March is Women’s History Month. In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women’s History Month in perpetuity. A special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women. We at The Black Money Matters Project are dedicating our March #BMMP17417 to women entrepreneurs, business owners, and organizations. We found 17 women who inspired us through their work and compelling stories. They are advocates, moms, educators, mentors, and trailblazers. They share their lives passionately, honestly, and transparently.
Disability Advocate, Blogger, Mother
Heather Watkins is a Disability Advocate, author, blogger, mother, graduate of Emerson College with a B.S. in Mass Communications. Born with Muscular Dystrophy, Heather loves reading, daydreaming, chocolate, and serves on a handful of disability-related boards and a former Chair of Boston Disability Commission Advisory Board. She is also a Co-founder of “Divas with Disabilities Project,” a supportive sisterhood network representing women of color with disabilities. Her publishing experience includes articles in MDA’s Quest magazine, Mass Rehab Commission’s Consumer Voice newsletter and has blogged for OurAbility.com, Artoflivingguide.org, Disabledparenting.com, Grubstreet.org, and Thankgodi.com. Heather’s short story, “Thank God I have Muscular Dystrophy” published in 2013 as part of compilation in the Thank God I…Am an Empowered Woman ® book series. Her blog Slow Walkers See More includes reflections and insight from her life with disability.
Janice Bryant Howroyd is an entrepreneur, educator, ambassador, businesswoman, author, and mentor. She is the founder and CEO of The Act-1 Group (a global enterprise that provides employment, workforce management, and procurement solutions to a wide range of industries, Fortune 500 organizations, local and mid-market companies, and government agencies). Founded in 1978, it is the largest privately-held, woman and minority owned workforce management company in the U.S. and was voted the 2015 Staffing Industry Analysts Best Staffing Firms to Work For. Mrs. Howroyd wrote The Art of Work – How To Make Work, Work For You!
Performance Artist, Singer, Dancer, Actor, Writer
Dubbed the Ancient Jazz Priestess of Mother Africa, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi is a gifted performer with the ability to act across the spectrum. The Baltimore native learned music at the Baltimore School For The Arts and Catholic University. She combines African and Native American rhythms into her shows. In December 2013, she became the first trans woman of color in D.C. to publish a novel of fiction Yemaya’s Daughters. Her other works include Brew, Wither, Keeper, Incarnate, Baltimore: A Love Letter, and Remains: A Gathering of Bones). In 2015, she received the Pioneer Award for work with the D.C. trans community and was honored as on of the Trans 100.
Heal A Woman Heal A Nation creates a platform for women leaders to not only grow their network, harness their skills and ability as an expert in the marketplace, but to develop personally to maintain their physical, mental and emotional health. Monokia Nance, Mothyna James-Brightful, and Maria James are the co-founders of Heal A Woman Heal A Nation. HWHN promotes life-long learning and holistic wellness for women and girls. Their annual HWHN Conference is a personal and professional development conference designed to bring women together for a transformative weekend. The organization has been recognized by Baltimore’s Mayor, State Senator, and Maryland’s Governor. In recognition of our work in the community touching the lives of women and girls, the Governor proclaimed April 13th as Heal a Woman to Heal a Nation Day.
Blavity is a community of the most exceptional multi-cultural creators and influencers in the world. Morgan DeBaun is the co-founder and CEO of the iconic entertainment website Blavity. After feeling misrepresented and left out of mainstream media Blavity was created a platform for black millennials. They partner with diverse content creators and influencers to help them reach a wider audience, amplify their message, and fund their hustles. They believe that the world shifts according to the way people see it.
Mother, Wife, PhotograpHer, Educator, Natural Hair Specialist, Athlete
Sierra C Johnson is a multi-talented natural hair specialist and photograpHer who strives to bring light to the lives of others. She created the SCJ brand to do just that. She believes the first step towards believing in the beauty and worth that you are filled with is being able to see it in not just yourself, but also in other people, places, and things. She speaks about her experiences and shares her life. SCJ Captures + Styleyourcrown help me to do that.
Author and actress, Mabelle Nung Fomundam owns a storytelling business that allows her to create, perform, and publish tales for all audiences. Her purpose is to create powerful moments that will inspire and empower her audience and readers. She is changing the global narrative, hearts, and minds one story at a time. Her poems and stories Wondrous Journey (a 5-part poem written to reflect every season of romance), September Wakes (a collection of poems written in pose, for performance), and Moghamo (a children’s book about the people in the African country of Cameroon) are available on her website.
Social Entrepreneur, Bee Ambassador, Educator
Mikaila Ulmer, age 12, has been widely celebrated for her achievements as the founder of Me & the Bee Lemonade. Her product is carried by Whole Foods! In addition, she donates a percentage of her revenue to local and international efforts to save bees. When she was just four, her family encouraged her to make a product for a Children’s business competition (the Acton Children’s Business Fair) and Austin Lemonade Day. Now at age 12, you can find her leading workshops on how to save the honeybees, and participating in social entrepreneurship panels.
Asia Newson aka Super Business Girl is known as Detroit’s youngest entrepreneur. At just thirteen years old she makes and sells her own candles and merchandise under her business Super Business Girl. Asia’s mission is to “recognize the true potential in every child and to develop intrinsic security that makes optimum use of their individualized talent “. She started Super Business Girl at the age of five years old, learning how to make candles from her father. She’s won numerous awards including being named on the Grio’s Top 100 list. She was a keynote speaker for TEDxDetroit. As Super Business Girl, she created a curriculum to use at these workshops called “How to be a YOUTHpreneur “, which is an hands-on class that teaches students (4th-12th grade) about entrepreneurship, merchandising, candle making classes and innovation. Five percent of Asia’s profits go to charitable donations.
Ama Marfo is the co-founder & CEO of the travel financial company Airfordable. The Chicago basic startup is making it easier to afford flights by allowing customers to pay for airline tickets in installments. It is a micro lean tool for airfare. Ama Marfo is a Ghana native and was inspired after wanting to see her family in Ghana during school breaks, but couldn’t afford the ticket as a college student. Since 2015, Airfordable has helped over 10,000 customers finance airfare. The company boasts price protection, no interest, no credit checks, flexibility, safety, and security in booking tickets through their service.
Maya Penn is a 16 year old award-winning eco-designer, artist, philanthropist, activist, entrepreneur, animated filmmaker, coder, illustrator, writer, and author of You Got This! At the age of 8, Maya started her eco-friendly fashion company Maya’s Ideas. She is an environmentalist first, which means that she does everything to make the planet livable for both people and animals alike. She is an advocate for recycling and reusing materials that will not put an additional strain on our environment or stripping the earth of it’s natural resources. She sells find items that are one of a kind, artisan handcrafted from the finest materials. 10-20% of profits go to local and global charities and organizations Maya is passionate about.
Kimberly Bryant is an electrical engineer who founded the organization Black Girls Code in 2011. The mission of the Black Girls Code is to change the face of technology by introducing girls age 7-17 from underrepresented communities to code. Girls are encouraged to embrace the current tech marketplaces as both builders and creators. Their vision is to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.
Nicaila Matthews created the Podcast Side Hustle Pro in 2016. She is Social and Digital Marketing Strategist who moonlights as a blogger and host. By day, she is the Senior Manager of Social Marketing with National Public Radio (NPR). Her podcast (which debuted in the Top 20 in Business on iTunes) spotlights black women entrepreneurs who have transformed their side hustle into a profitable business. With 40 podcast episodes currently available, you’re sure to find stories that inspire you and resonate with the hustler in you. Tune in weekly for actionable strategies to get going.
The BLK Projek was created in 2009, when Bronx activist and mother Tanya Fields wanted to take a more proactive approach in her quest for social justice and inclusive economic development. It is a response to sexist institutional policies, structurally reinforced cycles of poverty, and harsh inequities in wealth and access to capital that result in far too many women being unable to rise out of poverty and sustain their families. She recognized that the Bronx could have a foothold in creating an alternative, more inclusive food system and harness that power as an economic development tool. Through The BLK ProjeK, Mama Tanya addresses food justice and economic development by harnessing the local, good food movement and creating small business and career opportunities for under-served women and youth of color. Through culturally relevant education, beautification of public spaces, urban gardening and community programming we create easily accessible resources and enrich the lives of women who are routinely overlooked and overburdened yet serve an important and critical role in the larger fabric of society.
Tona Brown has an international career as a violinist, mezzo soprano and has performed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. She is the first transgender woman to sing for a sitting president, then Barack Obama and first trans woman of color to perform at Carnegie Hall. Her music studio, Aida Studios, is northern Virginia’s number one in home music studios. Recently listed as the Best of 2015 by Thumbtack and seen on Living Social Aida Studios has uplifted and supported the dreams of children and adults throughout the DC metro area.
Beverly Williams-Trimble owns Sue Ann’s Office Supply Inc. in Northwest Baltimore. With years of experience under her belt, Beverly’s business has been known to yield more than 1 million dollars in annual revenue. Sue-Ann’s Office Supply, Inc is the premier provider of high quality office products and service. Sue-Ann’s Office Supply has been in business for over 30 years, and is certified by the MDOT, SDB, and the City of Baltimore.
Reverend Stephanie Long-Scott has turned her genuine passion for inspiring people and sharing biblical scripture into a unique Christian greeting business—Nothing’s Impossible. Her cards and customized affirmations carry a special warmth that is encouraging. The company’s desire to reach the entire global community bringing good news to encourage and a word of wisdom to inspire in the form of a greeting.
The BMMP 17 For ’17 is one way we will celebrate excellence in our community. We compile lists of 17 businesses, entrepreneurs, and/or organizations each month. You are provided with information and resources that you can use, while we provide the businesses, entrepreneurs, and organizations with support. We will share the lists with you on the 17th of each month. Make sure you check back each month for the information updates. Last month, we spotlighted #BuyBlackInitiatives.
Share info on other initiatives that you know about in the comments.
Thank you in advance for your support.
Check back on 04/17/17 for April’s post!