Gold has to be refined and endure a substantial process to become the precious metal we know it to be. Life has a way of refining our character while our life experiences and paths outline our process. If we allow it, we could become valuable to our families, our communities and ourselves, making us Golden too.

Here are some Golden Women who are giving back to their communities, by any means.  Read their inspiring stories here:

DeNika Turner-Stephens: Founder of Runway 4 Peace

posted Jan 26, 2016, 4:32 PM by Alisha Hall   [ updated Jan 26, 2016, 5:48 PM ]

DeNika Turner-Stephens, born and raised in Compton, Ca.  She is a wife to her high school sweetheart, a mother to their awesome son, a mail lady for USPS and the founder of a non-profit organization, Runway 4 Peace, Inc. Her overall goal in life is to work hard to provide a great living for herself and an extravagant life for her family. The way her faith is setup in God, she knows He already has it written out for her to achieve it.

What called you to start Runway 4 Peace and how did it all come together?

I was called to start Runway 4 Peace based on my passion to model and the lack of activities within my community while growing up. Modeling was something I've always dreamed of doing; however, the city of Compton did not provide a program such as that. When I got old enough to travel around, I started living out my dream of modeling throughout different locations. It was definitely frustrating because often times, I did not meet the industry's standards. Due to the fact that I was not 5'9, super slim, and/or have strong facial features, I was not selected for the show.

That is when I made a promise to myself, I wanted to create a program where young women who had interest in modeling could have a starting point. Unfortunately, there was a minor setback. My niece, Erica Miranda was shot 3 times at the age of 10 (March 2010), while playing outside of her home. It was fortunate that God blessed her to live and she is now walking again. After tragic struck, I was eager to raise awareness towards the STOP THE VIOLENCE cause. I've known many people who have been killed due to violence. As for my major comeback, I finally came up with the name Runway 4 Peace for my organization to create and showcase positivity in our community.

I produced my first successful fashion show in June 2012. After 2 years past,  I better prepared myself to produce the most anticipated fashion show in city of Compton. With over 150 attendees, the Runway 4 Peace Fashion Show made it on LA Times website and blew people minds' due to the purpose behind this uncoventional event.

I also have a program called W.E.R.K for ages 4 and up, which is a Women's Empowerment Runway Klass to create a dynamic influence on young girls by presenting the fundamentals of uplifting, self-love, and great confidence through a fierce catwalk.

How do you balance Full-Time Work, Family and Runway 4 Peace?

Honestly it can be a struggle when I am preparing for an event. Working as a full-time mail lady is draining within itself but when I am delivering mail, I am also on my phone, researching, networking, and planning. It's like I have 2 jobs in one. I need my job to meet my financial needs but Runway 4 Peace is where my heart is. Eventually I will become stable enough to make it full-time organization. 

In the meantime I use my off days to do as much as possible; give back to my community, host my W.E.R.K program, and spend quality time with my family.

Family time is very important but can be difficult as well, being that our schedules are everywhere. However, Sunday is our family day, while other days we make time to go places, relax, watch tv, and/or have GAME DAY!!!

The key to our relationship is SUPPORT. My husband and I have some-what high expectations of ourselves, so we are always talking about our dreams and goals. We know there may be sacrifices but we understand that. When it comes to our son, the goal is to give him what we didn't have while growing up but also teaching him to be appreciative for everything that he does have.

Advice you would give to someone who feels they don’t have the time to give back because they work Full-Time, or are too busy:

There is always time! It just depends on what you are willing to sacrifice, even if that means skipping a nap, lunch break or social media time. No one can ever be too busy for something God has called you to do. It must be something that you are passionate about and not forced to do.

How can we contact you and/or learn more about Runway 4 Peace?

To learn more about Runway 4 Peace, Inc visit our website at

If you would like to keep up with daily, check out or social media pages:

Instagram @runway4peace

If you would like to contact me directly email me at 

Nichole Sylvester: Founder of Lib(H)erate

posted Oct 15, 2015, 10:50 AM by Alisha Hall   [ updated Oct 15, 2015, 10:51 AM ]

Nichole Sylvester is a mother, entrepreneur and philanthropist with a commitment to personal and spiritual growth.  

Nichole has overcome a lifetime of adversity, using her pain to propel her into a journey of self-discovery. Along the way she discovered the transformational power of meditation and self-inquiry. During this time she created 30 day programs to break limiting patterns and recreate her life. After experiencing radical change and redefining success as a single mother, she decided she must help other women realize their purpose and rediscover joy.

Nichole has a background in finance, having worked with some of the largest financial institutions in world throughout the past decade. A commitment to helping others guided Nichole into Philanthropy. In 2013 she created A Night Of Wonders, an annual fundraiser in Los Angeles, California benefiting The Small Wonders Foundation, raising over $30K to help children receive surgery. In 2014 Nichole partnered with The Alexandria House, a transitional shelter for women and children located in Los Angeles. To ensure the children had all they needed for the upcoming Holidays, she hosted an event to raise money and collect over 250 toys.

Realizing her passion for making change and her ability to bring people together she decided to create a community for females. Sylvester soon formed UPLEVEL with a vision of empowered women striving to make positive change in the World. In its second year, UPLEVEL transformed into LIB(H)ERATE to focus on women finding their personal freedom.

What called you to start Lib(H)erate and how did it all come together?

When I moved to Los Angeles I began to attend events and noticed that I enjoyed the feeling that I had at exclusively female events. I loved the energy that was created when empowered women supported other women. This felt almost magical to me. Eventually, I created a female mastermind where women could meet monthly to discuss goals, share ideas and hold one another accountable.

As my personal development progressed I caught a vision of making a greater impact by creating a global community for women. I transformed my life by creating 30 day programs for myself and I wanted to share these with other women. With that in mind, LIB(H)ERATE was then birthed. 

LIB(H)ERATE is an intentional community for women committed to personal growth and living a life of purpose. In select cities ladies can meet for monthly group success sessions. Women from across the globe can immerse themselves into the Lib(H)eration program, a 30 day personalized transformation and accountability course designed to break habits and create new and improved thought patterns. 

How do you balance family and Lib(H)erate?

As a single mother it isn't always been easy but it's always worth it. I focus on my inner-guidance, allowing my intuition to check me when things are out of alignment. I was divinely guided to create LIB(H)ERATE so it doesn't feel like work to me, I'm pulled by that vision. 

In my home communication is key. We discuss our dreams, joys and fears honestly. We check in to make sure we are feeling seen and heard. My daughter has played such a huge role in my work, she inspires me everyday. I discuss my plans and share my ideas with her, which can help blend my work/passions with my family life. 

Advice you would give to someone who feels they don’t have the time to give back because they work full-time or are just too busy.

We all have time. It's whether we choose to make giving back a priority or not. As a parent I believe it's important to teach your children the benefit of being of service. There are so many people in need of love, attention, food, shelter, clothing, etc. what do you want to share? It could be as simple as requiring your child to donate toys right before birthday parties and Christmas or donating non perishable food items to a local mission. 

I recommend creating fundraising events. I found great joy in creating events which generated much greater donations than I could provide on my own. These experiences changed my life for the better! I didn't have the money nor the time, yet I found a way to be resourceful and had so much fun while doing so.  

How can we contact you and learn more about Lib(H)erate?

To learn more about working with me and becoming a part of the LIB(H)ERATE community visit

I can be contacted directly at

Tina Admans: Chairman & President, Minds Matter of Los Angeles

posted Jul 14, 2015, 4:17 PM by Alisha Hall   [ updated Jul 14, 2015, 4:20 PM ]

Tina co-founded the LA chapter of Minds Matter in 2010 and has served as President and Chair since. Tina is Director of Business Operations at American Public Media’s radio program Marketplace. Previously, Tina was owner and principal consultant at Pindari Associates, a business transformation consulting company. Prior to Pindari Associates, she was CIO and SVP Financial Shared Services with Panavision, the market leader and Academy Award winning provider of camera and lighting services for the film and television industry. Prior to Panavision, Tina was VP Six Sigma Quality and Digitization at NBC Universal based in Burbank, California. Prior to the Six Sigma role, she had a variety of Finance positions including VP of Finance/IT and Sales Traffic at NBC Europe in London, UK. Tina is a graduate of GE’s Financial Management Program as well as a former Corporate Auditor with GE’s elite internal management training program. She holds a BS degree in Finance from Indiana University in Bloomington.

What called you to Minds Matter and how did it all come together? I had spent a good 20 years working for corporate America and while I had learned and great deal and traveled a good part of the world, there was still something very much missing. There was not one singular event that shaped my thinking but about 6 or 7 years ago, I attended a workshop on leadership and we did an exercise on values. I don’t know if I had ever actually defined my values up to that point. In defining them, I also came to the realization that I had pretty much ignored them for a good part of my life. Not completely, but they definitely had taken a back seat to my “career” and all that entailed. So I made a dramatic change in my life and quit a very good corporate position – with no idea what I was going to do next.  

I stumbled across Minds Matter. As I learned more about the organization, I knew I wanted to be involved in some way so I reached out to them. At the time, they did not have anything in LA but we talked about ways I could still be involved. Then after a few months, they asked if I wanted to start the LA chapter. I had never thought of that but it sounded good so long as I could be partnered up with some folks who were more familiar with the organization. The National organization introduced me to Taber Gonzales and April Bain who were amazing from the first minute I met them. The three of us, along with my husband Bill, embarked on the journey to bring Minds Matter to Los Angeles. Between the 4 of us, we did everything from find a location for sessions, talking with many, many schools, becoming incorporated, building a board of directors, creating marketing materials, a website and so, so much more. All of us worked harder than we ever had in the past but for something that meant the world to us. Welcoming that first class of Sophomores was an amazing experience. The only thing that topped it was their graduation from MMLA three years later as all of them headed off to college!

How do you balance full-time work and Minds Matter? Nothing extraordinary is ever done by one person and MMLA is no exception. We have an amazing Executive team and Board of Directors that truly do the bulk of the heavy lifting. There are times when it seems too much but then you think of the students we are serving and what they face in a day and it puts everything in perspective.  

Though we don’t have sessions over the summer with the students, our teams use that time to do a lot of team building and planning for the upcoming year. Having a very structured program and doing as much advance planning as possible allows all of us to be able to balance volunteer work with full time jobs. And honestly, being flexible. We set aggressive goals for improvements to curriculum and the overall program each year but we also lay out our must do’s, things we will not compromise on. These always get accomplished and if we also do some of the other goals, that is wonderful. We celebrate what we have achieved rather than focus on what we were not able to do. Being 100% volunteer, we cannot do it all so we prioritize and focus on one or two improvements each year. Continuous improvement is one of our values – we just put our very practical hats on each year!

Advice you would give to someone who feels they don’t have the time because they work full-time. I would say just give it a try. There is always time for the things that really matter to you. Taking the time to find what really matters, what is important to you and then finding the right organization may take some time. Once you find it though, the payback will be tenfold. Spending time with our students always brings joy and perspective to my life – no matter what I am going through, it is nothing compared to what some of our students face everyday. Knowing that I can make a small difference in their life and help them to see some of their dreams become their reality is why I am here – it is what fills the void that I felt from my professional life. I am now able to take all of the learning and best practices I learned from corporate and apply them to something that has deep meaning for me. I can always find/make the time to do that!

How can we contact you and/or learn more about Minds Matter?  You can learn more from our website, or from our Facebook page

The very best way is to visit a session and see what we do. If you are interested in doing that, just email us at There are plenty of volunteer opportunities that do not require the Saturday commitment so reach out and take a chance on a deserving student!

To contact me directly, just email me at

Rashunda Rene: Founder/Executive Director, C.U.S.P. (Committed to Uplifting Single Parents)

posted Apr 11, 2015, 8:12 PM by Alisha Hall   [ updated Apr 14, 2015, 12:25 PM ]

Rashunda Rene has more than 10 years of financial operation experience for a major corporation, and is the driving force and Founder of C.U.S.P. (Committed to Uplifting Single Parents), a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit in Los Angeles California, whose mission is to empower and assist single parents with the difficult challenges of parenthood through a range of financial and social services which will allow them to provide safe and loving homes for their children.

In addition to her role in the corporate arena, and with C.U.S.P., Ms. Rene is also the Coordinator for South-LA-Saves. South-LA-Saves stresses good saving behavior and supports individuals and families to save money, reduce debt, and build wealth.

As a Los Angeles native, Ms. Rene graduated from California State University Long Beach with her Bachelors in Psychology. Always striving for professional development, Ms. Rene is a member of National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) an exclusive network for professional women to interact, exchange ideas, educate, and empower. She continues to advance her knowledge through trainings on nonprofit and business management, leadership, and technology. With a passion to inspire and motivate others to achieve their full potential, she continues to volunteer her time with many other community organizations and serve as a mentor.

What Called Me to Start C.U.S.P.?

In 2008 while sitting in traffic on the way home from work I was thinking and saying to myself, there has to be more to life than just going to work every day and sitting in traffic only to go home for a few hours- to get ready to do it all over again. There had to be more purpose to my life. I immediately turned the radio off and just began to repeat to myself “there has to be more.” I then started thinking, at what point in my life had I felt the most fulfilled and it hit me, I felt the most fulfilled when I was coaching High School Basketball. I had coached for 5yrs and truly enjoyed coaching and being a positive role model for the young girls. During that time, I worked part-time, attended college full time as well as coached during the Season and Summer Camp.  At the end of every season no matter what our record was, the girls would always tell me how much they learned and not just about basketball. I had always kept that with me and felt proud that they received more than the understanding of playing basketball from being around me.  So with that, I thought maybe opening a gym and starting a full service program and a team would be the thing to do. The gym would have a family atmosphere but an emphasis would be on basketball training. It would be a way for me to do what I loved and give back to the community.  

I called my mom when I got home and just began to share with her my ride home and all the things that were running through my mind. She expressed to me that she could tell that coaching was something that I really loved and would always support me in whatever I decided to do. It was at that point that our conversation began to get much deeper and she shared stories with me about being a single parent and some of the challenges she faced.  We talked for hours and the more she talked the more I started to think how tough it must have been for her to be a single parent but yet never show how difficult it was. 

It was maybe a week later, after many conversations with God and many many prayers asking him to show me what my purpose was in life that I saw the vision for the gym changing to be some sort of space to help single parents with the challenges they faced.  At that point I didn’t know what all of that meant but over time it became very clear. The ride home sitting in traffic wasn’t so bad anymore; it gave me time to think and begin to put pieces together. 

How it all came together: 

That was 2008, fast forward to 2011 because I did start all of the research and getting an understanding of what it meant to have a nonprofit but in 2009-2010 life happen and I had to put the idea down. At the beginning of 2011 everything was back on track and I picked right back up with the idea of starting the organization. 

No one in my immediate family had ever started a business let alone a nonprofit, so it was truly up to me to get this information.  Fear played a big role many days but on those days I prayed even more and asked God to make a way if this was meant to be.  I went to as many classes, conferences, and seminars I could to make sure I had enough knowledge to get this started. It all came together and God has continued to give this organization Favor. We received our California Incorporation in early 2011 and in August 2011 we were a registered 501c3 Nonprofit organization. 

I stay focused and inspired because of the many emails and phone calls I receive with people thanking us for the work we do.  The fact that God gave me something so that I can give to others is so powerful, it just amazes me each and every time I think about it and it makes me work harder so that we can help more people.  The original vision for the organization for what I thought it would turn out to be is long gone, and its gone because God has made it even bigger, the strides we have made are far past what I originally thought in 2008. 

This has taught me that we can't be afraid or ashamed to go back to an idea or start over. If I had not opened myself back up to receive in 2011, I would have missed out on this great opportunity to have this organization and all that it will offer. CUSP is by far my greatest accomplishment to date.

How I balance Full-Time Work and C.U.S.P.: 

CUSP is my passion and purpose; I would do it full time for free if I didn’t have the responsibility of providing financially for my household. But because it is my passion and purpose I give it 100% once I leave my Full –Time job every day. Time management is extremely important and since it is important to me, I make the time for it. There is a saying that people will make time for what matters most to them no matter what, and that is exactly what I do. I am at work Monday-Friday 7:30am – 4:30pm and I start meetings for CUSP usually at 5:00pm. I want this organization to help single parents and our community as a whole, if I don’t work hard to get the resources for CUSP to provide what we say we will provide then we can’t be successful. I feel as though God has placed this assignment on my life and I have to be obedient to that and work hard so that this organization can Bless as many single parents as possible.  Do I get tired, ABSOLUTELY but I know all the hard work and time I put in now will be well worth it. I take time to be with my family and friends as often as I can, my mother doesn’t live in the same state as I do so I take 3-day weekends to visit her at least every other month. Although I work Full-Time and have the organization which I dedicate more than 40hrs a week to; I make the calendar for CUSP, so if I need to take a break for a couple of days I can.

Advice I would give to someone who feels they don’t have the time because they work Full-Time:

If you have the desire to give back to your community, DO IT! The feeling you get from someone saying “thank you, I didn’t think anyone cared” is AMAZING! It makes the long nights worth it. A program we have with CUSP is Embrace A Family which is our Holiday Giving Program.  Each year without fail I say to myself “keep it together Rashunda you can’t cry in front of this family” and each year I FAIL.  It is such a great feeling to hear their stories and just how thankful they are that someone took the time to show them love and support.  It’s not about having time, it’s about making the time.  I feel we are all to be of service in some manner, whether it’s at your child’s school, at church or at another community organization and the lack of time should not be a factor. No matter how big or small your desire is to give back, it will make a difference to someone and that in itself is worth it. That person you touch could be the next President, Doctor, Scientist, or Visionary and it will be because you cared enough to serve and give back. You can’t miss that opportunity. 

Ms. Rene currently lives Los Angeles and can be contacted at or 323-682-8085. 

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