Black History Now-Meet Sonia James Pennington

In celebration of Black History Month, I’m conducting weekly interviews on local Black Entrepreneurs-Making History today!

This is my 5th and final year I’m presenting this series as an exclusive interview series. So, I switched up things a bit and expanded into reaching out to people whose work expanded into the greater Philadelphia region as they are more location independent.

My guests are willing to share some tips and advice for aspiring business owners and community leaders who are willing to step up and make things happen for themselves and those around them. I would like to introduce to you all my special guest of the week…

Meet Sonia James Pennington-Artistic Director, and Choreographer

sonia

In this interview Sonia shares with us:

1) What prompted her to open up a dance studio and pursue the path of the arts even though she had originally chosen the path of law as a Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey.

2) How she handles obstacles and roadblocks such as lawsuits that threatened to take her company from her.

3) And how she currently defines and measures success as an ever evolving entrepreneur.

Check Out Our Interview Here: http://youtu.be/v3NQlwocC_c

 

You can find out more at:
roger-lee-dance-black-history-celebration-201-1417876465

http://www.introspectivemovementproject.com/

http://www.nationaldanceshowcase.com/

http://www.artistsinmotionnj.com/

Tune in next Saturday for my next guest entrepreneur. 

Until next time…Peace!

 

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Black History Now: Meet Thilana Chandler

In celebration of Black History Month, I’m conducting weekly interviews on local Black Entrepreneurs-the History Makers! My guests are willing to share some tips and advice for aspiring business owners and community leaders who are willing to step up and make things happen for themselves and those around them. I would like to introduce to you all my 3rd guest…

Meet Thilana Chandler-Music Director and Vocalist Extraordinaire

Here’s the direct link to the YouTube video in case you weren’t able to play it here.

1) Tell me a little about yourself and what you do?

I am a wife, mother of five, educator, musician, arts director, and entrepreneur. I graduated from Rowan University with a degree in Special Education. I also earned a Masters degree in Educational Leadership.

I am the Founder and Co-Owner of Higher Standard Performing Arts Preparatory, LLC which is in the business of shaping and preparing skillful dancers, musicians, actors, and artists to develop their creative mind, unique ability, and powerful presence to make a positive impact within their communities when they share their gifts and talents.

2) What prompted you to start your own business/be your own boss/ build your personal brand?

I have a passion for the arts and I know it is my life’s mission to share my gifts, talents, and instruct others within the performing arts. I started foremost out of a love for what I do. I then realized that what better way to make a living than to work in my passion. I am strong believer your “work” should be something you are strongly committed and passionate about. So, I set forth my goal by starting my own business teaching and providing instruction within the performing arts.

3) What were the first steps you took towards making your dream into reality?

The first step I took towards my dream, was I worked under my father who was a successful educator and musician. I come from an extremely musical, creative, artistic family. My father ran a private music studio, Cary’s Music Studio, for 25 years and he began to teach me the in’s and out’s of running a private music studio. I worked with him giving private music lessons and gaining a small clientele of my own. As I was learning, I continued to volunteer my time by being the musician and Worship leader at my church which, gave me more experience by teaching others the gift of music.

Overtime, I developed connections to expand my own business and volunteer work with other organizations and churches. As a result, I gained the opportunity to go into the school systems to teach music, dance, and drama under my own business and offer an after school program to students. This led to more exposure which required the need for a separate location which my partners and I have now acquired in Woodbury, NJ.

4) How do/did you handle obstacles and roadblocks?

I have maintained the viewpoint that, “Every delay will work out in my Favor!” I have learned to be patient, diligent, and to stay positive when dealing with obstacles. It is important to maintain a relentless attitude that believes, I will overcome, regardless of what obstacle the business or life in general I am facing. I have learned that I must continue to believe that I will find a solution to overcome any roadblock and work towards that solution.

5) How do you define and measure success?

Success to me is a life lived on God’s purpose and plan. I know that God has good plans for my life and the process towards fulfilling my purpose must align with him. I know I am successful when I am doing what he desires and created me to do.

6) What is the one action you have taken that has accounted for most of your success?

The one action plan I know that has accounted for most of my success is seeing the importance of my volunteering and giving of my time and talent. By giving, I have gained so much more in return. I have made connections, friends, partnerships, and business by giving.

7) Where do you see yourself and your business 10 years from now?

I believe in 10 years that Higher Standard Performing Arts Preparatory will be a leader in the Arts Education field. I believe Higher Standard will be a safe haven for professional and aspiring artists to learn, grow, and take their craft to a “Higher Standard”.

I also believe we will be implementing a quality performing arts after school program via our Mobile Arts Education Program in public, charter, and private school systems.

I also envision the Higher Standard Performing Arts K-12 Preparatory School. We understand that we are in the business of shaping lives. My goal is through Higher Standard we leave a legacy for future generations. This includes a comprehensive, rigorius, academic, school infused within the performing arts.

8) What projects are you currently working on that you think could benefit some of my readers?

I am currently, looking forward to our Grand Opening in March of our new location in  Woodbury, NJ. We are excited to be the first business located in the newly renovated G.G. Green Building. We are currently registering students of all ages for music, dance, art, and drama lessons. You can check out our website at www.hstandardprep.com. We are also on Facebook.

I also have my own blog that chronicles my journey towards reaching my life’s goals. I write about the good, the bad, and the journey towards being all God created me to be. My blog is called JourneyTowardsPurpose.

9) What advice would you like to give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

The advice I would give to aspiring entrepreneurs would be to enjoy the journey, learn from the obstacles, keep your vision in focus, and believe you will have what you see!

Thilana’s Closing words….I would like to acknowledge my partners my husband Nate Chandler and Tellie Johnson. They are an integral part of my success and I would like to mention them some way.

Tune in next Saturday for my next guest entrepreneur!

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