Transformational vs. Transactional Relationships 

Transformational– Someone gives you something without expecting to receive something.

– A person shares their gifts with you free of charge or in exchange for something you do for them. 

– A person “consults” with you by offering you knowledge, resources and advice to help you. 

– A person makes an important introduction to someone in their network to help you. 

– A person listens to you & provides you with emotional & social support during difficult times. 


– Someone only calls when they want something from you

– Someone takes no interest in your goals, wishes, victories or challenges. 

– You’re always footing the bill (for meals, activities, etc).

– Someone feels entitled and gives you an attitude when you don’t/can’t give them what they want.

– You’re reluctant to speak to/spend time with a person because you feel like they always want something & the relationship feels unbalanced. 

Transactional relationships are not necessarily bad. It is important that both people understand what it is… an exchange of goods or services for goods or services. There is very little “personal” time and the exchange usually happens at the same time or within a short term window. 

 Transformational relationships are relationships where there is an exchange of energy, commitment & values. One person may receive goods, services, knowledge or resources, while the other has no expectation of the “favor” being exchanged. 

Transformational relationships are not usually bound by time. The glue that holds them together is love, respect & unity. Some relationships are more transformational than others. 

I try to maintain transformational relationships by always keeping my eye out for opportunities. For example I frequently share employment resources & information about free family friendly events. I’m also a good writer & editor, so I’m always willing to edit documents, help people write essays & brainstorm with people. 

When it comes to coming in contact with people who I feel just want to use me, I usually make the decision to just give them what they want & quickly move on OR I simply decline their request & let them know why (e.g. I’m not going to make that connection because I haven’t known you long enough & don’t want to jeopardize the relationship) or (I’m not interested in doing that or going there for this reason, let me know if I can be helpful in another way).

Finally, when it comes to connecting people, I usually check in with the person being connected to first, to make sure they are ok with me sharing their contact information or making the connection. It’s so important to ask someone first before making a connection because you never know what type of relationship an individual has with another person or brand. You could damage your reputation by connecting someone to another person they do not want to be connected to, for whatever reason. Never pass on someone’s contact information without getting their consent first. 

Feel free to share more tips in the comments section! 

What’s Wrong With The Phrase “Power Couple?”


Caption: Photo by Juan Anthony Images

Every time I hear the words “power couple” I cringe. Whether someone calls my husband and I that, or I hear someone else use those words, it never quite sits well with me. When it comes to “power,” I cannot help but think about the opposite end of the spectrum – disempower. There are many words that I love to claim… peace… balance… happiness… success., but “power” has never been on my list of desired characteristics or character traits. “Power” implies a separation from the people. It implies that someone (or a group of people) has “it” and others (usually a large group of people) don’t. I’m not interested in separating myself from people in that way. I don’t want people to look at me & think that I have something (power) that they do not…

Now don’t get me wrong… I do believe in influence… I do believe in platforms… I do believe in spokespersons… but all of those terms seem to be more communal in nature… Less aggressive… Less absolute… Less rigid… and even influence, platforms and spokespersons should be cushioned in community, owned by the people and treated with grace, humility and responsibility.

I’m much more interested in being an EMPOWERED Couple… I believe that my physical frame is just that. A temporary “uniform” to house my soul & my energy. “Power” in my opinion comes from God and God EMPOWERS us to do what he needs/wants us to do. I did not wake myself up this morning… I did not have the POWER to do that. As the Executive Director of a non-profit, the students that I serve and the team that I belong to EMPOWERS me by ALLOWING me to serve as a midwife to their dreams and goals. That POWER belongs to them, so they EMPOWER me… Our TEAM is one in which everyone feels EMPOWERED to do whatever needs to be done to fulfill our mission. It’s not beholden to one individual (including me).

To me EMPOWERMENT is a much healthier descriptor of who we are and what we stand for. It is much more symbiotic than hierarchical. It is much more accessible than hoarded and hidden. We need more empowered couples if we want to have healthier relationships/marriages, healthier families and healthier communities. #EMPOWEREDCOUPLE

Speaking of empowering, check out my hubby’s new website: designed by one of our Donda’s House alums Hex Hectic!

Coming Up For Air Really Quick


Hey everyone! I hope all is well. Can you believe that there are only 2 days left of this month?

I’ve been working a lot professionally. This month has been all about fundraising, proposal writing, and preparing for our Spring 2015 Programs. For the first time ever, we are launching two cohorts at once, a program for High School Students and a program for 18+. We welcomed two new staff members, and have been working on a lot of our internal communication systems. I start my days at about 9 or 10 in the morning and lately have been working until 12 midnight.

In terms of balance, I try to have at least one day a week where I don’t leave my house. I still work – conference calls, applications and proposals, etc., but I do so from the comfort of my home at least one day a week. Since our programming is after school and on Saturdays, we have events on one or two Saturdays next month, and one of our classes will meet on Saturday afternoons. I have reserved Sundays for family time. My in-loves (we don’t use the term in-laws) recently moved closer to Chicago, so I try to spend at least my Sunday afternoons and evenings with them.

I did discover a few new tools that I want to share:

We are using Formstack to manage our applications and other important forms. It’s not a free tool but it is reliable, has really strong analytics. Every time we release apps, we’ve used a different tool. Formstack is very popular with other organizations.

I am now using Calendly to help schedule meetings. Basically, you have your own appointment page, and it syncs with your Google Calendar. Rather than going back and forth with someone on availability, I can simply send them a link to my Calendly based on my availability and the meeting can be scheduled without much hassle. Here its he link: Calendly is free and low cost.

I shared this beauty on my Instagram Page:

Be Fabulous 2

I’ve never seen a desktop wallpaper that allows you to separate files. I downloaded it for free here:

Don’t Squeeze The Life Out Of Your Partner or Relationship…

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with my husband, with my friends and with family members about dating and marriage. One of the things that I said was don’t confuse possessiveness OR clinginess with love and attention. In my first marriage that ended in divorce after 5 years, my ex husband didn’t have any friends or interests outside of our relationship. That was a recipe for disaster, because anything that “competed” with him for my attention was dismissed or frowned upon, even if it was healthy.

When my current husband and I started dating, we talked about how sometimes a person can squeeze something so tight that it squeezes the life out of it.


Don’t get me wrong… quality one-on-one time is very important in a relationship. My husband and I go on a date alone at least once a week and we try to take a vacation outside of Chicago for a week every year.

A healthy relationship and marriage should be one where you are allowed to evolve and grow. Speak to your partner regularly about his/her goals, and try to support him/her in those goals. Of course, you don’t want to support him/her in their goals if it is something that will harm them (e.g. my husband is diabetic, so I’m not going to support him going to an all you can eat dessert bar or event). Our identities are multilayered. We can be lovers or spouses, and parents… but we can also be entrepreneurs, ministers and volunteers. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a person who wants to stay at home to take care of the kids, but I do think there is something wrong if someone feels forced to stay at home and take care of the kids. It’s also normal at the beginning of a relationship to be “addicted” to each other. It’s so exciting to feel a deep connection with someone that you’re attracted to, especially if one of your life goals is to get married, or find a monogamous relationship, but don’t lose sight of your dreams, your goals and your path, for the sake of a relationship. Speaking from experience that usually ends in something negative… the end of a relationship. The end of your happiness. or worse, the end of who you truly are…

Tools To Set Your 2015 Goals

This is dedicated to @jarosha on Instagram. I posted this picture on IG and she wanted to know more about the other categories.


I actually downloaded the questions from one of my favorite bloggers Rosetta Thurman of Happy Black Woman. Here is where you can download your own copy:

The main idea was “What I want to Bring Into My Life in 2014” and some of the questions included (1) What do I want to learn in 2014? (2) Which old activities, habits or behaviors do I want to stop doing? and (3) What will my ideal day look like next year? Since I did not create the questions, I don’t want to copy them all hear, but assure you that Rosetta has everything you need!

Also, here is my Year in Review Scrapbook Page for 2014!


If you’re looking for more tools to set goals for this year check out my other recommendations here:

31 Days to Reset Your Life –

Create a Vision Board –

Conduct an Annual Review×5/how-to-conduct-your-own-annual-review/ This is the most thorough goal-setting planner I’ve ever seen. If you love details, check this out!

I’d love to be your digital accountability partner!

Please head on over to my Facebook Page and share one of your goals for January! I’ll post three of my goals for the month of January!  I’ll check in with you online on February 1, 2015: Please also “like” my Facebook page, so that the updates will show up in your feed. Cheers to you & your intentions for this year!

Something Everyone Wants…


There are certain things that all humans need… we need water and we need food, but when it comes down to wants, it seems that it is all a matter of preference. After watching the film Birdman today, I realized that there is actually something that we all want, and that’s validation.

To validate (according to is substantiate, to confirm, to give official sanction, confirmation, or approval to.

When we fall in love with someone, we want them to confirm their love for us, because it makes us feel substantial. When we call a customer service line, we want someone to listen to our complaint, and then validate the error by fixing the problem or directing us to someone who can. When we do a good job, we want someone to acknowledge that good job, by offering a compliment, a pat on the back or even better a raise.

Conflict occurs when either we don’t feel validated or worse, when someone expresses that we are undeserving.

I think a lot of people want to be rich and/or famous, because people believe that material possessions (the rarer or the more expensive the better) and attention (the more followers, likes, & retweets) is the key to approval (even if that approval is based on limited or surface level information).

The truth is, validation is something that we all want because it’s motivation to keep going when things get tough. The more validated we feel, the easier it is to ward off character attacks. Validation is very much connected to our esteem and our self confidence. What can we do to validate each other in healthy ways? Parents, how do you validate your children? Teachers, how do you validate your students?

What Are You Gonna Do With That Pain?


My home girl Javetta wrote a beautiful piece called “A Response to Dark Girls from a Light Girl ” in response to The Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Dark Girls.” I was both moved by her piece and it made me think about how we all have pain, the question is what do you do with that pain?

At the age of 12 I was raped. I could have tucked that pain in my heart and allowed it to decay me from the inside out. Instead I became a volunteer for other young women who were rape victims. Similarly, I used to volunteer for an organization called Federal FORUM which raised money for and provided mentors to children of incarcerated parents. My work with those organization allowed me to positively influence some young people who I still hold close to my heart even today. Ultimately, I took my pain and incinerated it into something useful.

You can allow your pain to make you bitter, distrusting, dishonest, or downright nasty. Or, you can use your pain to fuel your dreams or let it explode into a large ball of forgiveness. Pain is inevitable. The people you love the most can sometimes surprise you the most in a negative way, but you can’t allows someone else’s pain, insecurity or ignorance to transfer onto you. If you’re in pain write about it and talk about it. Acknowledge it and keep it moving. Keep it moving does not necessarily mean to move on, as it may not be time for that. The key is to stay active, engaged and ready!!!  So, what are you going to do with your pain?