Kara Reade Gomez followed her mom's footsteps and has 20 years of experience/training, being published many times for her skin care guidance and makeup work. The Best Face Forward team, a division of the family business, was inspired by her wedding. She knows first-hand that the bridal experience is completely unlike any other! These girls are her posse… she’ll fight you over them! Building BFF while still working full time in a prior career, she quickly realized her passion of mentoring others. Husband Jo, her biggest cheerleader, proudly knows more about beauty than most men combined, while 18 yr old son Sebastian raised her “street cred” among the teen crowd by asking her do his hair Newborn son Cruz has been designated the Chief Cuddle Officer of BFF! An excessive user of exclamation marks, easy ways to Kara’s heart include anything to do with pandas, her pet bunny Winnie, sushi, slurpees, episodes of the Amazing Race, or Dateline (anyone with a hookup to Keith Morrison will be my new best friend), or a good Redskins game!
Laura Harders is a social media and marketing consultant, TV contributor, and founder of the popular Washington DC area blog, Beltway Bargain Mom. For nearly a decade, Laura has provided consumer tips and taught money-saving workshops as well as chronicled her family's adventures in the DC suburbs. She has been featured and interviewed in various media outlets including The Today Show, CNN, Voice of America, Woman's Day Magazine, The Washington Post, Washingtonian Magazine, and MSN Money. As a regular guest and TV contributor for Washington DC and Baltimore MD TV stations, Laura is often asked to share consumer finance tips, local activities, family-friendly products, and solutions for busy parents. Laura's articles have been published on US News & World Report and syndicated.
Laura was inspired to start her blog, in part, thanks to her husband, Patrick's, entrepreneurship and his business blog. Patrick's landscape lighting business, Enlightened Lighting, has grown into Washington DC's top outdoor lighting company, and Laura helps oversee the social media, marketing, and PR for their family business.
As a lifelong Virginia resident, Laura has many local ties including attending Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, VA and graduating from the University of Virginia. Today, Laura serves on the Alumni Board for the UVA Virginia Women's Chorus and her hobbies include music, hand lettering, baking and cake decorating, and spending time with her family. Laura and Patrick have two children and reside in Northern VA."
Ramunda Lark Young worked as a Community Relations professional for a decade where she cultivated her skill of establishing authentic business connections by building partnerships with schools, officials, corporations and others. While at a Fortune 500 company, Young garnered sales of a quarter million dollars annually and received honors recognizing her efforts. A proud graduate of Langston University, she is the CEO and Connection Strategist of Ramunda Young, Inc. where she passionately helps women craft their Value Voice© to build business relationships that increase sales and self-confidence.
Young was named a Top 5 Influential Women of Prince William County, recognized as Top 40 Under 40 by Virginia Leadership Institute, Courageous Woman Leader award from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women - Prince William County Chapter, and a Langston University Women in Leadership Honoree. She proudly serves on several boards including Leadership Prince William, Manassas City Schools Education Foundation and is Vice Chair of the Prince William Chamber Education Committee. Young is an appointee of the Prince William County Human Rights Commission and was recently named Commissioner of the Year by the Virginia Association of Human Rights.
Young and her husband Derrick co-founded the award winning, MahoganyBooks and featured on Essence.com, Blavity and Tulsa People. They are proud parents of their daughter Mahogany.
Nasreen Jahed Cieplenski is a public health professional with over 15 years of experience in supporting operations for clinical trial research. Nasreen has worked on HIV/AIDS and oncology trials. Her most recent experience focuses on international health. Nasreen has had the opportunity to travel to several countries to assist in supporting clinical trials, including Tanzania, Peru, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico and Australia. Nasreen also lived in Indonesia for one year to help hire and train local staff to conduct clinical research for infectious diseases, including dengue fever, sepsis and tuberculosis. She has co-authored several manuscripts throughout her career.
Nasreen is a new mom! She can’t get enough of her little guy, Gavin, who is always full of smiles. Nasreen and her husband, Jim, love ‘tickle time’ with their little man. The laughter is infectious!
Charlotte Avery is an author, sought-after speaker, coach, and entrepreneur who is fiercely committed to helping women go from overwhelmed to overjoyed in marriage, motherhood, and in the marketplace. As The Family Strategist™, she draws upon her experiences as the wife of 1, mother of 7, and owner of no pets to give moms the tools they need to define for themselves what it means to have it all.
After building a family with seven children under the age of 14, Charlotte began to lose touch with her identity as a woman and fought to reclaim it through mastering the art of time management and strategic planning in her home. Implementing systems helped ensure she made time for herself, which helped her reconnect with who she was. Using her #PhDinMotherhood, the Being Charlotte Avery brand is her platform to teach other women how to do the same.
Charlotte is an engaging speaker who regularly gives talks on issues surrounding women’s empowerment, family management, faith, and entrepreneurship. She has been a guest blogger for various blogs, is a monthly contributor for SoCo Neighbors Magazine and Our Children Online Magazine for the National PTA. Charlotte has been seen and heard on various local television and radio stations across the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
Tanya Barnett is a speaker, author and the “Real” Wife Coach. She is the author of “Being a Wife Just Got Real: Things I Wish I Knew, Before I Said, I Do.” She founded the Real Wife Movement™ which was designed to equip single and married women with tools for creating strong marriages and families.
She is also the founder of Forever Free Books, a mobile literacy nonprofit, which delivers free books and story time to low income children in their neighborhoods and schools.
She is a marathoner, triathlete and a serious book lover. She and her husband, Don, have 3 awesome kids.
Stacey Brown joined the Old Navy family in 2016 and has nearly 30 years of experience in the retail industry. Her journey in retail began at 14 years old with a t-shirt company at her local mall, and since then she has worked in various sectors of the retail industry ranging from visual manager, to branch manager, to store manager. A community leader, Stacey coordinates volunteer activities with Old Navy, and has volunteered her own time to organize charity fashion shows and park clean ups. Known for her positive outlook, Stacy has never backed down from a challenge and can always be found helping and supporting others. As a wife and mother to four wonderful children, Stacey has a passion for people and animals. She and her family enjoy spending time at the beach, watching the kid’s sports games, being the kid’s taxi, traveling, painting, or just simply hanging out at home with all their animals (the “Zoo” as the family likes to call it).
Michelle Kotula Congdon is an interior designer with over 20 years of experience in design, strategic planning and construction management. Michelle has worked designing real estate offices in the Northeast along with creating workspace for military installations on both the east and west coasts. Most recently, she works in Arlington County creating public spaces to serve the community to include Fire Stations, Libraries, Courts, Community Centers and general office spaces. She is also responsible for developing and planning for future facilities within the County.
Michelle has three elementary age children, Talia, Mason and Aubree. She actively volunteers in Girls Scouts of America, her local Parent Teacher Organization and for her girls cheer squad. Michelle and her husband, Josh, enjoy spending together as a family hiking, swimming and exploring historic sites.
Passionate advocate to improve and strengthen quality of health services and information provided to women, newborns, children, adolescents/youth, and the elderly in marginalized communities; through strategic communications, health policy, health systems strengthening, capacity building, implementation, use of modern technology, and engaging with local communities, partners, and donors. Through supporting in-country teams, I advocate for improved quality, access and delivery of health services and information plus engage with multiple stakeholders to implement sustainable and culturally acceptable community-driven programs that will benefit women, their families and communities. Read more about her nonprofit here.
Anjali Varma is an online influencer and business coach for female entrepreneurs. She coaches small businesses on marketing, strategy, and branding to help them launch their new business or take their existing business to the next level. She hosts local & virtual mastermind groups, an online community (Mompreneur Tribe Facebook Group), a weekly Facebook Live show, and local meetups to connect, educate, and inspire female entrepreneurs. Anjali is a TV spokesperson appearing regularly on DC and Baltimore stations including Fox 5 DC, WUSA 9, NBC 4. She is also the owner of Kidville Bethesda, a children's franchise in downtown Bethesda. She holds an an MBA from NYU Stern School Of Business as well as a BBA from the University of Michigan. You can find Anjali at AnjaliVarma.com, in her MompreneurTribe Facebook Group and on Instagram & Twitter @AnjVarma.
Tonia Sanders is a wife and mother of two beautiful girls. She enjoys chatting and writing posts about motherhood, family issues, events, and product reviews. In her spare time she is a Girl Scout Troop Leader, Shot@Life Champion with United Nations Foundation, High-Risk Pregnancy Supporter through Sidelines Foundation, and an advocate for maternal health and wellness.
Tiffani Greenaway helps moms find and enjoy themselves in motherhood.
She is the wife and mother behind MyMommyVents, a parenting and lifestyle brand dedicated to inspiring, empowering, and informing mothers through digital content and special events. Her mission is to connect communities of women to share, learn, bond, and grow though the spiritual journey of motherhood. Tiffani hosts and produces social, philanthropic, and informational events for moms and families, including panel discussions; moms’ nights; and fitness and wellness initiatives.
Born and raised in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, Persha left her home island after high school to attend Benedict College in Columbia, SC where she was a tri-athlete, playing volleyball, basketball and softball on athletic scholarships. Not only was she a top athlete, leading her volleyball team as MVP to win four consecutive conference championships, but she also had a talent for performing and pageantry and was crowned Miss Benedict College queen 1999-2000.
Persha went on to attend graduate school at Indiana University where she obtained her Master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation. She then moved to New York to complete her graduate internship as well as to pursue her dreams of modeling, however due to the tragic events of 9/11, her plans of remaining in New York were short lived. In 2001, while visiting some friends in Maryland, she was encouraged to consider moving to the DMV. It didn’t take much convincing, as she went back to NY, packed her bags and permanently moved to the Maryland. Persha secured a job as a therapist working at one of the areas largest mental and behavioral health facilities. She remains at this facility after 16 years, where she is the Clinical Supervisor of a team of Expressive Therapists.
Persha has a passion for helping others and working with at-risk youth. She believes that the area of Mental and Behavioral Health is her calling and feels fortunate to be able to influence the lives of the patients she works with daily who are suffering from mental illness. Persha is an advocate for removing the stigma in Mental Health so that those suffering from mental illness will feel empowered to get the support they need to better cope and function in society.
In line with her athleticism and competitive spirit in sports, Persha is also a fighter and survivor in her personal life. In 2003 she was diagnosed with systemic lupus and early in her diagnosis was literally fighting for her life due to complications from the illness. Today the lupus is in remission and she finds purpose as a lupus ambassador with the Snow Companies and GlaxoSmithKline, having the opportunity to travel and share her story of hope with the community and others living with lupus.
Persha is the proud mother of two miracles, her 10 year old son Immanuel and 5 year old daughter Zoë. She is passionate about staying active and promoting health and wellness and currently leads the health and wellness ministry at her church. She welcomes adventure and a good challenge and is proud to be amongst the “Tough Mudder” legionnaires. Outside of her regular 9-5 job, Persha has two home based businesses. In line with her love of travel and culture, and her love of the Creative Arts, she is a Certified Travel Agent and she owns a jewelry business, www.prettypersha.bigcartel.com, where she creates unique hand made designs.
Persha’s greatest desire is to live a life that’s purposeful and pleasing to God, focusing not so much on what she can get out of this life, but instead on what she can give.
Author, speaker, clinician and cancer survivor, Dr. Ferguson is the founder of The Ferguson Foundation Inc., a cancer advocacy organization, and RECTIFY: THE RACE 5/10K Cancer Run/Walk. Dr. Ferguson is also the founder of RFM Enterprises, LLC, a publishing powerhouse and consultancy firm helping to create first time authors and empower budding entrepreneurs.
While surviving her own tumultuous battle with cancer, Anissa created The Ferguson Foundation Inc. from a hospital bed in Washington, DC, to support other cancer survivors and their families. She resides in the Washington, DC area with her husband, also Dr. Ferguson, and their two children.
Madina is a dedicated wife and mother of three beautiful girls. She is also a registered nurse- a Manager of Clinical Practice for a large home care company and is passionate about making a difference in her patient's lives. Madina loves spending time with family as well as making time for “Girl’s Night/ Weekend Out.” She strives to achieve a balance between a happy content home and a fulfilling work experience. Among other talents, she is a gifted make-up artist who cares about enhancing one's natural God given features- with a touch of elegance.
Born in England, to Nigerian and Barbadian parents, and also raised in Nigeria, Natasha quickly understood the importance of diversity from being exposed to different cultures and facets of life. She grew up aspiring to become an entrepreneur with a dream to use her life experiences and multi-national
upbringing to work with people from varying cultures with different skill sets, talents and goals.
She began to initially live out this dream as a teacher in low-performing bilingual schools with a focus on empowering students to become effective learners and more engaged in their community. She is a dedicated professional who owns Izaura Events and Design (IED), a boutique event planning firm specializing in unique, culturally themed weddings and social events in the Washington metropolitan
area. Natasha believes that every event has its own unique qualities and makes a commitment to create authentic events by capturing her client's vision and perfecting them into beautiful, elegant and memorable celebrations. She applies her talents in the professional modeling industry which allows her the opportunity to travel throughout the U.S. and interact with designers, stylists and models of all
Besides having a very busy lifestyle, she is most proud of being a mother to a beautiful young girl. Natasha shares her ever-growing life experiences with her daughter by raising her in an environment where open-mindedness and diversity is key. She encourages her daughter to live her life with freedom and exposure to a lot of things to be better enabled to carve her own path in this world.
As a phenomenal woman who continuously aspires to become better and serve as an example to her daughter and community, she is currently pursuing a master's degree in Project Management from George Washington University.
Poet Taylor is a lover of God, bacon, conversation and family, who strongly believes that no matter the obstacle, there’s always a workable solution.
When she’s not on the air, Poet is bringing awareness to teens and young adults in the foster care system seeking a loving home and forever family. The multi-media personality is also involved in initiatives that focus on self love, community activism, growth and engagement. Poet grew up bouncing between the D.C. and Maryland foster care systems, and learned early on that it takes hard work, dedication, blind faith and a village to accomplish your dreams and walk in your purpose.
Her broadcasting career began at WERQ FM in Baltimore — after she won a station contest to expand their talent roster — while there she co-hosted the afternoon drive with Konan. When CBS Radio’s Vice President of Urban Programming invited Poet to join WPGC’s growing family. Poet would late go on to host her own morning show at CBS West Palm Beach.
Fast forward to 2014, where Poet served as executive producer of The Joe Clair Morning Show. Her ability to stay dialed in to stories trending locally and nationally caught the eye of ABC 7, who offered her the opportunity to join the Emmy award winning crew of Good Morning Washington as their segment producer.
In 2017, Poet saw her career come full circle when she returned to her first passion and accepted the position of midday host on WPGC. Poet brings bubbly energy and fun to D.C.’s premier Urban station from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each weekday. In 2018 she would also take on the role of Board Member for Safe Shores DC, an organization committed to helping children affected by trauma.
“I’m beyond blessed and super excited to be given the opportunity to bring #Edutainment to my DMV village as the new midday host on WPGC 95.5,” she says. “I look forward to continuing to build upon the WPGC brand, encouraging our listeners to embrace their greatness and giving back tenfold all that my #BaconBits have invested in me!”
Kemi Asante is dedicated to improving health and achieving equity in health for all people worldwide. She received her Doctorate in Pharmacy from Howard University, and Master of Public Health and Graduate Certificate in Global Health from UMass Amherst. She also completed the USAID Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response (HA/DR) Course for Senior Managers. Kemi is currently an officer in the United States Public Health Service (PHS).
As a PHS officer, Kemi is a member of PHS-2 Rapid Deployment Force (RDF), a specialized team of officers capable of deploying within 12 hours to any public health emergencies and urgent health needs arising from natural or man-made disasters. Her most significant deployment experience was during the Ebola outbreak when she served at the Monrovia Medical Unit (MMU), a 25-bed Ebola Treatment Facility in Liberia to treat healthcare workers infected with the virus. This lifechanging experience further reinforced her commitment to global health. Her goal is to use her experience and expertise to influence health issues that transcend national boundaries.
In 2017, Kemi and her husband founded ULTRASPEX LLC, a socially responsible company that specializes in high-quality residential, commercial and environmental inspection services. ULTRASPEX aims to empower clients with knowledge and insight regarding the overall physical and environmental condition of a property. Prolonged exposure to poor indoor environmental conditions can cause diseases such as lung cancer. The goal of ULTRASPEX is to help clients make well-informed real estate investment decisions. ULTRASPEX donates a portion of their profit to the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), the only global organization dedicated to the study of lung cancer and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), a non-profit organization that ensures humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and other situations of violence.
In her spare time, Kemi enjoys interior decorating, traveling with her family and learning about different cultures. Most importantly, she enjoys being mommy to her 2 beautiful daughters and teaching them the importance of using their knowledge and talents to make the world a better place for all who live in it, especially the less privileged.
Doctor of Pharmacy 32 years of experience in clinical, hospital and retail pharmacy. A loving wife and mother of 2 successful adult daughters. Volunteered for many years in raising awareness about diabetes and kidney disease. Received an honorary award from the kidney foundation for my work and contributions. Love adventures, travels, fashion, wine and jazz music.
P:S I am from the universe
Mary Tombiri-Ero a Management Analyst at the City of Houston’s Public Library, holds a Masters’ degree in Business and a soon to be Dr. Tombiri-Ero who is currently working on Doctoral study completion in Walden University. She was exceptionally
brilliant in athletics, who later became an accomplished professional athlete at the National and International stages, accumulating several awards and medals in a career
that spanned over 12 years.
Tombiri-Ero professionally enjoys working to find ways to improve business operations, maximize profits and increase efficiency.
Mary Tombiri-Ero is motivated to scout for gifted and talented youths from Africa who are less privileged and create academic opportunities for them to study in the US on athletic and academic scholarships. She is actively involved with various grassroots
movements that seek to set up training facilities for the underprivileged youths with special focus on girl child.
Between 2010 and 2016, as the Public Relations Officer of Association of Nigerian Women, Austin Texas, she championed fund raising activities for academic scholarships
to some less privileged children in Nigeria, and to achieve academic goal from elementary to university levels.
As a co-founder and pioneer president of Cojosa-North America, Inc., she spear headed the organization’s fund raising strategies and motivated various alumni in promoting academic competition and excellence with annual academic prize awards in Nigeria with girls as beneficiaries. In order to stimulate, inspire and encourage healthy athletic competition amongst students in her alma mata, Tombiri-Ero sponsored athletic prize awards. In 2013 She sponsored the Association of Nigeria Engineers sports competition in Lagos, Nigeria with sports awards for women winners in Track and field
Mary Tombiri-Ero is a frequent speaker at African functions. She lives in Houston Texas, and shares her interest in healthy and productive engagement with everyone.
Debbie Reaney Perkins is a native Washingtonian, and is the President of RLI Insurance Associates, a second generation family business specializing in personal and commercial coverage.
Debbie’s life passion is giving back. She has been a caregiver for the past 20 years for numerous family and friends, is a staunch supporter of the work of caregivers and end-of-life care, and advocates for the hospice cause. Now a widow, Debbie fills the role of “mom” to countless young persons, giving them temporary refuge when needed, guides them through tough times and inspires them to grow and become productive role models in society. She also taught English as a Second Language (ESL) at Jerusalem Baptist Church in Fairfax.
Debbie’s biggest challenge in life has been learning to live life on her own after her husband’s death, but her mantra is, “there will always be someone with a harder life than me!”
Hewan Zeleke started with AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia in 2013 as a Community Outreach Representative, and she was quickly promoted into a Team Lead role due to her effectiveness at helping those most in need. Because of her stellar performance and results over time, the AmeriHealth Caritas DC leadership has demonstrated a significant amount of confidence in Hewan, assigning her to oversee numerous community events and to also serve as the primary Team Lead for resolving escalated member issues and responding to any concerns raised by key stakeholders in the DC Ombudsman Office and Department of Health Care Finance.
In her home country of Ethiopia, Hewan grew up in a family and culture where helping others and especially those most in need was an expected way of life. Hewan has and continues to consistently
bring this sense of empathy and selflessness to her work at AmeriHealth Caritas DC and everything that she does. Hewan’s natural sense of empathy and willingness to go above and beyond for others, combined with her expertise and skills at navigating the health care system, have proved invaluable to a great many AmeriHealth Caritas members. All of this has led her to a rewarding future with AmeriHealth Caritas DC, where she has on more than one occasion graced the covers of AmeriHealth Caritas DC’s member handbooks and brochures.
Hewan lives in Washington, DC with her son, and speaks Amharic, a native Ethiopian language.
Temrah Okonski is the mother of an 18 year old son and a 19 year old daughter. She and her husband live in Ellicott City, Maryland.
Temrah, a physical therapist for 30 years, is most passionate about working with children with special needs and is working on developing a foot brace for certain children with brain damage. Temrah received her undergraduate degree from Simmons College, and held a post graduate fellowship positions at Hermann Hospital, TX and Georgetown University, DC. Temrah studied Ayurvedic medicine in India, and lived in Japan for three years where she was the pediatric physical therapist on a US military base. While in Japan, she also studied and performed Japanese dance.
Temrah is an avid traveler with a love for learning about other peoples’ traditions and cultures. She has traveled to 26 counties. She spends the balance of her time giving back to her community. She has held board PTA positions for 7 years, was a Girls on the Run coach for 5 years, and since 2012 has been supporting a medical mission that services a rural community in Haiti. She has visited the country 7 times. Temrah is the incoming president to The Ellicott City Rotary Club.
Temrah’s is also committed to her own health and wellness. She competes in sprint triathlons, has biked through Quebec, New Mexico, the Bahamas, and much of Western Europe. She has backpacked in the Shenandoahs, Colorado, and the Himalayas. She hopes to have many more outdoor adventures in the years to come.