Director of Business Development
DR. EDDIE D. HAMILTON, MD, FAAP
DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
DAWN M. MASON
DAWN M. MASON, MBA
Dawn brings far more than 20 years’ worth of experience in strategic
planning, negotiating, and project management with an ability to weigh
risk vs. reward to her role as Director of Business Development for The
Connect Magazine (TCM). She brings professionalism and leadership, a
mindset of service and advocacy, an exceptional business acumen, and a
passion for empowering others to realize their purpose.
As a strategic thinker with a client focus, Dawn’s contribution to the
magazine aligns her personal goals with the core objective of TCM. With
a focus on tactical alliances and business development, she will prospect
and identify opportunities for partnership, assist in building new business
relationships, evaluate operational issues to determine effectiveness, and
evaluate the competitive landscape to continually enhance TCM’s impact
on its readership.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Dawn graduated from Hampton
University in VA. After moving to Nashville as a young adult, she pursued
an MBA from Middle Tennessee State University and began a career in
contract management. With a love for leadership and managing people,
she found her way into Supply Management where she has managed
teams from 2 to 20 people throughout her career. She has spent more than
20 years in supply management and has held positions such as adjunct
professor, eComm erce Director and National Director of Purchasing. Now,
as the Director of Diversity Business Development for a Nashville based
organization, she ensures small businesses are afforded the opportunity to
compete with large corporations for substantial contracts.
In addition to satisfying her love for writing as a contributing writer
for The Connect Magazine, Dawn recently ventured into the world of
blogging. Her Website, www.blendedwithboys.com, chronicles her
and her husband William Mason Jr.’s journey into a blended family of
seven. In early 2017, Dawn and William will launch an exciting new task
management endeavor where they will offer small business development,
back office management, research, business plan preparation, management,
and similar services.
Dawn leverages business relationships and resources through her
avid support of a variety of professional organizations including: The
International Virtual Assistants Association, The Institute for Supply
Management (ISM), The American Management Association (AMA),
The Tristate Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business
Enterprises Council – South, The US Business Leadership Network and
The National Veteran Owned Business Association. She serves on the
certification committee and is a co-facilitator for Centers of Excellence for
The Tristate Minority Supplier Development Council. Dawn is a newlywed,
a mom to Elijah and Jacob and a bonus mom to Tre, Miles, and Brennon.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
WEDDING ACCOUNT COORDINATOR
DIRECTOR OF ONLINE COMMUNCIATION
LAUREN H. DOWDLE
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
BISHOP JERRY L. MAYNARD SR. DR. MING WANG, MD, PHD
BRANDON HIRSCH KEELAH JACKSON
LACEY JOHNSON RYAN HIRSCH
SHAWN WHITSELL THOMAS C. SHEFFIELD
DIRECTOR OF SALES
REGIONAL SALES REPRESENTATIVES
If you would like to place an AD or write an article for our next issue,
please contact ERIC JORDAN at firstname.lastname@example.org
“Putting your business in Clients’ Hands”
4 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
RELIGION & VOTING
Should Religion and Propaganda be considered before Voting?
The religion of a leader can never express
his thoughts towards society or towards
a particular community. The Bible says
“righteousness exalteth a nation” (Proverbs
14:34). For a nation to be righteous, the
people of such nation must be righteous, and especially,
the leaders. The righteousness of the citizens and the
leaders make the righteousness of the whole nation. In this
manner, the leaders of the nation must be carefully selected
or in another instance, be carefully voted into power.
Leadership has a lot of influence in the well-being of the
people, as stated in Proverbs 29:2, “When the righteous
are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked
beareth rule, the people mourn”. In the present world
where leaders emerge through election, the voting process
must be controlled to produce the best leader who is keen
to move the nation forward and with great and unequaled
leadership qualities and skills.
The process of voting nowadays is a complex one,
with a lot of factors being put into consideration. It is
now a practice that the majority of our politicians rely on
propaganda to get votes from their people. Aspirants try to
identify with their base to get their mandates. But looking at
this from a wider view, a quality candidate will not bank on
propaganda or religious identity to win a referendum. The
credibility of an aspirant is put to test on a leveled playing
ground, with their manifestos, philosophies, leadership
qualities and skills, and personalities are being put into
The main aim of a political system is to provide allround
growth in a society which in turn will lead to rise in
status of each individual and providing a strong foundation
for the nation. Hence, when voting, only an aspirant
with such attribute should be considered. Voting with
propaganda consideration will be biased and may produce
an incompetent leader, which will consequently lead to an
uneven growth in the nation. It may also lead to a rise in
communal tension between different ethnic groups which
can be a threat to the nation’s peace. Another negative
effect of such practices is that it may cause loss to humanity
and people may get discriminated on the basis of religion
or ethnicity in the time of need. Moreover, such kind of
politics is raised by only the weak political parties/aspirants
whose first agenda is to meet their hunger for power and
not in the improvement of society.
On the above basis, I want to conclude that propaganda
should not be mixed with politics. Intellectual youths and
adults should understand that those politicians who demand
votes in the name of rhetoric are simply fooling them and
should discard them. Voting should only be on the basis
of their thoughts and ideas towards the development of
the nation. Let us unanimously cast an unbiased vote for
th e right and credible leaders to assume offices, regardless
of religious or ethnic background, to ensure growth and
sustainability of our nation.
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 5
PRINCE’S HOT CHICKEN CONTINUES
LEGACY OF HOT CHICKEN
The Connect Magazine visits the original
QUEEN OF HOT CHICKEN for a conversation
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT of ARTS/
A PEOPLE PERSON
Beverly K Carmichael gives us 3 KEYS to
how you too,can BE A PEOPLE PERSON
MAN TO MAN
ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
THE MYTH OF MULTITASKING
The BEGINNING OF THE END OF YOUR BRAIN
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Dr. Ming Wang offers words of wisdom for a
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GREAT AMERICA
OF OUR FOREFATHERS?
Bishop Jerry L. Maynard Sr.
A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO NETWORKING
The Connect Magazine is a quarterly lifestyle publication committed to
engaging our audience through inspirational stories of entrepreneurs, young
professionals, and other individuals in the community committed to making
a positive difference in their lives and in the lives of others. The tenets and
principles associated with entrepreneurship and the value of living with
purpose transcend race, creed, and class, so from the corporate level, to the
community, we seek to inform and inspire by exploring the hearts, minds,
and stories beyond the bottom line.
34 48 14
6 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
At Cracker Barrel Old Country Store ® , we think a key to our success
is welcoming diversity in our company, our country stores,
our restaurants, and our communities.
crackerbarrel.com • © 2016 CBOCS Properties, Inc.
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 9
From Darkness to Sight chronicles the remarkable life journey of Dr. Ming Wang,
a world-renowned laser eye surgeon and philanthropist.
As a teenager, Ming fought valiantly to escape one of history’s darkest
eras – China’s Cultural Revolution – during which millions of innocent youth
were deported to remote areas to face a life sentence of poverty and hard labor.
Through his own tenacity and his parents’ tireless efforts to provide a chance of
freedom for their son, Ming eventually made his way to America with $50 in his
pocket and an American dream in his heart. It is in America where, against all
odds Ming would earn a PhD in laser physics and graduate magna cum laude
with the highest honors from Harvard Medical School and MIT. He embraced his
Christian faith and tackled one of the most important questions of our time – Are
faith and science friends or foes? The contemplation of this question led to his
invention of a breakthrough biotechnology to restore sight.
To date, Dr. Wang has performed over 55,000 eye procedures and has
treated patients from nearly every state in the U.S. and from over 55 countries
worldwide. He is considered the “doctor’s doctor,” as he has operated on over
4,000 physicians. Dr. Wang has published 8 textbooks, holds several U.S.
patents and performed the world’s first laser artificial cornea implantation. He
established a non-profit foundation which provides sight restoration surgeries
for indigent patients who otherwise would never have the opportunity to receive
the complimentary procedures.
This is a story of one man’s inspirational journey, of turning fear, poverty,
persecution and prejudice into healing and love for others. It demonstrates how
focus, determination, humility and profound faith can inspire a life that has
beautifully impacted thecountless lives of others.
“Dr. Wa ng is not only a dear friend and the very best eye surgeon, he is also
one of the greatest people I have ever known.” -- Dolly Parton
10 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
HOW TO UNCOVER
WRITTEN BY: RYAN W. HIRSCH
“People who believe they deserve anything more than an opportunity
are ungrateful for what they already have.”
During a recent pre-game speech, a Vanderbilt football
player marched through the locker room, challenging
teammates and coaches to reflect on this message.
“What will you do with your opportunity?” he shouted.
This prompted me to think about all the opportunities
I have been blessed to receive. Did I seize those moments or make
excuses for why I didn’t? In truth, I answered yes to both questions. I
have seized opportunities and squandered them because... [insert any list
of irrelevant excuses].
At times, although opportunities were right in front of me, I believed
I needed more resources to capitalize on them. Sure, I was grateful for
these opportunities (so I thought), but if I had more time, more money,
more connections, more this, more that; then I could really be in position
to make the most of them.
As I reflect on my past, I am confronted with the uncomfortable truth
that I have not always been grateful for my opportunities because they
weren’t packaged and presented to me the way I expected.
There is a concept called locus of control that assesses how we perceive
the factors that contribute to the events that have occurred or are
occurring in our lives.
Those with an external locus of control believe their successes and failures
are determined by external factors such as their family background,
the biases of the decision-makers around them, bad luck, etc. For example,
individuals with this mindset may attribute a promotion or demotion
to their boss’ favoritism or prejudice toward them or others. Even if they
arrived to work late every day, they would attribute a demotion to the
belief that their boss is sexist, racist or simply incapable of recognizing
talent. While all of those things may be true, an external locus of control
may influence these individuals to remain in roles in which they are dissatisfied,
and simply complain about the circumstances that hold them
back in their careers. They become jaded to the possibility that they can
achieve more in life. They become victims of their circumstances and
prisoners to their problems, rather than catalysts for change. They become
ungrateful for the opportunities that are available to them.
Conversely, those with an internal locus of control believe internal
factors determine their outcomes. They believe they are responsible for
both the successes and failures in their lives. For example, individuals
with this mindset would attribute a job promotion or demotion to the
quantity and quality of their performance (or lack there of). In fact, if
these people believed they had earned a promotion, and were denied,
they would not wait until someone decided to promote them, they would
seek out other opportunities for advancement in other departments or
other companies. They might even choose to launch their own businesses.
Earlier in my career, I expected opportunities to be presented in a
positive and simplistic format, so I could easily recognize and capitalize
on them. As I gained more experience, I realized that life-changing opportunities
are often disguised as unpleasant or inconvenient chores, and are,
just as often, inconsistent with my existing plans. At that point, it became
evident I was in need of a change. I needed to shift my locus of control.
The end of a relationship may be an opportunity. The loss of a job may
be an opportunity. A physical or mental disability may be an opportunity.
A failure in any part of your life can be an opportunity to refocus and position
yourself in a way that helps you advance. Have you ever been fired
or passed over for a promotion? Maybe that was an opportunity to start
your own business. Perhaps you needed to remove the distraction of your
job to have the freedom and courage to do something greater.
These moments help create the unique stories that shape and define
our personal brands, work ethic and sources of motivation.
As I reflect on the multitude of opportunities I have before me now,
the words of that Vanderbilt football player echo in my head, “People
who believe they deserve anything more than an opportunity are ungrateful
for what they already have.”
To what extent are you grateful for the opportunities in your life? I
challenge you to honestly assess your locus of control and find the opportunities
embedded within your obstacles. You have the power to use life’s
stumbling blocks as stepping stones and unleash your potential.
12 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
DISPELLING THE ELEVATED
MYTHOS OF MULTITASKING
Is this you?...
WRITTEN BY: KEELAH JACKSON
“The children need to go to soccer and basketball practice... check.
I need to swing by the store and pick up juice and raspberries for a
meeting in the morning... Yikes! I didn’t respond to that email from
my client. I really need to do that, but wait the light is green. Is that
my phone ringing??? Errr, I’ll call her back after I pick up my prescriptions
from the pharmacy. Where’s that list?”
Does this scenario sound familiar? This illustration of
scatter-brained “doing”, unfortunately, for many,
has become the new normal. More tasks to complete
than time to complete them, has become the script
to which most of us now adhere. No longer just
keeping up and keeping on, we’re attempting to mechanize our lives
and “get ahead”. It’s like we’re robots programmed for increased
production, and our self-worth and net worth are perilously cuffed
to “getting it done”. What’s our response? Multitasking! But does it
There was a time when there were not as many responsibilities as
there are today. A person had the time, within the 24 hours allotted,
to complete the tasks in front of them, and in many cases, even had
time for themselves. As the pace of life has spiraled into warp speed,
multitasking has become a go-to option for squeezing as much as
can be accomplished into any given time-frame; however, science
reports that this glorified remedy is notnecessarily the super saver
that many think it is.
Multitasking initially afforded an evolutionary advantage, but
as reported by Stanford Psychologist and author, Clifford Nass, it’s
causing the human brain to struggle. The human brain is formed
with its “executive system”, or the frontal lobe that deteriorates over
time; it decreases in volume as a person ages. So as the skilled multitasker
is able to swiftly check items off of his/her to-do list today,
his/her brain mass is deteriorating in a fashion that will make
completing tasks increasingly more difficult tomorrow. Frontal lobe
degeneration only may be slowed with considerate preservation (or
LACK of multitasking). Also, the reality is that the act is not even the
completion of multiple tasks at once; it’s the ability to switch the
limited attention from task to task in a fast manner... like juggling.
Without question, human brains are exceptional, yet they have
flaws. Much like a juggler, occasionally they drop things. In his book,
THE MAN WHO LIED TO HIS LAPTOP, Mr. Nass also shares that
multitasking actually kills concentration and creativity. It is a mortal
foe to productivity as well! The social science presented within his
studies shows that chronic multitaskers are terrible at cognitive tasks
such as learning and retaining (AKA remembering) information, discernment
of situations, and the application of “common sense”. In
reflection, the next time you accuse the younger generation of having
abbreviated attention spans and poor judgment, consider the fact
that their behaviors may be attributed to overexposure to multitasking,
and then ask yourself where they might have learned that “talent”?
Let’s do better. Better organization, better time-management,
and an improved sense of prioritization are all great places to start.
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 13
NEWS & OPINION
DR. MING WANG, MD, PHD
Post-election America and Our Country’s Future
This election season is coming to an end. It has been one of
the most contentious elections in recent U.S. history, characterized
by an unprecedented number of negative ads and
personal attacks. Now our nation needs to heal and move
forward, beyond the candidates themselves, and refocus our
attention on the issues that are important for our country. It may have been a
messy election, but it presented a valuable opportunity for many Americans to
express views that they had not fully expressed previously. I believe America
now has a great opportunity to turn the negative attitude of this election into
a positive one. We can do this by examining, discussing and debating all the
issues exposed and all the viewpoints expressed in this election. This will help
us know where we stand and how we feel.
Two things happened in this election that surprised most of us - the unexpected
popularity of Donald Trump and similarly, that of Bernie Sanders as
well. Even though they represented two opposite ends of the political spectrum,
they nonetheless shared one thing in common - neither of them was
expected to do as well as they did. Why did we believe they wouldn’t succeed?
The answer is that most of us thought their viewpoints would not be
popular. So why did they end up becoming so widely supported? It is because
large sectors of our society do, in fact, share their viewpoints.
Donald Trump wants to return our country to the America of the ‘50s
and ‘60s, when our border was secure and our country was the undisputed,
dominant power internationally, and there was much less cultural, racial and
ethnic diversity domestically. Many people who voted for Trump are nostalgic
about that period of time in our nation’s history. They are fed-up with the
current system of government and believe that it is rigged against the middle
class. As debt soars, healthcare diminishes, incomes stay stagnant and jobs
leave the U.S. Trump’s popularity shows that many of us, indeed, do not like
the changes that have taken place in our country and in the world in the last
several decades. But can the clock be turned back? If it cannot, how can we
adjust to the changes? How can we help America maintain its leadership in a
world that has seen the rise of emerging economies and a shift in the center
of gravity away from the U.S.? Domestically, like it or not, America is no
longer the country that she was in the ‘50s and ‘60s. We are now much more
diverse, with Hispanic Americans, African Americans and Asian Americans
accounting for 20%, 18% and 6% of our population, respectively. In the next
10-15 years, these three groups are projected to become the majority. So how
can we harness strength from our increasing diversity and move our country
Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, wants to move our nation towards socialism.
He has gained strong support, especially from the younger generation
who have not experienced the disasters of communism in the last century.
Bernie provides a voice to a generation that feels the government should do
more for those of us who are less fortunate by imposing greater sacrifices for
the wealthy. They feel that America, as a society today, no longer cares for the
down-trodden and unfortunate. But how can we as a nation strike the proper
balance between the emphasis of individual responsibility and the societal
duty to help the poor? How can we maintain strong social programs to help
those who are truly in need, while still avoiding complacency, a sense of
entitlement and a lack of motivation? How can we rekindle the hard-working
spirit characterized by our forefathers who laid the foundation of this great
country? Let’s reignite curiosity and drive, especially in our youth, who often
lack motivation because they are now living in a country with so much material
Let’s look beyond the candidates and political parties! Let’s begin these
positive and productive discussions of the important issues that were exposed
during this election season. Let’s start listening because better listening leads to
better understanding, and better understanding leads to better solutions. We
want to find solutions that will make our country stronger by embracing our
diversity and improving the standard of living for all Americans.
Dr. Ming Wang, MD, PhD is the director of Wang Vision 3D Cataract
& LASIK Center, Nashville, TN, founder of Wang Foundation for Sight Restoration,
co-founder of Tennessee Immigrant and Minority Business Group,
president of Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce and honorary president
of Tennessee American-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. He can be
reached at email@example.com
14 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 15
THE CLIMATE CHANGE THREAT
WRITTEN BY: THOMAS SHEFFIELD
Climate change is real and many are still denying it or
refuse to consider the evidence. Business is always at
the forefront of social and economic change. We do
not have to look too far into history to see this fact. The
Montgomery Bus boycott in the late 1950’s and the lunch
counter sit ins of the 1960’s show how the business community are aware
of the changing conditions of the world. They are now at the forefront of
the climate change issue. So much so, the business community is seeing
how to profit from the realm of sustainability. Companies are always
looking for a sustainable competitive advantage. If they don’t, they won’t
be in business for long. Business leaders are now employing sustainability
consultants and creating sustainability departments in order to cut waste
and mitigate risks. They are now aware of the issue of climate change and
looking for opportunities to be at the forefront to combat this issue.
The one constant for the planet earth is change. We are often faced
with challenges dealing with the changes in weather patterns, winds,
temperatures, seasons, currents and tides. As the earth moves throughout
space, orbits the sun and turns on its axis, conditions continue to change.
The earth’s climate has always changed as well. In the last 650,000 years,
there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat. The last ice age
ended about 7,000 years ago. So, yes, climate change is real and not just
a figment of the imagination derived from scientist and political leaders.
According to nasa.gov, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate
warming trends over the past 100 years are very likely due to human
Yes the earth’s climate does change. However, we should not
contribute to the acceleration or deceleration of the change. Let’s look at
some evidence. Records show the earth has warmed overall since 1880.
Most of the warming has occurred since 1981 with 10 of the warmest
years occurring in the past 12 years. The global sea level rose about 6.7
inches in the last century. The rate in the last decade is nearly double
that. Data from NASA show Antarctica lost about 36 cubic miles of ice
between 2002 and 2005. The U.S. has witnessed increasing numbers of
intense rainfall events. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution,
the acidity of the surface ocean waters has increased by 30 percent.
The effects of global warming should be clear. There have been
stronger storms in many areas of the country. The northeastern parts of
the country just had record setting snowfalls. Storms in cities like Buffalo
and Boston have caused damage to property and have cost cities major
parts of their budget to clean. Droughts are deeper and longer and have
caused the state of California to ration water and require some creative
ways to clean and reuse water. Wildfires are larger and more wide spread
and more severe which affectwildlife, homes and businesses. Floods in big
cities like Houston are happening more often. These disasters continue to
cost more and take longer to recover from. The recovery is taking even
longer for the old, young, and people of color. Ten years after Hurricane
Katrina, New Orleans has yet to fully recover.
Helping to combat climate change seems like a huge task. However,
there are ways you can make a difference. It all is up to us to make better
decisions. First, we should encourage our churches and schools to teach
good environmental stewardship. Secondly, we can choose to support and
make purchases from businesses that are environmentally friendly. If we
put pressure on the business community to become better stewards of
the environment, change will happen faster. Next, we can encourage our
friends and families to buy local products. Buying local is sustainable and
helps to cut the carbon footprint. Transportation accounts for 26 percent
of greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, we can choose to elect political
leaders who acknowledge we have an effect on climate change. Exercising
our right to vote is sustainable. Sustainability is based on the idea to create
and maintain conditions under which humans and nature can exist in
productive harmony for present and future generations. We must elect
political leaders that are the voice of the people and represent our best
Please feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or you can follow me on Twitter @tcsheff. I have also created a new
facebook pa ge WordsactionChange Initiative. Please share and follow.
16 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 17
18 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
B-Boy in Blue
WRITTEN BY: LACEY JOHNSON
Ariel Carrillo, 23 year-old Latino B-boy and Law
Enforcement Officer in Lebanon, Tenn., has a relevant
message for his community: Regardless of the occupation
you choose, dare to do it authentically.
So often we mentally place ourselves and others into
boxes - experiencing discomfort when those boxes are outgrown. We
carve one another into neatly-defined shapes, offering ourselves a reference
point for the totality of what we can expect from them. But, this mindset
does a disservice to all parties because, the truth is, we do not become the
greatest versions of ourselves until we permit our most beloved passions
to authentically align with our professional responsibilities.
Only then do we unlock the buried treasures within ourselves and
others. Only then do we lay a foundation for authentic connection.
Carrillo is a glowing example of this. In fact, he garnered headlines
earlier this year when a video of him breaking at an organized event -
while suited in uniform - rocketed to viral-status on the Internet.
He perfectly explained his motivation for allowing himself to
be caught in the act: “If I can use my love for hip-hop to positively
influence the people I serve and protect, then I’ll gladly put that on my
Carrillo is relatively new to law enforcement, having stepped into
such career mere months ago. From day one, however, he committed that
he would never resort to dancing in the shadows. He understands there is
no permission slip needed to exist in the light of both worlds. In fact, he
believes they are the same world, and looks forward to the day when the
fictitious lines between them are blurred.
Prior to every shift, Carrillo zips himself into his uniform and prepares
to risk his life for people he will never know. However, as important of
a role as that is, this impassioned B-boy-turned-cop understands he is
not limited to being only one thing. Through the example of his life, a
resounding message can be heard: Neither are you.
Continue reading for an invitation to bring the best of yourself to your
Carrillo’s love for breaking was born when he was a 15 year-old in
the throes of a most discomforting low. Artistic, bright and capable, his
potential was steadily wasting away by time spent on cheap thrills - until
a pivotal moment in a park one afternoon. Carrillo was caught in the
act of illegally tagging a bridge as his seven year-old brother observed
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 19
nearby. Riddled with shame and in need of a lifeboat - Carrillo was aching
to come alive for something which would offer a remedy for his lack of
direction and sense of purpose.
A lifeboat was approaching, indeed - nearly crashing into him as he
rounded his next corner.
“Not long after getting into trouble, a friend of mine told me about
this club in downtown Nashville called Rocketown. I thought little of it at
the time, but agreed to join him.”
Carrillo arrived at the door of the venue having no inclination that his
life was about to take an unexpected turn - one which would serve as a
rescue. Decisions which led to dead-end roads were no longer permitted,
for his next turn would journey him to a newfound world of fulfillment.
“I remember arriving at the door of the venue and hearing old school
hip-hop music playing. I could feel it vibrating under my feet as I was
standing on the concrete outside of the venue. As I made my way down
the stairs to the underground club, the music was pulling me to it like a
The hair on his neck stood at attention and saluted as his arms were
overtaken with goosebumps. As Carrillo observed the B-boys spinning on
their heads and dancing, he became entranced. That moment marked a
new era of his life; one commanding that he divorce the poor decisions of
his past and move into a realm of discovery and possibility.
“My life was never the same after that night because, from that point
on, breaking was all I wanted to do. It saved my life because, even though
I had great parents, I didn’t have anything positive to passionately direct
my energy toward. B-boying gave me a training mindset.”
I asked Carrillo what he would say if he were presented with the
opportunity to stretch backward in time - to rewind to the days leading
up to that night, look himself in the eye and speak truth and wisdom into
his15 year-old naiveté. Or, perhaps, what would he say to a 15 year-old
of today’s generation - one similarly aligned with his former attitude and
He announced without hesitation, as though he had wrestled through
the same question thousands of times: “Being known for drugs and
violence is not a reputation you want. Instead, channel your energy into
finding what makes you come alive, and then pursue it passionately.
Stop investing your energy into rebelling against the system and, instead,
consider being the change you want to see.”
Carrillo loomed over this topic for a moment, as if to express that
he was not yet ready to depart from it. After a thoughtful pause, he
added, “I want my actions to convey that the false sense of belonging and
brotherhood created while existing in a culture of crime actually offers
them no benefit at all. I’ve been on both sides, and I know the truth. I
want kids to know that they can do anything they choose - anything they
love - regardless of their background and history.”
Carrillo is aware that, due to the immense number of misconceptions
about B-boying, observers may not understand how its lifestyle saved him
from sinking into further realms of trouble and, eventually, leading him
to join law enforcement. He is eager to debunk every misconception,
“Breaking is a part of hip-hop culture, which is grossly misrepresented
by popular media outlets in general. Hip-hop actually originated in the
early 1970s by gang members who wanted to leave the gangs and channel
their energy toward something better. Even the term itself originated
from combining the words ‘knowledge’ and ‘movement’ together. It was
a positive movement created by people who were not from a positive
What people don’t know is that true hip-hop is not like what you see
in the movies and rap videos. It does not promote a culture of crime and
20 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
violence. Rather, it was started to ‘move’ people from a negative mentality
to a positive mentality.”
Considering his zoomed-lense perspective of the contrasting sides
of law enforcement, I expressed that the natural progression of our
conversation had led us to discussing the most common and stubbornly
held misconceptions in regard to police officers.
Carrillo chimed in with vigor, responding, “That we are ticket writers,
money-driven and corrupt - just to name a few. But, I think we should
all ask ourselves: Should we generalize and package an entire profession
based on a comparably small fraction of bad examples in it?
It is common knowledge that cops do not make great money so, why
then, do they become cops? The truth is that most cops do so because they
truly care. We truly desire to have a positive impact on our communities.”
When Carrillo was a teen, his aversion to cops was as staunch as his
pride for being one would become. To say he disliked law enforcement
was an understatement. But, as he entered his twenties, he shed such
mindset and began to see the prodigious opportunities it presented to
him. He now wears his uniform with an unwavering sense of honor and
pride for his profession.
“A couple of years ago, I began to see law enforcement as an outlet
for making a positive difference within my community. I have the
perspective of getting into trouble and then later coming to understand
how detrimental it was to myself and others.”
Carrillo’s future plans for continuing to marry his two passions are a
long and winding list.
I WILL CONTINUE GROWING
WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT AS WELL
AS B-BOYING FOR AS LONG AS I’M
PHYSICALLY ABLE. THIS FALL, A COUPLE
OF OTHER OFFICERS AND I WILL BE
VISITING LOCAL SCHOOLS. MY ROLE
WILL BE TO PERFORM FOR THE KIDS. I
DEFINITELY PLAN ON MANY OF THOSE
TYPES OF ENGAGEMENTS.
“I will continue growing with law enforcement as well as B-boying
for as long as I’m physically able. This fall, a couple of other officers and
I will be visiting local schools. My role will be to perform for the kids. I
definitely plan on many of those types of engagements.”
With so much evidence in the media of law enforcement officers
and members of communities being at odds, Carrillo offers a refreshing
testimony that, although such instances are tragic and must be brought
to light, there is also tremendous evidence to the contrary. It is clear that
Carrillo wants to shatter the polarized perspective often held, and assist
individuals in understanding that the law enforcement community is not
He explains, “Although entertaining people is not a part of my job,
I feel that police officers often have to go the extra mile to show the
community that we are one of them - that we care about them. I’m hoping
to convey that message by doing what I love most.”
As mentioned previously, his attempts have already earned him
a memorable achievement by way of an Internet-viral video - a video
documenting his effortless knack for delighting onlookers with his
bravery, fun-loving spirit and talent.
As our conversation drew nearer to its conclusion, Carrillo openly
contemplated the impact of the aforementioned experience. He likely had
no idea, however, that his thoughts would linger in my mind for days -
later gifting me with a glimmer of comfort and hope as I tearfully poured
over media coverage of a candlelight vigil held in honor of Tyre King - the
Ohio 13-year-old who was fatally shot by police officers mere days prior
to the time of this writing.
“Hopefully people will begin to understand that just because pleasant
interactions between cops and communities are not often documented on
camera doesn’t mean they don’t happen every day. I hope my example
will serve as proof of this and play a role in creating further genuine
connection between community and law enforcement.”
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 21
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A STROLL THROUGH THE MIND OF ARTIST,
ENTREPRENEUR & INTERNET SENSATION GREG MANKIS
WRITTEN BY: LACEY JOHNSON
No human endeavor is without evidence of creativity.
Whether a business concept, a marketing strategy, a
musical composition or a screenplay, the lure to create
is as primitive to humans as are our inclinations to
inhale and exhale.
But, if we forge only from the well of ourselves, we never contribute
to the human progression. Rather, we will only recycle, reclip and
redesign the puzzle pieces already existing within us. So, instead, we
must surrender to the possibility that we - the commissioned creators
inhabiting this earth - are instruments. We are the vessels by which the
wonders of life flow through.
Greg Mankis - Internet-viral artist and widely sought after ‘Artepreneur’
based in Cleveland, Ohio, is convinced of this. In fact, he has recently
published a body of work - available for purchase as either an e-book or
coffee table book - delivering captivating evidence of adhering to such
Nearly 20 years after completing his first piece of art at 23 years
old, Mankis reflects fondly on the experience: “From the first line, I
immediately knew that the curvature and direction of it came from
something beyond me - similar to how an athlete gets into a ‘zone’ where
everything flows perfectly.”
Eleven years would pass before he would grasp the magnitude of
tapping into such artistic ‘zone,’ however.
AN ENCOUNTER OF A DIVINE NATURE
The year was 2007. On a day most ordinary, Mankis was taken hostage
by an encounter of a divine nature - forever altering his perspective as an
On this day, he was approached by Laura, a friend of a friend. Laura’s
son Ian, a bright and kind-spirited teen, had recently committed suicide
after an exhaustive struggle of trying to keep his head above the dark
waters of emotional and mental distress.
Laura was grieving and, thus, sought comfort in Mankis’ artistic
services. “She initially showed me a hundred pictures of Ian, but I didn’t
feel a pull to any of them,” said Mankis.
Until the hands of fate revealed their almighty agenda.
Among Laura’s stash was a handwritten card Ian had given to his
mother on her birthday. For Mankis, the card began to take on a life of
“Without me consciously trying, that card was glowing at me - yelling
my name. Suddenly, the handwritten letters in his card began rearranging
themselves in my head. They changed from ‘Happy Birthday Mom, Ian’
to ‘I’m Happy Now Mom, Ian.’ There was absolutely nothing I could do
to stop it.”
Mankis retreated home that evening, unable to rest until he fulfilled
the task he was sure he had been assigned. He projected Ian’s words onto
his canvas and proceeded to deliver - in the boy’s own handwriting - the
message he had been shown. The finished product was something even
he - its creator - gazed in awe of.
Not only did Laura now have a beautiful painting of her son, but she
had been given an even more beautiful sentiment, perhaps from beyond.
And, for free.
Rather than gloat in his own generosity and greatness, Mankis felt
he owed her for giving him this once-in-a-lifetime experience. “I’m the
lucky one here. I’m so blessed to be in this position of using my gift to do
nice things for people.”
This event marked a new era in Mankis’ life. “That is when the lightbulb
went off for me. I knew there was something to this - this tapping into
inspiration, creating art from it and giving it away to people.”
WHAT IF THE PURSUIT OF INSPIRATION IS NO PURSUIT AT ALL?
In the years that followed, the artist learned that his best work flowed
from him only when he allowed each painting “to reveal itself.”
In our hour-long discussion, Mankis and I exchanged stories about
exploring the wonders and vagaries of creativity through our individual
Like Mankis, I am well-acquainted with the difference between
straining to create a piece of work versus gliding along weightlessly in the
arms of something far more fruitful, magical and powerful than I am. I’ve
come to wonder if there isn’t so much ‘talent’ as there is the reality that
some of us are more finely-tuned and willing ‘receptors.’
What if life is a dance of creativity, and humans are never meant to
take the lead? Perhaps we most thrive when we quiet the chatter of our
own ideas - when we put ourselves into a state of receiving so that we can
hear when Inspiration asks, Would you like to dance?
Upon presenting my thoughts to Mankis, he responded by articulating
most eloquently, “The best part of the work is the blank canvas - when
I sit and wait for the ‘zone.’ And, when that miracle comes, I often look
at my finished work as though I’m seeing it for the first time - the way a
And, his art has proven to teach him valuable lessons about living a
richer life in general.
“Through my art, I’ve learned that the key to a successful life is not
about working oneself to death; It’s working inspired. It’s about pausing
and listening. This is when life-changing inspiration comes.”
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 23
THE REWARDS OF LISTENING TO INSPIRATION WILL COME, BUT NOT
NECESSARILY ACCORDING TO YOUR WATCH; TRUST THE PROCESS
When music icon Prince died in April 2016, fans immersed themselves
in celebration of his life. Mankis, although never an impassioned fan, felt
inspired to participate by putting paint to canvas.
“I had watched my friend Ricky Smith, who started the RAKE
movement, perform random acts of kindness for people - anything
from free lunches to hugs. Ricky’s work was very instrumental in my
next move, which was to make a painting of Prince for a fan who would
Once the final stroke was complete, Mankis snapped a picture of the
work and shared it on his Facebook page, captioned with the announcement
that he planned to give it away to a person of his spontaneous choosing.
“Within one day, the post had over 10 million views and I was
receiving tens of thousands of messages. It completely changed my life.”
Prior to this unexpected frenzy of exposure, Mankis had approximately
1,000 Facebook followers. But, at the time of this writing, he has an
impressive 37,000. “It was funny because, not only did that experience
invite interest in the Prince painting; I was suddenly receiving recognition
for work that had gone unnoticed for years.”
But, the artist soon learned that things were only beginning to get
Following the Prince whirlwind, Mankis launched a dog project. He
painted a dog, then posted an image of such painting, along with an
invitation for Facebook users to pitch their dog for him to paint.
“I received about 10,000 emails of some of the most beautiful
dogs imaginable,” said Mankis. “But, I was waiting for ‘the one’ which
would call to me. I shuffled through many messages, but wasn’t getting
Until, lo and behold, a message from Kelley landed in his inbox.
“When Kelley reached out, she only told me that her dog, Charlie,
had passed away recently, and that her son, Evan - a boy of elementary
school age, had considered the dog his best friend. I immediately knew
this project was the one I had been waiting for.”
When Mankis reached out to Kelley, informing her that she had been
chosen, he was gifted with a backstory which put even the most arresting
Hollywood storylines to shame.
“Charlie was a dog that Kelley and her husband rescued after struggling
with infertility for years. Almost immediately after rescuing Charlie, the
dog wouldn’t leave Kelley’s stomach area.”
The couple was astonished to learn that, after years of unsuccessful
attempts, Kelley was pregnant. But, this story took an even more poignant
“After Evan was born, she and her husband realized he had minor
developmental problems which affected his social interactions. Charlie
was a godsend because their bond was so primal and unique. I could
actually feel it through the images of them together.”
With the emotional impact from the experience still evident in his
voice, Mankis shared with me what happened next: “I mailed the painting
to Kelley, and soon realized how life-changing it was for her family. She
responded with a picture Evan had drawn for me, along with a tearjerking
Playing a role in the story of Evan and Charlie has gone down in
history as one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling experiences of Mankis’
artistic life. But, again, his perspective is even more awe-inspiring than his
talent is extraordinary.
“Again, I’m the lucky one here. I don’t care what your race, religion,
beliefs or dreams are. There is nothing more rewarding than using your
gifts to spread kindness.”
WHEN WE LIGHT THE WAY FOR OTHERS, WE ARE ILLUMINATED
BY IT, TOO
As our interview began to conclude, I asked what was next for this
generous and talented human being.
“I’ve just released my e-book and hardcover coffee table photo book,
which are the same in terms of content. I see this as being a powerful tool
for years to come.”
The books contain Mankis’ most compelling stories, various methods
he uses to channel creativity as weIl as the sources of inspiration which
have most impacted his artistry.
“All of the proceeds will go directly to my mission, which is to
continue listening to inspiration so that I can use my gift for the purpose
of blessing others.”
To learn more about Mankis’ noble mission, go to:
24 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 25
WRITTEN BY: LACEY JOHNSON
Beverly Carmichael is responsible for leading more than 72,000
employees across the country every time her shadow darkens the
door of her office located on the 98-acre campus headquarters
of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. in Lebanon, Tenn. As
Chief People Officer and Senior Vice President of the organization
since 2014, her career is comprised of 25 successful years serving as a leader
in human resources and as a labor and employment attorney.
During our hour-long discussion, it became transparently clear
that, while Carmichael’s credentials may be extensive and scholastically
impressive, she has mastered the art of something quite simple, yet
oftentimes elusive and unpredictable: Effectively connecting with people.
As she spoke with fondness for her experiences, she organically brought
forth tokens of wisdom from the vault of her career. I identified three
fundamental principles - each crafted from the well of her most compelling
trials and victories - and now thread through the fabric of her every undertaking.
1 Be Authentic
If she is preaching the importance of it, she is well-acquainted with the
value of it. In fact, she is already adhering to it.
“The most essential trait in leadership is being authentic,” said
Carmichael. “You must lead by example if you wish to be effective. You’re
not judged by what you say, you’re judged by what you do.”
2 Never Be Too Busy to Make Time For People.
Carmichael has spent the vast majority of her life rooted in an intimate
understanding of this concept. When she was seven years old, her mother
died of a sudden illness - leaving behind a grieving husband and three small
children. In the aftermath of such tragedy, she became schooled on the
importance of people “showing up” for other people as demonstrated by
the outpouring of support she and her family were shown.
26 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
“A People Person”
Having tucked such experience securely inside, Carmichael now draws
upon it each time a fellow employee needs her. “One of the greatest gifts
we can give to others is the gift of our time. By either doing so or not doing
so, we communicate their value.”
3 Empower People by Expanding
Their View of Themselves.
Prior to joining Cracker Barrel, she spent ten years employed by
Southwest Airlines - the first six serving as legal counsel. It was not until her
boss mentioned the possibility of Carmichael as a possible successor to lead
the human resources department at Southwest that she began feeding and
watering such idea. A seed was planted during that conversation and, when
the ideal opportunity presented itself, she boldly stepped into that role in a
YOU’RE NOT JUDGED BY WHAT
YOU SAY, YOU’RE JUDGED BY WHAT
new profession, a profession in which she continues to flourish.
She is now paying it forward - committed to expanding the vision of
every individual who looks to her for guidance.
“I never would have considered a career in human resources had the
idea not been presented to me. I pride myself on helping others consider
opportunities they would not have considered on their own - by showing
them strengths they are unable to identify in themselves. In doing so, new
doors open and lives can be forever changed.”
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 27
At Cracker Barrel Old Country Store ® , we think a key to our success
is welcoming diversity in our company, our country stores,
our restaurants, and our communities.
crackerbarrel.com • ©
2012 CBOCS Properties, Inc.
Old School vs. New School
WRITTEN BY: KEELAH JACKSON
Get out there. Put yourself out there. Go on, and just jump out
there... and network. You know you’ve heard this advice
before, and if you have been in any sort of professional
or group based position, (secretly admit) you fully realize
the significance of networking. The blatant truth is that in
order to expand your circle and knowledge base... you have to do it.
If you haven’t actively or consciously networked in awhile, you may
be used to the traditional means of mixing it up at (hence the word)
“mixers” or “get-together” functions, conventions, or other forms of
networking where a person meets others and discusses information face-toface.
This conventional format of meeting others has now been seemingly
steamrolled and ostensibly diminished by the onset and domination of
the technological/digital platform of social media websites and forums.
Personal profile pages, video chat services, email, interactive webinars, and
telephone availability are all now a touchscreen tap away from the diligent
and avid networker--which is amazingly magical for some, yet terrifyingly
overwhelming to others. The battle between these two techniques has
become the professional conundrum of the day. Is the old school mode of
networking outdated, or is the new school option the only way to go from
here? Let’s visit the pros and cons of networking, compare traditional means
to newer options, and see which method packs the strongest punch overall!
Contenders, to your corners, and let the battle begin!
• The personal connection of actually meeting someone is significant in
helping the brain to retain a name and remember the relevance of a contact.
Scientific research commissioned by Cornell University and the sales and
business institute Maritz found that “stimuli from face-to-face meetings
creates novelty which helps the memory form a stronger connection for
retention.” Author of the research study’s analysis, Mary Beth McEuen,
further contests that personal connection produces a “level of engagement
needed to unlock the potential within [people].”
• Face-to-face encounters help to nurture and improve universal social
skills which are inevitably needed once a connection has been established.
• Chemistry is real. Deals, partnerships, mentorships, and even longterm
business friendships have all been formed over whether or not
people have hit it off (or not). Never underestimate the power of scientific
attraction and compatibility!
• Trust may be built over a conversation. Intuition plays a major role
in meeting and endorsing a contact. People tend to refer others to people
whom they trust or have met in some sort of personal capacity.
• Old school networking may actually produce faster results than
waiting on forging an online connection. Face-to-face interaction does not
have to contend with buffering, wait time, acceptance of contact request,
or delayed feedback.
• Free food.
• Preparing for face-to-face functions can sometimes be time consuming...
Adequate scheduling to accommodate the time spent is a must, and it is one
more thing to accomplish on the to-do list.
• Unfortunately, professional image is everything; attire, hygiene,
disposition--overall appearance--should be high priorities when networking
at a function. The best foot better arrive first, or the other one will be
• The face-to-face process of meeting others may sometimes be limited
in scope and potential diversity if you have not taken the initiative to
research and invite new contacts beforehand. Certain fields and areas of
expertise are small and close-knit, so contact overlap is likely to happen.
• There is an art to meeting others. The great thing is that the art may be
taught and learned; the not-so-good thing is that one has to be willing to
practice in order to hone the skill.
• This format is a solid support player. It is a fantastic tool to use in
conjunction with face-to-face networking as a follow-up supplement.
Reinforcement of the connection is how loyalty is established.
• Although social networking can sometimes be a prevalent and everlooming
force, it is an excellent platform for introverts!
• Technology and its advancements have made networking more
convenient and accessible to the masses despite time and location.
• There is a greater access to a larger range of initial connections. Internet
searches allow most contact information to be located, and persistence can
frequently ensure that the connection is eventually established.
• The personal element of networking is lost in translation. While video
communications are becoming more common and most social media
platforms now offer some capacity for video, they are void of the intimacy
that comes from face-to-face interaction. Likewise, typed words lack the
tone, emotion, and physical posturing within their delivery; networking is
not the time to have an initial impression misconstrued.
• Social networking forums constantly foster competition instead of
compatibility and conduct with “followers”, “friends”, and “likes”. There’s
already plenty of demand to perform in the actual work arena, and social
networking formats may add a layer of unwanted additional pressure to
30 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
keep up with or exceed their peers’ contact counts across multiple platforms.
• There is a lack of privacy to being available to the open public at any
time or place via constant connection to social forums and the influx of
The referee weighs in... old school networking wins! Virtual reality
is just that--virtual--and nothing beats the real thing. Networking expert,
Sunny Bray, is a “Connector” well-versed in the practice of effectively
connecting individuals. As the Nashville Director for Network Under 40,
Ms. Bray manages a wide variety of networking components everyday,
and she admits that there are several pitfalls to solely relying upon new
school methods of networking. The old school capacity of face-to-face
networking is tried and true, and Ms. Bray attests to the fact that “It’s
essential in everyone’s life.” According to Ms. Bray, the strength of the initial
personal connection is vital in building relationships, which ironically, are
paramount for professional survival. It’s important to fortify your network
by surrounding yourself with strong individuals. However, if old school
networking is not your preference, there are a couple of practices that Ms.
Bray suggests incorporating into your bag of face-to-face tricks. Use the
buddy system to overcome nervousness during functions; take a friend or
colleague to introduce to others. Introductions break the ice and are surefire
ways of sparking conversation. Another practice is to make others feel
comfortable as you attempt to comfort yourself. Kindness goes a long way,
so engage others as you hope and wish others to engage you. The gloves are
off, and ultimately, our referee definitively asserts that people shortchange
themselves if they fail to integrate authentic, face-to-face networking.
In step with the “work smarter, not harder” movement, allow your skills
of networking to work for you. At the end of the day, there really should be
no conflict of methods—in fact, it’s adv antageous to employ some mix of
BOTH schools of thought. It’s up to you to successfully grow your resources,
and you are your best asset. So, mix; go forth, and mingle... and stow a
breath mint in your pocket just in case you need it! Okay... You’ve got this!
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 31
RELIGION & OPINION
BISHOP JERRY L. MAYNARD SR.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GREAT AMERICA OF OUR FOREFATHERS?
WRITTEN BY: BISHOP JERRY L. MAYNARD SR.
This question is one of utmost interest to me; in that it
focuses on where we were, where we are, and where
we will be ultimately. The Unites States of America is
confronted with trying times. Most of our trials come
from the political climate wherein we see ourselves
today. Our greatness as a nation has not paled. We are strong in
economics, military, education, refinement, engineering science,
religious, commercial enterprise and industry. It has been stated by one
of the individuals running for president, “Let us make America great
again.” That thought presupposes that we are weak. Truth is, when we
see the economy of other so called great nations, the position is not as
great as ours. So the question arises, what happened to the great America
of our forefathers? I submit again that those who have made politics
their lifestyle and their method by which they achieve their goals, have
walked away from our core values, core beliefs, and core competencies.
The things that made us great are yet with us. The things that make
us weak are creeping into our mindset. We have a black president
who was elected by our diverse population. Unfortunately, we have a
congress, predominately white, that refuses to respect and/or work with
him. Bigotry, racism, gender discrimination, and economic deprivation
have forced people to align themselves with those who have little or
no regard for the truth that will free us and empower our nation to
maintain its place in our world. We must return to the ways of the Holy
Writ. We must honor and respect our Constitution. We must adhere to
the laws of our land and make sure that every segment of our society
obeys and is willing to enforce the laws that we have.
People are better today than they were eight years ago, yet there is
tension in America. There is some sense of uncertainty and there is a
lack of community. Where we are now is not a great deal different than
where we were when Governor Otto Kerner (Illinois) wrote about a
country of two societies moving further apart; racial isolation in public
schools and the disparate treatment of some of our citizens. Throughout
the sixties to the present, we rise in stature and we still rise, but we have
these problems that we are unwilling to address and solve. We hide our
heads in the sand and pretend that problems don’t exist; they do. The
obvious question, then, is why? I believe that we have replaced God and
the love for him with our social and sexual desires. We have become
a nation that our worship on Sunday is in a stadium, arenas or field
houses, while we watch our favorite sports.
I love sports, and enjoy going to games. I don’t believe that our love
for anything should ever replace and /or diminish our love for God.
There is a scripture in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that informs us how to affect
positive change. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall
humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their
wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land.”
America, we are great, but we can become greater. Our forefathers
started it. Let us not end it; rather let us make it better for all people.
With God in us and with our love for Him and His principles, we can
go forward spiritually in a placement in this world never reached before.
Where is the great America we ask? It is in our Constitution; our
laws; our industry; education; business; healthcare; arts; culture; etc.
We need to invite the Lord into all facets of our nation; especially our
churches. Let Him reign in our hearts, our churches, and in the areas of
the aforementioned, and we will remain the America, the land of the
free and the home of the brave.
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Shan Foster is
Stopping the Violence
Before It Starts.
WRITTEN BY: BRANDON HIRSCH
“Statistically across our country, 1 of every 4 women experience
domestic violence in their lifetime, and 1 of every 5 experience sexual
assault or rape before the age of 18. Three women die daily at the hands of
a man who says he loves her and 15.5 million children witness domestic
violence in the United States.” www.mendusa.org.
From the Vanderbilt rape trials and the recent convictions of
ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner and ex-NFL player Darren
Sharperto the controversy surrounding Nate Parker, the
writer, director, and star of the 2016 Sundance Grand Jury
Prize and Audience Award winner, The Birth of a Nation, the
list of incidents involving or related to sexual assault goes on and on.
Through it all, it has become glaringly apparent that society as a whole has
neglected to address something very important: our relationship to and
our treatment of women.
With that being said, one man is taking the initiative and making it his
business to challenge us all to do better.
Shan Foster, a former professional basketball player,2008 SEC Player
of the Year, and all-time leading scorer at Vanderbilt University, chose to
leave his playing days behind in search of “purpose”, and found it in the
spring of 2015. When he became the director of Mend, an organization
whose name is a combination of the words “men” and “end”, the
proverbial stars had aligned. With their objective being to combat the
increasingly widespread epidemic of violence against women and girls
by engaging and empowering their counterparts, young men and boys,
to actively be a part of the solution. For Shan, this was a mission close to
Shan was raised by both his grandmotherand hismother, a single
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 35
woman, who for a period of time, went to school while working two jobs
to sustain him and his siblings. He watched his mom persevere, sacrifice,
and even deal with abuse in her own life. Whether it was a life lesson or
learning how to shoot hoops, a woman was there. From an early age, he
has held women in the highest regard.
“We were not wealthy. We didn’t have a lot, but I had an opportunity
to see my mother struggle, and I had the opportunity to share in that
struggle, to help in that struggle and to grow up in that struggle.”
Shan’s personal mission to increase awareness and accountability
begins with challenging the cultural norms perpetuated in our society as
well as the sometimes mixed, and often blatantly, misogynistic influences
that permeate the media and popular culture. He suggests that part of
the problem is that we live in a society where this type of violence takes
place, and most people stay quiet about it. They continue to support the
artists, buy the music, books, and art of those who perpetrate violence or
participate in the wide range of behaviors that constitute abuse towards
women; our culture supports it. Adamant about changing our thinking
in these regards, Shan challenges us to ask ourselves why pornographic
content and in some cases suggestive or misogynistic videos may get over
a million views on YouTube, but a conversation about ending violence
and engaging men to teach our boys and sons differently is an inherently
“We believe violence against girls cannot end unless men become a
part of the solution.“
Whether it’s accusations of failure to investigate rape allegations
at Baylor University(www.espn.com), or the case of the University of
Tennessee (Knoxville) football team accused of assaulting one of their
own teammates for assisting an alleged rape victim in filing a complaint,
Shan is deeply troubled. However, he knows the work he is doing with
Mend will ultimately save lives.
Mend has regular programming for young men of middle school and
high school ages. They also recognize a specific need for engaging athletes
of the same age, as all too often, locker room culture can be a dangerous
breeding ground for cavalier attitudes towards women and could easily
result in violence over time. However, with that, they know that if they
can reach these impressionable young men at an early age, they can
effectively educate them on their roles and responsibilities, producing a
positive impact, and in effect, lead the charge for change.
In this way, Shan utilizes his skill and influence as a successful athlete
to make a difference in the community, and extends the message of Mend
to the young athletes he trains and coaches by constantly encouraging
them to be successful both personally and professionally.
“One thing I always share with my kids is that a very small percentage
of them have a chance of being professional athletes, but 100% of them
have a chance to be good men.”
As communities and companies become more aware of the gender
inequalities existing in both private and professional settings, the call for
a fundamental cultural shift is increasingly necessary. Whether it’s the
enforcement of employee conduct codes, such as sexual harassment, or
addressing wage disparities as they apply to gender, it’s important the next
generation of male leaders be equipped with the sensitivity and courage to
create a more just and equitable society alongside their female counterparts.
Shan and Mend are radically changing the way boys and men view
domestic violence and sexual assault against girls and women in our
communities. For more information, please visit www.mendusa.org, and
watch the Spoken Cinema.
36 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 37
WRITTEN BY: SHAWN WHITSELL
little girl colors and waits
patiently for her food, while
the heavyset man beside her
fights a losing battle with
the sandman. He wakes up,
mumbles something to her, she nods and
within seconds, he drifts back into his slumber.
This happens over and over again, like a ritual.
Another man wipes sweat from his brow as
he devours what looks to be chicken from the
hotter end of the menu’s spectrum. Then there
are two men (both from Austin, Texas) visiting
Music City for the first time, one on business
and the other for pleasure. These two men don’t
know each other but had both searched some
variation of “best place to eat in Nashville” and
Google lead them to East Nashville – 123 Ewing
Dr. – Prince’s, the Mecca of hot chicken.
Standing in Nashville’s historic Prince’s
Hot Chicken Shack, you can’t help but notice
customers from all walks of life. They are
young, old, black, white, Asian, Hispanic,
neighborhood residents and tourists. Some of
them are first-timers and others stop in multiple
times a week. They’re different but one thing
they have in common is, they are hungry for
some tasty, legendary hot chicken.
The space is small. There are more hungry
customers than seats so some people are
forcedto stand as they wait in anticipation. The
atmosphere is down home and familial. The
floor and tablecloths are checkered. There are
metal chickens placed about the room. The
walls are adorned with a written history of
the monumental establishment – publication
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articles (the New York Times and the Nashville
Scene), certificates (one for “Excellence,”
bestowed upon the restaurant by Trip Advisor)
and other accolades such as a banner from Steve
Harvey’s 2009 Hoodie Awards.
There are two black, flat screen televisions
mounted on the wall. One of them is off and
the other is playing CBS News. A segment on
the dissolution of Brangelina plays but no one
is paying attention. Four gray-haired, black
women sit in a booth, too busy talking, laughing
and licking their fingers to be concerned with
yet another Hollywood divorce. A teenage
girl smiles into her Iphone, likely at a text or a
video message she received on Snapchat from
her bestie. It’s about 5:30 p.m. on a Tuesday
evening and business is booming. Many of the
customers seem to be stopping in after their
shifts at their respective jobs. There’s a woman
who appears to be a CNA, a construction
worker, a Vanderbilt employee and a barber
from a couple of doors down.
A young man in his 20’s, dressed in a white
T-shirt and a tan hat, comes out of the kitchen every
few seconds and calls out the winning numbers.
“Thirty-eight,” he says. “Ticket number
thirty-eight.” It’s like the lotto, only the prize
is world-renowned hot chicken and everyone
with a ticket in hand is a winner.
I originally start my interview with owner
Ms. André Prince Jeffries in the kitchen, sitting
on two black milk crates in front of the ice
machine, watching the magic happen. Above
the ice machine is a collage of what looks to
be old family photos, all covered with a thin
layerof chicken grease that permeates the air.
Before I get to my first question, Ms. André,
a sweet, humble soul who has seen 70 years of
life (almost 40 of which has been spent running
Prince’s), asks about me. I tell her about my small
town Kentucky upbringing and my undergraduate
days as a Music Business-turned-Sociology student
at Middle Tennessee State University.
The sound of chicken frying, busy cooks
bustling about and a cashier taking orders proved
to be too much so we move the conversation
into the customer seating area.
Though quieter, the room is still filled with
the sound of friends laughing and strangers
making small talk as they wait for their numbers
to be called.
“Number 45,” the young man calls out.
Though the family name is Prince, Ms.
André is the queen of hot chicken. Started by her
great-uncle Thorton Prince over 80 years ago to
supplement family income, the restaurant was
originally called the Barbecue Chicken Shack.
It was open from 6 p.m. to midnight, after
Thorton got off from his day job.
As rumor or speculation would have it,
Thorton had a girlfriend who was angry with
him and put hot spices on his chicken to get
back at him for his infidelity. The alleged
intentions of a woman scorned backfired and
proved to be just what the restaurant needed.
Ms. André credits this nameless woman for
helping the restaurant find its niche.
After Thorton’s passing, the business was
passed around in the family for years before
unexpectedly landing in Ms. André’s lap, at her
CONTINUES LEGACY OF HOT CHICKEN
mother’s behest. “She wanted me to able to pay
more than one bill,” she chuckles.
At the time, Ms. André, who holds a degree
in Biology from Tennessee State University,
wasn’t looking to get into the family business,
but she gave it a shot. She changed the name to
Prince’s and kept up the tradition of opening
it at 6 p.m. while still working for Metro
during the day. Maintaining both jobs became
too overbearing, so Ms. André had to make a
decision. Taste buds all over the world are
grateful she chose hot chicken.
When asked about the current hot chicken
craze, Ms. André seems proud of the impact she
and her family’s small business has had locally
and globally. She’s been asked to open stores
in Dubai, Europe, and Italy, “among other
places”. Hot chicken restaurants like Hattie B’s
and others before it have spread like wildfire.
Even restaurant chains like KFC serve their own
brands of hot chicken.
Ms. An dré doesn’t appear to be at all
threatened by the ever-increasing competition
and seems to talk about them all with a sense
of pride and appreciation. She welcomes hot
chicken’s widespread popularity.
The competition doesn’t seem to be
“They might go and try it, but they’re
coming back to the best,” she laughs. “We are
And she’s not just saying that. According
to Ms. André, there was a study conducted at
Harvard that determined her family was the first
in the country to sell hot chicken.
She also doesn’t seem to be worried about
gentrification, noting that mom-and-pops,
which she refers to as “the foundation of
America,” have always had it harder. Though
she’s fully aware of how big business can
swoop in and steal the life of a mom and pop,
she isn’t concerned about the future of her
establishment. Her objective was always to “pay
at least one bill” and “keep something in the
family,” which she is still successfully doing.
“Number 71,” calls out the young man
from behind the counter.
“I think people like smaller places. It’s
more intimate. When you start franchising,
something is going to be left out of the recipe.
It’s not going to be as passionate as it once was.
It’s not as hands-on,” she says.
When asked how she’s been able to sustain,
she doesn’t take any credit. “Just Jesus,” she says
with a smile, “Just Jesus and not me myself,
because I stand on the shoulders of all those
who have gone before me.”
One thing Ms. André credits herself for
is adding variety to the hot chicken recipe to
appeal to more people. When her uncle was
running the business, the hot chicken only
came one way, which is now known as the
restaurant’s mild flavor. Now she also has Plain,
Medium, Hot, XXHot and XXXHot.
Although she prefers what she likes to calls
her “pothole hot chicken shack,” business
has recently expanded to include a second,
larger location on the corner of Old Hickory
Boulevard and Nolensville Road, which is run
by her godson Mario Hambrick and her first
cook Michael Alexander.
She mentions that people come from all
over the world, including Africa and Europe. A
man who owns a restaurant in California flew
his staff there to eat. Even after 40 years in the
business, these things still amaze her.
“I had no idea I would be in it this long. I
didn’t even cook at home,” she later adds with
a laugh. “I can’t believe I’m still here.”
Ms. André says she’s noticed that more
women tend to eat hot chicken than men, and
pregnant woman who are overdue often use it
to induce labor. She says these babies typically
come the next day, if not within hours.
She says her hot chicken is also used to clear
up sinuses and as an aphrodisiac.
“It affects people in different ways,” she
says before adding, “I’ve got some very faithful
customers. Some of them come everyday.”
Ms. André gets to know many of her regulars
and hears some rather interesting stories. There’s
the man who eats his hot chicken in a tub full
of cold water, the woman who comes by nearly
everyday to get hot chicken for her three dogs
and claims it makes their coats shiny and pretty,
or even the woman who has a car seat exclusively
for her bag of chicken. She even buckles it up.
With such popularity, the future seems bright
for Prince’s and I don’t
think she’s going have to
worry about “trying to
pay at least one bill.”
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 39
THE AMERICAN DREAM
BY: BRANDON HIRSCH
Those of us born in the U.S. often marvel at stories of individuals
who have travelled from far and wide to stake their claim
in the “American Dream”. In many cases, immigrants to
this country have accepted and endured what many natives
would consider unimaginable. From leaving their families
behind to surviving the often-cramped living quarters and eighty-hour
workweeks they endure, immigrants are forced to explore many existential
queries early in their passages. The knowledge and confidence acquired
from surmounting these hardships seemingly equip them with a viewpoint
that benefits them in whatever endeavor they choose to engage.
Abdul Qaiyum, CEO and Co-Owner of Merz Apothecary in Chicago,
Illinois, is a living testament to the opportunity that is America. Born in
India in 1946, Abdul’s family moved to Pakistan when he was a young boy.
He was a good student and after finishing school there, he was permitted
to continue his studies in the U.S. The day he departed was filled with
uncertainty (as were many other days), as he so vividly recalls, “I had never
been away from home. I lived a very sheltered life. I was a protected kid.”
When he boarded the Alitalia airliner headed to his final destination of
Chicago, IL, he admits, it hit him hard and still does to this day. “On the
plane, I’m crying. I’m missing my mom. I could cry right now. I was in
tears. I’m going somewhere, I don’t know where.” Arriving in Chicago, he
was greeted by a place far different than any he had previously encountered.
“I had never seen an escalator. I had never seen tall buildings. I had never
seen revolving doors. I had never seen snow. I had never seen… I just
never felt the cold that I was going to experience.” It was December 1965.
“Life wasn’t that great, it was a trying time.”
Prior to his departure, it had been agreed that his family would provide
three months’ worth of living expenses, and so the proverbial clock was
ticking. Having completed the journey and with school arrangements
made, Abdul shifted his focus to how he would sustain himself at the
end of the agreed upon period. He found a job that allowed him to work
a few hours each week. However, upon arrival, Abdul discovered that
his student status legally prohibited him from working. Unfortunately,
for reasons unknown, one of his peers had reported him as “working”.
He would need a letter from a student advisor to make him eligible to
work. With three months coming to an end, he visited the immigration
office with his letter in hand. They stamped his passport and gave him
ninety days to leave the country unless their stipulations were met.
Ultimately, after acquiring additional documentation (including
a letter from his father in which he committed to covering Abdul’s
expenses for the rest of his education), Abdul was cleared to stay. He
admits knowing his parents couldn’t afford the expenditure at the
time, but he had to get the letter, and he did. The immigration office
determined that he could remain and continue his schooling, but with
work no longer being an option, this period of his life was particularly
demanding. “There were nights when I didn’t eat. I had no food.” He
admits that, at the time, he wasn’t sure how or if he would make it.
Although, upon further reflection, he so wisely summarizes these trials,
“Time flies. I don’t think I would ever change anything.”
Invariably, that first year passed; on the strength of his good grades,
he was now permitted to work, and work he did. Abdul continues, “They
gave me permission to work up to twenty hours a week. Things became
40 | THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM
etter for me.” This was only the beginning. As he was granted more
and more liberty to work, he took full advantage of the opportunity,
working as many as thirty hours a week on weekends while going to
school full time; he oftentimes worked two additional full-time jobs
during the summer as well. “Yes, at times it seemed like it was going to
kill me,” but he goes on, “I persevered.” The struggle gave him strength.
By 1972, Abdul was a certified pharmacist and had come a long
way from his humble beginnings. His hard work had afforded him a
more comfortable lifestyle. He had met and married the love of his life,
Rita, and they were planning to make additions to their family, but
something was missing. Abdul had grown weary and unfulfilled by the
culture of traditional pharmaceuticals, as he stated in a 2013 interview
with SmallFlowerTV, “All you ended up doing was pouring pills from a
big bottle, putting them in a little bottle, and the talk was, when we got
together with other pharmacists was, ‘How many ‘scripts’ can you fill in
a day?’” Again, he was at a crossroads. He wanted out.
ENTER MERZ APOTHECARY
Founded in 1875, Merz Apothecary had earned a tremendous
reputation for servicing the European community on Chicago’s North
Side. It was a charming neighborhood drug store, similar to those still
common across the country at the time, almost all of which have now
been replaced by chain stores or national brands. Ralph Merz, the last
in a line of Merzes to own the store since its inception, had reached
retirement age with no family successors, and he was looking for a
buyer. By now, Abdul had resolved to leave the pharmaceutical industry
behind, so this business was of little interest; however, he reluctantly
agreed to pay Mr. Merz a visit, out of respect to an elder adviser.
He recalls, “It was a majestic sight.”
To his surprise, the apothecary was no ordinary drug store. It was
extremely aromatic with herbs and tinctures lining the walls. In the back,
there were large drums where the herbs would be mixed. While the
store was a legitimate pharmacy where prescriptions were filled, they
also espoused old world remedies, and for Abdul, this was familiar and
refreshing. As he toured the store, he saw many products he recognized
from his childhood in Pakistan (a credit to his brother’s chemistry shop).
He was also intimately familiar with the use of herbs to both soothe and
cure maladies. “I was brought up with my mother giving us herbs.”
While business at the store was steady, Abdul was already making
more money as a conventional pharmacist. On top of that, Mr. Merz
told him that he could expect to lose as much as forty percent of his
business by simply not being German, as many of their customers were
of German descent and still only used the language. By most people’s
logic, Abdul should have dealt himself out. However, as the story goes,
approximately twenty minutes later, he had met with Merz’s accountant,
and agreed to purchase both the business and the building. That was
December, and he would take over the business in January.
Mr. Merz stayed on the following year to train Abdul, and Abdul
would take crash courses in German. By the end of the year, he estimates
that they had done one hundred and fifty percent of what they had done
the previous year. Abdul and Merz Apothecary never looked back.
The flagship store, Merz Apothecary, is an experience in and of itself as
many of the items Abdul describes upon entering that first day can still be
found in the store. Over the years, however, the business has grown from
two employees, to an estimated fifty at last count, and covers a range of
brands and locations including: Merz Apothecary, Merz Downtown at The
Palmer House Hotel, Smallflower.com, and most recently Q Brothers. They
were even one of the first health and beauty merchants during the early
days of Amazon, and their brand now offer a range of products on both
Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime Now. Their influence and service now
reach around the world, but their commitment to personal service, quality
products, and the complete wellbeing of their customers remains the same.
He humbly admits that the business has blossomed far beyond anything
he could have imagined as a boy on that runway in Karachi, or even on
that fateful day in 1972, when he first visited Merz Apothecary. “People
come here, spend so much money and then at the end, they thank me for
being here and allowing them to have a place to shop. I have always told
the boys, you have to work hard, but your intentions have to be good. You
can’t just do it for the sake of money.” To this day, this advice holds true.
WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?
“What keeps a lot of people from taking a leap of faith? Often people
say, ‘I can’t do it.’ They ask, ‘How am I going to pay health insurance?
My job comes with health insurance.’ I always say, ‘My god, it doesn’t
make sense because of the cost of health insurance for most people! Five
hundred dollars a month? Six hundred dollars a month? A thousand
dollars a month? Look at the upside. Look at how much you can make
if you went into business for yourself! The sky is the limit!’ My favorite
saying has been, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’” This is a question
he continues to raise when in personal and business deliberations.
Abdul has achieved what many would consider to be the “American
Dream”. To some, the prosperity of his family and success of his
businesses may appear to be out of reach, but the trials and triumphs
communicated here aren’t merely to exalt Mr. Qaiyum. He simply
provides perspective as to how individuals (with odds so certainly
stacked against them) may use a variety of experiences to catapult
themselves to success (regardless of background or personal history).
It’s arguable that the combined comfort and convenience afforded to
us by being born in this country is as much a hindrance as it is a propellant;
Abdul’s story, the story of the Qaiyum family, and Merz Apothecary, are
all reminders of the opportunity that lies within our borders, and what
one can achieve when their “willing” matches their “able”.
For more information about the rich history of Merz Apothecary and it’s
various brands, please visit www.merzapothecary.com to start your quest.
THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 41
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THECONNECTMAGAZINE.COM | 43
WRITTEN BY: VIVIAUNA BROWN
turkey sandwiches—I’ll never forget it!” After sitting down, her friend
got a call. Her friend received a call from her engineer then-boyfriend
(they’re married now) and he said, ‘We’re working on this project called
The Music City Center in Nashville, and we need somebody who is very
organized.’ Susan laughed, recalling her friend’s reaction, “She was just
looking across this table, smiling at me, and I heard her say,‘I think I may
have someone for you!’”
BEING VERY CONNECTED WITH
MY FAMILY THROUGHOUT MY LIFE
HAS INFLUENCED HOW I CONNECT
WITH PEOPLE NOW. BUSINESS IS ABOUT
BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS AND THAT’S
WHAT I DO; I MAKE CONNECTIONS ALL
DAY, IT’S A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF
WHAT I DO.
esearch, done; interview questions, written; prepared
for that energy—not even close! I opened with some
general questions, and Susan’s zeal was evident from the
beginning as she talked about her business, her love for
her family, books, and hot yoga among other things. I
was told of her exuberance before making the call, nevertheless, nothing
could have readied me for the powerhouse entrepreneur that is Susan
Vanderbilt and her story of savvy success...
Raised by a single mother (due to the passing of her father) Susan
emphasized the fact that her family made sure she and her older brother
stayed connected with their cousins and remained close as a “family
unit.” It is no surprise that she has incorporated the idea of connectivity
into her business development and diversity inclusion firm, Entrée Savvy.
“Being very connected with my family throughout my life has influenced
how I connect with people now. Business is about building relationships
and that’s what I do; I make connections all day, it’s a very important part
of what I do.” Susan’s family life has also impacted the way she pushes her
clients to be greater and to do greater things; her mom—who put herself
through Vanderbilt University twice, earning a Master’s Degree—clearly
passed her determination on to Susan and her older brother: both of
whom have degrees and are married with families of their own. Speaking
about her mom, she told me “My mom pushed us to do everything we
could do, regardless of what that was. She pushed us to chase our dreams
and I take that with me in working with other people; I just try to push
them to help them get where they’re going.”
When asked about how Entrée Savvy started, Susan explained that a
simple dinner night with a friend led to her working on huge projects.
“It’s kind of an interesting story” she started, describing how she had a
degree in Speech and Hearing Science, but was feeling burned-out. “The
field of Speech Pathology is so broad and while I was very interested in
Corporate Speech Pathology, I decide to take a break and refocus.” She
went on to explain how she got involved in a major project soon after
her decision. “I had a good friend who stopped by with Bar-B-Cutie and
Susan went to interview for the position and impressed by her resume,
her experience as a Speech Pathologist, and her diverse skill set, they hired
her. Her new job was working on diversity inclusion at the Music City
Center, and while she’d never heard of “diversity inclusion”, she quickly
made it her business to learn as much as she could. The project required
20% participation, and she helped it to achieve 30% diversity inclusion:
something that had never been done before in the city of Nashville.
“Coming from a Speech Pathologist background and not a construction
one, I didn’t realize how huge it was to achieve that.”
After working on the Music City Center project, people that knew of
her success encouraged Susan to continue doing similar work for other
businesses. Mentioning one of many, she recalled, “Kevin Keller—Bell
Construction—said, ‘Just go do it!’ I said, “Okay Kevin. If I start this
business and you all get work... you better call on me, because this is a big
jump!” She did a massive amount of research and soon after, she officially
launched Entrée Savvy: doing everything from helping people who may
not understand the aspects of a contract, finding employees who meet the
minority requirements for certain jobs, guiding clients through various
policies, and even giving free consultation on minor inquiries. As Susan’s
own success has increased, so has her love of helping others to succeed. “I
don’t need to charge you a gazillion dollars for providing you with a little
information that you need to start things off: in being this way, I have
gained several clients as a result.”
When asked about her personal and professional growth, she described
how it all goes hand in hand and how she has used her own experiences
to better relate and be of service in assisting others with their journey to
do the same. “You can’t do one without the other, they go hand in hand.
I had a friend and she remembers me saying, ‘Don’t say the word ‘can’t’:
If you say you can’t, you never will’ and she told me she’d never heard
that before and that she applies that to her life in a huge way now.” Susan
continued by saying, “Hearing things like this is what I call success. When
I hear ‘Your words have really inspired me’ or a ‘Hey, I got the job!’, that
is what I call success.”
Equipped with extreme attention to detail, candid communication,
and a tremendous zest for elevating others, it is easy to see why businesses
flock to Entrée Savvy and why Susan is the go-to person when a client
needs to know the real deal. Unapologetically genuine, Susan Vanderbilt
is the epitome of savvy success.
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