Our Family Dinner Crew: NYC 2016

Our Family Dinner Crew: NYC January 2016    Photo Courtesy: Errol Dunlap

When was the last time you went somewhere to unwind and meet people, free of an agenda? Simply to breaking bread and sharing a few hard-bellied laughs? Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend “Our Family Dinner,” an initiative with a sole mission to bring complete strangers together and turn them into family, one dinner at a time!  The brainchild of Lawrence Adjah, “Our Family Dinner” was brought to life 8 years ago, when he became drawn to addressing the need to facilitate community-based family-style dinners for young adults.

Here are my top 5 reasons you should attend:

  1. They greet with hugs and big smiles.
  2. You connect on a strictly personal level. Professional networking and jargon is better left at home.
  3. You share food and create a space where everyone feels important.
  4. You get the opportunity to share major life events, just like you would with your family. (ran half-marathon, new home, birthday, new family (baby) arrival, engagement, promotion, etc)
  5. You create organic relationships, just like you did in the playground as a child. We can get so lost focusing on the amount of social media “friends” we have that we lose touch of the personal interaction. This dinner allows you to put your people skills to the test and gained some valuable relationship by being yourself.

Whether you just moved into a new city, looking to make friends or just need someone to tell you where the best hair salons are located, making a connection is very important. Our Family Dinner allows you to step out your comfort zone by welcoming strangers into your physical and spiritual space as family. This event happens twice a year! The next one in NYC will take place in July!

Check out the website for more info.


Industry: Finance

Hat: Financial Educator, Founder/ CEO, myfabfinance.com

School:  City University of New York – Brooklyn College Florida International University;

Major: M.A,  Urban Policy and Affairs – B.A, Public Administration

Tonya Rapley

Oprah Winfrey once said, ” Failure is a great teacher. If you are open to it, every mistake has a lesson to offer.” No one perhaps understands this better than Financial Educator Tonya Rapley, who found herself in a sticky financial dilemma when her credit score hit an all time low of 540 points. However, Tonya didn’t let this situation define her, in fact she took it upon herself to learn from her past mistakes and in a short 18 months, had improved her credit score by a whopping 130. With her honesty and bubbly personality, Tonya has garnered a large following by sharing her financial journey on her blog My Fab Finance, a finance and lifestyle blog that provides resources for financial empowerment and professional development. I had the time to chat it up and learn how we can create a healthy relationship with your pockets.

Where were you six months after graduating from college?

Six months after college I was working at a call center; this is not at all where I imagined myself at the time. I graduated in 2007, at the height of the recession, so I made the best out of the situation. However, I knew that it wasn’t the end of it all, so I kept applying and six months later I was hired by Lowes as an Inventory Analyst.

I believe that we excel at our purpose because we’ve had a journey. What are some lessons you’ve learned about yourself while on the journey?

I have a large amount of pride and till this day I still do. When I graduated I had this attitude – “nope I’m not going to work at the mall ”and my mom put me aside and told me “you’re not above doing anything nothing is above you Tonya. You need to do what you need to do.” So it was at that point, that I learned humility. No matter how much you prepare, you will always fall short, which leads me to my next lesson; flexibility. I didn’t have a firm goal after graduating, but I was always open to learning skills from the different industries in which I worked.

Millennials manage a lot of financial priorities, such as student loan debt, car debt, credit card etc. What advice would you give to someone trying to improve their finances fresh out of college?

  • Make sure you know how to save, this will help delegate your spending habit.
  • Know how to live within your means. Some people don’t know what their means are until they are above them
  • Stop comparing yourself to people who live in Virtual Prosperity. You don’t know their lives.

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On the Rise: Raven Robinson

Industry: Public Relations

Hat: CEO of PR2Politics “The Firm that treats you Like a Candidate”

School: The City College of New York

Major:  Political Science

Raven Robinson

Raven Robinson

At the age of 23, Raven credits her determination to her hometown of South Bronx. It was through grassroots projects and volunteering for campaigns in her community that she was lead to her passion for both politics and public relations. To understand her hustle is to know this amazing woman’s story. With clients such as The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, Women Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN) and author of Epiphany Kendell, this PR maven is one whose name will be talked about for many years to come.Read more about her journey below.

Where were you five months after graduating from the City of College of New York?

I was a bit disappointed with how things were going. I had applied to every job you can think of, and I did not get a response back at all. However, when I realized that I wasn’t getting anywhere I started to look for opportunities and that meant asking for what I want. During that same time, I volunteered myself to a young lady who was running for Senate and did not have a Publicist. That’s when PR2Politics became my full-time job.

When did you create PR2Politics?

As President of the Public Relations Students Society of America (PRSSA) of my school, some of the e-board members requested that we kept up with the latest social media outlets, and twitter at the time was one of the must haves on the list.  It took me a quite a while to get acquainted with twitter, however, once I was there I wanted my name to be a brand, something that people could refer to when they needed PR advice. Pr2Politics was supposed to be my side gig, a place where I consult people while maintaining my “full-time” job. However, I’ve never imagined Pr2Politics being my career.

What does the phrase “My Freshman Year of Life” means to you?

My freshman year of life is the moment I became a self-starter and created my own opportunities, which meant doing something out of the norm. My freshman year of life took place the day after I graduated college, that was the wake up call for me. With all the internships I had throughout my college career, I literally thought that a job offer was waiting for me at the podium. That wasn’t the case. That’s when I realized I have to be a go getter to be successful in life.

Tell me about your latest projects?

I recently published my first workbook “Your Campaign: A Business Owner’s Guide to Understanding Public Relations: (Volume 1). It is a guide for those who don’t have any knowledge of PR and are looking to better their brand and their business’. I want to give people who can’t afford PR,  the tools necessary to promote themselves. Also, because I’m always looking for a way to better myself and my community this workbook is essentially my gift to the hood.

You’re the CEO of PR2Politics and a career advice writer for Sixincheshigher.com; how do you manage your time?

I work between 8 AM and  1 AM every day ( seven days a week) that’s the promise I made to myself when I started as an entrepreneur. It bothers me that we as humans we are always in a hurry to help someone else, but when it comes to ourselves we always procrastinate.

No matter how busy I might be, I make sure that I get to my bed by 1am. I use my time to do research, look for prospect clients, meditate, read my bible and attend meetings. With that being said, having a planner and a to-do list helps me organize my day.

When you’re not wearing your CEO hat, what do you do on your spare time?

I love to spend time with family, go out to eat and I attend Broadway shows.

What would you tell people who are unsure of which career path to follow?

Pray. If you’re not Christian, stay spiritually grounded. It can be tempting to do something that someone else is doing because they are successful at it. Not everyone has the same destiny; create your own path.

Also, I’m one of those who strongly encourages people to do everything, because you never know what will truly make you happy. However, it is best to work on 3 projects at a time, think of it as a college course. All skills are transferable.

If you were to write a letter to your younger self about being an entrepreneur, what would it say?

Dear 17-year-old Raven,

Save your money, all the items you spend your money on now (shoes,clothes etc.), won’t be worth a thing. As you grow wiser you’ll find out that saving even 10$ a month and having an investment account would’ve been beneficial to owning your business. Although you will be amazing, a little cash in the bank could have lessened some stress, but you’re a smart girl you’ll figure it out.


Wiser Raven.

Stay connected with Raven

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