>National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Join Me and Rock that Red!

>By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

I recently posted an article on the blog for the Younger Women’s Task Force Atlanta Metro Chapter about the National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD). It is important that we all do our part to live healthy lives, to be informed, educated, and to spread knowledge to the masses of women and girls who are uninformed and ignorant about the reality of HIV/AIDS.

As a supporter of The Red Pump Project I have placed banners on my blogs, website, and other sites to spread the word virally about this initiative and the importance of getting tested, using protection ALL of the time, and practicing other safe sex methods.

I’m also going to rock the mess out of my red four-inch pumps on March 10th!

The Red Pump Project partnered with The Red Tie Project (which focuses on men) embodies The Red Project Collective, which is a nonprofit that focuses on raising awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS in minority groups (women, people of color, and LGBT).

The Red Pump Project aims to:

  • Commemorate major awareness dates with various events or campaigns online and on the ground
  • Partner with organizations doing work in HIV/AIDS in their initiatives and events around the country
  • Obtain a Red Pump ambassador in every state
  • Get women around the country to “Rock the Red Pump™” both online and on the ground
  • Be involved in getting 1,000 people tested nationally
  • Raise funds for HIV/AIDS service organizations

It was a goal that 500 bloggers such as myself commit to promoting The Red Pump Project on our blogs by March 10th- so far they are up to 700 bloggers. I want to get the word out now so that YOU can join the movement to help save women and girls from one of the ugliest gifts that keeps on giving…and you can’t give it back!

So join me and rock those red pumps and fellas you can rock the red ties, oh and don’t forget to follow me, YWTF-ATLThe Red Pump Project, The Red Tie Project, and The Red Project Collective on Twitter!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.

>What’s Behind the Credit Score?

>By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

I just read an insightful article How Your Credit Score is Calculated written by Simon Zhen that explains how your credit score impacts your life, how it is calculated, and the benefits of earning and keeping a good credit score. As many of you may know your creditworthiness is based on a Fair Isaac Company (FICO) credit score with a range of 300 to 850. The FICO score is calculated based on certain measurements:

1. Payment History (35%): the most impactful on your credit score
2. Amounts You Owe and Credit Limits (30%): this measurement looks at your debt utilization ratio which is the total amount you owe divided by total amount you borrowed (and/or can borrow)
3. Length of Credit History (15%): the longer you have had credit the more experienced you are as a debt manager- and most likely the higher your credit score
4. Types of Credit (10%): revolving credit (credit cards) and insallment credit (mortgages)
5. New Credit Inquiries (10%): every time you apply for credit it is recorded on your credit report whether you receive the new line of credit or not.

This article gives you a breakdown of these five measurements and even provides a link to a MyBankTracker article, How to Make Yourself Creditworthy: The 7 Don’ts of Credit that is very informative and helpful.

To read the Zhen article for yourself visit MyBankTracker

Let 2011 be the year you reclaim your credit and your life!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.

>Ivory Coast: Election, Cocoa, and More Drama


By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
Ivory Coast…a country that just had a ray of hope flash before them is now waiting for the drama to end.  We can recall the chaos that sparked during the 2002 failed coup attempt. Now after the November 2010 election, the country has been slammed with even more drama as incumbent President Gbagbo refuses to step aside so President-elect Alassane Ouattara can assume the position. There are two Presidents trying to run a country, one who refuses to leave, and one who polls show won the election by a narrow 8 percentage points (according to the UN and the Independent Electoral Commission)- and in turn should by all accounts be assuming all responsibilities as acting President.

President-elect Ouattara.
Photo Credit: MyJoyOnline


Incumbent President Gbagbo
Photo Credit: Youth Canvas

There are some in the south that argue that Ouattara is a puppet placed into office by foreign power structures- and thereby not a legitimate candidate nor trusted to have taken part in a fair election. While others don’t care who won the election, they just want to return to work, get their salaries in full and on time, and start the rebuilding process so the country can thrive. Many northerners would agree that they just want to resume their responsibilities at work, get their children back in school, and gain a sense of normalcy under a re-defined vision of the term. Their support of Ouattara however is the reason for their current punishment under Gbagbo’s rule.
With all of this drama and emotion comes a reality about an economy that is facing a turbulent crash as some businesses, including banks have shut down. Let’s take a look at what has been happening: Schools in the northern part of the country have been shut down since late November 2010; Gbagbo’s administration has broken ties with the West African CFA monetary union- removing all except the Ivorian flag from the front of the bank’s offices; some state salaries ($160m) are not being paid on time or at all- a burden that some claim Gbagbo cannot hold up; Many private sector salaries are not being paid- especially in the northern region; Tuesday the country missed a $29m interest payment on bond debt held by European institutions; and now pro-Gbagbo supporters are showing off a new proposed currency that they call, “Ivorian currency of the resistance” at protest rallies.
So where’s the president-elect Ouattara?
President-elect Ouattara
Photo credit: Wikipedia
Ouattara is under blockade in a hotel in Abidjan waiting for Gbagbo to step down and relinquish control. Despite the obvious lack of control in many areas, Ouattara does however have control of the state bank accounts which reports say are held at the regional level. He respectfully called for a boycott on all cocoa exports last month, and for companies to stop paying taxes hoping that by Gbagbo no longer receiving those monies into his current administration he will get the hint that it is time to move out and move on. The cocoa boycott is a major power move and potential slippery slope since the Ivory Coast accounts for one-third of all the cocoa in the world,  but without exportation there is no revenue for cocoa producers; and more than one-quarter of earnings are derived from cocoa exportation. The ban could cause cocoa prices to spiral out of control.

Ivory Coast Cocoa
Photo Credit: TwilightWhisper

But what good will these measures do for the Ivory Coast as the head of the French Chamber of Commerce (in the Ivory Coast) estimates that the country will lose one-third of its small and mid-sized companies if this chaos rolls over into a third month? In December the U.S. imposed travel sanctions on Gbagbo and 30 of his allies (names unreported) and that did not seem to phase them much or at all.
It does not seem as though Gbagbo and his supporters are moved by the attempts made by Ouattaro and his supporters since Gbagbo supporters recently seized control of branches of the BCEAO, a West African regional central bank, and his computer and financial experts are scrambling to create a new banking system after the BCEAO restricted access of their internal system that is housed in their Senegal offices. To really send a message Gbagbo took control of the privatized electricity company’s distribution network, and then last week had his energy minister turn off all power to the northern part of the country (large Ouattara supporters) for a few hours.
The message is being sent loud and clear- Gbagbo has the power, has no intention of leaving office anytime soon, and he definitely won’t leave quietly.
Incumbent President Gbagbo

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>Valentine’s Day was Exceptional Because I Shared it With an Exceptional Person

>I don’t know about you but my Valentine’s Day was amazing, incredible, and exceptional because of who I spent it with…and how he made me feel…like a Princess!

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be a stressful moment, just a day that you spoil the person you love a little more than you already do. If you give them a teeny tiny bit of you then I understand the stress of having to do something- you’re not used to giving much of yourself on a regular basis. If you already do a lot to express your love and appreciation for someone else, then Valentine’s Day should be a piece of cake.

The way I see it do something you wouldn’t normally do. Ladies treat your man to something special that he would like to do or something he would normally do…like tickets to a sporting event, or take his car in for servicing. Fellas go beyond the flowers and candy, and try something like bringing her breakfast in bed…it would really be special if in addition to buying and prepping it, that you cooked the meal. Just a thought!

My night was amazing. Candlelight dinner, mouth-dropping gifts that I didn’t expect (but I appreciate more than he knows), followed by incredible performances by Brownstone and the legendary Howard Hewett.

Even with all of those amazing surprises and moments, the best and fondest moment was just spending it with an amazing person. That is what Valentine’s Day means to me!


Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>Incredible Response to my Feb 8th Love and Life Thought of the Day

>I have already published the comment posted below, which can be viewed immediately after my February 8th post on Love and Life Thought of the Day- but I wanted to share it with all of my readers and thank my friend and classmate Steve Woodsmall for sharing it with me. We all need words of encouragement!

Thanks Steve!

1. No man or woman is worth your tears, and the one who is won’t make you cry. 

2. Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have. 

3. A true friend is someone who reaches for your hand & touches your heart. 

4. The worst way to miss someone is to be sitting right beside them knowing you can’ t have them 

5. Never frown, even when you are sad, because you never know who is falling in love with your smile. 

6. To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world. 

7. Don’t waste your time on someone, who isn’t willing to waste their time on you. 

8. Maybe God wants us to meet a few wrong people before meeting the right one, so that when we finally meet the person, we will know how to be grateful. 

9. Don’t cry because it is over, smile because it happened. 

10. There’s always going to be people that hurt you so what you have to do is keep on trusting & just be more careful about who you trust next time around. 

11. Make yourself a better person & know who you are before you try & know someone else & expect them to know you. 

12. Don’t try so hard–the best things come when you least expect them to. 

From Steve W.

>Dedicating this Song and Video to the Superwomen of the World


Ladies, I just wanted to tell you that through it all you CAN survive, thrive, and accomplish anything you set your mind to- but it starts with the belief in ‘YES I CAN…YES I WILL’. Those of you who are struggling to make ends meet, yet every day you rise to get your positive hustle on for yourself and your family- I commend you. To those of you who are focused on earning that diploma, whether it’s for high school or your PhD- I commend you. To those of you who are working 12-18 hour days- it doesn’t matter if you are an employee or self-employed, your hard work and dedication WILL pay off.

I commend those superwomen who are looking for a hand up not a hand out, and in turn they reach their hand back to help the next person. We are only as strong as our weakest link. Let’s focus on building each other up, not tearing the next sista girl down. Let’s look at what we have in common, and work towards what we stand for rather than focusing on fighting about our differences and what we are against.

There are days when I just feel worn out, beat down, cried out, emotionally and physically drained- and then something comes over me… a sense of joy that each and every day God wakes me to walk on the path He has placed before me. It’s not supposed to be easy- but it’s a path that is all yours! We may not see tomorrow, so let our today work for us and through us, and let it last for as long as it can. Be grateful for waking each morning- able to experience heartaches, triumphs, set backs, and successes…and the blessings that come with sharing your stories with others.

We have accomplished so much in such a short period of time. The only person who can tell you that you CAN or CAN’T do something, is YOU!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.
Alicia Keys Superwoman video from YouTube.com

>A.S.C.E.N.D. to Rise Higher

>I would like for you to take a peek into the organization that I am involved with and am proud to serve as the Director of Communications and Marketing- the Younger Women’s Task Force Atlanta Chapter (YWTF-ATL). We have a pretty cool video that is tied to our upcoming A.S.C.E.N.D. First Annual Leadership Conference for Younger Women being held at 103 West in Atlanta on March 26, 2011.

Check out this video:

If you would like to take part in the conference as an attendee, behind the scenes with me, or as a vendor, please contact me at: natasha.ywtf@gmail.com and I will happily provide you with the details.

For more information about YWTF-ATL visit: youngerwomenatlanta.org

Thank you for your support!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.

>Lizards and Leaders: My Friend Steve Knows the Connection


By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA
I’m excited to announce that my friend Steve Woodsmall is the author of an amazingly awesome book with a catchy title, It Beats Eatin’ Lizards: Lessons Learned in Life and Leadership. Steve shares stories of lessons learned while he was an officer in the United States Air Force, a basketball official, consultant, instructor, manager, and several other roles where one must clearly realize and adjust to the reality that there is a HUGE difference between being a manager and a leader. Steve just doesn’t talk the talk, he walks the walk and he has plenty of experience, knowledge, and wisdom to back him up.
Let me share just a little about my dear friend Steve… he holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology, a master’s degree in Business Administration, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Organization & Management with a specialty in management education. He also has a Post-Master’s Certification in College Teaching. He’s an avid golfer and SCUBA diver, and has four children and three grandchildren. Steve and I attend school together and we currently are in the same class- the military officer and dad in him comes out frequently as he reminds me about attending class on time each week!
You will quickly find out how this well-written book published by Xlibris earned its title, and why I have given it five out of five stars, two thumbs up, and have declared to add this to my collection of books to reference for many years to come.
Don’t believe me?
Check it out for yourself- it’s available in hard cover and paperback online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It is also available in both versions and as an ebook through Xlibris. If you don’t want to order online you can also order through your local book store’s order desk, or call (888) 795-4274 ext 7879 and then contact me later so I can say loud and clear, “I told you so!”
Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. Some Rights Reserved.
This blog article was written with permission from Steve Woodsmall.

>Natasha’s Love and Life Thought of the Day for 2.8.11

>By Natasha L. Foreman, MBA

Some of us strive for excellence only in our personal lives content with the belief that at least there we have some control, since we have none at out Just-Over-Broke Situations. Then there are those of us who are more focused on prosperous careers and we could care less if we have a hodge-podge relationship, dating a handful of people (and probably being dishonest to all of them), or running through life single and alone.

I believe that you can be successful in both love/family and career.

What’s the sense in having a prosperous career and you have no one worthy to share your accomplishments and setbacks with, how is that a successful life?

I strive for excellence in every aspect of my life and I truly believe that I can have both a successful personal life and career as long as there are two things constantly present that I’m focused on: God, and that I BELIEVE even when I’m scared, and especially when no one else does (or they are too self-absorbed to care).

I believe that I can be the wife who cooks, cleans, stays up late helping my husband meet deadlines or work through issues; the wife who loves him to the level (and intensity) that makes others jealous; that I can be the mother that other children wish were theirs (and my children soak it up); that I can have the loving, respectful, supportive husband, and the well-mannered, giving, caring, highly intelligent and gifted children- all nestled in our warm, inviting and beautiful home (with a well-manicured lawn, my Land Rover LR4, and a happy dog). Yes, I believe this with every fiber of my body.

At the same time I believe that I can have that demanding yet rewarding career doing all of the things that I love doing, and getting paid handsomely. I also believe that I can do all of this and still serve the least of God’s children around the world…

…while still having precious alone time to do whatever I want to do for me- even if it’s a two-hour bath with tons of candles surrounding the tub, or taking the time to read and reflect on the Word!

It all requires balance. It requires believing in myself and believing that I’m NOT doing this alone. There is a greater power out there- God- helping me along the way- opening doors, windows, vents, and more so that I can walk, jump, crawl, or wiggle inside and make a difference in my life and the lives of others.

We must be about action. There is no limit to what we can or can’t do. We can either make things happen and DO something, or we can spend our lives coasting by TALKING about our dreams. You can find your calling at any age between 20 and 90, but it is up to you whether you do what you are called to do or waste the time making excuses why mediocrity is the best you can produce.

We must remember that there IS a time limit on life; tomorrow is not promised- so we have to seize the moment and learn each day to LIVE OUR DREAMS!

Copyright 2011. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.