CEOMOM Fall 2020


With all of the chaos and confusion of this year, making our health a priority has become even more paramount. From our mental to our emotional and physical health, we must consider our whole beings as we implement our self-care routines. We must be intentional and forward thinking as we work to maintain optimal health.

In our Fall 2020 issue, we interviewed several doctors who are on the front lines of helping us get and stay healthy.


Editor-in-Chief Vonna Matthews

Contributing Designer

Photo Editor

Cover Photography

Contributing Photographer

Contributing Photographer

Contributing Photographer

Contributing Writer

Contributing Writer

Taly Melo

Krystal Jackson

Marcus Owens Photography

Didomi Photography

Ade Oshodi

Nancy Valladolid

Noni Robinson

Jessica Peresta

E d i t o r i a l O f f i c e

Little Elm, Texas 75068

+1-972-302-9150 |

CEOMOM Magazine is published by For Her Media

Little Elm, Texas 75068 | +1-972-302-9150





A lot has happened since our Summer 2020 issue. It seems that 2020

continues to be a year full of surprises with twists and turns. We continue

to not know what will happen next. My grandmother used to say, "You

never know from one minute to the next." That summarizes the sentiment

of 2020. With all of the chaos and confusion of this year, making our health

a priority has become even more paramount. From our mental to our

emotional and physical health, we must consider our whole beings as we

implement our self-care routines. We must be intentional and forward

thinking as we work to maintain optimal health.

In our Fall 2020 issue, we interviewed several doctors who are on the

front lines of helping us get and stay healthy. We interviewed Dr. Tiffany

Woodus of Woodus Obstetrics & Gynecology, who is working to eliminate

the health disparities among Black and brown women, and Dr. Bianca

Busch, a Massachusetts based psychiatrist who works with children and

families to manage depression and anxiety. We talked to moms who are

defying the odds and showing that pregnancy does not eliminate a

woman's physical capabilities. Natasha Hastings, Olympic Gold medalist,

spoke to us about her initial fears of becoming a new mom. After having

her beautiful son, Liam, and continuing a great relationship with her

sponsors, Hastings is now preparing for the 2021 Olympics.

We also spoke with Victoria Thomas, founder of JOURNEYFIT. Thomas

works with pregnant women, helping them to stay fit before, during and

after pregnancy by equipping them with health related education, tips and


Our cover mom, Dr. Porchia James, an Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Specialist, shows the impact dental health has on the rest of our bodies.

We also talk about what work needs to be done to increase Black and

brown dental professionals, and why it is so important to have medical

professionals who can relate to the communities they serve.

We can't release an issue in November 2020 and not talk about the 2020

election that just passed. Although chaos in the White House continues to

ensue, we have to congratulate Kamala Harris for becoming the first

African-American and Indian-American woman to be elected Vice-

President of the United States of America. One of the best parts of this

celebration are the memes commenting on all of the broken glass on the

ground. This is a victory for women, and we have to relish in a job well

done. We're looking forward to the future, as soon as the present calms

down. Whew!


Vonna Matthews


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Photo Credit: Didomi Photography

D A Y N A L . R E E D

But while I

may be the first

woman in this

office, I will

not be the last.

K A M A L A H A R R I S ,

V I C E P R E S I D E N T - E L E C T


Dr. Gina Charles knew at an early age that she wanted to pursue a career in medicine. As a Family

Medicine doctor, she uses her platform to serve as an advocate for health related issues that directly

impact Black women such as low breastfeeding rates and maternal mortality. With a career that extends

beyond medicine, Dr. Charles is also the founder and owner of Serenity Aesthetics & Wellness, where

she is able to fuse her love for medicine and beauty.



Photo Credit: Marcus Owens

Photo Credit: Marcus Owens Photography

years of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery residency at Meharry Medical

College and Nashville General Hospital. That was the best decision

ever! In fact, my Air Force experience was highly beneficial in my

acceptance into the program.

Tell us about your practice, About Face Oral & Facial Surgery. What

separates About Face from competitors?

About Face is a military term meaning to turn around. My thought

process for About Face is both literal and figurative, I transform faces

through surgery, thus, transforming lives. I help people reach their

esthetic goals, which helps to improve their confidence and also their

livelihood in many ways. If patients are experiencing discomfort, I try

to alleviate their pain. Many people suffer from infections, decayed

teeth, and dental pain, which need immediate treatment, or the

problem worsens. Our office utilizes advanced and innovative

technology through digital planning of surgical procedures. We have a

3D CT scanner, that can digitally scan the mouth (instead of gooey

alginate in the mouth), and also have 3D printers to plan complex

implant cases. We also offer virtual consultations and pride ourselves

in providing quality service for our patients, and always have short

wait times because we do not double book. I like to take time during

my consultation to get to know patients and I take the time to

thoroughly discuss their surgery plan so that they are well aware of all

risks, benefits, and complications of surgery.

My husband, George, a University of Alabama graduate (Roll tide!), is

our office manager, and understands the business side and

administrative portion of our business, which takes so much stress off

of me. He spends time with patients discussing their insurance

benefits, and how we can maximize their benefits and develop an

affordable plan for them. You won't get top notch care in a family

atmosphere anywhere else!

You often speak about the importance of dental health in

maintaining overall wellness. What role does dental health play

in complete wellness?

Your dental health is definitely related to the overall health and

wellness of your body. The mouth is a window into the health of

the body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general

infection. It is scientifically proven that there is a link between

periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease as well as preterm

or low birth weight babies in pregnant women. It’s very

important for pregnant women to take even better care of their

teeth and gums than average because hormonal changes can

exaggerate dental issues. Therefore, given the potential link

between periodontitis and systemic health problems, prevention

may be an important step in maintaining overall health.

It’s important to brush your teeth twice a day for 2-3 minutes

and floss at least once a day. Eat a balanced diet and limit

snacking throughout the day because those carbs that we love

turn into sugar, and reap havoc not only on our waistline, but,

can also cause tooth decay and periodontal disease. This is why

it’s so important to schedule dental exams with x-rays and a

cleaning twice a year. People with periodontal (gum) disease

even have to get deep cleanings even more frequently like 3-4

times a year.

What are the most common misconceptions

related to dental care?

Many people think that Dentistry is expensive. In

fact, neglect is what is expensive. Preventative Care

is so important in prevention of oral diseases as well

as oral cancer screenings. The sooner that disease is

found, usually it is more affordable to repair.

However, if you wait too long, then, a small filling

that was needed previously could turn into a root

canal and crown, or even something more invasive

like an extraction, bone graft and implant!

The bottom line is to not wait until you have a

problem or have pain to see your dentist.

Oftentimes, if you’re having symptoms, then, it is too

late, and something that could have been routine, is

now a much bigger, and more expensive procedure.

Prevention is key!

What safety precautions are being taken to protect

patients seeking dental care during this pandemic?

Many offices are implementing COVID-19 screening

questionnaires and offering online medical history

and office forms prior to entering the office to keep

things as contactless as possible. You’ll also notice

that many offices are taking the temperatures of

patients upon entrance into the office. Per CDC

guidelines as well as a Texas mandate, all patients

must wear facial coverings before entering the

building, and we ask that appointments are limited

to only the patient, unless they are a minor, then,

appointments are limited to one additional adult.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) have always

been implemented in dental offices because of

OSHA guidelines such as disposable gowns,

eyewear, masks, and gloves, but, you’ll likely notice

that many offices have stepped it up a notch of

course through N95 masks, but, also the use of face

shields, bonnets, and even shoe coverings.

At our office, we are only scheduling one patient at a

time to help promote social distancing and to

eliminate exposure around others. This also gives us

enough time in between patients to ensure that we

are disinfecting all surfaces thoroughly and

definitely sterilizing all instruments, which, honestly

we have always done prior to COVID-19. Prior to a

procedure, you might even notice that your dentist

has you pre-rinse with a peroxide based mouth rinse,

which has anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial

properties. Furthermore, you will see vigorous

amounts of hand sanitizer generously around the

office for use and even see offices implementing air

purifiers as well. As a surgery office, our fields must

be sterile when working on patients, and we take the

safety of our patients and staff very seriously.

Photo Credit: Marcus Owens Photography

G U I L T - F R E E M O M M Y


10% off

Use Code CEOMOM to receive

a 10% discount off the purchase

of the book.

Photo Credit: moodboard

S C R E E N T I M E V S . D R E A M T I M E



P r e s e n t e d b y : C h i l d r e n a n d S c r e e n s








Now Playing on Apple iTunes & Pandora

Stop comparing yourself to other

moms. Stop thinking you are not

good enough. Stop thinking that

you do not have it all together

and never will. You were created

to be exactly the mom that your

kids need, and are not a mistake.

I have read so many articles and blog posts about enjoying every

moment as a mom. News flash…I don’t and I never will. Think

about your job, your life, and all the stressful things that come

with it. Not every single one of those moments are enjoyable. But,

I think in the moments that aren’t enjoyable, they teach us

lessons. Those days I didn’t enjoy teaching, I would redo the

lesson plan I had made. The days we get a bad medical report

about one of our kids, the right doctor came along to answer our

questions. In relationships, if we deal with hurt feelings, painful

conversations, or just not knowing how to help a friend in need,

these are opportunities to grow who we are as women.


When you become a mom, you begin to lose your identity a bit. Of

course there are amazing baby books out there that give so much

amazing advice. But, they all say something different. It’s so tough

knowing what to do to meet the needs of your sweet baby, who

then grows into a toddler, then a preschooler, and then goes on to

have a sibling.

Becoming a mom is hard. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your kids

by admitting this. But, you went from an independent woman to

all of a sudden having these sweet little lives depending on you to

take care of them day in and day out. Being a mom means that

someone always needs something and what you need gets lost in

the shuffle somewhere.

But, on top of that, you begin to lose sleep, need to take a shower

in 5 minutes or less, and end up eating crumbs from your child’s

lunch plate. You might think back to that life you used to have of

going out to lunch with friends or co-workers and miss that life a

bit at times. Having these thoughts DOES NOT make you a bad


It’s okay to want more for yourself. Maybe you just don’t know

what that looks like yet. If you feel like you’ve lost yourself a bit in

motherhood, think about what hobbies you like, if you’re wanting

to pursue an online business or passion project, or what ways you

can begin doing something for YOU! Then, make a plan to start

fitting these ideas into your week. It takes time and planning on

your part, but it is totally doable.


Jessica Peresta of Industrious Moms

So as a mom, I will not be able to enjoy every moment. Are there

enjoyable moments? Yes there are, and lots of them! I enjoy my

children so much and enjoy watching them grow into the people

I know they’re created to be. There are so many moments of

laughter, story telling, playing, tickling, dancing, hugging,

kissing, snuggling, and coloring.

But…there are moments of defiant no’s, bad moods, and bad

attitudes. There are days I feel pulled in every direction and

don’t know whose need to meet first, and don’t want the child I

get to last to feel like they’re any less important. There are days

where I feel like I’ve yelled too much, haven’t interacted with

the kids enough, or have been in a bad mood.

So moms that don’t have it all together, it’s ok. The good news is,

no one does. What you see on social media is just 1/10000 of

that momma's day. Do not listen to the voices from those

around you who only see a snippet of your day or the voices in

your head.

Stop comparing yourself to other moms. Stop thinking you are

not good enough. Stop thinking that you do not have it all

together and never will. You were created to be exactly the

mom that your kids need, and are not a mistake. So go ahead

and not enjoy every moment and I’ll be doing that right along

with you.

I have one daughter and she has been my right hand. I remember

telling her about my diagnosis while she was attending the

University of Toledo in 2009, and she wanted to quit college and

come home to take care of me. One thing I didn’t want is for cancer

to stop her from living her dreams. I told her, “NO, you will finish

college and Mom will be okay.” That’s when I had to dig deep into

the strength I had and remind myself that I would give this fight

everything I had. She finished college, received her bachelor’s and

master’s and is now a social worker. She cooks and makes sure I’m

okay. She calls frequently and she’s always making me something

creative. I call her the Mother Hen because she really encourages

me to do better and be my best. She gives me strength when I think

I’m empty and just have nothing else left inside.

How has this fight changed your life?

I think now I’m more experimental and fun. I love doing adventurous

things and taking trips. I will say it’s an emotional toll, but it has

made me a stronger woman. Resiliency is what comes to mind when

I think of the past 10 years. I’m on my fourth progression and each

time, I’ve had to pull strength from a different part of my soul. I’ve

learned that it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to have down days where I just

want to have my pity parties, but I don’t stay there. I have chosen

not to let cancer continually try and deprive me of the joys of life.

Cancer already tried to take my body, but I will not let it take my


How are you helping spread awareness?

One in eight women will get breast cancer. Black women die at a

much higher rate than our white counterparts from breast cancer.

Thirty percent of breast cancer will reoccur.

Photo Credit: Lekardo Pitts Photography

Walk us through the heart of your fight. What were your

immediate feelings, thoughts, fears, etc? Where are you now

emotionally, mentally and spiritually?

My mom died of breast cancer in 2004, she was diagnosed in

2001. My immediate feelings went straight to death and how

much time I had left on this earth. At my initial doctor's visit I

felt empty inside and confused, especially when they told me

life expectancy for Stage IV is three to five years. My first

thought was, “Why me, God?” But my mom always told me to

never question God. My whole life flashed before me from

childbirth until the day I was diagnosed. I was active duty

military as well as in the United States Air Force so that meant


Emotionally, mentally and spiritually, I am in a good space. I

have accepted my diagnosis and have chosen to live life to the


Describe the impact on your family, specifically your

daughter. How have they helped you fight?

I will say it’s an emotional toll,

but it has made me a stronger

woman. Resiliency is what

comes to mind when I think of

the past 10 years.

I share my personal story because God has given me this platform to

use it for his purpose. Someone needs to hear my story because the

first thought of Stage IV breast cancer is death. But I’m still here 10

years after my diagnosis.

I advocate for many different causes. My current advocacy is

focused on recruiting Black women for clinical trials. Currently, I am

on a clinical trial because of a fourth progression on my 4th rib in

July 2018. I have been on it for two years and I’ve had no

progression and the medicine has been working. That’s why I

encourage patients to have the open conversation with their

doctors about clinical trials. Five to six percent of Black women

enroll in clinical trials; this is not enough. As a community, we need

more participation and we need for researchers to include Black

women in clinical trial recruitment.

Photo Credit: Octavia Whitlowe





Hailed as one of the top trainers in

Dallas Texas, Victoria Thomas has

dedicated her career as a performance

trainer to not only helping her clients

get fit, but helping them transform

their physical and mental potential. As

the founder and owner of

JOURNEYFIT, a sports performance

and fitness studio, Thomas has worked

with some of the world’s top athletes

including NFL, WNBA and professional

volleyball players. Thomas recently

opened a new JOURNEYFIT location to

continue her work with pregnant

women to stay fit before, during and

after pregnancy. CEOMOM Magazine

interviewed Thomas to learn more

about her tips for helping busy moms

create a health and wellness plan, and

the work she is doing through




is positive. JOURNEYFIT is family.

JOURNEYFIT is life changing.

JOURNEYFIT is that health mentor

you never knew you needed. It’s not

just about providing an amazing

workout environment, but we want to

guide you through your nutritional

route. Set goals and smash them. We

have body composition devices that

give us an in-depth analysis on the

overall health of your body. These

reports allow us to strategize an

effective plan to get you to your goal.

It’s all about the transformation with

JOURNEYFIT, not just physically but

most important mentally.

Photo Credit: Octavia Whitlowe

Photo Credit: Octavia Whitlowe

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