I asked my friend Laura what action I could take to support my Black friends. Following her advice, I am introducing you to a few Black business owners I have worked with, including Laura. I encourage you to read about their work and reach out to them if you think you could use their services. They are great people who do great work. Following their information: inspiration information, and links of Black artists and illustrators, and Black-owned businesses. NR
Keisha Blake Harp, Executive Director of WPEO-NY
I first met Keisha at a coworking event where she was one of the speakers about the benefits of becoming a certified women-owned business. She exuberantly spoke about WBENC and WPEO (Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, Women Presidents’ Educational Organization) and I went immediately to my office and started my application. I was thrilled when in-office interview time came and she was the person to interview me. Her eyes sparkle when she talks and she is genuinely a people-person who’s always happy to say hello and encourage you to succeed!
At WPEO-NY Keisha oversees all outreach efforts, and develops the organization’s programs and events. Her responsibilities include management of the WBENC Certification Program and certification committee membership, as well as recruitment and retention of Women Business Enterprises (WBEs). If you’re in her territory: South Connecticut, North New Jersey, New York State — reach out and get on her radar!
Tricia Okin, User Experience and Service Designer at Tricia Okin
I first met Tricia when I joined a small marketing coaching group. She’s soft-spoken, and you want to hang on every word as it’s thoughtful, intelligent and so very interesting.
Tricia is a lead user experience designer and service designer who uses design thinking for the public good and the good of your business. One of her current projects includes working with the Anti-Defamation League to create a toolkit educators can use to reduce the school to prison pipeline, biased discipline policy, and address law enforcement presence in schools. On another engaging project, she’s working with a non-profit to design a tablet healthcare application used by community health workers in rural Rwanda who see hundreds of patients per day.
As an experienced design leader and strategist who has practiced human-centered design since 2004, she brings design to bear on small and large scale human and business problems such as, educational innovation, open access health, or technology awareness. Her approach to design is holistic, inclusive while driven by effective results. You can get in touch with her through her website.
Laura Mignott, CEO and Founder of DFLASH
I first met Laura sitting at a shared table in a co-working space. She was interesting, working with cool clients, so I introduced myself. She then hired me to work on her company logo, another logo, and then a job for her client Netflix. She’s a dynamo.
DFLASH is a cultural curation agency with a carefully curated network of partners that spans marketing, technology, academia, entertainment, innovation & more. When they work with a brand they apply this process to every engagement to ensure these four elements are at the core of what they advise and curate: Humanity, Authenticity, Inclusivity, Respect.
Besides having her company DFLASH, she has a great podcast The Reset where she interviews inspiring and interesting people in the worlds of business, marketing, advertising, media, tech, and more. Laura also has an online course called The One Degree of Connection which I have taken and highly recommend.
Leslie Short, President, and CEO of The CAVU Group
I first met Leslie as she was about to present to a Fly Female Founders community conversation about the role small business owners can play as leaders recognizing their power and voices to collectively bring about diversity and inclusion changes. It was the second time she was participating in a Fly Female Founders event. She was and is, AMAZING!
Leslie brings four decades of experience to focus on diversity and inclusion in an effort to facilitate and create new solutions to old and new issues. She firmly believes that issues don’t go away because programs are in place but by continually evolving and having a channel to listen and understand the people who are our greatest assets.
“Diversity & Inclusion has taken center stage in our conversations as we are undergoing a rapid transformation of the relationship between business and society. There are growing expectations that companies should not only be purpose-driven but take a leadership role in addressing social issues.” If you need a partner in developing unlimited visibility and ensuring your commitments are authentic, embedded in your organization’s DNA, and constantly evolving to achieve a sustainable, diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace and beyond — I recommend you contact Leslie and The CAVU Group.
Samantha Williams, President & CEO of Sam’s Word
I first met Samantha (Sammi) at a WBENC talk given by Diane Winston and we hit it off right away. We haven’t worked together yet, but we’re determined to!
Sam’s Word is a content development and writing firm to assist entrepreneurs and small business owners with their writing needs. Some of the services she provides include professional bios, policies and procedures, web content, and social media management.
In addition to running her company, Sammi is also the Entrepreneur-In-Residence at the New Haven Free Public Library, where she provides consultations and business advice to aspiring and current entrepreneurs. She is also the President of the Collaboration of Minority Women Professionals, which she formed to create a space to uplift, empower, and financially support Black women.
Diane Winston, CEO and Founder of Winston Strategic Partners
I first met Diane after hearing her speak (mentioned above) at a WBENC event. I went up to her afterward, as a fangirl does, and told her how wonderful her talk was — she is a master communicator!
Winston Strategic Partners focuses on Change Management, Leadership and Development, and Diversity and Inclusion for organizations facing change — whether the result of new processes, technology, or organizational restructures stemming from a merger or acquisition. Diane is also a SCORE Workshop Speaker and Business Mentor. If you get the chance to hear her speak — jump!
The Secret Project That Led to Black Lives Matter Murals Coast to Coast
As a designer, the demonstrative typography spoke to me. The article on how it came together is amazing. “Muriel Bowser, the mayor of Washington, D.C., had commissioned eight artists to paint a mural of fifty-foot-high letters spelling out “Black Lives Matter” across two blocks of the street leading to the White House.” Read the full New Yorker article.
Animated Rosa Parks Story
Throughout her life, Rosa Parks repeatedly challenged racial violence and the prejudiced systems protecting its perpetrators.
As always I am putting in great links that I think you might find interesting. These are all by Black creators. Enjoy!
Designers, Illustrators, Artists… oh my!
Jade Purple Brown is color-obsessed — and I love everything she creates. She uses strong graphic figures and messages of optimism to create dynamic worlds of individuality and empowerment (left). When Shantell Martin spoke at Adobe Max in 2019 I found a new obsession. With a meditative process defined by an uninhibited flow, she explores themes such as intersectionality, identity, and play. She was kind enough to share her marker of choice with me Staedtler Lumocolor Permanent Black (right).
Obi Arisukwu is an illustrator and cartoonist. He captures feeling and expression and his work makes me smile (left). You know the work of Kehinde Wiley even if you think you do not. He painted that amazing portrait of President Obama for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery that is highly naturalistic in a floral setting. This is a great New Yorker interview about the presidential portrait (right).
Faith Ringgold paints amazing portraits. Her people series lets you look into the soul of those she painted. I was so excited to see that MoMA has a Faith Ringgold online exhibit right now (left). Brittany Harris is an eclectic creator who creates art with bold colors, abstract shapes, and charismatic characters that represent different aspects of the Black Diaspora. Her ultimate goal through her art and entrepreneur is to give voice to important societal issues and inspire others to use their gifts to change the world (right).
Shopping/Books, because… shopping and books people!
In the graphic and web design world color is represented in numbers. Like CMYK for printing, Hex is for the web a little more defined than RGB. The hex code for black is #000000. Bonfire is selling this cool t-shirt for Black Lives Matter with all proceeds directly benefit organizations that support Black LGBTQIA+ folks. The double mean is the reason why it is on my list to purchase — get on the waitlist with me!
I love patterns as you will see with the next 4 items I am posting. These baby blankets from Stina & Mae (left) are so beautiful and the patterns are whimsical and fun. The founder, Mishell, is a former fashion journalist who donates 2% of her site’s revenue to help fight childhood hunger or working with organizations that bring awareness to maternal help. I just ordered one for a baby gift! I am waiting for my Jungalow comforter (right) to be delivered. and am so excited! Justina Blakeney has grown her blog into a lifestyle brand and the go-to source for jungalicious design goods and inspiration. And they plant two trees with every order!
Post 21 has some really wonderful home goods that I might have recently ordered! This mother-daughter duo named their shop after the Tulsa Massacre to stand on the shoulders of those who came before them (left). I could not say there is a favorite thing on the Printed Pattern People site as it is all wonderful! Since we are all shopping for masks these days you can start there, or that jumpsuit – oh my – the many things I could spend money on! Their designer, Shadé Akanbi, designs exclusive products in collaboration with other artisans, locally and internationally, as well as special mementos collected throughout her travels; curated from local markets to international bazaars, especially for you (or me) (right).
These three books are really amazing creations that have great lessons for children. You Are Just Right: Celebrating the Beauty of Diversity (left) is an endearing story that shows that differences should be embraced and celebrated. It’s Okay to Be Different (middle) is designed to celebrate multiculturalism and diversity, and promote character growth — and don’t you just love the bold colors?! The Skin You Live In talks about friendship, acceptance, self-esteem, and diversity in simple and straightforward prose. All three books are also available on Amazon and in bookstores near you!
Phew – that’s it. I hope you enjoyed getting to know my friends and perusing the artists and shops. If you are looking for design and strategy that helps you better connect and communicate with your customers? By delivering on-point visuals, I help businesses see how the right design connects the dots between business brands and their customers. I’m always ready to talk through ideas, answer questions, and bounce around prospective projects.