Monthly Archives: June 2011

OUTreach =’s reaching OUT

OUTreach =’s reaching OUT

I am completely committed to living more intentionally. With that, I have realized something unsettling for me about blogging. My entries, and the entries of a million other bloggers, with great things to say, have not yet reached the homes of those that lack internet. I struggle with this, not because I think everyone should read MY blog, but because I believe that true outreach is about reaching those that are OUT of the realm that you are already in.

I think the internet is one of the greatest inventions EVER, and unfortunately, those that need resources most, (self- development literature, quick tips on how to improve your diet, lay summaries on what’s going on in the world) sometimes don’t know where and how to begin their improvement, even if they have the internet at home.

The concept of outreach has helped me to understand why religious organizers, community organizations, and people that want to share what they consider pertinent information, make it a priority to go door- to- door.

One summer, my colleague and I were working on recruitment efforts for our educational summer program. Enrollment numbers were low and we were quickly approaching our registration deadline. We rounded up 5 college volunteers and printed 300 fliers. We created a route for our college volunteers to do mailbox drops,  and encouraged our them to talk to any parents/ guardians that they ran into during their outreach.

The volunteers completed their door-to-door mailbox drops on a Friday night at 7pm. By Tuesday of the next week, there were 30 additional parents interested in enrolling their children in the summer program.

Although there has been an increase in the funding and creation of major green initiatives that give printed publications a run for their money, it is becoming more and more evident that internet only access to resources removes opportunities for low-income and economically disadvantaged families.

My S.M.A.R.T. solution and counteraction to this phenomenon: By January 2012 I will have a 4-page printed newsletter of major blog entries from Ashley S.C. Walls hand delivered to atleast 300 households in the Chicagoland area.

How do you balance community outreach and the internet?

Dont forget about the JUNE OPPORTUNITY

During the month of June I will offer one complimentary consultation for the top 3 individuals with the highest levels of engagement on my blog. (Winners can defer their consultation to a friend or family member of their choice). My complimentary consultation will focus on business and marketing development, grant writing services, and strategic development for a topic of your choice.

I am defining engagement as:

  • commenting on various entries
  • sharing on Facebook, LinkedIn, Stumbleupon, Digg, and/or twitter and tagging me or notifying me of the share
  • emailing posts to your friends or networks (bcc me on the
  • And any other creative ways of engagement you can think of!

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Success Formula: Kevin Davis

Community development takes on many forms. Fortunately I was able to catch up with Kevin Davis, one of the founders and leaders of Crush Media and Progressive Greek Magazine, to learn more about his unique community development niche. As a distinguished man of Phi Beta Sigma, Kevin has embraced the culture and breadth of achievement that exists within Black Greek Lettered Organizations (BGLOs). Purposefully expanding on the close-knit community, Kevin and his partners, have guided Progressive Greek Magazine to become the go-to comprehensive source for uplifting information on BGLOs.

Progressive Greek is a relevant media source that appeals to more than just members of Greek-lettered organizations. Progressive Greek provides readers with access to the most-up-to date information and accomplishments made by Greek-lettered members that have proven to be leaders in their fields and area of expertise. Through the internet publication Progressive Greek Magazine, and a variety of social media tools  Kevin is fully living up to his personal description of community development, “doing things outside of the norm and finding ways to turn your interest or passions into a constructive outlet, while helping those that you can. Use what interest you to move others forward.”

As a photographer and guru of all things media, Kevin is often called on to photograph formal and social events for BGLOs. With all that he has going on, Kevin continues to make good on his volunteer services, primarily providing countless hours of low- cost to free, photography and media services to non-profits and others working to establish themselves. He also completes hands-on service with his fraternity through Relay for Life and the Pacific Garden Mission.

In order to remain the “progressive” he is today, Kevin focuses on improving his time-management skills. Already confident in his abilities, after reading the book “Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun?” by Reginald F. Lewis, Kevin understood exactly what he needed to do to follow through on his personal and professional goals. While reading, Kevin realized that the major obstacle he had to overcome was to learn how to sell his self and be able to back it up. “I can do whatever I want, as long as I don’t sell myself on something I cannot deliver on. This concept has directly affected every project I have worked on, thus taking me to the next level.”

Giving of his time, resources, and creating a platform that showcases the National influence of college-educated African-Americans, Kevin Davis is truly a prime example of a dedicated community servant.

Kevin Davis’s Success Formula = Finding your niche + Designing your platform + Selling self THEN the product

More on Kevin Davis

How do you feel about the term agree to disagree?
“I use it a lot. I use it all the time at work. I believe that there is a point where you need to end the conversation when you realize that either side is not budging. Some people just use it to try to shut you up. I will look at the other person’s opinion…I am very opinionated. I like to get my point across, sometime to a fault.”

How do you effectively receive and share constructive criticism?
“Seek constructive criticism before it comes to be as criticism. I seek it as an opportunity so that it is not a negative. I ask for it to take the sting out of it. I have thick skin and try to decipher if there is truth in what is being said. No resentment, especially in groups. I take my time giving the criticism, try to know my audience. I can be very direct and not everyone can handle that. Land the plane on pillows and then once they are receptive then I will give it to them straight. Not a big fan of sugar coating. I am vocal, but not overbearing.”

What is your idea of freedom?
Being able to do and feel however you want without fear of judgment. To be happy to do what you want to do and not care what others have to say or think. Allow yourself to be happy and be who you are.

What is a community asset that you want to share with others?
Catherine brown. She offers a variety of free CPR classes. She is on a mission to educate people on how to save lives. More information on these services can be found at

Kevin also shared a Community Asset from his hometown, The Detroit Coalition of Homeless Shelters. The organization helps people who need to get out of the streets, mainly women and children. They provide training and workshops on how to re-enter the work force.

Kevin shared a variety of professional and personal S.M.A.R.T. goals with me during our interview:

  • Progressive Greek will reach 5,000 fans on Facebook before July 1
  • Launch the newly redesigned Crush Media Group website by July 1, in time for the company’s 6 year anniversary
  • Become a homeowner within 5 years
  • Within 5 years, Progressive Greek will be the source for media and publications for fraternities and sororities around the world
  • Complete master’s degree in integrated marketing communications management in 3 years
    Return to being 100% self-employed in 3.5 years.

Contact Info



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Oh Yeah….The S.M.A.R.T. Weight I Was Supposed to Lose….

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Attempting to lose weight has been a personal goal that has proven to remind me of how much I do not know. To get it out of the way, I humbly want to state that, in the 3 months I have worked to lose 25 pounds, I have only kept off 4 pounds. 

6 pounds was the total of my greatest loss. Alack of self-control, especially over the weekends, and simply, not knowing enough about foods and their effects on the body, proved to be a hinderance to my weight loss. I was ill-equipped to meet my goal. 

I am not giving up though. I am revising my timeline and I have called in reinforcements. Below are the steps I am taking to get on the right track.

–          A member of my creative vision team has provided me with 3 days worth of sample meals. Before creating the meal plans, I first sent her a list of about 6-8 meals that I regularly eat. She created the 3 day meal plan using what I am already comfortable cooking and meals that I enjoy. Her suggested meal plans focus on adding green vegetables, smaller portions, and cutting out (white) carbs.

–          Making exercise a habit. During the initial stages of my weight loss activities, I was working out about 10-20 minutes a day, some time more. After skipping experience for a few days, I ended up STOPPING altogether. I am now making it a habit to get back on the elliptical daily.

–          Lastly, I have to send my weight loss coach (member of my creative vision team) a daily journal of what I am eating. My weight loss coach is an extremely good friend of mine and she knows all to well, the in’s and out’s of my life patterns, daily routines, emotional triggers, and taste buds.Yes, I have been tempted to lie, but I realize the only person I would be cheating is myself. 

What I love most about my S.M.A.R.T. goal, despite not having made the progress that I was aiming for, is that I had a measurable outcome to keep me motivated. Most importantly, this is MY goal. It is not the goal of a client, another business, or my significant other; it is mine to adjust and make happen. 

Creating S.M.A.R.T goals for my personal development has allowed me to see drastic improvement in other areas of my life. 

How are your S.M.A.R.T. goals progressing?


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Community Asset: Center on Halsted

For about 10 days my cable and internet were off. At first it wasn’t so bad because I have a Blackberry, and my Sanford and Son and All in the Family DVRs were still playing (as well as Southpark). I was able to manage until about day 7 when I received a call to complete a research project for a friend. Without hesitation I agreed to do this project, especially because it was a paid opportunity.

I was sure that with all the public spaces boasting to offer free Wi-Fi, having no internet was an easy obstacle to overcome. I immediately threw on a pair of jeans and sneakers and headed to Starbucks. Every electric socket was in-use. So, on to the next location. A friend of mine recommended Whole Foods. Great for me, because it was still in walking distance from the Starbucks. But, to my (no) luck, Whole Foods managers said they did not have any plugs.

The search continued.

Attached to Whole Foods was this lobby where many people were eating food and mingling. I walked through and discovered that I was in the Center on Halsted- Chicago’ s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center.

THANK GOD! They had an open computer lab.

The Dr. David J. Lochman Cyber Center’s mission (located in the Center on Halsted) is to provide technology and internet resources to help eliminate the digital divide, specifically for the LGBT populations in Chicago and surrounding communities.

During the week there is a 90 minute time limit on each station, and during the weekends, there is a 60 minute time limit on each computer.

The Cyber Center also offers various computer classes including Microsoft Excel, and an introduction to PC.

The Center on Halsted has 15 additional programs including, The Anti-Violence Project, HIV testing and prevention, Legal and Referral Services, Mental Health Services, and even Student Training Programs for Doctoral and Masters level students.

The atmosphere at the Center on Halsted is very relaxed and friendly. Located in the heart of LakeView, next to Whole Foods and a variety of other interesting stores, including the Kit Kat Lounge, The Center on Halsted is a unique Community Asset serving over 365,000 people annually.


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Success Formula: Monique Myles Carswell

Success Formula: Monique Myles Carswell

On a regular basis, I receive an email or run across a Facebook post or tweet about the newest happenings of Monique Myles Carswell. Currently the Marketing Manager for Black Enterprise Magazine and previously on the marketing team for CosmoGIRL! Magazine, Monique has made a name for herself as a marketing mogul on the rise.

An active member of numerous organizations (far too many to name here), Monique was recently appointed as the Leadership Council Director for World of Money. World of Money is an organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of financial illiteracy by teaching children about money early on, thus helping break the cycle of community financial illiteracy.

When you type her name into Google, taglines you are sure to find while doing research on the Chicago native include: professional, New York Urban League Young Professionals (founding member), Black Enterprise, African-American, Myles Ahead Consulting, LLC., public speaker, and wedding.

Monique is the epitome of the modern day successful woman. Growing up and out of the West side of Chicago, attending a big ten University in Urbana-Champaign, and then taking over the Big Apple, Monique’s vision of success is to create an impact that she is proud of within her industry and community.

During the interview Monique shared more information with me about her financial mantra. Monique manages her money in the following order: earn, save, invest and donate. A woman with exceedingly high expectations and the capabilities to attain all that she imagines, Monique has studied the financial habits of the wealthy. Research shows that wealthy people commonly have 7 streams of income including their primary career, real estate, speaking engagements, publications, consulting, stocks, and investments. With this knowledge, she has created a budget that has been in place for several years, and she continues to work toward her 7 streams.

Monique is also invested in the nourishment of the black family. She sees community development in this regard as a dual income household, where the family serves as a positive role model for the rest of the community. Monique says that there are currently “too many mothers who are trying to do too much, too many absent fathers, and too many grandparents raising children.” One way Monique and her husband contribute to community development is through their blog- Young, Black & Married. Here, the couple provides positive examples of black love.

Upon getting married, Monique made a tough decision that many women are faced with today. Having already established much of her reputation and business endeavors under her maiden name Monique Myles, honoring tradition, she chose to take her husbands last name in marriage. Replacing her given middle name with her maiden name, she is now known to the world as Monique Myles Carswell.

Balancing work and family, well branded, and extremely professional, Monique’s work ethic and determination create a replicable blueprint for success.

Monique Myles Carswell’s Success Formula= Commitment to Family + Proven financial management + Active involvement 

More on Monique Myles Carswell 

What was one experience or fear that you had to overcome to get where you are today? And how did you do so? 

“Being from the West Side of Chicago was an experience. Although people of all ethnicities and economic backgrounds have challenging life experiences, the scope of what I witnessed presented a variety of obstacles. I have learned from these obstacles and overcome the fear of not succeeding.” (The West Side of Chicago is known for extreme poverty, high STD rates amongst teenagers, high rates of return for ex-felons, and slow economic community growth.)

Do you have a S.M.A.R.T. goal you can share with us?

To own a piece of investment property with my husband within 3 years

How do you give and receive constructive criticism?

“I am very diplomatic and when delivering constructive criticism, I go straight to the person/group my critiques pertain to, and I always provide a solution. I am very self- critical, so when others share constructive criticism with me, I welcome it, as long as it is from a place of love.”

Where are you most productive?

Monique is most productive during her commutes on the train. It is during this time that she is able to make her to-do lists, create bullet points for her next power point, and manage other business.


@MoniqueCarswell on twitter

Update 11.3.2011

Since our original interview, I’ve begun teaching at Fordham University as an Adjunct Professor within their business school. I’m putting my earning towards the property we’re eyeing for 2012. Additionally, I was accepted to a highly selective executive leadership program called Americas Leaders of Change. It’s a rigorous 1-year development program for senior professionals from across the country. I’ve also landed another celebrity client for Myles Ahead.



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Let’s Barter, Starting Today

Let’s Barter, Starting Today

I am beginning to barter. Despite tough times, I have learned of numerous people still finding a way to exceed personal and professional expectations by bartering.

I believe that bartering is a great way to remain sustainable during tight economic times.

So, what can I offer?

Right now I can offer 1 free consultation regarding organizational development to small and start-up businesses.

Basically, what that means is that I can complete a complimentary consultation for a business regarding hiring and staff development, grant and resource development, business plans and strategic development, as well as program development and implementation.

Other services I can provide are event coordination and planning, project management, and assistance with research projects.

Services that I am looking for: an outstanding accountant/tax person and a web developer/designer. 

What do you have to barter right now? What are you in need of?

Feel free to list what you are looking to barter with and what you are looking for in the comment section of this post.

Below is a link to a site solely dedicated to bartering. You simply list what services you have to offer and which services you are looking for.

Dont forget about the JUNE OPPORTUNITY

During the month of June I will offer one complimentary consultation for the top 3 individuals with the highest levels of engagement on my blog. (Winners can defer their consultation to a friend or family member of their choice). My complimentary consultation will focus on business and marketing development, grant writing services, and strategic development for a topic of your choice.

I am defining engagement as:

  • commenting on various entries
  • sharing on Facebook, LinkedIn, stumbleupon, Digg, and/or twitter and tagging me or notifying me of the share
  • emailing posts to your friends or networks (bcc me on the
  • And any other creative ways of engagement you can think of!


My Ideal Job Description

Title: Initiator of Sustainable Systems and Collaborations (ISSC)

Purpose: To creatively impact urban change by designing sustainable communities.

Reports to: Citizens in the community at-large

Key role: Bridge the gap between community entities and individuals to create unique collaborations that lead to self-reliant communities.

Primary functions and duties:

  • Reliably happy and encouraging
  • Seek citizen first solutions
  • Create community relevant communication strategies
  • Build community portfolios
  • Manage and monitor resources and budgets
  • Apply artistic and creative tactics to community development events and programs


  • Displays an appreciation of literature from varied sources
  • Conveys respectful and tactful dialogue
  • Responds rapidly on most matters
  • Able to efficiently multi-achieve
  • Proven record of implementing culturally relevant and age appropriate projects/ programs

Working Hours: Flexible to align with project outcomes and community needs

Work Environment: Employee will work on location, from home, and at various offices as needed. Work environment and requirements will match the project needs. Collaborators are optimistic and honest.

Compensation: Depending upon experience and education; compensation will ensure that student loans can be paid monthly, health care needs are able to be handled in a timely fashion, and that leisure and recreation can remain active in the employee’s life.

What is your ideal job description? 

Below is a link that provides tips on how to create your ideal job description.


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