Street Kids, A Retrospective: Tiffany and Nate #Black #Queer #Homeless #Trans Survive in #NYC

For Gay Pride this year we reexamine Tiffany and Nate.  They are black, homeless, queer and trans and have survived on the streets of New York City for years. 

As race riots engulf our nation it is important to look at basic human needs of shelter, education, healthcare, and so much more, that often elude this population. Until we address the systemic racism baked into every institution in our country, we will never move forward.

We post two seasons that consist of twenty six, 60-second video segments on certain aspects of their life. 

Warning, this is an unvarnished look into their lives with language and topics that might not be for everyone.

Season One: Tiffany and Nate, LGBTQ and Homeless on the NYC Streets

Small Business In the Time of COVID-19

Image of Yael Alkalay, Courtesy of Small Bevy

Like millions of Americans, especially New Yorkers, no one in their wildest imagination could fathom that New York City would shut down to all non-essential workers on March 13.

Millions of New Yorker City dwellers have survived 9/11, various financial crises, black outs, the AIDS crisis, but the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have a far-reaching and uncertain path of destruction that has the globe reeling.

Yael Alkalay, CEO & Founder, red flower, and Scott Kruger, COO & CFO, red flower talk with us on their thriving organic beauty and wellness business before mid March and after, and the steps they continue to take to survive in our brave new world.

Listen below on what life was like before and after mid March and how the Harlem-Columbia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provided a much-needed lifeline to red flower.

New York State Female Entrepreneur of 2020

Alexis McSween, Founder and CEO, Bottom Line Construction and Development LLC, received terrific news in early March for her decades-long crusade in building affordable housing in her Harlem community.

Through a two-year entrepreneurship and leadership program offered by the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center, she was nominated and awarded New York State’s 2020 Female Entrepreneur of the Year.

McSween is a role model and mentor to everyone she meets.

She experienced bouts of homelessness as a teenager. Making ends meet as a livery driver, she drove a friend to an EMT exam. At the suggestion of her friend, she took the exam. She was accepted. That experience, and years of hard work, put her on the path to become a registered nurse and a homeowner.

After years of nursing and renovating homes on the side, she dove into construction full time with a focus on providing affordable housing in her community.

The video below highlights McSween’s exceptional leadership skills and the Columbia-Harlem Small Business Development Center. It was completed March 13, the day New York City ordered many non-essential workers to “shelter-in-place”.

Alexis McSween, CEO & Founder, Bottom Line Construction & Development

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Community Is Essential For Veterans To Feel Connected

We spoke with best-selling author and award-winning filmmaker, Sebastian Junger on helping veterans transition and integrate into the US after being overseas.   His interview will be used in FourBlock, a career readiness resource to help veterans find their calling.

In addition to Junger, the edX online course,  Find Your Calling: Career Transition Principles For Returning Veterans includes Columbia Business School Business Professor, Sheena Iyengar, author, “The Art of Choosing,” and one of the world’s experts on choice, and best-selling author, “Start With Why,” Simon Sinek,

Junger’s interview is so powerful and timely we want to share a few of the video highlights below.  The other videos, equally powerful and informative, are embedded in the course and available for free for veterans and their families.  Learn more here. Continue reading “Community Is Essential For Veterans To Feel Connected”

Former African Taxi Driver Turns Her Successful Restaurant Over To Her Sons

Almaz Ghebrezgabher, Co-Owner, Massawa Restaurant, is feeling a great sense of relief.  After 30 years of cooking and managing the East African, Massawa Restaurant, with her husband, Amanuel Tekeste, she is expanding the restaurant, and turning the business over to her four children.

She has trouble articulating her happiness and feelings of accomplishment but when we watch her on the video, we share in her joy.

Continue reading “Former African Taxi Driver Turns Her Successful Restaurant Over To Her Sons”

Almsgiving As A Way Of Life: Luang Prabang, Laos

Every day at 6am the residents of Luang Prabang line up on the sides of the streets to offer food and alms to the Buddhist Monks living in nearby pagodas. It is an act of love and honor. The monks are not pitied, but revered. The person giving the alms is below the monk. The ritual is usually silent with a periodic smile, hello or thanks. We are human after all and sometimes crave a bit more connection and humor. Continue reading “Almsgiving As A Way Of Life: Luang Prabang, Laos”

Inequality in America: Pictures From The San Francisco Frontlines

The story is as old as America: the haves and the have nots.  Mention “homeless,” people’s eyes glaze over, “can’t we talk about anything else?” But here we are.  San Francisco.  Visiting for work.  We have been here numerous times over the past two decades for various work-related trips.  There has always been a homeless problem in San Francisco, LA, San Diego.  The temperate weather, decades-long failed government policy, are two of many reasons for the problem, but this last visit we felt things have gotten worse.

The city felt like a refugee camp of tens of thousands of mentally ill and addicted people roaming the streets. seeking shelter, while millions stepped over the bodies with their eight dollar artisanal lattes and $15 chia oatmeal on their way to work in the gleaming towers along Market Street and the Embarcadero.   Continue reading “Inequality in America: Pictures From The San Francisco Frontlines”

Leadership In Africa: Are You Leading A Purpose-Driven Life?

People can spend their entire lives in search for purpose.  We understandably seek it in family, education, work that engages us.  But sometimes that is not enough and some of us fall into a rut of the continuous grasping for power and prestige items like fast cars and McMansions that we think will satiate us and give our life purpose. 

But the externals often fail to offer the balm we seek.  Continue reading “Leadership In Africa: Are You Leading A Purpose-Driven Life?”