Souny West leads the W Salon in Burke, Va with her team of 20 and has created an award-winning, modern, boutique salon, which has received much attention not only for their artistry in hair and makeup, but also for the unique approach to engaging with their audience through creating a social awareness of their beliefs within the community.
As active members in the entrepreneurial community, We encourage everyone, to Dream and Think Big, To Collaborate and Share Ideas, To Inspire and Motivate others and to Surround oneself with those that inspire us to be better versions of ourselves.... We just happen to also do hair and makeup!".
We recognize the benefits of connecting with our clients on a personal and business level, and have made Beauty & Style a Social Business.
In addition to being happily married for ten years, she is also a busy mother who enjoys figure skating with her two young boys, ages 7 and 9. Her passion in business and the many philanthropic involvements with the community have led to various mentions.
Her salon business has been recognized by the following -
Asian Chamber of Commerce - 2013 Emerging Business of the Year
Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce 2012 Robert J. McDonough Business Owner Of The Year
Vienna/Tysons Chamber of Commerce - Finalist in 2012 Business Executive of the Year
Patch.com - Voted 2012 Burke's Best Salon & Spa
DC Luxury Magazine- 2012 Dynamic Women of Greater Washington DC
She has also had the opportunity to speak on topics of entrepreneurship and leadership at the 2012 Presidential Campaign while introducing Governor Mitt Romney, Vienna Tysons Chamber of Commerce - Opportunity 2012 “Businesses and Social Media”, Bridging Beauty to Business 2012 Conference - “Branding your Business”, Hugh O’Brian State Youth Leadership Seminar (HOBY.org) – “Innovation in Business”, Asian Chamber of Commerce - “Entrepreneur and Leadership Skills”
Mrs. West is also an active member of the Asian Chamber of Commerce, Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, LANA (Laotion American National Alliance) and also a Board Member of the Tower Club’s - Young Executive Society (Y.E.S).
"Along with being an entrepreneur, I am a mother, wife, sister, daughter and friend. All these roles make my life meaningful and with significant purpose.." -SW
The Aba Agency is a results-oriented public relations, marketing and special events boutique specializing in luxury lifestyle, fashion, design, entertainment and hospitality. Their mission is to “evolve, nurture and maintain essential relationships within the media, celebrity and complex consumer markets- positioning our clients intelligently with integrity and style”.
As well as being a mother, daughter and wife, Kwawu also holds the title of Regional Director-Elect for Fashion Group International of Greater Washington, DC—a global, non-profit with 5,000 members in the apparel, accessories, beauty and home fashion industries
STARA PEZESHKIAN was born into a family with a strong passion for beauty, fashion and design. This inspiration brought out an innate gift of creativity which has led her to express herself as a stylist. She is now ready to exploit her talents bringing her own exotic element of fashion and design to the light.
Fresh to the industry, Stara has already encountered success and growth from her work as a creative director/stylist on fashion shoots, runway shows and print marketing projects. When she is not working as a stylist she is a busy mother of four. Her role as a mother has brought great joy and discipline to her life and is something that is truly unique and irreplaceable. Stara feels blessed to have a beautiful, healthy family as well as a blossoming career. She is excited to embrace her creative side and manipulate it into a profession that she loves.
Maimah Karmo is the Founder and President of the Tigerlily Foundation and a seven-year survivor of breast cancer. Maimah is a dedicated breast health, women and girls empowerment advocate, and community activist. In October 2011, Maimah was appointed to the Federal Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women, a committee established by the Affordable Care Act, on which she works to develop initiatives to increase knowledge of breast health and breast cancer, particularly among women under the age of 40 and those at heightened risk for developing the disease.
She is also the author of "Fearless: Awakening to My Life's Purpose Through Breast cancer, a speaker, and she has appeared in various media outlets, to include O, the Oprah Magazine, Essence, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Redbook Women and Cancer, Cure Magazine and more. She has also been featured on Fox 5, ABC 7, CBS, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America and numerous national radio stations. Most dear to her heart is being the mother of a beautiful 10-year old girl, whom she adores.
Maurisa Potts knows how to get spotted.
With over 17 years of professional marketing, communications and events experience, Maurisa is a master strategist. Her skills in planning events, designing communication strategies and developing partnerships for businesses sets her apart from big name, corporate firms.
Maurisa founded Spotted MP in 2008, after a long successful path in corporate America. Clients of her boutique firm realize the success of personalized service that only comes from partnership with a dedicated, caring professional. Spotted MP’s practice focuses on small-business and non-profits in the areas of charity, retail/destinations, arts, and culture.
Experience in sectors as diverse as fashion, non-profit, retail, accounting, legal, and economic development/tourism, ensures your business will benefit from the detailed and practical knowledge of a professional who has tackled the most varied and fast growing industries with one common goal, results.
Maurisa rolls out communications, plans events and pitches media with a management style that develops lasting partnerships, propelling your business to new heights and growing your business incrementally and exponentially.
Follow the media pulse in Washington and you can’t miss Maurisa’s strategically placed client mentions. Expertly cultivated relationships with major media outlets have generated compelling stories for Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, People Magazine, The Washington Times, NBC 4, ABC 7, WUSA 9, FOX 5, WTOP News, Northern Virginia Magazine, DC Modern Luxury, and Capitol File. Since her firm’s inception four years ago, she has successful secured over 1,500 media mentions total for her various clients.
As a recognized community leader, in addition to her client work, Maurisa lends her expertise and enthusiasm serving with various organizations. She was appointed to the Executive Board of the prestigious fashion organization Fashion Group International, in which she serves as Development Chair for the local DC Chapter. She is also on the Executive Board of the Alexandria Small Business Development Center and also a member of ColorComm (Women of Color in Communications).
A devoted wife and dedicated mother, Maurisa resides in Alexandria, VA with her husband and son and is often “spotted” enjoying all the DC metro area has to offer her family and many trusted friends.
Jessica McFadden is the creator and author of the resource website for Washington, DC area families A Parent in Silver Spring, which has been featured in media such as CNN, Forbes and The Washington Post. She also writes a lifestyle blog for parents, A Parent in America, and produces original videos for her blogs, YouTube channel and MomTV. Jessica has also served as a regular contributor of family features to Nickelodeon ParentsConnect,TLC’s Parentables,The Washington Post and Washington, DC-area Patch sites. She serves as a spokes blogger and ambassador for companies which provide quality services to families, and social good causes that strive to improve the lives of mothers and children. However, Jessica says that her most important gigs are being a wife to Chris and mom to nine-year-old son Charlie, seven-year-old daughter Eve, and two-year-old daughter Alice. Jessica is proud to help promote Lara Akinsanya's gorgeous designs and Lara's vision to serve children through KIDSAVE.
Elaine Mensah is Founder of creative + strategic fashion firm SVELTE, LLC. With over 10+ years of a unique blend of communications, branding, technology, and entrepreneurial experience, Elaine specializes in business + brand consulting, creative campaign development, and brand audits +growth strategy for the fashion industry.
Elaine has worked for and collaborated with numerous fashion insiders, corporate institutions and lifestyle brands including design houses Cynthia Rowley and Thuy; consulting firms Deloitte and BearingPoint; institutions US Small Business Administration and American University; creative brands Traveste Films, All Access Fashion, Fashion Fights Poverty, Largess Affairs and more.
Elaine is also a leading contributor to the fashion and creative industry in Washington, DC where under her own media label interviewed some of the biggest names in the industry - Jason Wu, Lela Rose, Nigel Barker, Basil Soda, Fern Mallis, Joe Zee, Bethenny Frankel to name a few.
In 2011, 2012 & 2013, Elaine was named one of DC's most influential under 40 by Washington Life Magazine. Currently she is the Regional Director-Elect of Fashion Group International DC, and directing & producing DC's first fashion documentary "The Politics of Fashion: DC UNBOXED."
Elaine has a Bachelor's degree in Law and Society from American University and a Masters in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University.
Elaine lives in the suburbs of Northern Virginia with her husband and daughter.
For more about Elaine visit www.sveltellc.com
Twitter: @ElaineMensah | @SVELTELLC
Julie Kantor is a veteran leader and tireless ambassador of STEM education, entrepreneurship and building of America's skilled workforce, serving in CXO roles since 1992. As Chief Partnership Officer at STEMconnector & Million Women Mentors (division of Diversified Search LLC), Julie and team bring together corporate America, government, higher education and national nonprofits as members to better convene key players in the STEM universe and consult around smart STEM investments.
Million Women Mentors, launched as an initiative of STEMconnector® supports the engagement of one million women (and men) in STEM to serve as mentors by 2018. The MWM team is working nationally with 52 lead partners (reach over 22 million girls) and 20 corporate sponsors to support middle school through early career young women w/ confidence to persist and succeed in STEM programs and careers. 54,000 have pledged-to-mentor in the first 10 weeks of the initiative and 13 US Senators and Congresswomen came out in support. Webportal at millionwomenmentors.org
Julie is known in the community as a people person, a brand-builder, tech savvy, national thought leader, writer for Huffington Post and networked entrepreneur with a proven track record.
Kantor was recognized by President Obama for her 20-year career in education in April of 2012 and honored this past year by the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) as 2012 CIT GAP 50 Winner. Before joining STEMconnector, Julie launched Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) in Boston, took over the Wash., DC, Region of NFTE in 1995 and spent 20 years scaling youth entrepreneurship ed. to many U.S. cities and raise $20 million. Julie was a catalyst in expanding NFTE programs in India, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston.
Born and raised in Washington, DC, Julie attended Sidwell Friends School and earned a BA from Simmons College in Boston. Kantor lives in Bethesda, MD, with her husband and middle-school daughter.
Emmy Award winning anchor/reporter, Maureen Umeh co-anchors the weekend newscast (Fox 5 News) at 6pm, 10pm and the News Edge at 11pm.
Maureen joined the FOX 5 news team in September 2002, after serving as one of the primary anchors for the late evening newscasts at WSPA-TV; the CBS affiliate in the Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Maureen has been honored with several awards for her work. They include an an emmy for Best Investigative Series and Best Newscast. She has also been honored by many organizations, including the South Carolina Television and Arts Association; the Illinois Broadcaster's Association and the NAACP.
Maureen served as the chairwoman for the Upstate Leadership Council of the American Cancer Society and also worked with many nonprofit organizations including Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Mathew House, an agency for disadvantaged youth.
Maureen's career in journalism spans nearly two decades. She attended the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she received a degree in Broadcast-Journalism.
I’m a wife, mother, sister, friend, entrepreneur and creator of Fashionista Flea Market, HotMommaHaute Box, Bump in the City, the Hot Momma Haute Experience and Baby Bash and Bling Expo & Show.
The creator of the Baby Bash and Bling Expo & Show, hailing from New Orleans, this southern belle has always had a passion for fashion, storytelling through writing, and event conception. During her pregnancy with her first child, she became dedicated to chronicling her experiences of how pregnant women can maintain their sense of style while even toting a baby bump – thus she created BBB! Baby Bash and Bling Expo & Show is an interactive lifestyle expo celebrating expecting moms, new moms and everyday moms featuring “Bump the Runway” fashion show and the Beauty and Bump Bar! Guests will experience the Moms Rock Lounge – featuring fab products and mom professionals, the Ultimate Healthy Station – from smoothies to salads, Pregnancy Row, and “The Face of the Day” – which is a fun way we randomly selected a ‘pregginista’ who embodies the brand of BBB – an expecting mom who brought style and sophistication to her pregnancy during the expo. Dedicated to chronicling experiences of how pregnant women can maintain their sense of style while toting a baby bump – Baby Bash and Bling Expo & Show hits the road again in 2014 with events in Atlanta, New Orleans and Washington, D.C.
Fashionista Flea Market (FFM) is an outdoor open-air flea market bringing together fashionable women, bargain shoppers and fashionistas. With the success of FFM, we’ve started an FFM Affiliate Program where interested fashionistas can bring bargain shoppers together, build their own following and have an FFM business of their own in their city – from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Houston, Texas. The FFM season starts May through October yearly – and will be held twice a month on the same dates in various cities.
Additionally we have carved out signature ‘Hot Momma Haute Experience’ events – to connect fashion, beauty and lifestyle bloggers, vloggers and enthusiasts to network, to have open discussions and shared experiences.
Then HotMommaHaute Box is a must-have treat for all women. The box is a monthly subscription of 5-6 expertly curated beauty, lifestyle and fashion products from fragrance, nail, skincare, beauty, hair care, and fashion and lifestyle brands.
During NY Fashion Week, “Bump in the City” the limited edition stationary premiered in NYC with the fabulous celebrity mom, Nicole Ari Parker. Continuing in the theme of celebrating the expectant mom, I created a line of stationary bearing a custom illustration of 3 fabulous pregginistas. These notecards make a wonderful personal touch for sending thank you’ s or personal notes to friends and loved ones.
I participated in a video shoot, shared my personal story for Essence Fest’s 20-year Celebration as a native New Orleanian!
Capping off the year, WE Rock Awards presented me as the “Woman of the Year”.
Sonya Gavankar is an award winning television personality who can be seen hosting programs on PBS, BGTV, and MHz Networks. Her career has spanned diverse programs from international food shows to hard news. Ms Gavankar serves as the face of the Newseum by hosting live interview programs, appearing in video installations, video blogs and game shows. She brings a cohesive voice to the Newseum’s 250,000 square feet of exhibit and interactive programming.
She is also a regular contributor to All Things Fashion DC, Be Inkandescent and Red Tricycle magazines.
In her free time Ms Gavankar goes behind the camera. Her photography has been shown in several Washington area galleries and she is a casting director for independent films.
Sonya is a social change leader on collaborative missions in the community. She served for 5 years as the President of the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation in Washington, D.C. During her tenure she doubled the participation of high school students from the district by offering training to hundreds of students annually. In 2012 Sonya was recognized by the Envest Foundation as one of 40 Under 40 for her professional and philanthropic works in Washington, DC. In 1997 she represented Washington, D.C. in the Miss America Pageant and for a decade produced the annual Miss D.C. Pageant.
She serves on the board of the HOBY, The Miss District of Columbia Organization, Ladies America and the Envest Foundation.
Ms Gavankar holds a degree in broadcast journalism from The American University.
Dr. Saber received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Lehigh University, PA, where she was awarded multiple fellowships and scholarships to complete her studies. As a postdoctoral fellow at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Saber studied the mechanism of tumor progression and metastasis, and identified a novel tumor suppressor protein. Subsequently, Dr. Saber joined a contract research organization in Maryland, where she assisted with generating data for a toxicogenomic database, and was involved in the development of several drugs, including oncology drugs.
Dr. Saber is currently a Supervisory Pharmacologist and works in the Washington DC area.
Dr. Katy Nelson is the mother of five – two human and three animal – kids, an avid nutrition and fitness enthusiast, and an admittedly rabid Louisiana sports fan. She is an associate veterinarian at the Belle Haven Animal Medical Centre in Alexandria, VA., as well as the host and executive producer of “The Pet Show with Dr. Katy” on Washington DC’s News Channel 8. A Certified Veterinary Journalist (CVJ) accredited by the American Society of Veterinary Journalists (ASVJ), Dr. Katy is the Animal Health Reporter for ABC7 News, and serves as “Dr. Pawz” on WTOP Radio. Dr. Katy is the Medical Director of Pet Health forLiveInTheNow.com, she is a founding partner of PetsMove.org, and she serves as a media and marketing consultant for numerous pet-related companies and media outlets.
A lover of all animals, Dr. Katy carves out time for many charitable organizations in the DC area and beyond and was recently bestowed with the Washington Humane Society's 2014 "Humane Hero Award for Media." In early 2012, Dr. Katy teamed with Emmy-Award winning producer Judy Plavnick to form Sit. Good Girl Productions, LLC, their first production is the documentary Tell Them I Am Kind (tellthemiamkind.org), the story of the creation of the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary in Newtown, CT.
Alexandra Lawson-Baker was born in Washington, DC and left at 17 to pursue a modeling and fashion career. She attended Florida State University and got a degree in Fashion Merchandising with a minor in fashion design and marketing. She studied for a year in Florence, Italy where she continued her runway career and also studied fashion trends.
Alexandra went back to school and got her master’s degree in linguistics and moved to Australia where she met her husband. She continued doing runway shows for various events and charities in the Washington, DC area. Alexandra owns her own HR consulting firm and is currently a Recruiter for an International Arms Dealer in Washington, DC. She is also a full-time ESOL specialist with Fairfax County Public Schools and a partner in RLS Associates, Inc. where she has been a Real-estate agent for 10 years.
When Alexandra isn’t running around with her three jobs she is at home with her top priorities, her family. Alexandra is mother to Seychelle, 2 and Croix, 9 months.
Neneh Diallo provides professional and personal coaching services for women navigating through life changes. Whether you are looking for ways to get your next promotion, deciding on having a baby and need practical solutions to balancing your life, or about to enter a relationship with a ready-made family, Neneh helps women in transition create a road map to achieving their goals and realizing their dreams.
A mother of four, Neneh shares her experience and provides helpful tips and solutions to managing a full-time job, after-school activities, keeping a healthy and happy married home, and still finding time to take care of herself. Currently working as a director of communications for an international development agency, Neneh has over 15 years of experience in strategic communications, event planning and media. She has worked for such media outlets as USA Today and CBS News.
With a passion for forging partnerships for social good, Neneh is developing a mentoring program that will connect young ladies in Africa with women mentors in the United States.
Multiple awards winning and highly sought after Ghanaian fashion designer, AFUA SAM is the founder and brain behind STUDIO D’MAXSI, one of the fastest growing fashion houses based in the Washington, DC. Unique, innovative, and edgy AFUA SAM of STUDIO D’MAXSI, creates masterpieces for the chic, bold and funky modern woman. Born to a family of six, remarkably self-taught, Afua draws her creative artistic inspiration from her late father who was a touring musician. She also attributes her rich Ghanaian culture as one of her many inspirations for the creation of her designs. Her vision and focus gave birth to STUDIO D’MAXSI.
Afua is also passionate about giving back and empowering young women through her Afua’s Foundation and Operation Prom. ‘Operation Prom’ is a competition open to academically excellent high school female students.
Afua Sam/ STUDIO D’MAXSI has also featured at Maryland Fashion Week, DC Fashion Week and Crystal Couture. Afua’s brand of elegant yet edgy collections has gained her a diverse clientele that includes Jamie Foster Brown, Grammy nominated Artist Carolyn Malachi, Glynn Jackson of the Golden Scissors Awards Show, Abiodun Koya Opera Singer, Miss Ghana Universe, Miss China America First Runner Up, Miss Maryland, Miss Black USA DC among others.
Afua says “My message through my fashion brand is “Be As Bold As You Can Be But Very Chic And Sexy At The Same Time” Afua believes her life’s story is a perfect example of what can happen when one is not afraid to go after their dreams no matter how poor or disadvantaged they may be.
I am known as the FLY Mom Coach of Moms ‘N Charge™. I help moms across the country learn how to feel good without feeling guilty. I teach them that by living a healthier lifestyle, taking time out from themselves and by pursuing their goals and dreams, they will look and feel better, reduce the stress in their lives and create some extreme motivation.
I’m a FLY mom of three and a hot tamale wife of one. Being a FLY mom is all about learning how to First Love Yourself. But before I was a Mom ‘N Charge™, I was just…a mom trying to make it. I wasn’t in charge of my life. I wasn’t in charge of my marriage. I wasn’t in charge of my kids. And I wasn’t in charge of myself or my health. I was a frustrated mom. I was an overwhelmed mom and a mom who became a victim of identity theft. The culprit? Motherhood.
Motherhood managed to steal my identity and replace my image with that of a complete stranger. When I looked in the mirror, I had no idea who was staring back at me. The person in the mirror didn’t care about the thirty plus extra pounds she was carrying around. She was content with not putting any effort into her appearance, and she had become that mean mom and wife always yelling at her kids and husband. She had allowed postpartum depression to take charge of every aspect of her life, instead of taking charge of the postpartum depression.It took faith, prayer, courage and a strong desire for change to come out from what felt like a dark cave.
Today, I am living my dreams and want to help other moms to live theirs too. When you work with me, we will spend time improving your relationships, creating a healthier lifestyle, and determining the factors that are keeping you stuck. I will help you squash overwhelm and take charge of your happiness, your kids, your husband, and–mostly importantly, YOU. How would it feel to take charge of yourself & your life so you can stop feeling guilty and start feeling good? What mom wouldn’t want to know how to do that?!
Laura is an active member in the fashion community with over 10 years of experience in modeling, acting and networking. She has been recognized in the Capital Gazette newspaper, Annapolis Lifestyle Magazine, Hospice newsletters and more for dedicating her time to philanthropic events such as, “Strut and Sip for Autism,” “Turn up the Heat” benefitting YWCA and “Fashion for a Cause” raising funds for Hospice, their children’s bereavement camps and more!
Laura is an inspiration to many and is equally inspired by the strength and determination of her son, Riley Routzahn and God-daughter Joclynn Jay. Her son Riley Routzahn, (age 10) was born with Cerebral Palsy.
“Cerebral Palsy results in limiting movement and posture and can cause activity limitation. It is often accompanied by disturbances of sensation, depth perception, and other sight based perceptual problems and communication ability; impairments can also be found in cognition.”
Laura also plays a “Big Sister” role to her God daughter Joclynn Jay, an 8 year old little girl with mood and eating disorders. Currently Joclynn (Jozy’s) Grandmother is raising her due to a previous stressful and unstable home environment. Laura provides Joclynn with stable, motivational and inspirational guidance by sharing time, hope and her unconditional love.
It is with great passion that Laura strives to promote happiness and well being. Her newest venture can be followed on a Facebook Community page called, “You Make Me Smile.” It is with great intention to spread awareness about special needs, their difficulties and what a community can do to create a positive outlook on their situation by sharing smiles. It’s a “Motivational Powerhouse!” The page is becoming largely known as a safe haven to those with or caring for special needs. It is with open arms that they accept posts about what makes them smile.
“I am a Dreamer, Believer and Achiever.” –Laura Michelle
Wendy is a force of support and empowerment for women and children in her neighborhood and beyond – led by heart. She is dedicated to building the self-esteem of girls and young women, creating a solid foundation for the next generation of empowered community leaders, through her company, My Bougie Baby. Wendy’s community reach extends to her service as Board Member and Vice President of Courage for Kids, making a lasting difference in the lives of children by providing the tools necessary to build a better and brighter future through education. The deepest expression of her community impact is in her work with United Communities Against Poverty (UCAP) where she serves as Treasurer of the Board and holds the positions of Chairperson of the Finance Committee and Co-Chair for the Resource Advisory Committee.
“I want every person I meet to feel seen, to know they matter.” Wendy Pittman, led by heart.
Sole' is Multi-talented, the quintessential renaissance woman. She started her career as a rap artist was then signed to Dreamworks Records and after the success of her gold album “Skin Deep” in 1999 and winning a Billboard Music Award, Sole’ took a ten year hiatus from entertainment to devote herself to her family and embark upon a spiritual journey. Solé returned to entertainment as an actress and in 2011 made her film debut in “Dead Money”. Not only is Sole' a rapper, she is also an actress, writer, Kung Fu martial artist, yogini, kick boxing instructor, AFAA certified group exercise instructor, interior decorator and a charitable entrepreneur. Sole' is a graduate of the Protocol School of Washington where she earned certification to teach Corporate Etiquette, Business Image Consulting and International Protocol. She is an entrepreneur who owns several businesses including S.P.R.U.C.E. LLC and the S.P.R.U.C.E. Foundation, which provides independent living services for mentally and physically disabled adults and P.R.I.D.E., a group home for children in the foster care system. She is actively charitable and is a long time supporter of the Somaly Mam Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the eradication of sex slavery and the empowerment of its survivors as a part of the solution. Visit her website to learn more about Sole'.
Laura received her undergraduate degree in Nursing from Syracuse University and obtained her Master's degree in Community Public Health from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. She had been working as a nurse at the National Institutes of Health and currently work at the Food and Drug Administration. Laura is married and has two children.