The Creative


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I was able to experience the amazing story of Leon at a gathering for Breakout at Convene in New York. This man is a leader for so many different reasons, his ability to triumph over his own personal loss and become a beacon to his community, for the fearless way he leads with his heart. But more, Leon was able to make a decision that put his mental health first and foremost of how he executes his purpose.

That kind of bravery needs to be celebrated, it needs to be documented and witnessed.

LEON the film centers around Leon Ford’s lifetime mental health journey growing up in Pittsburgh. From his run for city council in 2019, the police brutality he suffered in 2012, to the power of therapy.

Take a look at the teaser below and I’ll update you when it premiers on Facebook!

A Breakout Film in association with BMe Community

I was able to sync up with Leon and ask him if there was one thing that he wanted people to take away from this film what would it be ?

I want People o understan that it is okay to choose to put yourself first. We all deserve healthy minds, hearts, and souls.

Leon Ford

Follow the story at Breakout and Follow Leon Ford

Executive Producers @patrickcdonovan@leonfordspeaks@bmecommunity
Breakout Founders @michaelxfarber@latergraham8011

DOP @zoesimone.y
1st AC @andrewlersanlin
2nd AC @haleyjshaw
Steadicam @steadical
Gaffer @omarknasr
Key Grip @jayisawarrior
Location Sound @hoi_franz
Production Supervisor @currynneon

Editor @thekidmatt
Assistant Editor @ecblackman
Color @kathraisch x @company_3
Music @gavinbrivik
Sound @rphljls
VFX @ned.stasio


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The Speaker

The Calling

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When the incomparable Rha Goddess reached out to me to become a part of her book launch “The Calling” I could not have been more honored.
We have nurtured a friendship built on arming our community to be their best selves, to take down obstacles that we build inside ourselves.

So being a part of the Stay True, portion of the book tour moved my own internal dialogue forward in a real way. Take a minute to see my portion of the digital summit.

I feel Most alive when I am advocating for others.


About The book:

The Calling represents the culmination of over 30 years of Rha’s frontline experience in supporting change agents from all walks of life in reaching for and realizing their true purpose and potential in a way that is both profitable and impactful. From the top woman in the world in Aerospace to a Warrior woman in a Battered Women’s Shelter on the Lower East Side, The Calling is a transformative guide written for those who know that they are here to do and be more in this world. Organized around the 3 fundamental commitments: Stay True.Get Paid.Do Good., this book addresses the deep seated concerns that often plague our society and personally challenge our ability to show up for the things in our life and our world that really matter.  

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The Advocate

The Podcast: Dreams in Drive

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Shot by @tonewoolfe

Episode 230: How To Create An Unbeatable, Bankable, & Winning Brand w/ Medina

On this episode, I share my personal #dreamdriving journey including navigating life post-college as a creative, hustling his a** off to get his design agency off the ground, and what eventually led him to create =SPACE, a safe space for entrepreneurs who are often left out of the mainstream narrative to thrive.

The work hustle and the actual numbers, like forget the passion I have for my community, but the numbers are supporting our community.
We are bettable, bankable and winning.

On Dreams in Drive, I share my major keys to success for other dream drivers including advice on making strong financial decisions, building one’s personal advisory council, and why being open to innovation is crucial in today’s #dreamdriving landscape.

Medina’s Keys To Success:
1. Financial advisor
2. Build an advisory board
2. Be open to innovation

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The Style


All shots by the amazing @pharoahrex

This would be the first time I ever shot in my own home and it was amazing to have Rex as the photographer. It was about capturing something broody and textured, to style a suit with Timberlands, which is a part of the Brooklyn Uniform. I enjoyed the entire process of composing the shots and love that my favorite Rescue Pitti, Layla Jayne made an appearance.

I like to call myself a ruffian in a suit and these shots capture that feeling.

Shot Details

Suit: Perry Ellis
Tattoo: Kirk Nilsen at Crown & Anchor Tattoo
Watch: Fossil
Tunic: Zara
Handmade Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskyLiquor: MakersMark

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The Entrepreneur

The New Checklist


Social distancing has led me to have some truly meaningful moments with my friends. Many of us Type A personalities are driven by so many factors: professional ambition, life goals, societal pressures and even our own inner demons push us in a forward trajectory, but maybe not in a positive way.

Talking over FaceTime and sharing mutual coping methods, I realized that social distancing has caused some shifts in my priorities for the better. I have always put relationships and people first. It’s at the forefront of my personal mission and the feeling is also the directions of both my companies. They are social impact driven goals that give me purpose.

The focus has never been on myself. Personal focus has always been last, even when the first thing I do when I wake up is push my health to new limits at the gym, even though it’s my first accomplishment of the day. However, there’s a disconnect. The intensity is there, but not a with the reasons why I am there or even what the benefits are and what the end results will be. I was moving through the motions of everything and just ticking off what was on my personal and professional checklist.

Before I share my shifted checklist, I think it’s more important to share that they mean nothing, if you aren’t feeling fulfilled in the process of achieving them. So now let’s get to my new list.

Rising In the Morning

Meditation: Starting with being thankful, whether that involves prayer or meditation, I am just thankful, and the mantra I have begun repeating is “Peace, Joy, Happiness” I do it before I get up and put my feet to the ground.

Stretching: Even if it’s just for five minutes, the last month I have been stretching when I get up and it’s just the kindest thing you can do for your body. It’s a gentle waking up of my muscles and especially when you combined it with the next thing.

Hydration: Didn’t realize this would make my checklist, but it really makes me feel immediately refreshed and awake. Water with a bit of ice and hot tea is pretty much life.

A Workout

So, if you know me, this has been an essential part of my life for so many years, especially given that I’ve struggled with weight for the most of my life, topping the scales at 375lbs. Being indoors has been hard. My workouts have been the very first thing I start my day with. 5:30am training sessions and often times doing double sessions three to four days a week.

The realization was that I honestly wasn’t always fulfilled or experiencing a muscle mind connection. I checked the box daily. Every day and all I ended with was that I didn’t do enough. Now I have no access to gym facilities. I am making fitness choices that lead me to feeling accomplished. Body weight movements and biking have been really fulfilling.

So, checklist items for health could be any of the above, I try and do them all:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Bodyweight Cardio
  • Jumping Rope
  • Walk outside

Walking the Dog:

I am really blessed to have two furry, family members and walking them has changed from an obligation to a moment of fresh air before I begin the day. I take more time with walking the dogs and it’s become a relaxing part of my morning.


It is important to take nourishment. I have never really leaned on a heavy meal. I typically drink a really, great protein shake and start to take in my day.

Work Time

This checklist has even taken some new turns. I am not workhorse driven. It isn’t just about the projects. I take pauses. I laugh with my chosen family and take lunch with my boyfriend. I have coffee time with my best friend, and I love cooking dinner for everyone. I love these moments so much, that I have now made them a part of my day. In no order, try adding some of these to your work day lists.

Reading Moment – I sometime learn for the sake of the project, now I’m trying to take in knowledge for the enjoyment of it.

Coffee with a friend – totally can make this on a Zoom

Lunch – I really enjoy making it day of. I typically prep my meals for the week and I don’t truly enjoy them.

End of Day

So, I would linger before I end my day. Now I have reasons for a hard stop. The real truth is this time has served to show me how important it is to take pause and put life into every act. I hope this list helps you to put life into your daily work life, as we walk through this I hope you can put that into everything you do.

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The Creative

Link Love


This is what I’m falling for on the internets and I just want to share with you Champs.

1. Fashion

Nike Air Fear of God, is back and its triple black. So amazing!  Jerry Lorenzo is bringing them back in this new color variation and it is The Win.

2. Design

Huseo an amazing design & animation studio in Buenos Aires, Argentina did an amazing rebrand for BITT. It is an excellent example for creating a modular system.

Take a look

3. Business

Maneet Ahuja goes in-depth on the Paycheck Protection Program that was supposed to help small businesses hit by COVID-19. As the owner of two small businesses, the grants and support that were supposed to help us are truly going to those with the best connections.

Take a read Champs

4. Tech

Do you know who Ashley Boone Jr is? I didn’t until I read Scott Feinberg’s article for The Hollywood Reporter, the first black president of a major Hollywood studio he is the man who helped George Lucas make Star Wars!

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5. Music

I really learned so much about Mike Dean who is a dope musical creative “Panda”, and most of Kanye’s work! During this last month, he has been producing work that is fresh and new. Take a read of a great article written by Max Cea for

Learn about it

6. Culture

The Urban Daily by D.L. Chandler writes about Drakes “Toosie Slide” Hits 1 billion on Tiktok. This further solidifies that Tiktok as the platform for all things on the cusp of trending. It is a culture solidifier and the go-to for content creators right now.  #toosieslide

Read About It

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To Newark, With Love. From Newark, With Love

To Newark with Love, Ryarmo Photography Studios


Ryan, is a fellow Brooklynite, entrepreneur, client, and friend. We connected on so many things, but the one that brought us together was our passion for our dreams and our great love of Newark. I sat down with Ryan for a Webex edition of From Newark With Love.

Listen to the whole story:

How did you begin your business?

RyArMo  Photography Studio is the 10+ year evolution of a  disgruntled wall streeter using photography as a means of escapism during the 08’ financial crisis to an incorporated full-service commercial photography studio/flex use space dedicated creative placemaking. Photographic capture started off as escape from reality to becoming  reality! Ryan Arnez Monroe (the person) and RyArMo Photography Studio (the brand) exist in a symbiosis unimaginable ten years prior.

I’ve always had a love of photography! I developed skill by “doing” and being prodigious in my desire to refine my skill/capture over time; this coupled with my  business acumen (as a former wall streeter) has afforded me the ability to turn a passion into an income earning business that empowers others economic endeavors directly or indirectly.

Did you engage Newark prior to choosing this City ?

Yes; my first two connects prior to relocation was with Jeremy Johnson (Executive Director of Newark Arts) and Aisha Glover (Former CEO of NCEDC, Current CEO of Newark Alliance); proactive outreach to these two fine folks has proven to be the best strategic decisions I’ve made as it pertains  to the sustainability/long term viability of RyArMo Photography Studio full stop!

Why Newark ?

I’ll answer your question with a question: Why Not Newark? 

Where to begin..?? Newark is a transit connected, culturally rich community that is a hotbed of creativity. Newark is a gritty city that rewards determined innovators who choose to set their own path/lane with conviction and purpose; there is honestly no better place (at least in the NYC Metro Area) more advantageous to create from than Newark at current.

What would you say you are bringing to our chosen city?

A different narrative! Newark has been a blessing to me in all aspects; I feel a deep sense of honor to be in Newark and a sincere desire to do my part to make sure other black/brown men see a model of positivity & perseverance – even in struggle/adversity that we all have to cope with in various forms.

In relocating and setting up RyArMo Photography Studio I’ve discovered the importance of building it first without fear while building it right with compassion/drive/integrity/purpose!

From Newark, With love Ryan Arnez Monroe, Owner/Creative Director of
Ryarmo Photography Studios

Describe Ryarmo Photography  Studio.

RyArMo Photography Studio is a full-service commercial photography studio that provides flex use space for creative placemaking space for rental to other artists/creatives/entrepreneurs.

RyArMo Photography Studio occupies a formerly abandoned auto repair facility that has been purposefully rehabbed into a space that has become a mini anchor institution of creativity/positivity in the Lower Broadway Section of Newark.

RyArMo Photography Studio is a special place that you just have to walk through our red doors to understand what it’s all about, there is  a vibe/energy that is bigger than my presence and stewardship as the Owner/Creative Director that is hard to articulate into words. I can say that my space is unique and welcome all who are interested in a visit..just reach out!

Connect with Ryan on:
on IG @rymothephotoguy

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The Entrepreneur

Video Conference Etiquette


Ok, I feel it is important to help everyone with a couple of tips on making the video conferencing life that we are all in as seamless and as energizing as possible!

I have been seeing stories and posts on the hilarious moments and frustrations with how people are engaging with video conferencing. I have also been on several conference calls where I was banging my head against my laptop, begging the hosts and participants to push themselves more.

So, I huddled up with my team members and asked for some tips to bring your best selves.

Be Five Minutes Early

Nothing is worse than being in a waiting room because the host is late. Actually, what’s worse than that: if you are a speaker/panelist and you are late. So my rule has an asterisk, if you are any of the aforementioned, you should be in attendance ten minutes prior to the call and prep it to make sure the experience is A1. Think of it as a dress rehearsal.

As an attendee, try to be five minutes early, do your audio test, and video test to ensure that there are no issues in trying to connect. Trust me, it will pay off because nothing will irk the room then someone who is giving a Muppet moment, (a flapping mouth with no voice)

Be Five Minutes Early

Nothing is worse than being in a waiting room because the host is late. Actually, what’s worse than that: if you are a speaker/panelist and you are late. So my rule has an asterisk, if you are any of the aforementioned, you should be in attendance ten minutes prior to the call and prep it to make sure the experience is A1. Think of it as a dress rehearsal.

As an attendee, try to be five minutes early, do your audio test, and video test to ensure that there are no issues in trying to connect. Trust me, it will pay off because nothing will irk the room then someone who is giving a Muppet moment, (a flapping mouth with no voice)

Add video, spice it up with some animation, bring in another guest speaker to weigh-in and add more energy to your topic. It is essential to throw a bit more into these experiences because the person is no longer physically immerse in an environment.

Visuals Will Help you

Please, please, please, please…please, if you are going to speak, present, or create an experience where you are the authority, I need you to create a visual deck to guide the audience along with you. Think less of it less of a presentation, but more so a tool that shows the visual journey, if not you will lose the audience.

Dress From The Waist Up At Minimum

Ok everyone! I have been saying this from the beginning, unless it’s an internal team meeting (and you all have agreed to be casual-casual) expect to be on a video-on moment. DO NOT be the one who has video-off on an video conference, it looks odd, like the profile on Linkedin with no profile image, so just expect to be dressed business casual or the best version of you at home, because if you are in a full suit or business wear everyone will raise eyebrows. We are all in a tense time, so we don’t expect anyone to be in the corporate garb, but we don’t want you in your pajamas.

Frame Yourself In The Camera, YES LIGHTING COUNTS.

The fact is, we need to see you. Not all of you, more like a medium close up of you and put yourself in the best light. Some quick hacks to frame yourself to the best effect.

           Get an LED light. The likes of Soledad O’ Brien and every
commentator has one!

  •  If using your laptop camera, Wipe. Your. Camera. If not, you will appear muddled and blurry.
  • In case you are again using your laptop, grab a couple of books and stack it up so you are more in the frame.
  • Don’t put a window behind you. You will become a moving shadow. Place a wall as your backdrop, if you don’t want a plain wall, Zoom has gotten really creative with backdrop options for you!  
  • You can use your phone, if your Wi-Fi signal is strong enough and place on a stand, that way your laptop or computer is fully available to you. However, make sure it can take being on Wi-Fi.

Don’t Interrupt

This is a time to be extra polite, to yield the floor and engage in a genuine way with everyone on the video call, trust me it will be appreciated.  I encourage active listening, that means you bring your focus to how everyone is speaking and look for the period in the person’s sentence.

I think establishing guidelines at the beginning of the video call helps to get the flow going. 

If you are in a moderating capacity, it would be especially productive to bring everyone together prior to get speaking patterns and pacing together.

As we move into this new normal of a digital space, I think it’s really necessary to share and create a new digital culture. Allow this moment to bring more of your team into who you are as a person. Allow these hard moments to bring us all together. I have seen some amazing things happening through video conferencing. There have been Tiger King themed team Zooms, pajama Friday team meetings and there’s been amazing office Friday happy hours. Create moments that are reflective of your companies brand!

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To Newark, With Love. From Newark, With LoveUncategorized

From Newark with Love, David Oquendo


The amazing part of the work I do every day is creating access for my community. My sharespace, =SPACE is meant to spotlight our innovation in so many different industries despite being underfunded, underrepresented and having the odds stacked against us. We persevere not in spite of the realities, but because we are beautiful as a people.

In my time in Newark, I have partnered with every art institution and collective, the intention has been so clear, to support creatives of my chosen city because they are the heartbeat and social conscious of Newark.

The work of David Oquendo is rooted in language, he has created a letter system influenced by Textualis Quadrata with hints of Eastern Kufic and Hebrew calligraphy. David shares so much of himself in his work and shows his affinity towards stoicism. It was amazing to work with him and prepare a beautiful show at =SPACE, “Amor Fati” is an exhibition that showcases the breadth of David’s work.

“Amor Fati”, loosely translates to “Love of Fate”; Amor Fati is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and loss, as good or, at the very least, necessary. Oquendo has developed a personally constructed script.

He calls this writing system, “Metaphrase”. This “Metaphrase” is a series that includes large-scale wall renderings (indoor and outdoor) and mixed media paintings. The artwork explores the artist’s ideas and questions of identity, language, meditation, religion, and life.

Oquendo is steering his work to align with his beliefs and practice of Stoicism and positive affirmations that help him make incremental progress in his life and with his struggles with depression, suicidal thoughts, and his disability. Amor Fati is the practice of loving everything that happens and seeing all circumstances as a chance to grow. Not just accepting it, nor simply tolerating it, but leaning into it. As a Latinx individual, there’s no other way to live.

The part that we have to play in David’s work is in supporting his art, by becoming patrons, purchasing is a way of investing in our Artists, it is also a way to empower their art. So come to =SPACE and experience the work in Amor Fati, follow David online, or become a patron!

David Oquendo
David Oquendo Website

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The Advocate

For My Freelancers, Contractors, Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners.


In a time where we are impacted by COVID 19

This time is extremely tenuous for small business owners, freelancers, entrepreneurs, and contractors.

I will be searching and sharing resources and information in how to prepare, navigate and keep moving during this time.

My hustlers are hit by this and it affects their ability to live and be ok during the shift.

Many companies are canceling and going completely digital. There are strategies to save contracts, further position yourselves to survive this if you have a shortfall.


Freelance Resource Here
Source: Unknown 


Via NYC Department of Small Business Services

There is access to no-interest loans if your business is suffering a loss of 25% in revenue.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on March 8 that the City will provide relief for small businesses across the City seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees who have seen sales decreases of 25% or more will be eligible for zero interest loans of up to $75,000 to help mitigate losses in profit.

The City is also offering small businesses with fewer than 5 employees a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees. Eligible owners who would like to learn more about these programs should fill out our interest form.

One question posed was “Is it ok to lay off staff if there’s no business coming in due to the virus?

The Mayor announced employee retention grants of up to 40% of payroll costs will be available to help businesses with under 5 employees pay their staff. Sign up at gov/COVID19Biz to receive more information as it becomes available. Under the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, employers with five or more employees who work more than 80 hours per calendar year in New York City must provide paid safe and sick leave to employees. Employers with fewer

than five employees must provide unpaid safe and sick leave. Covered employees have the right to use safe and sick leave for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member. Employers and employees can visit or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) for more information. While we hope that you do not have to reduce the number of people you employ, there is a layoff process that must be followed. Please visit the NYS Department of Labor website to learn more:

More Here

Unemployment Benefits due to Coronavirus/COVID19

UPDATE 3.13.20

A link for unemployment due to the Coronavirus/Covid19

Unemployment Benefits Coronavirus

I am making sure my small biz community has access to any assistance as so many are reaching out to me with canceled contracts, postponed payments, a complete shift to digital experiences.

I’ll share what we can do to pivot and stay sustained through these trying times. Our capacity to provide for our families is at stake in many instances but I believe this about us, we are capable, resourceful and able to move through and past obstacles.

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