One can say that entrepreneur Tanya Sam checks all the boxes: Beautiful. Eloquent. Quirky. Fashionable. Her impact and interests transcend reality TV (though many of us loved watching her on The Real Housewives of Atlanta for sure), and she has the smarts that she's using to empower women entrepreneurs through The Ambition Fund. It's an investment company she founded that has worked to level the playing field for women and minorities to access resources like mentorship, investment capital, and funding.
Oh, there's more. She's an expert in the Web3 and NFT spaces, has served as director of Partnerships at TechSquare Labs, mentoring more than 60 companies founded by women and minority entrepreneurs, and has served as host of the influential Money Moves podcast powered by the Greenwood platform.
And through her work, she has made valuable investments, helping businesses generate more than $100 million in revenue. Add to that her hosting gig on "Making of a Mogul," a TV series focusing on the success stories of entrepreneurs in Black and Brown communities.
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She's been the queen of taking up space across diverse interests and passions, so beyond tech and entrepreneurship, she also has a robust social following and has built a diverse community centered on a love of books via the Tanya Time Book Club, a virtual space that will soon host its first in-person meet up in London.
I caught up with her after our first conversation, pre-Covid, to talk more about how things have been going with The Ambition Fund, her continued pursuit of advocating for women and minority entrepreneurs through actual investment (i.e., putting your money where your mouth is), and how she's been able to lean totally into multiple things she loves while building community:
xoNecole: We spoke almost three years ago, and you talked about all the awesome things you've done with the Ambition Fund. Talk a bit more about the success and impact of your work since then with BuiltxWomen and Ascend 2020.
Tanya Sam: That was just when we were going into the pandemic, perhaps, and that's so crazy! A lot has gone on from there and changed. The Ambition Fund is a fund I started to help underrepresented founders and early-stage entrepreneurs grow, scale, and educate themselves on how to build scalable businesses. A lot of that came from the work I did with TechSquare Labs, BuiltxWomen, and Ascend 2020.
[There was] a little bit of influence from my time at Real Housewives of Atlanta when I was exposed to a much bigger audience. I was constantly being inundated by women, in particular, who were building businesses outside of this smaller tech silo but had credible businesses that they were looking to scale, whether they were in hospitality, beauty---just so many people.
I feel like the pandemic grew this as well, where people were looking for different ways they could make their businesses successful---make their dreams come true.
Courtesy of Tanya Sam
That's where the Ambition Fund [came in.] Prior to that, I was investing in hydro-scalable companies, trying to find an avenue for some of these smaller businesses to help them grow and scale and have profitable enterprises.
Since then, I've done several more investments. In the entrepreneur world, it takes time. One of the things people are always asking is, 'Have you cashed out?' or 'Are you living on an island right now?' A lot of us founders have gone on to raise Series A from either the investment check I wrote---Series A [first major round of funding] or B [second major round]. They've increased their number of employees, which is always important to me, to grow and scale and hire more people and create more avenues for families to grow.
Some of those businesses, sadly, did not survive. They're starting another business based on the learning and pivots they've had to do. I look at that in all sorts of growth because there's a learning lesson for it all.
xoN: You really know your tech and business. What led you to pivot into tech, especially from your background in STEM and what you studied in school? Were you always a tech and business geek?
TS: My background is in healthcare and medicine. I did a degree in genetics and cell biology and then went back and did another bachelor's degree so I could study nursing. I [spent] most of my career in bone marrow transplant and oncology. So when I really was exposed to tech and the idea of it, I was dating my partner at the time. He was instrumental and was a serial entrepreneur starting a cybersecurity company. I knew nothing about cybersecurity, technology, or entrepreneurship at the time.
I really grew up in a family that was very medical-focused. The idea of starting a business and raising a round was completely foreign to me. But, there's all these ideas I sort of noodled on myself and how I wanted to approach entrepreneurship.
There are so many people out there that have this idea, and they're faced with this dreamer's dilemma. Do I take a chance on myself and build my own business to solve a problem that I'm passionate about, or do I keep doing what I'm doing, get my paycheck and live life out as we've been taught?"
[That's the case] for most of our generations----take the safe route. Work the corporate ladder. I did both. I like to say that because there was a time when I was working 12-hour shifts in the hospital but at the same time, I was running my own business and working in startups and tech, learning everything I could. I had people around me that were instrumental in helping me combat the imposter syndrome I think everybody has when it comes to navigating and making those career shifts to go from what they know---what is safe--to risking it all and trying something new.
xoN: You spoke about 'generations' and being taught to go the 'safe' career route, and I know you're Ghanaian-Canadian. There are many friends and family I know who are first-generation immigrants, with lineage from Africa and the Caribbean, who have been told the same. How has your upbringing played a role personally for you in your diverse career journey?
TS: My dad came to Canada on a med school scholarship back in the early '60s. Canada had a very small Black population, so it was a huge deal that he was awarded a scholarship to go to Canada to study medicine, which really changed the trajectory of so many people in our family. One of the main tenants that I think Africans have when you go overseas to study is that there are like five professions you go into. And so, I decided to pursue nursing, and even that, it was like, 'Oh, I'm not sure. You should go be a doctor.'
To branch out and do entrepreneurship in the U.S. was a big point of contention in my family, however, I say all that to say that most Africans---and it's very commonplace---have so many jobs.
When I think back to my aunts who stayed in Ghana, they ran businesses---shops, kitchens, clothing businesses. The idea that I could be a multi-hyphenate and that I could do all these things and wear multiple hats---that part is in my blood.
xoN: What is your advice for other women who have a passion for careers considered 'safe' but also want to branch out and fully lean into businesses or other careers?
TS: You've gotta just go for it. Oftentimes, we're our own worst enemy, and we talk ourselves out of it. We want to wait until the timing is right. I've heard this over and over again. The timing is never right, and you just have to go for it.
My second piece of advice is done is better than perfect. I say this often as well. I came from a background of life-or-death decisions, but most decisions you're going to make in building your business are not going to be life or death. I feel like we have to let go of that idea that everything has to be perfect. [We think] we have to go back to school to study business or get that MBA.
There's so much information available online that can help you scale a business, how to market, how to do operations, so done is better than perfect. Just launch it, and you will always---if you're committed to it---be able to reiterate and grow from that. You will be able to make the best decision possible based on getting your business out there.
And last, access your resources. The best resources are right there under your nose. It's vertical resources and horizontal. It might be people in your mastermind group or others who have built businesses and can help you when you hit roadblocks. Others can help you raise money.
There are people out there who are willing to help you. You just have to ask.
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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.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy