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Strength of a Black Woman: Divorce left her Heartbroken, but she ‘Kept it Moving’ and built her own Empire

Who would you be without struggle? We have all been shaped in some way by our experiences. At some point in our lives we can all remember at least one event that caused a shift in our paradigm; something that caused us to change the way we saw ourselves and the people around us. For Lia Abney, 54 of Hephzibah Georgia, that event was when her then husband after 15 years of marriage told her that he no longer wanted to be married. There is no quick fix to healing after a divorce, and Lia knows this all too well. However, she found the strength within herself to #keepitmoving.

After her divorce Lia moved from Korea to Georgia and started picking up the broken pieces of her life. She founded Victory Leadership Group Inc. a nonprofit organization preparing teens for success as they transition from high school into the workforce. She became motivated to do even more, and founded her very own consulting service, Lia Abney LLC aimed at empowering women (mind, body, and soul) to pursue their God-given talents. BWM visited her website and we were immediately captivated by her charisma. The passion Lia has for what she does is undeniable. During her career, she’s had the pleasure of sharing her knowledge and passion with nonprofit organizations (education, homelessness, and mental health), entrepreneurs, schools, juvenile court systems, authors/speakers and churches.

“When I moved to Georgia I did not have any family here to lean on. I had to open myself up to those whom God brought into my inner circle to create a tribe whom we all can lean on. I am thankful for families in Georgia who have adopted me as a daughter, sister, and confidant.”

When Lia isn’t out inspiring the world, you can find her reading scripture or taking in the soothing sounds of soulful Gospel or Jazz. Her studies at Capella University, where she is pursuing a Doctorate Degree in Public Administration also keep her busy. Busy is an understatement for this veteran as she is also a Management Analyst, Motivational Speaker and Published Author. She’s contributed to skillfully penned masterpieces including – Women in Public Administration: Theory and Practice – which is being used in colleges around the world, and – Perfectly Imperfect, Seeing Yourself Through the Eyes of God – which allowed her to share her story of God’s love for her after divorce. Both publications were realized during a time for Lia that was most challenging and affected her self esteem. However, she was able to persevere beyond the hurt knowing that God had a plan for her to prosper and not cause her harm…(Jeremiah 29:11).

This Black Queen wears multiple ‘hats‘, but they are all set in perfect alignment with who she is. She has fully embraced her anointing… an anointing to inspire and motivate others to achieve their highest.

In 2019, Lia was awarded the Shero Arts Award in support of local arts as an author and a finalist for the 2019 Indie Award. She is actively involved in various community initiatives as well as an active board member with the Greater Augusta Black Chamber of Commerce as the VP of Business and Financial Affairs. 

What motivates this visionary? She credits much of her inspiration to some strong female leaders whom she has admired for years – Ronic West, a prime example of an industry leader (a mover and shaker as Lia describes her), and Sojourner Truth who was a constant reminder to fight for those who are unable to make their voice be heard. Lia also credits much of her resolve to #keepitmoving to her daughter Chontele, aka Yum Yum, who is a perfect example of focus and determination.

Like many entrepreneurs and black women in general who are working toward creating their own path, Lia has experienced her fair share of defeating thoughts. For this phenomenal black queen however, giving up has never been an option.

“One time, I took a leap of faith and submitted a proposal to speak at a conference. Of course, I had people ask to come along and thinking of course why not. Well, lets just say it was the worse speaking engagement. Not so much because I had someone come with me but I was actually treated horribly by another speaker not to mention other things that did not line up. I left there feeling like man…your own kind treats you like this. It really left a bad taste in my mouth. But then as clear as day…God said I never told you to take anyone with you. So the next couple of speaking engagements I journeyed alone. And nothing but blessings…I share this not to shame or bash others but to say that in your journey there is a season where you may be required to do it alone. It won’t be for ever but it is a season that I believe God is grooming us for something beyond what others can understand. Going at it alone during that season is an opportunity for you to grow without distractions. So where ever you are in your journey KEEP IT MOVING.

— Lia Abney

One of Lia’s future goals for Lia Abney, LLC  is to outreach the business internationally and continuously build strong foundations for accomplishing strategic goals. “So many businesses get stuck in the process of building because they do not clearly have a plan that will allow them to expand and grow to the next level. I want to help businesses that have found themselves stuck by establishing the right connection, communicate the right message, and commit to the process as a business owner to #KeepItMoving.”

“Discover your purpose, lock into it and don’t abandon the process to success. Use wisdom with whom you connect with and know when the season is over to just LET THEM GO. Your journey is dependent on someone benefiting from what you pour out into the earth. It’s never too late to get started. Straighten your crown “King”…”Queen” and KEEP IT MOVING!”

LIA ABNEY

Like most with such an important calling as hers, Lia’s story reminds us all to stay focused. There is no quick path to success, but through perseverance and constant self- evaluation anything is possible!

Continue to Follow Lia’s journey via Lia Abney LLC on Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and LinkedIn and Victory Leadership Group on Instagram

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Antiguan Beauty Creates Organic Skin Care Line

BY TARYN ST.LOUIS, SEPTEMBER 10th, 2020

It all started with her own obsession with healthy skin. Ressa Valentine Benjamin loved the way her organic skin care routine kept her melanin skin glowing, and soon made the decision to stop keeping her skin care secrets to herself. Originally hailing from St. Johnson’s village in her beautiful island home of Antigua, Ressa boldly founded her own skin care line, “Definitely Reese,” with the hopes that she could help others achieve radiant skin.

Hyperpigmentation, acne, dry skin and eczema are some common skin conditions faced by people of color. There can be a misconception that we do not need to be as vigilant about our skin care routines as others because of the natural elasticity and melanin glow of our skin, but the opposite is true. According to Medical News Today, melanin-producing cells may be more susceptible to the effects of inflammation and injury, which may be more noticeable in dark skin than in light skin.

One of Definitely Reese’s loyal customers, Antiguan Soca Artist Claudette “C.P” Peters, using the Tumeric & Honey Scrub

Ressa’s products contain natural ingredients which are perfect for people of color. Ground turmeric, cinnamon, coffee grounds, brown sugar, honey, and lemon along with her ‘secret ingredient’ are just some of nature’s gifts which she uses in her products. She highlights turmeric as a main ingredient used in her line. It’s no secret that this natural spice has amazing skin care benefits. Some of these include:

  • It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties; This means that it’s great for combating acne and other skin irritations.
  • It calms the skin and works wonders on fading acne scars and hyperpigmentation.
  • Another plus? It unveils a noticeably healthy glow!

Her turmeric and honey facial scrub was personally tested by me, and all I can say is, this entrepreneur takes the skin care business seriously!

Another main ingredient she utilizes is coffee. Yes! Coffee. Coffee grounds are actually a great source of several nutrients and antioxidants that benefit the skin tremendously.

Just like turmeric, coffee brings out your natural glow;

It reduces puffiness of the eyes;

It protects the skin against harsh sun rays;

and removes dead skin cells;

Coffee grounds are used in her Vanilla Latte Scrub. Needless to say, I will be trying this one next!

At “Definitely Reese,” you can also find other amazing products such as foot scrubs, lip scrubs, lip balms, lip glosses and eyelash/eyebrows serums. Check out her store on Facebook, and browse her selection of natural beauty and skin care products.

Her momentum is steady and growing, but entrepreneurship is not all ribbons and rainbows. This small business owner faces her fair share of obstacles including fluctuating customs duties. When endeavoring to make a profit, the taxes imposed at the island’s air or sea ports can be counter productive for small business owners. However, this inspiring entrepreneur presses on. Thankfully, her support system is dynamic and extremely loyal.

“My supporters have all been amazing throughout my journey thus far.”

Although she is ‘taking things one day at a time’ and marketing her products locally, Ressa hopes to expand “Definitely Reese” both regionally and internationally. Once she continues producing these superior products, we are confident that there are no limits for this Antiguan entrepreneur!

“To all my fellow business owners, always strive to achieve your goals and always make adjustments if and when necessary along the way. Never give up! “

Ressa Valentine Benjamin

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Island Girl makes Unique Jewelry Pieces

BY TARYN ST.LOUIS, JULY 27, 2020

The beautiful Caribbean islands envelop many traditions that are rich with color and creativity. From the costumes on display during mas, to the colorful buildings that line the streets, you are bound to be awed by the festive culture and and tastes of islanders. For Althea Teague, 39, from the island of Antigua, it had always been difficult to find unique jewelry pieces to satisfy her appetite to be different, so she started making pieces for herself.

A Business is Born

Upon wearing her self-made pieces in public, she noticed the attention she would get from strangers and familiar faces alike; then came the questions: “Where did you get that?” Where can I buy this?” Althea soon realized this could be a great business venture, and started taking orders for customized jewelry pieces.

Althea’s wonderfully made productions is now fully operational, and offers custom made hand jewelry, earrings, necklaces and other trinkets that are truly unique. Her use of color and symbolism are on point as each of her pieces tells a story.

“I create every piece by hand so they are unique and one of a kind. some are made from non-traditional materials like tree bark, mango seeds and safety pins.” 

Althea Teague
Althea wearing one of her unique neck pieces

A Reason to Keep Going

Being a mother is all the motivation she needs. Her three children, aged 5-21 all depend on the solid foundation she will inevitably build for them. For most parents, whether single or co-parenting, the need to build generational wealth is paramount, and if you are an entrepreneur like she is, building a solid business that is capable of being handed down is a definite goal.

What’s next for this Jewelry Boss?

Althea presently operates her business locally within her native island of Antigua, but her aim is to extend her market reach regionally, and even internationally. In the future, you may just spot her advertising vacancies within her business. With her level of dedication and mastery at Jewelry making, there are no limits.

“Style is the only thing you can’t buy. It’s not in a shopping bag, a label, or a price tag. It’s something reflected from our soul to the outside world—an emotion.”

Alber Elbaz

Related:Seven Jewelry rules you should be breaking

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