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Welcome<br />

Director of Business Development<br />



Ejordan@theconnectmagazine.com<br />





Dmason@theconnectmagazine.com<br />


Dawn brings far more than 20 years’ worth of experience in strategic<br />

planning, negotiating, and project management with an ability to weigh<br />

risk vs. reward to her role as Director of Business Development for <strong>The</strong><br />

<strong>Connect</strong> Magazine (TCM). She brings professionalism and leaders<strong>hi</strong>p, a<br />

mindset of service and advocacy, an exceptional business acumen, and a<br />

passion for empowering others to realize their purpose.<br />

As a strategic t<strong>hi</strong>nker with a client focus, Dawn’s contribution to the<br />

magazine aligns her personal goals with the core objective of TCM. With<br />

a focus on tactical alliances and business development, she will prospect<br />

and identify opportunities for partners<strong>hi</strong>p, assist in building new business<br />

relations<strong>hi</strong>ps, evaluate operational issues to determine effectiveness, and<br />

evaluate the competitive landscape to continually enhance TCM’s impact<br />

on its readers<strong>hi</strong>p.<br />

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Dawn graduated from Hampton<br />

University in VA. After moving to Nashville as a young adult, she pursued<br />

an MBA from Middle Tennessee State University and began a career in<br />

contract management. With a love for leaders<strong>hi</strong>p and managing people,<br />

she found her way into Supply Management where she has managed<br />

teams from 2 to 20 people throughout her career. She has spent more than<br />

20 years in supply management and has held positions such as adjunct<br />

professor, eComm erce Director and National Director of Purchasing. Now,<br />

as the Director of Diversity Business Development for a Nashville based<br />

organization, she ensu<strong>res</strong> small businesses are afforded the opportunity to<br />

compete with large corporations for substantial contracts.<br />

In addition to satisfying her love for writing as a contributing writer<br />

for <strong>The</strong> <strong>Connect</strong> Magazine, Dawn recently ventured into the world of<br />

blogging. Her Website, www.blendedwithboys.com, chronicles her<br />

and her husband William Mason Jr.’s journey into a blended family of<br />

seven. In early 2017, Dawn and William will launch an exciting new task<br />

management endeavor where they will offer small business development,<br />

back office management, <strong>res</strong>earch, business plan preparation, management,<br />

and similar services.<br />

Dawn leverages business relations<strong>hi</strong>ps and <strong>res</strong>ources through her<br />

avid support of a variety of professional organizations including: <strong>The</strong><br />

International Virtual Assistants Association, <strong>The</strong> Institute for Supply<br />

Management (ISM), <strong>The</strong> American Management Association (AMA),<br />

<strong>The</strong> Tristate Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business<br />

Enterprises Council – South, <strong>The</strong> US Business Leaders<strong>hi</strong>p Network and<br />

<strong>The</strong> National Veteran Owned Business Association. She serves on the<br />

certification committee and is a co-facilitator for Centers of Excellence for<br />

<strong>The</strong> Tristate Minority Supplier Development Council. Dawn is a newlywed,<br />

a mom to Elijah and Jacob and a bonus mom to Tre, Miles, and Brennon.<br />



B<strong>hi</strong>rsch@theconnectmagazine.com<br />



Kjackson@theconnectmagazine.com<br />



Ljohnson@theconnectmagazine.com<br />



Jcoleman@theconnectmagazine.com<br />



Bpotter@theconnectmagazine.com<br />



Tjordan@theconnectmagazine.com<br />



Ldowdle@theconnectmagazine.com<br />



carolyn.waller@zeitlin.com<br />










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Should Religion and Propaganda be considered before Voting?<br />

<strong>The</strong> religion of a leader can never exp<strong>res</strong>s<br />

<strong>hi</strong>s thoughts towards society or towards<br />

a particular community. <strong>The</strong> Bible says<br />

“righteousness exalteth a nation” (Proverbs<br />

14:34). For a nation to be righteous, the<br />

people of such nation must be righteous, and especially,<br />

the leaders. <strong>The</strong> righteousness of the citizens and the<br />

leaders make the righteousness of the whole nation. In t<strong>hi</strong>s<br />

manner, the leaders of the nation must be carefully selected<br />

or in another instance, be carefully voted into power.<br />

Leaders<strong>hi</strong>p has a lot of influence in the well-being of the<br />

people, as stated in Proverbs 29:2, “When the righteous<br />

are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked<br />

beareth rule, the people mourn”. In the p<strong>res</strong>ent world<br />

where leaders emerge through election, the voting process<br />

must be controlled to produce the best leader who is keen<br />

to move the nation forward and with great and unequaled<br />

leaders<strong>hi</strong>p qualities and skills.<br />

<strong>The</strong> process of voting nowadays is a complex one,<br />

with a lot of factors being put into consideration. It is<br />

now a practice that the majority of our politicians rely on<br />

propaganda to get votes from their people. Aspirants try to<br />

identify with their base to get their mandates. But looking at<br />

t<strong>hi</strong>s from a wider view, a quality candidate will not bank on<br />

propaganda or religious identity to win a referendum. <strong>The</strong><br />

credibility of an aspirant is put to test on a leveled playing<br />

ground, with their manifestos, p<strong>hi</strong>losop<strong>hi</strong>es, leaders<strong>hi</strong>p<br />

qualities and skills, and personalities are being put into<br />

consideration.<br />

<strong>The</strong> main aim of a political system is to provide allround<br />

growth in a society w<strong>hi</strong>ch in turn will lead to rise in<br />

status of each individual and providing a strong foundation<br />

for the nation. Hence, when voting, only an aspirant<br />

with such attribute should be considered. Voting with<br />

propaganda consideration will be biased and may produce<br />

an incompetent leader, w<strong>hi</strong>ch will consequently lead to an<br />

uneven growth in the nation. It may also lead to a rise in<br />

communal tension between different ethnic groups w<strong>hi</strong>ch<br />

can be a threat to the nation’s peace. Another negative<br />

effect of such practices is that it may cause loss to humanity<br />

and people may get discriminated on the basis of religion<br />

or ethnicity in the time of need. Moreover, such kind of<br />

politics is raised by only the weak political parties/aspirants<br />

whose first agenda is to meet their hunger for power and<br />

not in the improvement of society.<br />

On the above basis, I want to conclude that propaganda<br />

should not be mixed with politics. Intellectual youths and<br />

adults should understand that those politicians who demand<br />

votes in the name of rhetoric are simply fooling them and<br />

should discard them. Voting should only be on the basis<br />

of their thoughts and ideas towards the development of<br />

the nation. Let us unanimously cast an unbiased vote for<br />

th e right and credible leaders to assume offices, regardless<br />

of religious or ethnic background, to ensure growth and<br />

sustainability of our nation.<br />

Eric Jordan<br />



38<br />

Contents<br />

<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

Featu<strong>res</strong> 38<br />

22<br />

26<br />

34<br />

48<br />

Columns 12<br />

13<br />

14<br />

32<br />

Departments 16<br />

18<br />

30<br />

44<br />




<strong>The</strong> <strong>Connect</strong> Magazine visits the original<br />

QUEEN OF HOT CHICKEN for a conversation<br />



Greg Mankis<br />


Beverly K Carmichael gives us 3 KEYS to<br />

how you too,can BE A PEOPLE PERSON<br />

MAN TO MAN<br />






<strong>The</strong> BEGINNING OF THE END OF YOUR BRAIN<br />


Dr. Ming Wang offers words of wisdom for a<br />




Bishop Jerry L. Maynard Sr.<br />





22 26<br />

30<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Connect</strong> Magazine is a quarterly lifestyle publication committed to<br />

engaging our audience through inspirational stories of entrepreneurs, young<br />

professionals, and other individuals in the community committed to making<br />

a positive difference in their lives and in the lives of others. <strong>The</strong> tenets and<br />

principles associated with entrepreneurs<strong>hi</strong>p and the value of living with<br />

purpose transcend race, creed, and class, so from the corporate level, to the<br />

community, we seek to inform and inspire by exploring the hearts, minds,<br />

and stories beyond the bottom line.<br />

34 48 14<br />


Welcoming<br />

Diversity<br />

At Cracker Barrel Old Country Store ® , we t<strong>hi</strong>nk a key to our success<br />

is welcoming diversity in our company, our country sto<strong>res</strong>,<br />

our <strong>res</strong>taurants, and our communities.<br />

crackerbarrel.com • © <strong>2016</strong> CBOCS Properties, Inc.



From Darkness to Sight chronicles the remarkable life journey of Dr. Ming Wang,<br />

a world-renowned laser eye surgeon and p<strong>hi</strong>lanthropist.<br />

As a teenager, Ming fought valiantly to escape one of <strong>hi</strong>story’s darkest<br />

eras – C<strong>hi</strong>na’s Cultural Revolution – during w<strong>hi</strong>ch millions of innocent youth<br />

were deported to remote areas to face a life sentence of poverty and hard labor.<br />

Through <strong>hi</strong>s own tenacity and <strong>hi</strong>s parents’ tireless efforts to provide a chance of<br />

freedom for their son, Ming eventually made <strong>hi</strong>s way to America with $50 in <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

pocket and an American dream in <strong>hi</strong>s heart. It is in America where, against all<br />

odds Ming would earn a PhD in laser physics and graduate magna cum laude<br />

with the <strong>hi</strong>ghest honors from Harvard Medical School and MIT. He embraced <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

Christian faith and tackled one of the most important questions of our time – Are<br />

faith and science friends or foes? <strong>The</strong> contemplation of t<strong>hi</strong>s question led to <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

invention of a breakthrough biotechnology to <strong>res</strong>tore sight.<br />

To date, Dr. Wang has performed over 55,000 eye procedu<strong>res</strong> and has<br />

treated patients from nearly every state in the U.S. and from over 55 countries<br />

worldwide. He is considered the “doctor’s doctor,” as he has operated on over<br />

4,000 physicians. Dr. Wang has published 8 textbooks, holds several U.S.<br />

patents and performed the world’s first laser artificial cornea implantation. He<br />

established a non-profit foundation w<strong>hi</strong>ch provides sight <strong>res</strong>toration surgeries<br />

for indigent patients who otherwise would never have the opportunity to receive<br />

the complimentary procedu<strong>res</strong>.<br />

T<strong>hi</strong>s is a story of one man’s inspirational journey, of turning fear, poverty,<br />

persecution and prejudice into healing and love for others. It demonstrates how<br />

focus, determination, humility and profound faith can inspire a life that has<br />

beautifully impacted thecountless lives of others.<br />

“Dr. Wa ng is not only a dear friend and the very best eye surgeon, he is also<br />

one of the greatest people I have ever known.” -- Dolly Parton<br />







“People who believe they deserve anyt<strong>hi</strong>ng more than an opportunity<br />

are ungrateful for what they already have.”<br />

During a recent pre-game speech, a Vanderbilt football<br />

player marched through the locker room, challenging<br />

teammates and coaches to reflect on t<strong>hi</strong>s message.<br />

“What will you do with your opportunity?” he shouted.<br />

T<strong>hi</strong>s prompted me to t<strong>hi</strong>nk about all the opportunities<br />

I have been blessed to receive. Did I seize those moments or make<br />

excuses for why I didn’t? In truth, I answered yes to both questions. I<br />

have seized opportunities and squandered them because... [insert any list<br />

of irrelevant excuses].<br />

At times, although opportunities were right in front of me, I believed<br />

I needed more <strong>res</strong>ources to capitalize on them. Sure, I was grateful for<br />

these opportunities (so I thought), but if I had more time, more money,<br />

more connections, more t<strong>hi</strong>s, more that; then I could really be in position<br />

to make the most of them.<br />

As I reflect on my past, I am confronted with the uncomfortable truth<br />

that I have not always been grateful for my opportunities because they<br />

weren’t packaged and p<strong>res</strong>ented to me the way I expected.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is a concept called locus of control that assesses how we perceive<br />

the factors that contribute to the events that have occurred or are<br />

occurring in our lives.<br />

Those with an external locus of control believe their successes and failu<strong>res</strong><br />

are determined by external factors such as their family background,<br />

the biases of the decision-makers around them, bad luck, etc. For example,<br />

individuals with t<strong>hi</strong>s mindset may attribute a promotion or demotion<br />

to their boss’ favoritism or prejudice toward them or others. Even if they<br />

arrived to work late every day, they would attribute a demotion to the<br />

belief that their boss is sexist, racist or simply incapable of recognizing<br />

talent. W<strong>hi</strong>le all of those t<strong>hi</strong>ngs may be true, an external locus of control<br />

may influence these individuals to remain in roles in w<strong>hi</strong>ch they are dissatisfied,<br />

and simply complain about the circumstances that hold them<br />

back in their careers. <strong>The</strong>y become jaded to the possibility that they can<br />

ac<strong>hi</strong>eve more in life. <strong>The</strong>y become victims of their circumstances and<br />

prisoners to their problems, rather than catalysts for change. <strong>The</strong>y become<br />

ungrateful for the opportunities that are available to them.<br />

Conversely, those with an internal locus of control believe internal<br />

factors determine their outcomes. <strong>The</strong>y believe they are <strong>res</strong>ponsible for<br />

both the successes and failu<strong>res</strong> in their lives. For example, individuals<br />

with t<strong>hi</strong>s mindset would attribute a job promotion or demotion to the<br />

quantity and quality of their performance (or lack there of). In fact, if<br />

these people believed they had earned a promotion, and were denied,<br />

they would not wait until someone decided to promote them, they would<br />

seek out other opportunities for advancement in other departments or<br />

other companies. <strong>The</strong>y might even choose to launch their own businesses.<br />

Earlier in my career, I expected opportunities to be p<strong>res</strong>ented in a<br />

positive and simplistic format, so I could easily recognize and capitalize<br />

on them. As I gained more experience, I realized that life-changing opportunities<br />

are often disguised as unpleasant or inconvenient cho<strong>res</strong>, and are,<br />

just as often, inconsistent with my existing plans. At that point, it became<br />

evident I was in need of a change. I needed to s<strong>hi</strong>ft my locus of control.<br />

<strong>The</strong> end of a relations<strong>hi</strong>p may be an opportunity. <strong>The</strong> loss of a job may<br />

be an opportunity. A physical or mental disability may be an opportunity.<br />

A failure in any part of your life can be an opportunity to refocus and position<br />

yourself in a way that helps you advance. Have you ever been fired<br />

or passed over for a promotion? Maybe that was an opportunity to start<br />

your own business. Perhaps you needed to remove the distraction of your<br />

job to have the freedom and courage to do somet<strong>hi</strong>ng greater.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se moments help create the unique stories that shape and define<br />

our personal brands, work et<strong>hi</strong>c and sources of motivation.<br />

As I reflect on the multitude of opportunities I have before me now,<br />

the words of that Vanderbilt football player echo in my head, “People<br />

who believe they deserve anyt<strong>hi</strong>ng more than an opportunity are ungrateful<br />

for what they already have.”<br />

To what extent are you grateful for the opportunities in your life? I<br />

challenge you to honestly assess your locus of control and find the opportunities<br />

embedded wit<strong>hi</strong>n your obstacles. You have the power to use life’s<br />

stumbling blocks as stepping stones and unleash your potential.<br />





Is t<strong>hi</strong>s you?...<br />


“<strong>The</strong> c<strong>hi</strong>ldren need to go to soccer and basketball practice... check.<br />

I need to swing by the store and pick up juice and raspberries for a<br />

meeting in the morning... Yikes! I didn’t <strong>res</strong>pond to that email from<br />

my client. I really need to do that, but wait the light is green. Is that<br />

my phone ringing??? Errr, I’ll call her back after I pick up my p<strong>res</strong>criptions<br />

from the pharmacy. Where’s that list?”<br />

Does t<strong>hi</strong>s scenario sound familiar? T<strong>hi</strong>s illustration of<br />

scatter-brained “doing”, unfortunately, for many,<br />

has become the new normal. More tasks to complete<br />

than time to complete them, has become the script<br />

to w<strong>hi</strong>ch most of us now adhere. No longer just<br />

keeping up and keeping on, we’re attempting to mechanize our lives<br />

and “get ahead”. It’s like we’re robots programmed for increased<br />

production, and our self-worth and net worth are perilously cuffed<br />

to “getting it done”. What’s our <strong>res</strong>ponse? Multitasking! But does it<br />

work?<br />

<strong>The</strong>re was a time when there were not as many <strong>res</strong>ponsibilities as<br />

there are today. A person had the time, wit<strong>hi</strong>n the 24 hours allotted,<br />

to complete the tasks in front of them, and in many cases, even had<br />

time for themselves. As the pace of life has spiraled into warp speed,<br />

multitasking has become a go-to option for squeezing as much as<br />

can be accomplished into any given time-frame; however, science<br />

reports that t<strong>hi</strong>s glorified remedy is notnecessarily the super saver<br />

that many t<strong>hi</strong>nk it is.<br />

Multitasking initially afforded an evolutionary advantage, but<br />

as reported by Stanford Psychologist and author, Clifford Nass, it’s<br />

causing the human brain to struggle. <strong>The</strong> human brain is formed<br />

with its “executive system”, or the frontal lobe that deteriorates over<br />

time; it decreases in volume as a person ages. So as the skilled multitasker<br />

is able to swiftly check items off of <strong>hi</strong>s/her to-do list today,<br />

<strong>hi</strong>s/her brain mass is deteriorating in a fas<strong>hi</strong>on that will make<br />

completing tasks increasingly more difficult tomorrow. Frontal lobe<br />

degeneration only may be slowed with considerate p<strong>res</strong>ervation (or<br />

LACK of multitasking). Also, the reality is that the act is not even the<br />

completion of multiple tasks at once; it’s the ability to switch the<br />

limited attention from task to task in a fast manner... like juggling.<br />

Without question, human brains are exceptional, yet they have<br />

flaws. Much like a juggler, occasionally they drop t<strong>hi</strong>ngs. In <strong>hi</strong>s book,<br />

THE MAN WHO LIED TO HIS LAPTOP, Mr. Nass also sha<strong>res</strong> that<br />

multitasking actually kills concentration and creativity. It is a mortal<br />

foe to productivity as well! <strong>The</strong> social science p<strong>res</strong>ented wit<strong>hi</strong>n <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

studies shows that chronic multitaskers are terrible at cognitive tasks<br />

such as learning and retaining (AKA remembering) information, discernment<br />

of situations, and the application of “common sense”. In<br />

reflection, the next time you accuse the younger generation of having<br />

abbreviated attention spans and poor judgment, consider the fact<br />

that their behaviors may be attributed to overexposure to multitasking,<br />

and then ask yourself where they might have learned that “talent”?<br />

Let’s do better. Better organization, better time-management,<br />

and an improved sense of prioritization are all great places to start.<br />


brainhealth.utdallas.edu<br />

http://www.npr.org/2013/05/10/182861382/the-myth-ofmultitasking<br />




Post-election America and Our Country’s Future<br />

T<strong>hi</strong>s election season is coming to an end. It has been one of<br />

the most contentious elections in recent U.S. <strong>hi</strong>story, characterized<br />

by an unprecedented number of negative ads and<br />

personal attacks. Now our nation needs to heal and move<br />

forward, beyond the candidates themselves, and refocus our<br />

attention on the issues that are important for our country. It may have been a<br />

messy election, but it p<strong>res</strong>ented a valuable opportunity for many Americans to<br />

exp<strong>res</strong>s views that they had not fully exp<strong>res</strong>sed previously. I believe America<br />

now has a great opportunity to turn the negative attitude of t<strong>hi</strong>s election into<br />

a positive one. We can do t<strong>hi</strong>s by examining, discussing and debating all the<br />

issues exposed and all the viewpoints exp<strong>res</strong>sed in t<strong>hi</strong>s election. T<strong>hi</strong>s will help<br />

us know where we stand and how we feel.<br />

Two t<strong>hi</strong>ngs happened in t<strong>hi</strong>s election that surprised most of us - the unexpected<br />

popularity of Donald Trump and similarly, that of Bernie Sanders as<br />

well. Even though they rep<strong>res</strong>ented two opposite ends of the political spectrum,<br />

they nonetheless shared one t<strong>hi</strong>ng in common - neither of them was<br />

expected to do as well as they did. Why did we believe they wouldn’t succeed?<br />

<strong>The</strong> answer is that most of us thought their viewpoints would not be<br />

popular. So why did they end up becoming so widely supported? It is because<br />

large sectors of our society do, in fact, share their viewpoints.<br />

Donald Trump wants to return our country to the America of the ‘50s<br />

and ‘60s, when our border was secure and our country was the undisputed,<br />

dominant power internationally, and there was much less cultural, racial and<br />

ethnic diversity domestically. Many people who voted for Trump are nostalgic<br />

about that period of time in our nation’s <strong>hi</strong>story. <strong>The</strong>y are fed-up with the<br />

current system of government and believe that it is rigged against the middle<br />

class. As debt soars, healthcare diminishes, incomes stay stagnant and jobs<br />

leave the U.S. Trump’s popularity shows that many of us, indeed, do not like<br />

the changes that have taken place in our country and in the world in the last<br />

several decades. But can the clock be turned back? If it cannot, how can we<br />

adjust to the changes? How can we help America maintain its leaders<strong>hi</strong>p in a<br />

world that has seen the rise of emerging economies and a s<strong>hi</strong>ft in the center<br />

of gravity away from the U.S.? Domestically, like it or not, America is no<br />

longer the country that she was in the ‘50s and ‘60s. We are now much more<br />

diverse, with Hispanic Americans, African Americans and Asian Americans<br />

accounting for 20%, 18% and 6% of our population, <strong>res</strong>pectively. In the next<br />

10-15 years, these three groups are projected to become the majority. So how<br />

can we harness strength from our increasing diversity and move our country<br />

forward?<br />

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, wants to move our nation towards socialism.<br />

He has gained strong support, especially from the younger generation<br />

who have not experienced the disasters of communism in the last century.<br />

Bernie provides a voice to a generation that feels the government should do<br />

more for those of us who are less fortunate by imposing greater sacrifices for<br />

the wealthy. <strong>The</strong>y feel that America, as a society today, no longer ca<strong>res</strong> for the<br />

down-trodden and unfortunate. But how can we as a nation strike the proper<br />

balance between the emphasis of individual <strong>res</strong>ponsibility and the societal<br />

duty to help the poor? How can we maintain strong social programs to help<br />

those who are truly in need, w<strong>hi</strong>le still avoiding complacency, a sense of<br />

entitlement and a lack of motivation? How can we rekindle the hard-working<br />

spirit characterized by our forefathers who laid the foundation of t<strong>hi</strong>s great<br />

country? Let’s reignite curiosity and drive, especially in our youth, who often<br />

lack motivation because they are now living in a country with so much material<br />

abundance.<br />

Let’s look beyond the candidates and political parties! Let’s begin these<br />

positive and productive discussions of the important issues that were exposed<br />

during t<strong>hi</strong>s election season. Let’s start listening because better listening leads to<br />

better understanding, and better understanding leads to better solutions. We<br />

want to find solutions that will make our country stronger by embracing our<br />

diversity and improving the standard of living for all Americans.<br />

Dr. Ming Wang, MD, PhD is the director of Wang Vision 3D Cataract<br />

& LASIK Center, Nashville, TN, founder of Wang Foundation for Sight Restoration,<br />

co-founder of Tennessee Immigrant and Minority Business Group,<br />

p<strong>res</strong>ident of Tennessee C<strong>hi</strong>nese Chamber of Commerce and honorary p<strong>res</strong>ident<br />

of Tennessee American-C<strong>hi</strong>nese Chamber of Commerce. He can be<br />

reached at drwang@wangvisioninstitute.com<br />







Climate change is real and many are still denying it or<br />

refuse to consider the evidence. Business is always at<br />

the forefront of social and economic change. We do<br />

not have to look too far into <strong>hi</strong>story to see t<strong>hi</strong>s fact. <strong>The</strong><br />

Montgomery Bus boycott in the late 1950’s and the lunch<br />

counter sit ins of the 1960’s show how the business community are aware<br />

of the changing conditions of the world. <strong>The</strong>y are now at the forefront of<br />

the climate change issue. So much so, the business community is seeing<br />

how to profit from the realm of sustainability. Companies are always<br />

looking for a sustainable competitive advantage. If they don’t, they won’t<br />

be in business for long. Business leaders are now employing sustainability<br />

consultants and creating sustainability departments in order to cut waste<br />

and mitigate risks. <strong>The</strong>y are now aware of the issue of climate change and<br />

looking for opportunities to be at the forefront to combat t<strong>hi</strong>s issue.<br />

<strong>The</strong> one constant for the planet earth is change. We are often faced<br />

with challenges dealing with the changes in weather patterns, winds,<br />

temperatu<strong>res</strong>, seasons, currents and tides. As the earth moves throughout<br />

space, orbits the sun and turns on its axis, conditions continue to change.<br />

<strong>The</strong> earth’s climate has always changed as well. In the last 650,000 years,<br />

there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat. <strong>The</strong> last ice age<br />

ended about 7,000 years ago. So, yes, climate change is real and not just<br />

a figment of the imagination derived from scientist and political leaders.<br />

According to nasa.gov, 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate<br />

warming trends over the past 100 years are very likely due to human<br />

activities.<br />

Yes the earth’s climate does change. However, we should not<br />

contribute to the acceleration or deceleration of the change. Let’s look at<br />

some evidence. Records show the earth has warmed overall since 1880.<br />

Most of the warming has occurred since 1981 with 10 of the warmest<br />

years occurring in the past 12 years. <strong>The</strong> global sea level rose about 6.7<br />

inches in the last century. <strong>The</strong> rate in the last decade is nearly double<br />

that. Data from NASA show Antarctica lost about 36 cubic miles of ice<br />

between 20<strong>02</strong> and 2005. <strong>The</strong> U.S. has witnessed increasing numbers of<br />

intense rainfall events. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution,<br />

the acidity of the surface ocean waters has increased by 30 percent.<br />

<strong>The</strong> effects of global warming should be clear. <strong>The</strong>re have been<br />

stronger storms in many areas of the country. <strong>The</strong> northeastern parts of<br />

the country just had record setting snowfalls. Storms in cities like Buffalo<br />

and Boston have caused damage to property and have cost cities major<br />

parts of their budget to clean. Droughts are deeper and longer and have<br />

caused the state of California to ration water and require some creative<br />

ways to clean and reuse water. Wildfi<strong>res</strong> are larger and more wide spread<br />

and more severe w<strong>hi</strong>ch affectwildlife, homes and businesses. Floods in big<br />

cities like Houston are happening more often. <strong>The</strong>se disasters continue to<br />

cost more and take longer to recover from. <strong>The</strong> recovery is taking even<br />

longer for the old, young, and people of color. Ten years after Hurricane<br />

Katrina, New Orleans has yet to fully recover.<br />

Helping to combat climate change seems like a huge task. However,<br />

there are ways you can make a difference. It all is up to us to make better<br />

decisions. First, we should encourage our churches and schools to teach<br />

good environmental stewards<strong>hi</strong>p. Secondly, we can choose to support and<br />

make purchases from businesses that are environmentally friendly. If we<br />

put p<strong>res</strong>sure on the business community to become better stewards of<br />

the environment, change will happen faster. Next, we can encourage our<br />

friends and families to buy local products. Buying local is sustainable and<br />

helps to cut the carbon footprint. Transportation accounts for 26 percent<br />

of greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, we can choose to elect political<br />

leaders who acknowledge we have an effect on climate change. Exercising<br />

our right to vote is sustainable. Sustainability is based on the idea to create<br />

and maintain conditions under w<strong>hi</strong>ch humans and nature can exist in<br />

productive harmony for p<strong>res</strong>ent and future generations. We must elect<br />

political leaders that are the voice of the people and rep<strong>res</strong>ent our best<br />

inte<strong>res</strong>t.<br />

Please feel free to contact me thomsustainableconsulting@gmail.com.<br />

Or you can follow me on Twitter @tcsheff. I have also created a new<br />

facebook pa ge WordsactionChange Initiative. Please share and follow.<br />

#wordsactionchange<br />





ARIEL<br />


B-Boy in Blue<br />


Ariel Carrillo, 23 year-old Latino B-boy and Law<br />

Enforcement Officer in Lebanon, Tenn., has a relevant<br />

message for <strong>hi</strong>s community: Regardless of the occupation<br />

you choose, dare to do it authentically.<br />

So often we mentally place ourselves and others into<br />

boxes - experiencing discomfort when those boxes are outgrown. We<br />

carve one another into neatly-defined shapes, offering ourselves a reference<br />

point for the totality of what we can expect from them. But, t<strong>hi</strong>s mindset<br />

does a disservice to all parties because, the truth is, we do not become the<br />

greatest versions of ourselves until we permit our most beloved passions<br />

to authentically align with our professional <strong>res</strong>ponsibilities.<br />

Only then do we unlock the buried treasu<strong>res</strong> wit<strong>hi</strong>n ourselves and<br />

others. Only then do we lay a foundation for authentic connection.<br />

Carrillo is a glowing example of t<strong>hi</strong>s. In fact, he garnered headlines<br />

earlier t<strong>hi</strong>s year when a video of <strong>hi</strong>m breaking at an organized event -<br />

w<strong>hi</strong>le suited in uniform - rocketed to viral-status on the Internet.<br />

He perfectly explained <strong>hi</strong>s motivation for allowing <strong>hi</strong>mself to<br />

be caught in the act: “If I can use my love for <strong>hi</strong>p-hop to positively<br />

influence the people I serve and protect, then I’ll gladly put that on my<br />

duty belt.”<br />

Carrillo is relatively new to law enforcement, having stepped into<br />

such career mere months ago. From day one, however, he committed that<br />

he would never <strong>res</strong>ort to dancing in the shadows. He understands there is<br />

no permission slip needed to exist in the light of both worlds. In fact, he<br />

believes they are the same world, and looks forward to the day when the<br />

fictitious lines between them are blurred.<br />

Prior to every s<strong>hi</strong>ft, Carrillo zips <strong>hi</strong>mself into <strong>hi</strong>s uniform and prepa<strong>res</strong><br />

to risk <strong>hi</strong>s life for people he will never know. However, as important of<br />

a role as that is, t<strong>hi</strong>s impassioned B-boy-turned-cop understands he is<br />

not limited to being only one t<strong>hi</strong>ng. Through the example of <strong>hi</strong>s life, a<br />

<strong>res</strong>ounding message can be heard: Neither are you.<br />

Continue reading for an invitation to bring the best of yourself to your<br />

every endeavor...<br />

Carrillo’s love for breaking was born when he was a 15 year-old in<br />

the throes of a most discomforting low. Artistic, bright and capable, <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

potential was steadily wasting away by time spent on cheap thrills - until<br />

a pivotal moment in a park one afternoon. Carrillo was caught in the<br />

act of illegally tagging a bridge as <strong>hi</strong>s seven year-old brother observed<br />



nearby. Riddled with shame and in need of a lifeboat - Carrillo was ac<strong>hi</strong>ng<br />

to come alive for somet<strong>hi</strong>ng w<strong>hi</strong>ch would offer a remedy for <strong>hi</strong>s lack of<br />

direction and sense of purpose.<br />

A lifeboat was approac<strong>hi</strong>ng, indeed - nearly cras<strong>hi</strong>ng into <strong>hi</strong>m as he<br />

rounded <strong>hi</strong>s next corner.<br />

“Not long after getting into trouble, a friend of mine told me about<br />

t<strong>hi</strong>s club in downtown Nashville called Rocketown. I thought little of it at<br />

the time, but agreed to join <strong>hi</strong>m.”<br />

Carrillo arrived at the door of the venue having no inclination that <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

life was about to take an unexpected turn - one w<strong>hi</strong>ch would serve as a<br />

<strong>res</strong>cue. Decisions w<strong>hi</strong>ch led to dead-end roads were no longer permitted,<br />

for <strong>hi</strong>s next turn would journey <strong>hi</strong>m to a newfound world of fulfillment.<br />

“I remember arriving at the door of the venue and hearing old school<br />

<strong>hi</strong>p-hop music playing. I could feel it vibrating under my feet as I was<br />

standing on the concrete outside of the venue. As I made my way down<br />

the stairs to the underground club, the music was pulling me to it like a<br />

magnet.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> hair on <strong>hi</strong>s neck stood at attention and saluted as <strong>hi</strong>s arms were<br />

overtaken with goosebumps. As Carrillo observed the B-boys spinning on<br />

their heads and dancing, he became entranced. That moment marked a<br />

new era of <strong>hi</strong>s life; one commanding that he divorce the poor decisions of<br />

<strong>hi</strong>s past and move into a realm of discovery and possibility.<br />

“My life was never the same after that night because, from that point<br />

on, breaking was all I wanted to do. It saved my life because, even though<br />

I had great parents, I didn’t have anyt<strong>hi</strong>ng positive to passionately direct<br />

my energy toward. B-boying gave me a training mindset.”<br />

I asked Carrillo what he would say if he were p<strong>res</strong>ented with the<br />

opportunity to stretch backward in time - to rewind to the days leading<br />

up to that night, look <strong>hi</strong>mself in the eye and speak truth and wisdom into<br />

<strong>hi</strong>s15 year-old naiveté. Or, perhaps, what would he say to a 15 year-old<br />

of today’s generation - one similarly aligned with <strong>hi</strong>s former attitude and<br />

mindset?<br />

He announced without hesitation, as though he had w<strong>res</strong>tled through<br />

the same question thousands of times: “Being known for drugs and<br />

violence is not a reputation you want. Instead, channel your energy into<br />

finding what makes you come alive, and then pursue it passionately.<br />

Stop investing your energy into rebelling against the system and, instead,<br />

consider being the change you want to see.”<br />

Carrillo loomed over t<strong>hi</strong>s topic for a moment, as if to exp<strong>res</strong>s that<br />

he was not yet ready to depart from it. After a thoughtful pause, he<br />

added, “I want my actions to convey that the false sense of belonging and<br />

brotherhood created w<strong>hi</strong>le existing in a culture of crime actually offers<br />

them no benefit at all. I’ve been on both sides, and I know the truth. I<br />

want kids to know that they can do anyt<strong>hi</strong>ng they choose - anyt<strong>hi</strong>ng they<br />

love - regardless of their background and <strong>hi</strong>story.”<br />

Carrillo is aware that, due to the immense number of misconceptions<br />

about B-boying, observers may not understand how its lifestyle saved <strong>hi</strong>m<br />

from sinking into further realms of trouble and, eventually, leading <strong>hi</strong>m<br />

to join law enforcement. He is eager to debunk every misconception,<br />

however.<br />

“Breaking is a part of <strong>hi</strong>p-hop culture, w<strong>hi</strong>ch is grossly misrep<strong>res</strong>ented<br />

by popular media outlets in general. Hip-hop actually originated in the<br />

early 1970s by gang members who wanted to leave the gangs and channel<br />

their energy toward somet<strong>hi</strong>ng better. Even the term itself originated<br />

from combining the words ‘knowledge’ and ‘movement’ together. It was<br />

a positive movement created by people who were not from a positive<br />

environment.<br />

What people don’t know is that true <strong>hi</strong>p-hop is not like what you see<br />

in the movies and rap videos. It does not promote a culture of crime and<br />



violence. Rather, it was started to ‘move’ people from a negative mentality<br />

to a positive mentality.”<br />

Considering <strong>hi</strong>s zoomed-lense perspective of the contrasting sides<br />

of law enforcement, I exp<strong>res</strong>sed that the natural prog<strong>res</strong>sion of our<br />

conversation had led us to discussing the most common and stubbornly<br />

held misconceptions in regard to police officers.<br />

Carrillo c<strong>hi</strong>med in with vigor, <strong>res</strong>ponding, “That we are ticket writers,<br />

money-driven and corrupt - just to name a few. But, I t<strong>hi</strong>nk we should<br />

all ask ourselves: Should we generalize and package an entire profession<br />

based on a comparably small fraction of bad examples in it?<br />

It is common knowledge that cops do not make great money so, why<br />

then, do they become cops? <strong>The</strong> truth is that most cops do so because they<br />

truly care. We truly desire to have a positive impact on our communities.”<br />

When Carrillo was a teen, <strong>hi</strong>s aversion to cops was as staunch as <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

pride for being one would become. To say he disliked law enforcement<br />

was an understatement. But, as he entered <strong>hi</strong>s twenties, he shed such<br />

mindset and began to see the prodigious opportunities it p<strong>res</strong>ented to<br />

<strong>hi</strong>m. He now wears <strong>hi</strong>s uniform with an unwavering sense of honor and<br />

pride for <strong>hi</strong>s profession.<br />

“A couple of years ago, I began to see law enforcement as an outlet<br />

for making a positive difference wit<strong>hi</strong>n my community. I have the<br />

perspective of getting into trouble and then later coming to understand<br />

how detrimental it was to myself and others.”<br />

Carrillo’s future plans for continuing to marry <strong>hi</strong>s two passions are a<br />

long and winding list.<br />










“I will continue growing with law enforcement as well as B-boying<br />

for as long as I’m physically able. T<strong>hi</strong>s fall, a couple of other officers and<br />

I will be visiting local schools. My role will be to perform for the kids. I<br />

definitely plan on many of those types of engagements.”<br />

With so much evidence in the media of law enforcement officers<br />

and members of communities being at odds, Carrillo offers a ref<strong>res</strong><strong>hi</strong>ng<br />

testimony that, although such instances are tragic and must be brought<br />

to light, there is also tremendous evidence to the contrary. It is clear that<br />

Carrillo wants to shatter the polarized perspective often held, and assist<br />

individuals in understanding that the law enforcement community is not<br />

one-dimensional.<br />

He explains, “Although entertaining people is not a part of my job,<br />

I feel that police officers often have to go the extra mile to show the<br />

community that we are one of them - that we care about them. I’m hoping<br />

to convey that message by doing what I love most.”<br />

As mentioned previously, <strong>hi</strong>s attempts have already earned <strong>hi</strong>m<br />

a memorable ac<strong>hi</strong>evement by way of an Internet-viral video - a video<br />

documenting <strong>hi</strong>s effortless knack for delighting onlookers with <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

bravery, fun-loving spirit and talent.<br />

As our conversation drew nearer to its conclusion, Carrillo openly<br />

contemplated the impact of the aforementioned experience. He likely had<br />

no idea, however, that <strong>hi</strong>s thoughts would linger in my mind for days -<br />

later gifting me with a glimmer of comfort and hope as I tearfully poured<br />

over media coverage of a candlelight vigil held in honor of Tyre King - the<br />

O<strong>hi</strong>o 13-year-old who was fatally shot by police officers mere days prior<br />

to the time of t<strong>hi</strong>s writing.<br />

“Hopefully people will begin to understand that just because pleasant<br />

interactions between cops and communities are not often documented on<br />

camera doesn’t mean they don’t happen every day. I hope my example<br />

will serve as proof of t<strong>hi</strong>s and play a role in creating further genuine<br />

connection between community and law enforcement.”<br />







No human endeavor is without evidence of creativity.<br />

Whether a business concept, a marketing strategy, a<br />

musical composition or a screenplay, the lure to create<br />

is as primitive to humans as are our inclinations to<br />

inhale and exhale.<br />

But, if we forge only from the well of ourselves, we never contribute<br />

to the human prog<strong>res</strong>sion. Rather, we will only recycle, reclip and<br />

redesign the puzzle pieces already existing wit<strong>hi</strong>n us. So, instead, we<br />

must surrender to the possibility that we - the commissioned creators<br />

inhabiting t<strong>hi</strong>s earth - are instruments. We are the vessels by w<strong>hi</strong>ch the<br />

wonders of life flow through.<br />

Greg Mankis - Internet-viral artist and widely sought after ‘Artepreneur’<br />

based in Cleveland, O<strong>hi</strong>o, is convinced of t<strong>hi</strong>s. In fact, he has recently<br />

published a body of work - available for purchase as either an e-book or<br />

coffee table book - delivering captivating evidence of adhering to such<br />

concept.<br />

Nearly 20 years after completing <strong>hi</strong>s first piece of art at 23 years<br />

old, Mankis reflects fondly on the experience: “From the first line, I<br />

immediately knew that the curvature and direction of it came from<br />

somet<strong>hi</strong>ng beyond me - similar to how an athlete gets into a ‘zone’ where<br />

everyt<strong>hi</strong>ng flows perfectly.”<br />

Eleven years would pass before he would grasp the magnitude of<br />

tapping into such artistic ‘zone,’ however.<br />


<strong>The</strong> year was 2007. On a day most ordinary, Mankis was taken hostage<br />

by an encounter of a divine nature - forever altering <strong>hi</strong>s perspective as an<br />

artist.<br />

On t<strong>hi</strong>s day, he was approached by Laura, a friend of a friend. Laura’s<br />

son Ian, a bright and kind-spirited teen, had recently committed suicide<br />

after an exhaustive struggle of trying to keep <strong>hi</strong>s head above the dark<br />

waters of emotional and mental dist<strong>res</strong>s.<br />

Laura was grieving and, thus, sought comfort in Mankis’ artistic<br />

services. “She initially showed me a hundred pictu<strong>res</strong> of Ian, but I didn’t<br />

feel a pull to any of them,” said Mankis.<br />

Until the hands of fate revealed their almighty agenda.<br />

Among Laura’s stash was a handwritten card Ian had given to <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

mother on her birthday. For Mankis, the card began to take on a life of<br />

its own.<br />

“Without me consciously trying, that card was glowing at me - yelling<br />

my name. Suddenly, the handwritten letters in <strong>hi</strong>s card began rearranging<br />

themselves in my head. <strong>The</strong>y changed from ‘Happy Birthday Mom, Ian’<br />

to ‘I’m Happy Now Mom, Ian.’ <strong>The</strong>re was absolutely not<strong>hi</strong>ng I could do<br />

to stop it.”<br />

Mankis retreated home that evening, unable to <strong>res</strong>t until he fulfilled<br />

the task he was sure he had been assigned. He projected Ian’s words onto<br />

<strong>hi</strong>s canvas and proceeded to deliver - in the boy’s own handwriting - the<br />

message he had been shown. <strong>The</strong> finished product was somet<strong>hi</strong>ng even<br />

he - its creator - gazed in awe of.<br />

Not only did Laura now have a beautiful painting of her son, but she<br />

had been given an even more beautiful sentiment, perhaps from beyond.<br />

And, for free.<br />

Rather than gloat in <strong>hi</strong>s own generosity and greatness, Mankis felt<br />

he owed her for giving <strong>hi</strong>m t<strong>hi</strong>s once-in-a-lifetime experience. “I’m the<br />

lucky one here. I’m so blessed to be in t<strong>hi</strong>s position of using my gift to do<br />

nice t<strong>hi</strong>ngs for people.”<br />

T<strong>hi</strong>s event marked a new era in Mankis’ life. “That is when the lightbulb<br />

went off for me. I knew there was somet<strong>hi</strong>ng to t<strong>hi</strong>s - t<strong>hi</strong>s tapping into<br />

inspiration, creating art from it and giving it away to people.”<br />


In the years that followed, the artist learned that <strong>hi</strong>s best work flowed<br />

from <strong>hi</strong>m only when he allowed each painting “to reveal itself.”<br />

In our hour-long discussion, Mankis and I exchanged stories about<br />

exploring the wonders and vagaries of creativity through our individual<br />

endeavors.<br />

Like Mankis, I am well-acquainted with the difference between<br />

straining to create a piece of work versus gliding along weightlessly in the<br />

arms of somet<strong>hi</strong>ng far more fruitful, magical and powerful than I am. I’ve<br />

come to wonder if there isn’t so much ‘talent’ as there is the reality that<br />

some of us are more finely-tuned and willing ‘receptors.’<br />

What if life is a dance of creativity, and humans are never meant to<br />

take the lead? Perhaps we most thrive when we quiet the chatter of our<br />

own ideas - when we put ourselves into a state of receiving so that we can<br />

hear when Inspiration asks, Would you like to dance?<br />

Upon p<strong>res</strong>enting my thoughts to Mankis, he <strong>res</strong>ponded by articulating<br />

most eloquently, “<strong>The</strong> best part of the work is the blank canvas - when<br />

I sit and wait for the ‘zone.’ And, when that miracle comes, I often look<br />

at my finished work as though I’m seeing it for the first time - the way a<br />

stranger would.”<br />

And, <strong>hi</strong>s art has proven to teach <strong>hi</strong>m valuable lessons about living a<br />

richer life in general.<br />

“Through my art, I’ve learned that the key to a successful life is not<br />

about working oneself to death; It’s working inspired. It’s about pausing<br />

and listening. T<strong>hi</strong>s is when life-changing inspiration comes.”<br />





When music icon Prince died in April <strong>2016</strong>, fans immersed themselves<br />

in celebration of <strong>hi</strong>s life. Mankis, although never an impassioned fan, felt<br />

inspired to participate by putting paint to canvas.<br />

“I had watched my friend Ricky Smith, who started the RAKE<br />

movement, perform random acts of kindness for people - anyt<strong>hi</strong>ng<br />

from free lunches to hugs. Ricky’s work was very instrumental in my<br />

next move, w<strong>hi</strong>ch was to make a painting of Prince for a fan who would<br />

appreciate it.”<br />

Once the final stroke was complete, Mankis snapped a picture of the<br />

work and shared it on <strong>hi</strong>s Facebook page, captioned with the announcement<br />

that he planned to give it away to a person of <strong>hi</strong>s spontaneous choosing.<br />

“Wit<strong>hi</strong>n one day, the post had over 10 million views and I was<br />

receiving tens of thousands of messages. It completely changed my life.”<br />

Prior to t<strong>hi</strong>s unexpected frenzy of exposure, Mankis had approximately<br />

1,000 Facebook followers. But, at the time of t<strong>hi</strong>s writing, he has an<br />

imp<strong>res</strong>sive 37,000. “It was funny because, not only did that experience<br />

invite inte<strong>res</strong>t in the Prince painting; I was suddenly receiving recognition<br />

for work that had gone unnoticed for years.”<br />

But, the artist soon learned that t<strong>hi</strong>ngs were only beginning to get<br />

inte<strong>res</strong>ting.<br />

Following the Prince w<strong>hi</strong>rlwind, Mankis launched a dog project. He<br />

painted a dog, then posted an image of such painting, along with an<br />

invitation for Facebook users to pitch their dog for <strong>hi</strong>m to paint.<br />

“I received about 10,000 emails of some of the most beautiful<br />

dogs imaginable,” said Mankis. “But, I was waiting for ‘the one’ w<strong>hi</strong>ch<br />

would call to me. I shuffled through many messages, but wasn’t getting<br />

anyt<strong>hi</strong>ng.”<br />

Until, lo and behold, a message from Kelley landed in <strong>hi</strong>s inbox.<br />

“When Kelley reached out, she only told me that her dog, Charlie,<br />

had passed away recently, and that her son, Evan - a boy of elementary<br />

school age, had considered the dog <strong>hi</strong>s best friend. I immediately knew<br />

t<strong>hi</strong>s project was the one I had been waiting for.”<br />

When Mankis reached out to Kelley, informing her that she had been<br />

chosen, he was gifted with a backstory w<strong>hi</strong>ch put even the most ar<strong>res</strong>ting<br />

Hollywood storylines to shame.<br />

“Charlie was a dog that Kelley and her husband <strong>res</strong>cued after struggling<br />

with infertility for years. Almost immediately after <strong>res</strong>cuing Charlie, the<br />

dog wouldn’t leave Kelley’s stomach area.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> couple was astonished to learn that, after years of unsuccessful<br />

attempts, Kelley was pregnant. But, t<strong>hi</strong>s story took an even more poignant<br />

turn.<br />

“After Evan was born, she and her husband realized he had minor<br />

developmental problems w<strong>hi</strong>ch affected <strong>hi</strong>s social interactions. Charlie<br />

was a godsend because their bond was so primal and unique. I could<br />

actually feel it through the images of them together.”<br />

With the emotional impact from the experience still evident in <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

voice, Mankis shared with me what happened next: “I mailed the painting<br />

to Kelley, and soon realized how life-changing it was for her family. She<br />

<strong>res</strong>ponded with a picture Evan had drawn for me, along with a tearjerking<br />

letter.”<br />

Playing a role in the story of Evan and Charlie has gone down in<br />

<strong>hi</strong>story as one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling experiences of Mankis’<br />

artistic life. But, again, <strong>hi</strong>s perspective is even more awe-inspiring than <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

talent is extraordinary.<br />

“Again, I’m the lucky one here. I don’t care what your race, religion,<br />

beliefs or dreams are. <strong>The</strong>re is not<strong>hi</strong>ng more rewarding than using your<br />

gifts to spread kindness.”<br />


BY IT, TOO<br />

As our interview began to conclude, I asked what was next for t<strong>hi</strong>s<br />

generous and talented human being.<br />

“I’ve just released my e-book and hardcover coffee table photo book,<br />

w<strong>hi</strong>ch are the same in terms of content. I see t<strong>hi</strong>s as being a powerful tool<br />

for years to come.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> books contain Mankis’ most compelling stories, various methods<br />

he uses to channel creativity as weIl as the sources of inspiration w<strong>hi</strong>ch<br />

have most impacted <strong>hi</strong>s artistry.<br />

“All of the proceeds will go directly to my mission, w<strong>hi</strong>ch is to<br />

continue listening to inspiration so that I can use my gift for the purpose<br />

of blessing others.”<br />

To learn more about Mankis’ noble mission, go to:<br />

http://gregmankis.design/<br />





Beverly Carmichael is <strong>res</strong>ponsible for leading more than 72,000<br />

employees across the country every time her shadow darkens the<br />

door of her office located on the 98-acre campus headquarters<br />

of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. in Lebanon, Tenn. As<br />

C<strong>hi</strong>ef People Officer and Senior Vice P<strong>res</strong>ident of the organization<br />

since 2014, her career is comprised of 25 successful years serving as a leader<br />

in human <strong>res</strong>ources and as a labor and employment attorney.<br />

During our hour-long discussion, it became transparently clear<br />

that, w<strong>hi</strong>le Carmichael’s credentials may be extensive and scholastically<br />

imp<strong>res</strong>sive, she has mastered the art of somet<strong>hi</strong>ng quite simple, yet<br />

oftentimes elusive and unpredictable: Effectively connecting with people.<br />

As she spoke with fondness for her experiences, she organically brought<br />

forth tokens of wisdom from the vault of her career. I identified three<br />

fundamental principles - each crafted from the well of her most compelling<br />

trials and victories - and now thread through the fabric of her every undertaking.<br />

1 Be Authentic<br />

If she is preac<strong>hi</strong>ng the importance of it, she is well-acquainted with the<br />

value of it. In fact, she is already adhering to it.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> most essential trait in leaders<strong>hi</strong>p is being authentic,” said<br />

Carmichael. “You must lead by example if you wish to be effective. You’re<br />

not judged by what you say, you’re judged by what you do.”<br />

2 Never Be Too Busy to Make Time For People.<br />

Carmichael has spent the vast majority of her life rooted in an intimate<br />

understanding of t<strong>hi</strong>s concept. When she was seven years old, her mother<br />

died of a sudden illness - leaving be<strong>hi</strong>nd a grieving husband and three small<br />

c<strong>hi</strong>ldren. In the aftermath of such tragedy, she became schooled on the<br />

importance of people “showing up” for other people as demonstrated by<br />

the outpouring of support she and her family were shown.<br />


“A People Person”<br />

Having tucked such experience securely inside, Carmichael now draws<br />

upon it each time a fellow employee needs her. “One of the greatest gifts<br />

we can give to others is the gift of our time. By either doing so or not doing<br />

so, we communicate their value.”<br />

3 Empower People by Expanding<br />

<strong>The</strong>ir View of <strong>The</strong>mselves.<br />

Prior to joining Cracker Barrel, she spent ten years employed by<br />

Southwest Airlines - the first six serving as legal counsel. It was not until her<br />

boss mentioned the possibility of Carmichael as a possible successor to lead<br />

the human <strong>res</strong>ources department at Southwest that she began feeding and<br />

watering such idea. A seed was planted during that conversation and, when<br />

the ideal opportunity p<strong>res</strong>ented itself, she boldly stepped into that role in a<br />



YOU DO<br />

new profession, a profession in w<strong>hi</strong>ch she continues to flourish.<br />

She is now paying it forward - committed to expanding the vision of<br />

every individual who looks to her for guidance.<br />

“I never would have considered a career in human <strong>res</strong>ources had the<br />

idea not been p<strong>res</strong>ented to me. I pride myself on helping others consider<br />

opportunities they would not have considered on their own - by showing<br />

them strengths they are unable to identify in themselves. In doing so, new<br />

doors open and lives can be forever changed.”<br />


Welcoming<br />

Diversity<br />

At Cracker Barrel Old Country Store ® , we t<strong>hi</strong>nk a key to our success<br />

is welcoming diversity in our company, our country sto<strong>res</strong>,<br />

our <strong>res</strong>taurants, and our communities.<br />

crackerbarrel.com • ©<br />

2012 CBOCS Properties, Inc.



Old School vs. New School<br />


Get out there. Put yourself out there. Go on, and just jump out<br />

there... and network. You know you’ve heard t<strong>hi</strong>s advice<br />

before, and if you have been in any sort of professional<br />

or group based position, (secretly admit) you fully realize<br />

the significance of networking. <strong>The</strong> blatant truth is that in<br />

order to expand your circle and knowledge base... you have to do it.<br />

If you haven’t actively or consciously networked in aw<strong>hi</strong>le, you may<br />

be used to the traditional means of mixing it up at (hence the word)<br />

“mixers” or “get-together” functions, conventions, or other forms of<br />

networking where a person meets others and discusses information face-toface.<br />

T<strong>hi</strong>s conventional format of meeting others has now been seemingly<br />

steamrolled and ostensibly diminished by the onset and domination of<br />

the technological/digital platform of social media websites and forums.<br />

Personal profile pages, video chat services, email, interactive webinars, and<br />

telephone availability are all now a touchscreen tap away from the diligent<br />

and avid networker--w<strong>hi</strong>ch is amazingly magical for some, yet terrifyingly<br />

overwhelming to others. <strong>The</strong> battle between these two techniques has<br />

become the professional conundrum of the day. Is the old school mode of<br />

networking outdated, or is the new school option the only way to go from<br />

here? Let’s visit the pros and cons of networking, compare traditional means<br />

to newer options, and see w<strong>hi</strong>ch method packs the strongest punch overall!<br />

Contenders, to your corners, and let the battle begin!<br />


PROS:<br />

• <strong>The</strong> personal connection of actually meeting someone is significant in<br />

helping the brain to retain a name and remember the relevance of a contact.<br />

Scientific <strong>res</strong>earch commissioned by Cornell University and the sales and<br />

business institute Maritz found that “stimuli from face-to-face meetings<br />

creates novelty w<strong>hi</strong>ch helps the memory form a stronger connection for<br />

retention.” Author of the <strong>res</strong>earch study’s analysis, Mary Beth McEuen,<br />

further contests that personal connection produces a “level of engagement<br />

needed to unlock the potential wit<strong>hi</strong>n [people].”<br />

• Face-to-face encounters help to nurture and improve universal social<br />

skills w<strong>hi</strong>ch are inevitably needed once a connection has been established.<br />

• Chemistry is real. Deals, partners<strong>hi</strong>ps, mentors<strong>hi</strong>ps, and even longterm<br />

business friends<strong>hi</strong>ps have all been formed over whether or not<br />

people have <strong>hi</strong>t it off (or not). Never unde<strong>res</strong>timate the power of scientific<br />

attraction and compatibility!<br />

• Trust may be built over a conversation. Intuition plays a major role<br />

in meeting and endorsing a contact. People tend to refer others to people<br />

whom they trust or have met in some sort of personal capacity.<br />

• Old school networking may actually produce faster <strong>res</strong>ults than<br />

waiting on forging an online connection. Face-to-face interaction does not<br />

have to contend with buffering, wait time, acceptance of contact request,<br />

or delayed feedback.<br />

• Free food.<br />

CONS:<br />

• Preparing for face-to-face functions can sometimes be time consuming...<br />

Adequate scheduling to accommodate the time spent is a must, and it is one<br />

more t<strong>hi</strong>ng to accomplish on the to-do list.<br />

• Unfortunately, professional image is everyt<strong>hi</strong>ng; attire, hygiene,<br />

disposition--overall appearance--should be <strong>hi</strong>gh priorities when networking<br />

at a function. <strong>The</strong> best foot better arrive first, or the other one will be<br />

remembered.<br />

• <strong>The</strong> face-to-face process of meeting others may sometimes be limited<br />

in scope and potential diversity if you have not taken the initiative to<br />

<strong>res</strong>earch and invite new contacts beforehand. Certain fields and areas of<br />

expertise are small and close-knit, so contact overlap is likely to happen.<br />

• <strong>The</strong>re is an art to meeting others. <strong>The</strong> great t<strong>hi</strong>ng is that the art may be<br />

taught and learned; the not-so-good t<strong>hi</strong>ng is that one has to be willing to<br />

practice in order to hone the skill.<br />


PROS:<br />

• T<strong>hi</strong>s format is a solid support player. It is a fantastic tool to use in<br />

conjunction with face-to-face networking as a follow-up supplement.<br />

Reinforcement of the connection is how loyalty is established.<br />

• Although social networking can sometimes be a prevalent and everlooming<br />

force, it is an excellent platform for introverts!<br />

• Technology and its advancements have made networking more<br />

convenient and accessible to the masses despite time and location.<br />

• <strong>The</strong>re is a greater access to a larger range of initial connections. Internet<br />

searches allow most contact information to be located, and persistence can<br />

frequently ensure that the connection is eventually established.<br />

CONS:<br />

• <strong>The</strong> personal element of networking is lost in translation. W<strong>hi</strong>le video<br />

communications are becoming more common and most social media<br />

platforms now offer some capacity for video, they are void of the intimacy<br />

that comes from face-to-face interaction. Likewise, typed words lack the<br />

tone, emotion, and physical posturing wit<strong>hi</strong>n their delivery; networking is<br />

not the time to have an initial imp<strong>res</strong>sion misconstrued.<br />

• Social networking forums constantly foster competition instead of<br />

compatibility and conduct with “followers”, “friends”, and “likes”. <strong>The</strong>re’s<br />

already plenty of demand to perform in the actual work arena, and social<br />

networking formats may add a layer of unwanted additional p<strong>res</strong>sure to<br />



keep up with or exceed their peers’ contact counts across multiple platforms.<br />

• <strong>The</strong>re is a lack of privacy to being available to the open public at any<br />

time or place via constant connection to social forums and the influx of<br />

various notifications.<br />


<strong>The</strong> referee weighs in... old school networking wins! Virtual reality<br />

is just that--virtual--and not<strong>hi</strong>ng beats the real t<strong>hi</strong>ng. Networking expert,<br />

Sunny Bray, is a “<strong>Connect</strong>or” well-versed in the practice of effectively<br />

connecting individuals. As the Nashville Director for Network Under 40,<br />

Ms. Bray manages a wide variety of networking components everyday,<br />

and she admits that there are several pitfalls to solely relying upon new<br />

school methods of networking. <strong>The</strong> old school capacity of face-to-face<br />

networking is tried and true, and Ms. Bray attests to the fact that “It’s<br />

essential in everyone’s life.” According to Ms. Bray, the strength of the initial<br />

personal connection is vital in building relations<strong>hi</strong>ps, w<strong>hi</strong>ch ironically, are<br />

paramount for professional survival. It’s important to fortify your network<br />

by surrounding yourself with strong individuals. However, if old school<br />

networking is not your preference, there are a couple of practices that Ms.<br />

Bray suggests incorporating into your bag of face-to-face tricks. Use the<br />

buddy system to overcome nervousness during functions; take a friend or<br />

colleague to introduce to others. Introductions break the ice and are surefire<br />

ways of sparking conversation. Another practice is to make others feel<br />

comfortable as you attempt to comfort yourself. Kindness goes a long way,<br />

so engage others as you hope and wish others to engage you. <strong>The</strong> gloves are<br />

off, and ultimately, our referee definitively asserts that people shortchange<br />

themselves if they fail to integrate authentic, face-to-face networking.<br />

In step with the “work smarter, not harder” movement, allow your skills<br />

of networking to work for you. At the end of the day, there really should be<br />

no conflict of methods—in fact, it’s adv antageous to employ some mix of<br />

BOTH schools of thought. It’s up to you to successfully grow your <strong>res</strong>ources,<br />

and you are your best asset. So, mix; go forth, and mingle... and stow a<br />

breath mint in your pocket just in case you need it! Okay... You’ve got t<strong>hi</strong>s!<br />


- http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/<strong>res</strong>earch/chr/pubs/<br />

perspective/20<strong>11</strong>.html<br />

- https://shacornell.edu/centers-institutes/chr/about/news/p<strong>res</strong>s/<br />

prdetails.html?id=796<br />

- smallbiztrends.com/20<strong>11</strong>/04/face-to-face-meetings-matter.html<br />

- forbes.com/2010/04/20/how-to-remember-names-entrepreneurshuman-<strong>res</strong>ources-remember-names.html<br />






T<strong>hi</strong>s question is one of utmost inte<strong>res</strong>t to me; in that it<br />

focuses on where we were, where we are, and where<br />

we will be ultimately. <strong>The</strong> Unites States of America is<br />

confronted with trying times. Most of our trials come<br />

from the political climate wherein we see ourselves<br />

today. Our greatness as a nation has not paled. We are strong in<br />

economics, military, education, refinement, engineering science,<br />

religious, commercial enterprise and industry. It has been stated by one<br />

of the individuals running for p<strong>res</strong>ident, “Let us make America great<br />

again.” That thought p<strong>res</strong>upposes that we are weak. Truth is, when we<br />

see the economy of other so called great nations, the position is not as<br />

great as ours. So the question arises, what happened to the great America<br />

of our forefathers? I submit again that those who have made politics<br />

their lifestyle and their method by w<strong>hi</strong>ch they ac<strong>hi</strong>eve their goals, have<br />

walked away from our core values, core beliefs, and core competencies.<br />

<strong>The</strong> t<strong>hi</strong>ngs that made us great are yet with us. <strong>The</strong> t<strong>hi</strong>ngs that make<br />

us weak are creeping into our mindset. We have a black p<strong>res</strong>ident<br />

who was elected by our diverse population. Unfortunately, we have a<br />

cong<strong>res</strong>s, predominately w<strong>hi</strong>te, that refuses to <strong>res</strong>pect and/or work with<br />

<strong>hi</strong>m. Bigotry, racism, gender discrimination, and economic deprivation<br />

have forced people to align themselves with those who have little or<br />

no regard for the truth that will free us and empower our nation to<br />

maintain its place in our world. We must return to the ways of the Holy<br />

Writ. We must honor and <strong>res</strong>pect our Constitution. We must adhere to<br />

the laws of our land and make sure that every segment of our society<br />

obeys and is willing to enforce the laws that we have.<br />

People are better today than they were eight years ago, yet there is<br />

tension in America. <strong>The</strong>re is some sense of uncertainty and there is a<br />

lack of community. Where we are now is not a great deal different than<br />

where we were when Governor Otto Kerner (Illinois) wrote about a<br />

country of two societies moving further apart; racial isolation in public<br />

schools and the disparate treatment of some of our citizens. Throughout<br />

the sixties to the p<strong>res</strong>ent, we rise in stature and we still rise, but we have<br />

these problems that we are unwilling to add<strong>res</strong>s and solve. We <strong>hi</strong>de our<br />

heads in the sand and pretend that problems don’t exist; they do. <strong>The</strong><br />

obvious question, then, is why? I believe that we have replaced God and<br />

the love for <strong>hi</strong>m with our social and sexual desi<strong>res</strong>. We have become<br />

a nation that our wors<strong>hi</strong>p on Sunday is in a stadium, arenas or field<br />

houses, w<strong>hi</strong>le we watch our favorite sports.<br />

I love sports, and enjoy going to games. I don’t believe that our love<br />

for anyt<strong>hi</strong>ng should ever replace and /or diminish our love for God.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re is a scripture in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that informs us how to affect<br />

positive change. “If my people, w<strong>hi</strong>ch are called by my name, shall<br />

humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their<br />

wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin,<br />

and will heal their land.”<br />

America, we are great, but we can become greater. Our forefathers<br />

started it. Let us not end it; rather let us make it better for all people.<br />

With God in us and with our love for Him and His principles, we can<br />

go forward spiritually in a placement in t<strong>hi</strong>s world never reached before.<br />

Where is the great America we ask? It is in our Constitution; our<br />

laws; our industry; education; business; healthcare; arts; culture; etc.<br />

We need to invite the Lord into all facets of our nation; especially our<br />

churches. Let Him reign in our hearts, our churches, and in the areas of<br />

the aforementioned, and we will remain the America, the land of the<br />

free and the home of the brave.<br />



MAN TO<br />

MAN<br />

Shan Foster is<br />

Committed to<br />

Changing our<br />

Attitudes toward<br />

Women and<br />

Stopping the Violence<br />

Before It Starts.<br />


“Statistically across our country, 1 of every 4 women experience<br />

domestic violence in their lifetime, and 1 of every 5 experience sexual<br />

assault or rape before the age of 18. Three women die daily at the hands of<br />

a man who says he loves her and 15.5 million c<strong>hi</strong>ldren witness domestic<br />

violence in the United States.” www.mendusa.org.<br />

From the Vanderbilt rape trials and the recent convictions of<br />

ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner and ex-NFL player Darren<br />

Sharperto the controversy surrounding Nate Parker, the<br />

writer, director, and star of the <strong>2016</strong> Sundance Grand Jury<br />

Prize and Audience Award winner, <strong>The</strong> Birth of a Nation, the<br />

list of incidents involving or related to sexual assault goes on and on.<br />

Through it all, it has become glaringly apparent that society as a whole has<br />

neglected to add<strong>res</strong>s somet<strong>hi</strong>ng very important: our relations<strong>hi</strong>p to and<br />

our treatment of women.<br />

With that being said, one man is taking the initiative and making it <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

business to challenge us all to do better.<br />

Shan Foster, a former professional basketball player,2008 SEC Player<br />

of the Year, and all-time leading scorer at Vanderbilt University, chose to<br />

leave <strong>hi</strong>s playing days be<strong>hi</strong>nd in search of “purpose”, and found it in the<br />

spring of 2015. When he became the director of Mend, an organization<br />

whose name is a combination of the words “men” and “end”, the<br />

proverbial stars had aligned. With their objective being to combat the<br />

increasingly widespread epidemic of violence against women and girls<br />

by engaging and empowering their counterparts, young men and boys,<br />

to actively be a part of the solution. For Shan, t<strong>hi</strong>s was a mission close to<br />

<strong>hi</strong>s heart.<br />

Shan was raised by both <strong>hi</strong>s grandmotherand <strong>hi</strong>smother, a single<br />


woman, who for a period of time, went to school w<strong>hi</strong>le working two jobs<br />

to sustain <strong>hi</strong>m and <strong>hi</strong>s siblings. He watched <strong>hi</strong>s mom persevere, sacrifice,<br />

and even deal with abuse in her own life. Whether it was a life lesson or<br />

learning how to shoot hoops, a woman was there. From an early age, he<br />

has held women in the <strong>hi</strong>ghest regard.<br />

“We were not wealthy. We didn’t have a lot, but I had an opportunity<br />

to see my mother struggle, and I had the opportunity to share in that<br />

struggle, to help in that struggle and to grow up in that struggle.”<br />

Shan’s personal mission to increase awareness and accountability<br />

begins with challenging the cultural norms perpetuated in our society as<br />

well as the sometimes mixed, and often blatantly, misogynistic influences<br />

that permeate the media and popular culture. He suggests that part of<br />

the problem is that we live in a society where t<strong>hi</strong>s type of violence takes<br />

place, and most people stay quiet about it. <strong>The</strong>y continue to support the<br />

artists, buy the music, books, and art of those who perpetrate violence or<br />

participate in the wide range of behaviors that constitute abuse towards<br />

women; our culture supports it. Adamant about changing our t<strong>hi</strong>nking<br />

in these regards, Shan challenges us to ask ourselves why pornograp<strong>hi</strong>c<br />

content and in some cases suggestive or misogynistic videos may get over<br />

a million views on YouTube, but a conversation about ending violence<br />

and engaging men to teach our boys and sons differently is an inherently<br />

difficult topic.<br />

“We believe violence against girls cannot end unless men become a<br />

part of the solution.“<br />

Whether it’s accusations of failure to investigate rape allegations<br />

at Baylor University(www.espn.com), or the case of the University of<br />

Tennessee (Knoxville) football team accused of assaulting one of their<br />

own teammates for assisting an alleged rape victim in filing a complaint,<br />

Shan is deeply troubled. However, he knows the work he is doing with<br />

Mend will ultimately save lives.<br />

Mend has regular programming for young men of middle school and<br />

<strong>hi</strong>gh school ages. <strong>The</strong>y also recognize a specific need for engaging athletes<br />

of the same age, as all too often, locker room culture can be a dangerous<br />

breeding ground for cavalier attitudes towards women and could easily<br />

<strong>res</strong>ult in violence over time. However, with that, they know that if they<br />

can reach these imp<strong>res</strong>sionable young men at an early age, they can<br />

effectively educate them on their roles and <strong>res</strong>ponsibilities, producing a<br />

positive impact, and in effect, lead the charge for change.<br />

In t<strong>hi</strong>s way, Shan utilizes <strong>hi</strong>s skill and influence as a successful athlete<br />

to make a difference in the community, and extends the message of Mend<br />

to the young athletes he trains and coaches by constantly encouraging<br />

them to be successful both personally and professionally.<br />

“One t<strong>hi</strong>ng I always share with my kids is that a very small percentage<br />

of them have a chance of being professional athletes, but 100% of them<br />

have a chance to be good men.”<br />

As communities and companies become more aware of the gender<br />

inequalities existing in both private and professional settings, the call for<br />

a fundamental cultural s<strong>hi</strong>ft is increasingly necessary. Whether it’s the<br />

enforcement of employee conduct codes, such as sexual harassment, or<br />

add<strong>res</strong>sing wage disparities as they apply to gender, it’s important the next<br />

generation of male leaders be equipped with the sensitivity and courage to<br />

create a more just and equitable society alongside their female counterparts.<br />

Shan and Mend are radically changing the way boys and men view<br />

domestic violence and sexual assault against girls and women in our<br />

communities. For more information, please visit www.mendusa.org, and<br />

watch the Spoken Cinema.<br />





A<br />

little girl colors and waits<br />

patiently for her food, w<strong>hi</strong>le<br />

the heavyset man beside her<br />

fights a losing battle with<br />

the sandman. He wakes up,<br />

mumbles somet<strong>hi</strong>ng to her, she nods and<br />

wit<strong>hi</strong>n seconds, he drifts back into <strong>hi</strong>s slumber.<br />

T<strong>hi</strong>s happens over and over again, like a ritual.<br />

Another man wipes sweat from <strong>hi</strong>s brow as<br />

he devours what looks to be c<strong>hi</strong>cken from the<br />

hotter end of the menu’s spectrum. <strong>The</strong>n there<br />

are two men (both from Austin, Texas) visiting<br />

Music City for the first time, one on business<br />

and the other for pleasure. <strong>The</strong>se two men don’t<br />

know each other but had both searched some<br />

variation of “best place to eat in Nashville” and<br />

Google lead them to East Nashville – 123 Ewing<br />

Dr. – Prince’s, the Mecca of hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken.<br />

Standing in Nashville’s <strong>hi</strong>storic Prince’s<br />

Hot C<strong>hi</strong>cken Shack, you can’t help but notice<br />

customers from all walks of life. <strong>The</strong>y are<br />

young, old, black, w<strong>hi</strong>te, Asian, Hispanic,<br />

neighborhood <strong>res</strong>idents and tourists. Some of<br />

them are first-timers and others stop in multiple<br />

times a week. <strong>The</strong>y’re different but one t<strong>hi</strong>ng<br />

they have in common is, they are hungry for<br />

some tasty, legendary hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken.<br />

<strong>The</strong> space is small. <strong>The</strong>re are more hungry<br />

customers than seats so some people are<br />

forcedto stand as they wait in anticipation. <strong>The</strong><br />

atmosphere is down home and familial. <strong>The</strong><br />

floor and tablecloths are checkered. <strong>The</strong>re are<br />

metal c<strong>hi</strong>ckens placed about the room. <strong>The</strong><br />

walls are adorned with a written <strong>hi</strong>story of<br />

the monumental establishment – publication<br />


articles (the New York Times and the Nashville<br />

Scene), certificates (one for “Excellence,”<br />

bestowed upon the <strong>res</strong>taurant by Trip Advisor)<br />

and other accolades such as a banner from Steve<br />

Harvey’s 2009 Hoodie Awards.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are two black, flat screen televisions<br />

mounted on the wall. One of them is off and<br />

the other is playing CBS News. A segment on<br />

the dissolution of Brangelina plays but no one<br />

is paying attention. Four gray-haired, black<br />

women sit in a booth, too busy talking, laug<strong>hi</strong>ng<br />

and licking their fingers to be concerned with<br />

yet another Hollywood divorce. A teenage<br />

girl smiles into her Iphone, likely at a text or a<br />

video message she received on Snapchat from<br />

her bestie. It’s about 5:30 p.m. on a Tuesday<br />

evening and business is booming. Many of the<br />

customers seem to be stopping in after their<br />

s<strong>hi</strong>fts at their <strong>res</strong>pective jobs. <strong>The</strong>re’s a woman<br />

who appears to be a CNA, a construction<br />

worker, a Vanderbilt employee and a barber<br />

from a couple of doors down.<br />

A young man in <strong>hi</strong>s 20’s, d<strong>res</strong>sed in a w<strong>hi</strong>te<br />

T-s<strong>hi</strong>rt and a tan hat, comes out of the kitchen every<br />

few seconds and calls out the winning numbers.<br />

“T<strong>hi</strong>rty-eight,” he says. “Ticket number<br />

t<strong>hi</strong>rty-eight.” It’s like the lotto, only the prize<br />

is world-renowned hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken and everyone<br />

with a ticket in hand is a winner.<br />

I originally start my interview with owner<br />

Ms. André Prince Jeffries in the kitchen, sitting<br />

on two black milk crates in front of the ice<br />

mac<strong>hi</strong>ne, watc<strong>hi</strong>ng the magic happen. Above<br />

the ice mac<strong>hi</strong>ne is a collage of what looks to<br />

be old family photos, all covered with a t<strong>hi</strong>n<br />

layerof c<strong>hi</strong>cken grease that permeates the air.<br />

Before I get to my first question, Ms. André,<br />

a sweet, humble soul who has seen 70 years of<br />

life (almost 40 of w<strong>hi</strong>ch has been spent running<br />

Prince’s), asks about me. I tell her about my small<br />

town Kentucky upbringing and my undergraduate<br />

days as a Music Business-turned-Sociology student<br />

at Middle Tennessee State University.<br />

<strong>The</strong> sound of c<strong>hi</strong>cken frying, busy cooks<br />

bustling about and a cas<strong>hi</strong>er taking orders proved<br />

to be too much so we move the conversation<br />

into the customer seating area.<br />

Though quieter, the room is still filled with<br />

the sound of friends laug<strong>hi</strong>ng and strangers<br />

making small talk as they wait for their numbers<br />

to be called.<br />

“Number 45,” the young man calls out.<br />

Though the family name is Prince, Ms.<br />

André is the queen of hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken. Started by her<br />

great-uncle Thorton Prince over 80 years ago to<br />

supplement family income, the <strong>res</strong>taurant was<br />

originally called the Barbecue C<strong>hi</strong>cken Shack.<br />

It was open from 6 p.m. to midnight, after<br />

Thorton got off from <strong>hi</strong>s day job.<br />

As rumor or speculation would have it,<br />

Thorton had a girlfriend who was angry with<br />

<strong>hi</strong>m and put hot spices on <strong>hi</strong>s c<strong>hi</strong>cken to get<br />

back at <strong>hi</strong>m for <strong>hi</strong>s infidelity. <strong>The</strong> alleged<br />

intentions of a woman scorned backfired and<br />

proved to be just what the <strong>res</strong>taurant needed.<br />

Ms. André credits t<strong>hi</strong>s nameless woman for<br />

helping the <strong>res</strong>taurant find its niche.<br />

After Thorton’s passing, the business was<br />

passed around in the family for years before<br />

unexpectedly landing in Ms. André’s lap, at her


mother’s behest. “She wanted me to able to pay<br />

more than one bill,” she chuckles.<br />

At the time, Ms. André, who holds a degree<br />

in Biology from Tennessee State University,<br />

wasn’t looking to get into the family business,<br />

but she gave it a shot. She changed the name to<br />

Prince’s and kept up the tradition of opening<br />

it at 6 p.m. w<strong>hi</strong>le still working for Metro<br />

during the day. Maintaining both jobs became<br />

too overbearing, so Ms. André had to make a<br />

decision. Taste buds all over the world are<br />

grateful she chose hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken.<br />

When asked about the current hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken<br />

craze, Ms. André seems proud of the impact she<br />

and her family’s small business has had locally<br />

and globally. She’s been asked to open sto<strong>res</strong><br />

in Dubai, Europe, and Italy, “among other<br />

places”. Hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken <strong>res</strong>taurants like Hattie B’s<br />

and others before it have spread like wildfire.<br />

Even <strong>res</strong>taurant chains like KFC serve their own<br />

brands of hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken.<br />

Ms. An dré doesn’t appear to be at all<br />

threatened by the ever-increasing competition<br />

and seems to talk about them all with a sense<br />

of pride and appreciation. She welcomes hot<br />

c<strong>hi</strong>cken’s widespread popularity.<br />

<strong>The</strong> competition doesn’t seem to be<br />

affecting business.<br />

“<strong>The</strong>y might go and try it, but they’re<br />

coming back to the best,” she laughs. “We are<br />

the original.”<br />

And she’s not just saying that. According<br />

to Ms. André, there was a study conducted at<br />

Harvard that determined her family was the first<br />

in the country to sell hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken.<br />

She also doesn’t seem to be worried about<br />

gentrification, noting that mom-and-pops,<br />

w<strong>hi</strong>ch she refers to as “the foundation of<br />

America,” have always had it harder. Though<br />

she’s fully aware of how big business can<br />

swoop in and steal the life of a mom and pop,<br />

she isn’t concerned about the future of her<br />

establishment. Her objective was always to “pay<br />

at least one bill” and “keep somet<strong>hi</strong>ng in the<br />

family,” w<strong>hi</strong>ch she is still successfully doing.<br />

“Number 71,” calls out the young man<br />

from be<strong>hi</strong>nd the counter.<br />

“I t<strong>hi</strong>nk people like smaller places. It’s<br />

more intimate. When you start franc<strong>hi</strong>sing,<br />

somet<strong>hi</strong>ng is going to be left out of the recipe.<br />

It’s not going to be as passionate as it once was.<br />

It’s not as hands-on,” she says.<br />

When asked how she’s been able to sustain,<br />

she doesn’t take any credit. “Just Jesus,” she says<br />

with a smile, “Just Jesus and not me myself,<br />

because I stand on the shoulders of all those<br />

who have gone before me.”<br />

One t<strong>hi</strong>ng Ms. André credits herself for<br />

is adding variety to the hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken recipe to<br />

appeal to more people. When her uncle was<br />

running the business, the hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken only<br />

came one way, w<strong>hi</strong>ch is now known as the<br />

<strong>res</strong>taurant’s mild flavor. Now she also has Plain,<br />

Medium, Hot, XXHot and XXXHot.<br />

Although she prefers what she likes to calls<br />

her “pothole hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken shack,” business<br />

has recently expanded to include a second,<br />

larger location on the corner of Old Hickory<br />

Boulevard and Nolensville Road, w<strong>hi</strong>ch is run<br />

by her godson Mario Hambrick and her first<br />

cook Michael Alexander.<br />

She mentions that people come from all<br />

over the world, including Africa and Europe. A<br />

man who owns a <strong>res</strong>taurant in California flew<br />

<strong>hi</strong>s staff there to eat. Even after 40 years in the<br />

business, these t<strong>hi</strong>ngs still amaze her.<br />

“I had no idea I would be in it t<strong>hi</strong>s long. I<br />

didn’t even cook at home,” she later adds with<br />

a laugh. “I can’t believe I’m still here.”<br />

Ms. André says she’s noticed that more<br />

women tend to eat hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken than men, and<br />

pregnant woman who are overdue often use it<br />

to induce labor. She says these babies typically<br />

come the next day, if not wit<strong>hi</strong>n hours.<br />

She says her hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken is also used to clear<br />

up sinuses and as an aphrodisiac.<br />

“It affects people in different ways,” she<br />

says before adding, “I’ve got some very faithful<br />

customers. Some of them come everyday.”<br />

Ms. André gets to know many of her regulars<br />

and hears some rather inte<strong>res</strong>ting stories. <strong>The</strong>re’s<br />

the man who eats <strong>hi</strong>s hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken in a tub full<br />

of cold water, the woman who comes by nearly<br />

everyday to get hot c<strong>hi</strong>cken for her three dogs<br />

and claims it makes their coats s<strong>hi</strong>ny and pretty,<br />

or even the woman who has a car seat exclusively<br />

for her bag of c<strong>hi</strong>cken. She even buckles it up.<br />

With such popularity, the future seems bright<br />

for Prince’s and I don’t<br />

t<strong>hi</strong>nk she’s going have to<br />

worry about “trying to<br />

pay at least one bill.”<br />

MS. ANDRÉ<br />




Those of us born in the U.S. often marvel at stories of individuals<br />

who have travelled from far and wide to stake their claim<br />

in the “American Dream”. In many cases, immigrants to<br />

t<strong>hi</strong>s country have accepted and endured what many natives<br />

would consider unimaginable. From leaving their families<br />

be<strong>hi</strong>nd to surviving the often-cramped living quarters and eighty-hour<br />

workweeks they endure, immigrants are forced to explore many existential<br />

queries early in their passages. <strong>The</strong> knowledge and confidence acquired<br />

from surmounting these hards<strong>hi</strong>ps seemingly equip them with a viewpoint<br />

that benefits them in whatever endeavor they choose to engage.<br />

Abdul Qaiyum, CEO and Co-Owner of Merz Apothecary in C<strong>hi</strong>cago,<br />

Illinois, is a living testament to the opportunity that is America. Born in<br />

India in 1946, Abdul’s family moved to Pakistan when he was a young boy.<br />

He was a good student and after finis<strong>hi</strong>ng school there, he was permitted<br />

to continue <strong>hi</strong>s studies in the U.S. <strong>The</strong> day he departed was filled with<br />

uncertainty (as were many other days), as he so vividly recalls, “I had never<br />

been away from home. I lived a very sheltered life. I was a protected kid.”<br />

When he boarded the Alitalia airliner headed to <strong>hi</strong>s final destination of<br />

C<strong>hi</strong>cago, IL, he admits, it <strong>hi</strong>t <strong>hi</strong>m hard and still does to t<strong>hi</strong>s day. “On the<br />

plane, I’m crying. I’m missing my mom. I could cry right now. I was in<br />

tears. I’m going somewhere, I don’t know where.” Arriving in C<strong>hi</strong>cago, he<br />

was greeted by a place far different than any he had previously encountered.<br />

“I had never seen an escalator. I had never seen tall buildings. I had never<br />

seen revolving doors. I had never seen snow. I had never seen… I just<br />

never felt the cold that I was going to experience.” It was December 1965.<br />

“Life wasn’t that great, it was a trying time.”<br />

Prior to <strong>hi</strong>s departure, it had been agreed that <strong>hi</strong>s family would provide<br />

three months’ worth of living expenses, and so the proverbial clock was<br />

ticking. Having completed the journey and with school arrangements<br />

made, Abdul s<strong>hi</strong>fted <strong>hi</strong>s focus to how he would sustain <strong>hi</strong>mself at the<br />

end of the agreed upon period. He found a job that allowed <strong>hi</strong>m to work<br />

a few hours each week. However, upon arrival, Abdul discovered that<br />

<strong>hi</strong>s student status legally pro<strong>hi</strong>bited <strong>hi</strong>m from working. Unfortunately,<br />

for reasons unknown, one of <strong>hi</strong>s peers had reported <strong>hi</strong>m as “working”.<br />

He would need a letter from a student advisor to make <strong>hi</strong>m eligible to<br />

work. With three months coming to an end, he visited the immigration<br />

office with <strong>hi</strong>s letter in hand. <strong>The</strong>y stamped <strong>hi</strong>s passport and gave <strong>hi</strong>m<br />

ninety days to leave the country unless their stipulations were met.<br />

Ultimately, after acquiring additional documentation (including<br />

a letter from <strong>hi</strong>s father in w<strong>hi</strong>ch he committed to covering Abdul’s<br />

expenses for the <strong>res</strong>t of <strong>hi</strong>s education), Abdul was cleared to stay. He<br />

admits knowing <strong>hi</strong>s parents couldn’t afford the expenditure at the<br />

time, but he had to get the letter, and he did. <strong>The</strong> immigration office<br />

determined that he could remain and continue <strong>hi</strong>s schooling, but with<br />

work no longer being an option, t<strong>hi</strong>s period of <strong>hi</strong>s life was particularly<br />

demanding. “<strong>The</strong>re were nights when I didn’t eat. I had no food.” He<br />

admits that, at the time, he wasn’t sure how or if he would make it.<br />

Although, upon further reflection, he so wisely summarizes these trials,<br />

“Time flies. I don’t t<strong>hi</strong>nk I would ever change anyt<strong>hi</strong>ng.”<br />

Invariably, that first year passed; on the strength of <strong>hi</strong>s good grades,<br />

he was now permitted to work, and work he did. Abdul continues, “<strong>The</strong>y<br />

gave me permission to work up to twenty hours a week. T<strong>hi</strong>ngs became<br />


etter for me.” T<strong>hi</strong>s was only the beginning. As he was granted more<br />

and more liberty to work, he took full advantage of the opportunity,<br />

working as many as t<strong>hi</strong>rty hours a week on weekends w<strong>hi</strong>le going to<br />

school full time; he oftentimes worked two additional full-time jobs<br />

during the summer as well. “Yes, at times it seemed like it was going to<br />

kill me,” but he goes on, “I persevered.” <strong>The</strong> struggle gave <strong>hi</strong>m strength.<br />

By 1972, Abdul was a certified pharmacist and had come a long<br />

way from <strong>hi</strong>s humble beginnings. His hard work had afforded <strong>hi</strong>m a<br />

more comfortable lifestyle. He had met and married the love of <strong>hi</strong>s life,<br />

Rita, and they were planning to make additions to their family, but<br />

somet<strong>hi</strong>ng was missing. Abdul had grown weary and unfulfilled by the<br />

culture of traditional pharmaceuticals, as he stated in a 2013 interview<br />

with SmallFlowerTV, “All you ended up doing was pouring pills from a<br />

big bottle, putting them in a little bottle, and the talk was, when we got<br />

together with other pharmacists was, ‘How many ‘scripts’ can you fill in<br />

a day?’” Again, he was at a crossroads. He wanted out.<br />


Founded in 1875, Merz Apothecary had earned a tremendous<br />

reputation for servicing the European community on C<strong>hi</strong>cago’s North<br />

Side. It was a charming neighborhood drug store, similar to those still<br />

common across the country at the time, almost all of w<strong>hi</strong>ch have now<br />

been replaced by chain sto<strong>res</strong> or national brands. Ralph Merz, the last<br />

in a line of Merzes to own the store since its inception, had reached<br />

retirement age with no family successors, and he was looking for a<br />

buyer. By now, Abdul had <strong>res</strong>olved to leave the pharmaceutical industry<br />

be<strong>hi</strong>nd, so t<strong>hi</strong>s business was of little inte<strong>res</strong>t; however, he reluctantly<br />

agreed to pay Mr. Merz a visit, out of <strong>res</strong>pect to an elder adviser.<br />

He recalls, “It was a majestic sight.”<br />

To <strong>hi</strong>s surprise, the apothecary was no ordinary drug store. It was<br />

extremely aromatic with herbs and tinctu<strong>res</strong> lining the walls. In the back,<br />

there were large drums where the herbs would be mixed. W<strong>hi</strong>le the<br />

store was a legitimate pharmacy where p<strong>res</strong>criptions were filled, they<br />

also espoused old world remedies, and for Abdul, t<strong>hi</strong>s was familiar and<br />

ref<strong>res</strong><strong>hi</strong>ng. As he toured the store, he saw many products he recognized<br />

from <strong>hi</strong>s c<strong>hi</strong>ldhood in Pakistan (a credit to <strong>hi</strong>s brother’s chemistry shop).<br />

He was also intimately familiar with the use of herbs to both soothe and<br />

cure maladies. “I was brought up with my mother giving us herbs.”<br />

W<strong>hi</strong>le business at the store was steady, Abdul was already making<br />

more money as a conventional pharmacist. On top of that, Mr. Merz<br />

told <strong>hi</strong>m that he could expect to lose as much as forty percent of <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

business by simply not being German, as many of their customers were<br />

of German descent and still only used the language. By most people’s<br />

logic, Abdul should have dealt <strong>hi</strong>mself out. However, as the story goes,<br />

approximately twenty minutes later, he had met with Merz’s accountant,<br />

and agreed to purchase both the business and the building. That was<br />

December, and he would take over the business in January.<br />

Mr. Merz stayed on the following year to train Abdul, and Abdul<br />

would take crash courses in German. By the end of the year, he estimates<br />

that they had done one hundred and fifty percent of what they had done<br />

the previous year. Abdul and Merz Apothecary never looked back.<br />

<strong>The</strong> flags<strong>hi</strong>p store, Merz Apothecary, is an experience in and of itself as<br />

many of the items Abdul describes upon entering that first day can still be<br />

found in the store. Over the years, however, the business has grown from<br />

two employees, to an estimated fifty at last count, and covers a range of<br />

brands and locations including: Merz Apothecary, Merz Downtown at <strong>The</strong><br />

Palmer House Hotel, Smallflower.com, and most recently Q Brothers. <strong>The</strong>y<br />

were even one of the first health and beauty merchants during the early<br />

days of Amazon, and their brand now offer a range of products on both<br />

Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime Now. <strong>The</strong>ir influence and service now<br />

reach around the world, but their commitment to personal service, quality<br />

products, and the complete wellbeing of their customers remains the same.<br />

He humbly admits that the business has blossomed far beyond anyt<strong>hi</strong>ng<br />

he could have imagined as a boy on that runway in Karac<strong>hi</strong>, or even on<br />

that fateful day in 1972, when he first visited Merz Apothecary. “People<br />

come here, spend so much money and then at the end, they thank me for<br />

being here and allowing them to have a place to shop. I have always told<br />

the boys, you have to work hard, but your intentions have to be good. You<br />

can’t just do it for the sake of money.” To t<strong>hi</strong>s day, t<strong>hi</strong>s advice holds true.<br />


“What keeps a lot of people from taking a leap of faith? Often people<br />

say, ‘I can’t do it.’ <strong>The</strong>y ask, ‘How am I going to pay health insurance?<br />

My job comes with health insurance.’ I always say, ‘My god, it doesn’t<br />

make sense because of the cost of health insurance for most people! Five<br />

hundred dollars a month? Six hundred dollars a month? A thousand<br />

dollars a month? Look at the upside. Look at how much you can make<br />

if you went into business for yourself! <strong>The</strong> sky is the limit!’ My favorite<br />

saying has been, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’” T<strong>hi</strong>s is a question<br />

he continues to raise when in personal and business deliberations.<br />

Abdul has ac<strong>hi</strong>eved what many would consider to be the “American<br />

Dream”. To some, the prosperity of <strong>hi</strong>s family and success of <strong>hi</strong>s<br />

businesses may appear to be out of reach, but the trials and triumphs<br />

communicated here aren’t merely to exalt Mr. Qaiyum. He simply<br />

provides perspective as to how individuals (with odds so certainly<br />

stacked against them) may use a variety of experiences to catapult<br />

themselves to success (regardless of background or personal <strong>hi</strong>story).<br />

It’s arguable that the combined comfort and convenience afforded to<br />

us by being born in t<strong>hi</strong>s country is as much a <strong>hi</strong>ndrance as it is a propellant;<br />

Abdul’s story, the story of the Qaiyum family, and Merz Apothecary, are<br />

all reminders of the opportunity that lies wit<strong>hi</strong>n our borders, and what<br />

one can ac<strong>hi</strong>eve when their “willing” matches their “able”.<br />

For more information about the rich <strong>hi</strong>story of Merz Apothecary and it’s<br />

various brands, please visit www.merzapothecary.com to start your quest.<br />




SUSAN<br />


Savvy Success<br />


turkey sandwiches—I’ll never forget it!” After sitting down, her friend<br />

got a call. Her friend received a call from her engineer then-boyfriend<br />

(they’re married now) and he said, ‘We’re working on t<strong>hi</strong>s project called<br />

<strong>The</strong> Music City Center in Nashville, and we need somebody who is very<br />

organized.’ Susan laughed, recalling her friend’s reaction, “She was just<br />

looking across t<strong>hi</strong>s table, smiling at me, and I heard her say,‘I t<strong>hi</strong>nk I may<br />

have someone for you!’”<br />








WHAT I DO.<br />

R<br />

esearch, done; interview questions, written; prepared<br />

for that energy—not even close! I opened with some<br />

general questions, and Susan’s zeal was evident from the<br />

beginning as she talked about her business, her love for<br />

her family, books, and hot yoga among other t<strong>hi</strong>ngs. I<br />

was told of her exuberance before making the call, nevertheless, not<strong>hi</strong>ng<br />

could have readied me for the powerhouse entrepreneur that is Susan<br />

Vanderbilt and her story of savvy success...<br />

Raised by a single mother (due to the passing of her father) Susan<br />

emphasized the fact that her family made sure she and her older brother<br />

stayed connected with their cousins and remained close as a “family<br />

unit.” It is no surprise that she has incorporated the idea of connectivity<br />

into her business development and diversity inclusion firm, Entrée Savvy.<br />

“Being very connected with my family throughout my life has influenced<br />

how I connect with people now. Business is about building relations<strong>hi</strong>ps<br />

and that’s what I do; I make connections all day, it’s a very important part<br />

of what I do.” Susan’s family life has also impacted the way she pushes her<br />

clients to be greater and to do greater t<strong>hi</strong>ngs; her mom—who put herself<br />

through Vanderbilt University twice, earning a Master’s Degree—clearly<br />

passed her determination on to Susan and her older brother: both of<br />

whom have degrees and are married with families of their own. Speaking<br />

about her mom, she told me “My mom pushed us to do everyt<strong>hi</strong>ng we<br />

could do, regardless of what that was. She pushed us to chase our dreams<br />

and I take that with me in working with other people; I just try to push<br />

them to help them get where they’re going.”<br />

When asked about how Entrée Savvy started, Susan explained that a<br />

simple dinner night with a friend led to her working on huge projects.<br />

“It’s kind of an inte<strong>res</strong>ting story” she started, describing how she had a<br />

degree in Speech and Hearing Science, but was feeling burned-out. “<strong>The</strong><br />

field of Speech Pathology is so broad and w<strong>hi</strong>le I was very inte<strong>res</strong>ted in<br />

Corporate Speech Pathology, I decide to take a break and refocus.” She<br />

went on to explain how she got involved in a major project soon after<br />

her decision. “I had a good friend who stopped by with Bar-B-Cutie and<br />

Susan went to interview for the position and imp<strong>res</strong>sed by her <strong>res</strong>ume,<br />

her experience as a Speech Pathologist, and her diverse skill set, they <strong>hi</strong>red<br />

her. Her new job was working on diversity inclusion at the Music City<br />

Center, and w<strong>hi</strong>le she’d never heard of “diversity inclusion”, she quickly<br />

made it her business to learn as much as she could. <strong>The</strong> project required<br />

20% participation, and she helped it to ac<strong>hi</strong>eve 30% diversity inclusion:<br />

somet<strong>hi</strong>ng that had never been done before in the city of Nashville.<br />

“Coming from a Speech Pathologist background and not a construction<br />

one, I didn’t realize how huge it was to ac<strong>hi</strong>eve that.”<br />

After working on the Music City Center project, people that knew of<br />

her success encouraged Susan to continue doing similar work for other<br />

businesses. Mentioning one of many, she recalled, “Kevin Keller—Bell<br />

Construction—said, ‘Just go do it!’ I said, “Okay Kevin. If I start t<strong>hi</strong>s<br />

business and you all get work... you better call on me, because t<strong>hi</strong>s is a big<br />

jump!” She did a massive amount of <strong>res</strong>earch and soon after, she officially<br />

launched Entrée Savvy: doing everyt<strong>hi</strong>ng from helping people who may<br />

not understand the aspects of a contract, finding employees who meet the<br />

minority requirements for certain jobs, guiding clients through various<br />

policies, and even giving free consultation on minor inquiries. As Susan’s<br />

own success has increased, so has her love of helping others to succeed. “I<br />

don’t need to charge you a gazillion dollars for providing you with a little<br />

information that you need to start t<strong>hi</strong>ngs off: in being t<strong>hi</strong>s way, I have<br />

gained several clients as a <strong>res</strong>ult.”<br />

When asked about her personal and professional growth, she described<br />

how it all goes hand in hand and how she has used her own experiences<br />

to better relate and be of service in assisting others with their journey to<br />

do the same. “You can’t do one without the other, they go hand in hand.<br />

I had a friend and she remembers me saying, ‘Don’t say the word ‘can’t’:<br />

If you say you can’t, you never will’ and she told me she’d never heard<br />

that before and that she applies that to her life in a huge way now.” Susan<br />

continued by saying, “Hearing t<strong>hi</strong>ngs like t<strong>hi</strong>s is what I call success. When<br />

I hear ‘Your words have really inspired me’ or a ‘Hey, I got the job!’, that<br />

is what I call success.”<br />

Equipped with extreme attention to detail, candid communication,<br />

and a tremendous zest for elevating others, it is easy to see why businesses<br />

flock to Entrée Savvy and why Susan is the go-to person when a client<br />

needs to know the real deal. Unapologetically genuine, Susan Vanderbilt<br />

is the epitome of savvy success.<br />


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