BurnBush_052910_02a SMALLERBy ellis j. still

People sometimes say that dogs and their owners start to look alike over time. While I certainly hope that isn’t the case, I can say that we adopt mannerisms from each other. Here are five things that I learned from our family dog, Peanut:

  1. Bacon makes everything taste better. Everything.
  2. Life is fun. Live is a vibrant canvas from which to play around with. Sure, one does face life’s challenges, but only for a short time. Joy comes with the morning.
  3. Unconditional love is beneficial. Love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, it does not boast, it does not become conceited, it does not behave dishonorably, it is not selfish, it does not become angry, it does not keep a record of wrongs,  it does not rejoice at unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  4.  It is important to take time to refresh and explore the great outdoors. Go camping. Visit the local park. Enjoy quiet time with nature, and with God. Revive yourself.
  5. Get some rest. Exercise. Take care of your body. If you don’t take care of you, then who will?

Bonus: It’s ok to hit the reset button. He can be mad at us for leaving the house (even if it’s just to take out the trash) but as soon as we come back in he’s already forgiven us and ready to play.

Question: Are you a dog owner? What have you learned from your pet?

© 2014, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I may have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Minding Our Business: Celebrating Middle School Entrepreneurship!

By: ellis j. still

Young people are the cornerstone of our future. Minding Our Business (MOB) is an outstanding example of actively reinforcing that sentiment by partnering with middle schools to provide young people with real life experience of what it is like to be an entrepreneur.

For the past 15 years, Minding Our Business (MOB) has been challenging middle school students not only come up with business ideas, but to create a balanced budget in terms of what it would take to run a business, apply for and present their business to judges, and upon approval of the budget, get funding to launch & run their business on Market Fair Day (outcome presentations are attached at the end of this blog post).

I had the opportunity to volunteer as a panel judge for the kids’ funding presentations. They were teams of kids (each team represented a business) who as individuals had separate roles such as a president/ceo that was responsible for the vision & mission of their company, and various vice presidents that included marketing, finance, operations, project management, and sales. They presented to the judges their idea, target market, how the business would run, budget and proposed funding requirements. Judges then had to assess the presentation and decide if the requested funding was warranted.

The presentations were quite awesome, not what you would expect from middle school students. The kids were well versed in their subject areas and it was evident that they rehearsed their presentations at length.

SUCCESS STORIES

In addition to the program mentioned above, MOB also has advanced and summer programs for those who wish to continue the entrepreneurship track beyond the initial program. Here are some success stories as a result of MOB’s programs:

  • Trevon Molder (MOB 2006), age 17 and CEO of Tick’s Toys started his toy business six years ago and still runs it successfully. Trevon is a senior student at the Trenton Central High School. He plans to go to college and study biochemistry.
  • Pula Jusu (MOB 2003) Took over father’s B & B Home Movie Productions. She is planning to start a business with her two other sisters selling clothing. Pula is very close to finish a master degree in business.
  • Tanaya Butler (MOB 1997) Helped her dad create a cleaning business from the ground up using all the know how acquired through MOB. Swans Brothers Cleaning is a successful business. Tanaya is planning now to open a beauty salon. She’s studying to become a register nurse.
  • Qaysean Williams (MOB 2003), who is a fashion designer and CEO of Mannequin, a fashion design business that recently displayed its garments at the Sun National Bank Arena Fashion Show.
  • Shawntae DeVlugt (MOB 1998) She owns a cake business.
  • Tamar Levy (MOB 1998) He is the owner of a small accounting firm.
  • Abberin Hoagland (MOB 2003) Non-profit summer arts program. “Both Hands” and she is teaching film.
  • Bryan Lane (MOB 2001) He owns a barbershop.
  • Kimyatta Perry – She owns a Hair Salon
  • Jonathan Knight (MOB 1998) He owns an E-Commerce business involving drop shipping.
  • Albert Matlock (MOB 2004) Mentoring Program called the Elite Club, He also sells clothes to fund it. He wanted to help inner-city youth and to fuel his passion for clothing.
  • Eric Hallet (MOB 2001) He owns Outdoor Flicks – A business renting out inflatable 30 ft. movie screens.
  • Jamar L. Robinson (MOB 2001) He owns two businesses. One is called Project DBR (Dreams Becoming Reality) an internet blog for promoting and discussing all types of artists and musicians. The other business is called “Life Crooks” selling clothes and graphic Ts.
  • Kyle Barrett (MOB 1999) He owns a Take-out out of home restaurant.

MOB students talk about their experiences… (video will open in new window)

MOB is a unique program that allows kids to learn and make long term career choices through real life activity. The program’s track record of success is a role model for others looking to make a difference in urban communities.

Below are attached PDF outcome presentations for MOB’s programs, which can also be downloaded directly from MOB’s website (right-click to open in a new tab or window):

MOB’s success is opening doors for it to expand well beyond the confines of Rider University and Trenton, NJ, and into being an independent 501(c)(3). If you would like to take part in this expansion and meet its founders and some of the success stories in person, MOB is hosting its annual “Bridge to the Future” fundraiser in Lawrence, NJ. If you cannot make it in person, or of you  wish to contact them, Dr. Hernandez can be reached at 609-895-5509 or email: hernandez@rider.edu

Question: How would your life be different if you had been exposed to entrepreneurship at an early age?

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Celebrity Chef Cook-Off: You Be The Judge

by: ellis j. still (@ellis_still)

What do you get when you have the opportunity to judge two well known chef’s and culinary students who are rivaling against each other?

An amazing fund raiser that benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton, NJ, a national community organization that provides  young people with  safe havens, academic enrichment, and recreational activities through after-school, weekend, and summer programs.

Join us as Chef Barbie Marshall and Chef Justin Antiorio, finalists in Fox television show Hell’s Kitchen, along with four of Mercer County Community College’s most talented student Sous Chefs prepare delicious hors d’oeuvres, and you will be the judge!

My wife, Tina (@Tina_Still), and I are huge proponents of giving back to communities whenever we can. Since Hell’s Kitchen is one of the shows that we watch/Tivo on a regular basis, having the opportunity to see these great Chefs battle it out for a worthy cause is a great way to spend a Wednesday evening.

On November 7th, 2012, every person should be the difference by attending this culinary event. Here are ten reasons why:

  1. You get to meet two of Hell’s Kitchen’s finest cooks, Chef Barbie Marshall (@BarbieMarshall), and Chef Justin Antiorio (@ChefJustinHk).
  2. This makes for a great date night for you and your spouse (or significant other)
  3. You get to sample a variety of appetizers.
  4. You get to take the night off from cooking or ordering fast food.
  5. You get to network and meet new people at a new venue (at least new to me – I have never been to The Stone Terrace before).
  6. The weather is still relatively warm… a great opportunity to find someone to create/complete your #Golf foursome before cold weather finally sets in.
  7. If you ask, maybe you can find out more about Chef Barbie’s new initiative, “5 Star Chefs
  8. Like me, you were sitting in the dark for days as a result of not having power due to Hurricane Sandy, and you desperately need a change of pace.
  9. You need some new culinary ideas. For example, I subscribe to the notion that bacon makes anything taste better. To my wife’s (and my personal trainer’s) disdain, I add bacon (bits) to everything in an effort to make it better.
  10. Proceeds of the event benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Trenton and Mercer County, NJ

For more information on the event and its venue, click here. To buy tickets ($25.00), click here.

Question: What is your favorite appetizer?

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

The King’s Men Tour: Gospel Music Concert Review

by: ellis j. still

The King’s Men Tour has got to be the best concert that I have attended in my entire life.

Ellis & Tina Still, with The King’s Men
(l-r) Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp & Israel Houghton
(click on photo to enlarge)

On Saturday, October 6th, 2012, my wife Tina and I ventured from New Jersey to Washington DC for a round of golf (me), a tour of The White House, and a concert, The King’s Men Tour. If you have not heard of the tour, it features gospel music heavyweights Israel Houghton, Donnie McClurkin, Marvin Sapp, and Kirk Franklin, spur of the moment add-ons Tye Tribbett and Byron Cage and amazing background vocalist including recording artist Isaac Caree and Sunday Best season 4 winner Amber Bullock.

I have had the opportunity to see all of the above minister at my church home with the exception of Kirk Franklin & Byron Cage, so I knew to expect a great show.

Not only was it a great show, but The King’s Men completely exceeded my expectations. Usually music artists require that they use their own personnel (musicians, background vocals, ect.) for their performance. It is rare, if ever, that they make the extra effort to create the logistics to work together with other artists.

However, for The King’s Men Tour, all of the artists used the same band and personnel, which made the entire evening seamless. There were no intermissions needed between artists’ performances, which tend to make concerts that feature multiple artists really long. The King’s Men artists and their music were interwoven in a way that seemed natural, and the band was on point when artists broke out in a spontaneous song.

The King’s Men (click on photo to enlarge)

Who says Christians are dry and do not know how to have fun. It was an enjoyable evening filled with impressive music, flawless vocals, lots of laughter, and deep seeded worship. All of the artists demonstrated all of these components, but in their own way. It is impossible to describe things in great detail, so here are a few snippets:

Byron Cage, a last minute addition, opened the evening with a men’s choir from the Washington DC area, who brought the house down with a creative mixture of new school worship, and old school gospel.

Israel Houghton (click photo to enlarge)

Israel Houghton is my all time favorite artist. In fact, when we were back stage to visit with the artists,  Tina jokingly but seriously told on me by telling Israel that I listen to his Christmas CD all year round.

On stage, Israel told his personal life story, which I had never heard before. Israel is known for his worship, playing the guitar, and for his special affinity towards live bands. What I did not know is that Israel’s  talent goes way beyond the guitar (you’ll have to go to the concert to know what I’m talking about), which was a pleasant surprise to all of the thousands of people present.

Marvin Sapp (click on photo to enlarge)

Marvin Sapp really surprised me by his vocal range. Yes – Marvin is anointed with exceptional vocals on any day, but on this evening, something got hold of him. He could barely contain himself, and the entire place was in tears.

Donnie McClurkin brought us to our knees with spontaneous worship that touched the core of our very being. Donnie, like all of the other King’s Men, in their own way, took us to church, and reminded us that we are the church every day – not just on Sunday.

Donnie McClurkin (click on photo to enlarge)

Tye Tribbett, like Kirk Franklin, is a ball of energy. Even though he was a last minute addition, he and his music fit in nicely.

Kirk Franklin was, well, Kirk Franklin. Kirk is Tina’s all time favorite gospel artist to see live in concert. She had been pleading with me over the years that in order to fully understand why, I had to go to a Kirk Franklin concert myself. Now, I totally understand.

The most important highlight if the night was the open and clear recognition of Jesus Christ. For this evening, the Verizon Center was no longer the Verizon Center. The Verizon Center was Church. Kirk said it best – saying that you believe in God is not enough. ‘God’ can mean anything. Jesus is our everything. Our Ruler. Our Redeemer. Our Provider. Our Shelter. Our Healer. Our Deliverer. Our Father. Our Protector. Our Savior. This is how Kirk Franklin, Tye Tribbett, and the rest of The King’s Men honored our Lord and Savior through song.

Kirk Franklin (click on photo to enlarge)

In conclusion, there are no words to express how this concert has touched my life, and the lives of the other thousands of people at the Verizon Center. Some people think that being a Christian is dry and no fun, and instead turn to things/people that provide temporary hope. If this is you, I encourage you to get tickets to the concert (tix are cheap for the most part). Tour cities and dates are listed on Kirk Franklin’s website.

In order to live, first you have to die.

To view more pictures via Facebook, Click here.

Question: Have you given your heart to Jesus? If not, email me at estill@tinellis.com, and I will show you how.

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the event brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I do, however, have a marketing connection to the musical artists’ brand, topic or product herein. Through the use of links contained herein, my bookstore may provides access to items created by the attached artists for purchase. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference: We are all family here!!!

by: ellis j. still

As I sit in my Chicago Hilton Hotel room, a new awakening is upon me. A new desire. A new drive to succeed. Not that these things ever went away, but more so a refreshing of hope.

Black Enterprise Magazine is not just a business magazine… a semblance of graphics, articles, and advertising as a way to make money.

Black Enterprise Magazine is an institution, from which businesses that happen to be owned by African Americans can grow, support, inspire, and be inspired in business, in life, and in Spirit.

The Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Conference (BEEC) is a reflection of the magazine… a vehicle from which to leverage and to celebrate business success.

It’s about wildly successful people showing love & support to others as they would to themselves. It’s about creating genuine relationships. It’s about positioning success within arm’s reach on new entrepreneurs.

It is important to differentiate between “Black Owned” businesses, which have connotations of being and doing sub-par business, from businesses that happen to be owned by African Americans that secure a footprint in the marketplace, rivaling their non-minority counterparts.

The conference was filled with many growth opportunities, featuring a wide variety of speakers that covered an even wider variety of topics. There were many moments from which to take advantage of creating relationships with peers, mentors, and those who can catapult your business. I, myself, cannot name names, but have had extremely meaningful conversations with several people that I look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with.

Yet also, it was refreshing to hear successful and creative CEO level executives talk at length about their business success as it relates to their personal relationship in Christ, which, I believe, is taboo in most business settings.

The highlight of the conference was not a dynamic speaker, nor a media superstar. The highlight of the conference was a moment of despair… where one would gladly jump off the nearest cliff of if he could.

In a room filled with 1,500 people and an undetermined number of people watching via streaming online, finalists were pitching their business as part of a larger national competition to vie for a prize of $10,000.  A young man approached the microphone, and began to talk about his business.

He started strong, but began to stumble over his words. He started over at the beginning and again, he was unable to find his words.  Visibly shaken, he slowed down his speech, seemingly to try to get his mind to sync with his mouth.

It was kind of like running hurdles in Track & Field, where if you hit a hurdle, you don’t hit just one. It throws you off for the rest of the entire race, and you hit every hurdle afterwards, falling to the ground before reaching the finish line.

This is essentially what happened to this young man. He eventually stopped trying, held his head down, separated himself from the microphone, and walked off the stage dejected.

This is when the cool part happens. This is where you see the true culture and character of Black Enterprise unfold. You see, they did not let him end on that note. They bought him back out on the stage.

Kim Coles who was a judge for the competition, defined that moment in her always loving, smiling, and in this case deliberate yet stern voice, when she said to the young man…

”WE ARE ALL FAMILY IN THIS ROOM”

She went on to say to the young man that one day his business will be wildly successful, and he will look back on that moment and ponder & smile at how far he had come… and laugh.

The entire room of 1,500 people promptly stood up, and graced him with thunderous applause.

This is what Black Enterprise is all about. Kindness. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others. It is not self-seeking; it keeps no record of wrongs. It rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Black enterprise is an institution that demonstrates a love for others through business.

In the coming days, I will post some of my notes from the conference. I cannot go into too much detail, and I did not attend every session, as several sessions met at the same time. I would encourage you to get the latest copy of Black Enterprise: Special 40th Anniversary Edition, which features BE’s Top 100 Businesses, as well as many of the speakers from the conference.

This was my first time attending a Black Enterprise signature event. Having attended, I have a new-found reverence for what Black Enterprise is and its desire to support African American business owners. While social media keeps you informed, in order to truly get results, the cost of attending in person definitely matches the value of what you get in return.

Question: How bad do you want to succeed? Meet us at the Black Enterprise Golf & Tennis Challenge in Florida on Labor Day Weekend and open yourself up to partnering with friendly faces who want to see you succeed.

For pictures, see our Facebook Page

You can also enroll in Black Enterprise’s (free) 2012 Small Business University Hosted by Dell

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

__________________________________________

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

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