A lot of us grew up believing the key to success was as simple as DJ Khaled’s major key alerts on Snapchat: Stay in school. Get good grades. Get your degree. #MogulTalk. But we were never really given any guidelines or play-by-plays on how to successfully navigate the ins and outs of young adulthood. We were sort of just thrown into it — a whirlpool of expectations and unexpected circumstances — with little to no warning.
26-year-old Tomeka Kolleh, Associate of the Chairman’s Office at Combs Enterprises, can personally attest to the twenty-something struggle — that horrifying stage of adulthood when you have no frigging clue what your next move is going to be. That crucial moment in life where you either choose to step out on faith or fall by the wayside.
For Tomeka, a first-generation Liberian American from Detroit, stepping out on faith meant quitting her $10/hour gig at a small coffee shop — her first job after graduating with her bachelors degree in public relations from Bowling Green State University — and moving to New York without a job or dollar to her name. It meant going hard or going home. Literally.
Tomeka’s older sister, Deconte, who was living in New York at the time, agreed to help her get on her feet under one condition: Tomeka would have one month to find a job in New York, and if she didn’t, she would have to return home to Detroit. Within a month of moving to NY, Tomeka held up her end of the deal and landed her first job as an admissions counselor at a post-secondary school called Plaza College. A few months later, she wound up picking up an internship at a small PR firm.
“It was a start-up agency, but they had big accounts… We had the money, we had the budget, but we had little manpower,” she said. “So I was an intern working maybe 11- to 12-hour days.”
That small amount of manpower gave Tomeka just enough room to shine.
“I knew Photoshop from back in college,” she said. “They didn’t even know I knew Photoshop until one day [when] they needed edits. I said, ‘Hey, I know how to do it!’… And so that’s when I first learned how to build corporate equity — you have to bring something to the table, or they won’t even think twice.” #MajorKeyAlert
Tomeka had saved up enough money to move into her own place right before she turned 23, but just when things were starting to look up, her situation took a turn for the worse. “I was fired from Plaza College a week before my birthday,” she said. “That was the same time I moved into a bed bug-infested apartment in Brooklyn — the worst experience of my life.”
Frustrated and defeated, Tomeka decided she would leave New York and move back home. But her sister convinced her to stay another week and she wound up picking up a temp job at a media company. Her career took a major turn not long after that.
Tomeka was offered a position a few months later at Remy Martin Cognac as a PR Assistant. While working there, she attended numerous industry events to familiarize herself with industry leads. One of the events she attended was honoring her now boss and mentor Ericka Pittman, who was Vice President of Combs Wines and Spirits at the time. “I knew who [Ericka] was before she could even speak to me. Back then I was obsessed with the industry and what the women of Ciroc were doing for the brand,” she said.
A huge admirer of Pittman, Tomeka took the opportunity to congratulate her and introduce herself. After chatting briefly, Pittman gave Tomeka her card and informed her that Ciroc was always looking for new talent.
Tomeka came across a job posting from Ciroc on Instagram not long after that. She immediately sent Pittman an email expressing her interest in the position and was invited to come in the following day to interview with Pittman and a few other executives at the Bad Boy headquarters. After three months, Tomeka was finally offered the Marketing Coordinator position at Combs Wines and Spirits, the company that houses Ciroc Vodka and Deleon Tequila. She got straight to work on her very first day.
Tomeka channeled her inner Yoncé and fell right into formation. Under Pittman’s direction, she helped manage the company’s national accounts and new business. Then, in January of 2015, Tomeka was called into Pittman’s office to speak with her about something important. Pittman had just been awarded a huge promotion from Mr. Combs himself and accepted the position on the terms that Tomeka would be promoted as well. But there was a catch — the new position would be based in LA. “At the time I had never even been to LA, and now there I was, being presented an offer to pack my things and move,” she said.
Although she had no intentions of ever moving to the West Coast, Tomeka accepted the offer right on the spot. She figured it was the biggest risk she could take that was safe.
“I had a company that was paying for me to move, I had a place to stay because my best friend had just moved out there, I had a car, and I was working for Sean Combs. So I was like, okay,” she said.
A day after returning from her 25th birthday trip to the Dominican Republic, Tomeka said her good-byes, packed up her things and moved straight to LA to begin her new role as the Associate of the Chairman’s Office for Combs Enterprises. In this position, she assists Pittman on a daily basis to synthesize the vision for all of the brands housed under the Combs Enterprises portfolio: Revolt TV, Sean John, CWS (Ciroc Vodka & Deleon Tequila), Blue Flame Agency, Bad Boy Records and Aquahydrate.
“As cliché as it sounds, every single day is different,” she said. “Some days we’re updating Mr. Combs on the activity of his companies and other days we have two weeks to plan and execute an event.”
Tomeka says a lot of men have a tendency to be intimidated by her career, which can be annoying. “Dating as a Millennial and a woman in the entertainment industry is super hard because now, I feel like guys in our generation — the good ones — have more options, so they treat everybody like options. And if you’re headstrong, and you know what you want, they’re like, ‘You can either play by my rules, or you can get on.’ And I’m like, no, I’m not doing that with you.”
Tomeka says a lot of men have a tendency to be intimidated by her career, which can be annoying.
“I work for Mr. Combs — I am not Puff Daddy. I am not Ericka Pittman. I don’t have a lot of money. So it’s like, don’t be intimidated by me, because I’m just a regular old girl that’s just corny and fun. It’s not that big of a deal.”
But when you’re constantly grinding and making moves, maintaining a love life can be tough. Tomeka learned this firsthand from a previous relationship.
“I was 23 at the time and he had to be maybe 28. He could work from home and he traveled for work. He was well into his career to where he had that power. Me, on the other hand, there were days I would work like 14-hour days, 15-hour days, and I would forget (we made plans). He would say, ‘Let’s go to dinner tonight.’ And I’d tell him ‘Okay.’ And then it’s 8PM and I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry, I have to cancel.’ It was one of those things where I didn’t have a choice but to choose the option that was going to feed me.”
Even though things didn’t work out, Tomeka says that experience helped her understand why so many women in the industry don’t have successful relationships.
“(Men) are okay with empowering you and supporting you, but at the same time, if you’re picking your job over them consistently, they’re like, ‘Yeah, this is pointless — I’m dating a girl, but she’s barely there.'”
Although Pittman is Tomeka’s boss, as her mentor she makes it a point to encourage her to make time for her personal life. “She’ll sit me down and stress, ‘You have to date, date, date,'” Tomeka said.
While she’s not looking to stay single forever, she’s also not willing to settle for just any guy that comes her way. “I’m conscious about my worth; I’m really conscious about who I give my time to, and I don’t want to settle just to have somebody… I’m cool with waking up and it’s not one text message on my phone. I’m used to it — I’m cool with that,” she said. “I think the biggest thing about dating in this age is don’t just know your worth, but play your worth. Because you can know your worth and you can have morals, but if you’re not exercising your morals and sticking by them, then you’re not living out your morals… I just have to do what’s best for me because some of these guys are adult-sized boys that won’t lead you like a man. So I have to be the [person] that I want to date.”
[Tweet ""The biggest thing about dating in this age is don't just know your worth, but play your worth. "]
In addition to the love and support of her family, Tomeka attributes her inspiring journey to her faith in God. Her personal mantra is: “When the universe wants you to succeed, walk by faith and everything will fall into place on its own time.”
[Tweet ""When the universe wants you to succeed, walk by faith and everything will fall into place on its own time.”"]
“My belief [in God] didn’t become 1000% until I moved to New York,” she said. “You have to stand by faith… You couldn’t tell me when I graduated from college I was going to work for Puff. You couldn’t tell me I was going to work for Remy Martin. I didn’t know what was going to happen when I moved to New York. All the time I was in New York I used to tell myself God is not going to play you. God got me this far, he’s going to work it out. God will take care of it. God will help me get a job. And there have been times when I realized in my career that I’m scary. So if it wasn’t for God, I would’ve settled a long time ago.”
Tomeka closed with some wise words of encouragement for other Millennials who are embarking on the unknown path to success.
“I would say challenge yourself to be committed to your passion and purpose as much as possible. No, it might not come with the most money right now. No, it won’t instantly be gratifying and glamorous. But if you stay committed to your passion and purpose, all your dreams will SLOWLY come into fruition. So many times I see my peers bouncing from one hustle to the next without ever allowing one to ever truly manifest. Be committed and love it until it hurts.”
Originally posted on According to Kori.
Kori A. Winters is a Black female 20-something with an unyielding passion and God-given purpose to motivate others through her creative talents. A 2012 graduate of Howard University, Kori earned her B.B.A. in marketing, which works hand in hand with her passion for writing and social media. Outside of her day job as a communications and social media coordinator, she runs her own blog, "According2Kori.com: The Random Thoughts of a Single Black Female", which serves as an outlet for her to uplift others, namely young women, through the sharing of Kori's life experiences and perspectives. Kori plans to use her blog as a platform to launch other projects centered around promoting principles of faith, health and self-love.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The Fall Equinox begins on September 23, 2023, and it’s time to embrace abundance, gain clarity, and know that you are worthy of your desires. The Fall Equinox marks the beginning of fall and the end of summer and is a turning point of the year, where things settle in and come to fruition. The energy that fall brings is one of harvest, but it is also one of release, letting go, and finding your ground. Coming from a summer of intensity, drama in love, and overall moving through a space of deep spiritual growth- now that fall is here, we are ready to decompress, dream, and enjoy that which we have created for ourselves.
What Is the Energy of the Fall Equinox 2023?
The energy this fall is opening up new doors of abundance and is a time of reaping your rewards in life. Fall begins at the same time as Libra Season, and a lot of these blessings have to do with love and the relationship developments that will be taking place over the next few months. With a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Libra occurring a few weeks after fall begins on October 14th, something enchanting is happening in romance right now. The scales are coming into balance, new beginnings are occurring, and clarity prevails.
Relationships over the next few months are about focusing on the gifts and gratitude you find in them and accepting where things need to change as well.
By the time winter begins, most of the planets that are currently in retrograde will be direct, and this signifies the change of pace that fall is bringing. This fall highlights Eclipse Season overall, and the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on October 28th will be a time of creating boundaries, honoring your values and energy, and closing a chapter in your life that doesn’t align. Financial worlds are growing and finding new ground, but with Jupiter still in retrograde in Taurus until December 30th, patience is needed here.
Over the next few months, give yourself the space to gain some new perspectives, make room for love, and grow in abundance.
Your guidance this fall is to take those first steps toward the goals you have been pondering over this year. There is a Full Moon in your sign a week after fall begins, and you get the opportunity to enter this season with less baggage and more closure. You will possibly be starting a new position or working in a new field, and you need all the good energy to back you right now. Know that you can count on your skills and talents to move you further in life and that help will be there when you least expect it. This is a fall of abundance for you, Aries, claim it.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 29, Oct. 13, Nov. 13, Nov. 21
Patience, patience, patience, Taurus. You are creating something beautiful in the world right now, and the time it’s taken to get you here will all be worthwhile. Your guidance this fall is to nurture your world and your dreams and to bring more love and compassion to your life. You are preparing for a new reality but need some more time to dream it up and define that which you want for yourself and your future. The Full Lunar Eclipse happening this fall is occurring in your sign, and you are moving through some major closures in your life right now. This is a creative time for you, Taurus.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Nov. 6, Nov. 20
This fall is all about taking care of yourself and valuing your time and energy, Gemini. The way you see yourself and your life are coming up for review right now, and you are being urged to look at yourself in a better light. Your ruling planet, Mercury, goes retrograde for the last time this year on December 13th, just before fall ends, and this time is all about taking what you have learned and choosing better for yourself. You may be tested to be more confident or true to yourself right now and over the next few months, and it’s about owning your part in this life and standing up for what you want.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 21, Nov. 20, Dec. 12
This is an abundant fall for you, Cancer. You have worked diligently on claiming the opportunities and new doors that have been opening for you, and you are feeling free to be your successful self. You are encouraged in your independence right now, and you have proven to yourself just how talented you are and how much you have grown. No major aspects are happening in your sign this fall, giving you the space to breathe, create, and receive your rewards. Happiness fills your world, and even though you still feel like you are just getting started in a sense, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the gifts that are presenting themselves today.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 13, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, Nov. 13
This fall is a turning point for you in love, Leo. New developments are taking place in your relationships, and you are being received especially favorably. This is the time to open your heart to growth and new possibilities and to get creative with what you are looking for right now. The Last Quarter Moon happening in your sign on November 5th will be a turning point for you this fall. Your unique charm and charisma are enough, and you attract many to you through your natural energy and love for life. Your ship is coming in this fall, and your heart is fulfilled.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 1, Oct. 31, Nov. 5, Nov. 14
Virgo, this fall is a blessing for the heart space. You are feeling in tune emotionally, and there is positive energy coming your way and into your love life. You have spent a lot of this year healing, forgiving, and finding your voice, and over the next few months, you will be creating the spaces you have been looking to enter in your life. Venus enters your sign for a month on October 8th, and there are some pleasant surprises in store for you during this time. Fresh starts are coming in for you, and spiritually, you are awakening to the gifts within you and in your heart. Your beauty is showing, and love is coming in for you this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 22, Nov. 5, Nov. 20
This fall is a new beginning for your financial world, Libra. Autumn begins the same day Libra Season does, and you have some extra motivation and energy within you right now. You are ready to put the action behind the intentions you have been setting for yourself financially, and this is a time of plans coming together and falling through to success. The more you stay focused and diligent, the more opportunities that can come for you right now. The first month of fall, the Sun is in your sign, and this is really the time to get things moving in your life, especially with a New Moon Eclipse in Libra on October 14th happening as well.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 27, Oct. 14, Oct. 30, Nov. 20
It’s all about the vision for you right now, Scorpio. You are focused on the future, your path ahead, and manifesting your dreams, and there is something passionate about the next few months for you. You may be taking some risks this fall as you test the boundaries on how far you want to go with something and what worlds are opening up to you now. Mars is in your sign from October 12th until November 24th, and life is exciting for you right now. You have your eyes on the prize and are ready to move forward toward the things that are lighting you up right now.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 12, Oct. 13, Nov. 6, Nov. 13,
This fall is about taking a leap of faith, Sagittarius. Your guidance over the next few months is to do the things that you would do if you knew you would be supported in doing them. Less self-doubt is needed now, as you are walking on new ground. You are moving towards personal healing you have been wary of from the beginning, and you are ready to let go of some energy that has been holding you back. Trust that once you decide on something, the universe instantly begins to make it happen for you. Your season begins on November 22nd, and it’s time to put yourself first more. Have courage in yourself this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 8, Nov. 22, Nov. 24, Dec. 12
This fall is all about clarity for you, Capricorn. You are a wise soul, and you are owning this energy about yourself right now. Over the next few months, you will be developing spiritually, helping those who need your sound advice, and evolving in life. You have found a new sense of enlightenment and are enjoying the clear perspective that has been gained. Mercury goes retrograde in your sign on December 13th, right before fall ends, and this is when you will be feeling more tested to take the lead in your life and use your voice. Overall, fall 2023 is your time to surrender to the good within you and in your life, Capricorn.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 10, Oct. 23, Nov. 4, Dec. 1
Things are moving fast for you this fall, Aquarius. This is a successful, harmonious, and passionate time for you, as many opportunities come your way at once. It will be hard to settle down with all the energy flowing through your life over the next few months, as you have so much to do and so many people to see. Overall, however, this is positive energy that you have been looking forward to in your life, and everything is coming together and moving forward where it was once stagnant. Fall is giving you the closure and the opportunity to reinvent yourself and start on new, solid ground in your life.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 30, Oct. 31, Nov. 20, Nov. 28
Your guidance for fall is to have balance in your life. There is a lot of new coming in for you, but you are also working on letting go of what has fallen. You have grown in many ways this year, and financially, you have seen growth as well but may be feeling the weight of responsibilities this has come with now. To move through this season with the most grace, give yourself more time to rest, to be, and allow things to fall into place on their own. Saturn has been retrograde in your sign since June and goes direct this fall on November 4th, Pisces. This is your opportunity to see things more clearly, protect your energy, and feel more in tune with your internal guidance system.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 22, Nov. 4, Nov. 6, Dec. 12
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