We were fortunate to catch up with some brilliant artists, creatives and entrepreneurs from throughout the Houston area and they share the wisdom with us below.

Búsola | Founder & Owner of Itoju Ara

Back in undergrad, I had an entrepreneurship class my last year. I already knew entrepreneurship was in my future, so I created the business plan for Itoju Ara during that period. Fast forward to year later during the pandemic, I decided to take the bold step and bring that plan into fruition. From there I researched did test and trials for about a year and some change, and officially launched Itoju Ara in the March of 2021. Read more>>

Mareeshia Wilkins | Celebrity Barber Style

Simple, no risk no reward. For as long as I could remember I have always been a risk taker. I started on my path of entrepreneurship at the age of 17. At the time when seeing woman cutting men hair was taboo, I was in the room. What did I have to loose, but what can I gain was the motto. Being courageous landed me in rooms with influence people, viral moments that pushed my artistry. Taking risk allowed me to show the world my passion of grooming and caring for those in my community. Read more>>

Gabriel Sanders | Graphic Designer & Custom T Shirt Brand Owner

Risk taking is another form of faith. The act of taking a risk for success which could possibly end in failure is a necessary part of being a business owner. Having a strong mind set, a will to be great along with confident in your work will limit the risk of failure. Not pursuing your dream is the biggest risk you can take. The fact of not knowing could be the worse feeling. We take risk daily without hesitating for everyday living. Taking a risk has allowed me to move my family from Mississippi to Texas and plant seeds along the way for future success for my kids. In order to experience a different life, we must live to be different. The options of failure are many but it never out weight the many options of success. Read more>>

Penny Haight | Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor

As counselors, we have the opportunity to make an impact that reaches beyond our community. Counseling does not only positively affect the person receiving therapy, it has the ability to improve an entire family system, as well as every relationship the person obtaining the counseling interacts with. Read more>>

Rod McCall | Professional Public Speaking and Supervised Visitation Services

Divorce is hard on all involved, especially the children. I went through a very difficult marriage and saw what it did to my son. I came from a loving family with parents that were married for 60 years. I thought this is what marriage was supposed to be like. Oh, I didn’t believe it would all be sunshine and roses, but you work together to make it through all the difficult and challenging times as well as the wonderful times. When my ex informed me she had filed for divorce, I was devastated. I knew things weren’t great, but I didn’t realize they were that bad. Over the next 18 months, I was subjected to a living hell that is better known as family court. It is highly confrontational, especially when your former spouse, who you swore to love until the end of days, has declared war on you. That is how it felt.  Read more>>

Elya Coleman | Owner of A Time to Dance Studio

Our Culture is the most important factor in the business. We believe that every child has God-given worth and that when they walk through our doors we want each child to feel how important, special and loved that they are. We believe that our dancers are made for so much more than just great dancing, they were made to be incredible human beings with purpose. The reason this is so important is because it truly impacts how we do everything that we do and how make decisions. We want to make choices that are best for these kids. We believe in a staff that is educated and fully trained yet teachable and humble. Our staff teach dance because they want to make a positive impact on the next generation and because they truly care of these kids! This is why I am doing what I am doing, because I started dancing at the studio at 6 years old and my teachers poured, love, purpose and truth into me during every class. Now that I have the honor of being the leader of the same studio I grew up at, I know that we must continue the legacy and culture that A Time to Dance has had for the past 33 years. Read more>>

Danya Risam-Chandi | Founder of The Girls’ Wellness Initiative

The Girls’ Wellness Initiative truly began to grow and expand once we reached out to the DFW community. I started the project on my own, but the amount of people who wanted to support and expand the project, really allowed us to become something so inspiring and impactful. I started the project during COVID-19 to fundraise money for women in underserved communities in Mumbai. The Indian government had started an initiative before COVID to provide free menstrual hygiene products to girls in public school, but due to school closures that project was indefinitely suspended. So, I began raising money from my friends and family and sent it to a family friend in India who worked with a local manufacturer to buy the pads at lower prices and distribute them to women and girls. They also distributed food packets for a separate fund. In the spring of 2023 I decided to expand the project to include ‘Health and Hygiene’ Seminars for underserved women in Texas who never received a comprehensive health education. The seminars include comprehensive sex-ed, mental health resources, and Q&A with local doctors and OBGYNs. I reached out to my friends and acquaintances through Instagram and received an overwhelming amount of interest. Now, we have 7 chapters at different high schools in the DFW metroplex and members in Dallas and Austin. From the beginning, this project could not have succeeded without support from our local community. Read more>>

Kendra Forbes | Licensed Professional Counselor/Owner

We hear and often use the phrase, “life happens”, yet I am not sure we often sit with that thought. Many people reference that phrase when experiencing hardship or stress. What about those times when life is being kind to us? I know you’re wondering, is that the most important lesson your business/career has taught you? LOL! Not quite, but let me get to the point. The most important lesson my business/career has taught me is to be patient. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, it is challenging to sit with clients in their pain. Walking with clients in their journey is a Process. Some of them arrive in session with expectations that I will fix all their problems, while others arrive without any expectations. In the counseling room, we process their struggles, stress, anxiety and fears. We also discuss and celebrate goals and successes. The exploratory nature of the counseling experience requires patience and empathy. As an entrepreneur, it is difficult at times to see progress and profit and remain hopeful. Again, patience is essential (of course, along with consistent and solid work). So I said all that to say, being in this field of work, I have learned and continue to learn to be patient. Read more>>