Productions (4)

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 I am so excited to share the first People Who Prosper Entrepreneur of 2013, Monique Muhammad. Her story is absolutely amazing and so moving. This woman has been through a lot but through it all has risen above it all. She is the owner of Code Pink Productions, a nonprofit  that is committed to helping community through the development of youth, low-income parents and raising funds for medical research. Her interview tells it all.  Enjoy reading about her journey to being a CEO.

1.Tell me your story. What were you doing before you started your own business?

I was working at the High School that I graduated from (Thornwood High School in South Holland, IL) as an In-School Suspension Supervisor, Substitute Algebra Teacher, Girls Basketball & Track Coach. While also working part-time in a Beauty Salon and having a home office Income Tax Preparation Business during income tax season. I also was a single foster parent to 2 girls 13 & 15 years old.

2. What made you want to start a business and what is your mission?

I became fed up with the politics that I was dealing with at the High School because I was so young, my Track team had received State Championships and my Basketball Team had made school and district history as being the first of the school and first Girls team of the district to make it down state so in my opinion a lot of why I was at the job had been done and even though I was there to help the children my spirit was being torn down by the system and it was no longer worth it. I had been there for 7 years, touched and helped many children and it was now time for me to put the businesses and skills that I had put in the background in the foreground. I opened my own Beauty Salon and took the Income Tax Preparation business to an outside office.  My mission was to provide all the things I felt was missing in these two industries, which was reliable, quality and professional service with integrity.

I was tired of women getting mistreated in Beauty Salons by going to stylist who did not respect their time and their environment who felt that because they provided good styling it was okay to have women waiting in a salon 4 or more hours for service that shouldn’t take more than 2 hours. Getting serviced in atmospheres where many times they did not feel safe because the owners did not ensure their rules were enforced.  The income tax preparation business was starting to be flooded with “Big Name” companies who could care less about the consumer they were only looking for customers they did not care if they were providing preparers who were knowledgeable and honest and they were charging sometimes 3 times the amount that I was providing the loans on the income tax payers own refund. I wanted to make sure that since I was also of this community I was treating my customer the way I wanted to be treated, I wanted to provide quality, educated, professional and ethical services at a fair price. I knew I may not reach millions quite as fast but I had my integrity and faith that I may crawl to get there but when I did arrive my conscience would be clear because I focused on ethics first before prosperity.

My Non-Profit organization was started at first to show that women could get along and accomplish something. It then took on a life of its own with my being a Breast Cancer Survivor, former educator and foster parent. Since I did not any longer work at the schools but knew how much I loved being an impact in the lives of young girls, I knew that this was also my passion. And since I did not want to go back into the school system I needed to do something to provide the same services to the girls as well as help as many low-income parents as I could. Being a foster parent I saw that many children were in the system because the parents didn’t have the tools or motivation to make a better life for themselves and their children.  I feel that if you help the parent you help the child and if you happen to get to the child after the fact we must teach them that they are only a product of their circumstances if they choose to be and you can choose to complain about the hand you are dealt or play it the best way possible. I have always chosen to play mine the best way possible.

Being a Breast Cancer Survivor I felt it would only make sense for my organization to also do things to raise funds for Cancer research amongst other illnesses that have taken the lives of those loved ones of the people in our organization or health issues that they are currently dealing with. Some people are just blessed with that fighter spirit and some have to be taught how to find it within them and that is what Code Pink Productions, Inc and the ladies involved are committed to doing.

3. What inspires you? What keeps you motivated daily to keep growing your business?

The fact that this young Black woman, raised by a single mother in one of the worse neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago could have graduated from High School received a Bachelor's degree, Cosmetology License, become an adoptive parent of 2 girls then have a biological child at 31, become a single parent, become diagnosed with Breast Cancer at 32, mom diagnosed with Colon Cancer just 1 week later, both go through Chemotherapy & Radiation while being Self-Employed and raising 3 Children, lose my mother 6 years later, receive my Masters Degree in Accounting 1 year after that and am now raising a 10-year-old daughter and God continues to wake me up daily to continue what I plan to do.

This all inspires me because as I approached each thing I had faith that if God gave me the goal he would also provide me with what I needed to accomplish it. As long as I didn't give up on him or myself.  I pray daily and ask him to continue to give me the strength to pursue my dreams and to wrap his arms around my businesses and keep them and me safe. Every idea I wake up with I act on and in doing that I continue to get confirmation that I am on the right path. I make sure that I take time for myself and my daughter to keep my mind and ideas fresh while always pushing 100% toward achieving my goals and building an empire that I can leave my daughter & granddaughter. That I am ensuring through their education that they are prepared to run and continue to grow in my absence.

4. Do you have a mentor? Who is it and why? Do you believe it's important to have one?

I had my mother up until age 39 because she has always been an entrepreneur just never accomplished all that I knew she could and now that she is gone I actually just make sure I watch and listen to Oprah's Life Class as well as all those successful African-Americans who are or have gained success in the way that I want. That is for the long-term and making sure that you help others as you help yourself. I always say you can tell if financial security is a Blessing or Curse by whether or not it brings out the Best or Worse in you. I know God has blessed me with a good heart and spirit I want that to continue on even once I gain the financial comfort I am striving for which is I why I listen to those who I feel have accomplished that in the same way. "What does it profit you to gain the Whole World and lose your Soul?" I believe is it important to have one because none of us know everything and for me having older people who I can gain knowledge based on experience is a factor that keeps me pushing.

5. What would you tell someone who wants to get involved in your line of business  but doesn't know how to get started?

Well right now I am currently a Cosmetologist with a Salon Suite in Texas (The Yeshe' Salon), an Accountant with an Income Tax Prep business (JPTS Tax Pros), President of an Non-Profit Organization (Code Pink Productions, Inc.) and lastly just became a partner in a Luxury Virgin Human Hair line(Ziye' Luxury Human Hair Extensions). So with all that being said I would say have a passion for the things that you aspire to do. If you have a passion you will never give up and that eventually means the money will come. Passion also ensures that you will love the fight for achieving success in something that you are truly passionate about.  Once the passion is there, do research, consult others in that industry and in business as a whole, never think you know it all because you can always learn from someone and once you know what it is you want to accomplish never give up until you do. I am just blessed to be passionate and talented in 3 areas and because of that I push to be successful in all of those areas. I know I may reach each one at a time but I know because I am passionate about them all success is guaranteed no matter how long it may take because the will and desire exist.

6. What advice would you give to someone with an entrepreneurial spirit?

Believe in yourself and your God gifted talent and desire He has given you, Once that is done you will know that you have the ability to accomplish any and everything you set out to accomplish as long as even when obstacles come in your way you know that they are nothing but Challenges for a Champion! How strong we are is determined by how much we had to go through or fight to achieve all that you set out to. I get discouraged often but I also know that with my life I was put here to allow my test to be testimonies to the strength that God blesses us with to survive and accomplish any and everything that we desire.

7. How can people get involved to help your non-profit?

By donating monetary amounts on our Facebook Page www.facebook.com/codepinkproductions  email codepinkproductions@gmail.com and if you are in the Dallas area we are looking for professional women all professions or women with a story of turning tragedy into triumph to volunteer to help us with our mentoring programs for at risk girls, young girls and low-income single women.  Monetary amounts will help us with many of our mentoring programs through sports, workshops and our annual Breast Cancer Research fundraiser in honor of myself and my mother.

Thank you Monique for sharing your story of faith, courage and success. Please support Monique’s nonprofit and Breast Cancer patients everywhere.

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Be someone’s motivation and tell us your story! To be featured on PeopleWhoProsper.com email Tamara@garrisonprosperitysolutions.com. Put PEOPLEWHOPROSPER in the subject line and share a little about yourself.

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Black Girlz Talk

Black Girlz Talk

Coming soon is a web based talk show, Black Girlz Talk. Our goal is to showcase African American women in a positive light. In the meantime, check out some of our articles. This quarter topic is relationships.

Why is it so hard to find a good man?

We often complain about the difficulties we face when searching for Mr. Right.  It’s not enough good men in the world.   No one can live up to my standards.  All men are dogs.  He is a male gold-digger.  All men cheat.  I’ve heard it all. Blah. Blah. Blah.  Stop dating the same man over and over again.  If you want change, you have to do something about it. I know that most people don’t like stepping outside of their comfort zone. But remember what do you call a person that keeps doing the same thing and expects different results? Insane. 

I’ve talked to a lot of single women that are carrying baggage from one relationship to another.  I tell everyone you can’t give someone your all until all your doors have been closed.  Just like the airlines only one free small checked bag, leave the rest at the gate.  When you get to a point where you are ready to date, take your time and proceed with caution. There are still some good men in the world, but here are a few of my favorite Mr. Wrongs:

The computer love

The computer love is the guy with the cute pictures on Match.com, Blackplanet, and Facebook. Based on your profiles you are a match made in heaven.  This is the person you are secretly obsessed with but too scared to tell your girlfriends because you don’t want to be judged.  So you go by yourself to meet him for the first date, but guess what. He looks nothing like his picture.  You respectfully say, “You look different in your pictures.”  He explains it was a picture of him 75 pounds ago. You laugh it off, but deep down inside you feel played.

Mr. out of my league

Let’s keep it real. It may be easy to catch a fish, but it hard to keep it from slipping out of your hand. This is the man that is out of your league.  He has himself together and searching for someone to compliment him.  How can you keep this winner if you have nothing to offer?  Looks get old, but substance is priceless.

The pretender

The pretender is the guy who pretends to be whatever you want him to be: the church boy who can’t quote a scripture, the entrepreneur whose credit score is 300, and the man who claims to love his momma but refers to every woman that has pissed him off as the b word.  This is the type of man that completely loses himself when he dates.  Who wants a man that has no self-identity?

Mr. Married to my job.

A man can’t give you his all until he is satisfied with himself.  He has to feel like he can love, honor, cherish and take care of you.  Don’t date someone who does not have time for you.  Ladies, you can’t change him. Keep it moving.

I’m single but married.

Ladies, just because a man says he is single doesn’t mean he is divorced.  Don’t play yourself.  Dating a married man is like working a dead end job with no opportunity for advancement.  Nobody wants to work a dead end job! Everyone deserves to move up the ladder.

Mr. Illusionist.

This is the man that gives you the illusion that he is perfect.  When you first meet him, it is love at first sight. He has great looks, dressed to the nines, expensive car, good job and the gift of gab meaning he can talk any woman out of her panties.  If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.  Therefore, it is important to take time to get to know a person before you fall victim to the illusion.  If you give up your goods to early, you miss a lot of red flags.  Take your time. It can save a lot of heartache.

Now, I know you are asking what can I do to put an end to this dating curse.  The answer is to get yourself together and do a little soul searching.  Instead of evaluating ourselves, we point the finger at everyone else.  One of my teachers used to say if you point one finger, you have four pointing back at you.  As women, we often settle for the sake of not being alone.  This usually leads to trouble. Remember, the first step to self- improvement is to love yourself flaws and all.

Take a moment and look in mirror.  What do you see?  Why are you scared of being alone?  Are you where you want to be in life?  Can you stand on your own two feet?  Are you comfortable in your own skin?  Do you have your finances in order?  Are you open to try new things?  Are you ready to be in a relationship?  Do you have time to give someone your all?  Are your standards set to high? Are you really five karat worthy?  Are you wife material?  After you answer these questions, create a game plan on how to be the best you.  Determine the areas that need work and make improvements.  No one is perfect.  It’s time for you to become Mrs. Right so you can stop attracting Mr. Wrong.

Shaneisha Dodson


follow me on twitter @ blkgirlz & sdodson08
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This week's feature entrepreneur is Shaneisha Dodson. She is the founder of Mahogney Ink Publications L.L.C. and Black Girlz Productions L.L.C. Currently residing in Virginia, Shaneisha holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Grambling State University, a master's degree in counseling from Dallas Baptist University, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in education. Shaneisha was the first person in her family to graduate from college. In showing  how important education is to her, every year she gives a $500 scholarship to a deserving student. After college, Shaneisha wrote her first novel. It was like so much by friends and family she was encouraged to continue writing. That eventually led to the start of her publishing and production company. Being an accomplished author herself, today Shaneisha publishes 4 authors,  2 poets and has produced one stage play.  Her story is truly one of accomplishment. Find out how Shaneisha started her companies and where her inspiration came from. Enjoy!

1. Tell me your story. What were you doing before you started your own business?

I am a country girl born and raised in Arkansas.  I was raised in a matriarchal household.  I developed a passion for writing at a young age.  I started writing my first book after I graduated from college. Prior to starting my business, my life consisted of school, school, and school. I have been a student my whole life.  I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Grambling State University and a master’s degree in counseling from Dallas Baptist University. Currently, I am pursuing a doctorate degree in education.

2. What made you want to start a business and what is your mission?

I have always had a passion for writing.  After graduating from college, I penned my first novel.  My family and friends loved it so much they encouraged me to continue writing.  Therefore, I decided to take it a step further and started my own publishing company in 2009, Mahogney Ink Publications, LLC. My works have been featured in online magazines, selected as book of the month by numerous organizations, selected as top 25 fiction books of 2009 by Conversations, and earned a spot on an African-American bookstore best sellers list. My first teen book was selected as best book 2011 in literary excellence in the teen self-help category.  In addition, I was nominated for a 2011 African-American literary award.  My publishing company is home to four authors and two poets.  In 2012, I took my love of the writing to the next level and started Black Girlz Productions, LLC.   My company’s motto is “Dream BIG or go Home!”  My first play recently debuted: Cheating on my Mistress “When One Woman is not Enough”.  My mission is to entertain by any means necessary.

3. What inspires you? What keeps you motivated daily to keep growing your business?

Life inspires me. I am passionate about my work. Each day I strive to do better. I believe in taking my time to make sure everything is as close to perfect as possible.  Each year, I can clearly see my companies’ growth. We are moving at a steady pace. I am very satisfied because I believe in quality not quantity.

4. Do you have a mentor? Who is it and why? Do you believe it's important to have one?

I used to have a mentor, but we went our separate ways.  However, I believe it is important to have a mentor because no one has gotten where they are without the help of someone else.  When you choose a mentor, make sure you choose wisely.  Mentors are people who are doing what you want to do in life. They should be full of wisdom and knowledge.

5. What would you tell someone who wants to get involved in your line of business but doesn't know how to get started?

Research. Research. Research. If you want to start a business, learn as much as possible about the business. Don’t depend on other people to give you all the answers.  The biggest issue I have with the publishing company is finding a good editor. You will come across a lot of people who will make numerous false promises in this type of business. They will offer you an opportunity to be a part of a national tour, claim to be the best editor in the business, and will guarantee that their marketing campaigns will take you to the number one spot on the best sellers list. Be leery. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…

6. What advice would you give to someone with an entrepreneurial spirit?

My advice is to follow your dreams. Don’t be scared to succeed. When you hit a hard spot in the road, keep pushing. Believe in yourself and believe in your abilities.

If you are an up-and-coming author looking to be published, visit Shaniesha's website at Mahogney Ink Publications. For information on her stage play show times and Black Girlz Talk visit Black Girlz Productions. Also follow her on twitter at @blkgirlz I want to thank Shaneisha for sharing her story with us. I hope you have been inspired by her accomplishments.

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Be someone’s motivation and tell us your story! To be featured on PeopleWhoProsper.com email Tamara@garrisonprosperitysolutions.com. Put PEOPLEWHOPROSPER in the subject line and share a little about yourself.

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In addition to being the founder of Praize in Motion, I am also the CEO of El Shaddai Productions which is a christian production company specializing in Marketing, Design, and Stage Productions. Under El Shaddai I have a few lines: Praize in Motion Apparel & Gifts, and Ministry Branding Solutions a line of ministry business cards, ministry cards, etc.

El Shaddai Productions has been nominated for the April Excellence in Christian Design Award for our "Perfect Peace Business Card"

In February, we were also nominated for our "Peace" design!


It's always a blessing when recognition is received for doing kingdom work! Thank you, Lord!

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