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Get into BossMode with Actor Riley Smith

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Can you share a time in your life where you trusted your intuition? So we can encourage people to believe their own inner voice as it can lead you in the direction you are meant to go in.

For me, trusting your gut and intuition has always been the most significant and most important thing. My experience with Proven Innocent was the icing on the cake. By trusting your instincts, you’re making the right choices, and it all paid off. That would be the prime example. I was on a show called Life Sentence this past year, and they had not been renewed yet, but they had not been canceled either. They were up in the air, and something in my gut told me that I need to see what else is out there for me. I didn’t know where they were going with my character’s storyline. No one was really saying anything to me, but in my gut, I just felt something wasn’t right. Everyone on the show was like, “you’re crazy, they love you, and they are going to write for your character next season." Even my managers and agents said, “they just signed you to a big deal, why do you have these feelings?” After the very last episode, I went to the creator, and I said: “would you let me out of my contract?” They were very cool about it, and they didn’t have to be. I owe them a lot of gratitude for allowing me to trust my instincts. It ended in a very significant way for everyone. Everyone was very gracious. It ended perfectly for me (laughs) because I got the other show.

Another one would be--one time I was switching managers about twelve years ago. It felt like I met with every management firm in the city. I narrowed it down to two, and they were both great. One of them gave a razzle-dazzle-- “promised me the world” type of speech. The other company was very down to earth, honest and made no promises. I walked out of that meeting and looked at my agent and said: “that’s where I want to go.” She was like, “are you sure? The other place is offering the world. They gave such a good pitch.” It was almost too good, and something in my gut just tells me that I need to go to the place that is more honest. I went with them, and it was the best move I ever made. I’ve been with them for twelve years.

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This is a challenging industry to be in. Was there ever a time you felt discouraged? How did you overcome that? What advice would you give to others based on your own experience?

I have had moments where I felt really down. It was interesting because I was going through an age change--I wasn’t playing a kid anymore. I was in between ages, and I had my own identity crisis. I was trying to figure out who I was and who I was going to become. Everybody in the industry was trying to figure out where I was going. I kept saying to people around me (my managers and agents) “I’m not doing anything different.” I just have to keep trusting the process and doing what got me this far--not trying to jump ship or change the game plan. I mean obviously, the only way you are going to get better is by accessing and tweaking and always molding yourself to be better. However, there is something to say about trusting your gut and the game plan. I feel that a lot of people in this industry that move to this city are chasing what they think they are supposed to be or how are they supposed to act all the time. They are constantly reinventing themselves, and they are just throwing darts trying to be whatever they think is the right thing. The first thing my manager--my very first manager-- told me when I moved to L.A. from Iowa was, “what separates you from everyone else is that you’re from Iowa. So don’t change and don’t become like everyone else. Stay unique and true to who you are.” I think that’s the best piece advice I ever got because I did listen. Here I am, to this day and still wearing my cowboy boots (laughs). I’m a blue-collar midwest guy, so there was no reason for me to be something I’m not to please other people.

STYLE TEAM

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Get in BossMode with Actress + Entrepreneur Megan Fox

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Trust your intuition

For me, my intuition is the strongest when it concerns my kids. I think it is a chemical thing that’s built in us as mothers because it is our job to keep them alive; when something is not right our mother’s intuition kicks in very powerfully. An example I could give is when my kids had some allergies. I knew a particular food is making my kid sick and the doctor continuously said: “no this needs to be a part of his diet.” 

 It happened when they were young infants I removed that particular food from my son's diet, and he got better. My older son had eczema and some other issues. There were a couple of things that I knew were “off.” Like, I knew my son should not have dairy, so I stopped him from drinking it regardless of what the doctor said to me. Most people do exactly what their doctor says, but there was something in me telling me that “no this is making your son sick,” and so I followed my intuition and I was right.

The more you follow your intuition, and it is correct, the stronger your intuition becomes. It is to the point where I am almost never wrong. If I feel something strongly intuitively-I listen to myself all the time, I have a 99% accuracy on calling things based on my intuition.   

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Defeating the bully & overcoming negativity

I think there have been several times I felt bullied by the press or by people in general. People like to twist my narrative and use it against me. I felt sort of powerless in expressing myself no matter how hard I tried to be genuine or to be who I was. It was always misconstrued or changed to garner more drama and attention through tabloid media and so on. I felt discouraged in that way because I felt like I do not know how to be or live in this industry and have to do interviews. That is a part of what we do when every time I open my mouth no matter how positive my intentions are “it becomes something scandalous or something negative” and then I get torn apart for it. 

I think that it took a lot of “soul-searching,” but I had to be able to maintain a bird’s eye view to get clarity and to have some objectivity so that you can step away from it and you do not personalize it so much. You start to look at things that seem like obstacles or blocks or attacks as something you have brought to yourself as lessons-lessons that your ego and personality needs to learn. When you look at it that way, it removes the victimhood from a lot of this, and it then gives you your power back because you no longer feel like someone is doing something to you. You realize that you have brought this to yourself for a reason and that it is going to have a positive outcome because now your perspective has changed.

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“You are free.”

These words are the screensaver on my phone. In my case mainly, fame and a lot of the stuff that goes on in this industry can make you feel tamed or caged. You can feel tamed to a negative self-abusive narrative that runs in your head especially if you have self-image issues or all of those things where we feel like we are submissive to something that hurts us, makes us unhappy, or something that we cannot get away from that is within ourselves. Seeing that quote every day reminds me that “I am free” and it is just about being conscious of that. That is all it takes-my circumstances do not need to change only my consciousness.

 

 

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Get In BossMode with Actress VICTORIA KONEFAL

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  • Who: Victoria Konefal
  • What: Actress
  • Where: Instagram / Twitter
  • About: This soap star's ride has been a wild one, but Victoria Konefal has pushed through. A journey full of rejection, moves, and challenges but Konefal has persevered and currently works on NBC's "Days of our Lives," as Ciara Brady. She touches on subjects of being nervous on set and the importance of communication in the acting industry.
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Despite what some may believe, this industry is challenging. Your art is who you are and what you look like physically. It’s tough to put yourself out there, and people neglect the fact that it can lead to anxiety and other self-destructive behavioral patterns. There are emotional tribulations that performers have to overcome, and I resent the notion that just because my job is fun, it's easy. I’ve been on hundreds of auditions and failed. I’ve had so many rejections in a row that I wondered if I was ever going to book a job again. It’s not easy to make a name for yourself, especially in an industry with a surplus of talented people. It’s essential to stay driven and persistent and to keep the hunger alive and never quit.

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To keep afloat in this industry...

Communication is key! I’m awful with my phone, so I’m still learning this, but always email/call/text back immediately, and don't be afraid to reach out to your team to cancel/rearrange appointments! It may be intimidating at first, but they are there to help you and make life easier. They want you to succeed and understand if you need a breather. Find good energy to surround yourself with and stick with it!

Cultivating a good alliance with others in your industry. 
To not involve yourself with the negativity. It’s so easy to remove yourself from the bad and not give a shit. Don't take anything too seriously, and kill them with kindness.

When life hands you lemons, get into BOSSMODE. Life obstacles can weigh heavy on your mental and physical wellbeing. How do you stay uplifted, motivated or even inspired to push through and maintain your happiness?

I am typically a pretty unbothered person. I like to take issues with a grain of salt and understand that sometimes you can’t change things. I don’t like letting myself get stressed out, so I just roll with the punches and try to live a calm lifestyle.

Travel and find your power! Those things pretty much go hand in hand, but they are both so important. See the world and get in touch with mother nature.
— Victoria Konefal

STYLE TEAM

  • Photographer: Birdie Thompson
  • Makeup/Hair: Allison Noelle

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Get in BossMode with Actress SARAH SHAHI

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  • Who: Sarah Shahi
  • What: Actress
  • Where: Instagram

I don’t believe in coincidence. 

I was listening to this really great talk between Oprah and Wayne Dyer. Wayne Dyer was talking about how there is no such thing as a coincidence.

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You post a lot of positive messages on social media and your spirit just seems to beam positivity and light! You are also very much in tune and open about your beliefs. Can you share a time where you had an experience that you consider to be a “spiritual” type of lesson? This can be related to your career or personal life (whatever you feel comfortable discussing). Some experiences aren’t always fun as we know, but they help us to continuously grow and evolve.

I don’t believe in coincidence. I was listening to this really great talk between Oprah and Wayne Dyer. Wayne Dyer was talking about how there is no such thing as a coincidence. The word itself started out as a mathematical term meaning to coincide. When two lines coincide, they form an angle. We’ve taken something that means when two things happen on purpose to create something and we’ve redesigned at as two things that happen accidentally to create something. With that said, I think there is a reason for everything. 

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The other thing that I’ve learned through my journeys, good or bad, losing people, whether it’s death related or people that leave your life because of a bad fight or however that is--in my opinion, our souls only purpose is to grow. That’s the only thing that is sort of definite in this life is change. We are going to change. Our soul's highest purpose is to evolve. I believe that we sometimes attract certain situations to us to stimulate that evolvement and that growth. With anything wrong that has ever happened to me, whether it has been a relationship, a work situation, or the loss of my dad, it was definitely something that looking back I can say, “oh wow, I grew from that in a way that I wouldn’t have had that not happened.” The kind of grace, humility, or lessons learned from that situation I would have never learned if I had not drawn from that horrible situation to me as awful as that sounds. When you look at it from that perspective, it helps you say, “Oh, I get it. Life is a game.” 

When life is up and high, you have to laugh as much as you can laugh. When life goes down, sometimes the only way to get back up is to cry. You have to cry as hard as you can, and that’s okay. Just be forgiving of yourself and the different things that you go through. I think we’re so obsessed with this idea of being happy all the time. It’s a great thing to be, but I think sometimes we have to allow ourselves to feel the pain because that’s the only way we can feel better. In between those ups and downs, there is a whole lot of boring. You have to find something to celebrate every day in that “boring” (laughs) because as that saying goes, “this too shall pass” and the next thing you know you’re back on that roller coaster again.

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We all face times when we are discouraged  especially in an industry like this. What was your experience like when you first started out in Hollywood? What are some things you wish you knew going into it? What would you like to tell others who are pursuing this career path?

There are a few different things. I feel like I’m at the very beginning of my education in some ways. I’m still searching, and there’s a lot of things that I want to do that I feel like I haven’t done. As cliche as it sounds, just be yourself. Hollywood is tough because everyone is trying to fit into the flavor of the moment. You’re always trying to change yourself and fit into someone else’s idea of what you should be. The thing that makes us unique and makes us stand out is the stuff that makes us different. Now that I’m in my thirties, I can understand that differently whereas I didn’t before. I think we should embrace what makes us different. I believe that is important to tell somebody when they are starting out. You might feel like you need to be the next Lilly Collins or Jennifer Lawrence, but how about you just be you? That Dr. Seuss  saying says it perfectly, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You."

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I also realized something about the audition process. I treat every audition as if it’s a job. I go in with the idea that I’m going to shoot something. When you’re in the room, those are your five minutes. In my opinion, don’t leave until you do what you want to do in that room. Don’t leave thinking, “oh man, I should have done this or that.” Take those chances because that is your soul speaking to you. You should honor those little voices as much as you can.

What is your definition of empowerment? How do you think people can practice this more in their daily lives? This goes for both women and men.

I think my definition of empowerment is to walk towards your fear no matter what that looks like. It doesn’t matter if it is a professional situation or a personal situation. I think that is impossible to go through life without any kind of fear or insecurities. To be able to say, “I’m in charge,” is power. Even though you may feel these things, you say “no, fuck it, I’m going to walk towards this fear, and I’m going to handle this situation anyway.” To be able to feel that free with yourself and not get in your own way.  


Style Team

  • PhotographerNils Erik
  • Stylist: Becky Thompson
  • Clothing: Petersyn Clothing
  • Makeup: Ermahn Ospina (Represented by Tracy Mattingly Agency)
  • Hair Stylist: Matthew Collins, represented by The Wall Group
  • PR: Imprint PR, Jordan Gonzalez, Jeffrey Chassen
  • Producers: Shruti Sadana, Naomi Pandolfi, Victoria Sacino

Wardrobe 

Earrings by Gorjana @gorjana
Boots by Jimmy Choo @jimmychoo / Black Coat/Robe: Vince / Bodysuit: Onia / Belt: Elisabetta Franchi

Top and pants by Petersyn @petersyn_clothing
Blazer by Elisabetta Franchi @elisabettafranchi
Shoes by Jaclyn Jones @jaclynjonesusa

Earrings By Miranda Frye @mirandafryejewelry

Clothing by Petersyn @petersyn_clothing

Dress by Kookai @kookai_australia
Shoes by Jessica Rich @jessicarichcollection
Earrings by Gorjana @gorjana

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Get in BossMode with actress Pepi Sonuga

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  • Who: Peppi Sonuga
  • What: Actress
  • Where: Instagram / Twitter
  • About: Nigerian-American actress Pepi Sonuga has moved mountains, or countries, to do what she loves. Actor, singer, and dancer, Sonuga loves to perform. Although a newcomer in the industry, she can be seen on Freeform's popular drama, "Famous in Love" portraying pop star Tangey Turner.
  • Styling – Chris Horan
  • Make-up – Paul Blanch
  • Hair – Alexander Armand
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My motto is “let my work speak for itself.”
— Pepi

It really does take a long time to become an overnight success

That’s important to know for anyone who has any kind of dream. There have been many moments through my journey where I felt discouraged, crazy, and wanted to give up. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure of what I was doing. When I began in the industry, my worries changed, but I still persisted. You worry if you’re talented enough, if you’re pretty enough, or if you’re too pretty and should rough up a bit if you’re smart enough… there’s so much to worry about if you let yourself. What helps me keep fighting is reminding myself of how far I’ve come. I always tell myself “you haven’t come this far only to go this far.” I’m also aware of how different each of our paths can be, and I try never to compare myself to the next person. What is meant for me can never be taken away from me and I believe that with all my heart. In general, I’ve learned that there will always be a new set of problems. You’re either praying for your first audition to come, or for your show to get picked up to series, or your multi-million dollar budget movie to be a box office hit. As soon as you reach a new level, the bar just keeps getting higher, so I figure it’s easier to just enjoy the ride.

My motto is “let my work speak for itself.” I believe if you show up on time, give it your best shot, put your heart out there for the role, are polite, attempt to be an anchor on set for the crew, and try to have some fun… you can never go wrong. Everyone likes working with their friends, so just become someone that people like being around. This art is a personal one, but the business is a very social one. I’m not saying to make yourself uncomfortable in order to mingle (some of the most brilliant artists were introverts), but instead be a positive and collaborative addition to any environment you find yourself in.

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When life hands you lemons, get into BOSSMODE. Life obstacles can weigh heavy on your mental and physical wellbeing. How do you stay uplifted, motivated or even inspired to push through and maintain your happiness?

Daydreaming is the biggest thing that keeps me motivated. A daydream is like saying a prayer, meditating, and watching a film about your future... all at once. It’s entirely spiritual if we’re being honest. When I feel down, what gets me up are glimpses into my future. I made a vision board that’s divided into 3 sections: the life I want regarding my career, the life I want personally, and some vague ideas of who I want to be after 50yrs old. It’s filled with photos of Oprah, fancy old Hollywood parties, films I wish I were in, charities I want to start, Beyonce (of course), dream houses, travel destinations, Rihanna magazine covers (of course), and various African superstars. Whenever I start to lose a sense of myself and the reasons I do what I do, I just look at this board, and it’s an instant mood booster. Also, it sounds silly, but when I feel deficient, on my saddest day, the only thing that makes me feel better is watching a cartoon or an animated film, preferably one with a female lead who fights against the odds to achieve her dreams: Mulan, Zootopia, etc. It might seem immature, but I don’t think I’ll ever get over cartoons; they’re so inspiring… why are they only for kids?! Adults need to stay motivated too! We should also believe anything is possible! That message shouldn’t be exclusive to children! shaking my head

It's important for young kids to have vision and hope. A child has to be able to envision a world bigger and brighter than the one they currently live in. That’s what made my childhood so colorful. I saw the world as my playground even before I had ever left my home… each country an experience waiting to happen. People say “stop dreaming” and "stay on the ground, be realistic.” But sometimes dreaming saves you. You must never stop dreaming about your better future. Hold onto that image tightly and never let anyone take it away. That will get you through hard days. Just remember to put in the work after you’ve woken up because a dream without action will remain just a dream.

Level up, V1

Get in boss mode with Meghan Brown Manager of Two Bright Lights

WHO WHAT WHERE

GET IN BOSSMODE

About Meghan

Meghan Brown, Manager of Two Bright Lights, is passionate about creating a platform to help event professionals grow their brand and leads by connecting with publishers and other vendors. She has extensive marketing and event management experience at companies like Antony Todd Events and Roubini Global Economics and understands the challenges and opportunities creative entrepreneurs face. Growing up with a booking agent and a wedding band leader for parents there is no doubt that marketing and events are in Meghan’s DNA. Her love for music and events grew from singing and playing piano as a toddler, to performing in recording studios and at weddings and events in the years since.
Meghan holds a degree in Music Business from New York University and lives in New York with her husband.

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HOW TO GET INTO BOSSMODE?

  • Gaining exposure to all parts of a business will not only help you in your role, but it will also give you more insight into where you want your career to go. Take the opportunity to learn as much as you can. I would have never known that marketing and product were a thing if I didn't jump onto a side-project.
  • When encountering a challenge, embrace it rather than run from it. While it can be scary, the unfamiliar shapes you and forces you to learn something new. Yes, you will struggle, but it can be just the push you need when you want to succeed.
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When did you get that creative spark? 
Coming from such a musical family, it's always been something that's in my blood. But it wasn't until after college that I got the marketing and product bug. After working on the events and operations side of the business for a while, I started to work on a website redesign. Honestly, from there, the rest is history. I am officially a product and marketing nerd now... always looking to leverage customer feedback to make our product better. 

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How I get into BOSSMODE daily?

I wake up early, pour myself a huge cup of coffee and read the news or catch up on blogs. I try hard not to look at my phone until I've been awake for at least 30 minutes... It doesn't always work, but I try!

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Have you achieved all your business/career goals or do you have more? 

Absolutely, not! If I did, there wouldn't be anything else to do, and that would be boring. I see goals more as progress points. Sure, you're always working towards something, but there can still be improvement or iteration. One of my big goals right now is personal development to become a better leader, focusing on reading books by amazing historical leaders from all walks of life.
 

YOU CAN CATCH Meghan

Website  / Instagram

 
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Level up, V1

Get in boss mode with Mary Oyler, owner of an online clothing boutique

WHO WHAT WHERE

GET IN BOSSMODE

ABOUT THE BRAND

At Freckled Lamb, we help every woman find her inner and outer beauty, and confidence.  We are an online clothing boutique, based in Kansas City.  We pride ourselves on providing women with fashionable and practical clothing, at an affordable price.  Being a woman is hard enough, so we make fashion and shopping easy!  We do the hard work and bring you the best styles for the trends, season, and everyday life as a hardworking and beautiful woman. 

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Our weekly Facebook Live Sales with our new inventory are an absolute blast!  Women can also shop our website at their convenience.  We love meeting new faces and connecting with our clients at popups all over Kansas City!

  • The creative spark:   I found my spark right after I had my son, Ari.  I was so excited to start wearing regular clothes again and was smaller than my pre-baby body.  I went to put on an outfit for a party we were attending, and nothing fit right.  Body parts were in different places.  Nothing looked right at all.  I knew I couldn't be the only woman experiencing this.  Thirty.  Baby.  A few too many margaritas.  Something had to be done.  While working a job, I was super unhappy, I played in the direct sales World and eventually left my teaching career to work from home with my toddler.  Soon after, the spark happened.  I was starting to feel like I was losing myself in the stay/work at home mom gig.  I was letting myself go, and my confidence had plummeted.  That's when the idea to start my online clothing boutique sparked!  Shopping doesn't have to be difficult for women and our ever-changing bodies.  I knew I could bring stylish and unique clothing to women.  I pitched the idea to my husband, and we decided we were ready to create an effortless shopping experience for women all over the country!  With a ton of research, a trip to the Dallas Apparel and Accessories Market, some wine, a few tears, and a lot of passion we launched Freckled Lamb in May of 2018!
  • Tips to get you into BOSSMODE: 

     1.  Find your passion and chase it.  Stop wasting time in a career that you are not passionate about.  When you find your passion and your why, you can build a career that makes you happy, which in turn will make you radiate confidence and beauty. 

    2. Do your research, develop a business plan, and jump in!  Make sure you weigh out all of the factors and consider what you want your business to look like.  Think like a business owner but don't lose that passion for why you started this in the first place. 

    3. Be a, "Learn It All."  Our business was created by a former elementary special education teacher and a data analyst.  We knew NOTHING about the business World, other than what we saw on Shark Tank.  Network.  Surround yourself with like-minded people.  Listen to podcasts.  Read books.  Call upon your friends and connections that are experts in the areas you are struggling.  Learn something new every day and implement it!

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  • Setting my goals in motion:

    In less than four months, we have accomplished many goals!  We have helped hundreds of women find their style and discover their best selves. I have been able to bring in my share of income, while I have the freedom and flexibility of being home with our son.  However, we aren't done there! 

    Our biggest goal right now would be to make more sales through our website platform.  We are listening to webinars and chatting with marketing consultants to make this happen.  Again, being a learn it all.  Growing our Instagram following would be a HUGE help!  I am also working on launching my lifestyle/fashion/mom life blog, Diapers, and Dresses.  It's a work in progress. Also, a brick and mortar store could be in the future...

  • How I get into BOSSMODE? The days that I am 150% at my best, I do the following:
    1. Get up an hour before my husband and son do.   
    2. Work out.  It's so important to take care of our bodies, ladies. 
    3. Drink a cup of coffee by myself and set my intentions for the day.  I read, make lists, and get the bulk of my social media posting scheduled and out of the way.  This way, I can spend better time with my son.  
    4. Hair.  Makeup.  Clothes.  Research has proven when you get yourself out of bed and get yourself ready; you are so much more productive.  When you look good, you feel good, and you are prepared to take on anything! 
    5. When needed, I throw on some Snoop Dogg and get it done!

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YOU CAN CATCH Mary

Website / Facebook / Instagram

 
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Level up, V1

Get in bossmode with Kimberly Albritton creator of Couture Copywriting

WHO WHAT WHERE

  • Who: Kimberly Albritton
  • What: Couture Copywriting + Children book
  • Where: Raleigh, NC
  • PhotographerChronicles Photography

Growing up, I was an avid reader, but at some point over the last ten years,

I put aside books written by other people, picked up my laptop and decided it was time to tell my own stories.

I recently released my first children's book titled, Better Than ME, which is a universal story told from the African American perspective. It's the aspirational journey of a young boy who discovers role models within his family and their desire for him to dream bigger, aim higher and to be "Better" than them.

In addition to being a published author, I'm also the owner of Couture Copywriting.  With Couture, my goal is to help new and established business owners convey their brand message across platforms by providing copy that amplifies their brand.

I am also the founder and lead writer for The Color of Ingenuity which is a blog I established a little over two years ago to share the stories of African American entrepreneurs, thought-leaders and innovators. 

I'm a storyteller, and I'm incredibly grateful to have that gift.

As a child, I had a wild imagination so I think the creative spark has always been there. It wasn't until my late 20's that I began to explore writing as something more than a meet late night obsession.

I began to look at writing as a possible career ten years ago. However, I feel as though I finally found my footing and began to establish myself as a writer within the last five years.

BOSSMODE TIPS

Fear kept me from pursuing some of the things I wanted to continue earlier in life. I'd encourage others to push past the fear. Whatever your gift is, God gave that to you in abundance; don't second guess yourself. When you're confident in who you are and what you have to offer, your business reflects that same confidence.

I'd also recommend that you become as knowledgeable about every aspect of your business as possible. Even if specific tasks are delegated to others, have a basic understanding of it. Use sites such as Skillshare and Udemy to expand your knowledge base.

MY GOALS

I'm not even close to achieving all of my business goals. Couture is still in its infancy, so there's so much more to do with that platform. Eventually, I'd like to employ other writers through that business.

I have more children's books to write, but I'm also looking forward to completing my first novel.

I'm also committed to growing The Color of Ingenuity and exploring other mediums to share the entrepreneurial journeys of African American business owners.

However, what I'm most excited about is developing a literacy program for elementary aged children. It's in the ideation process, so we're currently brainstorming and researching similar programs.

How I get into BOSSMODE?

To get into #BossMode, I begin with prayer. I use that time to remind myself of everything I'm grateful for so that even if I fall flat on my face that day, I'm mindful of all the things that are right in my world.

YOU CAN STAY INSPIRED BY KIMBERLY HERE

INSTAGRAM / FACEBOOK / WEBSITE / BLOG

 
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Level up, V1

Get In BossMode with Candice Motley owner of Garnish Hair Studio

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  • WHO: CANDICE MOTLEY

  • WHAT: FOUNDER OF GARNISH HAIR STUDIO

  • WHERE: NORTH CAROLINA

  • PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Images by Amber Robinson

I have been doing hair for 18 years, focusing on extensions and transformations for the last 12.

It not only has been one of my greatest passions, but I feel super fortunate to say that I now know that I am walking with my purpose. I am continuously striving to grow inside of my niche to excel to greatness.
I have the best job in the world… I get to call transforming women’s lives through the art of hair my job. I focus on the feels and also the and result of the person’s appointment. I not only want them to walk away looking amazing but to have had the best experience with their service. Garnish, my studio, tries to touch all five senses whenever a new guest comes in and goes above and beyond to deliver exceptional service.

That creative spark came...

I got the creative spark when I was in high school, and I knew I wanted to do something in the beauty industry. It just set my soul on fire, and I could not get it out of my mind. As all of my colleagues and classmates were trying to get into different colleges, I was looking up cosmetology schools. I branched out on my own after working in a commission based hair salon for almost ten years. That was eight years ago now, and my salon just celebrated its four year anniversary.

Tips to get you into bossmode

One of the most impactful recommendations I can give you is to hire an industry-specific coach to help you with the different aspects of your business. Every single opportunity I’ve had to dive into coaching has been one that I have excepted with open arms. There is always a level of financial accountability, and inside of that self-investment, but With the skill sets that I’ve been able to develop while working with a mentor, I was able to push myself to do things I would’ve been too fearful of to do on my own. Sometimes you don’t know better to do better until someone shows you the way.

Also, tracking and monitoring all of the numbers for a creative like myself has always been challenging. So I have found people in other industries that are just as passionate about what they do and invited them into my business in the form of delegation. It has been a real lifesaver and frees up my time and mine to work on the thing that I love the most which are the actual art.

SETTING MY GOALS IN MOTION

I am just at the brink of re-branding my business into an exclusive extension based salon. That meant that many things had to shift and we ultimately had to say goodbye to a significant portion of the old model, as we were preparing for the launch of the new.Many things had to shift, and we ultimately had to say goodbye to a significant portion of the old model, as we were preparing for the launch of the new. It was a very bittersweet moment and was very challenging for a lot of different reasons. Whenever you are changing something That affects people, you’re going to get a slew of emotions. I tried to keep my vision clear and know that I am working in my passion, and ultimately for filling my purpose here on this earth to be able to offer the type of services that we do to the guests that need our help. That right there keeps me going when things got challenging.

How I get into BossMode?

I try to stay within my routine, and as soon as I get up I journal, look over my day, Work out, and sometimes I could even squeeze in a quick meditation.

Let's get real...

First...I will take this opportunity to boast about my two children… Kingston, who is four years old, and Houston, who is right on his heels, my three-nager.

Second...I opened up my business while I was pregnant with my son, and didn’t know back then exactly what I was diving into. There are many pros to doing everything at once, but I almost had a meltdown at least 2 to 3 times a week during the process of establishing my business. It puts a different value on your time and how much you have of it. Alternatively, my case how little. I love what my children have brought into my life and the way that they have opened up my eyes to see things from a new perspective.


YOU CAN CATCH CANDICE...

BUSINESS WEBSITE/ PERSONAL WEBSITE / INSTAGRAM / FACEBOOK / TWITTER

 

 
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Level up, V1

Get into BossMode with the founders of Moxie-N-More

Who What Where

A former hedge fund analyst and a college professor -- are a Philadelphia duo who teamed up to write a blog that inspires confidence, courage, and change in women's lives. Moxie’n’More couples empowerment with communication strategies to give women both inspiration and plans of action.

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Nikki & Keli

A former hedge fund analyst and a college professor -- are a Philadelphia duo who teamed up to write a blog that inspires confidence, courage, and change in women's lives. Moxie’n’More couples empowerment with communication strategies to give women both inspiration and plans of action.

If anybody asked us back in the same class in high school if we’d see ourselves 20 years later taking what feels like one of the most significant risks of our professional lives to working on a lifestyle blog together, we’d probably have said, “Umm, no?!” 

Don’t get us wrong, we shared smiles and niceties in the hallway, but our circles didn’t cross, and we didn’t know each other. Like at all. A chance Facebook post on women and empowerment made us reconnect, and we quickly realized that behind our professional identities we both shared a love for community, women, and raising one another up. We believe in the power of the collective and being vulnerable, and realize that growth comes from taking risks, building confidence, and surrounding yourself with people who make you better. Together, we have complimentary career goals and are moms to some fantastic, fierce little ladies. So stuff clicked fast. And after lots of meetings and matcha lattes, Moxie’n’More was born. We officially started our partnership in March and took our website to live in Summer 2018.

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tips to get you in bossmode

  1. First and foremost, surround yourself with collaborators who will push you to grow and take calculated risks. That's the best part about our partnership. We weren't friends who wanted to work together -- we worked together and became friends. When we reconnected it was because of a similar passion and the need for something a little more in our professional lives, so the partnership came about organically. 
  2. Second, if you find the right collaborators, then trust them. Make the big plan together, get aligned on your vision, and then let each person do the part they're good at. Offer feedback, share ideas, but ultimately embrace the collective dynamic that's created from both the joint and the individual contributions of each member of the team.
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Setting goals in motion.

With this venture, we're just getting started! One goal is to create content that is relevant to our readers, but that also has empirical evidence so that we can offer tested strategies to facilitate change. We both love writing but are also data nerds at heart, so we're working hard to find an equation that offers relatable content with validated tips and action steps to help women navigate personal and professional growth. To work towards this goal, we're learning in every way possible -- conferences, analytics, and good old trial and error!

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How we get into BossMode?

Nikki loves to spend time meditating and looking at her vision board first thing in the morning, and Keli loves to wake up and write right away. We both realize how our internal clocks work and try to find a rhythm that maximizes our productivity.

IN BOSSMODE and the women you spotlight represent the Moxie — the force of determination, character, and nerve — that we hope to foster in ourselves, our daughters, and the women around us. We love seeing how you build women up and create a community of support and confidence.
— Nikki & Keli
 
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Level up, V1

Get In BossMode with the help of Annie Spano founder of Style Collective

  • WHO: Annie Spano

  • WHAT: founder of style collective

  • WHERE: North Carolina

  • PHOTOGRAPHY BY: SARA COFFIN & BORA IMAGES

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Style Collective was formed as a reaction to an experience that should never happen to other women. I left my job in corporate marketing after being bullied and harassed by another woman in the workplace. The experience had left me feeling defeated and emotionally drained. I want there to be a better way for women to work together and help each other achieve success. I’ve made it my mission to empower other women, improve their happiness, and help them achieve their goals through sisterhood and support of a shared passion. Style Collective is precisely that mission.

While others may look at your success and think it came without hard work, was there a moment when you were overwhelmed, felt like giving up or thought your vision would not come to light? How did you overcome those thoughts? Absolutely, earlier this year in January, I had to migrate our billing system because the software that we had been using was full of bugs and causing us to lose revenue every single month. I found out that over the previous year and a half, this bug had caused me to drop $17K of revenue. Also, I ended up spending another $20K to migrate to a custom billing system. This was also while I had started planning the first annual conference in Raleigh, so I had to pay for $20K of the conference up-front while ticket sales were coming in during the 1st quarter of the year. It was incredibly stressful to manage so many expenses, and this experience almost broke me. I told myself that I was committed to the conference and if after the conference, things didn’t improve, then I would evaluate my decision to keep going or close it all up.

What creative tips can you share that help keep you afloat in your industry?

I create lists, many to-do lists and I find a lot of joy in just crushing my list each day. I love checking this off, deleting them, and marking them as DONE! If I am doing something that I don’t enjoy, I try to make it special. I turn on my favorite playlist, light a candle, grab a snack, etc. to make it feel more enjoyable.


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I would have set up a different billing system right out the gate, and I also scaled too fast in the beginning. I hired a lot of team members thinking that SC would keep growing at the same rate, which meant that I didn’t pay myself for the first 2 years. That was really tough and looking back, I wish that I had at least set some boundaries to establish business savings while I was adding headcount.

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Who were you before you started your venture?

Leaders are defined by their unique life stories and the way they frame their stories to discover their passions and the purpose of their leadership. I honestly would not be the woman I am today without every single experience that I have had. My life isn’t perfect, but if you can reframe your negatives and use them as motivation, then you can create the life that you have always wanted. It takes courage and hard work to take control of your own destiny, but if you have the will, the drive and a plan, then you can do it. Take it all one day at a time and enjoy the journey.

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What tips can you share when it comes to cultivating a good alliance with others in your industry.

Be supportive, ask someone how you can help them! It’s always so nice if someone emails or messages me wanting to help instead of asking for something. This is a way to stand out.

When life throws you lemons, just add BEAUTY, COCKTAILS, GIRLTALK. Life obstacles can weigh heavy on your mental and physical wellbeing. How do you stay uplifted, motivated or even inspired to push through and maintain your happiness?

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Everyone has difficulties and struggles in life, but the important thing is to use your experiences to shape your future. I’ve never once looked at myself as a victim, I actually feel incredibly blessed to have supportive family, friends, and peers surrounding me. Knowing your story is crucial to guiding you to discover your passions and true purpose in life.
— Annie Spano

YOU CAN FIND ANNIE here

Instagram / Instagram 2

 
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Level up, V1

BOSSMODE inspiration to help you Level up by Photographer Emily Bartell

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Why this industry? 

I have always been creative and took an interest in the arts from a young age. I knew I wanted to pursue photography as a career after working with our fantastic wedding photographer and friend. Throughout the entire process, it was apparent how much she enjoyed her work; I was inspired by the way she was able to tell our story in such a meaningful way, while also bringing out the best in us. When I decided to leap she was an excellent source of support and guidance. I am so grateful for the time she took to help me in those beginning stages of my journey, and make it a point to pay it forward whenever possible.

Don’t try to do everything at once. Break up each task.
— Emily

When you feel overwhelmed or feel like giving up.

I think as entrepreneurs; those feelings are always going to creep in from time to time. I've found the best way to overcome those thoughts is to surround myself with a positive support system. Don't be afraid to lean on those people when you need them, and make sure you are always reciprocating the love. The more you give, the more it comes back to you!

 If I could go back in time, I would have invested more in education earlier on. I spent time trying to figure things out on my own. I would have saved myself trouble if I had.

Must have apps/software? 

17Hats for business software - It's a lifesaver for keeping my clients and projects organized, workflows and templates, scheduling calendar, invoicing/payments, contracts, and bookkeeping. My favorite apps are Planoly, Sunrise & Fall, and The Weather Channel.

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Looking back is such a great way to remind ourselves how far we've come.

 Five years ago I was sitting in a cubicle in a job that was emotionally draining, and I just knew there had to be something else out there for me. There was a void in my life; I was desperate for a creative outlet and to be surrounded by other like-minded people. Pursuing my dream has given me a career that I can be proud of, and opened the door to some of the most amazing friendships.

Give advice and information freely. It will always come back to you.
— Emily

When I start to feel down, nature is my happy place. Taking time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us every day always puts things back into perspective. 

The biggest regret you'll ever have is not trying. If you try and fail, that's ok too! Give yourself grace and keep going, you will eventually find yourself on the path you were meant for. Never stop learning and growing. Most importantly, allow the right people and things to enter your life. You are worthy and deserving of all the blessings that life has in store for you!

When it comes to travel...

I think that's a different answer for every girl, just depending on what interests you the most. Personally I love food, music, and entertainment. I've never had the opportunity to travel outside of the country, but as far as US cities goes I would probably say Nashville. There is so much talent and diversity in one city, and being there makes you feel like you can be anything you want to be. You can't help but smile as you're walking down the strip at night, getting to experience music of all genres and people living out their dreams. You can forget about the worries of everyday life and just have a good time, while eating some of the best soul food you've ever had!

 

Ladies...

1. Allow yourself to be single. Learn who you are and what you want out of life. Relationships are so much more meaningful when both people have learned to be happy on their own first.
2. Go makeup free (in public) once in a while. Don't get me wrong; I enjoy wearing makeup; It's a fun way to enhance our features and express ourselves. What's even better, though, is learning to appreciate our natural beauty. It's liberating not to feel like you need to hide behind a mask to leave the house.

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I'm currently enjoying the new series American Woman. It makes me appreciate my independence as a woman in today's society, and what others before me had to go through to get us to where we are now.

I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR

Our feelings and emotions are a gift. There is so much power in our vulnerability. Instead of bottling up our feelings, we express them and are able to move past our problems in a healthy way.

 

KEEP UP WITH EMILY 

Instagram / Website / Facebook /Pinterest 

 
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V1, Level up

GIRL BOSS ALERT: INTERIOR DESIGNER NIKI MCNEILL

Niki McNeill,  an interior designer, living & loving in Raleigh, NC. Niki is passionate about living a well-designed life and serving others along the way.  

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  • She believes that every space needs a little bit of vintage + a splash of brass;  a southern girl to the core, who loves playing dress up, and that feeling you get in your stomach right as an airplane takes off.
  • Her Design Firm, SingleBubblePop, began in the fall of 2007 as a way to catalog her journey from pre-med student to interior design professional. The name SingleBubblePop came from the image that she would often meditate on when meditating, Niki would attempt to make her mind so quiet that she could hear a single bubble pop. 
  • Over the last ten years, her followers have watched her graduate from design school and work in residential + commercial interior design. She even made her way onto HGTV working as a production assistant for HGTV.com, where she learned some of the magic that goes into making interior design content for TV.  In 2011, She had the opportunity to put some of that knowledge to use as a featured designer on HGTV's "Design Wars." What an amazing experience! And, then joined the design team for the Emmy winning show "Elbow Room" which aired on HGTV and DIY network.
  • Working in television production and on large-scale renovation projects was thrilling, and further challenged Niki to continue her education to serve more aspects of the design industry.
  • That path lead her back to school to complete my interior design degree and enter into the world of architecture! Preparing construction documentation for commercial projects gave her a whole new perspective on the detail that's required to make a space both function and beauty.

  • Niki's business belief is that the spaces we live, work & play in have a significant impact on our well-being.  You can find out more about this on her blog as she writes about inspirational lifestyle content, style, and of course, interior design!

  • SingleBubblePop has been recognized by Southern Living, House Beautiful, HGTV.com and more as a blog to follow, and she continues to create notable original content & give behind the scenes look into her design projects. SingleBubblePop Design Studio was founded in 2010 and has delivered staging, a full-service design, renovations and custom furniture solutions to clients in the southeast US.

  • Photo credit: Images by Amber Robinso

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