Two MAJOR Things to Consider When Looking for Community Partners

shaking-handsThis year I did a soft launch of my organization Curate Your Life, and since then I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scenes work in terms of ironing out the blueprint, creating my programs and getting things in order for the BIG launch in 2018. In the interim, my goal has been to continue to generate buzz and continue branding through community partnerships and sponsorship while hosting small and sporadic events along the Eastern coast.

Here’s the thing about community partnerships, they can either be the best things for you in terms of reaching your organization’s goals OR they can be your organization’s worst nightmare, so if you are looking to make community partnerships and sponsors for your organization, here are some things to consider.

Do A Culture Check. 

No, I don’t mean culture in terms of race, ethnicity and societal norms, what I mean by culture is the look and feel of the organization you’re interested in partnering with. Are the employees happy? Are the people they service happy? How effective is this organization to the population it serves?

This is important because your organization is important to you!  The last thing you want to do is open up your organization to another organization that doesn’t have a high morale because how are people going to get excited about what you have to bring to the table when the table is messy. Which brings me to my next point:


Is the Organization Ready for a Partnership?

I’ve learned that before change can happen, there’s a lot of rootwork that is sometimes required. It’s like clearing out all of the weeds and preparing the soil before you begin to plant the seeds. Ask yourself these questions: Is the organization I’m looking to partner with in a good place for partnerships? Do they have a solid foundation? A strong clientele or customer list? Are they unorganized and is there a lot of things unclear and out of order that could prevent you from executing what you want to do effectively? Otherwise, planting your organization can lead to a lot of unwanted chaos and more work on your part in the aisle clean up department.

You want the partnership to aid in sustaining and growing your organization. You don’t want to walk into a situation where you find yourself helping their organization fight to stay afloat to the point where you don’t have space and opportunities to roll out your services and showcase what you wanted to offer.

Fostering community partners can be a challenge, but the most important thing to remember is who your audience is and what the potential synergy can do for both brands involved. So moral of the story, do your research, observe the day to day operations of the organization before expressing interests in a partnership, and make notes on what they currently offer and how what you have to offer can enhance their brand, but keep in mind, what you stand to gain and/or lose in the process.


What I Learned Hosting My First Girl’s Empowerment Summit

I’ve been absent from the blogsphere for a while since I’ve decided to go back to school and pick up a new profession (teaching) and during that time I saw it as an opportunity to really give back to an audience I’m truly passionate about: adolescent girls of color. I wanted to create a brand and organization that would allow them to fully understand that they are in complete control of the direction of their lives. As women, we are often told what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and where to do it so much that there are times when we stop and wonder if anything we are doing is because we genuinely want to do it. So on January 28, 2017 I launched Curate Your Life, a girl’s empowerment and enrichment organization that focuses on sisterhood, leadership, social justice, wellness, and media literacy for teen girls of color, but the idea was birthed in June 2016 and there were a number of lessons learned along the way.


Community is SO Important

I knew that this wasn’t something that I could do on my own and be effective at the same time, so I built a community of professional women and organizations who would see and understand my vision. The day of the launch, I didn’t realize I would be doing so much running around and improvising when things were absent, but the community that I built was there every single step of the way. I just asked them to show up and facilitate workshops, but they’ve become family with every “You got this Deja.” or “I’m proud of you Deja” or “Tell me where I can help Deja.” Even my mother came and catered the event with my grandmother. I say all of that to say, you are as strong as the tribe you build and God blessed me with an amazing one. Continue reading “What I Learned Hosting My First Girl’s Empowerment Summit”

7 Essential Apps for The Busy Blogger

It’s been a while since I’ve slept in on a Saturday. Even when I have no plans for the day my body is still accustomed to waking up early and doing productive things like writing of course. Monday through Friday, I can always count on email alerts, morning texts from my mothers and phone calls from my boyfriend, work alerts, and social media notifications to ensure that I’m up at the crack of dawn. With that being said, my plate is full. I am grateful for it because there was a time when my plate was empty and so was I, but it can all get a little overwhelming at times which drives me to go into an anti-digital cave where I shut everything down and try to remember what life was like before all this technology. Nowadays with so much technological advancements it’s assumed that everyone should be easily accessible and reachable via communication whether it’s through text, email, IM, social media, etc. So to keep myself balanced and organized, assuming that my phone never leaves my hand here are some of my essential apps that help me remember things and get things done. Bonus: they’re all free.

Warning: I am a Google Addict

Google Keep 


I can’t function without to-do list. I have such a scatterbrain at times to the point where if it’s not written down, it’s often forgotten. Google Keep is an app that allows you to create to-list with added reminders so that even if you don’t open the app, you’ll get an alert if the task hasn’t been crossed off yet. There’s also a section to jot down quick notes and it’s usually where I write down article titles and quick memos like grocery lists, talking points, etc.

Android | Apple

Google Calendar


Chance are if you have a GMAIL account, you also have access to Google calendar. It’s also where I create my editorial calendar. I use this to keep track of appointments, important dates and events because sometimes writing them in a notebook or a calendar often gets overlooked. The great things about this is you can share appointments with others. If you’re in the type of business that requires you to have office hours, you can share the calendar with others so they can sign up for a meeting date and time with you. Google calendar can be accessed via smartphones, tablet, laptop and desktop so it goes everywhere with you.

Android | Apple

Google Docs


There are times where I just don’t feel like lugging my laptop around with me when I’m commuting somewhere so Google Docs always comes in handy on my phone when I need to start a quick article, blog post or essay. I can type it all up on Google Docs and share it with my editor, email it to my editor without the hassle of copy and paste in Microsoft Word and sending it via email. If I want to start an article on the train ride home I can and then continue it later once I get home on my computer because it saves to the cloud drive after every single change.

Android | Apple



I wear many hats at the moment that come with many tasks. I’m a women’s lifestyle writer and personal essayist for Madame Noire; Web Writer for Upscale Magazine; Black Voices Blogger for The Huffington Post; Arts and Culture writer for Saint Heron and I manage this here, blog. Most of the companies I write for have a slack account which is a project management app, but can also be used for social networking. We conduct our pitches, get writing assignments and just chat about trending topics in pop culture on this app.

Android | Apple

Some other apps that I use just for graphics and ads are Canvas, Style, PicArt and Phonto. If you’re always on the go and your mind is always running even when you’re not these are some apps that’ll take a bit of sweat off your brow.