Small Biz Boomer

Life Lessons for All Generations

Archive for the category “Small Business Advice”

Inspiring Boomer: Toni Lewis, 10 Years of Bringing Music and More to the Lives of Children

In the spring of  2004, Bowie resident  A. (Arethia) Toni Lewis decided it was time to leave her six-figure job at GSA. She wanted to pursue her dream of giving back to her community through education.   One of the Washington area’s premier event planners,  she had was involved in planning for both of President Clinton’s  inaugurals and served as CEO for  inaugural planning for President George H   Bush.
Toni, and a  friend musician Richard Payne, were concerned about  broad cuts to music programs in the Prince George County school  system and the lack of exposure young people in the region had  to a broad range of music (other than rap and hip hop).   Toni with her friends from all over the music industry (including  jazz artist Ski Johnson and Jerry Butler) launched FAME: the Foundation for the Advancement for the Advancement of Music (www.fameorg.org )
A. Toni Lewis, Founder of  FAME:Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education

A. Toni Lewis, Founder of
FAME:Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education

To finance the operation, she just  HAD just her retirement savings and initially held a fundraiser to offer scholarships.Since then, The Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education  has partnered with professional athletic teams, public schools, government officials, media outlets, theatres and dance companies.  It sponsors concerts throughout the DMV with music of ALL KINDS.
Lewis and Gospel Singer Byron Cage

Lewis and Gospel Singer Byron Cage

The organization has furnished public schools and youth with music programs with new & used instruments.   It also sponsors -two intense summer music technology camps that includes music, technology and academic programs, giving students access to the finest college music professors, instructors, musicians and technology in the music business. The camps are in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Music & Bowie State University Fine and Performing Arts Center,  Toni has advised the city of Philadelphia and the Lincoln Center in New York on  youth music programs.

 

Lewis and students from the FAME Music and Technology Camp at University of Maryland

Lewis and students from the FAME Music and Technology Camp at University of Maryland

 

 

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Fail, And Then Fail Again

On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the participants delve into topics related to politics, culture, nutrition and life with spirited conversation. I often disagree with some of the opinions but I almost always enjoy the banter. Today, the main hosts, Former Congressman Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski reflected on their personal pain brought by failure. Joe extolled the virtues of hard work to overcome the tough breaks (amen brother) while Mika dealt with her departure from CBS News and being told it was the best thing that could have happen to her. I don’t disagree. Failure can bring enlightenment and peace. Failure can restore you to your reset point so you can get your life back. Failure has built amazing television talk show hosts, business leaders, tech legends, social rights movements and great fried chicken.

Failure is not without pain but it can be a source of inspiration. If you have dreams build them, ignore barriers. Just try, why don’t you? All you can do is fail which might be the best thing that could ever happen to you.

Turning the Car Around

It is very important for me to think win-win. That is not the case for some people who need their word to be gospel. They mean well but they find your growth or your self-ownership invalidating. They use words or acts to sabotage or bring you down.

We often define these people as “playa haters.” Unfortunately, not all of the folks in your life that are envious or controlling are strangers. Sometimes you have to “gas up” yourself and head down the road in a more positive direction.

Inspiring Boomer : Flo McAfee, Renaissance Woman

This was the first  blog posted  on this site in  2013.  Flo McAfee recently  published a Kindle version of her book “Grown-Up ABC’s Momma Taught Me” available on  Amazon.   The hard copy version will come out later this summer.   You can find her beautiful art works at www.floydettamcafee.com.

Flo McAfee is an army brat who has lead a very peripatetic life.  Always on the move, she grew up calling more than 20 places home during her formative years including Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Augsburg, Germany and West Point Military Academy.

Floydetta "Flo" McAfee

Floydetta “Flo” McAfee

Flo also is a wife, step-mother, entrepreneur, political activist, public relations pro, writer, photographer, and artist.  She worked on numerous political campaigns including that of the late Senator Ted Kennedy.  She worked with the legendary advertising executive Caroline Jones  (see Flo’s Blog  www.reachwingspan.com).  She served at the White House during the Clinton Administration.  And Flo has produced or held production positions on award-winning documentaries and video productions.

For more than 20 years, she has run her own communications business.   Summerland Studio is her multimedia and public relations firm with a “cross-cultural edge,” that is based in the D.C. area.  In between business, Flo  finds time to satisfy her creative yearnings.  She recently wrote and illustrated an inspirational book, Grown-Up ABCs Momma Taught Me. 

While Flo McAfee appears to be a fixer in the vein of “Scandal’s” Olivia Pope, she is more an adviser offering clients strategic solutions and thoughtful guidance to help them avoid business and branding pitfalls in today’s media driven world. Her calm, cool demeanor belies a steely discipline perhaps stemming from her military upbringing.

 “An entrepreneur must keep three things in mind:  to move beyond your boundaries; to deliver something—if you don’t, all you end up with is an idea,” Flo says.  “Finally, it is important to give back to flourish the business flow to future generations.”

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