When I shot with Henrietta a few weeks ago, I just knew I had to feature her on the blog! Not only does she do amazing photography- she is also 23 and is currently perusing her PhD (Talk about goals!). Henrietta recently moved here from New Jersey and has continued her photography as her side biz while she is in school. She gave me all the deets on not only why she started photography in the first place, but also her least favorite things about what she does!

Tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grown up, get your degree in etc? What is your current job?

I’m Henrietta. I grew up in Nigeria but moved to New Jersey 9 years ago for school. I got my Bachelors in Marketing and Management from Seton Hall University & my MBA from Stevens Institute of Technology, both in New Jersey. I’ve just started my PhD in Political Science at University of Houston so that’s my full-time gig but, I still make time to be a fashion & lifestyle photographer.

What made you decide to start your career?

When I moved from Nigeria to a boarding school in Pennsylvania, I started my junior year in high school not knowing anyone and being the introverted “new girl”,  so I joined the yearbook committee and was assigned to take the photos. Several people loved their photos and I got wonderful feedback so I asked for a digital camera for my 17th birthday and I’ve been on a roll ever since. & no, I did not get any formal training in photography.

What inspires you on a daily basis?

People. I love photography so much because it not only allows me to express my creative side but also meet some extraordinary individuals that inspire me every day.

What is your favorite bible verse & why?

Deuteronomy 31:6. In a world where relationships & friendships can be so temporary and fleeting and sometimes, especially as a young person, it is difficult to see what is coming next (like my moving to Houston for example).  It gives me great peace to know that God remains steadfast, no matter what. Even if everyone in my life disappoints me and no matter where life takes me, He will neither leave me nor abandon me to figure it out on my own.  He’s always there.

What’s something you would tell your 20-year-old self?

Know your worth and learn how to say no.

What is your end goal with your career? What do you want to accomplish?

In terms of photography, I would like to shoot for high fashion magazines and luxury brands but also expand into video production and editorial work.

P.S.- I shot recently with Henrietta for a campaign I had with HEB

What are the 3 most important things you would tell someone starting off in their career?

  1. Don’t let the “no”s get you down. Someone will say yes and appreciate your work.
  2.  Bring your A-game at every opportunity, from major clients to those just starting out. You never know whom someone knows.
  3. Don’t try to be like everyone else. Stick to your aesthetic and trust yourself.

What is your favorite thing to do regarding your field?

In terms of photography, I love the end. I still get like a flutter in my stomach when someone says they loved their images. I really hope that never changes.

What is your least favorite?

Sometimes, shooting can be stressful. I’ve shot in both >100 degree & 18 degree weather and it can honestly be super stressful and hard.

What has been the most surprising challenge within your field?

I can be very shy so reaching out had been a challenge but doing so, thus far, has been so rewarding.

Until Next Time!

-B

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Jamelia fought her passion for long, but eventually gave in, not looking back since. This weeks #BossBabe, Jameila Blackman-Sonny, tells us not about her passion regarding the well being of young women, but also the daily efforts of being a full time “Side-preneur”, owning her own business, Faithfull Queens in addition to her 9-5! P.S- after you are done reading her interview,  you have to head over to check out some of her stuff- it is all so fab!

Tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grown up, get your degree in etc? What is your current job?

I am a motivational/personal development, Jesus junkie currently residing with my hubby in New Jersey. I grew up on the small Caribbean island of St. Vincent but then migrated to the US when I was about 16 years old. I later gained my degree in Media Communications from the City College of New York! I currently work in nonprofit; assisting the team at Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC (mentoring rocks). When I am not at BBBS I am a part time “sidepreneur” building brands Faithfull Queens & JBS Inspires.

What made you decide to start your career?

With a focus in Media Communications & minor in Journalism, I swore after graduation I would land a job in Public Relations and all will be well with the world but that was absolutely not what God had planned for me. I did land a job in the industry but then quickly realized that it wasn’t where my heart was. As mentioned before, I recently started working with one the most prestigious and oldest mentoring organization in the country (BBBS of NYC)- which I completely did not see coming but believe this is part of what I was called to. I have always been interested in mentoring but tucked it to the back of mind as I wanted to pursue something that seemed “more interesting”.

What inspires you on a daily basis?

I am inspired by people, purpose and God daily. There are so many people who inspire me to be better, to live out my calling & become all God has called me to be, even the ones who have no idea who I am (thank you for your obedience). Purpose inspires me because without that sense of knowing you are here for a reason, you have no idea where you’re heading; you live a random life going wherever the wind blows you. With a purpose driven life, you know who you are, you know whose you are and why you are. Since I have found that it, inspires me every day to keep moving forward. And of course, God because without him there would be no purpose, no life and no people to inspire me.

With a purpose driven life, you know who you are, you know whose you are and why you are.

What is your favorite bible verse & why?

I have so many favorite scriptures but the one that immediately came to mind is Jeremiah 29:1 – “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you says the Lord, thoughts of peace, not evil, to give you an expected end.” I loooove this scripture because it brings me back to a place of peace & rest knowing that no matter what life throws at me I am already taken care of; it is already handled.

What’s something you would tell your 20-year-old self?

I would tell my 20-year-old self to trust the process. Sometimes we find ourselves in a place, especially as a young woman, regretting the decisions we’ve made or what has happened to us but it’s all for a reason. While at that moment you might be upset with the world and feeling worthless, He still has a plan for your life. And once you’re loving on God it’ll surely work for you. I found a quote somewhere that says, “the truth is nothing is working against you- it’s all working for you” and I see that now. I can appreciate the journey because it has made me who I am today.

What is your end goal with your career? What do you want to accomplish?

I’ve heard before that one way to know why you were created is to pay attention to the things that hurt you to your core when you see or hear about them or what you’ve personally experienced. I’ve come to realize that seeing young girls & young women not knowing themselves and not making the right decisions because there is no sense of purpose is that thing. So my end goal with both brands @jbsinspires and @faithfullqueens and even working with BBBS of NYC is to not only inspire young people by mentoring or just sharing my journey but to help cultivate self-worth within them and to reinforce their value in the eyes of God.

What are the 3 most important things you would tell someone starting off in their career?

I would tell them pray for direction; for wisdom and for understanding so that they connect with the right colleagues and are able to excel in their line of work.

Get a mentor – Mentors can teach you things they’ve already been experienced, mistakes they’ve made and what they learned.

Network, network, network: Expand your network. Don’t just go out to an event & exchange business cards and call that networking. Network with the right people and genuinely invest in these relationships.

What is your favorite thing to do regarding your field?

I enjoy being an inspiration to others. To know that I can uplift someone. To help them go from feeling worthless to worth it. I also do a lot of listening. People share a lot with me and it’s a skill not everyone is good at but I enjoy listening to others & they appreciate when you can listen without advice and judgement.

What is your least favorite?

I honestly do not have a least favorite. I love what I do.

What has been the most surprising challenge within your field?

The most surprising challenge within my field is having to manage & make my own schedule. With my prior work experiences, my day was already sort of set. There were daily tasks and responsibilities and so the transition to an environment where I have to manage, prioritize and plan my day was a bit challenging at first but completely doable after getting acclimated.

Until Next Time!

-B

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So excited to feature one of my fellow blogger babes, Priyanka Bins on the blog today! I met Priyanka a few months ago at an event I hosted at Altar’d State. She was so sweet & full of life that I just had to feature her! Not only that- she’s an attorney! I always admired female lawyers- going into a courthouse and fighting for what they believe in is something I always thought was amazing! This week, Priyanka tells us the one thing she loves about her career, as well as what has surprised her most about being a lawyer!

Tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grown up, get your degree in etc? What is your current job?

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas! My parents are originally from India, but they moved here when my mom was newly pregnant with me & I’ve been here ever since. I went to University of Texas at San Antonio for undergrad  and majored in English with an Emphasis in Creative Writing. My time in college led me to my passion for writing fiction, which has stayed with me ever since. I then went on to attend law school here in Houston, at South Texas College of Law. I graduated in 2012 and started my career as a  family law attorney shortly thereafter.  Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of creative writing in my career, but there are other rewarding aspects.

What made you decide to start your career?

I knew I wanted to be a lawyer around sophomore year of college.  I had professors telling me time and again that my writing background was fantastic, which is something that helps tremendously in the legal field.  I went straight to law school after graduation because, frankly, I was ready to be done with school and move on in the world!

What inspires you on a daily basis?

A variety of things. First off, my family of course. My husband is also a lawyer, so I often look to him for guidance and inspiration. I also think about my mom a lot when things get tough. In 2015, I watched her beat oral cancer like a beast. She is seriously one of the strongest, most hard working people I know! Travel is also a huge inspiration for me. I believe it is not only important, but necessary to see the world & know how other people live.  I’ve found that each time I travel to a new country, I learn so much about things I wouldn’t even think to expand my knowledge on. A lot of writing inspires me as well. I’m a fiction fanatic, and one of my favorite authors Jhumpa Lahiri, is the reason I began writing in the first place. If you’re not familiar with her work, pick up a copy of ‘Interpreter of Maladies.’ It’s poignant and beautifully written.

What is your favorite quote & why?

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. Your really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” ― Lucille Ball

She’s a HUGE inspiration to me. Beautiful, successful and funny. All the things I strive to be on the daily.

What’s something you would tell your 20-year-old self?

It will all work out! So often in my 20s, I would worry about the silliest things. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life at 21, but sure enough, at the age of 22, I was off to law school pursuing my goals and meeting the man of my dreams.  If things aren’t going well, then it’s probably not the end of the story.

What is your end goal with your career? What do you want to accomplish?

I haven’t figured that out yet. I’m just trying to grow as a lawyer and make sure that I’m learning more and more as each year goes by. That’s all I can ask for right now, and I’m perfectly content with that.

What are the 3 most important things you would tell someone starting off in their career?

(1) Don’t pigeon-hole yourself into one “career.” Nowadays, dreams are easier to follow because of social media, and the Internet in general.  I watched my sister turn her love for eating at and blogging about great restaurants into a full blown writing career. She now works for Citybook Magazine. Just because you went to school for one thing, does not mean you can’t be an expert in something else. I wanted to ensure that my career didn’t tire me out or change anything about myself, so I started a fashion and travel blog!  I love it because it keeps me creative and adds lightheartedness to my life that my primary career can’t always provide.

(2) If you don’t like something about your career (or life), change it. No one else will do it for you. It’s definitely difficult to take that plunge sometimes, but it is your life we’re talking about.

(3) Take time for yourself.  Of course the beginning of a career usually means putting in the hard work and hours, which is completely understandable. But if your work-life balance is off for the long term, it may be time to try something else.

What is your favorite thing to do regarding your field?

Unfortunately a lot of the work in my field involves families breaking up, as much of what I do deals with divorce & custody matters. However, I do get to handle adoptions as well. While the actual process is fairly administrative, the best part about it is the day the adoption gets finalized.  It’s usually only about a 15 to 20 minute hearing, but the glow and excitement that emanates from the family and their new child is something you don’t often see in other professions.

What is your least favorite?

I would have to say that the least favorite thing about practicing family law is the pettiness that comes with it. People that we deal with are hurting and often times extremely emotional, and sometimes that pain gets in the way of rational thinking. A lot of my job deals with calming people down and assuring them that everything will work out in the end. My business card doesn’t say ‘Priyanka Bins, Attorney and Counselor’ for nothing!

My business card doesn’t say ‘Priyanka Bins, Attorney and Counselor’ for nothing!

What has been the most surprising challenge within your field?

I think the amount of public speaking would have to be my response. I knew I’d be in court a lot, but I could never have fathomed how often I’d be speaking to a judge in front of pews of people watching my every word!  I remember one time, when my husband and I were still dating, he happened to be in the same court as I was, and I felt so nervous that he would see me stand up at docket call and announce my case.  Turns out I stumbled on my words, butchered my client’s name, and couldn’t even get a straight sentence out.  I’m happy to say that was about 3 years ago, and I’ve been much better ever since!

 

Until Next Time!

-B

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Whew- this year is literally flying right by us!  It’s been a while since I’ve rounded up some of the fab people that I know- life happened ya’ll. Between Harvey & life- I have no other excuse except the fact that I was busy bossin’ myself.  No worries- the series is back & in full effect! This month is packed with #BossBabes, with the first of the month being non other than Chelsea Coffey!

Tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grown up, get your degree in etc? What is your current job?

My name is Chelsea Coffey. I’m a 30 yr. old life and style blogger who recently relocated to New York City. For the last month I’ve been a resident of the Brooklyn neighborhood, Bed Stuy, and what a journey it’s been! I moved to New York without a job. Just blind faith that this transition was meant to be & that God would bless each and every step I took.  Thankfully, that was totally the case and almost a year later, I couldn’t be happier to have followed my gut.

I grew up in Maryland, and spent the last 15 years in Houston so I consider myself an east coast west coast hybrid.  The same can be said about a few areas of my life. To pay the bills (haha), I run operations for the US and Canada for a premium audio tech company out of Germany called, Sennheiser.  My creative outlet is my life and style blog, thecoffeybreak.com and my passion project is my nonprofit, Mia’s Closet.

What made you decide to start your career?

More or less, my day job was a gift from God, but blogging and my nonprofit work are both the most natural extensions of my personality. I always tell people to look back at their childhood. What was your default? What were the things you loved doing? What did you get lost in? For me, it was taking pictures and videos OF EVERYTHING haha And planning these little events for my neighborhood. It comes as no surprise that all those disposable cameras, the videos, and the photos were simply the blueprint for blogging, and that each and every event was essentially preparing me to do the same for kids in undeserved communities.

What inspires you on a daily basis?

My daily inspiration comes from a number of sources, but I’d have to say it’s got to be a cross between my sense of purpose and the ones I love most. That’s what gets me up in the morning.  For a little extra boost, I start (most days) with meditation, my daily devotional, Jesus Calling, and prayer.

I genuinely believe that mornings are sacred.

So, it’s so important to me that I my intentions on what I want to get out of each day before diving into anything else.

What is your favorite bible verse & why?

I have 2. Psalm 91:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.

 

and Isaiah 40: 31:

 

31      But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. 

What’s something you would tell your 20-year-old self?

Have three sources of income. Your huge savings won’t last forever. Make a backup plan for your back up plan & whatever it is that you want to do, go for it. The next big thing is on the other side of fear.

What is your end goal with your career? What do you want to accomplish?

My end goal for The Coffey Break is simple, to be able to touch lives through my content and support myself full-time while doing so. There’s so much opportunity in the space, and I love knowing that one day it can be my story as well if I just stick with it. As for giving back, my heart yearns (I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true haha) to be able to provide as many kids as possible with a boost in their confidence and self-esteem through events every year. There are so many kids out there with low self-esteem for this or that reason. Maybe they’re getting teased for wearing old/worn out clothes. Maybe they have all these great ideas and no one to share them with. Maybe their home life is in shambles. Whatever it might be, I just love the idea of being able to come in an disrupt the craziness if only for a time. You never know the impact you might have, however brief.

What are the 3 most important things you would tell someone starting off in their career?

  1. Trust your gut.
  2. Believe that the best is yet to come.
  3. Trust the process.

*Oh! And if nothing else, always ask God for clarity and confirmation first. Always. You can have the best plan in the world, but without His blessing, it can still fall short…  I learned this the hard way all of 2015, haha!

What is your favorite thing to do regarding your field?

Video blogging hands down. I love storytelling –it’s literally my favorite pastime, and it warms my heart to know that one day I’ll be sitting on the porch with all my people looking back on it all.

What is your least favorite?

Hmm. Sometimes I feel guilty because video editing takes so long. I know how important it is to stick with it, but in the meantime I feel like I’m always trying to find the balance

What has been the most surprising challenge within your field?

Tunnel Vision // Or the ability to maintain it. I know I hear people say this all the time, but it’s just the coolest thing to see the ways in which I’ve been able to connect with people all over the world. Staying true to genuine interests without playing into a blogging style or delivery that would be inauthentic is my goal.

Until Next Time!

-B

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Something new this week, as this weeks #Boss is none other than my photographer, Jerren Willis!  Jerren and I started shooting over a year ago now & we have had so much fun! Shooting with Jerren is anything less than anadventure-  he is known to publicize bloopers & catches the best candid photos.  Celebrating his 10 year anniversary of his photography  business this week, Jerren tells us all about how he got started in photography 10 years ago and the secrets as to how his business is still thriving now!

Tell me a little about yourself. Where did you grown up, get your degree in etc? What is your current job?

I’m a Houston native, growing up on the north side of town &  am the youngest of three siblings. I graduated from Texas A&M University in 2009 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Currently, I am an engineer and entrepreneur. My business is Jerren Willis Photography, and it is something I started while at A&M in 2007 & been doing for ten years.

What made you decide to start your career?

I picked up photography around the same time Facebook added photo galleries as a feature on their site. In the fall of my junior year in 2006, one of my friends encouraged me to apply for a student worker job as a photographer for A&M’s Marketing and Communications Dept. That’s where it got started & later that summer I used a portion of my summer internship earnings to invest in equipment and officially start my business.

What inspires you on a daily basis?

Perfection is what inspires me. Although it’s not likely I’ll ever get there, it’s what I strive for in everything I do. My high school football coach once told me that “the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement”, so I spend a lot of time doing self-evaluation and putting forth effort to be better in all aspects of my life.

What is your favorite bible verse & why?

My favorite bible verse is I Peter 5:7, which says ‘give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.’ This verse really gave me comfort when I was dealing with a cancer scare back in 2011.

What’s something you would tell your 20-year-old self?

Go ahead & get that Math minor. The message is to go ahead and finish things while the opportunity is there. I already took four of the six classes to get it through my engineering requirements, but I decided to take an easier way out. That’s something I definitely wouldn’t do now.

What is your end goal with your career? What do you want to accomplish?

Continue to grow my business and have it morph into being able to empower younger photographers and give them opportunities to grow and start their own businesses. I want to start giving instructional classes and workshops. Also, I want to launch a philanthropic branch of my business, of which I can use what I do to help the community.

What are the 3 most important things you would tell someone starting off in their career?

Always evolve, master your communication techniques and pay attention to detail

What is your favorite thing to do regarding your field?

I like meeting different people and being able to capture the vision that they want.

What is your least favorite?

Might sound cliché, but I really don’t have a least favorite part. It’s all a part of the process, and I like every step.

What has been the most surprising challenge within your field?

Learning how to tell people ‘no’. Sometimes I feel like I can overstretch myself with the number of opportunities I take on.

Jerren is one of my favs & his work is amazing! Pretty much any of the photos on my blog are his work- about 90% if I’m being honest! For more information about how work, feel free to reach out, as his contact information is below:

https://www.facebook.com/jerrenwillis/

@JerrenWillis (IG)

www.jwilphotos.com

Info@jwilphotos.com

Until Next Time!

-B

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