Bryn Carden is a versatile young entrepreneur with a deep sense of compassion and the desire to help make the world a better place. In 2017, she founded Styles for Smiles – a company selling bracelets to support the Smile Train Organization. The proceeds from selling Bryn’s designs have already helped fund cleft palate repairs for 16 children in developing countries.
BF Hats, another design brand Bryn is engaged in, donates a portion from every purchase to Ronald McDonald House of Dallas – combining Bryn’s passion for style and philanthropy.
Bryn is a Neeley School of Business student at Texas Christian University and an active member of the Delta Gamma sorority – an organization empowering women to stand up to their full potential. Ms. Carden values mentorship and donates her free time to make an impact in other people’s lives as a participant of the Neeley Mentorship Program and Riff Ram Reading Program.
Ms. Carden leads other women by example with a kind, compassionate and authentic approach, promoting health and wellness, strong ambition, and generosity. She is a proud Miss Kemah Teen USA, inspiring others with her beauty, positive attitude, and love for people.
When she has free time, Bryn can be found modeling, traveling, skiing, paddle boarding, exercising, and spending time with her friends and family.
Bryn, Thanks for talking with us. You are a college student and an entrepreneur. How do you find the time for all your projects? What’s your secret?
If you love what you do, any project- work or not- is never a job. With each entrepreneurial activity I take under my belt, I make sure that it is backed with passion. Further, any business backed by passion is already on track for something amazing at the core of its being! Prioritization is important, and what I’ve found to work best for me is prioritizing things by DAY. Some days I spend focusing on studying, schoolwork, etc. whereas some days I spend more focus and energy on self-care, marketing, and growing my businesses and personal brand.
I’ve also found time management to not always be about the daily increase, but about decreasing what is unneeded in the day. Hack away at the unessential, and stay far away from procrastination. I place emphasis on tasks in order of priority. The app Trello is something I cannot live without. Being a list maker, this app/website allows me to create lists of what I need to do, order the tasks in the level of importance, and archive them when completed. For example, one of my lists on Trello is “Free Time to do” – complete with “create a new vision board, organize the pantry, go through clothes and donate car wash…”. This allows me to always have something to do, and never sit there with empty time.
Why did you decide to pursue your college major?
I love math and numbers because it is a problem with a definite answer. I declared a Business Finance major to mix real-world problem solving with my passion for people and growing my own brand. I love and adore the field of business for what it is. I find joy and curiosity in knowing that you can take your own ideas and from nothing, grow a vast brand, company, and new adventure, shaping it into the mold you desire! There is a competitive edge to the world of business that I also find fascinating.
What are the projects that you most enjoy working on, and why?
One of my favorite projects has been finding recipes deemed to be unhealthy, and reworking them through healthy alternatives. Some of my favorite swaps consist of regular rice to Trader Joe’s Riced Cauliflower, flour to almond flour, and noodles to zucchini noodles. Here are two of my favorite recipes I created through trial and error!
I’ve also started to recently take clothes that sit in the back of my closet and find new ways to rework them. I’ll take Pinterest and magazine inspiration, and work pieces into something of a modern-day trend. It also sounds funny, but one of my recent projects has been helping style, my friends, as they come to me with an event where they need a dress or outfit, head to toe. Styling and taking what I love about my friends, and formulating fun fashion finds for them is another great adventure.
I also LOVE organization and after getting inspiration from watching the Home Edit on Netflix, I’ve found new ways to organize my closet, desk, and fridge/pantry.
What has been the most important part of your college journey?
Finding my forever people… the girls that have laughed, cried and shared irreplaceable memories with me. Coming into college, I made an effort to become friends with everyone I met. You are never “too cool, too popular, or too busy”, to smile, chat with, or be kind to someone. Everyone is in the same boat when coming into college… We all are from different areas of the country, with different and similar stories that have shaped us into the individuals we are today, all starting with a new blank slate. These girls have taught me the power of true, genuine, love for others- SO incredibly important.
What was your biggest ‘a-ha’ moment?
During my freshman year of high school, it all came together. In high school, many teens “find themselves”, and craft the person that they want to be. Society has depicted what we girls should look like, talk like, and act like. It was then that I realized the most valuable version of myself is the unapologetic version. As Miss Kemah Teen USA, I placed an emphasis on expanding my platform of helping girls feel confident and comfortable in their own skin-one of the most important aspects of a young girl’s life. Before high school, I struggled with self-confidence and was a victim of insecurities. After my ‘a-ha’ moment of simply being true to ME, I then realized the importance of not seeking outside validation. When ignoring others’ opinions of me and instead surrounding myself with people who accept all of what you are, life becomes more joyous! Through TCU, I read and simply chat with the little children at a local, economically disadvantaged elementary school. One of the little girls asked me, “How are you so happy all the time?”…. The answer was simple. I pour my energy into positive affirmations, self-love, and spreading love to others. Anything that drains my energy and holds me down, such as insecurities, is immediately replaced with positive thoughts.
Do you have a role model or an entrepreneur you admire? Why?
Without a doubt, my role models are my parents. I can still remember clear as day, looking forward to our evening walks when growing up. What made these evenings so special was my parents smiling and laughing as I tiptoed in my beloved long, yellow, never washed Princess Belle gown. In the eyes of my seven-year-old self, the world was innocent and I was lucky enough to be the center of their world. My parents have also always been unapologetically themselves. My father’s jokes, the mind of an encyclopedia, and knowledge of every Rolling Stones album release date fascinate me. But ask him for the Netflix password… and forget it. My mom never fails to be a shoulder to lean on, something I plan to mirror as a mother one day. Society pressures today’s youth to conform to what is considered “cool”, but my parents always remind me to stay authentic.
When was the last time you totally lost yourself in doing something?
Hiking with my family in Sedona, Arizona, my mind became completely revolved around the scenery, as I took everything in. I was in awe and simply felt as if I was in another world! The beautiful view made the miles on miles of hiking way easier.
How do you recharge your batteries after a long day?
One thing I have struggled to master is letting myself fully rest! I love to be on the go, and my mom always jokes with me that I only rest when I am simply EXHAUSTED! However, after a long day, I crave my nightly routine which calms my mind and prepares me to wind down. I engage in nighttime yoga that benefits the brain, body, and all-around soul. As I wind down at night I spend 5-10 minutes stretching out and detoxifying the tenseness of my body from the long day on the computer, working out, and everything in between. Further, a good face mask and lather of skincare (Drunk Elephant Night serum, bio-oil, Malin + Goetiz eye cream, and more all listed in Vitamin B), do wonders to the skin. I keep a few of these in the fridge overnight, the most calming addition to the eyes at bedtime. I LOVE a good sauna session, and when I have access to one (the TCU recreation center makes it convenient), it would be my ideal wind down!
What would you do with unlimited resources?
If my resources were unlimited, I’d start by sharing my resources, getting everyone involved in this share. Each person has some sort of passion that they would be able to spread their own greatness like wildfire if able… If unlimited money was on the table, I’d mirror companies that have made it big such as Google, or Ikea, who take their funds and spend a large portion not only expanding their businesses but giving back. These companies would be a great reference to the power of contributing to charity to a great extent… While doing so, I would travel. Italy, Spain, Thailand… While doing so, I’d certainly place an emphasis on expanding educational availability worldwide when traveling. I’d contribute to schools in developing countries by donating supplies, teachers/role models, food, etc. Where schools are not available, I’d bring in the resources to build from the start.
How do you feel you make a difference in the world?
Simply by showing kindness and compassion to everyone I meet. You never know the exact measure of how great you will impact someone by just a smile, but kindness is a domino effect.
An Interview with Jonathan Printers Jr., Founder of ‘A Writers Business’
Jonathan Printers Jr. is the founder of ‘A Writers Business‘. He started this platform to help the writers’ community evolve into better writers and gain exposure. And ultimately, helping them achieve their financial goals as well. We recently interviewed Jonathon to more about his venture.
Jonathon, Thank you for doing this. Tell us something about yourself. What did you do before founding ‘A Writers Business’?
Thank you for having me. I’m primarily a mental health therapist and for the most part I spent years balancing that career with one in the national guard. I’d been interested in starting a business and really had no idea where to begin. Technology helped with that. Back in 2017, I first played around with the idea. I found it easy to create a website, get an address link, and add some information and images. From there, I created or collaborated on various online projects/businesses. The inspiration for A Writers Business originally came from an interest in poetry that soon expanded to include writers, authors, and content creators as well. There is an emphasis to help these individuals expand their audience.
What was your motivation behind founding ‘A Writers Business’? What were the initial challenges that you faced in your endeavor?
I did a few clothing lines in 2018 and 2019. I found it difficult to get those going because of the upfront costs of production. I needed something relatable, something I was interested in, and at a minimum upfront investment that could run without thousands of dollars invested. The poet and writer community is extremely large, and growing, and because of social media now many people have the opportunity to showcase their talents. A Writers Business began sharing various poets and writers. Now with a goal to help those in this community grow their brand.
Do you think the space for authors and poets will change forever with the adoption of tools like ChatGPT?
Absolutely. ChatGPT comes with pros and cons, right? I see ChatGPT helping authors and poets develop summaries, outlines, bullet points, or even short stories with ChatGPT. With some editing, authors will be able to use AI to generate many more words in a shorter time span. I haven’t seen prompts for poetry yet, but I’m sure it’s possible. The downside is that it will take the creativity, uniqueness, and style away from the poet. So, If I had a preference, I can see it being useful if I’m on a tight deadline. Other than that, I’d prefer someone’s honest words.
Taking forward the previous question, do you feel that Artificial Intelligence tools can ever replace authors and poets?
No, absolutely not. I see AI as a great tool for compiling information and providing great suggestions. Filler material. However, great authors and poets put their essence and personal perspectives in their writing. That’s something that can only come from the human heart and mind.
How does ‘A Writers Business’ help authors and poets in achieving their goals?
Our goal is to help authors and poets gain exposure, grow their audience, and have some support with promotions. We offer a variety of services including social media promotion, editing, poet and author interviews (free of cost), as well as support through marketing. Each service is tailored specifically to the individual client, their needs, and the feedback we receive.
How did Covid impact your business?
Tremendously. We were up and running in 2019-2020, focusing heavily on poetry contests, interviews, and promotion. With the pandemic, there was worry over finances and unemployment. As a result, I lost some support I had with maintaining the website, social media pages, and marketing authors and poets. Also, most of my time went into maintaining my household and career. Since then, we’ve slowly built back up refocusing our efforts on consistency, article writing, poet and author interviews.
How has ‘A Writers Business’ evolved over the years? In the coming months, how do you wish to transform the landscape of the writers community?
A Writers Business went from an Instagram platform exclusively promoting poetry to a network that includes several social media platforms, a medium publication, a complete website, and a community on Patreon. There are so many talented creatives that are deserving of acknowledgment. In the coming months to a year, I hope to meet with several poets and authors, give a few interviews myself, and shift our focus back to marketing.
What would you like the writing community and your audience to know?
I always invite feedback. I want to meet people and guide them toward their goals. So, if there’s a need in the community, please, let me know. And if you’re looking to boost your portfolio, come write for us!
An Interview with Joanne Docherty, Mental Health Expert and Founder of Starra Education
Joanne Docherty is the founder of Starra Education. Through Starra Education, she offers a range of accredited Mental Health Training and Qualifications crafted both for individuals and organisations. Joanne also teaches Psychology at The University of Glasgow. We recently interviewed her to know more about mental health challenges and how her company is addressing those challenges.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and experience in mental health first aid training?
I have been actively involved in mental health first aid training for several years now, and I am passionate about helping individuals and organisations to better understand and address mental health issues. I have a strong educational foundation and have worked hard to gain valuable experience in this field. As an educator at the University of Glasgow, I have had the opportunity to teach students about mental health. I am also a member of the Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Mental Health, which has allowed me to contribute to policy discussions and advocate for better mental health services in Scotland.
In addition, I am the founder of Starra Education, a company that provides evidence-based mental health training programs to organisations. Through my work with Starra Education, I have been able to help many employees learn how to identify signs of mental health issues in their colleagues and take appropriate steps to provide support. I have also worked with organisations to provide mental health support and resources to those in need.
What inspired you to become involved in mental health first aid training and founding Starra Education?
I have always been passionate about mental health and wellbeing, and I have dedicated my career to working with various non-profit organisations and educational institutions to help individuals facing challenges. However, the impact of COVID-19 and seeing how people were being affected mentally was a significant reason I started to offer this qualification at Starra Education. I was supporting a lot of leaders through their leadership qualifications who were facing issues with their staff teams and didn’t know how best to support them, and I could see a massive gap. This motivated me to take action and offer mental health first aid training to help people identify and manage mental health issues in themselves and others.
I saw an opportunity to use my expertise to provide evidence-based programs that could teach leaders how to recognize the signs of mental health issues amongst their employees and take the necessary steps to support them effectively. My personal experiences with my mother, who was schizophrenic, have been a significant source of inspiration for my work. Witnessing the impact of mental health issues firsthand, I was driven to make a positive difference in the lives of others through education and support. Overall, the combination of these factors has fueled my passion for mental health first aid training and inspired me to offer this at Starra Education.
How do you think mental health first aid training can help individuals and communities?
Mental health first aid training is a vital resource for individuals and communities. It can help to reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health challenges by increasing understanding and awareness. It can help individuals recognise the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and provide them with the skills and knowledge to support someone in need. It can also help break down the stigma surrounding mental health and create a culture of openness and support. By providing mental health first aid training to community groups, organisations, and workplaces, we can create a safer and more compassionate environment for everyone.
How do you tailor your training to different audiences, such as youth or older adults?
As an experienced educator, I understand that effective teaching is all about tailoring to the needs of the learners. Therefore, when training different audiences such as youth or older adults, I employ different strategies to cater to their learning needs. For instance, when working with younger learners, I use more interactive and engaging teaching methods that allow them to learn while having fun. For adults, I take a more practical approach by providing real-life scenarios that they can relate to and learn from. I also ensure that I understand the audience’s background, level of understanding, and learning style to create an effective learning environment. Additionally, I provide open communication channels to ensure that learners feel comfortable approaching me for extra support if they require it. Overall, I strive to create an inclusive and supportive learning environment that caters to the diverse needs of all learners.
How do you approach issues of stigma and discrimination in mental health first aid training?
A huge part of my approach to mental health first aid training involves addressing stigma and discrimination head-on. I believe that language is a powerful tool, and we need to be mindful of the words we use when discussing mental health. Many people use hurtful language without realising the impact it can have on those who are already struggling. Therefore, I encourage individuals to use appropriate language to reduce stigma and discrimination towards people experiencing mental health problems.
In addition to language, we also need to address the root causes of stigma and discrimination. I emphasise that mental health problems are prevalent, and anyone can be affected at any time, and individuals need to approach it from a place of compassion and empathy.
What are some of the most important skills or knowledge areas individuals should gain from mental health first aid training?
Individuals can gain essential skills and knowledge areas from mental health first aid training, such as: Understanding mental health and mental illness, this includes learning about common mental health conditions.
Recognising warning signs: this training can teach individuals how to identify signs and symptoms of mental health challenges, and how to distinguish between normal behaviour and signs of distress.
Effective communication:this includes learning how to communicate effectively and empathetically with someone who is experiencing a mental health challenge, and how to approach and support them.
Crisis management: it teaches individuals how to respond in a crisis situation. By gaining these skills and knowledge areas, individuals can become better equipped to support someone who may be experiencing a mental health challenge and provide them with the necessary help and resources they need.
You also teach Psychology at Glasgow University. How do you incorporate your subject matter expertise in Psychology in the training program you offer?
As a Psychology tutor at Glasgow University, I am able to incorporate my expertise in mental health and human behaviour into my mental health first aid training. I draw on the latest research in Psychology to provide participants with evidence-based strategies for supporting individuals with mental health issues. I also emphasise the importance of mental health education and provide participants with a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of mental health problems. By incorporating my subject matter expertise into my training, I hope to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of mental health and the tools to support those in need.
Finally, what advice would you offer to someone who is interested in becoming a mental health first aider?
Contact me and we can have a chat of course! In all seriousness, If you are interested in becoming a mental health first aider my advice would be to start by seeking out reputable training programs and organisations that offer accredited mental health first aid qualifications. Attend training courses, gain practical experience through volunteering or just being there for friends and family when they need support. It is also important to stay up-to-date on the latest research and developments in the field, and to engage in ongoing professional development. Most importantly, approach the work with empathy, compassion, and a commitment to reducing mental health stigma and promoting mental health and wellbeing.
An Interview with Fitness Entrepreneur Eugene Pallisco
As a fitness entrepreneur, Eugene Pallisco has dedicated his life to equipping people with the knowledge, willpower, confidence, and appropriate technique they need to reach their fitness objectives.
He has devoted a lot of effort to sculpting and refining his training philosophy, which is centered on the improvement of others, ever since working with motivating fitness mentors in high school. Pallisco began his career teaching group fitness classes, then broadened his knowledge by working one-on-one with gym patrons as a personal trainer before starting his private training company in the fitness sector.
Eugene is dedicated to assisting individuals in discovering the joy and freedom in their physical activity, whether through weightlifting, long-distance or high-intensity cardio, or sports training. He is confident that everyone can change their body into a strong, healthy one with the appropriate attitude, patience, and effort.
Entrepreneurship is an evergreen “buzzword.” Why do you think that is?
In my experience, being an entrepreneur can offer several benefits and perks that keep it an enticing proposition, including:
Control and flexibility: As an entrepreneur, you have the freedom to set your own schedule and work on projects that you are passionate about, allowing for a better work-life balance and the ability to pursue other interests.
Opportunity to make a difference: Starting a business can allow you to create something that positively impacts the world and helps solve a problem or meet a need.
Potential for financial success: If your business is successful, you may have the opportunity to earn a higher income than you would in a traditional job.
Independence: Being your own boss can give you a sense of freedom and autonomy that may not be possible in a traditional job.
Being an entrepreneur can be a gratifying and rewarding experience, but it also demands tremendous hard work and attention. I can’t emphasize this last part enough.
Why did you pursue the fitness industry?
Becoming a personal trainer can be a rewarding career choice for people who are passionate about health and fitness and enjoy helping others achieve their fitness goals. Some potential benefits of becoming a personal trainer include:
Personal fulfillment: Helping others improve their health and fitness can be a fulfilling and meaningful career. The reward of helping others, in particular, was my primary motivator in pursuing a career in the fitness industry.
Good pay: Personal trainers can earn a good salary, particularly if they have a solid client base and can charge competitive rates for their services. That said, you should always prioritize the client’s well-being over monetary gains.
Career growth: Personal trainers can advance their careers by earning additional certifications, specializing in certain areas of fitness, or starting their own training businesses, as I’ve done.
It’s important to note that becoming a personal trainer requires a significant commitment of time and energy. In addition to obtaining the necessary certifications, personal trainers must be able to motivate and support their clients and adapt to their clients’ changing needs and goals.
As a fitness professional, I’m sure you don’t back down from a challenge, but I imagine the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on your industry. How did you overcome this?
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the fitness industry. Many gyms and fitness studios were forced to close their doors or substantially limit their capacity to comply with public health measures designed to slow the spread of the virus.
In response, many fitness facilities and trainers, including myself, pivoted to offering virtual classes and training sessions, allowing them to continue serving their clients and generating revenue while in-person classes were impossible. Some facilities also implemented additional health and safety measures, such as frequent cleaning and sanitization, temperature checks, and mandatory masks, to make it safer for clients to return when restrictions were lifted.
In addition, outdoor and socially distanced fitness options, such as outdoor group classes and personal training sessions, became more popular as people sought ways to stay active while minimizing the risk of exposure to the virus. Thankfully, the year-round weather in Dallas is quite pleasant and enabled me to implement this approach.
To continue servicing customers and offering value throughout the epidemic, other fitness professionals and I had to be innovative and adaptive. As vaccination rates rise and public health regulations relax, the sector is expected to change and adapt to suit evolving requirements and concerns.
What are the advantages of working with a personal trainer?
Depending on the client and their goals, the perks will differ, but in most cases, I’ve found that there are several ubiquitous advantages to working with a personal trainer:
Customized workouts: A personal trainer can design a workout plan specifically for your needs and goals, considering your current fitness level, medical history, and any injuries or limitations you may have.
Motivation: Personal trainers can provide encouragement and support to help you stay motivated and committed to your fitness goals.
Expertise: Personal trainers are trained professionals with a wealth of knowledge about exercise, nutrition, and overall health and wellness. They can provide guidance and recommendations to help you achieve your goals safely and effectively.
Safe and effective workouts: Personal trainers can ensure that you are performing exercises correctly and safely, which can help reduce the risk of injury and help you get the most out of your workouts.
Accountability: Having a personal trainer can help you stay accountable for your fitness goals. You are more likely to stick to your workouts and make healthy choices when you have someone to regularly answer to and check in with.
Variety: Personal trainers can help you mix up your workouts and try new activities to keep things exciting and challenging.
Overall, working with a personal trainer can effectively improve your fitness level, help you achieve your goals, and lead a healthier lifestyle. It may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly worth exploring!
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