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Silver Lining

Author name: Missy Galang

Fay Simpson: Healing Yourself And Others Through Business >

Fay grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, but came into her own as an artist and business owner in New York City. She engaged in multiple disciplines, training as a dancer, an actor, and then a choreographer. She taught at The Yale School of Drama, the New School’s Eugene Lang, Michael Howard Studios, The Studio/NY, Marymount Manhattan College, and at the Actor’s Center.  Fay has been the Artistic Director and co-founder of Impact Theater since its creation in 1990. Informed by her work in the rehearsal room, the teaching studio, and onstage over the last 20 years, she has developed a unique physical training method for actors called The Lucid Body. She currently teaches this technique at the Tisch School of the Arts, NYU’s Graduate Acting Program, and privately at the Lucid Body House. She developed The Lucid Body after going through a vulnerable point in her life. She dedicated her life to developing this healing process to help people overcome roadblocks, find bliss, and learn to express it. The process helps people move out of habitual thinking, and habitual moving, honoring, and understanding the complexity of our inherited natures within this practice. This investigation includes the process of understanding people who may differ from our “known” culture with different creeds and systems of beliefs. While she still considers herself an artist and creator of devised theater, her mission to share The Lucid Body became her biggest priority. But in growing her business, she’s also managed to find balance, making space for her art, her own health, and well-being.  Fay’s innate perception skills helped her find “business angels” who filled the gaps for the traditional business skills she lacked. The guides to her “Hero’s Journey” came in the form of Gamal Palmer, Jeanne Weierheiser, Jeremy Tucker, and finally, Carissa Reininger and the SLAP program. Her mission is to achieve a livelihood that creates a holistic impact on the world. She wants to build a team that has the tools to create waves of change, person by person, working towards social equity – the ultimate goal of The Lucid Body process. 

ARKAI: Music For Good, Notes From A Musical Duo>

Long-time friends and schoolmates Jonathan and Phillip grew up in different parts of the world, but they both consider themselves New Yorkers. It’s where they’ve lived for over a decade, and where ARKAI was formed. ARKAI means “leaders” and they founded the business to create something new out of the very old artistic tradition of music. They held onto the belief that there was true potential in their business, and that they had found something worth sharing with the world. As one of the creative capitals of the world, New York really forced them to figure out who they were, what made them unique, and what they had to offer within the rich and bustling arts and culture landscape. The city’s incredible diversity has also undoubtedly informed and molded their artistic identities. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and all of their concerts and plans were put on hold, they took a step back to reflect on what they had to offer during a time when so many were suffering. Using their music, ARKAI decided to create an initiative that they called SupportNew York City and held fundraising concerts to support two sectors that they saw were being ravaged by the pandemic: small businesses and nonprofits. They had to build everything from scratch, from their mission and vision, websites, health guidelines, contracts, lists of potential partners, a multimedia production house, and, perhaps most importantly, a community of believers who would help ignite and support the project. In hindsight, they now see how this initiative actually gave them opportunities to practice and develop the skills that they now employ every day. As of June 2022, they have produced over twenty SupportNew York City events, which have helped raise over $80,000 for their small business and nonprofit partners all across the United States.

Megan Gordon: Love Is In The Hair, 28 Years Is Nothing If You Love What You Do>

When Kevin, originally from Miami, and Megan, who is from Long Island, met in New York City on a blind date, Kevin was immediately blown away by Megan’s red hair. The rest, as they say, is history.  Kevin and Megan had compatible skillsets – Kevin was an experienced, NY entrepreneur and Megan was a talented, up-and-coming hairdresser with a growing clientele.  Kevin encouraged Megan to start a salon and bring clients to a studio,  so they co-founded  TwoDo Salon, renting a basement space in the Upper West Side (fun fact: they negotiated their lease during their honeymoon!). The name came from the fact that the business began with just two people doing hairdos. The “Original Two” hairdressers were Megan, a master colorist, and a hair cutter from Sweden. Kevin was in the background running the operations. From 1994 to 2001, the business was doing well, and they also started a family. Kevin and Megan grew the business to 18 employees. Note to self: Growing very fast and running a business with your spouse can be very challenging. It isn’t easy to shift gears from business to home and family life. Issues related to work don’t just suddenly disappear at the dinner table.  Over 28 years, they have faced challenge after challenge. They went from $1.4M to $650K in revenues after the recession in 2008 and due to 5 employees who left and took their clients in 2012. This all happened while the couple was taking care of young children. They had to sell their apartment to keep the business afloat. Launching a business at the dawn of so much change, it’s hard to stay current and remain excited about every new technology, especially when new methods and practices are constantly evolving. There’s always something new to learn. Through it all, however, they never gave up innovating, adjusting, and rising to meet their clients’ needs, which is why TwoDo Salon remains a coveted beauty destination on the UWS to this day. Currently, Kevin and Megan are facing their biggest challenge yet. After decades as partners in business and life, they decided to go their separate ways. Still, they’re navigating this major life change as gracefully as they can. Kevin is helping to hand the reins entirely over to Megan, while she is learning to run operations and be the talent, at the same time. Kevin is consulting for other businesses and exploring new endeavors. TwoDo is still part of the SLAP program of Silver Lining.

Kalana Greene: Business Lessons From Competitive Sports>

Originally from South Carolina, Kalana Greene is a lifelong athlete who had a successful professional basketball career in the NCAA and WNBA. She moved to New York City and opened her office in 2015, looking to grow business opportunities for her Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE), KLG Industries. She started her business as the next phase of her plan after her career in professional sports. Although most of her life and interest revolved around sports, Kalana knew that athletic careers have a short life span and can end unexpectedly whether because of injury or other unexpected factors. She decided to be proactive and explore business opportunities where she could use her unique skills and talent as an advantage and create consistent cash flow at the same time. Electrical contracting turned out to be an ideal option because it was a growth industry where she could use the MWBE status to give her business a competitive edge.  Kalana founded KLG Industries LLC in 2012, an electrical contracting and project management company that focuses on telecommunications, electric vehicle charging, digital signage, and other low-voltage systems.  Her competitive spirit has given her a balanced perspective on business decisions that push her just enough to grow, but still practical enough that it makes sense for her financial goals. She learned that creating cash flow is essential to all businesses, especially ones like hers that have substantial overhead.  Relying only on seasonal contracts and other factors can disrupt cash flow and put extra strain on the business. But when faced with these challenges, Kalana is quick to point to the value of perseverance. For her, quitting isn’t an option. In her experience, sometimes, having limited cash flow is a catalyst that spurs innovation, encouraging her to find creative ways to solve problems.  Kalana built her business so she could grow it to train and employ more members of her community. Coming from her background in competitive sports, she knows how important good leadership can be in making a difference in people’s lives. She’s motivated to keep improving as a business leader so she can contribute and keep making a positive impact on her community.

Jesebel Gumogda: From Pastry Chef To Making Her Own Dough >

Jesebel was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to New York City after graduating from college. Before starting her business, Jezebel was a pastry sous chef in one of the city’s fine dining restaurants.  In 2015, while she was still working with restaurants, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that time, she was a pastry sous chef which came with big responsibilities. She wanted to make sure that she was able to fulfill her responsibilities, so she made arrangements to switch her shifts from night to morning for three weeks. The shifts drastically changed causing her shifts to overlap, leaving her with no sleep. This challenge taught her to stand up for herself. As she grew in her experience and skill, she decided to explore doing her own thing. She started small, testing things out and doing her research. When she realized that she was doing well and that she could take control of her time and income, Jesebel decided to set up Pure Confections. It was something she wanted to build and pass on to her family as part of her legacy. One of the reasons she started Pure Confections is to have the freedom to spend time with family and loved ones. Even though she knows that growing her business will take time, and that she needs to miss out on family gatherings, quality time with loved ones, and give up time for dating,  she feels she has more control over her personal goals and priorities.  See More Stories  

Brandy Cochrane: For The Love Of Food And Business>

Brandy was born in Baltimore, MD, but now calls New York home. Brandy Cochrane has served creatives and executive leaders for over 10 years as Creative Strategist where she works with aspiring and expanding businesses looking to take their ideas from concept to market. Brandy holds a Fordham University NPO Executive Leader Certification and a Life Coach Certification. She’s also a Certified Plant-Based Culinary Professional. Her business, Entrepreneur Meal Plan, started as a weekly blog post and evolved into a support community after her post about meals for entrepreneurs drew in such a big audience who connected to the insights she shared.  Brandy saw a need for entrepreneurs to come together and talk honestly about what it took to be an entrepreneur. Her own journey In growing her business, for example, has been full of sacrifices that many gloss over when talking about running a business. She has given up everything from time with friends and family, neglecting to sleep well, and, at one point, even sacrificing her own health. She felt it was important to create a resource that addressed an issue that’s been glamorized and sanitized for appearances.  Her greatest challenge professionally has been the ability to balance her personal mission to serve others in a way that makes good business sense. Her commitment to helping people lead fulfilling lives, eat more nutrient dense food, and share their experiences to help others, inspire her. Her work at Entrepreneur Meal Plan allows her to marry both of her passions – food and business – into a wellness solution for entrepreneurs and leaders like herself.

Tamara Horton: Helping Girls In Ethiopia Reach Their Potential ​Through Education + Employable skills >

Tamara Horton, Founder of Studio Samuel, is from Troy, a sleepy, one-stoplight town in rural Pennsylvania, and moved to New York City 36 years ago to operate her business from there. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a B.S. in Design, Marketing and spent over 13 years working in Operations and Event Planning for Sony Music Entertainment before shifting to dedicate full-time work to Studio Samuel. Her path to building Studio Samuel is a deeply personal one. Tamara founded Studio Samuel following the international adoption of her son, Samuel. She witnessed how girls born into poverty end up in the all too common pathways of child marriage, trafficking, and child labor, which deny them education and voice. Her goal was to create a ‘teach a woman to fish’ platform that would result in opportunity and safe options, steering girls away from those situations.  In implementing the teach-a-woman-to-fish model, Tamara consciously designed the program not providing tangible items to their program participants. However, because many organizations do provide for basic needs, their students’ families initially expected goods or financial assistance in exchange for letting their girls attend classes.  It was difficult to balance the need to put food on the table today vs. waiting for years for daughters to complete their education. This was a difficult challenge.  When their first graduate received a four-year scholarship to a reputable university, their waitlist grew to 1,600! By working alongside the community and always championing their students, they were able to earn their community’s trust.