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She’s A Boss

Interviews, She's A Boss

She’s A Boss: Eboyne’ Jackson Of Divine Influence PR

Eboyne’ Jackson is a 32-year-old Waterbury, Connecticut native and the owner and head publicist at Divine Influence PR. She is the oldest of four siblings and a proud auntie to her niece, Leigha. After a long “She’s A Boss” hiatus here on my blog, I’m happy to finally bring it back with her.

We connected maybe a year or two ago as and when she pitched one of her clients for this very feature series and the rest is history! Check out my interview with her below.

JESSICA SIMIEN: What led you to pursue a career in the public relations industry?
EBOYNE’ JACKSON: Oh my goodness! Public Relations definitely came by chance for me. I attended Ne-yo’s 30th birthday party at the Tribeca Rooftop in New York with a producer who I was dating at the time, and I was supposed to just attend the party like all the other guests. But for some reason, I was so drawn to the press pool. I was so captivated by the media presence, getting contacts and of course, interviewing the celebs! That night I met everyone from Rihanna, to Neyo himself, to Janet Jackson, it was an EPIC night! I made a ton of invaluable connections that night, and it was definitely the spark that ignited my journalism and PR career.

JESSICA SIMIEN: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
EBOYNE’ JACKSON: I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit! Even as a young girl in third grade, I was writing books and selling them. I even started my own Best Friends Club and had a monthly newsletter. I was a natural hustler. (Laughs) So it was in my DNA to start my own business. I just love connecting people and most of all, I love the joy and gratifying feeling that comes from owning your own business. There’s nothing like it – financial freedom and the opportunity to do what you love, it’s a win all around.

JESSICA SIMIEN: Tell me a little about your company, the types of clients you take on and currently represent.
EBOYNE’ JACKSON: Divine Influence PR is a faith based boutique PR firm I started in 2011. We specialize in media relations, marketing and event planning; catering to emerging brands within the following industries: Fashion, Beauty, Entertainment, and Lifestyle.

Left, Eboynè's Mom Lori Ellis, Kandi Burruss and Eboynè Jackson

Left, Eboynè’s Mom Lori Ellis, Kandi Burruss and Eboynè Jackson

At Divine Influence PR, we not only combine the greatest synergies and resources for clients to utilize in order to capture the attention of appropriate audiences, but also reinforce our clients to achieve the impossible with faith and a smile. Through placing an emphasis on each client’s God-given talent, along with strategic media and consumer outreach, we take a “unique” approach in communicating their clients’ messages.

I have worked on accounts for Fetty Wap, Ty Dolla $ign, T-Wayne, Lyfe Jennings and more. I also worked with accounts for Tokyo Stylez, and Marquette Collection by Ty’ron Perrin. I currently represent The Amours, MobSquad Nard, Cynthia Meadows, and Value of One.

JESSICA SIMIEN: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur? 
EBOYNE’ JACKSON: My experiences have been invaluable! Lesson #1: Know your value! Never let a potential client haggle your services or barter. PR is tedious work, and requires a lot of time and research. Time is money. If you have guaranteed results and great media relationships, it costs. Never let a client talk down your rate for any service of any kind. Many want the benefits of a good publicist but don’t want to pay. It’s expensive! We make a client look good, and that does not come easy, nor is it cheap! (Laughs) Lesson #2: Don’t catch feelings, catch flights! Know your value, and as long as you work with integrity, don’t sweat the small stuff. Business is business, and everyone, even the publicist, must eat. I’ve come to learn that people pay for what they want – what’s important to them. That’s how big brands stay in business, and it’s the very same for small businesses. If a consumer sees your value, then they will not try to short change you whatsoever. It’s just that simple.

“It’s OK to want to merge into other careers and achieve other goals. And most of all, it’s OK to sleep in and turn your phone off. Public relations is very demanding and at times, very stressful. You only get one life so why not enjoy it and pace yourself?”

JESSICA SIMIEN: How do you balance work and play?
EBOYNE’ JACKSON: This is something I am still trying to work on. Balance is a work in progress for me. I will admit that lately I have become a little bit better at it – God, family and time for yourself is key. If you don’t have a healthy balance, then you will ultimately end up resenting your career. I am learning that it’s OK to turn down some projects to avoid feeling overloaded or burnt out. It’s OK to want to merge into other careers and achieve other goals. And most of all, it’s OK to sleep in and turn your phone off. Public relations is very demanding and at times, very stressful. You only get one life so why not enjoy it and pace yourself? I am making some major changes in 2016 and finding more balance and maintaining peace and joy is a priority for me in this season.

JESSICA SIMIEN: Tell us about any upcoming projects or endeavors.
EBOYNE’ JACKSON: I am very excited about a new business venture I am embarking on, which will be unveiled very soon. It’s launching in 2017 and I thank God for His favor! I have an investor (all glory to God) and I am excited to move into this new space. Although I can’t release it just yet, know that it will be epic and very innovative, unlike any other brand you’ve ever seen! God has given me a clear vision for this.

I am working on the next Daughter of Zion Rebirth Conference. Daughter of Zion Rebirth is a faith-based ministry that strengthens and equips women through the Word of God and enhances their total well being through spiritual, cultural, and career development. I am excited to announce that this time, I am teaming up with S.W.O.P. (Sisters with Ordained Purpose), founded by Eboni Gordon, to connect women in ministry and women in business. It will be on October 22nd in Stamford Connecticut, so ladies save the date!

You can contact Eboyne’ and keep up with her brand on Instagram @divineinfluencepr and Twitter @QueenofMedia. You can also like her Facebook page by clicking here.

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Inspiration, Lifestyle, She's A Boss

#GirlTalk Live Hangout With Candace Saulsberry

There’s something special that happens as and when women get together.

On Thursday, May 12 at 7 pm CST, Candace Saulsberry will be joining me as the very first guest of my #GirlTalk live hangout on Google+.  Candace is a Greenwood, Mississippi native currently living in New York City and loving every minute of it.

I’ve never really met Candace, I’ve just always known her if that makes sense. We both attended Jackson State University in Jackson and I’ve watched her growth from her days on the plaza to being the free-spirited, inspiring educator that she is now.

Candace is a candidate for a master’s degree in Nonprofit Business Leadership at Fordham University and is exploring the immersion of social entrepreneurship to do societal good in our communities. She currently works as a high school program coordinator for the Harlem Children’s Zone, which is a pipeline system that gives children in under-served communities the opportunity to succeed.

Awesome, right?

She and I will be having good ole’ girl talk about knowing yourself and finding your way in life in a world that shames you for not having it all together by the time you graduate college…or approach your thirties, whichever comes first.

Join the live chat below! (Note: Streaming will not begin until May 12 at 7 pm CST. Please bookmark this page to watch at the designated time.) You can also visit the event page on Google+ by clicking here.

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Interviews, She's A Boss

She’s A Boss: Funmi “Queen” Franklin

Funmi Franklin, affectionately known as “Queen,” is a woman that while trying to find the words to describe her, I kept coming back to the word passionate. And I feel weird saying that.

Why? Because I’ve never met her personally yet somehow, I still feel the passion she has for her life’s calling through the few exchanges that we’ve shared. The 41-year-old “happily married” wife, mother and entrepreneur resides in Jackson, Mississippi where she is the beauty and brains behind HATHOR, LLC which is the umbrella company for her two brands – Thick And Proud Sisters (TAPS) and Sisters Increasing Positive Progression, Inc. (SIPPI).

Check out our chat about how she earned her nickname and how she runs multiple businesses and a household below.

JESSICA SIMIEN: Before we start, I have to know where you got the name Queen from. I often see people and hear people refer to you as that.

Funmi “Queen” Franklin: I’m so glad you asked that. I wrote a poem years ago called “I Am Queen.” A friend read it and he started addressing me as Queen. It felt good, so I adapted it. At the time I was meeting a lot of new people so the transition came with ease. Plus, it was easier than having to repeat the pronunciation of my birth name (which I love and cherish), Funmi.

JESSICA SIMIEN: Tell us about Hathor, LLC and TAPS.

FF: TAPS came to me in a dream, the entire idea, plan, everything. That’s how I know it’s ordained by the Creator. I’d been trying to gather women in a way that could restore the fellowship and sisterhood that I’d seen from my mother and her friends for years. I started a group called Sisters Increasing Positive Progression, Inc (SIPPI). At the time it was geared toward professional women. It was a safe place where women could come together and let their hair down to discuss things that didn’t relate to business or careers. We get too focused on that sometimes and we forget to live. But that became a challenge because most of the women were indeed professional and had time limitations. Meetings were difficult to accomplish.

I let it settle for a while but never stopped feeling the draw to bringing women together. So, I began to become uneasy with myself. I started to pray and ask the Creator to direct me. Specifically I asked Him to show me what He would have me to do as I knew this “thing” I was feeling was of Him. He shared with me in my dream that the most difficult challenge I’ve had in my life, aside from dealing with the death of my parents, was learning to love who I am. My size played a huge part in that because I was always teased for not being small. I was never a small kid. So, my family and friends made fun of me. Which lead to self hatred….which led to bad choices in life….which led to who I became. God said to me, in order to follow My charge on your life you must learn to love yourself because I want you to help other women do the same. I didn’t have to ask why or how. He gave me the everything all the way down to the name of the group – much like he had with SIPPI. I brought TAPS and SIPPI together under one umbrella and called it HATHOR, LLC named after the Egyptian goddess of all things feminine.

JESSICA SIMIEN: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

FF: I think it’s in my blood. My father was the Principal of a private school, the Black and Proud School, during the 70s and 80s. He taught me to be own-minded. He taught me to be of the people and to be an advocate, even if just by example. From there, I dated people who were entrepreneurs. I suppose they were teaching me as well.

JESSICA SIMIEN: How do you balance working an everyday job, running your businesses and being a wife and mother?

FF: I’ve never really given any thought to it. TAPS doesn’t seem like work until the premiere event. It’s an honor to lead this organization. Being a wife
and mother is my soul’s joy so that doesn’t feel like anything that needs balance. Now, my everyday job does take some concentration but fortunately, I get to be around good people doing great things. So, in short, all of it feeds my soul and has a significant purpose so the effort to balance is demanding.

JESSICA SIMIEN: Your annual TAPS showcase is coming up soon. Can you tell readers about the showcase and how they can be involved?

unnamedFF: Each year we take in a different class of women. They have to attend self love and awareness workshops and participate in community events throughout the year. The showcase has become their new introduction to life. So they have the opportunity to strut down the runway and feel beautiful with all the attention on them – many for the first time in their life. It gives them the spark they need to deal with things they have stored away in their mental psyche for years – like hurt, pain, anguish, hatred, disappointment. They can forgive themselves and others and they can begin to live whole lives.

To be involved all the public has to do is come to the event. They can email us for ticket information. Our workshops are free so this event helps fund the workshops as well as the HATHOR Honors Awards that we do, so we welcome all donations and services.

JESSICA SIMIEN: What has been the greatest lesson that you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?

FF: Hard times are guaranteed. Most of the time, the hard times will break your spirit if you don’t have faith in something stronger, higher than you. It’s not that you won’t break down; but, that faith and that passion gives you the power to get back up.

JESSICA SIMIEN: What advice can you give young women who are looking to own their own businesses?

FF: Get a mentor, someone you trust that you can run your thoughts by that can offer guidance. Maybe they have done what you are trying to do or have some connections that will help you. And if this is a black business owner, join the Jackson Black Pages (it’s free) and be sure to attend the free monthly mixers so that you can network with other like-minded individuals who want to succeed and see others do the same.

JESSICA SIMIEN: Other than the model showcase, are you working on any other projects that you can tell us about?

FF: I serve on the Jackson Black Pages Steering Committee and we are preparing for the 2ndAnnual Jackson Black Business Expo on February 27, 2016.  So, once we get through November 5, all focus goes to the expo.  After that, my focus then shifts to the HATHOR Honors Awards.  It never stops and I thank The Creator for that.

The TAPS Model Showcase is Thursday, November 5 at the Russell C. Davis Planetarium in Jackson. For ticket information, email hathor601@aol.com. You can also follow Queen on Twitter and Instagram @sippiearthqueen and @taps601.

Interviews, She's A Boss

She’s A Boss: Florida Hair Stylist, Cynthia Meadows

Cynthia Meadows is a 28-year-old female boss residing in Jacksonville, Florida. The Buffalo, New York native and mother of one, is the owner of A’Bliss Studios and as and when she isn’t styling hair or preparing for her next hair battle, she enjoys traveling, reading and meeting new people.

Check out our interview with Cynthia below.

JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Tell us what led to your career in hairstyling.
Cynthia Meadows: I started off as a braider at the age of 14, then transitioned into a salon at the age of 15. I was always inspired by the people who were around me in the industry. I became licensed in 2005 after I graduated from beauty school. My experience as a braider jumpstarted my career as a hairstylist.

JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?
CM: Yes, I have always wanted to become an entrepreneur to be able to do things according to the vision of excellence and professionalism that I know it should be.

JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Tell us a little about your business.
CM: A’Bliss Studios is a new, modern upscale salon in the Jacksonville, Florida area. We embrace and supply “the cut above” techniques of the beauty and styling industry. A’Bliss is a place where you come to receive the latest styles in hair color, cuts, and styles in an upscale environment.

JESSICASIMIEN.COM: So far, what has been the biggest or most impactful business lesson that you’ve learned?
CM: I’ve learned that high levels of work, great work ethics, and dedication do pay off. No one gave me advice about being a business owner. One thing I have learned is that overnight success without hard work and dedication is not possible. You have to go hard every day to achieve success.

JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Let’s say someone reads this and is inspired to be a stylist. What advice would you give them?
CM: I would definitely say go to school, complete your education and take advanced classes. Be creative and break out of the box. Be daring, be you.

JESSICASIMIEN.COM: What was your Bronner Brother’s experience like?
CM: It was an honor, and a new and exciting experience. Battling amongst some of the greatest styling artists in the industry like Terrence Davidson and other pioneers was amazing! It’s fulfilling to have been allowed to participate in such a groundbreaking event to showcase my hair artistry.

JESSICASIMIEN.COM: Do you have any upcoming projects or events that I can share with my readers?
CM: Currently I’m working on another hair battle that will take place around Christmas. There are more opportunities coming up to expand the notoriety of A’Bliss Studios which I will announce soon. I am always seeking to raise the bar of styling expectations.

For more information on Cynthia Meadows visit her website here or follow her on Instagram @iamcynthiameadows.

She's A Boss

She’s A Boss: Kimberly Chapman Of Sheen Magazine

My weekly “She’s A Boss” series is all about women in leadership positions. I truly believe that women are not celebrated enough for their amazing and one-of-a-kind accomplishments so I’m using my website to do just that.

This week I’m highlighting the lovely Kimberly Chapman. Mrs. Chapman hails from Greenville, South Carolina and in addition to being a wife and mother, she is the publisher of Sheen Magazine and a founder of The Chapman Foundation.

Chapman’s background as an entrepreneur is extensive. She started a manufacturing company with her husband where they’ve produced hair and beauty products for over 25 years. From that company birthed Sheen Magazine. In speaking with her, I discovered that she has an extremely humble and kind spirit and I truly enjoyed speaking with her.

Check out excerpts from our chat below.

How Sheen Magazine was started:

“One day as and when I decided to do it, I went in and I had my girlfriend…she’s a stylist here in Greenville, her name is Shelia Williams…and she came in, she made her daughter’s face up and did her hair. I took the pictures and it started from there. I took the pictures, did all the insides…it was about four pages in the book so that made it like eight pages and we just went from there. It has grown since then. People just come…what we can do, we do and what we can’t do, we don’t do and it has just grown.”

On obstacles she faced launching the magazine without a media background:

“You know, I don’t really worry about obstacles because I feel like if it’s for me, it’s gonna be for me. Whatever is not for me, it’s always going to be hard to deal with. So when I see that something is really really hard to deal with, then I think that maybe this isn’t the route that I need to go. Of course I had and have different things that I deal with but whatever you feel like is right for you and your life, that’s what you should pursue – regardless of what your educational background is.”

On selecting and managing her large team:

“So many people have talents that they want to share and maybe someone else won’t give them the opportunity. If they want to come and share their talents with us, we open our arms and whatever we can do with them we try to do.

When you first start, it’s like a baby. You don’t want to hand it off, you want to be right there in front of everybody telling them which way to go. As your companies grow, you want to be able to delegate and allow other people to also share their vision within your vision. I tell people that are employed by me that this is not about me, it’s about you too. I expect them to show me what they have. Show me your vision and we can put our visions together and make it work.”

How she balances her personal life and business life:

“I think it’s all just intertwined. I just go day to day. Earlier in my marriage, my husband always told me that even when we’re on vacation, we’re working too so I’ve always kept that in my head. It’s always work and it’s always a vacation.”

Advice for someone who wants to follow her footsteps:

“Don’t follow my footsteps! Just believe in what you’re doing, focus, keep a positive attitude and do what you believe is right. You’re always supposed to service people and if you service people and have a good, positive attitude everything just works.” 

To learn more about Mrs. Chapman, visit her websites here and here.

Know any female bosses that would be great for this series? Send their name, business and contact information to me by email at info@jessicasimien.com with “She’s A Boss” in the subject line.