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Black Women in Business 2017
By Staff Report
Published December 28, 2017

Black women proved that it’s not just a “man’s world” in business in 2017. From entrepreneurs to professionals, these ladies are leading the charge in the business world using their platforms to give back to their communities and empower other women. Here’s a look back at some of the women featured this year.

Andrea and Robin McBride
Photo By Elizabeth Cunningham

The McBride sisters are making a name for themselves in the wine industry with their diverse mix of flavors. In 2005, the McBride Sisters started off as wine importers. They wanted to learn about the business and how to cultivate wine, so their time as importers gave them a lot of knowledge. The sisters did not see a lot of diversity when they first entered the wine industry. However, that did not stop them from pursuing their dreams and their importing business became a success. Their wines are unique in the sense that they are made in both New Zealand and California. The collection is sold at Ralph’s and has wines for people who want a sweeter taste and for people who want a stronger taste. For more information about the sisters, visit www.mcbridesisters.com.

Ariana and Stacia Pierce
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This mother and daughter business team never saw themselves working together. Over time, the two began helping one another so much so that they decided to merge their talents and skills by becoming business partners. Pierce brings the creativity, a fresh and young perspective, and her social media skills to the table. While Dr. Pierce is the marketing and the brains behind the brand. She creates campaigns, encourages and motivates her team, and is a new idea generator. With their combined talents, the two have been unstoppable. Dr. Stacia Pierce is a widely known life coach, author and business owner. She is the founder and CEO of www.LifeCoach2women.com, creator of The Go Big Coaching Program, 37 Journaling Secrets to Success Attraction Course, Success Mastery Coaching Program, Inspire Perfume, Superstar Nail Lacquer and www.StyleShoppe.com. Ariana, aside from her degree in marketing and business, is also has experience in international marketing. Pierce is also the author of, “Skip the Part Start a Business”, “Around the World Style: The Travel Journal”, “How to Build Your Blogging Business in a Week” and the “Superstar Chic Fashion Planner”. You can visit her website for more info at http://arianapierce.com/. This year, the pair decided to share their success tools with other business owners and leaders who are interested in transforming their businesses and seeing their dreams come to life at their Ultimate Success Tour. The tour which generally targets ages 23 and up, was created after the two received an increase in the number of followers on their social media handles. People from different states and countries were reaching out and connecting with them.

Cyrina Yarbrough
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Cyrina Yarbrough launched Suite Four sparkling wine company in 2016 after seeing the lack of young Black millennials who are kept out of the wine industry. Soon after Yarbrough began researching and studying the champagne industry. What started as a joke became a reality but not a surprise to Yarbrough who always saw herself as a business owner. Yarbrough is intentionally trying to target people who are young, Black, fun—people who want to have fun with their wine. It’s not always going to be for a special occasion, sometimes a special occasion is simply relaxing with a nice glass of champagne. Yarbrough also encourages young Black women who are interested in becoming business owners to expect the unexpected. Wine and champagne lovers around the U.S. can purchase a $19.99 bottle of Suite Four online at http://www.drinksuitefour.com. Looking for a way to incorporate Suite Four into your favorite desserts, cocktails and savor meals? Check out the websites recipe tab for cool tips using Suite Four.

Deena Williams & Eleisha Nelson-Reed
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Co-founders Deena Williams and Eleisha Nelson-Reed are igniting dreams and opening a world of opportunities for young African American children with the L.A.-based education for-profit called the DreamKeepers Box. Deena brings her business background and her interpersonal skills to the table while Eleisha brings her instructional background and her focused personality, making the dynamic duo and their product a force to be reckoned with. DreamKeepers Box is a monthly subscription themed box that exposes children ages 8-12 to African American leaders in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) delivering an educational and cultural experience to children’s homes each month with a different themed box. Each DreamKeepers box includes the following: instructions and materials for two STEAM projects, collectable cards that highlight Black industry leaders and careers, one-to-two children’s books related to the career theme and bonus gifts. The box also features a group of five children called the STEAM Team guiding children through each month’s adventure. Each member of the STEAM Team represents an element of STEAM learning. Visit dreamkeepersbox.com for subscription and pricing info. Stay up to date with the STEAM Team latest adventures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @dreamkeepersbox.

Donna Beasley
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Donna Beasley is President/Publisher of KaZoom Kids Books, an interactive multicultural children’s digital book company. Where most people talk about the lack of children’s stories that feature African-American characters, further citing the woeful lack of African-American and Latino children, creators/authors-visionary Beasley is doing something about it. The new App, KaZoom iStoryBooks launches in June 2017. Their interactive digital library of books focuses on Black and Latino characters and stories for children ages 3 to 8. Beasley was inspired because she couldn’t find Black children’s books for her niece in 4 bookstores in downtown Chicago. She researched the category and was stunned to discover only 5% of the 3,500 children’s books published in 2014 featured children of color. Beasley believed this was a problem that could be fixed, and is the corporate mission at KaZoom Kids Books to create greater diversity in children’s literature.

Enjonette Baker
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Becoming successful was never an option for Compton native and business owner Enjonette Baker. Today, she is reminding Black women of all ages that a woman’s success does not need to come from the strength of a man. In 2012, Baker started her own event company called No Mask Events. Since the launch of her business, Baker has planned weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties and more. This year, Baker is focusing on restructuring her business. At No Masks Events, Baker works with Kim, a longtime family friend. One year after Baker started the event planning company, God placed it on her heart to start Women Blessing Women. The first meeting started with three-to-four women, overtime the number of members grew. Today, the women’s organization has 30 members. Baker has been able to use her organization to provide a place for women to bless one another. As a result, one of her members has been able to get her book in the hands of Steve Harvey among many other opportunities. Later, Baker met her future business partner Mieka. The two met through a mutual friend which resulted in the two ladies working together to put on a prom dress giveaway. After seeing how well the pair worked together, they decided to start their own business called, Around the Way CEO’s. After starting the brand and company, Baker and Mieka decided to write an e-book which explains to business owners how to build a brand from the ground up. The e-book titled, “Self-Made CEO in 30 Days” is a step-by-step guide that provides new and future business owners with information on where to go, numbers to call, websites to visit, and all that’s left is the footwork. The book can be purchased for $20 at http://www.aroundthewayceos.com/.

Kayla Griffin
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In 2017, Kayla Griffin became the newest Owner/Operator of a Chick-Fil-A restaurant in Venice, CA where she oversees nearly one hundred team members at the bustling drive-thru eatery. She started Chick-Fil-A (CFA) as a team member when she was 20-years-old and her operator at the time approached her within my first three months. Griffin worked her way to being a manager because they opened in a grand opening setting and needed leaders. She was hired with a six-month agreement. She submitted her application coming out of Chick-Fil-A’s leadership development program. Its a 2-3 year program where in-store restaurant directors and managers can either run corporate owned restaurants or support, supervise and consult new and relocating franchisees on their grand opening business. Griffin did that for two and a half years and the goal is for you to come out of that either as an operator candidate or a staff candidate to work at our home office.

Kerri Harper-Howie, Patricia Williams and Nicole Enearu
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Nicole Enearu and Kerri Harper-Howie are creating a family legacy as they follow their mother’s entrepreneurial footsteps by becoming McDonald’s restaurant owners. Patricia Williams owned her first McDonald’s in 1984. She was working for the State of California prior and there was a possibility she would have to move to Sacramento. Her sister told her about an associate marketing degree program with McDonald’s and Williams never looked back. Kerri Harper-Howie is currently completing the Next Generation program for herself, but also for her family legacy. Community is at the center the family business. Williams and Enearu own every McDonald’s location in Compton and are always seeing what they can do to help and inspire the community. The family does everything from employing people who live walking distance from their locations to providing scholarships and funds for various charities.

Kim Prince
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Kim Prince is the owner of LA’s Hotville Chicken, carrying the torch, bringing her family’s deeply rooted hot chicken creations to Los Angeles. In November 2016, Prince joined the popular food app Feastly, allowing foodies from all over to search for their next dinner experience. Once the user finds and selects Hotville Chicken, they are later provided with the address to a “secret” dinner location, where patrons experience an exclusive, interactive and open concept dinner amongst friends. While’s Prince’s hot chicken pop-up craze continues to skyrocket, Prince says that she does plan to secure a brick and mortar location and food truck in 2018.

Kristen Ingram
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Kristen Ingram has gone from being the head of affiliate marketing for the National Football League (NFL) to opening her own marketing firm, PLUS ONE, where the NFL is one of her top clients. In searching for ways to bridge a gap between business and people, Ingram also created a PLUS ONE social club where young professionals mingle once a month, with an array of activities from music series by Warren G and Biz Markie to workshops on learning how to spice up the bedroom with Sexologist Shan Boody. For more information on Ingram, visit plusonesociety.com and follow her on Instagram @kicertified.

Rebecca Opong
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Rebecca Opong opened her business over 3 decades ago wanting to bring hair care and more to the community. On Saturday, Opong hopes to meet-and-greet the community, old faces and new. Originally from Accra, Ghana (West Africa) from a town called Suhum, Oppong sold African clothing when she was located on Crenshaw and Adams. She received her license in cosmetology from L.A. Trade Tech. At the time in the late 80s, hair products were in high demand especially for people of color, so she decided to go into hair and beauty products. She also realized that there were not many if any African Americans in this business. One of the few Black-owned beauty supply businesses in the area, AIBSS has stood more than the test of time. The business sells all kinds of products from shea butter to black African soap as well as offering hair braiding services, weaves, African fabrics and movies.

Robin Barrett
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Robin Barrett is proving you can do it all by working in medicine and running her fashion online marketplace Shop VX. The D.C. native came out to Los Angeles three years ago and has since been selling out clothes while keeping charity in mind. Barrett was in her junior year of college where she was a biology, pre-med major when her grandmother unfortunately passed away. She became obsessed with all of her grandmother’s vintage jewelry and decided to make a vintage clothing line. Her clothing line Vintage Expresso was a hit and featured on many blogs. The internet and social media were two of Barrett’s greatest assets. After the success of Vintage Expresso, Barrett thought moving to Los Angeles would be the perfect way to expand. She then ventured into selling other brands of clothing and changed the name of her company to Shop VX. The website sells beauty items from make-up to clothing and accessories. Her exclusive line, Netta , is sold on the website as well. Barrett’s greatest goal is to help others. She uses fashion to creat a platform that allows her to give back. She has worked with American Cancer Society, Flip Flops for Haiti, coat drives and more. Most recently, she is doing charitable work through LA Works, at the Alexandria House working with kids and art.

Categories: Business | National
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