Today, we learn that former NACA/NASA pioneer and hidden figure, Katherine Johnson has passed away. Many of us grew up not knowing Mrs. Johnson and the phenomenal work she did for NACA/NASA from 1953 to 1988.

Thousands of people admitted on social media and in interviews and private conversations that the first time they learned of Mrs. Johnson was when she and several other African American women were depicted in the 2016 film “Hidden Figures”.

Mrs. Johnson was depicted by Taraji P. Henson. The film sparked countless conversations and admissions by women, such as myself, who felt so close to the women depicted, and how we wished that we knew about them growing up because they could’ve served as the visual role models we needed to see when other people discouraged us from pursuing degrees and careers in fields that are predominantly led by men.

If you haven’t read Mrs. Johnson’s biography, a brief overview provided by NASA can be found here. I normally don’t cite Wikipedia, but there is extensive coverage of Mrs. Johnson here.

Thank you Mrs. Johnson!

Mrs. Johnson and other phenomenal women laid the foundation for other girls and women in STREAM areas. I hope that parents, schools, and great mentors begin to and continue to expose, and encourage, girls to pursue their passions in science, technology, robotics, engineering, architecture, mathematics, and other related fields.

As we still see low numbers of African American women represented in these fields, let’s be sure to not sabotage our girls by steering them to other fields that have historically been deemed “more appropriate” or “better aligned” with “girls strengths”. If they want to pursue engineering, then help open the doors to get them there.

Parents As Supporters

The engineer/technologist in me should’ve listened to my mom and dad who encouraged my love of science, technology, building and deconstructing, etc. My parents bought me books and kits on science, space, robots, technology, etc.

My dad bought me my first microscope and science kit, a computer in 6th grade, and he paid for me to take computer classes at a center that only had adult learners. He would let me work with him on the family cars, teaching me the various tools, parts, and what did what and how. My father drilled me on math as soon as I came out of the womb, always telling me the importance of math and that I was better at it than I believed.

My mom used to help me with ALL of my science projects, I mean all of them! She even played a major role in helping me design my 6th grade invention—that my parents and I didn’t think to patent, called the “Doorbell Butler”. It was then an early iteration of what is now the modern day “Ring” technology that millions of people use. Uugh every day we are reminded that we should’ve patented the idea. The iterations that led up to the modern devices all utilized elements of my invention. But no one will ever know, because I never patented mine.

Imagine your child having an idea that you help them design, you can patent it or just continue on to the next idea. We talk about patents all of the time now, but back in the day it wasn’t every day talk at the kitchen table and definitely not as it related to a child’s idea. It would’ve been cool being a 10-year-old patent holder!

Maybe you and your children have some patent-worthy ideas.

I appreciate my parents for encouraging me to try anything and everything, and pursue my passions. They exposed me to books, the arts, music, acting, sports, and much more. I fell in love with track and field as a child, and my parents never missed a track meet. Even attending my track meets in college.

Because of my parents I’m a book worm, lover of the arts, a passionate writer, athletic, and have fond memories of playing the piano and violin as a child.

My mom bought me my violin and would listen to me practice all over our home. She attended all of my piano recitals. My dad bought me a baby grand piano in 6th grade. He had visions of me playing in concerts as a classical pianist. I thought that was a far-stretch, but I still enjoyed it.

At my request, my parents would take me to acting school every single Saturday in Hollywood, CA when I was in 6th grade. Until of course my social life was begging for my attention and I started missing out on hanging out at the skating rink with my friends. Then, with my passion for skating intensifying, my parents shelled out about $200 so I could get these amazing speed skates—white with pink wheels and laces. I continued skating, almost weekly, until high school. I’m grateful for having the parents I was blessed with. Positive exposure is priceless!!!

Teachers As Instrumental or Destructive Gate Keepers

My parents invested in my passions but sadly, in high school I began to believe more in what teachers said to me. And that shaped the decisions that I made academically and professionally.

Instead of listening to my parents, I listened to teachers who “advised” me to focus my attention on being a writer, because that was my strength. They said that I wasn’t good at math so I could never work in the industries that interested me.

I even had a science teacher in high school say that the fields I was interested in were better suited for men. I should’ve repeated his words to my parents. Instead I internalized those words and began to believe that the teachers were right. We tend to believe the people who have degrees in the fields we’re interested in.

My parents majored in Business, so I chose to believe the people at my school teaching my science and math classes. Why is it we only listen to our parents as newborns and once we’re adults?

If Only I Knew

Imagine if I knew of the dynamic women at NASA! Imagine if I knew of the work they were doing. I then could’ve said, “but Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson have and are doing it, they paved the way so that I can too!”

When I was a child we didn’t have the Internet to turn to, at least not in the format that we have casually been using it since the 1990s. Growing up, you went to the library and researched using books and straining your eyes scrolling through microfiche.

So if there weren’t any books or articles published and later supplied by the school or public library, you wouldn’t read and know about the amazing people doing amazing things around the world. I would spend hours reading and collecting books to check out and take home from the library. I can’t ever recall reading a book about women, and especially not African American women, in these various industries.

Even when I think of Florence Nightingale, it is always in the context of training nurses and caring for soldiers during a war. It was never heavily stressed that she was a statistician. We only regard her as being the founder of modern nursing. And even then, the magnitude of that honor isn’t propelled as high as it should be. I will say, I’m too squeamish to have ever pursued a career as a nurse or doctor. So I would’ve thought she was cool, but never dug deeper into her story.

Heck, I don’t ever recall learning about Ada Lovelace until I was an adult, and that was because I was reading a book for personal enlightenment. Why is society so hush hush about this woman’s contribution to the world of computing? She was one of the first computer programmers and the first person to see the potential of a computing machine.

In the 1800s!

Maybe because it was the 1800s. And mathematics technology, and computing was considered “man’s work”. Heck, some still think it is.

Exposure to and of Black Women in STREAM

Maybe, just maybe during Black History Month, Marjorie Lee Browne, Evelyn Boyd Granville, Katherine Johnson, Melba Roy Mouton, and others were mentioned as being pioneers in mathematics, but it was clearly a rush job during trivia contests. It had no stickiness in my mind. It was most definitely not a part of my school’s curriculum.

I don’t know, maybe had I attended a predominantly Black school, maybe there would’ve been greater intentionality of exposing students to pioneers in this field and other industries. Maybe seeing ourselves in these women would’ve helped us appreciate mathematics more.

Maybe had I known about Mary Jackson, Christine Darden, and others then I would’ve known about the multitude of paths I could have taken in engineering. Had I known about Annie J. Easley, maybe I would’ve had greater interest in computer science.

But then again, we know of countless children who attend predominantly Black K-12 schools who are just as or more clueless about the accomplishments of thousands of Black scientists, mathematicians, engineers, architects, inventors, etc.

We have hundreds of students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that would struggle answering trivia questions about Black women in the industries mentioned.

Do we somehow see it as the responsibility of the student to seek out and find this knowledge independently? What we don’t know that we don’t know is hurting and holding us back.

Society’s Role

Society needs to do a better job of encouraging our children to pursue whatever path they desire. So what if they fail. Failing teaches you how to succeed, it builds grit and character, and it’s quite humbling. I would rather fail at trying something I’m passionate about than sit by wishing I had taken the step to pursue my passions. Woulda, coulda, shoulda is an awful place to be.

You Can’t Be Great Again Without Girls and Women

Just about every nation around the world wants to be great, they want to be recognized world leaders. Well it’s already been proven that if girls and women are not empowered and factored into that winning strategy, as major contributors, in the industries that generate the power and influence that those in government desire—then those nations and those leaders will fail miserably.

Look at how the US is suffering and has been suffering for the past 25-plus years. We better invest in our girls and women, and do so in a positive way. If not, we won’t be holding on to this number one spot for long, and our education scores and rankings will continue to spiral and plummet.

Let’s help to raise and nurture more girls to pursue their passions, whether in STREAM-related fields, or other areas of interest. Not just some girls, all girls. Don’t block their blessings, open the doors to countless opportunities! Help them to see and be futuristic so that they can make a lasting impact, be agents of change, and build honorable legacies.

Thanks NASA

Thank you NACA/NASA for unknowingly and at times begrudgingly opening doors of opportunity for women, and specifically, African American women. I know that initially, the roles for women in NACA were thought to be mindless positions. The 1950s were an interesting time and a woman’s place was a huge debate. I know that the extra flames were fanned when the topic of race was included. The thought of Black women being as smart and smarter than their white male coworkers, definitely had to be a combative environment at times.

But soon you were forced to realize the true gems you had hidden, and you had no choice but to let those gems rise, shine, and do what they do best. I thank you for realizing that risking failure of NACA and later NASA just wasn’t worth it. You wisely bet on these women.

I thank the few astronauts who cared more about their life and returning home safely, than being caught up in the sexist and racist trap of thinking a Black woman couldn’t possibly be smarter than the man-made computers, and the men overseeing the department.

The Future is Now

We’re at a rocky time in history right now. Some men are scared of the power and force that comes from letting women do what they were born and taught to do. Some men are afraid of being seen as less superior, smart, and accomplished. Some men (including some Black men) can’t fathom seeing a Black woman in a role equal to or above their own.

What we fear we try to suppress, correct, and destroy. Let’s break this cycle. It’s destroying us as a nation, as a people.

We should be nations empowered by parents who tell their children, “yes you can!” We should see fathers creating, building and deconstructing things with their daughters, just as they would with their sons. Let’s stop this foolishness of “man’s work” and “woman’s work”. My dad told me when I was a child that all of that was pure ignorance. He said that work is work and we should all take part in getting the job done.

~Natasha

Copyright 2020. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

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

Parents and guardians now have a little more room to breathe when it comes to their beloved teens behind the wheel of a vehicle—phone apps that help prevent texting while driving. I’m sure there are more apps in the marketplace since this May 2013 article was published, but here’s a good start. Please remember that none of the apps are 100 percent foolproof, hack-proof, etc., but these apps do a pretty good job according to this review. Please share your feedback and experiences.

 

Source:

http://internet-safety.yoursphere.com/2013/05/five-apps-that-help-prevent-texting-while-driving/

 

Copyright 2014. Natasha Foreman Bryant. Some Rights Reserved. Copyright 2009-2013 under Natasha L. Foreman.

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.

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 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.

Earlier today I was typing my daily prayer, scripture, and reflection for my spiritual blog, Breaking Bread With Natasha. As I was typing I was realizing that my passion was taking over and it was getting lengthier than any post I have ever written for that blog. So I decided to shorten it, take the remaining work and post it on my other blogs. Below is the entire reflection but I have changed the title of course to reflect a change in platforms. I’m sure I’m going to step on some toes, but change doesn’t come when we’re feeling great, it comes in times of rain and pain. Take it all in and then share your thoughts:

Stop Relying on Government to Change Your Circumstances

We elect officials to help govern this land from a human perspective, to provide a human touch to life’s circumstances that we created generations before and we make worse for generations to come. Yet, we only support these officials in the early days or when our specific needs are met consistently. We don’t consider the thousands and millions of individuals this official must take into consideration with every decision made, because in our twisted minds he or she should be able to do all things for all people, starting first with us.

We create Messiah’s and forget that only God can do all things, be all places, see all things, and has the power to change the impossible to possible. Our lack of commitment and devotion to God clouds our thinking and our understanding of human government, and that man is limited even as a pure reflection of God. If we want to see change in our neighborhoods, communities, cities, counties, states, regions, countries, and throughout the world we must be the change and bring about the change we want to see.

Why have we grown content with the lazy person’s approach to service and community development? Why have we taken on a welfare mindset where we are waiting on something to happen, waiting on the graffiti and trash to disappear from our streets, waiting on money and resources to come to us?

God didn’t tell Moses to wait on the Egyptians to free His people, God said for them to take their freedom. Then He molded them for over 40 years, reprogramming them from a slave mentality to that of an empowered, enlightened, self-sufficient, resourceful, and educated people. Yet then, as we do now, the Israelites complained and whined about how they were better off before Moses freed them because at least they knew what was coming each day, and they had food and shelter, and a routine they could depend on.

Freedom was too disturbing of a concept for many of them. Freedom and the concept of free enterprise seems too disturbing for many of us to grasp and accept as a way of life today.

Now present day we have people complaining how life was better in the past, “better three years ago“, and during each Presidency we hear the same ignorance just re-phrased different ways, and in each Presidency the current President gets blamed not only for what has happened today but what took place 20-40 years prior that led up to the crises of today. We humans never seem to be satisfied. We don’t really want what we ask and pray for.

We want hand outs in the form of “hook ups“, even though we claim we want hand ups, but a hand up requires hard work and effort from both participants; our society just wants it to mystically, magically appear and we want the President and our elected officials to do it yesterday, because we’re too impatient to wait for next week, let alone next month or next year…heaven forbid we must a few years.

We’re too self-absorbed to wait for God to provide on His time, so we throw our expectations onto men and women who are just like us and have less power than we know, and then we complain when they can’t perform to our standards…standards we can’t even reach or sustain.

We want crime eliminated today. We want streets to always be clean and bump-free, and buildings and walls graffiti-free every second of the day. We want pollution to be no more. We want millions of jobs created right this very second. We want the economy to always be up, booming and prosperous. We want new technology and innovative ideas flowing through and bringing more jobs to our country. We want teen pregnancy to disappear right now. We want all diseases gone like yesterday. We want marriages to mean more than temporary moments of insanity and selfishness, we want…we want…we want!

But how many of us are uniting to bring our communities together to pick up trash and debris on our streets, paint over the graffiti, and tell those who terrorize our neighborhood, “not here, not now, not ever again!”? How many of us are practicing safe sex, getting tested regularly, remaining monogamous and committed to only one person and sexually active with only one person? How many of us are saying marriage vows and devoting ourselves to that one person as a declaration and pledge to God and family? How many of us are starting small businesses and then hiring people in the community so that there are jobs? How many of us are mentoring our youth and sponsoring our peers into positions of access, knowledge, and wealth?

A great leader has discernment and knowledge, and through God they are able to bring order to the chaos. It requires each of us to be leaders in our homes, in our neighborhoods and communities…united we bring about the change we want to see…united we bring the order. Let’s stop talking about it, complaining about it and placing blame on others, and let’s start doing something about it! Take back your neighborhood from the pimps, drug dealers, prostitutes, murderers, rapists, child molesters, con artists, gang members, taggers, and knuckleheads. Change the thinking that sagging pants and too-mini-to-be-a-skirt is sexy, and re-program the minds to believe and embrace that a person of intelligence and wisdom (with great common sense) is the ultimate embodiment of sexiness.

Become a mentor and tutor to our youth and to those adults who need help most, show them through your daily walk what a servant-leader truly is! If you want to change the mindset and the motivation of a person, you need to present a better model for them to emulate. Be that model!

Stop seeing your neighbor as a liability and instead see how you can both be an asset to your community. Take back your neighborhood from the slave mentality of, “when we gonna eat?” and reprogram a mindset of, “I’ve gotta get up and go to work to put food on the table“. Take back your family and stop saying, “I can’t get a job” and go make a job if none are available by starting a business. We all have talents, find yours and market it to the world. Take back your life by getting past your pride and ego that refuses to take a job that pays less than what you desire, or has duties and responsibilities that are  “beneath” you.

Opportunities just like ideas are not solely for one person, if you don’t take advantage of them someone else will.

Take back your life by removing the words “can’t” and “impossible” from your vocabulary, and find the person, group, or organization that can help you get where you need to be. My dad always said, “don’t say you can’t do something, you might as well just say you don’t want to do it…” My dad despised laziness and mediocrity. He used to tell me, “…Tasha even if you marry a garbage man, it doesn’t matter, as long as he’s one of the hardest working garbage men out there…and make sure you give him all of your love and support because he will get psychologically beat up every day in the world, but when he comes home he needs your love, care and support” and I have always held those words close to my heart and applied them in my personal life for my father was a wise man beyond his years and he never gave me empty words of counsel.

So I say to you, if you want to see change, starting first with where you live then research how to form community clean-up days, neighborhood watch groups, mentoring and tutoring groups, and see what you can do to make this world a better place!

If on the other hand you’re waiting on the government to solve all of your problems, feed you, clothe you, provide you with a job, provide you with housing and a way for you to get loans from banks you will later curse; a government that will then make sure the economy is doing great so you can spend money you don’t have so that you can later complain about being broke…then you will have to wait in line with the other “talkers” and complainers. But make sure to move far enough out of the way for the dreamers, doers, and ambassadors of hope who are marching through with a new goal to achieve, a new mission to fulfill, and a new vision for the future. For we don’t have time to dwell on yesterday, or complain about today, because we’re too busy making things happen for tomorrow.

Once you decide your role you’re claiming in this big ole’ world let me know.

– Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

Imagine going a full day without access to the rest of the world through technology…

No Internet. No email. No Twitter. No Facebook. No LinkedIn. No Foursquare. No Television.  No Radio. No Music. No Digg. No blogs. Nothing. Absolutely no instant gratification through technology!

What runs through your mind as you think of that possibility as being your reality?

Recent studies (one by the University of Maryland and the other by technology firm TeleNav), have found that many of us are addicted to technology; our cell phones, smart phones, laptops, computers, iPads, tablets, iPods, televisions, and the like are all devices that help to feed our addiction. Want to see the results of the studies and the percentage of people who said they would be willing and able to part with the Internet for 24 hours? Want to know how many people would rather give up sex, brushing their teeth, or wearing shoes just to keep their mobile phone? Be ready to be amazed, shocked, and disturbed then ask yourself, “is this me?” It probably is!

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2011/08/technology-addiction-chocolate-caffeine.html

 

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman.