Jul92012

“Right now as my business is expanding, I feel like I am giving birth and I am not even a mother.”

Entrepreneur Angela Ray
Angela Ray
Mahogany Dime
CEO

This interview was made possible by our friends at Guidant Financial:
Guidant Financial
The leader in alternative startup, franchise and small business financing.

“Power plus passion increases your potential™,” proclaims award winning speaker Angela Ray. As CEO of Mahogany Dime™ LLC, she knows this to be true. Her work as a motivational speaker, actress and writer, has afforded her the opportunity to touch the lives of thousands across the country. Angela’s primary focus through the company is to help people reach their goals through life changing seminars, real life performances, and publishing works that uplift and inspire. The company’s signature gala is the Mahogany Dime™ Awards, an annual ceremony that honors the achievements of African American women from across North Carolina.

Mahogany Dime LLC is a consulting company with an artistic edge. With a primary focus on speaking to college students, the company’s goal is to invest in the next generation.

MO: What inspired your decision to launch Mahogany Dime?

Angela: It was part inspiration and part necessity. I had been looking for opportunities to venues to perform and write. And while there I had some chances to shine, they were few and far between. So instead of waiting for the phone to ring, I thought I would create a way for me to work on m own. Since that time, I have not looked back since.

MO: Later this year you’ll be releasing not one but two new books! Can you talk about the inspiration behind them and the creative process of juggling 2 writing projects at once?

Angela: Well, the first book, Rehearsing for the Leading Role, is one that I am writing, which will take more of my time. I speak to a lot of high school and college students who have the aptitude but lack the guidance on how to take that and create the future they want.

College is more than just getting good grades. And while students know this intellectually, sometimes implementing the right combination of well rounded investments of their time is challenging. This book will provide insight on the steps to take to walk into the career of their dreams.

The second book, Crossing the Sands of Sisterhood is an anthology. It is a collection of stories of friendships of women in the four national Pan-Hellenic sororities. So, while I am not doing the writing on this one, I will be busy collecting the stories and deciding which ones will actually be published.

MO: What are some of the typical topics you speak about to college students?

Angela: Networking, Branding, and Leadership

MO: What’s some of the best feedback you’ve ever received after a speaking engagement?

Angela: I spoke to a group of high school students at the Emily K Center in Durham, North Carolina. After the talk, I had a student tell me that she was interested in entertainment, but had not planned to attend college. After hearing me speak about my college experience and how I merged that with my career in entertainment, she was inspired to pursue a college education. That meant a lot to me.

MO: You launched the Mahogany Dime Awards back in 2004. Can you explain the inspiration behind the awards and what the ceremony entails each year?

Angela: I was looking a way to give back to the community. About that time, I was planning to release my book of poetry, Blackberry Whispers. It was a perfect storm of sorts as I decided to combine the two, thanking the community, particularly women, who had nurtured and supported my poetic voice while presenting that voice in a new format.

MO: You’re just about to launch a new website to brand the speaking/coaching part of your company (Designyourshine.com) Can you talk about the process of developing and branding this new aspect of Mahogany Dime?

Angela: Wow. Right now as my business is expanding, I feel like I am giving birth and I am not even a mother. I want people to be able to find exactly what they need when they visit my website. Right now, with the current format and content of mahoganydime.com, it is difficult to really see the focus on speaking.

Though we do have some specialty performances from time to time for events, the primary focus of the company has shifted primarily to speaking. Because the Mahogany Dime brand has been associated more with the poetry and performances, I worked with a consultant to develop a new brand that would reflect more of what the company does with the speaking. Mahogany Dime will not disappear though.

I spent time working with a consultant to extract the most important aspects of my mission. We worked on a tag line as well. Coupled with those efforts we developed a refined topic list for speaking and Designyourshine.com was born.

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