[NEWS RELEASE] Applications available for @Macys Business of Fashion Program

Miami, FL – October 7, 2014 – After four successful courses, The Workshop at Macy’s, the retailer’s innovative “business of fashion” program begins accepting applications today for the 5th Anniversary class of entrepreneurs, who are poised for bigger retail success. In the Spring of 2011, Macy’s created this one-of-a-kind business of retail development program with the aim of mentoring and fostering growth within up-and-coming minority and women-owned businesses. This industry-first initiative has resulted in a number of new vendor relationships with Macy’s and has created a pipeline of enterprises that the company can tap for future product opportunities.

“We are very excited to kick-off the application process for the next Workshop class,” said Shawn Outler, Macy’s group vice-president of Leased Businesses, Vendor Collaboration and Multicultural Business Development. “This program was created to develop minority and women-owned businesses that make great products, but needed additional real-world knowledge and expertise to successfully manage and maintain a thriving business with a large-scale nationwide retailer such as Macy’s. Going into our fifth year, we are truly encouraged by the results so far with a number of graduates of the program now providing goods as Macy’s vendors and a host more in the pipeline for future opportunities. This program helps reinforce Macy’s long-standing commitment to vendor diversity and to providing customers with unique goods and services that meet their lifestyles. We can’t wait to see what the new applicants have to offer.”

The Workshop at Macy’s is a four and a half-day intensive training course developed by a consortium of experts from Macy’s Learning & Development, Macy’s Multicultural Merchandising and Vendor Development, Babson College, the nation’s leading business school for entrepreneurship, and with select Macy’s merchants and vendors. The specially designed business development curriculum is aimed at minority and women-owned retail businesses that make department store products and are poised to grow beyond self-distribution or low volume retailing. The goal of this annual program is to help create a pipeline of viable enterprises that will grow to become successful partners within Macy’s own vendor community often bringing unique goods and trend perspectives to stores across the country.

The Workshop at Macy’s allows selected participants to collaborate with fellow aspiring vendors, gain access to industry experts and solicit one-on-one business coaching. The course work includes classes on merchandising and assortment planning, marketing, EDI, financial management, and access to capital.

From intimate apparel to jewelry and cosmetics, the Workshop at Macy’s vendors all conclude that the program helped them identify opportunities and put into practice policies that have led to successful and long-term growth. Psychelia Terry, President and Founder of Urban Intimates, stated, “I found the Workshop at Macy’s to be more than just a ‘workshop,’ it was life changing. Every team that worked with us demonstrated unparalleled knowledge about retail and wholesale partnerships. They sincerely cared about our business and our future success as a brand and company. We will be forever grateful for the 700% revenue increase that we have seen companywide because of the training, hand-holding and detailed instructions we learned from the Workshop at Macy’s.” She added, “Our company now successfully partners with Macy’s and other retailers in the US because of the information we learned and put into practice during our training.”

Alex Woo, President and Designer of “Alex Woo,” a fine jewelry vendor concurred, “The Workshop at Macy’s provided an amazing support network of industry experts and leaders in the field of fashion and retail like nowhere else. As a Made in New York brand, the chance to work with the world’s largest and most iconic store was an opportunity that no one should pass up!”

Built as a long-term program, the Workshop team is in constant communication with current vendors and past participants as they progress through the opportunities outlined during the coursework. Mateo Bijoux, a graduate and Macy’s men’s furnishings vendor under the “Mateo New York” brand, referred to this ongoing open dialogue and follow-through, when he stated, “The Workshop at Macy’s was and is the foster father of my business! It has made me a sharper entrepreneur!”

WWD-ChairNew applications will be accepted beginning on October 7, 2014. To be eligible, an applicant must be the majority (51% or more of equity) owner, co-owner or otherwise have operational control (per applicable status rules) of a business that has been in operation for a least two consecutive years and be its primary decision maker.  Eligible applications will include a 250-word biographical statement, look book/line sheets or images of product including costs, resumes on all owners, financial statements for the business for 2 years, fall within the minority and women-owned definition of the program and provide verification of the business as a legal entity (i.e. Corporation, LLC, etc.), among other requirements. Applications must be submitted online or postmarked by February 1, 2015 by 11:59pm EST. All information including full program requirements are available online at www.macysinc.com/workshop. All eligible applications will be reviewed and select applicants will be asked to attend an in-person interview. Final selections will be made after all prospective candidates are interviewed. The program will take place in New York City in late April/early May of 2015.

For more information on The Workshop at Macy’s, please visit www.macysinc.com/workshop.


The Fusion Tour is coming to Montgomery AL!

Register Today!

Register Today!

Yes, you heard me correctly!

The Fusion Tour, hosted by Women are Gamechangers, is coming to Montgomery Alabama on Saturday, October 5th.  I am pleased to be the cohost along with Founder and CEO of Women are Gamechangers, Ms. Vernetta Freeney.

What’s so special about this event?

Vernetta, an award winning blogger and master networker,  has created an event that allows women to make meaningful connections.

Don’t you hate going to events where everyone is hustling a business card or where there are so many vendors until you feel like you are in a shopping mall?  You won’t find any of that at our event.  The event has been carefully planned to allow you to get to know the women in the room so that you can create meaningful, long term, professional relationships.  You will also have a chance to hear from local business owners, such as Shekenya Calhoun, Human Resource Director of Calhoun Enterprises.  I am excited to hear her share some success secrets as well as answer your questions about how her father built a legacy and the work she and her family are doing to continue that legacy.

The theme for the Montgomery event is “Creating a Big Brand in a Small City.”  I will also be sharing tips and techniques that I have used to build my personal brand as well as strategies that I have used with my clients to help them use social media to build a brand without spending a bundle.

Are you excited?

You should be!

Register today and make plans to spend October 5 from 9am until 11am with a  group of dynamic women who are committed to helping you become successful!

Visit http://WomenAreGamechangers.com/FusionTour to purchase your ticket and save the date (September 2) to join our next Twitter chat ~ use #FusionTour ~ to learn more about this game changing event.


Can I really have it ALL? #SummerLoveSeries

One of the issues that I have been discussing with my girl friend is, what am I willing to give up for love.


You all know that I believe that I can have it ALL, however “all” does not mean everything.  All, in my opinion, is deciding what are the two to four most important things in your life and pouring yourself into them.  I believe that many people have become disappointed in their own lives because their list is too long.  We are all humans with 24 hours in a day, there is only so much that you can accomplish no matter how much assistance you have.  And if you have no assistance, if every buck stops with you, then your list is probably going to be a little shorter.

Anyway, the past few years, I think I have been successful at having it all.  My priorities were – God (serving in ministry), family/friends (spending quality time with the people who I care about, actually being present in moments) and business (becoming a profitable entrepreneur).

Here is the problem – where does love fit in there?  Love, in the sense of loving a man, definitely can’t come before God.  Should love come before family and friends? We’ve all heard the stories of women who put their man before the people who had been there for them all of their life and when the relationship ended, their support team was gone.  Then there’s the business… Can love come before business?  My business is almost nonstop.  I’m always on my computer, on the phone, traveling, doing something and I love it.  It doesn’t seem like a chore for me, it feels like my professional purpose.  Am I ready to push that down on the list for love?

In the past, love has been on the bottom of my short list and honestly, that’s not working very well.  After all of those other obligations are filled, I have little left to give to love.  There is little time, there’s little energy… So to stop the insanity, something has to change, but what?

time for love

Success Secrets from Producer, Entrepreneur & Consultant Arinze

 We all have the same 24 hours in a day but some seem to do more with theirs than others.  Our guest this week is a hip-hop producer, artist, law & business consultant as well as restaurant co-owner.  Listen to our interview with Arinze to find out how he stepped out on faith to make his dreams a reality.


Success Secrets from Producer, Entrepreneur & Consultant Arinze.

Lead to Succeed 2013 – Mobile AL

When I received the full color pamphlet in the mail from Success Resources, I was instantly elated!  To see Les Brown and Brian Tracy in Mobile Alabama!  Of course, that’s not down the street but I would definitely make the 90 mile trip to hear these inspirational figures.  And then… the price… $4.95 per person o_O (my mother was convinced that it was $4.95 per speaker, even after I paid and had my receipt, because she figured that deal was too good to be true).

Lead to Succeed

Needless to say, during the couple of weeks leading up to the seminar I was very anxious and a little nervous.  The online ordering process didn’t flow as smoothly as I would have liked.  Once I placed my order, I never received an email confirmation however, I received a text message alert that my credit card had been charged.  After calling the toll free number several times and being on hold in excess of five minutes a couple of the times, leaving a message once that still hasn’t been returned, I spoke with someone who assured me that my registration had been processed and she would email my ticket information later that day.  Next day, no email.  I ended up emailing their customer service to receive the ticket information.  At this point, a part of me was wondering whether this was a scam… was it too good to be true?

Wednesday, February 27th after dropping my son off at school, I made the hour and a half drive to the Mobile Convention Center.  The seminar started at 8am and they encouraged you to arrive an hour early since the $4.95 ticket price was for general admission.  I arrived around 9am and Les Brown was speaking.  Great! I thought to myself as I settled in my seat, not knowing that I had already missed Brian Tracy 😦

Overall, it was a good day.  Some of the speakers on the advertisement didn’t show (or I missed them too being an hour late) and it was promoted that all speakers would be live.  However, Larry King‘s presentation was prerecorded.  I wasn’t extremely interested in hearing him as much as I was interested in seeing him not seated behind a desk – didn’t happen.

Check out a few nuggets from some of the speakers and if Lead to Succeed comes to your city, make plans to attend and stay all day.  Prepare yourself for the sales pitch.  I quickly realized that the reason the seminar was so inexpensive was because it’s a primer for the other seminars that each of the presenters are hosting – in YOUR city, at discount just for YOU, just for TODAY!

Bob Katel, Investing

  • Message – don’t be afraid to fire your broker, buy his software and self manage your investments
  • Take Away – sounds great in theory but as a former financial adviser, there is so much more to money management than the profitability of your investments, I was a little alarmed at the number of people rushing to sign up for the three day seminar that would essentially teach them to invest like a pro

Bob Harrison (Dr. Increase), Sales

  • Message – The Increase Mindset: you can’t change a habit unless you change your mindset because your subconscious and conscious mind need to be in agreement.  Otherwise, many people start a project like saving but if they haven’t changed their thinking about money then they won’t be able to change the habit – going from spending to saving.
  • Take Away – Same concept that I teach with My Money Matters, saw ways that I can apply teaching to other areas of life in my presentations

James Smith, Real Estate

  • Message – becoming wealthy isn’t a bad thing, especially if you use your wealth to be a blessing to others, real estate investing can be a way to serve your community by developing housing for low income, elderly and disabled
  • Take Away – do more research on buying foreclosed properties in my area, I don’t think this is a good investment strategy for everyone because even inexpensive properties can become expensive to maintain but in a down economy where real estate is being sold below value, it is worth researching
  • Funniest Line – yeah, I have a MBA – a major bank account

Adam Ginsberg, eCommerce Sales

  • Message – you can make money selling on eBay, many people don’t because they don’t think anyone wants their junk but your junk is another person’s treasure
  • Take Away – consider selling some of the clothes that me and my son no longer wear on eBay, even if its only for $5 per item, that could turn into a nice seasonal shopping trip

Adam Markel, Wealth

  • Message – The Millionaire Mind Intensive: most people will not achieve a high level of financial success because of their wealth psychology  they don’t believe they are capable of that level of success, they set their goals to low, they perceive wealth to be a bad thing, etc
  • Take Away – continue presenting Mastering the Millionaire Mindset, didn’t realize how much of an issue it was until all of the people flooded the sign up for his three day intensive for the value price of $97 to change their mindset about being wealthy

Les Brown, Motivation

  • Message – so many great nuggets but Les suggested focusing on 
    • Your faith in yourself, in what you want to do, in something greater than yourself
    • Having a larger vision,  our problem isn’t that our goals are too big and we don’t achieve them but that they are too small and we do
    • Being unstoppable, don’t let anyone else tell you what you can or can’t do
    • Investing in yourself, attending sessions like this to not only learn new stuff but to reinforce what you already know
    • Your talent, knowledge is the new currency
    • Total committment, whatever you choose to do, go all the way!
  • Take Away – although Les was very aggressive in the beginning of his career, he platued and it took him fourteen years to get into motivational speaking because he wasn’t sure he could do it/ be successful at it – it’s normal to fear success but you have to overcome it and just do it

While researching for this article to add links for each of the speakers so that you can check them out for yourself, I noticed that almost all of them have some type of complaint or scam alert associated with their seminars.  Here’s my thing, you will get out of any presentation what you put into it.  If you really think that you can pay someone $100 to change your life, you better be willing to change your life.  As a motivational speaker, I understand the purpose of these presentations  they are to push people to think bigger, to do more, to grow and to give you new ideas to change your current situation.  Nothing will change if you aren’t willing to change your mindset and your actions.  Don’t ever go into any situation expecting someone else to change your life, no matter how much you pay them.

Knowledge is power, only if you put it in to action. ~ Zig Zigler

[GUEST POST] Cloud Storage for Small Businesses

These days, it seems we can hardly go a day without hearing something about how much technology is changing the ways we work and do business. Indeed, with a new smart phone, tablet, or other electronic gadget being released seemingly every week, communication standards are constantly being upgraded. Of course, the benefits of these changes for small businesses are easy to understand: file transfer, email, and other communications can now occur more quickly and simply than ever before, which helps employees to maximize work output. In fact, communication now occurs so quickly and frequently through online means, that many small business owners are even looking into increased file sharing support and security through companies such as Share File.

Among all of these changes and advances in communication and Internet capability, one development that is particularly exciting in environments like that of a small business is cloud storage. With more and more work being done electronically, it has become paramount to back up and store files in a secure and reliable manner, and no matter how advanced our devices become, they will always be prone to certain errors. For example, consider the following potential malfunctions and misfortunes for important files and work documents.

    • Lost Devices – When employees are working on a project, presentation, document, etc., it is most common for them to save this work on personal devices such as computers, tablets, phones, or even USBs. However, if these devices are subsequently lost, all of that work disappears, which can set back the entire business.
    • Damaged Devices – Even if a device is not lost, it can still be damaged, which in turn can ruin the work all the same. Whether that means accidentally dropping and stepping on a USB, getting water damage on a phone or laptop, etc., accidents occur, and can erase or destroy valuable data and work.
    • Other Malfunctions – Additionally, it is worth considering the random, unpredictable malfunctions that can occur with any electronic equipment. For example, an employee may be working on a laptop that suddenly freezes or dies for no apparent reason. In such instances, files and important work can be beyond retrieval.

Cloud StorageThese types of issues can be somewhat rare in a work environment, but they are always unpredictable, and can still cause disastrous setbacks for the entire business. Instead of risking these mishaps, many small business owners are opting to bring in cloud storage systems – which essentially provide a means of backing up and saving work data automatically, without reliance on specific devices. With cloud storage, you can access saved work from virtually any Internet device – meaning that even if you lose the laptop you work on, you can log into the cloud from your smart phone and access your work. The potential benefits in file security and work efficiency are well worth considering for any effective small business.

This is a guest post by Dale Simmons. Dale is a blogger and freelance writer who posts on topics in the technology field.

Which type of speaker are you?

Most speakers fall into at least one of the following categories yet people assume that a person with the ability to communicate clearly is a great speaker.  I think more consideration should be paid to the type of speaking that a person does…

  1. Preacher, of course this is the first that comes to my mind because this is the speaker that I hear the most.  I believe that some preachers are actually teachers.  This is definitely personal opinion because no one knows the relationship between God and a person and what  He has called them to do.  However, I think that the difference between a preacher and teacher is in the delivery of the message.  A teacher is able to teach you something about a Biblical text while a  preacher is usually able to teach you something while also creating an emotional connection.  For many, the assumption that the person and their method of speaking is the conduit of the emotional connection, but I believe that the Holy Spirit working through that person is the source of the connection.  
  2. Teacher, which was addressed briefly above, is a person who has knowledge of a subject or the ability to convey information to a person or group of people.  This person, based on their comfort, can be used in a variety of situations but if booking someone to speak who is a teacher, you should be aware of whether they are an interactive teacher or a lecturer.  It is often assumed that teachers make great speakers because they are used to presenting information, however, depending on your group, the teacher you are considering may or may not be the right fit.
  3. Interviewers are very difficult to find.  There is an art to interviewing and most people can agree that Oprah is the master in the this category.  I have been interviewed by and listened to some interviews that were simply painful.  The art to interviewing involves voice infliction to match the mood and tone of your guest as well as active listening to identify where your next question should come from.  You should also be aware that your guest should do most of the speaking while walking the tightrope of asking enough interesting questions that they can expound on during the allotted amount of time. Most people who are just starting out will have a set of questions that they rely on but as you perfect your craft, you should be able to research your subject so that the interview feels more like a conversation between two (or more) people with the rest of the world listening in.  One of the reasons that Oprah is so successful at interviewing is because she has the ability to create a connection with her guests that allows them to block out the audience, cameras, crew, etc and become totally engrossed in their conversation which often leads to them revealing information that they may not have intended.
  4. Host/Hostess are important components of many events.  A host must have a dynamic and engaging personality that will make people stop talking, drinking or whatever else they are doing to pay attention to what you are saying.  Many people assume that comedians make great hosts but again you need to consider your audience because some people find certain genres of comedy offensive or uncomfortable.  A great host should make the guests feel comfortable, connected to the event and have a command over the time schedule to ensure your event flows smoothly.
  5. Workshop speakers often have traits of one or more of the other speakers but it is important to identify whether you want your participants to do something during the presentation.  If the session is informational only, then you need a seminar speaker.  It is vital that you communicate the difference to your speaker and to your audience because it creates an expectation.  I once attended a workshop that was supposed to be interactive but the presenter spoke the entire time and left the last three minutes for questions.  The attendees had an expectation that they would be participating in the conversation but found themselves listening to a monologue.  If you are a speaker and you are not sure what the expectation is, you should find out prior to creating your presentation.  A workshop should include bits of information with time for discussion or an exercise while a seminar implies that you will speak fluidly for a period of time with an allocation of time for questions or comments at the end.
  6. Keynote Speakers are much like preachers without the divine intervention.  Not everyone is capable of being a keynote speaker, no matter how much speaking experience they have.  Most keynote speakers are known for being able to tell a powerful story within a short span, because most keynotes are a part of a larger event, that creates an emotional connection with the audience or inspires them to action.  Choosing a flat keynote speaker can be harmful to your event because that will be the thing, aside from the food, that they remember the most.

I hope these tips are helpful for speakers and event planners.

Image Courtesy of nutritioneducationexperts.com

Image Courtesy of nutritioneducationexperts.com

I see a lot of people who tag themselves as Motivational or Inspirational Speakers but you should be sure that you have the tone and message that matches that description.  If you are unsure of your speaking style, record a couple of your presentations and listen to them critically.  Also, have your participants complete evaluations and take their assessments seriously so that you can improve your craft.

Side note to all event planners: do your research and listen to past presentations by your presenters then give them a clear direction of your expectations.  You may not be able to imagine the amount of pressure on a speaker when you say, “talk about whatever you want.”  Whenever possible, give them the approximate size of the audience, the demographics, the purpose of the event and a central theme that you would like them to focus on as well as a time frame for their presentation.