Former Shows & Episodes

Building a Better Business

Charisse Witherspoon

Building a Better Business – Consultant Promotes New Frontier: Business in S. Africa

Ever think about crossing the US borders to build your business? Is it time to put South Africa on your list?

Listen as former banker turned business consultant Darell Barnes shares his opinions and insights in the U.S., following his recent return from 10 years “on the ground” in South Africa. Barnes explains to host Charisse Witherspoon that there are needs for skills transfer and other opportunities (current and future) in South Africa for small businesses, African American-owned businesses and businesses owned by women.

Hear how the relationships between larger companies and local, black-owned suppliers are monitored and scored — not only for utilizing the minority-owned business, but also for helping to further develop that company and the skills of its employees, as well.

In addition to listing techniques for re-weaving the fabrics of inclusion, Mr. Barnes also talks about the “give back” of job creation, economic development and ways that American universities also have become involved.

Building a Better Business – Musician Thrives with Nation’s First Blues Camp for Kids

Award-winning, self-taught blues artist Fernando Jones realizes that sometimes kids with exceptional musical talent are “misfits,” as he says he was as a child when blues was his best friend. To impact similar youngsters, both musically and socially, Jones has established the nation’s first Blues Camp for kids. Amidst his own success as a touring performer, Jones tells Charisse Witherspoon that the free camp is a way to also give back to 12- to 18-year-olds, their parents, and of course, the blues.
Jones has been mentored by blues stars including the late Koko Taylor and Willie Dixon. The Windy City native also is a frequent performer booked for the Chicago Blues Festival, including opening day in 2012. That event is the world’s largest free event of its kind. And now, Jones says Chicago area camp participation includes nearly 100 kids, including kids will from throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. And he continues to establish new camps around the country, including cities in Texas and California.
Beyond being the “cute kid playing with the adults,” Jones notes that the camp gives kids an opportunity to assess how good they really are, as they learn and play with their peers.
While blues receives less support than jazz as an art form, Jones believes the blues will continue because it is “in the molecular structure of American music.” And, following the lead of American sports, Jones is doing his part to keep the art form going by developing youngsters as he says “I am ensuring that there is a farm team for blues.”

Building a Better Business – Spellbinder’s Winning Mix of Magic, Inspiration and Education

Master illusionist Walter King, aka The Spellbinder, talks to host Charisse Witherspoon, about a formula that “never fails” for sharing his – and your– talent. The Spellbinder has performed with superstars including Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, The Temptations, and dozens of others. But he contributes to the building of superstar students in the library and in the classroom when he takes magic and illusions to a new level.

For students of all ages, The Spellbinder demonstrates and discusses the relationship that illusions have with creativity, art, reading, mathematics, and more. He also discusses another unique presentation: The Legacy of Black Magicians — sharing history from slavery in Africa, through the Harlem Renaissance, and to the present day.

The self-taught, award-winning performer eagerly advises people to give more than 100% and “give it from the inside” because “if it comes from the heart, it works.”

Building a Better Business – Business-minded Eye Surgeon Says Retrain Your Brain First

As an airline passenger, you are instructed to secure your own oxygen mask before attempting to help anyone else. Similarly, Dr. Valencia Ray, M.D., also encourages you to use attention to yourself as a launching pad for more meaningful business and personal contributions. More specifically, Dr. Ray advises “retrain your brain.”
A successful eye surgeon, Dr. Ray sold her medical practice and now coaches and advises business owners and professionals on achieving clarity, avoiding overwhelm, reaching relevant goals and more. But she first transformed her own bottom line, while leaving a positive impact on her surrounding (internal and external) communities.
Listen as Dr. Ray relates to everyday concerns and explains to host Charisse Witherspoon that “stress is an inside job.” Dr. Ray shares information from her personal journey, including her “desperation” even after she had secured a spouse, a house and enough money to get anything she wanted.
Finally, compare her ideas on meaningfulness and clarity to your own thoughts and plans for business development and corporate citizenship. Then take a second look at your opportunities for a “whole life approach” that includes business opportunities to give back and help others while you enjoy life as a “human being” rather than simply a “human doing.”

Building a Better Business – Use Construction, Basketball or Whatever You(th) Can Do

People do business with companies that care. And small, but meaningful, steps can be the best beginnings to attract community residents as loyal customers.

Hear how small business owner Kevin Holliday has transformed his concerns about the well-being of underemployed youths into a “just use whatever you do” -type template for other business owners who want to prosper while they evolve as better corporate citizens.

Listen to Kevin’s proactive ideas. Then think about creative ways to start wherever you are. Use the opportunities in your personal or business story to increase your good deeds and increase your positively-affected customer base.

Building a Better Business – Pulling the Plug on Energy Poverty

You might think talking about electricity is boring, but that’s probably because you have taken it for granted. What if you didn’t have it? Really. Not because you simply forgot to pay a bill. What if you’ve never had it? Reportedly, more than 1 billion people in the world today do not have access to electricity.
Charisse Witherspoon talks with Lauren Leifer, an entrepreneur with a background in public/private partnerships. Now Lauren is working with a renewable energy company that’s on a mission to take advantage of deregulation in the United States and give back to the world community. The company plans to provide sustainable benefits to people on seven continents in seven years. And doing well by doing good, the company already has grown to more than $200 million since opening its doors in 2009.
Finally, listening to how Lauren made her choice can help you make yours. If you’re a bit overwhelmed by the number of good causes to explore or support, Lauren also highlights five core beliefs to bring you closer to an enlightened decision.