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Saidah Nairobi: From Dance Career To Musical Artist

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Saidah Nairobi
Not everyone gets to go on tour with Beyoncé, but not only does Saidah Nairobi tour with Queen Bey, she’s one of her longtime dancers. Saidah does not have any formal training, however persevered through her passion to perform. Along with Beyoncé, she has danced back-up for Usher, Ciara, and Ne-Yo, touring the world and has performed at the Grammys, MTV VMA’s, Ellen, The View, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to name a few. Adding on to her accomplishments, Saidah is releasing her debut single, “We Are,” created to inspire and empower those who listen to the song. Saidah opens up to Owner’s Magazine about her dance career, her debut single, and what motivates her to continue creating as an artist.

How did you get into dancing?

Saidah Nairobi - I’ve always loved the arts, and attended a performing arts high school in Atlanta, so dance and music have been in my life for a long time.

What inspires you?

Saidah Nairobi - Music, innovative people, creative performances, dancers, my personal and professional relationships, cheerful givers, nature, writing, spiritual guidance.

Who do you look up to?

Saidah Nairobi - The Word of God, my husband, my mother, pioneers and innovators in social movements, poetry, and the arts like Coretta Scott King, Maya Angelou, and Debbie Allen, and iconic entertainers like Beyonce and Michael Jackson.

Why did you decide to make dancing a career?

Saidah Nairobi - I knew I was passionate about music, dance, and performing. And at the time of my decision, I was in college studying to become an elementary education teacher, but I knew that as much I wanted to be a teacher, there had to be a way I could one day incorporate it into my other passions. Dance was my first pursuit, and ultimately became my career, but I knew that there would be more to my journey because there was more that I loved.

Who are some of your favorite artists you’ve danced for?

Saidah Nairobi - Ciara has become a good friend of mine, we are like family, and she has always had a special place in my heart because it was her and her choreographer, Jamaica Craft, that inspired my dance career greatly. They are the reason I felt there was a place for me in the dance industry. NeYo is also like family, from day one he embraced me like he’d known me all my life. Always positive energy when he’s around, and he just knows how to make everyone in the room feel at home.

Do you have any tours coming up?

Saidah Nairobi - I anticipate doing a book tour for my upcoming dance memoir titled, ‘The Journey of A Dream,’ that will be released in spring 2017. Also, a promo tour once my EP is complete.

What do you do during your off time?

Saidah Nairobi - I spend quality time with my husband, my poodle Juicy, my family, friends, sing on the praise/worship team at my best friend’s church, and build towards actualizing the goals of my family.

Saidah Nairobi, Describe your day to day.

Saidah Nairobi - Every day is different. I do not have a routine lifestyle lol. Today for example, I am answering these questions while away in the mountains of Tennessee. Another day I’ll be in the studio recording. Another day is full of meetings, another day packing to fly out to work.

What is some advice you can give to aspiring dancers?

Saidah Nairobi - My advice for aspiring dancers is to establish clear goals for yourself first. It’s one thing to aspire to dance, but once you realize your dream, what is next? What are your 5-year goals? 10-year? Write your visions down and make them plain. Be a visionary. Study your favorite dancers, favorite tours, favorite artists, and understand what it takes to become a professional dancer. Make sure you are physically strong and skilled to compete with the top dancers in the industry. And, put yourself out there. Social media is the most powerful discovery tool today. Use it to be creative and show your skills. You never know who is watching and looking for talent.

Describe the "We Are" project.

Saidah Nairobi - On the way home one night, my husband and I were listening to Nigerian musician, FelaKuti, and something about the horns we were hearing felt like a call to action. There was so much going on in the news about police brutality and African-American males lives being senselessly taken, I got inspired to write a song that speaks about the power and potential in us as a community. A song that is uplifting, that speaks truth, and also serves as positive affirmations to speak over yourself, your children, your family. We Are Trail-Blazers, We Are Game-Changers, We Are Way-Makers. We Are. We Are Dream-Weavers, We Are Light-Holders, We Are Love Soldiers. We Are. We Are God’s Children, We Are Truth-Seeking. We Are Peace-Driven. We Are.

Who is your ideal audience?

Saidah Nairobi - Men, women, children of all ages, races, and creed. “We Are,” is a globally uplifting song. It’s a song for anyone that wants and needs to feel positive, feel moved, feel inspired.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Saidah Nairobi - I see myself being an ambassador for good causes, being known as a community leader in Atlanta, creating opportunities for young people, reaching homes around the world through art, and expanding my family.

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Business

Justin Wu: 5 Tips for Branding Your Business Online

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From someone who breathes social media, I came across an interesting blog. In that, I’ve learned that social media isn’t just for the use of entertainment.
Since each social platform has the potential to help grow your business, Justin Wu, founder of Growth.ly, teaches others how to navigate their way through as an entrepreneur online. As an Instinctual developer, Justin Wu possesses skills in growth hacking to information architecture. Starting off on Snapchat and Instagram, he is also an expert in the field of various social channels. Justin snapchats religiously to help other entrepreneurs conveniently reach their goals. In order to pick up all of the skill-sets of an entrepreneur, the most effective way is to hack the system. Or as he brands it on his snapchat username, be a hackapreneur.In his own marketing agency, Growth.ly heavily focuses on different marketing tunnels and how each channel matters to your business. In trusted knowledge on social media and marketing, Justin is able to spread his entrepreneurial skill-sets to others. Since startups are rapidly growing more lost and confused, Justin Wu provides tips on helping entrepreneurs brand their business online. Here are 5 tips from Justin Wu for branding your business online.

Be comfortable in front of the camera

Interacting through the camera may be uncomfortable, especially with your face in the front and how you’re speaking to a fake audience. Regardless, Snapchat is still all live and on the spot. Through force, the task will then become routinely. These set of skills should already exist with an entrepreneur’s ability to adapt. As times change, so should you. 

Chose the right platform

If some devices don’t align well with your business, there are other platforms to acquire. Instagram is the easiest way to get discovered. Snapchat is far more difficult to brand, with the limited time offered to record and the immediate execution of the video for instant feedback. There are also other platforms that exists that you may not know about. To get a better understanding of what you’re putting yourself in, explore and get familiar with the new environment. Know where it’s best to brand your business. 

Don’t be stubborn, remember long-term vision

Don’t be married to an idea. Let’s just say, perhaps you don’t go on YouTube, or you don’t regularly check Facebook, your relationship with these platforms may influence how much you think their worth is. From your perceptual stigma, you may not think to brand yourself on these devices. The issue here is, your encounter with these different sources can’t counter play on how you plan to expose your business content. If you want the best for your business and to get more customers, don’t chase them. The customers are the main focus of your business, rather than chasing them, it’s simpler to be meeting them where they are and engage in proper contact. 

Collaborate

In Justin Wu’s work with Samsung and Intel, he strongly pushes for collaboration opportunities. For his other company, Sidevision, it can be tracked by the Warner Bros. The Warner Bros have invested in the company and agreed to take over. This vision to the public gives a positive look to you, making it seem like your connections are strong with experts. Rather than that, collaboration allows ideas to exchange. Everyone has knowledge and skills in different cases, but having the chance to expand your brand to another realm is an opportunity to take up. Taking in more fans is the goal here. 

Figure out how to create content

Everybody seeks beauty, and with social media always pushing out visual content, your business needs to develop an advantage. By possessing skills in visuals, the aesthetics will do all of the talking to keep your ideal customers stay. In skills such as photography, your content will attract a wide variety of different people. The simplest way to gain attraction, through the peripheral route of persuasion.
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Business

Q&A With Wen-Jay Ying: Founder Of Local Roots NYC

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I met Wen-Jay a couple months back after stumbling into a Sustainability Commerce Popup Conference in Williamsburg.  She was among an eclectic panel of speakers that day who's company missions were not only vivid with green priority, but also deeply rooted into the fabric of their local communities. Her company, Local Roots NYC provides New Yorkers with a access to goods and produce from a network of local farmers (local meaning that their supplier's operations happen within a 250 mile radius).  It's a subscription based membership where you can sign up for different seasons, each having a variety of different seasonal foods.  Throughout the city are different "markets" where your allotted order is ready for pickup.  What's awesome about Local Roots is that their markets don't just happen anywhere, they happen at your favorite cafe or dive bar right in the heart of your local New York community.Local Roots NYC has been in operation for six years, with over 25 market sites, and over 750 members.  When meeting up with Wen-Jay at one of her market locations set up outside of a cute Brooklyn cafe, I got an overwhelmingly inclusive community vibe.  Toddlers were running around, and Local Roots members came to grab their goods while also inviting me to their yoga class later that day... I felt right at home! Here's some things we talked about that day:

How'd you come up with the idea for Local Roots?

I wanted to find a better, more social way to connect people and their communities to local farmers.  Creating Local Roots was my solution to the gap between farm to table.  Not only does it support local farmers but also the local businesses that we symbiotically partner with for our markets.

What makes this different than meal kits or other food delivery systems?

Having markets not only encourages the social aspect to shopping with us, but also greatly reduces waste.  When you order a food kit or have groceries delivered they tend to come with an excessive amount of packaging.  At are local market locations you can bring your own reusables and stop it at your favorite bar for a drink all at the same time.

How does your company take sustainability into account?

Each of our farmers practice different levels of sustainability.  Kindness to animals and to the land are extremely important to us.  Our vegetables are either Certified Naturally Grown, a grassroots alternative to the USDA’s National Organic Program, or USDA Certified Organic . While the standards and the labels are the same – organic – the USDA Organic Program favors medium to big-sized farmers, and the Certified Naturally Grown program is better suited for small farmers. The Certified Naturally Grown label was created in 2002 in response to the USDA labeling, which is expensive in terms of time (paperwork per crop) and application fees. The Certified Naturally Grown program has farmers review fellow CNG farmers and prioritizes the exchange of feedback and ideas for growth.  More info on each of our famers can be found on our Farm page if you want to check it out.

So far what has been your favorite part of starting this company?

We've been running for over six years now.  In this time I've had customers become friends.  I've seen them get married and have babies, and I've seen those babies grow up on Local Roots produce.  Now these kids are almost three and they know so much more about their farmers and where their food comes from.  Not many other three year old kids are that connected to their food and how it grows! This makes me extremely happy and proud.
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Business

Leading Ladies In Tech: Caitlin Clark Zigmond

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Caitlyn Clark Zigmond
 Caitlin Clark Zigmond is the Vice President of Product Management at CoreDial. She shares her experience of over 30 years where she has worked with numerous companies under several different capacities. She started out in Hi-Tech as the Director of operations working for a company that built precision hot stages in science and industry, which involved working with one of the first windows based research pieces of equipment. From there, Caitlin decided that she wanted to become an entrepreneur and started her own catering business. Growing up, she cooked at home as both her parents were working, and that influenced her first business. She bought a company with just four employees and grew it to the third largest company in Boulder, Colorado. Caitlin gave up the business to start a family with her partner. Over the next few years, she went from being the first Product Manager for New Global Telecom (NGT), to Product Lead for Hosted PBX, then Advanced Voice at Comcast who acquired Hosted PBX, and finally to CoreDial.
Caitlin spoke about the hurdles she had to face in the workplace and managing a work/life balance. Ruth Bader of the Supreme Court is her female role model because of how she has consistently broken down barriers throughout her career while maintaining a true level of professionalism. Though she’s faced immense challenges and a heavy degree of sexism for her role in a previously all-male space, she has a fierce dedication to equality. Caitlin said it reminds her to connect to all those around her, whether it’s family or a more professional setting. As Caitlin says, “Be open to new things and stay strong on your life’s journey.”Caitlin Clark ZigmondCaitlin Clark ZigmondCaitlin Clark Zigmond
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