At this point, I’ve been talking to couples for so long that I’m pretty much able to conduct my own surveys. And when it comes to one of the main reasons why a lot of them see a dip when it comes to intimacy in their relationship, it’s because of life’s demands, sleep deprivation, (sometimes) being stressed out, oftentimes not having the best diet, and, quite frankly, not prioritizing sex as much as they used to all play a direct role. Yet, if you review those reasons one more time, you’ll notice that it’s not so much that people don’t want to have sex — they just need some help getting into the mood.
If you share those sentiments, look no further. Here are 12 things that you can do to get into the mood for getting super up close and personal with your bae, as soon as tonight. (Thank me later!)
1. Stop OverthinkingGiphy
It’s kind of wild how many people overthink when you (pardon the pun) think about all of the unnecessary drama that it causes. Hmph, let me tell it, at the end of the day, overthinking is just a less stress-filled word for worrying because it definitely has a way of inviting stress, creating problems that don’t exist, and taking you out of staying mindful and in the moment — and none of this is good for your sex life.
That’s why I decided to start here. If not being in the mood is something that is a regular event (or has been increasing lately), consider doing some sex journaling and/or setting an appointment with your doctor to see if there are some underlying health-related reasons. However, if it’s not a consistent thing yet, it just seems like you and your partner have not exactly been on the same page the past few times that he has initiated, share with him how you’re feeling and what you think you need to get into the mood more easily rather than internalizing thoughts to the point where you create movies in your mind that is full of fiction, not facts.
Oftentimes, just communicating your thoughts will make you feel closer to your partner — and that can automatically cultivate a level of closeness that can lead to physical intimacy.
2. Do Some SextingGiphy
While checking out some statistics on texting not too long ago, although it didn’t surprise me that 80 percent of people do it, I was caught a little off guard at the fact that people between the ages of 35-44 seem to text the most and that folks receive a whopping five times more texts than calls (on average).
Chalk it up to the counselor in me, yet I prefer calls because you can’t read tone in texts, no matter how much you may have mastered emoji speech. However, if texting is your thing, something that can get you in the mood is sexting back and forth with your partner. Sometimes, just putting your mind in an erotic/sensual space can do wonders; plus, you never know what kind of response you will get back. #wink
If a part of you is totally down, yet you’re cautious about sensitive content somehow getting hacked and/or exposed, you might want to consider a platform like Telegram. Not only is it heavily encrypted and has a “self-destruct” feature, but it also keeps third parties from using your intel for marketing and advertising purposes too. A win all the way around if you ask me.
3. Go “Sex Shopping”Giphy
While doing some online perusing, a pretty Black woman modeling what Victoria’s Secret calls its Bombshell Apron Teddy. I liked it because it was sexy and, because there is an “apron feature,” it can look really good on all body types (you can take a look for yourself here; also, check out “Lingerie Hacks: How To Choose The Best Kind For Your Body Type” while you’re at it). Yeah, I don’t get how anyone can see lingerie (or anything that is sex-themed/sex-related) and not get at least a little hot ‘n bothered.
So, why not treat yourself to a bit of sex shopping? As far as lingerie goes, it has trends like pretty much everything else. This year, be on the lookout for bright colors, satin blows, super sheer pieces, and lots of lace. As far as sex stuff, in general, massage candles, sex games, or even a sex swing (that isn’t as expensive as you would think and is pretty easy to assemble) is a great starting point when it comes to getting your creative juices flowing.
4. Or on a Sex DateGiphy
When you take a vacation, it helps you to get off of the grid, relax and get some much-needed quality time in with whoever you’re on vacation with. A romantic vacation is about doing this with your significant other while a sexcation is about doing this, with the sole purpose of manifesting sexual fulfillment being on top of the to-do list.
Okay, so when you think about a date being about spending quality time with someone you truly care about, what do you think a sex date would be for? EXACTLY. And here’s the thing — one fairly large and popular study revealed that the key to a couple having a successful relationship (as far as their dating life goes) is to go on a date once a month. At the same time, couples who have sex no less than once a week reportedly are in a healthy relational space.
So, how do you merge the two of these? My two cents would be, if you’re like some of my clients who need to be romanced in order to get into the mood (meaning things like quickies rarely work for them), plan a sex date and then another kind of date once a month; that way, you’ll be able to get both kinds of quality time in. For tips on how to do that, check out “When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?”
5. Put on Some Vanilla, Patchouli, Peppermint or JasmineGiphy
USA Today once published an article that said people with a heightened sensitivity to smell tend to have a better sex life (no joke). According to a particular study, “The perception of certain body odors may contribute to the concept of sexual pleasure by enhanced recruitment of reward areas.”
If that truly is the case, it’s important that you also surround yourself with scents that have a reputation for stimulating the senses in every way. Some of those include vanilla, patchouli, peppermint, and jasmine. Whether you put them on your body, spray them on your bedding, or get some scented soy candles (soy burns longer and cleaner) — or you do all three, it appears that your olfactory input will be oh so very glad that you did (also check out “8 Natural Aphrodisiac Scents, Where They Go & How To Make Them Last”).
6. Listen to Some of Your Favorite “Sex Nostalgia” MusicGiphy
Not too long ago, I was having a conversation with some people about throwback R&B songs that talked about sex yet weren’t as graphic as a lot of the current tunes are. Two that immediately came to my mind were Usher’s “Nice & Slow” and Intro’s “Come Inside” (especially the extended version, lawd.)
Anyway, there is scientific evidence to support that not only does music increase creativity and trigger past memories, but it can also reduce anxiety, increase endurance and put you into a better mood. And don’t all of these things help to set the stage for an impressive round or two? Shoot, I even read an article on Well+Good’s site (here) that said if you really want your sex playlist to be effective, lust-heavy music should come first, absolute faves should be in the middle, and cuddle music should come last (you know, during afterplay).
So…where’s your sex music mix at?
7. Cultivate a Sex Prep Self-Care RoutineGiphy
When you do things that make you feel calm, relaxed, and sexy, it’s so much easier to get into the mood for sex. Not to mention the fact that the cleaner you are, the more comfortable you will feel. That’s why, you should start off with a sensual bath (check out “Did You Know There's A Right & A Wrong Way To Take A Bath?”) or shower (check out “How To Turn Your Showers Into A Tranquil DIY Spa”) with the help of a DIY vaginal wash (check out “Love On Yourself With These 7 All-Natural DIY Vaginal Washes”).
Then “seal your skin” by applying an aphrodisiac essential oil with a sex-stimulating carrier oil (check out “So, Here Are The Carrier Oils That Will Take Your Sex Life To A Whole 'Nother Level”), so that it feels soft and extra moisturized for longer. Personally, I’m a huge fan of fresh rose petals, whether it’s for making homemade rose water or for rolling around on the bed in them (they are soft, fragrant, and a proven aphrodisiac as well).
Also, don’t forget to bring a flavored lubricant, lip gloss, and even body oil (if you’d like) into the mix. An Etsy merchant by the name of Diamond Kutt Kisses has a great all-natural oil blend called Edible Yoni Oil that comes in flavors like Panty Snatcher, Pina Cum Latte, and 1 Night Stand. Choose one bottle or several by going here. Oh, and don’t forget to put your (or his) favorite scent in your hair — it’s a tip that many forget goes a REALLY long way.
8. Touch Each Other’s Sexual Pressure PointsGiphy
When you get a chance, click on “Feelin' On These Pressure Points Will Give You The Best Sex Of Your Life,” read it all the way through, and then send it over to your partner. The reality is there are parts of our body, ones that are outside of the obvious, that can help to get (and keep) us in the mood once they are stimulated too.
Take your calves and feet, for example. Rubbing on your calves well before sex transpires can reduce the chances of experiencing a Charley horse, and since your feet are loaded with nerve endings, massaging them can help to soothe body organs and reduce stress levels. And the best thing is you can touch on these yourself during your lunch break and/or with your partner’s help after dinner. You will get amazing results either way.
9. Get into Some Orgasmic BreathingGiphy
It was close to this time last year that Teen Vogue published an article entitled, “Hands Free Orgasm? It's Totally Possible Through Orgasmic Breathing.” I’m sharing it because some of you who lean more into the more skeptical (or is it cynical?) side of things might want some proof regarding what I’m about to say — and here it is: the reality is that a lot of people struggle with climaxing and it’s not really due to having a lower level of arousal or being in the “wrong” sex position; it’s all about not breathing correctly. And the truth of the matter is that orgasmic breathing can effectively help to resolve that.
At the end of the day, orgasmic breathing is about slowing down, de-stressing, and focusing on you and your partner’s body. For example, if you intentionally inhale for a count of four and then exhale for the same count, it can bring more oxygen into your body, increase blood circulation (including to your genital region) and remove energy blockages that could be making getting into sexual sync with your partner difficult.
While we’re on this topic, something else that could help you out is orgasmic meditation. No need to look on another site for deets on that. I penned a piece a while back on it here.
10. Have a Kissing ContestGiphy
Damn, I wish I could remember where I heard what I’m about to say, but some movie or television show said that the reason why sex can oftentimes seem more intimate for women (even when it’s casual) than for men is because it’s more vulnerable for someone to put their finger into your mouth than for you to put your finger into theirs (I’m sure you catch the sex comparison here). Interesting, right? Well, maybe that’s why kissing (especially tongue kissing) is such a turn-on for both people (well, most people; also check out “Umm, What's Up With These People Who Hate Kissing?”) because tongues are going into each other’s mouths simultaneously.
Not only that, but because lips are reportedly 200 times more sensitive than even our fingertips are, it’s really difficult to kiss for a long time and not want things to go further. So, if you’re still struggling to get into the mood, have an unofficial contest to see how long you and your partner can kiss — tongue ‘n all — each other. Bet some moods will shift after that, chile.
11. Drink a Sex-Themed Cocktail (or a Couple of Mocktails)Giphy
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “8 Summer-Themed Alcoholic Drinks That Can Boost Your Libido.” Believe it or not, there are ingredients in certain kinds of alcohol that can “get you there”…if you let ‘em.
Although red wine is gonna probably be your best bet due to how the antioxidants are able to affect your system as far as increasing blood flow and heightening sensitivity in your genitalia region, beer increases phytoestrogen levels (which can balance hormones for women and make me want to get extra close), champagne increases blood flow and increases arousal and tequila can bring health to your gut, strengthen your immunity and reduce pain levels. So, why not turn up a bit with a cocktail, glass, or shot?
And what if alcohol isn’t really your thing? Mocktails have their own perks considering the fact that certain fruits are aphrodisiacs. Some include watermelon (whose nickname is “natural Viagra”), strawberries (thanks to their high amount of antioxidants), and peaches (due to the vitamin C that helps to keep your blood vessels dilated and your hormone levels balanced). So, do your body good with a Watermelon Mocktail (recipe here), a virgin Strawberry Mojito, or a Sparkling Peace Sunrise (recipe here). See how those are able to stimulate you too.
12. Take a Nap Together. Spooning. Naked.Giphy
There are plenty of health experts who will vouch for the fact that some people struggle with achieving an orgasm because they are too fatigued to do so. And since, reportedly, 1 in 3 people say that they don’t feel like they get enough rest, well, you do the math.
Something that can help is a nap. Even taking a power nap of 30 minutes (those particular kinds aren’t supposed to last any longer than that) can make you more alert, put you into a better mood, and improve your concentration levels. And shoot, if you’re able to convince your partner to take a nap with you and get into the spoon position while doing it, that can trigger feel-good hormones as well as make you feel safer and closer to your partner.
And if the two of you do it naked, not only does that make it easier to transition into sex after waking up, but you significantly increase your chances of getting an orgasm out of the deal since spooning is a great position to be penetrated by his penis and he also stimulates your clitoris with his finger. Wheee-wheee.
If you’re not starting to get into the mood after reading all of this, I don’t know what to tell you, sis. Other than: Rinse. Repeat. Report back. (If you build it...eventually you will cum!)
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Featured image by Giphy
Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Entrepreneur and community curator Chanise Robinson moved from her hometown of Seattle, Washington, to Los Angeles in 2015 for the life she’d always envisioned for herself.
From a young age, she knew her dreams were too big for the Emerald City so after a quick trip to southern California it was only a matter of time before she called it home. “I’ve always wanted to leave Seattle. There wasn’t enough culture for me, and having grown up there, I knew every Black person, whether it was from school or church,” says Robinson. Immediately after obtaining her Bachelor's degree from the University of Washington, it was then she decided it was time to make her move. “I exhausted all the options, opportunities, and resources I thought I could get from living there and knew I had to leave eventually.”
After graduating from her Alma Mater as a first-generation college student, she chose to continue her education, completing her master's degree at USC. After entering the corporate world, she noticed a lack of information sharing within the Black community, which led to a strong desire to gather community peers, leaders, and experts through sit-down panel discussions. “In corporate spaces, white people are talking and sharing ideas with each other behind closed doors, and I felt Black people didn't have that same network, so I created that space where I saw the gap.”
“In corporate spaces, white people are talking and sharing ideas with each other behind closed doors, and I felt Black people didn't have that same network, so I created that space where I saw the gap.”
Receiving a little motivation from a friend, Conversations with Chanise was created in 2018 with the goal of hosting professional events people could resonate with. “A lot of the time, industry panels can feel dry and disconnected from our culture and community, so I wanted to build that network myself, using it as a platform for others to find knowledge, information, and resources needed to navigate corporate spaces, tools that I didn’t have.”
Continuing to climb in her career, in 2020, Chanise landed a role as a recruiter for one of the fastest-growing tech companies in the world, Snapchat Inc. During her time at the company, she held multiple roles from Recruiter, Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion manager, to eventually landing on the Venture Capital Team, a position that was given because of her impressive community efforts outside of work.
During this time, Conversations with Chanise evolved into Out Of Office due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “In 2020, I changed the name because we were working remotely. Working from home for two years, if you weren't fortunate enough to work for your company prior to the pandemic, then you didn't know your co-workers, especially other Black co-workers.” With the pandemic creating an even bigger challenge to the lack of networking amongst diverse employees, what began as events became a community for Black and Latinx employees from across a number of tech companies to come together and meet fellow peers from across the industry.
It wasn't until 2022 that OOO hosted its first brunch for Black History Month. The invite-only event hosted sixty-five people tech employees, complete with a five-course meal. “Eight people from Amazon attended the event, and that was the first time they had ever met each other, they were all Black.”
Earlier this year, there was an inclination of a soon-to-come recession, which hit the tech world head-on, causing many Americans to be affected. In May of 2022, Chanise was laid off from Snapchat after three and a half years. “I didn’t take the layoff personally. You would think that after being at a company for three years, you would be sad, but since my entire team got laid off, including the people that brought me on, it was just business.”
With a few inside connections, her unemployment was short-lived after receiving two job offers within the following weeks of her being let go. “A former manager on the recruiting team is now the Director of Talent and Acquisition at DoorDash. She reached out about the Senior Program Manager role and encouraged me to apply. All you need is a referral.” She describes this carefree moment of her life as funemployment. “I had another offer from a VC firm, I was on funemployment. I blew my severance check going to Miami buying tables at popular nightclubs, I was having a great time.”
"I didn’t take the layoff personally. You would think that after being at a company for three years, you would be sad, but since my entire team got laid off, including the people that brought me on, it was just business."
With two offers on the table, she went with DoorDash in late September of 2023 as a Senior Program Manager. She was indeed feeling like that girl. Less than 30 days into her new role, she woke up to an unexpected text that sent waves of uncertainty and doubt. Three weeks and two days after starting her new role, Chanise was included in a company-wide layoff.
“A former co-worker from Snapchat was also working at DoorDash at the time and called me at 6:00 a.m. informing me she was included in a company-wide layoff. At that moment, I just knew I couldn’t have been laid off, I just got here,” Chanise recounts. Quickly opening her emails, she saw the dreaded subject line 'Your Employment at DoorDash.' “This time, I was pissed. I was upset and in shock.”
“The first day I was still in positive spirits, it wasn't until the next day I woke up and realized this was real, and I was scared.” With the economic uncertainty looming, there was a mix of emotions. “A lot of times we talk about recessions, and we know what happened in 2008, but I was a kid in high school. Now I’m an adult, and I’ve been laid off twice. I know it’s not the skillset, and I know it's not my work ethic, so now I’m scared.” The most obvious question she had on her mind was, “What am I going to do?”
Being in such a vulnerable space of fear and uncertainty can bring back traumas buried within our deepest childhood memories. “Not only am I only a first-generation college graduate, but I grew up in a single-parent household,” Chanise details. “My mom's ex-husband had a drug problem, and by the time I was nine years old, my mom filed for bankruptcy, leading to my family and I living in a homeless shelter for a year.”
After being laid off, the possibility of being homeless was a looming fear, but it was only because of past trauma. “My work ethic and drive comes from never wanting to put myself in a position that I was in as a child. When you’re a kid, you don't have control over what happens to you, but I made a pact with God that I would always do whatever it took moving forward, and I would never be disqualified on paper.”
"My work ethic and drive comes from never wanting to put myself in a position that I was in as a child... I made a pact with God that I would always do whatever it took moving forward, and I would never be disqualified on paper."
With what seemed to be back-to-back failures, there were many conversations with God that led her to realize life happens fast and it’s up to us how we deal with it. “I’m in a situation where I can't blame anyone for what I’m going through, I can't say it's anyone else's fault, it just happens to be life.” As scary as it was to be without a job once again, this was a wake-up call for the steadfast entrepreneur. “It’s taught me a lot about the recession. It's understanding that it has nothing to do with me personally. It gave me fuel to never work for just one company at a time. You should always have multiple streams of income, and most of those streams should be things you can control at all times.”
Chanise began to realize that maybe this was the time to take her dreams for Out Of Office to the next level. “OOO was always something that I wanted to do full time, but I don’t think I would have pushed myself to be as full-time as quickly. The summit would have never been something I envisioned for myself to happen this year if I wasn’t laid off.”
Not one to back down from an opportunity, Chanise began to use what she had curated so well within her time in Los Angeles, her community. “I was listening to Kirk Franklin on The Breakfast Club podcast, and his message was to win wounded. When you're trying to cross the finish line in a race, sometimes people get hurt and want to give up, but even if you’re limping, you still need to cross the finish line.”
Wounded, she was still on a mission to fulfill the desires of her heart regardless of her situation. “Before I was laid off from DoorDash, there was a woman on the Diversity and Inclusion team who reached out, informing me they would like me to run their Black employee resource group because of my experience and what I was doing with my Out Of Office events.” She continues, “We had a meeting set for Friday and I was laid off Wednesday, two days before the meeting. Reaching out via LinkedIn, [I] informed her that my role had been eliminated; however, I would like to schedule a call to talk about OOO and what we can do.”
“During the meeting, I spoke with her about my vision to do a cross-company employee resource group summit, and it just so happened the company had plans for one the following year for internal employees. They loved that my vision was much bigger, so they decided to give me the money and let me run it instead.” And just like that, a full circle moment. The company that laid her off after three weeks of employment was giving her $45,000 to become the first official sponsor of her biggest corporate summit to date.
This was the momentum she needed to propel her into her destiny. “Even though I was sad, faith without work is dead,” says Chanise. “A lot of times, people let life stop them from pursuing their dreams, and they just give up, and you never know what it could have been.”
"Faith without work is dead. A lot of times, people let life stop them from pursuing their dreams, and they just give up, and you never know what it could have been."
Once the idea of the Employee Research Summit was to become a reality, there was a lot more work to be done. While planning for the ERG Summit, OOO was to host an upcoming event, and while excited about what was in the works, Chanise states, “I remember telling God I really don’t want to do this. This was the first time I charged people to come to a happy hour, and that’s not normally something I would do. I didn’t know if it was worth it and wanted to cancel, but I didn't.”
After the event, she was approached by someone from Amazon’s Cross-Functional Strategic Marketing Team, who had consistently attended a number of OOO events. After a brief conversation, Chanise was informed of a sponsorship for professional development opportunities leading Amazon to become the second official sponsor, providing funds and a space to host her upcoming ERG summit. “At that moment, I knew God was telling me to 'keep going and I will provide all the resources.'”
"At that moment, I knew God was telling me to 'keep going and I will provide all the resources.'"
Fortunate to have really great friends, “I was in search of a keynote speaker, I reached out to Trell Thomas, founder of Black Excellence Brunch, who has a great relationship with Ms. Tina Knowles, among many other celebrity influencers. After discussing ideas and budget, he asked me who I’d like to speak at the event, and thinking it was a reach, I requested Ms. Tina.”
To Chanise’s surprise, Ms. Tina confirmed within a week. “She poured so much life into the audience with her message of not giving up or quitting no matter your age. Speaking to her felt like Sunday dinner, my spirit was full.” After a day full of corporate connections and panel discussions, as an added bonus, the summit wrapped up with an after-party performance by Eric Bellinger.
The Out Of Office ERG Summit was not just a moment to bridge the gap between culture and corporations but it was a culmination of hard work, faith, and determination. No matter what door closes, never be afraid of chasing your dreams. “Throughout this journey, I continued to pray. Lord, please send the resources and opportunities. Give me favor with people and help me do the work in which you have given me,” says Chanise. In the end, official sponsors for the summit included Amazon, Doordash, Snapchat, Google, YouTube, Jack Daniels, FIJI Water, and Bumble for Friends.
As far as going back to work full-time, Chanise shares, “I’ll pray and apply for jobs, but I'll keep working as an entrepreneur. My level of faith has been elevated. What started out as doubt turned into crazy faith.”
On words of encouragement, Chanise advises, “Just keep going, even when you're sad or don’t believe in yourself. Find one person to talk to that you know is going to push and elevate you, an accountability partner. Even if you don’t believe in God, find a faith partner. Find someone who believes and has the faith that you don't, to speak it over you, carrying the faith for you when you can’t.”
This year, Chanise learned that what God has for her is for her, and she’s the only person who can stand in her way. “I’m in my own way sometimes. There's also a difference between providing and sustaining. God will provide you with just enough, and He’ll give you the wisdom and the resources to stretch it long enough for it to last. That's different from asking God to provide.
"We underestimate our creativity. God never gives you a finished project but He gives you the creativity, ideas, and resources to be able to build, sustain, and provide for you. It’s being able to tap into that.”
For more of Chanise, follow her on Instagram @conversationswithchanise.
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