2023 Charlotte City Book Volume Five

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4 SARAH BENKEN FOUSHEE Sarah Benken Foushee is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of 14 years, who has built and scaled her own brands internationally. She founded KNOW Women out of a passion for supporting fellow high-achieving businesswomen. Her mission is to provide space for dynamic female leaders to gather, collaborate, and be celebrated for their successes and hard work. In 2020, Sarah founded KNOW Cares, the non-profit philanthropic arm for KNOW Women, which is focused on empowering, educating, and raising funds for women and girls worldwide. KNOW WOMEN Founded in Phoenix, Arizona in 2018 - KNOW is a global media company and community dedicated to amplifying the voices of female leaders, executives, and entrepreneurs. In April of 2019, after launching more than 20 publications and hosting more than 120 in-person events, KNOW launched its digital platform for female business owners. Built for those in high-growth mode, the membership became the space for women to align through professional development, accountability, and community. In 2020, after recognizing the need for even more connection and through our desire to continue to provide the best opportunities for growth and exposure, KNOW launched its Global Membership. Any woman regardless of their locale, career, or tenor, can align with KNOW Women. KNOW publishes the nationally recognized KNOW City Book and Women to KNOW State Book, and produces the annual KNOW Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. To date, KNOW has featured more than 8000 women, printed 52 volumes of KNOW books and launched a quarterly member magazine, hosted 550+ events, developed 3 award recognitions, including 40 OVER 40, Social Impact Awards, and 100 Women to KNOW in America... and has 12,700+ (and counting) women involved from all over North America. For more information, or to get involved, go to: theknowwomen.com

5 charlotte by KNOW Women, LLC. Original Photography by LILLY SUM FAITH AUSTIN TRIER WELLS Volume Five 2023 Edition

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8 WHEN SUCCESSFUL WOMEN ARE LIFTED UP FOR THEIR HARD WORK AND ACHIEVEMENTS, THEY INSPIRE THE NEXT GENERATION OF FEMALE LEADERS. ~Sarah Benken

9 CONTRIBUTORS THANK YOU TO THE LADIES THAT MADE KNOW CHARLOTTE VOLUME FIVE HAPPEN TRIER WELLS Photographer LILLY SUM Photographer FAITH AUSTIN Photographer DR. LISA FOLDEN Contributor CRYSTAL MCDONALD Administrative & Events Coordinator STEPHANIE KORCZYNSKI North Charlotte Neighboorhood Leader CHARLENE JEFFERSON South Charlotte Neighboorhood Leader JACINDA JACOBS Contributor NILOU HENDERSON Contributor VERONICA SOUTHERLAND Contributor CEL SMART Contributor

10 Publisher Sarah Benken Foushee Creative Director + Designer Myra Ray Neighborhood Leads Charlene Jefferson Stephanie Korczynski Contributors Dr. Lisa Folden Cel Thompson Jacinda Jacobs Nilou Henderson Veronica Southerland Photographers Lilly Sum Faith Austin Trier Wells Connect @theknowwomen Subscribe theknowwomen.com Bring KNOW to your city! hello@theknowwomen.com charlotte

11 10 BEAUTY 14 BUSINESS 32 FASHION 33 FOOD + BEV 36 HEALTH 42 HOME + LIFE 57 MEDIA 58 NON-PROFIT 59 NOTABLE CONTENTS FEATURES

BEAUTY 12 Cruz isn’t just a brand; it’s also a luxury experience. I will always encourage our customers worldwide to “Have Faith In Your Hair.“ Ashtyn Montgomery (Founder of Cruz Textures) is a “faith led with love” kind of woman who has a product that is for the “modern yet successful” everyday woman. Featured in the pop-culture publication POPSUGAR, Cruz Textures is a luxury hair extension company that proudly sources Raw Indian Hair that caters to all backgrounds. The origins of Cruz Textures began during her Florida State University era. The journey of securing hair extensions with a flawless texture blend was tedious, but once she found her perfect fit with Raw Indian Hair, Ashtyn’s confidence soared. This inspired Ashtyn to expand her education in beauty by becoming a licensed esthetician with the dream of helping others find their inner confidence. Ashtyn fused her beauty education, a successful sales background, and her experience as a social media influencer into making Cruz Textures a reality. Ashtyn hails from Atlanta, GA, but has called Charlotte, NC, “home sweet home” for the past 9-years. She is a skincare/fragrance connoisseur, a self-proclaimed “foodie” with timeless taste, and is a proud dog mom to her Bichon Poo, Gia Rose. ASHTYN MONTGOMERY Cruz Textures @cruztextures ashtyn@cruztextures.com cruztextures.com PHOTO CREDIT: PORTIER MCCOY

BEAUTY 13 I leave it better than I found it, naturally! Harness your body’s healing power, concentrate it, and target your specific needs. Meet Faith, CEO and Co-Founder of C.A.R.E: Center for Advanced Rejuvenating Enhancements, a Holistic Medspa Concept. With her expertise in the holistic health and beauty industry for over two decades, Faith and her partner, a holistic doctor, have set out to revolutionize the medi-esthetics industry. As a proud NO-Tox medical spa, CARE focuses on using the most powerful healing serum present in your blood. This serum is extracted, concentrated, and applied to the areas most needed, whether facial and body revitalization, hair restoration, or joint rejuvenation. All of this is accomplished without toxic fillers, chemicals, or compromise. What’s more, CARE can even create a 100% natural BIO filler using only your body’s PRF. Faith’s passion for helping people look and feel their best has always been rooted in natural solutions. She believes true beauty comes from within and can be enhanced through holistic practices, you can get the look you want while staying chemical-free. At CARE, Faith and her team provide a range of services that reflect this deeply embodied philosophy. FAITH HILL CARE Med Spa @care.medspa.clt 704.313.9419 Care-medspa.com PHOTO CREDIT: FAITH AUSTIN PHOTOGRAPHY

BEAUTY 14 Gaby’s eyelash extension technique is kept secret, exclusive, luxurious, consistent, and available only at Bella G Beauty Studio. Gaby began her aesthetic studies in Ecuador, soon after in Germany, CA, and NC. Proudly, she has mastered the art of eyelash extensions, which she is most known for. Her renowned talent has spread far up the network of exclusive clients that demand only the best by establishing trustworthy relationships. Gaby and her husband, Jim, opened Bella G Beauty Studio in Charlotte, NC, in 2011. Bella G is a team of dedicated professionals who place relationships at the heart of the services provided and are committed to enhancing your confidence and radiance. Through the range of high-quality services and products provided, their objective is to refine and elevate your natural beauty consistently. Experience the best skincare treatments, eyelash extensions, laser hair reduction, non-surgical body contouring, microblading, botox injections, and more at Bella G. GABRIELA CARROLL Bella G Beauty Studio @bellagbeautystudio 760.994.6751 bgbs.online

BEAUTY 15 YOU are more than able. India, hailing from Columbus, Ohio, triumphed over numerous childhood adversities and challenges to evolve into the accomplished entrepreneur she is today. She firmly believes in our inherent capability to achieve our goals when we prioritize God and maintain unwavering consistency. India Irene holds a distinguished position as a beauty business coach and the enterprising owner of India Irene Artistry LLC. Her boutique salon, celebrated in the Charlotte region for its exceptional brow and lash services, serves as a beacon of excellence within the beauty industry. With over a decade of expertise, India has refined her skills to cater to a high-profile clientele, earning acclaim and establishing herself as a trusted expert among her peers. Her unwavering dedication and strategic acumen have not only expanded her business but also positioned her among the elite producers in her field, reflecting her steadfast commitment. In addition to her 13 years as a licensed aesthetician, India spends her free time nurturing relationships with family and friends and cherishing moments with her 6-year-old son. INDIA IRENE India Irene Artistry LLC @IndiaIreneArtistry Support@IndiaIreneArt.Com Indiaireneartistryllc.com PHOTO CREDIT: FAITH AUSTIN PHOTOGRAPHY

BUSINESS 16 Don’t stare at success; let me help you strategize it. Charlene Jefferson, a dynamic Success Coach & Strategist and Certified HighPerformance CoachTM, is dedicated to guiding high-achieving, ambitious women on the path to building successful businesses that truly empower them. Driven by a passionate mission to empower women to achieve their fullest potential and to ensure that their businesses serve them, Charlene’s mastery in business optimization has ignited a transformative journey for countless aspiring women entrepreneurs. She understands that high-achieving women often find themselves entangled in their businesses, leaving little room for personal fulfillment. Her mission is to break that cycle. Through personalized coaching and strategy development, Charlene helps her clients implement efficient systems that not only boost productivity but also grant the freedom and flexibility they yearn for. Her podcast, “The Habit of Living,” offers additional resources and insights that remind us that success is not just an ambition; it’s a habit. Charlene is the author of Ready. Set. Discover. and is featured in FOX, NBC, CBS, and USA Today. CHARLENE JEFFERSON Charlene Jefferson Coaching @iamcharlenejefferson @charlene-jefferson-highperformancecoach charlenejefferson.com PHOTO CREDIT: FAITH AUSTIN PHOTOGRAPHY

BUSINESS 17 If you feel overwhelmed with all the social media tips and tricks, just take what you like and throw the rest out the window. Corey Brausch Hurley is the visionary behind Seven Willows, a social media agency renowned for its intuitive approach, strategic brand awareness, and masterful execution that ensures brands shine in the digital sphere. With over a decade of industry experience, Corey and her team collaborate with entrepreneurs and business leaders to develop tailored strategies and authentic content that resonates with their audience and embodies the joy and alignment of their brand’s core values. Understanding that social media transcends aesthetically pleasing imagery and clever captions, Corey emphasizes the importance of nurturing relationships and establishing expertise in one’s niche. Corey is well-acquainted with the challenges of the digital landscape—the relentless pursuit of viral content, the ever-shifting algorithms, and the daunting strategies. She’s witnessed the pitfalls of comparison and the all-toocommon burnout, having navigated these hurdles alongside a diverse clientele. Her mission with Seven Willows is to turn the cacophony of social media into a symphony of engagement and success. COREY BRAUSCH HURLEY Seven Willows @sevenwillows.media corey@sevenwillowsmedia.com sevenwillowsmedia.com PHOTO CREDIT: FLOWERSOME PHOTOGRAPHY

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19 Crystal Govan, a quintessential Southern girl, possesses an innate talent for discerning the intricate details and hidden splendors around her. This talent, coupled with her distinctive capacity for meticulous organization and a creative touch, ignited her passion for event planning and design from a young age. At the helm of Fabulously Created Events LLC, her award-winning event planning company in Charlotte, NC, Crystal brings an exceptional blend of seasoned expertise, educational background, and a vivacious personality to every endeavor she undertakes. With a focus on weddings, corporate and social events, she is devoted to offering her clients unparalleled experiences that are both flawlessly organized and deeply memorable. Her educational pursuits at the former American Business and Fashion Institute of Charlotte, which concentrated on merchandising and design, refined her eye for aesthetic detail and cultivated her inventive abilities. Following her education endeavors, Crystal dedicated 16 years to Bank of America as a Business Support Manager, where her role encompassed planning corporate meetings CRYSTAL S. GOVAN Fabulously Created Events @fabcreatedevents wearefabcreated.com PHOTO CREDIT: FAITH AUSTIN PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS The only lines I cross are dollar signs. and events and leading employee engagement initiatives. This chapter in her career endowed her with a profound comprehension of the corporate environment, and the specific demands of orchestrating events within such a space. Nevertheless, Crystal was destined for a path of leadership in the event planning sector. Venturing into entrepreneurship, she established her own firm—a decision that has rewarded her with the joy of blending her innate creativity, sharp organizational acumen, and a fervent desire to unite people through extraordinary experiences. Beyond her professional life, Crystal is a devoted mother, sister, and friend. Raised with the ethos of hard work and steadfastness, she is the youngest of five siblings. She is most proud of her son Jesse, a Petty Officer Second Class in the U.S. Navy. Crystal’s leisure time is filled with exploring Charlotte’s gastronomy, reading, active church involvement, shopping expeditions, joyful moments with her Australian Labradoodle, Joy Crunkleton, and maintaining her well-being through regular exercise. Her guiding philosophy is to greet each day with heartfelt gratitude, a practice that infuses her life with purpose and joy.

BUSINESS 20 Just because I recovered well doesn’t mean I don’t have a story. I fought hard to shine again. Respect my ability to bounce back! Shaurice Mullins is a serial entrepreneur who went from welfare to a millionaire. She resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the mother of five children and four grandchildren. Still, she is also the CEO of three successful businesses, a best-selling author, a transformational life coach, a change integrator, a board-certified holistic health provider, a manifestation coach, a philanthropist, and a recipient of the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award. For over 25 years, she has held space for others to empower them on their path. These days, she is still on her holistic path, helping others connect with their intuition and true selves to find inner peace, self-love, and happiness. She has been through countless failures and hardships and is an open book about her experiences. Today, she is truly thriving! When she is not coaching or giving federal policy advice, you’ll find her enjoying good music or reading a good book. DR. SHAURICE E. MULLINS Shaurice Mullins International @shaurice.mullins @dr-shaurice-e-mullins-dr-m shauricemullins.com PHOTO CREDIT: TRIER C PHOTOGRAPHY

BUSINESS 21 I bring the heat to WOW your guests and help make lasting memories! Elle + Co Event Design and Rentals, helmed by the effervescent Elle, is a company that radiates positivity and exuberance. Known for her vivacious personality, Elle infuses every event with an ‘over-the-top’ spirit that is both infectious and inspiring. Elle’s passion for celebration is a family affair, with her mother, Michelle, serving as a lead designer and a significant influence. From a young age, Elle basked in the festive atmosphere fostered by her mother, who embraced every occasion with open arms. These early experiences sowed the seeds for what would blossom into Elle + Co. The company has carved out a niche in crafting stunning tablescapes and florally resplendent weddings. The team at Elle + Co, with their comprehensive expertise, specializes in a range of celebratory events, ensuring that each one is memorable. The hallmark of their service is a blend of warmth, creativity, and unparalleled dedication to creating immersive, joyous celebrations. Drawing inspiration from the joy of life’s milestones, Elle + Co Event Design and Rentals promises not only to meet but exceed the expectations of those looking to add a touch of grandeur and joy to their special occasions. ELLE WILSON Elle + Co Event Design and Rentals @elleandco.charlotte Info@ellecoeventdesign.com elleandcoeventdesign.com

BUSINESS 22 When things are dark, be the spark. Turn up your dimmer switch and SHINE. Julie Nee is a speaker, author, and passionate teacher of all things positivity. She spent 19 years in Sales and Sales Leadership, building business and leading teams at The Hershey Company. Julie now spends her work life building positive leaders, teams, and cultures. Her talks and trainings have inspired audiences of all kinds to grow and apply the power of mindset, energy, and positivity. Julie is the VP of Training for The Jon Gordon Companies and the co-creator of The Power of Positive Leadership Training program with Jon Gordon. In her book Mirror Mirror: 5 Reflections to Clear the Fog and Help You Shine, Julie helps us clear the FOG that keeps us from seeing our own greatness and shares a framework to help us SHINE by turning up the dimmer switch inside, seeing and giving ourselves smiles, acceptance, and joy so we can bring our best selves to the world. During her 20 years in Charlotte, Julie has served on the Network of Executive Women Carolinas Chapter leadership team and is an active member and leader in the Meck-South Rotary Club. Her favorite charity to serve and support is Beds for Kids. Julie will bring you her light and fully intends to ignite yours. JULIE NEE Julie Nee LLC @julienee108 @julie-nee-5266a91b julie@julienee.com julienee.com

BUSINESS 23 Switch out that lens & change your perspective. Find beauty in the ruins. Lilly, the owner of Flowersome Photography, is a published branding, portrait, and wedding photographer native to the Queen City. As someone who grew up in a culturally diverse environment with a family that survived war, genocide, and refugee camps in Cambodia, one of her main goals is to empower individuals of all backgrounds through an experience that uplifts and leaves them with images that show them how beautiful and powerful they truly are. She has been trusted by notable organizations such as the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, Girl Talk Foundation, GardHouse, Charlotte Works, KNOW Women, and QCity Metro to capture the impactful work being done in the community. In this age of social media, many of us compare ourselves to others and fail to see the light in our journey. Her motto, “find beauty in the ruins,” serves as a reminder to find beauty in tough times and in ourselves, even when we don’t feel as confident. Aside from being a photographer, she loves trying new food spots around town, singing karaoke with her family, and connecting with other creatives! LILLY SUM Flowersome Photography @flowersome_ @Flowersome Photography flowersomephotography.com PHOTO CREDIT: FAITH AUSTIN PHOTOGRAPHY

BUSINESS 24 Go all in. Push through the fear; that’s courage. Push through the doubt; that’s faith. Know your vision, believe it, and achieve it. Lynn Bowser is the Founding Partner and CEO of Thrive Financial Partners and the Co-Founder of LMP Consulting. Lynn is fueled by impact, especially raising, empowering, and supporting women in male-dominated industries. Lynn founded TFP to make financial planning accessible and understandable for all. She clarifies what is important to her clients, simplifies the options, and helps hold them accountable for implementing strategies to help them accomplish their vision. Lynn is married to Ryan, and they have three wonderful children and reside in the Lake Norman area. LYNN BOWSER Thrive Financial Partners @thrive-financial-partners 704.280.0515 mythrivefinancial.com PHOTO CREDIT: TRIER C PHOTOGRAPHY

BUSINESS 25 You are Worth the Investment! You have the right and responsibility to take care of you first. Martha Cooper-Hudson, the Founder/ Owner of RediscoverHER is a woman on a mission! She has been called to Equip, Inspire, Motivate, and Empower High Achieving, Career Driven, Entrepreneurial Minded women on how to Reset, Recharge, Refocus, and RememberHER in every area of their lives. Martha is also known as the Igniter to most and is a regular contributor on NBC Charlotte Today. She was recently inducted into Who’s Who in Black Charlotte and is a recognized and sought-after Financial Advisor, Business Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Corporate Trainer. Her belief in hard work and dedication has allowed her to build multiple successful companies and partner with Northwestern Mutual Financial Group to share proven strategies and life experiences with powerful women, allowing their financial power to mirror their professional and business power. The multi-talented businesswoman and author is rapidly emerging as one of the most dynamic life coaches and empowerment leaders. Martha Cooper-Hudson has been married to Michael Hudson for 24 years, and they are the proud parents of two young adults, Joelle and Mason. MARTHA COOPERHUDSON RediscoverHER @marthacooperhudson 704.327.8877 Rediscoverher.org

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25 Mackenzie Moser is a distinguished real estate professional with exceptional expertise in community development, property management, and brokerage operations. As Vice President at The Moser Group, Inc., she brings a unique and comprehensive perspective to the real estate landscape in North and South Carolina Mackenzie’s passion for enhancing communities is evident throughout her impressive career. After earning a degree in Business Administration from Clemson University, with an emphasis in real estate with concentrations in marketing and finance, Mackenzie gained valuable experience as a specialist in industrial real estate. This provided the ideal foundation for her current role at The Moser Group, where she serves as a broker for all of the firm’s current and proposed developments across the Carolinas. With a keen focus on land acquisition and management, Mackenzie has successfully transformed open spaces into vibrant, integrated communities where people can thrive. Her vision, dedication, and in-depth knowledge of commercial real estate have been invaluable to the growth and success of projects undertaken by The Moser Group. This commitment to excellence was previously recognized when Mackenzie achieved the prestigious CCIM designation in Texas, underscoring her deep understanding of commercial real estate. MACKENZIE MOSER, CCIM The Moser Group Inc. @mackenziemoser_realestate @weezymose 704.280.4649 | mmoser@themosergroupinc.com themosergroupinc.com | mackenziemoser.com PHOTO CREDIT: FAITH AUSTIN PHOTOGRAPHY Be the best you can be today! Beyond her real estate accomplishments, Mackenzie’s influence extends into the entrepreneurial experience through her podcast, “American Made Stories.” This platform showcases inspiring stories of visionaries, veterans, community leaders and their journeys in building businesses and organizations that enrich society. The podcast highlights tales of perseverance and motivates future generations of entrepreneurs and changemakers. Mackenzie is also an active leader in her local community. She serves on the Truist Local Advisory Board, Food For Families NC and the Charlotte Region Commercial Board of Realtors. Her love of tennis, the outdoors, and traveling provides balance and enriches her professional relationships and interactions. With over a decade of real estate experience, Mackenzie has received numerous accolades, including the Charlotte Region Commercial Board of Realtors Platinum Award in 2018-23. She has been consistently recognized as a top producer in the industry. Mackenzie continues to make an indelible impact across the Carolinas. Her vision and dedication have transformed communities and enriched the lives of countless individuals across the region. Guided by her values and passion, Mackenzie is undoubtedly a distinguished leader in commercial real estate, poised for even greater success in the years to come. BUSINESS

BUSINESS 26 A life of service motivates one to stop, smell the roses, pick one, and pass it on. Monique is a public speaker, business consultant, author of five books, poet, and philanthropist. Over the last 35 years, she has conducted workshops & speaking engagements for universities, corporations, and school systems. She speaks on the topics of Getting Unclogged In Order to Maximize Business Success and The True Power of Effective Leadership, The Art of Customer Service and Conflict Resolution. Monique and her husband, Kevin are the proud owners of CBK Branding & Consulting Firm, which operates from their Society at 229 Social Club. Their boutique branding company specializes in creating visual brand strategies for small businesses, professionals, and corporations while emphasizing the fusion of heritage, community, and harmony from their historic location. She is actively involved in her community through her nonprofit organization, Grooming Greatness, which is committed to educating, enriching, and empowering youth in underserved communities by exposing them to the visual and performing arts. She also serves as the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Collective, a non-profit initiative that promotes inclusivity through a celebration of artistry. MONIQUE DOUGLAS CBK Branding & Consulting Firm LLC @itsmoniquedouglas 980.428.4973 MoniqueDouglas.com PHOTO CREDIT: FLOWERSOME PHOTOGRAPHY

BUSINESS 27 Morgan has something… An “it” factor. Her heart shows in her work and her love for her clients. Morgan Leatherwood is the extroverted Enneagram 7 owner of Morgan Amanda Photography. Formally beginning her photography career in weddings, Morgan now specializes in full-service branding studio and family photography for her clients. Morgan believes your photos are worth more than just sitting behind a screen and works diligently with clients to create custom wall art and other tangible products that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. Formed through a prior career in teaching, Morgan is quick, efficient, patient, and fun, and makes the magic happen for kids and business owners alike! Morgan is also the host of the Queen City Connect Podcast: A place where successful leaders have fun, informative, and engaging conversations with local small business owners, non-profits, and creatives in Charlotte! We’d love for you to listen! MORGAN LEATHERWOOD Morgan Amanda Photography LLC @morgan.amanda.photography @queen_city_connect_podcast_ morganamandaphotography.com PHOTO CREDIT: FLOWERSOME PHOTOGRAPHY

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29 Nicole Peternel stands at the forefront of public relations and strategic communications with a tenure of 25 years. Throughout her illustrious career, she has been an instrumental force at leading global agencies, adeptly managing the narratives of iconic brands such as the NFL, McDonald’s, Hewlett-Packard, Red Bull, and Kellogg’s. In 2018, Nicole established Rein Communications with a wealth of experience and a vision to innovate within the communications realm. At the helm of this agency, she leads an all-female team distinguished for crafting compelling strategies, spearheading impactful campaigns, and clinching high-profile NICOLE PETERNEL MAKENZIE SMITH KYLIE EMERY LEXI MOORE Just do the next right thing, one thing at a time. press coverage in esteemed publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The New York Times, People, Rolling Stone, Bloomberg, and CNN. Driven by a genuine commitment to extend PR expertise beyond the corporate giants, Nicole launched Little Bit Publicity in 2022. This venture underscores her dedication to amplifying the voices of small businesses, non-profit organizations, and startups, ensuring they too, can access the influential spheres of public relations. Nicole’s dual agencies underscore her expertise and her passion for storytelling, building brands, and leveling the playing field for entities of all sizes in the competitive world of public relations. BUSINESS Rein Communications @nicolepeternel nicole@reincommunications.com reincommunications.com PHOTO CREDIT: TRIER C PHOTOGRAPHY

BUSINESS 30 I capture special moments for everyone. My ultimate goal is to make people feel as confident as possible, both on camera and off. Faith Austin, a full-time lifestyle and portrait photographer, hails from Columbia, South Carolina, but now calls Charlotte home. She discovered her passion for photography in 2013 and never looked back. After graduating from Winthrop University, her path in life became clear: she was meant to be a photographer, a role she now embraces full-time. Faith possesses an innate talent for crafting captivating imagery. Her mission is to craft unique, unforgettable experiences for everyone she collaborates with. Faith’s expertise spans from collaborating with bloggers and brands to capturing the essence of events and those intimate, special moments. What she treasures most about being a photographer is the opportunity to connect with a diverse array of people and places. She believes in capturing the essence of her subjects, ensuring that each photo is a reflection of their authentic selves. S. FAITH AUSTIN Faith Austin Photography @faithaustin.jpg hello@faithaustin.com faithaustin.com PHOTO CREDIT: FLOWERSOME PHOTOGRAPHY

BUSINESS 31 If your goals don’t scare you, they’re probably not big enough. Stephanie Korczynski is an award-winning performance coach who helps individuals, teams, and companies operate at their highest and fullest potential. Through her coaching, she’s helped thousands of people achieve their biggest goals and start living their life the way they always imagined it would be. Stephanie is a coach, host of the Peak Performance Podcast, keynote speaker, and mentor with a deep passion for helping people see what they’re capable of and reach levels of success in their lives and careers that they never knew existed. Through her signature annual membership, The UPLEVEL, she has built a community of high-achieving, ambitious go-getters who are maxing out their potential and bringing their biggest goals to life. Stephanie lives in Charlotte, NC, with her husband, Chet, and daughter, Charlotte. She is expecting her second child this December. STEPHANIE KORCZYNSKI The KORE Company @steph_kore @stephanieannfrancis stephaniekorczynski.com PHOTO CREDIT: TRIER C PHOTOGRAPHY

BUSINESS 32 Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready! Trier Wells, a Pittsburgh native who empowers brands and women entrepreneurs to express themselves genuinely through her boutique photography services. She specializes in helping brands market authentically. Trier works with diverse individuals and is passionate about assisting businesses in reaching their goals through inventive branding techniques. Driven by big goals and an even bigger heart for service, she is committed to bringing clients’ visions to life with high-quality images that effectively communicate their unique services. She offers customized services tailored to clients’ styles. Beyond working with brands, Trier designs custom sets, allowing women to feel empowered through self-expression. After 10+ years in corporate IT, she sought financial freedom and community impact. Her mission is to produce transformative, immersive experiences that positively impact and empower women to thrive as their unique selves. By developing impactful campaigns, Trier strives to encourage, uplift, and educate others through powerful, engaging social media content. In her downtime, she enjoys music, hiking, and travel. TRIER WELLS Trier C Photography @triercphotography @trier-wells triercphotography.com PHOTO CREDIT: FLOWERSOME PHOTOGRAPHY

BUSINESS 33 In order to achieve sustainable success, one must learn to disrupt their interrupters. Valarie R. Brooks, endorsed by Forbes and Fortune, has a remarkable career with over $1 billion in real estate sales, consistently ranking in the top 1% of realtors in Charlotte, NC. Her journey as a real estate powerhouse began with Valarie purchasing her 1st property at the age of 19. This accomplishment propelled Valarie into the world of business, ultimately shaping her into a highly successful business owner and a distinguished expert in the real estate & business industry. Her impressive track record garnered recognition from industry leaders and a plethora of awards. Having weathered numerous business setbacks during her 23-year successful journey, Valarie mastered the art of sustainable achievement, in both her business and personal life. She learned how to disrupt the interrupters. She discovered a new purpose and is dedicated to helping others do the same. Her expertise is designed to empower you with the resilience needed to maintain your momentum and overcome setbacks or stagnation. Valarie’s dedication to teaching personal and business transformation has grown immensely, marked by her continuous investment in personal and business development. VALARIE R. BROOKS Valarie R. Brooks Real Estate & Business Academy @ValarieRBrooksRealEstate @valarierbrooks ValarieRBrooks.com

FASHION 34 Developing your style is constantly evolving through experimentation, creativity, and self-love. Suzanne Libfraind is the owner of the Raleigh and Charlotte based Wardrobe Consulting. Suzanne specializes in finding solutions to wardrobe challenges felt by college students, women, men, young professionals, and seniors. She works closely with her clients to develop strategies to help them dress for the life they live. With 30 years of experience, Suzanne has consulted with hundreds of individuals. She has lent her expertise in broadcast television studios, as fashion shows and events stylist, and as an emcee and panelist. Since 2015, Suzanne has been SouthPark Mall’s Personal Shopper and Lifestyle Specialist. Suzanne runs the personal shopper program, which allows first-time customers to shop with her for up to three hours of complimentary shopping and styling. In 2023, Suzanne became SouthPark Mall’s philanthropic partner, representing the mall in the community. She works with Congregation For Kids, a nonprofit that supports children in the foster care system and their social workers. CFK has implemented a program called CARENOW, where she accompanies teens 13-17 years old shopping. SUZANNE LIBFRAIND SouthPark Mall @@suzannelibfraind Suzanne@suzannelibfraind.com Suzannelibfraind.com PHOTO CREDIT: TRIER C PHOTOGRAPHY

FOOD + BEV 35 “Success doesn’t come automatically. You have to build it. So as much as I work hard, I also give back.” Rosana Rivera has been a successful entrepreneur and Chef for over 17 years, co-creating the culinary vision behind some of Tampa’s favorite eateries, including Piquant, Xilo Mexican, and Chef & the Baker. Born at the hem of three generations of Puerto Rican cooks, their love of food and country made an early impression. In 2006, she opened her first business, and while building her business, Rosana furthered her education and obtained her degree in Culinary Arts from the Arts Institute Tampa. Chef Rosana’s MBA in Business Sustainability from Marylhurst University soon followed. Throughout her career, she has been featured extensively in media. Most recently, she was featured in People en Espanol, the TODAY show, and competed in Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay, advancing to face Bobby Flay and beating him with her signature beef empanadas. Currently, she is working on her lifestyle brand - Chef Rosana, crafted for Home and Kitchen, an e-commerce retailer of hand-crafted gourmet foods and custom kitchenware for the discerning epicurean, as well as luxury catering, private fine dining & cooking classes. CHEF ROSANA RIVERA Chef Rosana @chefrosanarivera info@chefrosana.com chefrosana.com PHOTO CREDIT: CAPTURED BY MALLARY

FOOD + BEV 36 I don’t need it to be easy; I just need it to be possible. Mary Anna Ossa, originally from Venezuela, embraced the Carolinas 25 years ago. Armed with a political science degree, she found her true calling in sales and marketing. Fusing her love for wines and her professional expertise, Partners and Grapes was born. Married to Jack Ossa and a proud parent of three children—Jacob, Giulianna, and Jonah—she cherishes family adventures, writing fiction, and strumming her guitar. Her Organic and Vegan-certified wines, crafted with minimal intervention farming in Catalonia, Spain, are a testament to her mission: providing clients with a healthier and cleaner drinking experience. MARY ANNA OSSA Partners & Grapes Organic Wines @partnersandgrapes maryanna@partnersandgrapes.com partnersandgrapes.com PHOTO CREDIT: FAITH AUSTIN PHOTOGRAPHY

FOOD + BEV 37 The secret to success in life is to eat the food you love and enjoy! Tanya Crisp is a well-traveled Foodie Blogger based out of Charlotte, NC. She features her favorite restaurants, food trucks, and small businesses around Charlotte. She has used her social media platforms to support businesses that were hidden gems and needed more community awareness. Tanya has used her knowledge and skills to help upcoming food bloggers and content creators. She is the Founder of The CLT Black Foodies and Plates and Pearls International Womens Foodies. These foodie groups have collaborated with over 70 local restaurants and food trucks to increase revenue and exposure. Tanya has helped struggling businesses keep their doors open after the pandemic. She is now creating workshops and content creators tours in Charlotte. TANYA CRISP Ms Foodie CLT @msfoodieclt @msfoodieclt Msfoodieclt@gmail.com PHOTO CREDIT: FAITH AUSTIN PHOTOGRAPHY

HEALTH 38 To be amazing is to embrace who you are and show up daily as your true self. Celia Smart is a wife, mother, career woman, fitness professional, and community leader. She has more than 18 years in the fitness industry as an athlete, coach, and trainer. Celia is the senior project manager for Ready Fitness, which is where she combines her extensive sales background and passion for fitness in the design and outfitting of beautifully unique and functional fitness spaces for multifamily, colleges, universities, corporate, and private studios. Celia is a big believer in the power of community, as we can always make a bigger impact on the world by working together. From 2016 to 2018, she held a board seat at the Greater Charlotte Association. In 2016, she received the Novant Health Healthy Charlotte Volunteer of the Year award. In 2018, Celia competed in Dancing with the Stars Charlotte, benefiting Carolina Breast Friends, for whom she raised over $32,000 and won the “Judges Choice” award with her dance pro partner. Celia’s daily mantra is “Be Amazing.” This Mantra has led her to create and host multiple events and the Be Amazing Podcast. The Be Amazing Podcast is a collection of inspirational interviews with amazing people in business and fitness. CELIA SMART Ready Fitness @itscelsmart 704.789.3440 celiasmart.com PHOTO CREDIT: DANI NICOLE PHOTOGRAPHY

HEALTH 39 Perfection is a myth, and I have no interest in chasing an imaginary symbol of the patriarchy. I am, and will always be, enough. Dr. Lisa N. Folden is a North Carolina licensed physical therapist, NASM-certified behavior change specialist, and Anti-diet Health and Body Image Coach. She owns Healthy Phit Physical Therapy & Wellness Consultants in Charlotte, NC, where she provides weight-inclusive services to clients in diverse bodies and those in eating disorder recovery. As a Health at Every Size (HAES®️) ambassador, Dr. Folden assists clients seeking healthier lifestyles. Her weight-neutral approach encourages intuitive eating, body acceptance, and breaking up with a toxic diet culture. Dr. Lisa is a mom of three, published author, and speaker whose goal is to see as many people as possible living their best lives without worrying about their weight! A regular contributor to articles on topics related to physical therapy, health, wellness, self-care, motherhood, body image, and fat-friendly healthcare, Dr. Folden has had the distinct honor of being featured in Oprah Magazine and The New York Times. Additionally, she is a member of the National Association of Black Physical Therapists and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. DR. LISA FOLDEN Healthy Phit Physical Therapy & Wellness Consultants @HealthyPhit 980.505.7448 HealthyPhit.com PHOTO CREDIT: FLOWERSOME PHOTOGRAPHY

HEALTH 40 New adventures begin with a single step, taken with courage and absolute belief in your ability to shine. As a third-generation dentist, Dr. Nikki Jones Bailey continues the rich legacy of dentistry set forth by her father and grandfather. Since 2007, she has owned and operated Trinity Cosmetic & General Dentistry in the Concord/Charlotte area. Hailing from Salisbury, NC, Dr. Jones Bailey loves changing lives through dentistry and serving the community. Dr. Jones Bailey and her team are dedicated to promoting oral health and whole-body health. With over 20 years of experience, she prioritizes educating patients on the mouth and body connection. Driven by her passion for helping others, Dr. Jones Bailey provides an annual scholarship for graduating seniors and participates in local and international short-term mission trips. Outside of her dental practice, Dr. Jones Bailey is married to her husband, Robee, and they enjoy traveling and supporting the arts through music and theater. In her free time, she writes poetry and showcases her vocal talent as the featured vocalist in the Rowan Big Band All-Stars. Dr. Jones Bailey is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. NIKKI JONES BAILEY Trinity Cosmetic & General Dentistry @trinitydentistry Drjones@trinitydds.com trinitydds.com PHOTO CREDIT: FLOWERSOME PHOTOGRAPHY

HEALTH 41 There are no prerequisites or references needed to reach success. However, you must believe that you can reach it. Everybody is somebody Nikita B. Williams is a certified director of nursing, cognitive behavior therapist, and NLP practitioner. This multi-talented nurse and comedic speaker is also a transformation coach for life and business, a social media influencer with over 800,000 combined followers, owner of Felicity Health & Wellness, a holistic wellness spa, and also owns an independent consulting firm, Tele-DON with a mission on rehumanizing healthcare. As seen and heard on BET networks, Impact Network, All Nations TV, Clean Comedy Radio, TV One, iHart Radio, local media, and other outlets, Nikita is known worldwide as the hope dealer and purpose pusher. As a “Laugh Practitioner,” Nikita embodies a no-nonsense approach in her message and teaching style entangled with humor in a way that only she can do. She is, fiery, transparent, and truthful. Nikita has helped thousands of ambitious men and women gain clarity, become unstuck in life and business, and live a life they love. With one key shift, she has helped reduce confusion, comparison, and conflict in both professional and personal environments by 80% and continues to change lives one mindset at a time. NIKITA BLAKENEYWILLIAMS Tele-DON @nikitabtv @thenikitab nikitabwilliams.com PHOTO CREDIT: FAITH AUSTIN PHOTOGRAPHY

HEALTH 42 The very thing you are believing for may simply be on the other side of your comfort zone, all wrapped in faith. Thewanda Peterson, MSN, CRNA, is a Board-Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and owner of Jirah Anesthesia Services PLLC, a Ketamine Infusion practice based in North Charlotte. She provides safe Ketamine infusions to those suffering from treatmentresistant psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and bipolar disorder. Ketamine infusions have also been found to be effective in the treatment of debilitating chronic pain disorders. Her goal is to promote patients’ mental wellness and mitigate chronic pain in a safe and compassionate environment. Thewanda has always had a heart for helping others. With more than 20 years in the healthcare industry and 12 years of experience, specifically with anesthesia services, she knows this service thoroughly. Mental health awareness is on the rise, and Thewanda realized that mental health issues are real and that many people are suffering. In 2020, amidst a pandemic, she created a business plan to offer Ketamine infusions with the hope that her patients would start to see and live life more fully. Thewanda has a personal mission to provide hope for a better quality of life. THEWANDA PETERSON Jirah Anesthesia Services, PLLC @jirahanesthesia info@jirahanesthesia.com Jirahanesthesia.com PHOTO CREDIT: FAITH AUSTIN PHOTOGRAPHY

HEALTH 43 In order to do well, I must be well Vernisha, a renowned international wellness speaker and trauma-informed expert, is the CEO of the Trauma Informed Institute, which educates leaders and organizations on trauma and how to prioritize wellness in the workplace. Vernisha’s work has contributed over $20M in funding through collaborative projects, clients, and program design. Her educational journey began with a Bachelors Degree in Sociology from UNC Charlotte and a Masters Degree in Leadership from Grand Canyon University. She is a former Licensed Massage & Bodywork Therapist, a Certified Health and Wellness Coach, and a Master Level Life Coach. Vernisha is pursuing a Ph.D. in General Psychology, specializing in Trauma and Disaster Relief. She is the Founder of the BYE Foundation, which focuses on raising funding to build community resilience and reduce trauma through authentic family engagement. Vernisha has been a guest facilitator at Davidson College, Belmont, Vanderbilt, and Fisk Universities. Vernisha and her daughter leads @DanceHerSize, a wellness program teaching women and girls about the eight dimensions of wellness through dance. Combining her love for education and holistic wellness, she inspires those around her. VERNISHA CRAWFORD Trauma Informed Institute @vernishacrawford @dancehersize vernisha@ti.institute traumainformedinstitute.com PHOTO CREDIT: TRIER C PHOTOGRAPHY

HEALTH 44 Being authentically you makes you perfectly imperfect. Yolanda M. McCormick MS, LCMHC, a Massachusetts native, now in Charlotte, NC, founded Another Chance Solutions, PLLC, an agency focused on empowering youth and families. With two decades of experience, Yolanda served as a Senior Social Worker at the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services and later as a licensed clinician at the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department, specializing in child trauma and community interventions. She now leads a team of eight Licensed Clinicians. Yolanda holds a Bachelor of Science from American International College, two master’s degrees, and is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor and a certified Trauma Focused-Cognitive Behavioral Therapist (TF-CBT). Beyond her work, Yolanda enjoys family time, music, and scented candles. Her commitment to community service is evident through her volunteering efforts. An alumna of Leadership Charlotte (Class 44), Yolanda is dedicated to making a positive impact through compassionate mental health counseling and community development. YOLANDA M. MCCORMICK Another Chance Solutions, PLLC @yolanda-m-mccormick-ms-lcmhc 980.677.1997 PHOTO CREDIT: FLOWERSOME PHOTOGRAPHY

HOME + LIFE 45 You are the director of your life and the creator of your happiness. Brandy Byers is a real estate powerhouse and a devoted mother of two. As a topproducing broker, Brandy has established herself as a force to be reckoned with in the industry. But her impact extends far beyond real estate. She is a board member and active participant in The Gathering Spot and the National Sales Network, where she contributes her expertise and passion for community engagement. While Brandy may not classify herself as an influencer, her influence and inspiration are undeniable. She has an innate ability to rally those around her towards greatness. She was featured in the esteemed SouthPark magazine’s “The It List” and recognized as one of Charlotte’s most stylish individuals. Brandy’s commitment to excellence is evident as a Real Estate Instructor, Coach, and Team Lead for The Byers Group. She shares her knowledge and experience and empowers others to succeed in the industry. Her dedication to nurturing talents has earned her well-deserved recognition. In a world where numbers often measure success, Brandy goes above and beyond. She leads by example and embodies the true spirit of a leader, making a lasting impact on those fortunate enough to cross her path. BRANDY BYERS Henderson Ventures “The Buyers Group” @brandycltrealtor @selling_theqc hendersonventuresinc.com/agents/ brandy-byers PHOTO CREDIT: FLOWERSOME PHOTOGRAPHY

HOME + LIFE 46 In anything you do with practice and consistency, you can only get better, never worse. Crystal “Sarah” Hoseine is a true Renaissance woman, juggling the roles of a mother, hair stylist, disc jockey, and permanent make-up artist. Her versatility, passion, and relentless pursuit of excellence have cemented her status as a true virtuoso in these intersecting domains. Born in Trinidad & Tobago, raised in NYC, and now residing in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a mother of two, Crystal has learned the importance of balancing her various roles. Her success in multiple entrepreneurial endeavors is a testament to her unwavering commitment to her family, business, and personal growth. Crystal discovered her passion for creativity at an early age. Her journey into the world of hairstyling began at 14 when she landed her first salon chair in NYC. The perfectionist in her later led to pursuing a license in permanent cosmetic tattooing. Features in Women’s Wear Daily, Essence, Glamour, Seventeen VH1 reality TV, and BET award shows to name a few. DJ Sarah Selfish, the best Soca DJ in Charlotte. Crystal describes herself as “I am a vibe”. The demand has her bustling between Charlotte and NYC. CRYSTAL HOSEINE Sarah Selfish LLC @djsarahselfish 980.595.4338 sarahselfish.com PHOTO CREDIT: FLOWERSOME PHOTOGRAPHY

HOME + LIFE 47 Good things are coming: What is meant for you will find you. Trust your process, path, and purpose, and it will find you. Hali Eplin, a native of Man, WV, and a coal miner’s daughter, has made a profound impact on Charlotte since her arrival. She transitioned from a cheerleader for The Thundering Herd at Marshall University to the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, now becoming a cornerstone in the city’s luxury real estate market. In her tenure at Northwood Ravin, she not only managed an icon in Charlotte’s skyline, The VUE, and became Director of Sports Partnerships but also honed her skills in asset and property management, becoming a trusted name in Class-A multifamily spaces. Her strategic insight into development and intuitive understanding of client needs also led her to Henderson Ventures, further solidifying her expertise in exceeding client expectations. Beyond her professional life, Hali is a dedicated single mother to Halo & True and a passionate advocate for mental health. She is a member of Dancing with the Stars Charlotte to honor her late twin brother, Hal and to support the vital work of The Katie Blessing Foundation, aiming to break down the barriers around mental health and ensure access to care for families across the Carolinas. HALI EPLIN Northwood Ravin Henderson Ventures @hali_eplin HaliEplin@gmail.com hendersonventuresinc.com/agents/ hali-eplin PHOTO CREDIT: FLOWERSOME PHOTOGRAPHY

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