The Entrepreneur Give-back

Too often we feel as if we need to withhold information of what we’ve learned, or how we’ve gotten to where we are in life. We tend to believe that that’s what we need to do to ensure that we reach the level of success that we desire. We think that this is apart of making sure we get to the top. But is this really necessary?

After every project I decided to put out, there were a group of people who asked questions about my journey. After pursuing my latest project with the t-shirt line, I was again asked multiple questions. Questions about my designs, printing, etc. While I’m quick to answer the inquiries, there are people who encourage me not to share. While I know for a fact these people are just looking out for me, I don’t agree. While I understand that you may not be able to share everything with everyone, I don’t agree that I should keep information to myself.

Below are three reasons why I believe entrepreneurs and creatives should be open to sharing information without a problem:

  1. There’s more than enough room for everyone to win! For some reason we feel like there’s only room at the top for one. I don’t know where this mentality came from, but there is a large space at the top. There’s enough out there so that we all can eat. There’s enough so that we can all get it.
  2. No one can do what you do, the way you do it. There’s no competition. Why would we ever be in competition with anyone? Even if we are in the same fields, there is no person who can do what another person does. We all have our own spin on things, we have all been given different details to our specific ideas. And no one can duplicate exactly what you do. There’s no competition.
  3. Regardless of who’s doing it, if God has has His hands on it, it’ll flourish. We get so caught up on who’s doing something similar to what we’re doing, and less focus on the one who gave us the idea in the first place. When God gives us an idea, a gift, a talent, He has His hands on it. And if His hands are on it, no one can stop it from flourishing.

So I encourage you today, let’s not be quick to be selfish and withhold information to look out for self. In everything that we experience, there is someone behind us who needs a little information or help to get to where we have gotten. We can’t only focus on ourselves. What we are able to do, no one else can do. However, what someone else can do, we may not be able to do. We all can’t do the same thing, the same way. We each have our our element. Elements that people need. Elements that other people will be able to benefit from. Elements that can potentially help someone get through different circumstances. What we’ve been given, the journey we are on; it’s not just for us. We can win, and still reach out and help someone else to the top!

-xo Miss Jones

Encouragement Through Experience T-Shirts

On May 25th, during our Take A Moment Women’s Health Month Event, we officially launched our ‘Encouragement Through Experience’ Series T-Shirt line. A few months ago, the idea dropped into my mind, and I knew I needed to move fast. I came up with a few quotes/positive affirmations that have been able to help through difficult situations. All personal quotes, from experience. These shirts were also created to enhance the LMJ Scholarship Fund. All of the proceeds from the sales, will go directly to the scholarship fund. We have been working hard to carry out our mission, and this T-shirt line falls right in. Your support in this has been overwhelming. Those who have not purchased, we would appreciate your support greatly. Not only are you wearing a shirt that allows you to speak positive affirmations, but you are also making an impact in the lives of this next generation. Below are all three designs, they are all available in black or white. You can purchase your shirts here. If you do not see your size available on the website, please send us an email at info@lovelymissjones.com. We supply shirts ranging from XS-4X.

My Creativity Was Bigger Than My Fears

 

 

I No Longer Live In Fear, I Live In Faith

 

My Vision Outweighs My Insecurities

Faith That Takes, Not Waits

When I heard these word spoken by an evangelist in church this past Friday night, it spoke directly to me and my spirit. As she talked about the woman with the issue of blood from the bible, she said how she was the only one who received a miracle without permission. Most stories from the bible, you hear people asking Jesus to heal them. In the woman’s desperation and faith, she reached out and touched Jesus’ garments and was made whole. She was healed. She took a leap a faith, without anyone’s permission and got exactly what she was seeking.

Now, let’s take this story and apply it to our everyday lives. How often do we have things that we desire, our goals, our dreams; and just wait for it to happen. Just sit and wait as if we’re waiting on permission. We’re waiting for the approval of others. Or maybe waiting to be recognized for all of our desires to come to pass. The more we wait, the less possibility we have at actually getting those desires. This woman knew she couldn’t wait any longer. Her life literally depended on it. So she went out and took what she needed to live.

Our purpose and our destiny is what we need to live. Living out our calling is what we need to live. Instead of sitting and waiting, we have to get up and go get what belongs to us. We have to go out and get what we need to survive. I don’t know about any of you, but I want that kind of faith. That kind of faith that just takes it. That faith that doesn’t depend on the thoughts, opinion, words, and recognition of others. That faith of desperation. Knowing that my life and the lives of others depend on me fulfilling my purpose. Some things we just can’t wait for, we have to just have enough faith to take it! Whatever your “it”is, go out and get it!

-XO Miss Jones

LMJ Second Annual Scholarship Benefit Recap

On Tuesday, December 27, 2016, we successfully hosted our second annual scholarship benefit! LMJ is a strong believer of sharing ones experience in order to connect and help further the growth of someone else. And this is how the scholarship benefit was created. Going through the process of college, I know firsthand what it’s like to not be able to pay tuition. College is very expensive. Period. Knowing what it felt like, it was my intent to create opportunities to help others in areas that I could’ve used assistance. I wanted to be able to be a blessing financially to a few college students, to help alleviate the financial strain they may experience.

December 19, 2015 was our first. Seeing its effect, it was only right that we continue and make it an annual affair. It’s not easy putting any type of event together, but knowing that this was bigger than us, pushed me to do it anyway. The purpose of the event was to celebrate these college students for their accomplishments. The first step being, making the decision to further their education in order to pursue their dreams. It was intended to be a night of sharing, educating, honoring, educating, and connecting with others. And I must say, it was a success.


The event was hosted by author, poet, and content creator Church Johnson. Which is a product of networking and making connections. Intentional connections.

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There were two speakers; Asha Boston, Director of The Dinner Table Documentary (a documentary geared towards changing the perception of black women in media. Also offering high school and college workshops centered around self esteem) and Schoquilla Coleman, Founder and CEO of Golden Life Resource Center (an organization that encourages and promotes educational growth, financial stability and positive mentor ship in youth). Both of these ladies have succeeded after going through the college process. They are an inspiration to many, and needed to share their experiences. In order to let the candidates know that they too can make it, and also to show others how they can contribute to the lives of our young people.


There were two incredible performances by amazing artists, ART Music and Lynette Rhett-McNeil. Both blessed us with their amazing gifts.

We honored Ska-Keya Flenory, who tirelessly dedicates her time and service to NYC Public Schools, along with Sheneya Wilson, who recently graduated with her masters degree in accounting and is on her way towards obtaining her phd at the age of 22. Their hard work is inspiration to others.

Raffle prize sponsors; award winning author, Nigeria Lockley, Michelle Dwight Designs, and Elle and Johns body products.

Other sponsors include; Jennifer Johnson, CEO of Campus Essentials (donating care packages to our winners. Innovative Music Inc (silver sponsor). And BCAN2SOC (Brooklyn Community Acition Network To Save Our Community) our double platinum sponsor!

Excellent food provided by SWB Catering.
Lastly, we acknowledge our 2016 LMJ Scholarship recipients! First place, Sherqwanna Laws. Second place, Niesha Georgeon. Third place, Candace Rose. Fourth place, Naomi Georgeon. We are extremely proud of these young ladies. And because of your help, we are collectively able to make an impact in their lives. They all have their own stories, their own struggles; but we were able to make a positive impact. We thank you all for your support.

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To view photos from LMJ’s Second Annual Scholarship Benefit (captured by PhotosByCeeJay) click here.

The Ultimate Women’s Empowerment Event – The Other Festival 

Now is most definitely the time of year for festivals. The festivals that you would usually hear of only consist of musical artists and bands. However, there’s a festival this weekend (Saturday, June 11th) in TriBeCa NYC that is like no other! Hence the name, The Other Festival. 

The Other Festival is all about “connecting, building, and supporting  entrepreneurial spirits in the face of an ever changing world.We are the best, the strongest, the boldest of our generation. We are a squad of renegade businesswomen in the form of artists, musicians, chefs, photographers, entrepreneurs, activists, inventors, storytellers, designers, and we are here to make things happen.” – The Other Festival 

This event is brought to you by Women Inspiration and Enterprise (WIE), which is a social enterprise that works to provide emerging women leaders with the tools to succeed in their careers. WIE is founded by Dee Paku-Spalding, who is a social entrepreneur born in the UK and raised in London. A former Hollywood studio exec, Paku has now begun a career in brand marketing and promotions. 

The Other Festival showcases the makers and creators of this generation, the women who are redefining how to do business, setting their own rules, putting new systems in place, pushing their own agendas. Inventors, storytellers, founders, artists who can’t be boxed in.

This festival will showcase a group of elite women; their background and their career work. Through this, many females will have the opportunity to glean from their journey. It’s about embracing the other, but also embracing you. Embracing who you are, what you offer, and your journey towards success. There will be workshops, discussions, along with a concert. A full day of sharing and gleaning. 
Speakers include: 

  • Naomi Campbell (Model)
  • Rosario Dawson (Actress, Activist, Entreprenuer)
  • Reshma Saujani (Founder, Girls Who Code)
  • Lindsey Stirling (Musician, Vlogger)
  • Melissa Ben Ishay (Founder, Baked by Melissa)
  • Beverly Bond (Founder, Black Girls Rock) 

And many more!

Musical Guests Include:

  • Justine Skye 
  • Brooke Candy 
  • Vashtie Kala
  • Grace Weber

And more!

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to sulk in all that you can from these very powerful women in business. Women who have owned who they are and will be able to share and showcase their journey, their sound, and their careers. This is a festival you want to be sure to attend! 

LovelyMissJones is all about sharing ones experience to benefit the lives of someone else, so you know we will be on the scene! And we want to see you there! Purchase your tickets today by visiting theotherfestival.eventbrite.com. 
  

  

Lovely Miss Jones Scholarship Brunch

After an unforeseen setback, I’m happy to announce that the Lovely Miss Jones Scolarship Brunch is most definitely still on! December 19th, if you’re in the NYC area, we would love for you to attend this event!

There is no secret that a big issue in many of our communities is difficulties with college tuition, along with other financial obligations while in college. And because of this, Lovely Miss Jones would like to help alleviate that stress off of our youth today. It is important that they go off to school to educate themselves, and further pursue their dreams. However, there are many that are not afforded this opportunity. Through this scholarship fund/brunch, we will be able to award students with a monetary gift that they will be able to use for school. Please help us, as we intend to help this next generation reach their goals.  

Tickets are on sale now for only $15. For an afternoon of brunch, entertainment, networking, and speakers, that’s a steal! It’s all for a good cause. Purchase your tickets here. If you can’t make it, please donate to the fund! 

Don’t miss out on an opportunity to give back during this holiday season, and be apart of a change in someone else’s life. Support and share! 

-Miss Jones

ESSENCE and Prudential Presents: Money + Power   A Rich Conversation

Friday, November 6th, I had the opportunity of attending this wonderful event presented by Essence and Prudential. As the flyer says, all of the guests joined together for “a rich conversation”. And that’s exactly what the night entailed. There was a panel of very successful business women who came together to discuss their experiences in their separate fields, as well as help encourage and motivate other business owners trying to reach their status of success, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs. 

On this panel of amazing women were: ESSENCE Feature Editor Lauren Williams (as the moderator), President and CEO of Britto Agency Marvet Britto, TV Personality and Lifestyle Expert Tai Beachamp, “The Budgetnista” Tiffany Aliche (who we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing), and Interior Designer Dani Arps. All these women are powerhouses in their own right.  

  

Before the intriguing conversation began, there was thirty minutes set aside for cocktails. I assume it was a time for drinks, possibly food, and networking. Because I was late for the event due to work, I missed it. However, by the time I got there, there were a few minutes before the conversation began. I checked in quickly and headed right into the designated room at the Apella, Event Space at the Alexandria Center. Which is an absolutely gorgeous venue. There were posted set up nicely in the area before the conversations space. The latest issue of ESSENCE with Taraji P. Henson on the cover so gracefully stood on a stand. As well as selfie props that had great sayings on them. I initially grabbed the prop that said, “I do what I love. I love what I do.” However, by the time the event ended, I left with three more. Which said, “I am a strategist”, “I am an innovator”, and “I am a trailblazer”. 
  
The conversation started out with introductions. Then we went full speed into the conversation that helped many women that night. Below you’ll find a few questions and answers from the evening from each woman on the panel. 

Lauren Williams asked, how are you able to manage to maintain and build your brand. Marvet Britto answered, and explained that she focuses on being the best her. Marvet, who’s a very successful Public Relations Architect and Brand Strategist, has never had to solicit any one of her clients. She stressed that when it comes to branding, all that you desire comes by the work you do. Branding is really about the work that’s put in. Many people have made it about popularity, but it’s really all about the work. We have to learn how to be masterful professionals. She said that it’s important to make sure you nurture the trunk of the tree first, before worrying about the branch (brand) extensions. It’s about the work, and mastering what you have to offer. 

The discussion the led to a point where many people have been. The point of transition. Tai Beachamp, who has been able to incorporate her background in beauty and fashion with her love and passion for philanthropy, shared some of her experience by discussing some of the steps before leaving her job. She began to feel unfulfilled and burnt out. Although doing something she was great at, her purpose and hearts work was to empower. Tai expressed that we have to be able to distinguish between our passion and our purpose. She also let us know, that on the other hand, the answer doesn’t have to be today. Meaning things won’t be where you want them to be overnight. You won’t be where you want to be overnight. Sometimes you have to stay in the position that you’re in for a little longer than you’d like. She also said, you learn one thing from a position and take it and apply it to your purpose. 

Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, who is a financial educator who has helped thousands of women take a journey to get their finances in order through her Live Richer Challenge, shared a similar story later in the conversation. She shared her story and where she started. Learning about finances growing up, but deciding to become a teacher. She was able to take her teaching skills and become the financial educator that she is today, because she took what she could from where she was. Often times we may become frustrated after sometime on the jobs we have, but we have to come to the place where we learn that we are there for a reason. There’s something that we can learn and take with us when it’s time for us to start our own business. It’s a matter of what will you learn from the position that you’re in. You’re strategically put in places to learn these particular lessons. Embrace where you are. Then after you’ve learned from the positions you were in and have been able to step out and start your own business, go around and explore to see what else you can learn. Never get too comfortable. 

Tiffany later went on to defining what having a business really is. She explained that many people have created something that looks like a business; a nice website, pretty business cards. However, there’s no product. She says, a business is when you have a product and people are willing to pay for it. And sometimes we don’t get this right away when we’re working towards a goal. So Tiffany lets us know that some things wot directly give you money in the beginning, but it will overtime. You have to make the proper investments first.  

Marvet also added to the startup of a business. When you have a desire to become an entrepreneur you think about a void that you want to fill. You have to have something that’s different, that people are willing to pay for. 

The question was then asked, as business women, what is the one things that keeps you up at night. Each lady had the opportunity to answer. 

Dani Arps, who is an interior designer and has had great success in only a year and half, said something that many of us (business owner or aspiring entrepreneurs) may concern ourselves with; meeting the needs of her clients. Making sure that she’s doing the work according to their standards. 

Tiffany’s concern is not letting one part of her life pass her by while pursuing her career. She doesn’t want to chase her dreams career wise and love an unfulfilled personal life. Therefore, she’s in the process of balancing her life. It’s important to have a balance. 

Tai thinks about the people she has to feed. From her clients, down to the people she employs. Her company isn’t all about her, but the people that she services. 

Marvets’ main concern is shattering glass ceiling. I truly believe that this was a pivotal point during the discussion. She’s concerned about women of color being taken out of the boxes that society so often places us in. 
She the. Went on to how we need to work hard to make sure we are given a seat at the table. And in order to do so, we have to make sure we are consistent and deliberate in all that we do. Our capabilities and talents outweigh our color, and we have to be sure to put forth the effort in showing that. We must also look at the ones who have come before us, and we’re able to succeed. As well as think strategically, understand where your place is, and finding ways to stretch our culture. 

The conversation shifted into mentorship. Tai raised a few good points when it comes to mentorship and connection. We don’t always like to admit when we need help. Sometimes we can’t do everything on our own. And that perfectly ok. When finding connections, it’s good to seek out people who we can partner up with. And fulfill our goal and vision together. Also when it comes to mentorship, we shouldn’t just try to see what we can get from others, it’s reciprocal. You should also be able to give something in return. 

As you can see, this event was intriguing, and very thought provoking. And there was so much more. After the conversation, there was an after party where drinks and food were served. But the most important part, was that these women stuck around and talked individually with the guest. We were able to share our experiences, our future plans, and receive advice. These women spoke a few good words into my life. And I, and I’m sure many other females as well, am grateful for the opportunity. 

A special thanks to ESSENCE and Prudential for putting on such a great event, having an amazing panel of successful business women, giving other women the opportunity to connect and share with others, and the gifts as well. 

  
  
(Miss Jones and Tai Beachamp)
  
(Miss Jones and Marvet Britto)

Editor’s Note: Lovely Miss Jones Scholarship 

I need your help! With just 2 months away from the one year Anniversary, it is my hopes to help someone financially with college. After becoming a tad bit discouraged with the lack of support, I realized I have to keep pushing. It’s not about me, but the benefit of someone else. With that being said, please find it in your heart to help me as my passion is to help create change in the lives of others. Especially this next generation. We can help make a difference and help them reach their goals. Visit gofundme.com/LMJSCHOLARSHIP to make a donation! Thank you in advance. We can make this happen! Donate and share!

-xo Miss Jones 😘

Get Your Finances In Order: Interview With The Budgetnista

“Women get together and we discuss men, children, and our lives over a glass of wine. But how often do we talk openly about finances? We say, ‘The Lord will make a way,’ and that’s true. But I’d like to empower myself.” Whether you’re in your twenties, thirties, forties or fifties and beyond, it’s not too late to get started. This quote is from an article in the February’s issue of ESSENCE Magazine. 
So often we get together with our friends and loved ones to talk about life and all of our issues. But how often do we discuss financial struggle, along with the importance of saving or budgeting? It wasn’t until my last year of college, when I was about to graduate, I realized the importance of saving and how I should’ve done that during my journey. 
After finding out about the Live Richer Challenge (a free, online financial challenge created by The Budgetnista to help women achieve 7-specific financial goals in 36 days. Currently over 15,000+ women in all 50 States and 52 countries, have signed-up and participated in the LRC.) and hearing her on the panel at a financial education event; I had the pleasure of interviewing financial educator, Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche. The Budgetnista has been featured in The New York Times, US News and World Report, the TODAY show, PBS, Fox Business, MSNBC, CBS MoneyWatch, TIME, ESSENCE Magazine, and FORBES. She regularly blogs about personal finance for The Huffington Post. She has also been has been a featured speaker at American Express, Princeton University, Wyndham Worldwide, Columbia University, Circle of Sisters, MegaFest, The United Way, Prudential Financial Inc. and many more.
Below you will find a few highlights from the interview where you’ll get to know a little more about Tiffany, as well as get some useful tips on how to get your finances in order. 
Miss Jones: How did you decide to start this journey? (Entrepreneurship)

The Budgetnista: Life decided for me. I was a school teacher for ten years. The school I was working for lost funding and everyone lost their jobs. I was relieved because I knew it was time to move on, but I was scared as well. You can do all of the right things and still be without a job.  

Miss Jones: For those who may not know, tell us a little about your business.

The Budgetnista: I have a financial education firm, which helps people with basic finances. My audience is predominantly women. I work with sets/groups of people and companies. Because I was an educator, I am able to teach in these settings. I’ve worked with companies like Prudential, United Way, and more. 

Miss Jones: What life experiences growing up contributed to the career path you have now?

The Budgetnista: I grew up in a household with my father, who was a financial banker. My father always talked to my sister and I about finances. When I got my first job, I had to talk with him about my paycheck. So I was able to master that at home. The rest was natural progression. I taught preschool, which played a part. The younger the age, the better to teach. College age students have knowledge, while preschoolers have no knowledge at all. You have to teach them everything, and that’s the best place to start. If you can teach preschool effectively, you can teach anyone. 

Miss Jones: did you ever think you’d write a book?

The Budgetnista: Yes, I always though I would but I never knew what it would be about. When I was teaching, the parents would come in around nap time and I would help them with their finances. As I was helping them, I would write it down. And eventually u wrote a book about it.

Miss Jones: Did you ever think the LiveRicher Challenge would be as big as it is now? 

The Budgetnista: Yes and no. I thought it was a great idea, and would be great to do. The I thought to myself, ‘it’s too much, no one’s going to do this.’ It was the same with my book. It humbled me. What the challenge is doing now, is something I dreamed of. 

Miss Jones: What are some of the goals you’ve had?

The Budgetnista: I ultimately wanted to have a business and fully support myself. I wanted to make a certain amount of money a month. I wanted by book to be a number one seller. I also wanted to be featured in certain publications. And I was able to accomplish all of these. There are still some goals I have yet to reach. I would like to speak at ESSENCE Festival, as well as be a branch certified one day. 

Miss Jones: How were you able to accomplish these goals?

The Budgetnista: Putting one foot in front of the other, without overthinking. I’ve learned to do what you know, and the rest will come after. When you do what you know, the more you learn. Two, always keep positive people around you. I call those people in my life, the dream catchers. Keep people around you who have their own business. You’ll be able to learn from them. Also, keep honest people around you, that’ll let you know when you’re doing too much. Remember why you started, and don’t be afraid to look for assistance when you need it. Learn when to ask for help. It can cost you time, money, and happiness when you try to do everything yourself. 

Miss Jones: Many people growing up, as myself, were never really taught to save, and are now struggling with the transition and mind shift. What are some tips to get back on track?

The Budgetnista: 1. Discipline. Decide how much from your check to save. It’ll get you to practice. Ask your job to take out $10 out of $100, and send it to another account through direct deposit. 2. Start with saving goals that are fun. For example, specifically saving for a vacation, a car, or an apartment. You can either go to a concert, or live home with your parents forever. Find what motivates you, even when you want to spend. 3. Open up an online savings account, which allows you to magnify your money online. Banks such as Capitol one 360 and Ally banks offer great online accounts. And it is only a savings account. Separate accounts for specific goals. Whether it be a travel or a car account. These online accounts take 2-5 business days (unlike a regular bank) to transfer money. So it forces you to save. 

Miss Jones: What are some of the most important steps to becoming financially stable?

The Budgetnista: First, imagine you’re in a ditch. Just stop digging. Stop using your cards. Stop eating out. Find the issue, and take a step back. Bring things back in order one at a time. Be sure to create a budget, it’ll help you see where your money is going. Try the Live richer challenge. Miss Jones: How can one save and still enjoy your life? Looking well, vacationing, but still have funds saved?

The Budgetnista: Budget. Including travel, clothes, etc. Look at what you want. Take out bills first, and put 10% into your retirement account. With the first check of the month. From 90% figure out how much the things you need are, how much will you save, and how much will you do for fun stuff. Retirement should always be first, then emergency savings, bills, then fun. When there’s no money left, you’ve made poor choices. If you want fun, lower your bills. 

Miss Jones: How do you build your credit score?

The Budgetnista: Your credit score is broken up into five different components 1. Inquiry. Which is when someone else looks at your social security number, if you were applying for a credit card etc. You should save it for a car or student loans instead of applying for multiple credit cards you don’t need. Even if you don’t qualify for the card, points are still taken off of your credit score. And that’s 10% of your credit score.  

2. 10% of your credit score is debt. 

3. Length of credit history. And that’s 15%. Keep your oldest credit card open. If you’re in college or fresh out of college, let your parents put you on as an authorized user. Where they are the primary user and also pay on time. 

4. Utilization. Which is how much are you using. This is the thing that brings most of it down. Using too much of what you’re given. Keep your spending under 30%.

5. Payment history. Which 35%. Keep your payments down. Always pay what they ask when they ask. Charge a card with something small regularly and pay it off in full every month. 

Miss Jones: What are some of the best budget plans that you’d give others? Is the Mint App a good budgeting tool?

The Budgetnista: From what I’ve heard about Mint, its pretty good. However, my book The One Week Budget, I give a great way to budget. Set it up and automate it. Separate checking account for bills. Second account not attached, so that all of your bills are taken from one specific account. One should typically have at least three separate bank accounts. A savings account, an emergency account, an online savings account, and/or a regular checking account. 

Miss Jones: Is there any advice you’d like to leave with us?

The Budgetnista: It’s not as hard as you think, it’s just about practice. With time it gets easier and easier. But only if you get started. 

Tiffany, The Budgetnista, was a pleasure to talk to. She is going around the world sharing financial tools that can ultimately change someone’s life. She offers financial education to companies, small groups, churches, and universities. You can visit her website to invite her and find out her pricing, thebudgetnista.com. Also purchase her books The One Week Challenge and Live Richer Challenge. Lastly, follow her on Instagram and Twitter @thebudgetnista and continue to find out ways to get your finances in order!

Voyages Prep High School Women’s Day

Thursday, March 12th, I had the pleasure of attending Voyages Prep HS’s women’s day luncheon. I was invited by Leah Williams, who I met at a women’s empowerment brunch the Saturday before. 

Voyages Prep HS is a transfer HS in Elmhurst, Queens. The population is over-aged and under-credited students who failed at the traditional high school setting.  In an effort to lift the spirit of their girls, some of who are single mothers and live in low-income communities, they are had their first ever Women’s Day to inspire the girls and show them that through hard work and determination they can succeed at being strong and beautiful contributors to today’s global society. 

Upon arriving to the school and into the space set for the event, I was greeted by wonderful ladies and students as they continued to complete the set up for the day. This was a day not only to empower the ladies, but to make them feel good. There were beautiful tables set up for the girls. 

  

  

To start the day off, Leah, who is on the advisory board of the young women’s group did her greetings and introductions. There were of course the girls who currently attend the school, along with returning students (one who graduated as the valedictorian and recently received her associates degree, and on her way to her bachelors.), teachers, other advisors, school safety, and the guest speaker Tiana Von Johnson. Once the ladies came in, signed in, received a lovely bag, and sat attentively, it was time to eat and mingle before moving further.

After the food was served and the ladies had a chance to talk to one another, Leah returned to introduce the speaker of the day. 

Tiana Von Johnson started by sharing her story with the girls. She shared her successes with them. She grew up in a broken home in the Bronx. However, she had a different mindset. She never wanted to follow the crowd, rather go down her own path. She learned how to be her own boss from a very young age. She went to work with her father every Saturday while most of the other kids were outside playing. She learned how to save the $10 she made every week, and it taught her valuable lessons. And the same followed her for the rest of her life. And because of this, she was determined to go to school. 

She received her Bachelors degree by the age of 20, Masters by the age of 21; and by the age of 25, she was making $70,000 a year. She was grateful for her accomplishments, but she wasn’t fulfilled. She wasn’t passionate about the work she did. 

Tiana then went on to ask the girls what they were passionate about. Allowing them to speak on their goals and what they eventually wanted. She then went on with her story, letting the girls know that she became a millionaire by the age of 30. She wanted to go back to school to receive her PHD, but was told she was too young. So she continued to work and reapplied at the age of 37, and she was accepted. She wanted to show the girls how she continued to work and make things happen for herself.   

  

When she reached $100,000 a year in her career, she decided to quit her job. She wasn’t fulfilled. She enjoyed the money, but wanted to do what she was passionate about. She did all of this while being a single mother of 2. She then became a producer she was her own boss. And because she was her own boss, she had to separate herself. To focus, sometimes you will have to separate yourself. And this is something she wanted to get across to the girls. It’s important to know when to separate yourself in order to reach your goals. She’s been through some things, as many of the girls have, but she was determined to reach a certain level of success. 

After she spoke for a while, she showed a video which displayed her many accomplishments and success. She was the first young African American female broker on Wall Street. But she was focused and determined. She’s doing it big now because she was determined enough to quit her job and do what she loved. 

Tiana then made it a little more interactive for the girls. She asked them to share what they aspire to do. Which allowed them to declare some of their goals and aspirations, and put it into the atmosphere. They were also asked if they had a game plan. Which led to one of the worksheets set out for them. It was called Envisioning the Life You Want. Which helped the girls to see exactly where they wanted to be in life. Not just thinking about it, but actually visualizing it. 

  

The next activity was where Tiana asked everyone to close their eyes and think about the person they loved. After some time, she allowed the girls to share. Many of them mentioned their mother or their children. But none of them mentioned themselves. Which says a lot. She wanted them to get to a place where they loved themselves enough to pursue their dreams. 

Then they used the following sheet to draw or write out the things they wanted into the box created for them. Many of the girls drew money, houses, and he businesses they hoped to open one day. 

  

Tiana then opened the floor for questions, where she was able to further encourage the girls. Below are a few of her answers:

  • I was able to reach my goals being a single mother because of my work ethic. I was driven. 
  • Time management was big for me. I encourage you all to invest in a journal. Write your goals for the week, month, and year. This is how you stay organized. 
  • People will try to take advantage of you when you’re in a situation like this. When you grow and become a brand, you have to protect your assists. 
  • After you realize your passion, you may have to reach out to others to push you along the way. I reached out to my pastor and educators. 
  • I was able to keep pushing when I saw my vision but faced opposition because I was reminded of my past. Every time I found myself in a position where I wanted to quit, I remembered the place I didn’t want to return to. 

Below are a few nuggets she was able to leave with the girls:

  • Push when no one believes in you. 
  • From this point on think about whether it contaminate me or contribute to my growth. 
  • Shift your mindset for what’s good for you. 
  • Don’t demand respect, command respect. You want your presence felt. Marking your territory. Focusing on what you have to do for you. 
  • Invest in yourself. 
  • You have to have the will to win. 
  • Prioritize relationships.

It was amazing to be able to see these young girls have an opportunity to experience a day of encouragement and empowerment at a young age. These are the types of events I attend as an adult, so it’s great to start early. They were given tools that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Tools that will help them pursue their dreams. And to see the excitement was great. I over heard a conversation where a young girl was recording and when asked, she said “yes, I’m recording. I want to be a millionaire!” This event will be life changing for them. Special thanks to Leah Ross-Williams for he invite. 

 

 (Leah Ross-Williams and Miss Jones)

 

 (Miss Jones & Tiana Von Johnson)