“It was placed on my heart to be the change that I wanted to see in the world.” – Bernada Baker

Last month, Girls Rule! had the pleasure of supporting our next HERstory Maker, Bernada Baker, at an event hosted by her organization, Princess Within.  Bernada aims to empower, inspire and equip girls to discover the Princess that lies Within.

HERstory Maker, Bernada Baker

What do you do for a living and why do you do it?  Is this the pathway you thought you’d take in life? 

I am the Founder/CEO of The Princess Within Foundation. My mission is to empower girls to discover the princess within. It was placed on my heart to be the change that I wanted to see in the world. I was sick and tired of seeing young girls having babies and I felt that it was my mission in life to empower our girls to make better quality decisions. By no means, was this the pathway that I thought I would be on today, as a matter of fact I had great aspirations of becoming an extraordinary hospital administrator at Northwestern Hospital.


What do you see yourself doing in 5 – 10 years, in your business and personal life?

 I envision myself 5-10 years from now, working with a full time staff for The Princess Within Foundation, operating chapters across the world, even in third world countries. I envision myself married with at least 2 children, having completed my Doctoral Degree in Ministry and living life without limitations or boundaries.  

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?   

The best advice that I have ever received is that, “life is only 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it.” I would tell girls to put their books before boys and to follow their dreams without allowing distractions and/or dream killers to detour them from fulfilling their destiny.

What exciting personal or professional projects are you currently working on?

Professionally, I am currently working on launching The Princess Within Modeling Agency, as well as 3 new books. Personally, I am working on preparing myself to be swept away by my God sent king aka husband!

Stay tuned for part 2 of Bernada’s interview next week.


How Creative Women are Supporting Creative Girls: Girls Rule.org

How Creative Women are Supporting Creative Girls: Girls Rule.org

by Lisa Guillot for Step Brightly’s Creative Women in Business Series
Creative Women In Business Series Interview with Ladon Brumfield, Girls Rule! Founder

“Success is having the things that are important to you and that you value present in your life.” – Shanon Nelson

Last month we introduced you to HERstory Maker, Author, Professor and MOMpreneur, Shanon Nelson.  Please enjoy part 2 of her interview.

What exciting personal or professional are you currently working on?

I’ve published two books Push Past The Pain and Into Your Purpose and Get Over Your B.S. (Belief System). Get Over Your B.S. is my story of triumph, a gripping story line which makes it easy to retain the book’s lessons and insights. There’s suspense, emotional drama, some light-hearted parts and even some touching moments – all cleverly intertwined with spiritual concepts. Push Past the Pain and Into Your Purpose is the spiritual blueprint I used to overcome the many adversities in my life with scriptures and prayers that will serve to encourage anyone going through a trail in their life. That’s pretty exciting! So I’m working on marketing those and selling 1 million copies. I intend to publish at least 2-3 more books this year. And I’d like to do more speaking engagements and seminars around the world.

What kind of people or clients do you want to reach, work or collaborate with?

I want to preferably reach women who have a desire to be autonomous and have successful careers. Men are also welcome if they are an aspiring Entrepreneur. Young girls between the ages of 16-29 who have lost their way and need guidance are also the ideal type of client.

What advice would you give to girls and women who are just beginning their journey to facilitate change in their lives, communities or careers?  

In the words of my dear business colleague Jim Collins

“Clarify your three circles, mirroring at a personal level the three questions…

  1. What are you deeply passionate about?
  2. What are you are genetically encoded for — what activities do you feel  just “made to do”?
  3. What makes economic sense — what can you make a living at?

Those fortunate enough to find or create a practical intersection of the three circles have the basis for a great work life.”- Jim Collins

How do you define success?

Success is having the things that are important to you and that you value present in your life. I value spiritual growth, personal development, a healthy lifestyle, healthy living, loving relationships, financial responsibility and prosperity. So for me, as long as I have loving, meaningful relationships with my mate, my children, my family, and others, financial success not necessarily in terms of an amount, but a healthy financial portfolio that affords me the ability to give to others, and still maintain a quality lifestyle, a healthy eating habit, exercise regimen, and a spiritual sensitivity that invokes me to always have compassion for others and strive to be a better human being while assisting movers and shakers of the world in affecting the world in a way that others are transformed for the better. Then, I have achieved SUCCESS!

“If you don’t come up with your own definition of success, you will always be living someone else’s purpose.” ~ Nicole J. Butler



Nicole J. Butler, HERstory Maker

We introduced you to HERstory Maker and professional actress, Nicole J. Butler last month.

Please enjoy Part 2 of her HERstory making interview.


How do you maintain the integrity of your personal mission while navigating the demands of your industry?

I trust my intuition.  When life gets too hectic, or I have a “why the heck am I doing this??” moment, I check in with myself to see if what I’m doing has real value to me or anyone else, and I pay close attention to my answer as non-judgementally as possible.  If the answer is “Yes, this is something I want to do,”  I adjust my attitude, and roll up my sleeves.   If not, I stop doing it as soon as is practical.  I do gather the perspectives of other people that I respect, but I don’t let any of them outweigh my own inner voice in making the final determination of what’s right for me personally and professionally.


How do you define success?

My definition of success changes periodically, but I really don’t think it’s as important to know HOW I define it, as it is to know that I DO define it, for myself, and that I refuse to blindly accept whatever definition of success is widely promoted by well- or ill-intentioned others.  If you don’t come up with your own definition of success, you will always be living someone else’s purpose.


How would you like people to describe your contribution to your industry/community?

Oh boy, you do ask some tough questions, don’t you??  I’m working through this particular question in my life right now – I really just want to give to people in such a way that they are better off for having known me.  Hopefully that doesn’t sound arrogant, because I don’t mean it that way.  I just want to enrich rather than deplete.  There have been many people in my life, including some who have passed away, who have been so generous with themselves, and some of them touched my life in ways that it has taken me years to realize.  Now that I am aware, it’s my desire and my responsibility to pay it forward.

What exciting personal or professional are you currently working on?

I’m working as a talent coordinator for BET Honors, auditioning, doing some work for the NAACP Image Awards, writing 2 books,  and looking forward to seeing some projects that I shot last year hit the small screen!

School to Girl: Sing the National Anthem “OUR” Way

School to Girl: Sing the National Anthem “OUR” Way.

“Become What You May, But Be Who You Are.” ~ Nicole J. Butler, Actress

HERstory Makers – Nicole Butler

Nicole and I met many moons ago on the very first day of school.   I remember being very nervous on that day…not only because I was the first student  picked up on the bus route that morning, but because I was headed to a new school where I didn’t know anyone.  I sat on the empty bus (stomach churning with anxiety) when we stopped in front of Nicole’s house.  Out she flew – pig tails, book back and all.  She plopped down on the seat across from me and flashed the biggest smile.  I don’t remember what we said to one another, but do know that I immediately felt at ease as we laughed the entire ride to school.  Even back then, Nicole’s “super sized” personality and natural penchant for comedy had positively impacted the people around her.

Today, Nicole is an accomplished actress who is living her dream in Los Angeles, CA.  As you’ll see on NicoleTV, she has appeared in countless commercials, sitcoms and other theatrical pieces, while approaching her craft with grace, truth and integrity.


What do you do for a living and what sparked your desire to pursue this career?  

I am an actress, and I also do some behind-the-scenes production work, mostly for award shows.

Growing up, I was always performing in one way or another – I’ve always been drawn to performance – I’ve sung in various choirs and groups all of my life, given speeches, recitations, and other types of performance.  I used to write plays in elementary school, and I had one teacher who let the class act them out.  I also loved attending live theatre, but didn’t know that any type of artistic pursuit could ever be more than a hobby for “regular” people like me… until I took a theatre class in college.  The class had to stage a play at the end of the semester – that’s when the acting bug bit me.  Hard.  I was close to completing the requirements for my Spanish degree (I thought I was going to be a translator/ interpreter), so I completed that, and stayed in school another year-and-a half to complete requirements for a second major in Theatre Arts.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received? 

When I was in college, a woman I worked with said “Become what you may, but be who you are.”  and it has stuck with me for almost 20 years.  What you  do should be a natural outgrowth of who you are – no matter how many people try to convince us otherwise.

As women (young and not so young), we need to be mindful not to defer to so-called “authority” because we have been socialized to believe that deference is a feminine trait.  We need to take ownership of ourselves as individuals and stop giving our power away.  I am not talking about having a bad attitude, nor am I saying that we should be combative (though confrontation is sometimes necessary), but we have every right to feel what we feel, speak, dream, and DO as we see fit – and know that we don’t have to hold back for fear that being fully ourselves reduces someone else’s stature.  Listen to your gut, acknowledge whatever fear you feel, then proceed with doing whatever you feel compelled to do.  Trust that as long as you proceed from a place of service rather than a place of ego, you will be on the right track.

What personal or professional challenges have you experienced and how did you overcome them?

I tend to not pay much attention to things that don’t serve me.  For example, I often hear that there aren’t many roles for black women in Hollywood, and even fewer for black women of my physical stature.  The numbers may support this as being true, but I don’t think about it because I don’t intend to internalize it and make it my problem.  My job is not to figure out why things won’t happen, my job is to make things happen.  I once heard that the first rule of being a racecar driver is “Don’t look where you don’t want to go.”  I’ve applied that rule to my career.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Nicole’s interview.

Part I: Shanon Nelson; educator, author, and mompreneur

Shanon Nelson, author, professor, mompreneur

It is my pleasure to present our very first HERstory Maker, Shanon Nelson. 

Shanon has overcome great adversity in her life to become the woman that she is today.   Shanon, a Professional Speaker, Author, Small Business Coach, MomPreneur and Professor of Management at Saint Leo University recently published.  She shares her trials, tragedies and ultimate triumphs with readers in her new book, “Get Over Your B.S. – Change Your Belief System and Transform Your Life.” 

Shanon’s passion is to inspire others to live productive and FULL professional and personal lives. Her greatest fulfillment is assisting others with making their dreams come true.


What personal or professional challenges have you experienced and how did you overcome them?

WOW! Where do I start? I married when I was 16 years old and that became the catalyst to everything else being out of order in my life. I ended up getting pregnant shortly thereafter and remember my freshman year in college being pregnant. It was one of the most embarrassing experiences in my life watching others gawk at me as if I was a whore or something. Shortly thereafter our marriage fell apart, and I found myself in and out of bad relationships from that point on.  I married again years later in my early twenties to an abusive person who later ended up abandoning me and my four children. It broke me into a million pieces but it was necessary for me to live on purpose. I finally was shaken to the core that I was ready to do something about my situation. Life was just happening to me and I was tired of being helpless. I cried out to God and asked if him if he could help me. I told him that I couldn’t do this anymore, and I meant it. I couldn’t take it anymore. He picked me up, broken, busted, and disgusted piece by piece and helped me put my life back together again. It hasn’t always been easy, but God has been faithful. Through it all I held strong to my faith in a higher being loving me more than I loved myself. I continued to push past the pain and pursue my education and employment opportunities. I was faithful over the little that I had and God soon gave me much more to be faithful over. I didn’t despise my small beginnings. Before long, I landed an opportunity at the college and that was the BEGINNING OF THE REST OF MY LIFE! If there’s one piece of advice that I can give others, it would be: NEVER, EVER GIVE UP! One day at a time, be faithful. Keep at it! Before long, you’ll be living the life that you’ve always wanted to live. 

What do you do for a living and why do you do it? 

I am the nation’s leading Mompreneur, a Professional Speaker, Author, and Professor of Management at Saint Leo University. I do it because I have a PASSION for helping others succeed in all that they do. I have a burden particularly for helping women be self sufficient and capable of caring for themselves and their children. I love business and the thought of empowering others to be successful business owners.  I am not fulfilled unless I help others fulfill their purpose. Myles Monroe once said, “Where purpose is unknown, abuse will certainly follow.” It is my passion to help as many people live fulfilling lives. In order to do so, they must know their purpose and walk in it.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Pursue Holiness. Laws are created to protect us but many of us do not want to obey the laws and as a result we hurt ourselves. Life is about choices, challenges, and change. The choices we make determine the quality of life that we will live. We must be accountable for our actions, despite what others may or may not do to us. Live life on purpose! Treat people like you want to be treated. Sow good seeds, and good seeds will come back to you! 

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