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“Big Mama used to say it’s not how much money you make that matters, but how you make do with what you have” – Michelle Singletary
You may have seen her on networks and shows on MSNBC, CNN, TVOne and The Oprah Winfrey show. Perhaps you listened to her in the afternoon on National Public Radio or maybe you picked up one of her top selling books. Chances are you have seen or heard from Michelle Singletary, financial expert extraordinaire…and if not, allow us to introduce her to you.
Not often enough does a person find their passion at an early age. For Michelle Singletary, that is exactly what happened. Her passion for being fiscally responsible started when she was just a young girl. “If you handed me a dollar at age 4, I knew exactly what to do with it,” says Singletary of her early interest and talent for saving. Raised by her grandmother, Michelle was indeed the most frugal child out of her four siblings. She often lent money to her siblings, “I was tough. If they wanted to buy candy or toys, I’d say no…But a pencil for school—that was a different story” she recalls. Michelle attributes her passion and interest for understanding how to manage her money to her grandmother, who passed away in 1995. Michelle’s grandmother raised her and her siblings on a $13,000 a year income. It was Michelle’s experience growing up in a low-income household, with a grandmother who was skilled at making a dollar out of fifteen cents, that continues to be the inspiration for a great deal of her writings and subsequently her success today. Michelle is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park and she received her Master’s degree in business and management from Johns Hopkins University.
Michelle’s writing career took off when she joined The Washington Post in 1992. Since that time she developed her now nationally syndicated and award winning column, “The Color of Money” which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in its inaugural year. Her column can be seen in over 100 newspapers across the country including the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, Tampa Tribune and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Michelle’s success as a columnist was the perfect entre into becoming a celebrated author of three top selling books including “Spend Well, Live Rich”, “Your Money and Your Man: How You and Prince Charming Can Spend Well and Live Rich” and “The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom,” which was released this month.
In addition to her column and books, Michelle is often called upon to appear on many prominent television and radio programs. She has appeared on all three major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS) as a personal finance expert on such shows as “Oprah”, “NBC’s Today Show,” “The Early Show on CBS,” “Nightline,” CNN, “The View,” and “Tavis Smiley” on PBS. In January 2006, Michelle launched her first national television program “Singletary Says” on TV One and to this day she continues to be sought after as a keynote speaker for Universities and organizations across the nation.
As if all of this is not enough, somehow Michelle finds time to give back through her program, “Prosperity Partners Ministry,” which she founded at her church, First Baptist Church of Glenarden. The program focuses on “financially savvy” volunteers mentoring others who are having financial challenges. To top it all off, Michelle is a happily married mother of three children currently residing in Maryland.
If you made any New Year’s Resolutions that have to do with getting your finances together, visit Michelle’s site for some great advice and information on her products and services.
Oprah does it again! It’s clear that Oprah’s giving spirit knows no bounds. This week we came across Project O Bracelet and just knew that The Vyne Readers would be interested in helping out. Project O Bracelet is an initiative led by O Magazine in partnership with Fair Winds Trading. Think of them as bracelets with a back story. The bracelets are made by women in East Africa who have suffered through some of life’s most horrific challenges. Making these bracelets gives the women the opportunity to earn 12 times the average daily wage in their countries. The project launched in 2007 and has given the women of Africa the opportunity to transform their lives for themselves and their families. The latest editions of the O Bracelet is particularly unique as it brings together the handy work of women from Rwanda and women still suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana. Each bracelet is handcrafted in Rwanda and New Orleans. They are designed with two distinct parts, a beautifully woven disk and an equally beautiful band, to represent the two groups of women coming together. Take a look at these fabulous treasures and consider supporting the cause by purchasing the braceletes.
Name: Karissa George
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
“I can figure anything out.”
It must be tough being CEO of one of the most anticipated networks yet to launch, especially when the network is called “OWN” and named after one of the most powerful women in the world. If anyone is up to the task it is Christina Norman, CEO of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). With a track record of achieving strong results, this media veteran is bound to help OWN become powerful from the start.
Born in New York, NY, Christina grew up in the boroughs of Queens and the Bronx. Interest in the arts and entertainment was in her genes as her parents were strong music enthusiasts. In college, she chose film as her major and received a film degree from Boston University. After college she entered into a position in advertising, working behind the camera for commercials. 1991 marked the beginning of her “big break” when she was hired into MTV Networks. Through her extensive career with MTV networks she launched and re-launched some of the most successful ventures in the network’s history. It was during her time there that her boss asked around to see if anyone knew animation as he was recruiting staff for a new show (Beavis and Butthead). She promptly replied, “I do,” even though she did not. She told Crain’s that though she did not have any experience, she seized the opportunity and figured she could “figure anything out” which is exactly what she did. Some of her other significant achievements included launching MTV, MTV2, mtvU, MTV Tr3s, and MTV.com as well as re-launching VH1 to the “celebreality” format that it is today.
Ms. Norman left MTV Networks as president to join OWN, a venture between Oprah and Discovery Communications, which is speculated to launch sometime in early 2010. Norman told The Hollywood Reporter, “…we’ve got to expand the notion of what it means to live a life with purpose, which includes humor, which includes talk shows, which includes all sorts of non-scripted things.” Between her and the rest of the OWN team which includes other veterans like Jamila Hunter and Robert Tercek, amazing programming and features are certainly in the works.
Christina Norman’s industry accolades include being named in The Hollywood Reporter’s “Power 100 Women in Entertainment,” Multichannel News’ “Wonder Women,” Crain’s New York’s Top 40 Under 40 , and featured in Advertising Age’s “Media Mavens” issue. As if running a groundbreaking network is not enough, she still has found time to serve on the boards of Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center and the BRIC Arts Media Brooklyn. In one of the most complementary farewell announcements ever, Van Toffler of MTV said, “Christina’s mark on our company is indelible and it’s worth noting that she reinvented herself and our businesses along the way.” We are waiting anxiously for what she has in store for us at OWN.
We all know Oprah Winfrey has deep pockets. Here’s an example of how deep those pockets are. As we speak, Oprah, 1700 of her employees, and their families are on a Mediterranean cruise sponsored by Ms. Winfrey costing an estimated $5400 per person. During their trip they will travel to Spain, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Malta. Must be nice!