The Phoenix Rising Collective

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She Makes It Beautiful – An Interview with Kim Walker-Williams & Fatimot Ladipo, Co-Founders: Code Kids Rock

SMIB[CodeKidsRock]The Phoenix Rising Collective]

She Makes It Beautiful (SMIB) encourages and inspires women to follow their entrepreneurial dreams by interviewing and sharing the phenomenal stories of women who’ve already taken that courageous leap and soared.

I ask entrepreneurs in diverse creative professions to participate, and they are more than willing to pay it forward. So, from opening a dance studio to starting a bakery to grooming pets and everything in between, you’ll read unique and empowering stories about how these women decided to make it happen.

Don’t forget! Download your free SMIB Bonus Materials below. Use them as your personal toolkit to help get that dream off the ground. All bonus materials complement the advice and tips given by each of the entrepreneurs.

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Kids participating in a Code Kids Rock Saturday session.

This SMIB interview is with new code enthusiasts, Fatimot Ladipo and Kim Wallker-Williams, co-founders of Code Kids Rock.

There is one word that immediately comes to mind to describe Fatimot and Kim: Powerhouses. As business partners and long-time friends, they are definitely a positive force to be reckoned with. These two women are unafraid to “step into the arena” as Brené Brown says in her book Daring Greatly. They are solution-oriented, passionate change agents who most certainly understand the importance and power of service and social entrepreneurship. Recognizing there was a need to make technology enrichment more accessible and affordable to kids in the Atlanta community, they launched Code Kids Rock.

Code Kids Rock is a commitment to teaching children how to code, providing classes and curricula that supports unleashing natural curiosity and shaping emerging tech leaders.

Kim and Fatimot call themselves the “Stat Killers” because they have unwavering dedication to changing statistics that report less than 2% of college students graduate with a degree in computer science. Rather than let that deter them, these go-getters have chosen to shift those numbers by inspiring a new generation. “We are determined to do our part to reverse the statistics and invest in our children,” Fatimot shared.

Without a shadow of a doubt I believe them because not only have they done their homework, there is a mutual respect for each other as entrepreneurs and women that is evidently clear, and of course paramount to sustaining a business with a partner – something very refreshing to witness and equally exciting to hear them discuss.

Code Kids Rock

What was the process like starting Code Kids Rock?

Kim: We had to research what was out there and then ask ourselves: Where do we want to start and what is our niche? From there we knew that our goal with Code Kids Rock was more time for kids to have access to learning the craft, not just immersion and exposure, but developing real skills and a love for it so post K-12 they have a career interest due to the foundation we’ve set and based on the tech skills learned from our coding courses.

What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from the process?

Fatimot: Having a mentor well-versed in the arena is important. We talked to our mentor about what she’s been through and discussed the do’s and don’ts of the process.

Kim: There is so much that says we are not enough; we must kill the statistics and remind ourselves of what is in our DNA. The kids are very excited and it’s our responsibility to match their level of interest through the curriculum.

Was there a pivotal moment when you recognized what you were doing would be successful?

Fatimot: Yes, hearing from parents about the opportunity to have something like Code Kids Rock and how it fits in their budget AND the community. It’s accessible to those in a different demographic, providing diversity of experience, options, and opportunities.

Kim echoed Fatimot’s observations adding that “there are limitless opportunities with building a business and tiny confirmations everyday that you’re on the right track; applying for non-profit status is another chapter of our journey.”

How do you maintain a healthy balance in your personal and professional life?

Fatimot: Social entrepreneurship and community engagement are important to me; I don’t want to engage in something just for the sake of it. I want to enjoy what I’m doing in the process. Knowing that it’s not always about gaining personal wealth, that creates the balance. Kim and I also balance each other as business partners. We are Yin Yang, and although we may push each others buttons sometimes, it works. We keep working together. We keep doing it!

Kim: My family and husband definitely keep me balanced, and also having a business partner who can provide a different perspective. I have a great support system. It’s important to have people who know you and know how you work, because what drives me is being solution-oriented.

Lastly, what advice can you give to women seeking to fulfill their own entrepreneurial dreams?

Fatimot: Be methodical about the problem you are solving, and don’t let anyone deter you from solving that problem.

Kim: I think you have to be kind of little crazy to do this! (laughs) I think that most people who are game changers probably are. You cannot play it safe or be afraid of being uncomfortable. Game changers push boundaries and have hardcore business skills.

Kim and Fatimot also shared how important it is to be a mentor along the way, to share your story to empower others, as mentoring is an essential part of giving back.

Please support Code Kids Rock and register your child. Learn more about CKR’s programs and classes HERE. They are currently finalizing their 2016 class schedule and once it’s complete, registration will be open.

Now, take a look at the free SMIB Bonus Materials that complement Kim and Fatimot’s interview.

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Remember, you’re building your SMIB Entrepreneurial Toolkit! Didn’t get your bonus materials from the last interview? Well, go back, recap, and download it HERE.

Tell us what you think, Phoenix!

We want to hear about how you are inspired by Kim Walker-Williams and Fatimot Ladipo, as well as your progress building your toolkit, so tell us in the comment section below. You can also share a snapshot of how you used the SMIB bonus materials on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag: #SMIB #thephoenixrisingcollective Tag: @thephoenixrisingcollective


About the Contributor:

Ayanna_Prof_Headshot[Mktg_Phoenix2]Ayanna Jordan is founder, workshop leader, and personal empowerment coach for The Phoenix Rising Collective. She develops and facilitates women-centered workshops on how putting self-love into action can transform your life. Ayanna also creates coaching and training that supports women’s professional growth in leadership, entrepreneurship, and passion-filled work. As editor-in-chief of Phoenix Shine, she is happy to be working with contributing writers to provide resources and awareness on topics that cultivate self-love and acceptance. Right now, she is most inspired by the LYFF series and She Makes It Beautiful. You can learn more about Ayanna HERE.


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She Makes It Beautiful – An Interview with Entrepreneur, Golda Smith – Fit Mommy Blog

GoldaSmith[phoenixrisingcollective]

She Makes It Beautiful (SMIB) encourages and inspires women to follow their entrepreneurial dreams by interviewing and sharing the phenomenal stories of women who’ve already taken that courageous leap and soared.

I ask entrepreneurs in diverse creative professions to participate, and they are more than willing to pay it forward. So, from opening a dance studio to starting a bakery to grooming pets and everything in between, you’ll read unique and empowering stories about how these women decided to make it happen!

Don’t forget! Download your free SMIB Bonus Materials below. Use them as your personal toolkit to help get that dream off the ground. All bonus materials complement the advice and tips given by each of the entrepreneurs.

GoldaSmithFitMommy[phoenixrisingcollective]

Golda Smith, Creator of Golda Smith – Fit Mommy Blog

This SMIB interview is with the dynamic and positive, Golda Smith, Founder, Personal Trainer, and Nutritional Cleansing Coach of Golda Smith – Fit Mommy Blog.

My first thought about Golda? “What a beautiful spirit!” Her smile is infectious and most certainly reveals her inner light. I was excited to talk with Golda not only to learn more about the incredible work she is doing coaching and supporting women in their healthy living journeys, but to also share her personal story of resilience, as it epitomizes what it means to be a Phoenix rising! She used her challenges (or what we often call failures) to propel her forward with more strength, clarity, and purpose. Her own transformation, of course, is an essential part of what makes her such an inspiring and effective coach.

Golda was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She went to college in the south and lived there for many years. While there she was in what she calls the picture perfect relationship with a man she was planning and building a life with. Two kids later their relationship took a turn for the worse and the couple eventually went their separate ways.

We all know that when it rains it often pours, so on top of a break-up, the condo she lived in flooded and with no emergency savings, unfortunately, Golda ended up on her ex-boyfriend’s couch. Not at all happy with her living situation, she made the decision to leave: “I humbled myself, packed my chocolate drops (that’s what I call my children), a few bags and moved back home to New York where I was blessed to have the support of family. What could have been a very stressful time was a blessing, not only did I have family but I also had time to get my head together.”

During the journey back to herself she took self-care very seriously – emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Golda worked with a life coach and began working out again; it was during this time of transformation that Fit Mommy Blog was born.

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A Fit Mommy makes herself a priority because she can’t take care of everyone else and neglect herself; Golda’s goal with Fit Mommy is to “lock arms with awesome women (especially moms) to raise happy, healthy children and contribute to our communities in meaningful ways while creating freedom and leaving lasting legacies.”

When and why did you start Fit Mommy Blog? What sparked your interest?

About two years ago I started Fit Mommy Blog, and I started because I had GoldaSmith.com which is Social Media Management but kept being drawn to and finding my way back to health and wellness. I wanted to separate the two things and the name that kept popping up for me was Fit Mommy Blog. I kept seeing other moms who were not making health and wellness a priority. It was important for me to just share and show other women that it’s totally fine to make themselves a priority. It’s not just about having a hard, buff body but just about all facets of health and wellness – spiritual, emotional, food, and definitely exercise.

How did you know this is what you wanted to do for women and that you were meant to do it?

I’d say that’s pretty easy. They say that whatever you do that doesn’t feel like work then that’s probably what you should be doing. And this doesn’t feel like work; it’s something that I absolutely love doing. I love sharing with people. I love fitness. I love food – good food! And I really love inspiring people to just be more and to do more.

What was the process like getting the blog started and using your experience as a coach to get women on board with Fit Mommy Blog?

Definitely having a coach – someone who has been there and done that. Working with a coach is an investment in yourself. I always tell people never be afraid to invest in yourself. I always say to people whatever it is that you want to do there is someone else who has already done it. So, if you have to come out of pocket to pay a coach, a mentor then do that. If you can’t afford one then there are so many people who are doing great things that offer free information, but you always want to find guidance. Every great person who has done anything worthwhile has had or currently has a mentor.

Was there a pivotal moment when you recognized what you were doing would be successful?

No. And I’m being serious! There are so many days when I throw my hands up and say to myself, “Is anyone reading this? Does anyone really get it?” Then I’ll get an email or a comment that says, “Thank you so much for writing that. I really love what you’re doing.” And that feels like someone is giving me chest compressions; my heart starts beating again and I keep going. I do know there is a purpose, and I perhaps put too much pressure on myself sometimes because I have so much and I want people to receive it. However, it’s just about being consistent and knowing that whoever is suppose to get the message will get it.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love being able to help people feel better, just feel better in whatever way that is – whether it is fitting in their clothes better, being able to not have stress/handle stress, or just putting a smile on a client’s face. Knowing that I’ve helped contribute and not destroy (because there are enough people out there destroying). To be a part of the building up of someone, that is what I love.

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Golda training with a Fit Mommy client.

How do you maintain a healthy balance in your personal and professional life?

My organizer! (Golda shows me her perfectly organized, color-coded, highlighted organizer). I schedule personal time for myself; I schedule work time; I schedule family time. Everyone has their own color and that’s non-negotiable.

Lastly, what advice can you give to women seeking to fulfill their own entrepreneurial dreams?

Do it! Do it because this is it. You could be gone at anytime. You could be gone tonight; you could be gone tomorrow. You don’t know when. My greatest fear is dying not doing half the things I say I want to do. As I get older, the reality of death is REAL. Not that I know when it’s going to happen or anything, it’s just the reality – that wake up call that says, “What are you waiting for?” You might not be able to do everything but at least try – nothing wrong with trying. You never know, so do it!

Don’t allow your “isms” to stop you – whatever nonsense you’re telling yourself about yourself. I always say on social media, “What you say about yourself is more important than what other people say about you.” You have to believe in yourself. Speak confirmation to yourself, and even if you don’t believe it now if you speak it enough your conscience will begin to believe it.

Whatever the dream is don’t let anyone talk you out of it. Take advice from people who have the results you want to have and not “Pookie” down the street who doesn’t have any ambition. Sometimes you are going to be your only cheerleader and that’s OK, too. Everyone isn’t meant to understand your calling, your dream that’s been given to you.

 

For more on Golda and the inspirational work she’s doing to keep busy moms healthy and happy, please visit Golda Smith – Fit Mommy Blog; and by all means, follow her social network, HERE.

Now, take a look at the free SMIB Bonus Materials that complement Golda’s interview.

SMIB_Banner[GoldaSmithWorksheet]

Remember, you’re building your SMIB Entrepreneurial Toolkit! Didn’t get your bonus materials from the last interview? Well, go back, recap, and download it HERE.

Tell us what you think, Phoenix!

We want to hear about how you are inspired by Golda Smith, as well as your progress building your toolkit, so tell us in the comment section below. You can also share a snapshot of how you used the SMIB bonus materials on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag: #SMIB #thephoenixrisingcollective Tag: @thephoenixrisingcollective

 


About the Contributing Writer:

Ayanna_Prof_Headshot[Mktg_Phoenix2]Ayanna Jordan is founder and self-esteem education consultant of The Phoenix Rising Collective; she is also the editor-in-chief for Phoenix Shine, The PRC’s blog and spirit-affirming online community. She has always had a passion for inspiring others through writing, coaching, and teaching. Her diverse career experiences have positively shaped her overall perspective on what it truly means to be a change agent: “I believe a change agent is someone who is in alignment with what she loves to do, and then connects, utilizes, and shares that love to make a difference and transform lives.” Learn more about Ayanna HERE.

 

 


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She Makes It Beautiful – An Interview with Entrepreneur, Suzan Bradford Kounta

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She Makes It Beautiful (SMIB) encourages and inspires women to follow their entrepreneurial dreams by interviewing and sharing the phenomenal stories of women entrepreneurs who’ve already taken that courageous leap and soared.

We’ve asked entrepreneurs in diverse, creative professions to participate, and they were more than willing to pay it forward. From opening a dance studio to starting a bakery to grooming pets and everything in between, you’ll read the unique and empowering stories about how these women decided to just go for it.

Don’t forget! Download your free SMIB Bonus Materials below. Use them as your personal toolkit to help get that dream off the ground. All bonus materials complement the advice and tips give by the entrepreneurs.

 

PhotoGrid_1425438086959This SMIB interview is with Suzan Bradford Kounta, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Thiossane West African Dance Institute.

When and why did you start the Thiossane West African Dance Institute?

Thiossane was conceived in 2000. However, I had been working toward its birth since 1990. My life experiences encouraged me to become a CEO, Chief Executive of Opportunity; I was directed to manage businesses in a creative and innovative way that blended the past and present.

What sparked the inspiration?

I wanted to create a career from my passion. I am fueled when I can provide or create opportunities that allow people to grow through their creativity.

How did you know this is what you are meant to do with your life?

When I learned about whom I belong to and who I am, it was very clear what I was supposed to do. My ancestors and mother were always an example of my purpose. My lineage found through my mother’s DNA reiterated my character, values, and beliefs. Everyday, I am reminded of my purpose on this earth. Everyday I am faced with challenges that propel me forward, even when it is a struggle. I was planted to prosper, and nurtured to endure and witness my accomplishments. I am humble and grateful always to be a vehicle for the greater good of people.

What was the process like getting started?

It was a struggle. My business was rooted in social services and the not-for-profit art world. It was not popular and people shunned the activity and were ignorant to the significance of the art form. I taught myself the nature of the business and learned through my jobs how best to grow it through the skills I acquired and the knowledge gained over the years.

What is one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from the process?

I learned several, but the one that has provided longevity for me is to measure and evaluate from my own statistics. If I were to measure the success of The Institute to that of larger companies, I would have and should have failed along time ago. I believe wholeheartedly in what the Institute has provided for children, young adults, families, single moms, single dads, grandparents raising grandchildren, families who adopt outside their race, and people with special needs.

Was there a pivotal moment when you recognized what you were doing would be successful?

Because I have been nurturing this passion for 25 years all the while having an awesome supporting cast and great friends who are intelligent, passionate, and share in my likeness, I was able to align the mission and vision of the Institute into a place of upward mobility that is steady and strong. That coupled with nostalgia and innovation allowed multiple opportunities to grow our audiences and increase our revenue. Yes, by business standards, profits, profits, profits are the measure of success, but for the Institute, the number of people who are impacted by participating, engaging, or performing within Thiossane is and will always be our greatest success.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love that we empower young people through a set of values to govern themselves not only on the dance floor, but also, specifically, in their lives. These values will encourage and support their endeavors and will strengthen and provide resilience in their challenges. I love that people can dance and play music as if no one is watching, and I love the richness of the African Diaspora and how it is threaded through our daily lives – giving peace, harmony, and overall good feelings to one’s soul, to one’s spirit.

How do you maintain a healthy balance in your personal and professional life?

My maternal grandmother’s adage was “A Healthy Body is A Healthy Mind.” I was taught early to take care and manage myself, to exercise all my beings – mental, physical, emotional, and most importantly, my spiritual being. I taught myself to be selfish about my time and the energy I receive from others.

Lastly, what advice can you give to women seeking to fulfill their own entrepreneurial dreams?

  1. Stay true to your vision.
  2. Be confident in what you know.
  3. Take risks.
  4. Seek knowledge.
  5. Be creative.
  6. Have your own measuring stick.
  7. Create a welcoming space for yourself – personally and professionally.
  8. Demonstrate due diligence in all that you do.
  9. Travel the world.
  10. Speak another language.
  11. Manage only what you can; slow growth is good growth.
  12. Don’t be greedy.
  13. Protect your passion and ideas.
  14. Potentiate those around.
  15. Make money.
  16. Be happy in all that you do.

 

Learn more about Suzan Bradford Kounta HERE.

Tell us what you think, Phoenix!

We want to hear about how you are inspired by Suzan Bradford Kounta, as well as your experience goal-setting and planning for your business in the comment section below. You can also share a snapshot of how you used the SMIB bonus materials on Facebook and Instagram with the hashtag: #SMIB 

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SMIB_GoalSettingWorksheet[thephoenixrisingcollective]


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She Makes It Beautiful: A Professional Development Series for Entrepreneurs

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We’re so excited, Phoenix!

This week we are launching, She Makes It Beautiful, a new professional development series that caters to the entrepreneurial spirit in you.

The series is part of Shed Light, our continued commitment to offer resources that support your personal and professional growth.  She Makes It Beautiful (SMIB) encourages and inspires women to follow their entrepreneurial dreams by interviewing and sharing the phenomenal stories of women entrepreneurs who’ve already taken that courageous leap and soared.

Put it this way, if you’ve always wanted to start your own business doing what you love every single day, THIS is the series for you!

We’ve asked entrepreneurs in diverse, creative professions to participate, and they were more than willing to pay it forward. From opening a dance studio to starting a bakery to grooming pets and everything in between, you’ll read the unique and empowering stories about how these women decided to just go for it.

That’s not all we’re offering with She Makes It Beautiful. Free SMIB Bonus Materials will be available for download that complement each interview in the series. Why Bonus Materials? Well, this is all about your growth as a budding, ambitious entrepreneur, so just think of this as your personal toolkit to help you get that dream off the ground and also keep you in alignment with your plan. Plus, the bonus materials have been created based on the advice and tips given by the interviewees, so think of them as your very inspiring accountability partners!

No more waiting on the right time and circumstances to give that great idea attention, especially when it really deserves to be front and center now. Shine a light on it. Nurture it. Make it beautiful. This is the moment that matters.

Again, SMIB launches this week; our first interview is with the dynamic Suzan Bradford Kounta, co-founder and creative director of one of Ohio’s leading dance institutes. We can’t wait to share!

Thank you for your continued support of us. And please, if you haven’t already, join our Facebook and Instagram communities. Share what The Collective is doing with others who are looking for a spirit-affirming space to grow, learn, and shine; spread the word.

Be self-love in action! Happy Monday.

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ayanna_sidebar[photo]Ayanna Jordan is founder, speaker, and coach of The Phoenix Rising Collective, and editor-in-chief for Phoenix Shine, The PRC’s blog. She is happy that Phoenix Shine is a positive space for sharing information on topics related to building and sustaining healthy self-esteem, as she believes wellness begins within, and includes healing old wounds, forgiving others (and yourself), letting go of the past, eating healthy foods, making room for change, sustaining a positive attitude, and taking time for spiritual practice. She is committed to empowering women to be self-love in action.