and continue spiraling out of control until you hit a hard enough force that stops you) or you will get professional and spiritual help, and make right your wrongs.
 
 
 Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Natasha Foreman Bryant.
 
 
 

The National Center for Civil and Human Rights Women and Girl’s Collaborative celebrates the International Day of the Girl with ‘All Things Girl: A Roadmap to the Best You!’

When: Saturday, October 12, 2013 from 8:30AM – 12:00 noon

Where:  Georgia Power/Southern Company  241 Ralph McGill Boulevard NE Atlanta, GA 30308

Please RSVP to Natalia Barreto: nbarreto@civilandhumanrights.org

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s also my birthday month. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Stella & Dot will be donating 100% of net proceeds from their Breast Cancer Awareness boutique line to the Noreen Fraser Foundation. Last year Stella & Dot raised $185,000 to help the Foundation fund a lab at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. Amazingly, “researchers there can test a cutting edge new epigenetic therapy for breast cancer”. Stella & Dot is committed to doing their part to fight breast cancer with style.

To help with this effort, as a Stella & Dot Stylist, I intend to personally host as well as hold trunk shows for other hostesses in the month of October to support a cause that I am extremely passionate about. But I’m not stopping there. I have also committed to donating 20% of my personal net proceeds from each trunk show to a hostess-designated charity/foundation. It’s my birthday gift to others!

The more money that we can raise for breast cancer research, the faster we can find a cure, and make sure that no woman, man, or child ever has to live with or fight breast cancer (or any cancer). I have friends, family, and associates who have fought this “enemy”, and I want to do my part to continue to help bring awareness to communities worldwide, and the possibility of dispensing a cure in my lifetime.

If you are interested in learning more about participating in one of my personal trunk shows or hosting one of your own please visit my Stella & Dot web page at: stelladot.com/nfb or visit my Facebook page: facebook.com/StellaDotStylist1

I am proud of Stella & Dot for giving stylists an opportunity to help out with these efforts. Many of us participate in walks and runs, fundraisers and other efforts, and now we can also participate through Stella & Dot, the Noreen Fraser Foundation, and other charities.

Note: This is an independent post and not an advertisement, promotion, or release from Stella & Dot or the Noreen Fraser Foundation.

 

Copyright 2013. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved.

By Natasha Foreman Bryant

First let me start off by thanking my friend and colleague Steve Woodsmall for sharing the video link below with me. I know that the headline of my post has probably left all or most of you scratching your head. I’m hoping that it does and that you have not already voiced an opinion for either Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act.

I say this because they are both one in the same, and oh yeah, so is Health Care Reform.

What is amazing is that there are probably thousands and thousands of people who don’t realize this and they have voiced their opinions strongly within their households and publicly, either for or against ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act, or Health Care Reform.

Please watch this video so that you can see for yourself how people who seem to be well-educated are also extremely ignorant on this topic, and why we all must take the time to:

1) Increase our level of common sense with as much passion as we pursue our formal education, and

2) Teach people to think for themselves, research, ask questions, and not be so quick to follow the crowds.

To put things bluntly, if the people in this video were cattle they would’ve already been slaughtered, because they allowed themselves to be brainwashed into believing one thing and one thing only, and they naively and ignorantly have followed this belief (and those who preach it) down a rabbit hole of nonsense.

If they don’t know about this, what else are they blindly swayed by? What other topics have they been chiming in on and voting on the last 12+ years? How many of their relatives, neighbors, colleagues, and friends think and vote just like them?

How many voters or potential voters does that add up to?

Now think about this… think about all of the local, state, and federal elections that these individuals and others participate in regularly because they want their voice heard and their vote counted.

I have heard voters over the years admit to simply filling in boxes on the ballot even though they had no clue what the topics and laws meant, or how they would be impacted. They would’ve been better off just voting for the one or two candidates they wanted, and leaving the rest of the ballot blank, but instead they took it upon themselves to cast a vote for things they knew nothing about. We’ve been brainwashed to chime in and ‘fill in the bubble’ on issues with the same carelessness as we do multiple choice exams where you simply fill in a bubble.

How many of you recall teachers and proctors telling you to simply, “answer each question even if you don’t know the right answer, just fill in a bubble with your best guess because you may just get the right answer...” How many of you can admit to randomly filling in C-A-B, A, C, B, and so on, and reciting what you were taught that, “there’s a higher probability of ‘C’ being the correct answer“. Well there seems to be a lot of ‘fill-in-the bubble’ people in this country.

This truly bothers me. Just like this ObamaCare versus Affordable Care Act debate and foolishness.

Come on folks, with all of the technology and resources available to us, take the time to inform and educate yourself about topics, laws, statutes, etc., especially the ones that affect millions of people, and possibly even your own family.

Just because you hear a message repeated multiple times does not mean that the message is accurate. Just because an image is shown to you repeatedly, doesn’t mean that what you see and what you are being told that you see are identical. If someone tells you that the letters G-R-E-E-N represent the color blue and you don’t take the time to research that, you will spend your entire life believing that to be true. A yellow building will always be pink if you never question or triple-check the person telling you that it’s pink. These are the critical thinking skills we claim we are teaching our kids to acquire and use.

If you don’t know about the Affordable Care Act also known as ObamaCare, please visit http://healthcare.gov or call (800) 318-2596.
TTY is (855) 889-4325. Small businesses with 50 or fewer employees can call (800) 706-7893. TTY is (800) 706-7915.

To help better educate the people of this great nation, please share that website and the phone numbers with every person that you know regardless if they have health insurance or not. They need to know the facts. They need to know that:

1) The Affordable Care Act is available for all persons who are uninsured or facing this gloomy fate.

2) It’s an open marketplace that allows citizens to find affordable insurance without the fear and burden of pre-existing condition clauses, and other red tape normally associated with the health insurance game.

3) If they are already insured by their employer or have self-paid insurance then they don’t need to do anything but enjoy their insurance benefits.

4) Those receiving state assistance already have Medicaid (which in California is Medi-Cal). As they transition into jobs and better opportunities, they will have more options afforded by the open marketplace.

5) Children of employees are now covered by their employer-sponsored insurance up to the age of 26, when most insurance carriers traditionally drop dependents from coverage between the ages of 18 and 23.

6) It doesn’t apply to or affect everyone.

There’s so much more information that people need to discover about the Affordable Care Act that they won’t learn by simply watching the news, listening to radio or television programs, or gossiping about it in the barber shop or hair salons—or even on the golf course.

Like or dislike the Affordable Care Act after you have been well-versed and done exhaustive research. We need people to really use their common sense and their critical thinking skills. Let’s think, educate and empower ourselves and our people!

Video Source: http://www.hulu.com/watch/539715
Video Footage: Jimmy Kimmel Live

Copyright 2013. Some Rights Reserved. Natasha Foreman Bryant

By Natasha Foreman Bryant

I can’t recall ever personally meeting Reverend Stanley, but I know one of his beloved daughters, Taylor Stanley. I have watched Taylor grow and blossom as a woman, student, and leader over the past few years. She served as my Fellow at Operation HOPE, and worked passionately as she juggled tasks for her Fellowship, assignments for her Master’s program at Georgia State University, and her commitments to political campaigns.

Through Taylor I connected with the man who she saw as more than just her father and dad, but as her best friend and hero. I can relate deeply with that because that’s how I always saw (and see) my dad. It was easy for me to take Taylor under my wing much like I would a little sister, so I stand committed to encouraging (and lovingly pushing) her to become the woman and leader she was born to be.

Reverend Stanley obviously was and is a strong, brave and special man, because his daughter Taylor is strong, brave, and very special. When Taylor speaks of her father her eyes light up, even when he struggled with health issues and you could see the burden on Taylor’s heart, you could still see the “light” within her and feel the love of this daddy’s girl.

Reverend Stanley is still preaching and advocating in heaven, as I’m sure he can’t shake the more than 40 years he devoted himself as a pastor of Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ. Nor can he shake the years he dedicated as a Civil Rights Leader in Washington DC. and down south in North Carolina.

Because you won’t read it in a K-12 history textbook, most people don’t know that Reverend Stanley worked at North Carolina A&T State University, and Bennett College. Most people also don’t know that he is the man behind Jesse Jackson’s rise to prominence in the 1960s, and that he served as a trusted advisor to those brave students in Greensboro, NC who were taking part in sit-ins—trying to integrate lunch counters, and regain the dignity given to all of God’s children at birth.

Most people don’t know how Reverend Stanley’s political power continued to grow as he passionately fought for the rights of those who at times felt powerless and voiceless, and how he also humbly used the pulpit to help bring about change. Most people can only recall at most two pastors involved in the Civil Rights Movement. The majority of folks may only muster up one name, and that’s Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It is no wonder to me why Reverend Stanley’s daughter Taylor (also the granddaughter of Civil Rights Leader, Reverend Ambassador Andrew Young) is so passionate about education, underserved communities, politics and governmental policies, and civil and human rights. She has been lovingly sandwiched between two men who have served their country and communities for well over 50 years.

It’s in Taylor’s blood and DNA.

Just as it’s in her to look closely and analytically at situations and issues, and to stay on something like a dog with a bone. She got those skills and more from her mother Andrea Young, who is a lawyer, the Executive Director of the Andrew Young Foundation, and a Scholar-in-Residence at Morehouse College.

This article is not just about noting another loss or physical death. The purpose of this article is to celebrate the life and legacy of a man who served when he didn’t have to. The purpose of this article is to celebrate the legacy that he has built and left behind for his children and grandchildren to proudly continue.

Isn’t that what we all want out of life?

To leave behind a footprint, a legacy, something to be remembered by, in hopes that our accomplishments will be noticed and recognized, and our hard work continued?

Reverend Stanley you have achieved that sir, and I believe that your family will continue your legacy and make you proud!

Here and below please find a link to a captivating article by the Washington Post honoring the late, great, Reverend Stanley and his life and legacy. Please read it and share it with others.

Many folks know of King, Parks, Young, and Jackson. Some folks know of Lewis, Vivian, Abernathy, and Lowery. We need to make sure that more folks know of Reverend Stanley and others who bravely stood up and spoke out about injustice in this country, and fought for human dignity for all of God’s children. When you know about them you are better prepared for the Taylor Stanley’s who are making their way up the funnel.

Reverend Stanley thank you for your service, your leadership, your bravery and dedication, and for fathering and nurturing a legacy within your family—and within Taylor, that amazingly bold daughter of yours. I pray that over the years as you look over us and see what’s going on down here that you have more moments of smiles and laughter, than head shakes and frustration.

Thank you sir!

~ Natasha Foreman Bryant

Washington Post Article:
http://m.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/a-knighton-stanley-a-civil-rights-leader-and-dc-pastor-dies-at-76/2013/09/25/1ddabb36-25fc-11e3-ad0d-b7c8d2a594b9_story.html

Copyright 2013. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved.

By Forbes calculations ($660 million), Folorunsho Alakija, is not wealthier than Oprah Winfrey. But the Forbes calculation has been disputed, with the number $3.3 billion replacing it and topping Oprah’s $2.7 billion.

Now here’s the deal, I honestly don’t care who has a higher net worth. I am just proud to highlight another woman, of color, a Black woman, who has used her God-given gifts, talents, and intelligence to make it to the top and stay there. I’m sure starting out she didn’t have an immediate goal of being a multimillionaire or billionaire, she probably just wanted what most of us do, to carve out her own place and space in life.

Some would argue that since Alakija does not have a rags-to-riches story like Oprah Winfrey, that her story is not newsworthy and one to be celebrated and highlighted. Alakija comes from a wealthy family and received education at quality schools, but let me chime in and say this, she started off as a secretary and then after quitting her job she left Nigeria in the 1980’s to study fashion design in England. She later returned to Nigeria to launch her own fashion label. Her fashion label grew in size and value, and while making money from that industry she then expanded into oil and other industries. Why isn’t that newsworthy and reason enough to celebrate? Daddy didn’t hand her a job, she went out and built a career and developed companies.

Let me also add this point as a wakeup call to anyone who doesn’t get it—anyone with wealth (or who has had wealth) knows that it’s not getting there that counts, it’s the longevity after getting there that matters.

There are numerous inheritors of wealth who have squandered it. Just as there are a great deal of rags-to-riches-back-to-rags stories that will make you cringe.

Alakija is not some young 25-year-old recent billionaire who made her bucks through the funnel of nepotism. This is a hard-working, highly intelligent, skilled business woman who is calling the shots and making moves at the young age of 61. She’s a wife and mother of four children. She’s balancing career, family, and personal needs—-something many women, including myself, find as an enormous challenge. I salute her.

But then there’s other people out there who say that since she’s Nigerian that her wealth is questionable, and argue that with so much personal wealth in a country with so much poverty, that maybe Alakija should not be highlighted, even at $660 million in earnings. To those people I say, she is a business woman, not a government official, politician, or public servant.

Zoom in and slam down those who are so-called public “servants” who are living the high life off the backs of those they claim to serve. Broadcast these so-called “servants” for accepting or demanding compensation for a job that should have meager earnings, yet they are making hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars annually barely living up to their job description or the claims they made to get their jobs, while the people they “serve” are impoverished and holding on by a thin string of hope.

Ethical entrepreneurship should always be celebrated, and now we have another example of a successful woman who has earned her way to the top not in the stereotypical ways and also not in the traditional ways perceived by most.

Alakija is not a singer, dancer, actress, athlete, or other entertainment professional, she’s not even a doctor or lawyer—she’s a business woman with a mission and vision that should be celebrated and used as an example for women and girls worldwide. I’m not demeaning, mocking, or limiting the value of these other professionals—I’m merely highlighting a career where the path is never clear and all of the schools in the world combined cannot truly prepare you for—and that is the creation, development, and economic sustainability of a business—one of the loneliest careers on the planet—entrepreneurship.

Think if Alakija’s family had lowered her standards and forced her to assume a different role in life— now smile and salute a woman, a Black woman, who no matter which financial calculations you accept, is doing huge things, making huge moves, and is helping to raise the bar of excellence while kicking down the barriers that keep women worldwide “in their place”.

We should make it a point of highlighting female entrepreneurs so that the world can see the power of a woman who see no limits.

Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Sources:
http://www.ventures-africa.com/2012/08/finance-fashion-philanthropy-folorunsho-alakija-famfa-oil/

http://www.techyville.com/2012/12/uncategorized/meet-the-richest-black-woman-in-the-world-and-it-isnt-oprah/

http://www.ventures-africa.com/2012/11/the-richest-black-woman-in-the-world-folorunsho-alakija/

http://www.forbes.com/profile/folorunsho-alakija/

By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

 

I wanted to share my thoughts regarding John Hope Bryant’s brilliant article that was posted on and by Bloomberg BusinessWeek today. I also wanted to have a healthy dialogue with those individuals who showed their lack of critical thinking skills before they reacted, and quickly responded in the negative, to the article.

It is my opinion that the moment many of us don’t understand something or it rubs us the wrong the way, the remaining of what we read or hear turns more into an episode of Charlie Brown, just a bunch of whah whah whah blah blah blah…and we don’t hear or interpret anything else. We are then too focused on a counter argument, but never on seeking clarification. Here is the link to John Hope Bryant’s article: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-04/if-bill-gates-were-black-dot-dot-dot

Below is my comment that I submitted to Bloomberg, that they will hopefully post in their comments section below the article. After you read John’s article and the comments made by other readers, please share your thoughts about the article and comments (inclusive of mine). Let’s have some healthy dialogue and if possible, some positive solutions to issues facing the Black community specifically, and all underserved communities in general. Here you go:

Economic empowerment and the eradication of poverty first begins with understanding the history of how this country was built, how we rebuild during economic downfalls, and how the least of God’s children are impacted. It requires us to look at the missing piece between the have’s and have not’s. So yes, possessing a bank account versus being robbed blind at check cashing centers is a bonus. Yes, having a credit score around or higher than 700, instead of 550 and lower, is a huge predictor of a community’s growth and prosperity—as well as an individual’s ability to thrive not just merely survive. Yes, being financially literate is imperative, because if you aren’t then you run the risk of falling prey to predatory lenders who can smell your desperation miles away.

If you don’t have a bank account then how are you depositing or cashing checks? Are you going to check cashing centers and giving them a portion of YOUR money to gain access to YOUR money? That doesn’t sound like the wisest of choices when you have a choice. Show me one millionaire or billionaire who doesn’t have a bank account. Show me one entrepreneur without a bank account. Show me. I’m sure you can’t.

The banking system isn’t corrupt, there are corrupt INDIVIDUALS in the banking system; just like there are corrupt individuals in countless other systems including government, religious organizations, educational institutions, charities, etc. You can’t blame a crisis caused by unethical behavior on an entire system, because just as there were predatory lenders who knew customers were potentially high risk for loan defaults, there are some ‘victims’ of this economic downfall who knew they bought more house than they could afford, who knew that they didn’t have true job ‘security’ but gambled with the odds anyway, who claimed to earn more than they actually had (and eventually they had more month than money). So unethical decisions from individuals caused our country to suffer these past few years.

This is a brilliant post by John Hope Bryant, that clearly expresses the sentiment that if African Americans had a Bill Gates-type-entrepreneurial role model then the vision for the Black community would not be limited to a mindset of ‘only the lucky get out’, and the ‘victory’ would not be narrowed to simply having a ‘Black President”. 

Think about it, if Bill Gates was a Black man, the money he donates and invests would be injected within his community first and then worldwide. Don’t most of us consider taking care of ‘home’ before we take care of the rest of the world? Don’t we start local and then go global? Well if this were the case, then Black communities would be resuscitated through Gates community giving, and the country (and world) would see a different ‘picture’ of these communities. 

John Hope Bryant is NOT saying that Black people don’t have entrepreneurial role models; he is saying that we need MORE business owners who are employing thousands, not merely hundreds (or less). He’s saying we need more innovators, more businesses in technology, etc. that provide a competitive advantage within the U.S. in general, and within Black communities specifically. He’s saying we need MORE Black entrepreneurs going into the community, going into the schools and teaching and sharing the ‘magic’ in their success. 

He is saying that in order to eradicate poverty and gain economic empowerment in the Black community it is going to take the Black community, not government, not charity, not handouts, but hard work and each person reaching back to an open hand and providing a hand up out of the pit. It’s going to require Black people with 700+ credit scores teaching those with 550 and lower credit scores how they did it. It’s going to require Black entrepreneurs to hire within their community, to bring on interns to learn the ropes at their company, and to mentor young Black children.

The majority of our role models that our children regularly see come from entertainment and sports backgrounds, which there is nothing wrong with that, except if you lack talent in either area, then what?

Additionally, and no disrespect, but Oprah Winfrey, Magic Johnson, Bob Johnson, and others have built BRANDS that employ–but none to the extent of a Bill Gates level; and all three brands represent entertainment or sports. In 2007, Microsoft employed a reported 79,000 people. That was in 2007. Name one Black-owned company that employs 79,000 people? 

So John Hope Bryant’s article says, “what if Bill Gates were Black?” What changes would you see in the Black community? What would Black children aspire to become if they saw a Black employer hiring thousands of people within their community? How many Black people could be employed (since unemployment is HIGHEST in the Black community)? How many of our children would be encouraged to excel in STEM courses and pursue careers in those fields so that they too could grow up to ‘be like Bill’?

We need to take the emotion out; we need to stop wanting to attack everything we don’t understand, and start acting like we are intelligent enough to ASK for clarification if needed, and to ASK how we can individually and collectively help solve the problem.

How many of you volunteer in the Black community? How many of you work with the underserved and underrepresented? How many of you are helping to work towards a solution? Or are you merely only focusing on picking at and tearing down the things you don’t understand, and the things you are against? If you aren’t doing anything to help the Black community, and other underserved and underrepresented communities, then what does your opinion really mean, and what are you truly adding to this conversation?

John Hope Bryant you did an awesome job with this piece. We need our children to aspire to be entrepreneurs as much as (or more than) they aspire to be athletes and entertainers. Great, they want to be a football star, but let’s teach them to also start and build a business (now) as an additional revenue stream—so when their football career ends, they still have a career…and wealth, not just temporary riches! 

A broke mindset only gets the same results…an unfinished puzzle!

 

 

Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.


By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
I needed this loooonng retreat to recharge, rebuild, refocus, reconnect and recommit to my goals and to my life.
I can’t give to family, my businesses and to my community if I’m totally drained mentally, emotionally and physically. I can’t practice what I preach if I’m feeling bankrupt on the inside.
So I took the time to invest in me so that when I return home I can invest in the people and things I care about most.
It’s good to disconnect when you can, to step back, and see things through a different lens. To see things you didn’t see, overlooked, or couldn’t imagine before.
When I return home later this week I will be zooming and zipping on a steady but persistent pace, with a focus on checking my monthly, quarterly and annual goals as ‘complete’, and doing so with a balance that I lacked last year and years prior.
This is the first trip I’ve ever been on when I truly took time out for me. Normally my brain is connected like a worker drone to my business, school or both. This time I made sure to carve out ‘me-time’ (even if that meant doing absolutely nothing but sleeping at the beach) and I’m more than pleased with what’s come of this decision.
I’d tell anyone with a purpose and passion to take time to invest in the things that are invaluable to you, starting first with…you!
So pull out your good ole’ budget sheet, a calendar, and a map, and plan your next vacation, retreat, or get away! If you aren’t satisfied with the results, then you’re still stuck and definitely in your own way!
Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Children are huge dreamers before adults destroy their imaginative spirits and tell them to start thinking smaller, to start being “realistic”. The huge dreams of a child is exactly where God wants us to be. There is no fear connected with dreaming big and setting goals to attain what we desire. There is fear in thinking small. The most successful people in the world open their minds to what most people would consider the impossible, the inconceivable, and the insane.

Think of President Barack Obama, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Mary Kay Ash, Bob Johnson and others who had big dreams and didn’t stop thinking, pushing, and working even after those dreams materialized. Even after they passed away, King, Jobs, and Ash’s legacies continue to live on through the work they started…their passion serves as the fuel for their mission. Their brand continues to grow.

We must realize that our actions and lack thereof impact us and others for generations. The native Americans have a saying that every decision we make today impacts seven generations of the future. So consider the decisions you make each day. Make sound decisions but don’t limit yourself in fear. Allow yourself to dream big and have the intense imagination that you did as a child. Free yourself!

Picture by SoggyPigeon at soggypigeon.deviantart.com

Copyright 2012. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved. 
Excerpts of this thought were first drafted for Breaking Bread with Natasha on WordPress and Blogspot.
Artwork source: soggypigeon.deviantart.com

I learn the lesson and move forward, not dwelling on what once was because I’m too focused on what I’m doing now and how it can impact my future. I’m not concerned with those I once encountered who I walked away from because if they were meant to be in my life today God would have kept them by my side…I am not concerned with what once was or if something could have been differently; the woulda, coulda, shoulda is for people who will always be less than where they need to be in life. I am also in no hurry to get to my future for I am still amazed by what is taking place today, the present, and the gifts that I receive daily by just being receptive and accountable. I strive to lead, live and make decisions in and through excellence not fear, doubt, or insecurity. Those who don’t see things that way usually don’t last walking next to me on this path. I lovingly allow them to stay behind or sprint ahead, because I’m on a long-distance mission of greatness that can’t be rushed or held behind.”

– Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

(a portion of this quote is an excerpt from her 12.15.11 “Breaking Bread With Natasha” posts. Check them out here: WordPress and Blogger)
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

“Look I don’t want to reinvent the wheel, let’s just do a little spit and polish, and spruce it up a bit…let’s combine my thoughts with what you worked on and make this a masterpiece…” Natasha L. Foreman (while working on details for a 2012 project).
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.