Woman Wednesday: Dr. Naieema

Q and A with Dr. Naieema, Charlotte, North Carolina

“Homelessness was one of the most impactful experiences of my life.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I’m passionate about female empowerment, my family, and travel. My inspiration comes from seeing different parts of the world, my family, and wanting to teach my daughters that they can do anything that they put their minds to. My favorite trip was to Jamaica, right before the pandemic hit. I recently finished my PhD and am currently using research-based methods to improve The Determined FemPreneur™, my sales and business strategy program for service-based female entrepreneurs.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was born and raised in New York City and grew up with three siblings. There was a period where my mother, my older sister, and I were homeless. We lived on the cold, dirty NYC subway; followed by a slew of homeless shelters. That was until we landed in Ravenswood Public Housing Development in Long Island City, Queens, NYC. Homelessness was one of the most impactful experiences of my life. I watched my mother work really hard, but she didn’t have much to show for it. I now use this fuel and those lessons to teach women how to earn more, work less, and make an even bigger impact.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I want others to know that it’s okay to normalize rest and luxury. As women, we often start our businesses wanting to make an impact. All while sacrificing time with our families, our sleep, and our mental and physical health. It’s OK to build a business where you’re not overworking yourself and that equally serves you and your clients/customers.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism means equality, but it can’t exist if racism exists because there are women who are of marginalized communities.


Thank you for reading! Connect with me here:

I can be found @drnaieema on IG or TheDeterminedFemPreneur.com

I’d love to connect with you! 🙂

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Woman Wednesday: Jacquelynn

Q and A with Jacquelynn, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

“Life is so short and so beautiful.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: My first love, outside of being a mother, is music. Ever since I was a little girl, I vividly remember singing my little heart out. My first performance was with my grandmother, Peggy Sue, singing gospel at my baptism, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Which is super interesting to me because I’m an introvert at heart. I’m not passionate about just one thing though. As I mentioned, I love being a mama. But when it comes to work outside of motherhood, I genuinely enjoy helping and pouring into other women. It lights me up! I’m into breastfeeding awareness, embracing your weirdness, helping mamas figure out how to turn their passions into income, creating courses, cooking, writing and singing my own songs, big fan of naps, and all the little things in life. But above all, being a mama and wife is my favorite, and they’re the very reason for all the creating I do. They motivate me. I want to make them proud. I want to set a good example and show them how something can be made from absolutely nothing. Like my children’s book, I Think I Need Glasses. It started with one little idea and evolved once it hit paper. The eBook is my most recently finished project. It’s about a little girl who has an imagination out of this world. She tells of her adventures and life experiences from her point of view, but her older brother pokes fun with her and tells her throughout the story that he thinks she needs glasses. It’s a playful and magical transitional story for children who wear glasses. It’s available for download on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/I-Think-Need-Glasses-ebook/dp/B099V1WH56/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=i+think+i+need+glasses&qid=1627277487&sprefix=i+think+i+need+glass&sr=8-3

My next upcoming appearance/teaching is a super powerful onetime workshop called “Monetize Your Passion” on Thursday, August 5 @ 6pm CST / 7pm EST. The workshop is for creative and passionate aspiring or “stuck” female entrepreneurs. I’ll go over getting clearer with what your passion is and how to turn it into not one, but multiple offers. All the details are on the registration page. It’s going to be pretty epic. I’m so excited! You can also catch my podcast “Just Women Talking Sh!t” just about anywhere you get your podcast. I’m always looking for women to interview, so if you give it a listen and send your story in for an interview, you so should! And last, but certainly not least, I have a free online community for growing and unapologetic women. It’s called Female, Fearless, & Bad-Ass. That’s about all I have going on at the moment!


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: This is a tough one to talk about. Because I truly believe that my childhood and younger years, as an adult, have everything to do with the woman I am today. Fun fact about me: I am the oldest of my mother’s six children. Yes, six. How badass is that? She’s such a fierce and strong woman! Shoutout to my Ma in case she reads this. [She laughs.] Anyway, she did the whole single mom thing up until I was about 13 years old. I vividly remember having a baby on each hip, making lunches, doing dishes, playing house at a young age. Everyone called me a little mama, but it’s all I knew. I remember wanting to buy something but always knew how hard my mama worked to take care of us, so I set up my own lemonade stand. Okay, I’ll be honest. It was a Kool-Aid stand. (Southerners know what I’m talking about.) [She laughs.]

In one day’s work, I made $40. I remember dividing the money up among my sister, cousin, and me. We walked down the road to a florist and I bought my mama some silver dangly ball earrings. She wore those suckers out. I was so proud. I’ve had the entrepreneur bug ever since. I am one of the few in my family to graduate from high school. I did attend college but found myself stuck in this viscous cycle of changing my mind on what I wanted to do with my life over and over again. It became tiring, frustrating, and a total waste of money. I’ve honestly done it all trying to find my place in this big and crazy world. I cleaned houses and babysat as a young teenager, got my first big girl job at a Joyce Leslie women’s retail store, went on to have multiple jobs throughout high school, bartended at 18, cashiered at Goodburger on Chestnut in Center City Philly, became a nanny when I was let go abruptly, continued nanny work for the next several years up until my first child was born, wrote for a local newspaper, freelanced at marketing events, was a personal assistant, cleaned houses yet again as a young mom, waited tables as a single mom, made my way into a daycare where I taught and later worked in the office, was introduced to network marketing and multi-level business models, tried those out and did okay, found myself obsessed with finding the next big thing, failed over and over again, finally went back to corporate America after my first marriage went to crap, worked my tail off, never saw my daughter, ran myself and health into the ground, was scouted by one company, hired just to be fired a week before Thanksgiving of 2019. I told myself I would never allow someone to have such a hold over me. My health was crap, my mood fluctuated, I was so burnt out I couldn’t enjoy the money I did make. Even though it was scary as hell being let go that day and I had no idea what I was going to do, I knew it was all going to be okay because, well, it just had to be. This was yet another test. Fast forward to now—I’m a mother for a second time. I’m creating like I’ve never created before. I’m living authentically and really smelling the roses like I’ve never smelled them before. Because life is so beautiful. I don’t think people stop and think about that enough. We are all here as a result of millions of tiny things that all had to go right for us to even be here. Think about that and don’t take one second for granted. Life is so short and so beautiful.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: You have all of the tools to do something great in your lifetime all within you. It all starts with you. I don’t think this is talked about enough. You are so powerful. Your life experiences, wisdom, story, downfalls, triumphs, testimony, all of it. It’s so powerful. I just want to see everyone around me happy, healthy, successful, and wealthy—whatever that may look like for them. And I think that happiness starts at the core. It starts with you. So, take good care of yourself so that you can excel in all the things. Self-love takes priority so that everything else runs like a well-oiled machine. I think several women with past traumas and insecurities tend to seek validation from others. Sometimes, it comes in the form of a romantic partner because maybe she grew up without a father present in her life. (That was me.) Sometimes, it comes in the form of being stuck in a career that makes her unhappy to the core because she was taught that the only way to make it in life is to work her tail off and put her time in like everyone else until retirement, but what she really wants is to somehow find a way to monetize her passion. (That was also me.) All in all, I just want women to realize that they don’t have to settle for someone else’s idea of what life should be like is all. I’ve been there and done that, so if me sharing my story helps others navigate through life and/or business journeys easier, well I’m all in. Just know you can literally do anything you set your mind to!


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: When I think of feminism, I think of how far women’s rights have come in general. It goes to show just how powerful women are. I mean really think about how far we have come in such a little amount of time. And now? I bet if I was to ask any of your readers to name an inspiring woman who makes multiple six figures or more a year…someone would instantly come to mind, no? It isn’t about proving I’m better than or equal to a man. It’s about celebrating the power that’s within us all and shows in the growth and impact we each have in this world. It’s about the growth and impact the women before us had in this world and then the ones before them and so on. The world is so big and so vast, yet we can create such impact that is on a level so deep it changes lives. Like how cool is that? That’s the ultimate girl power if I’ve ever seen it.


MORE FROM JACQUELYNN: I was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I primarily lived in a small town called Dixie, but I moved away to New York when I was 16. I graduated high school in the Poconos, attended college in Philadelphia, PA, for a year, and moved back down south when I was 22 or so. My roots are firmly planted back in Mississippi with my beautiful family.

Thank you for reading! Connect with me here:

“Monetize Your Passion”

“I Think I Need Glasses”

Podcast

Facebook Group

I’d love to connect with you! 🙂

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

Woman Wednesday: Michelle

Q and A with Michelle, Tampa, Florida

“Get to know others, step out of the bubble, and really connect with people. This is how we grow.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am passionate about how women can be each other’s best allies. When I launched my book Blue-Collar Beauty, Confessions of a Plastic Surgery Coach, I assembled a team of friends, family, former colleagues, etc. that came together to help me reach number #1 [seller] on Amazon. It was amazing! I was so moved by the experience, literally weeping from the overwhelming support from these incredible women and their willingness to help me on my journey. What struck me profoundly was the personal and professional diversity in my connections…women coming together for a common bond. It was powerful, and I could not stop thinking about what’s next.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was blessed to have an amazing upbringing. I come from a small town in upstate NY and was raised in a solid loving nuclear family environment, which I believe has impacted me beyond measure. My parents are both schoolteachers and my father is a coach. I was surrounded by sports and a growth mindset from before I could walk. I had a deep love of music and played several sports all the way through my collegiate years, which too, has contributed to my success and well-being. One of my business partners always mentions to people that I was the prom queen in high school, and it makes me laugh. Yes, I was, and it was because I was friends with everyone.  


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: What I have learned is that we all have a story, and shared experiences are what connect us. Get to know others, step out of the bubble, and really connect with people. This is how we grow.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism, as the definition appears, is about equality. We live in a male-dominated world and any woman who has worked inside corporate America has shared experiences on this. Feminism, to me, is standing together and supporting one another as women. All women, regardless of our differences, whether that be faiths, class, gender expression, sizes, shapes. We, as women, need to stand together, support, and uplift one another.


MORE FROM MICHELLE: I have spent twenty years working in the plastic surgery industry. I have met with thousands of women wanting to look and feel their best. There are so many layers to this; however, at the core, it is about doing what’s right for you. This is why I am jumping in feet-first with our new platform-Ask Us Beauty, a digital magazine for women on all things beauty and wellness. We want to take our power back from mainstream marketing and provide a platform with real influencers to educate and empower women so that we can all define beauty on our own terms.

Ask Us beauty launches in August and you are going to love it! Sign up for our inaugural issue which we are offering free! www.askusbeauty.com and follow us on IG @askusbeautymagazine



Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you! 🙂

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Woman Wednesday: Camille


Q and A with Camille, Nueva Ecija, Philippines

“Just do what you love; it’ll take you somewhere far.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am passionate about anything that requires creativity. I am currently a brand and marketing designer, and I also enjoy calligraphy and DIYing crafts as a hobby. Some say I inhale and exhale the art of designing. I’ve been designing for almost half of my life because of our family’s printing business. My eye for design has been my bloodline since I became an entrepreneur. I found joy in creating for other people. I formally started doing this for a living in 2018. Before I worked with actual brands, I tried offering my design services for free to support my friends who are just starting out, and that became the foundation on how I was able to have a good portfolio to attract my first paying clients. I chose my career path as a designer for other companies because I know they deserve nothing less when it comes to building a credible visual language. My creative solutions are the ones I wished all entrepreneurs had easy access to when starting out.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in the province where children from my era spent playtime at rice fields. My parents were blessed with four daughters, me being the third child. Creativity runs in our family. My dad and my eldest sister love photography A LOT. My dad is an engineer and used to be a well-known photographer in our locality, while my sister pursued professional fashion photography while juggling it with her corporate work. My second sister loves modeling and is also an online beauty influencer, our youngest is an architect in the making while my mom is the greatest cheerleader and support system in the family.

It was funny that as love for art is present in the family, I was the only one who never learned how to draw. During our younger years, my sisters enjoyed creating handmade paper dolls, coloring books, and sketching gowns…and I find it so boring! I enjoyed lettering my classmates’ names instead. I spent most of my childhood in our little printing shop sitting on the computer desk, exploring MS Paint, Print Artist (it’s like Canva during 90’s), or watching my uncle photoshop ID pictures of our customers. [She laughs.]

I may say that I was exposed to the digital world of art, especially graphic design, as early as six years old. And it is still clear for me as if it just happened yesterday how I really loved creating my own play-money, greeting cards, and fair tickets from scratch then print them in our dot matrix printer and manually cut them with scissors.

During my elementary age, I developed my love for graphic design even more. I was the youngest staff in our shop to be able to attend to our customers’ requests like photoshopping blurred documents, enhancing photos for reprinting, and creating cover arts for school projects while kids my age only played video games.

When I entered high school, I became our official newspaper’s layout artist. I’ve designed numerous shirts and uniforms for different events, and that continued till college where I sometimes received monetary rewards for my work.

At first, I never knew that graphic design could be a decent profession. So, what I chose to take on during college was a bachelor’s degree in political science and shifted to mass communication. Although I was not able to finish my degree and contrary to what others think of me, I am finally earning a multiple 6-figure as a graphic design specialist.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I could not stress this enough, but this is the value I want to share with others: *Just do what you love, it’ll take you somewhere far.* My story has been a roller-coaster ride. I became a parent at the early age of 19. Since then I never stopped exploring options on how I can make a living. My life partner and I paused from studying to become full-time parents and providers and we thought that if we didn’t finish college our career is bound to nowhere. My parenthood journey turned my world upside-down that it made me forget myself and my interests. My child became my everything and subconsciously forget what I loved doing – designing. It took me years of exploring what’s missing and why I still feel empty even we both earn enough. Until my partner and I decided to quit our corporate job and build a small digital printing company from scratch, our capital was from loans and credit card, our knowledge in equipment operations are all self-taught. I started designing again for our own business and I felt so alive. Everything went well from there. Until the pandemic came, back-to-back lockdowns affected our operations. To escape bankruptcy, I made a shift and use my design skills to offer it to a bigger market, and that’s when I became a freelance brand designer and it allowed me to earn 5x of our business’s profit. Without having to worry about the pandemic and lockdowns. I was able to reach greater heights for my family. Truly, doing what you love won’t fail you. It’ll take you farther than what you have imagined. Some have judged me that I could do more and earn more only if I followed the career path my degree will take me. But I chose clarity over certainty. My passion gave me clarity more than anything else and I know for sure that as long as I use this skill to help others, I am on the right path.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: For me, feminism is standing up that you are more than “just a woman”. It’s equal rights = equal access to opportunities. I believe that feminism leans more towards equality, not female superiority. And that equality is what all genders deserve, not just us women.


MORE FROM CAMILLE: I am 25, a corporate escapee, and now the creative mastermind behind Miles Creative Co. (a brand and marketing design company I started a year ago). I live in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. I have a 6-year-old daughter and am expecting our second baby girl in July. I love having multiple businesses. I have an online boutique, and I also help my partner manage our small restaurant business.





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Woman Wednesday: Lauren T.


Q and A with Lauren T., Milford, CT

You deserve to have happiness. Sometimes, that may mean facing pain to make it to the other side of the rainbow.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I love reading, traveling, learning about mindset, being with my dog, trying new recipes, and also being with my family and my partner. Walks on the beach or gazing at the stars has always fascinated me. I like adventures as much as I like quiet nights at home curled up on the couch and watching a suspenseful film (preferably with my own bowl of popcorn!). I am passionate about writing, which is what I am currently working on. I used to do affiliate marketing within the health and wellness field. However, I found myself dissatisfied. I knew I had a higher calling, so I hired a purpose development coach to help formulate my purpose (which ties into my upbringing).


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up as the middle child in my family. I often felt unnoticed between my older sister and younger brother. I suppose it did not help that he was born exactly on my 5th birthday. Having to share my birthday led to bitterness and a sense that maybe I didn’t deserve a day all about me. My parents often fought and I acted as a mediator. However, that often backfired as no one took me seriously. School was very challenging because I was extremely shy. It was difficult to make friends, and the “cool” kids would sometimes make fun of me (my mom used to cut my bangs and did a horrible job…). I turned to focusing on my appearance. That I could control. I felt unloved on the inside and was desperate for attention. My life forever changed when I was 14 years old. I was hospitalized for depression and anorexia. But what really transformed my life was when a nurse came wheeling over an old book cart. Instead of handing me a book, she handed me a journal. And so, I wrote away my pain, shared my deepest secrets. I spilled my heart onto paper. It opened up a portal where I could give my heart a voice. Little did I know how big that portal would become. After I was released home, I continued journaling. I began writing inspirational messages and poems to others. I loved being a gateway to their soul where I could bring joy and self reflection. 21 years later, I’ve held on to the same dream, which is helping others express themselves through writing…to serve how I serve best, which is through pen and paper.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: You can conquer limiting beliefs. Hang in there because you are strong, beautiful, and powerful. I believe in you. I found myself in a mentally abusive relationship for 6 years that turned into a marriage. I didn’t think I was worthy of someone, something better. I was made to feel so low that it seemed like I truly would never find happiness. It took one person to plant the seed, “Why can’t you be happy?” That thought ate away at me, and it was like I began seeing my life and relationship with a different lens. One day, I asked for a divorce, unplanned, but something inside me was screaming it. Never forget you are in control of your life. You deserve to have happiness. Sometimes, that may mean facing pain to make it to the other side of the rainbow.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Seeking compassion and collaboration instead of comparison. Standing up for yourself and knowing your self-worth despite anything else. We (us fellow women) are all super unique and strong.


MORE FROM LAUREN: I left my job that treated me disrespectfully and I would not let it compromise my values. So, here I am, full-time creative copywriter coach.





Thank you for reading!

I’d love to connect with you! 🙂

Thoughts, questions, or comments?

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