Creative Breakthrough

Shereen Kassam, Funny Brown Girl

Welcome to the Creative Breakthrough podcast where host Shereen Kassam, aka Funny Brown Girl, will help you answer your career questions by bringing you in-depth conversations with successful creative leaders of color, across TV, film, music, literature, and beyond.

Guests will share inspiration and real-life strategies for turning creative passion projects into full-time careers.

Introducing Creative Breakthrough with Shereen Kassam
Trailer 2 min 40 sec

All Episodes

Hi Creatives, a couple of month ago I was honored to be selected as the keynote speaker for a virtual event titled, “Unstoppable.”.  Today, I will share the recording with you all – my journey to being Unstoppable! Show notes at CreativeBreakthroughPodcast.com 

Aug 14

36 min 45 sec

Hi Creatives, This week we chat with Nelu Handa, a writer on A Little Late with Lily Singh.  Nelu is a writer, actor, improvisor, and comedian.  You’ve seen her on Netflix’s Workin’ Moms and The Van Baron Show.  Nelu shares with us how she’s navigated her creative journey, leaving her 9-5 job to be a 24/7 Creative, and more! Show notes at CreativeBreakthroughPodcast.com   

Feb 25

39 min 55 sec

Hello creatives! This week Ali Velshi, television journalist, from MSNBC joins us to share how he went from studying religion to becoming a globally recognized journalist.  He shares tools to become successful in one’s creative journey, as well as his secret sauce for success.  Ali and I also talk about Twitter trolls and living up to our immigrant parents’ expectations.  Show notes: CreativeBreakthroughPodcast.com.  

Feb 11

42 min 30 sec

Hello Creatives! Bevy Smith joins me this week to talk about her new book Bevalations: Lessons from a Mutha, Auntie, Bestie.  Bevy shares inspiration and wisdom on everything from finding the courage to leave her 6-figure corporate job, transitioning from being a fashion executive to a media personality, becoming an entrepreneur, and more! She even drops a special Bevalation solely for listeners of Creative Breakthrough!  

Jan 28

49 min 18 sec

Hi Creatives! This week I share BIG news – Spotify called me! I also talk about setting intentions for 2021 vs setting goals, our guest next week – Bevy Smith to chat about her new book Bevalations: Lessons from a Mutha, Auntie, Bestie, and of course why Spotify called me!  Show notes

Jan 14

37 min 31 sec

Disney Channel and BET favorite, and seen Lifetime alongside Kelly Rowland, actor Jaime Callica takes the hot seat to chat about growing your social media (he has 81.8K IG followers), pursuing your passion, and being part of Tyler Perry’s TV show Ruthless.  We also chat about staying positive, being grateful, and working smarter.  Real life advice plus motivational messages all rolled up in one episode! Learn more at CreativeBreakthroughPodcast.com   Show Notes

Dec 2020

1 hr 4 min

Hi Creatives! This week I answer all your questions about starting and growing a successful Side Hustle.  With experience running a profitable comedy career, podcast, and e-commerce business, Shereen Kassam answers all your questions, plus shares with you what she wished she knew when starting out.  Learn more: www.creativebreakthroughpodcast.com       Show notes

Dec 2020

27 min 49 sec

Hi Creatives! This week we chat with storyteller Nia Malika Dixon who shares her creative journey and how she moves with purpose.  Nia shares her journey to LA, finding her own production company, and creating and launching a film festival.      Welcome to the Creative Breakthrough!    For those of you tuning in for the first time, welcome.    For my OG listeners, I can’t thank you enough for your support.  Thank you for sharing this podcast.    If you are on your phone right now, press that share button and share it with a friend you think may enjoy this podcast or post it on your social media! And feel free to tag me at funnybrowngirl    Also, don’t forget to join our FB community at “Creative Breakthrough Community” on Facebook    I want to jump right in to today’s guest, but before we do a few announcements…    We are trending in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Nigeria, Uganda, and United Arab Emirates.  To all our new listeners, welcome and thank you!  Thank you to everyone who has reached out to share their side hustles with me.  I love the engagement and can’t wait to continue the conversation on the next episode  I’ve started a new podcast with a good buddy – it’s called radio rejects.  We go live every other Sunday on Facebook.  Join our Facebook page so you don’t miss our next episode – Radio Rejects Live  And lastly, I have big news! On December 11th I will be the keynote speaker at a virtual event called Unstoppable! The focus of the event is to leave the heaviness of 2020 behind you and enter 2021 feeling recharged and refreshed.  If you want more information on this event check out my Instagram or LinkedIn for details.      OK let’s get to today’s special guest.    Who is Nia Malika Dixon    Nia Malika Dixon is an award-winning filmmaker on a mission to amplify diverse stories from underrepresented communities authentically in Hollywood, especially the voices of Black Muslim women. With over 15 years in the film industry, the Baltimore native hones her craft as the founder of Audaz Entertainment, where she writes, directs and produces content for television, film and digital platforms, specifically highlighting stories representing Black Muslim women and girls.     Under Audaz Entertainment, Dixon has released several projects, including short films Shattered Lenses, #BlackMuslimGirlFly: A Butterfly Amidst Iniquity and Temporary Loss of Power. Dixon creates work to cultivate deeper cultural understanding and connections in our local and global communities.    Next week, on December 13th, Nia will be producing the third annual Black Muslim Girl Fly Festival dedicated to amplifying cinematic works both established and emerging Black Muslim women filmmakers and creative talent, exploring diverse and underrepresented stories of the African diaspora across film, TV and digital platforms around the world.     BMGFly Festival program highlights include a diverse panel of film industry professionals, including producer/actress and musical performances.    Key panelists include writers, directors, and producers from Dear White People, Jinn, and the Blacklist.      The festival will be held virtually this year at seedandspark.com/BMGFlyFest    I’ll put all the details in the show notes.    So what are we waiting for….let’s get started!  Key Questions Answered by Nia Malika Dixon: How to produce content on a budget Why Nia started a production company Best advice Nia has received Nia’s definition of success Who has inspired Nia Habit that’s helped Nia on her journey What’s one thing Nia wish she knew before embarking on her creative journey What does Nia want her legacy to be   Nia Malika Dixon discusses: How Nia prepared to move to LA – financially and mentally How she learned to produce films The importance of having a community Her film festival – Black Muslim Girl Fly Festival and why she created it How to stay true to your ethics, values, and religion   Key Takeaways from Nia Malika Dixon: As long as you have an idea and no doubt, you can do it Always move with purpose Share your stories   What is the Black Muslim Girl Fly Film Festival   The Black Muslim Girl Fly Film Festival (BMFF) is an annual one-day event of film showcases that profile stories by Black Muslim Girl filmmakers and creative talent in the film, television and digital space. Originally founded in February 2018 with the purpose of creating a platform to showcase film content by Black Muslim women filmmakers, BMFF is also designed to create opportunities to network with industry professionals and cultivate community among Black Muslim Girls in film around the world.    On a mission to expand cinematic narratives to be more inclusive of Black women and shine a light on untold stories, the annual festival showcases dramas, documentaries, short films and episodic projects that tell the stories of Black Muslim women across the globe. Program highlights also include a diverse panel of film industry professionals and consultants, and a musical performance. Past speakers have included CEO of GameChanger, Effie T. Brown, Pearl Street Films’ Development Executive, Fanshen Cox, in addition to guest judges like Blacklist actor, Hisham Tawfiq, Director and Producer, Oz Scott. Performers including Alia Sharrief and Sa-Roc The Goddess MC have been a part of the Festival lineup.   This year at the Black Muslim Girl Fly Film Festival:   KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Thembisa Mshaka   Panelists include: Producer/actress Amatus Karim-Ali, award winning writer/director Nijla Mu'min (JINN), writer/director Qasim Basir (MOOZ-LUM), trans-media activist/filmmaker Sultan Sharrief and filmmaker Malikah A. Shabazz (CONSTERNATION).   Judges include: TV/Film producer Effie T. Brown (DEAR WHITE PEOPLE), award-winning actor/producer Fanshen Cox (Pearl Street Films), producer/director Quan Lateef-Hill (BLACK GIRLS ROCK) and actor Hisham Tawfiq (NBC's "THE BLACKLIST)  Key takeaways:  Move with purpose  Hire people to help you  Find a community  Throw yourself into situations to learn  Attend the Black Muslim Girl Fly Festival on December 13th    Know go flex your creative muscle and keep winning 

Dec 2020

36 min 35 sec

This week, Henry Gibson share with us financial advice, tips, and tricks to maximize our financial savings.  This is not a sponsored episode – Henry is a friend and actor who offered up his time to provide advice.    Henry Gibson-Garcia began his career as an actor, performing onstage in and in front of the camera for over a decade. Starting in 2019, he began using the skills he’d developed as an actor and director to provide training in Leadership, Collaboration, and Communication to medical students through Improv. Earlier this year, after years of reading and studying personal finance, he became a financial coach and investment advisor with Plan & Act, a wealth management firm seeking to provide finance advice to ordinary Americans. With a background in coaching, and with real experience of what it’s like to survive as a Creative, Henry hopes he can make a positive difference in people’s lives.    In a COVID, world, what advice does Henry have for creatives?  Don’t lose hope  Know your worth  Save your receipts  Don’t fund your side hustle with your credit card    Why are side hustles good?  Add a new skill to your resume  Network with others through you side hustle  Use and manage your own time  Focus on your passion and purpose    How can you finance your side hustle?  Grants  Business line of credit or loan    I have a job currently, but I am uncertain if I will be laid off soon.  How should I prepare?  Maximize your income  Contribute to your 401K, at least the minimum required to get your company match  Figure out what you are passionate about and your marketable skills     If I have a full-time job, but want to leave it to pursue my side-hustle, what should I think about?  Have more cash on hand  Be able to withstand more risk    Final pieces of advice as we start our side hustle?  Hire help – financial planner or accountant  Don’t be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone.  Being scared means you’re heading in the right direction.  Charge what you are worth.      Contact Henry:  planandact.com  Henry.gibson@planandact.com     With that, go flex your creative muscle and keep winning.     Resources:  14 free days to try Shopify:  funnybrowngirl.com/shopify    Who is Shereen Kassam?    I’m Shereen Kassam, the host of Creative Breakthrough and internationally touring speaker and comedian.  If you are looking for a speaker to talk on topics including creativity, branding, or work life balance, get in touch! I am also open to being guest on your podcast, TV show, or other medium.      Contact me:  Email: hi @ funnybrowngirl.com  Facebook: facebook.com/funnybrowngirl  Twitter: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl  Instagram: Instagram.com/funnybrowngirl  TikTok: tiktok.com/@funnybrowngirl 

Nov 2020

40 min 21 sec

Ep 59: Told to Apologize for Being Muslim    Last week, the Islam Channel featured me in a piece about being Muslim and losing my radio gig.      I’m Shereen Kassam – comedian, podcaster, speaker, actress, ex-radio host, and entrepreneur.    I started this podcast for two key reasons  As a woman of color in the entertainment industry, I felt I didn’t have any mentors to turn to for advice and mentorship.  I started this podcast to provide informal mentorship and strategies to win to other creatives, such as myself, who need a mentor  I wanted a voice after I had to leave the radio.      Now why did I leave the radio?    Well – The Islam Channel actually did a piece on this last week.  I am going to play the audio for those of you haven’t seen it….if you want the video you can check it out on my Instagram page – funnybrowngirl or Islam Channel’s IG which is IslamChannelTV.  Shout out to Ravit Anand for a wonderful piece.  Or on Youtube!    It has over 23,000 views across social media so please keep sharing it!     That night and the following days had a profound impact on me.  After that night, I get nervous every time I have a comedy show at a new club or a new area, because I don’t know who is going to get upset that I’m Muslim.       What I learned from this situation?  Sometime you will get opportunities that sound amazing, and it will take everything you have to walk away.  But you have to believe something better is around the corner.      I learned that God’s plan involves me being surrounded by people who support me, who lift me up, and who fight for me.  That night at the show, and the days following, I realized the universe had a bigger calling for me.  It reminds me of a quote that I love -   if your path is difficult it is because your purpose is bigger than you thought.      And that’s why I stated this podcast.  I wanted to do more with my voice and with my talent.  I wanted to reach more people and make a difference.    The last question I ask during all my interview is = what advice do you have for creatives on their journey?     My advice –     We live in a weird time right now.  Everyone is under attack across the globe.  No matter your gender, your sexuality, your race or your religion.  Look at us here in the USA – we are a divided nation.  I’ve been dealing with this since I was a child – the hateful comments, the racial slurs, the death threats.  But you know what hurts me the most.  It’s not when some ignorant person comes at me with ugly words, it’s when people, many times people who call themselves my friends, stand by and do nothing.  They just stand there.  That’s what hurts.    I urge you all be kind to each other.  If you see something happening that’s wrong, speak out.  Say something.  That’s the only way we can heal as a world and learn to love each other.     I want to meet you all and answer any questions you have for me.  his Sunday, November 3pm Eastern Time (New York time) I’ll be on Instagram live with some wings and answering questions.  Feel free to send them in advance to hi@funnybrowngirl or any social media platform @funnybrowngirl.  Oh and follow me on Tik Tok @funnybrowngirl.     Next week we will continue to discuss side hustles and how to make money from your creative passion.      With that, go flex your creative muscle and keep winning.     Who am I?    I’m Shereen Kassam, the host of Creative Breakthrough and internationally touring speaker and comedian.  If you are looking for a speaker to talk on topics including creativity, branding, or work life balance, get in touch! I am also open to being guest on your podcast, TV show, or other medium.      Contact me:  Email: hi @ funnybrowngirl.com  Facebook: facebook.com/funnybrowngirl  Twitter: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl  Instagram: Instagram.com/funnybrowngirl  TikTok: tiktok.com/@funnybrowngirl 

Nov 2020

24 min 35 sec

How to Start a Successful Side Hustle in 3 Steps    What is a side hustle - any activity outside of your day job that helps you make more money    Different types of side hustles - drive uber, doordash, taskrabbit, instacart...but I want to talk about side hustles that are not part-time jobs...I want to talk to you about not only a way to earn income from your creative endeavors but also as a path to being your own boss     This can be based on your creative passion or something you are good at     Do the best with the time you have but it’s important to find an idea that fits your lifestyle otherwise you will not give it the attention it deserves     That’s why i always feel the best side hustles are tied to your creativity and passion    So for me, my side hustles align with my passions and my purpose and enjoy it long-term - performing stand up comedy, doing a podcast, selling CBD, helping female entrepreneurs in Africa...     Not limited to selling a skill or talent, a digital product, a physical product, or a service    There are three key structures to having a successful side hustle    One - an idea - spend the most time, but don’t get analysis paralysis     Two  - monetizing the idea    Is your idea is financially viable    Now not everyone is looking to make money from their hobby, but today I’m not talking about your hobbies, I’m talking about your side hustles - which is taking your hobbies and making money from them    No, you will not be rich right away, but overtime the goal is for your side hustle to be more than a side job.  If you feel like it’s not going to get there, then it’s time to pivot.    Three - a way of getting people to know of such idea (market the idea)  How will people find you your services?       Walk through podcast, CBD, comedy (didn’t start as a side hustle - know my worth now, asked to do speaking engagement, MC events), digital course (time but passive income)    Let’s talk about ideating your side hustle:    Musician - you can start a podcast, teach an online course, tutor kids  Writer - you can start a blog (jasmine darznik), join the gig economy like upwork and fiverr, freelance  Chef - start a youtube channel, write an ebook of recipes   Artist - create your own designs and start a print on demand  business  Dancer - start a youtube channel, teach classes right now esp with covid (bollywood dancing)    If you are a creative listening right now, and are stuck and I didn’t mention your craft - message me and I’ll make sure to highlight it on the next episode hi@funnybrowngirl.com or DM me at funnybrowngirl    Second, how will you monetize your side hustle?    Figure out how much your cost is to create your product/service  Understand how much you want to make to set your price  What’s your strategy - how many items do you need to make, clients do you need if you’re coaching, customers you need to sign up for your online course, viewers if you start a youtube channel  How long will it take you to find these people to pay for your services  Do not undervalue your services - no covid discount, friends or family discount, nothing  Be realistic with your goals  Patreon account     And lastly, how will you market your idea and find customers/clients    Figure out how you will spread the word  If you made handmade crafts / digital products - website, etsy or shopify  For 14 free days to try Shopify, use this link: www.funnybrowngirl.com/shopify  Social media  Friend and family  newsletter/email list  Youtube channel  Your own platform - podcast, radio, blog, etc    If you are stuck, message me on Instagram @funnybrowngirl or email me at hi @ funnybrowngirl.com  Once you have your idea, also let me know! I love hearing your wins!    Until then flex your creative muscle and keep winning!    References:  Try Shopify: www.funnybrowngirl.com/shopify    Who am I?    I’m Shereen Kassam, the host of Creative Breakthrough and internationally touring speaker and comedian.  If you are looking for a speaker to talk on topics including creativity, branding, or work life balance, get in touch! I am also open to being guest on your podcast, TV show, or other medium.      Contact me:  Email: hi @ funnybrowngirl.com  Facebook: facebook.com/funnybrowngirl  Twitter: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl  Instagram: Instagram.com/funnybrowngirl   

Oct 2020

35 min 55 sec

Welcome to the Creative Breakthrough    I am your host Shereen Kassam    This week, we continue our conversation with the Founder of Def Comedy Jam – Bob Sumner    Before we jump in to part 2 of our conversation with Bob –    This season, I’m going to spend a lot of time talking about monetizing your creative passion and side hustles.      With many cities starting to open up performance spaces such as bars, clubs, and theater spaces I want to share some personal thoughts.    Yes, people are struggling financially.  Yes, unemployment is high.  Yes, people are scaling back on their spending.    But – people are still paying Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ their monthly subscription.  People are still eating out.  And people are still buying things they don’t need on Amazon.      So you do not need to start charging less than you are worth.      Yes, we are all excited to get back out there and start performing.  Yes, there may be less people in the seats due to social distancing.  Yes, the promotor may tell you he won’t be making as much money from each show.  But no, that doesn’t mean you are worth any less.    I’ve been getting tons of audition requests for acting.  Pre-Covid these requests were for $1500 to $2000 for a one year buy out.  Now?  These requests are for $400 and for use for life.  That’s cheap! And as much as I want to act again, and perform, I cannot allow myself to sell my image for life for $400 and neither should you.      The companies paying for these commercials stand to gain thousands of dollars from these ads, so why shouldn’t you also benefit?    As your cities start opening up and people start reaching out to you to perform, please do not perform for free if the producers of the shows/commercials stand to make money.    Because if we all go out and perform for free, we set a precedent of how much we value ourselves and of our talents.      And if you don’t get paid, how are you going to survive on your art?        This week I continue chatting with Bob Sumner –   On the previous episode, Bob shared his vision for Def Comedy Jam, what he looks for in talent, and his advice to creatives.      Bob is best known as the co-creator of HBO’s Russell Simmon’s Def Comedy Jam, a recognized force in the world of comedy and the man behind most comedy legends.  With over 25 years of experience, Bob has discovered many of the top gifted comedians that have graced the stages and big screens around the world, including Kevin Hart, Bill Bellamy, Mike Epps, Dave Chapelle, Sheryl Underwood, Chris Tucker, Cedric The Entertainer, and Bernie Mac.  One day, he will add me to this list!    Bob is the executive partner in LaffMobb Enterprises which has produced specials that have aired on Showtime, DirectTV and OnDemand.  He is also the executive producer of LaffMobb’s We Got Next and LaffMobb’s LaffTracks.     So what are we waiting for, let’s get started.     Key Questions answered by Bob Sumner:  Which is better LA or NYC for creatives  What Bob wants his legacy to be     Bob Sumner Discusses:  Bob’s advice for comedians and creatives   How to be successful as a creative  Next on Bob’s journey    Key Takeaways from Bob Sumner  Know your end goal or your legacy  Keep creating, even if there is nowhere to perform   Speak your goals in to existence    Contact Bob:  Facebook: .com/groups/130660473567  Twitter: twitter.com/bobsumner24  Instagram: Instagram.com/bob.sumner    Who am I?    I’m Shereen Kassam, the host of Creative Breakthrough and internationally touring speaker and comedian.  If you are looking for a speaker to talk on topics including creativity, branding, or work life balance, get in touch! I am also open to being guest on your podcast, TV show, or other medium.      Contact me:  Email: hi @ funnybrowngirl.com  Facebook: facebook.com/funnybrowngirl  Twitter: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl  Instagram: Instagram.com/funnybrowngirl 

Oct 2020

33 min 27 sec

Announcements We are trending in Nigeria!  That makes 16 countries around the world.  I am so grateful for you all for tuning in week after week! Check out my new website redesign at www.funnybrowngirl.com While you’re there, take the podcast quiz to find which episode is for you! Also sign up for my email list for bi-weekly resources and opportunities Lastly, check out our Facebook Group – Creative Breakthrough Community This season, we have amazing line-up of guests!  I’ll be chatting with: Actor on Tyler Perry’s BET hit show Ruthless and Perfect Pickup Jaime Callica Chef Saqib Keval whose restaurant Masala y Maiz has been named One of the World’s Greatest Places by Time Magazine Nelu Handa who is a writer and actor on the hit Netflix show Working Moms Host of MSNBC Ali Velshi And this week -  Co-founder of Def Comedy Jam Bob Sumner Who is Bob Sumner Bob is best known as the co-creator of HBO’s Russell Simmon’s Def Comedy Jam, a recognized force in the world of comedy and the man behind most comedy legends.  With never 25 years of experience, Bob has discovered many of the top gifted comedians that have graced the stages and big screens around the world, including Kevin Hart, Bill Bellamy, Mike Epps, Dave Chapelle, Sheryl Underwood, Chris Tucker, Cedric The Entertainer, and Bernie Mac.  One day, he will add me to this list! Bob is the executive partner in LaffMobb Enterprises which has produced specials that have aired on Showtime, DirectTV and OnDemand.  He is also the executive producer of LaffMobb’s We Got Next and LaffMobb’s LaffTracks. We recorded this in April 2020 and streamed it live which is why you may notice some technological glitches and long pauses, especially if you are watching this on YouTube.  We talked for almost 2 hours, so there will be a part two to this episode.  I had the pleasure of meeting Bob at the American Black Film Festival as part of the Comedy Wings Comedy Competition and I can’t thank him enough for what he’s done for my comedy career.  I’m excited to share his story and his creative advice with all of you. Key Questions answered by Bob Sumner: How Bob’s creative journey began Why Bob started Def Comedy Jam How Bob know if you have it or don’t have it as a comedian How Bob stay’s positive and keeps hustling Bob Sumner Discusses: His career journey Bob’s advice for comedians and creatives Bob’s observations of post-COVID comedy How to be successful as a creative Next on Bob’s journey Key Takeaways from Bob Sumner Your purpose doesn’t have to be your passion Surround yourself with people who inspire you Don’t be the guy just trying to get the check COVID is just a restart - be ready Always be creating Contact Bob: Facebook: .com/groups/130660473567 Twitter: twitter.com/bobsumner24 Instagram: Instagram.com/bob.sumner   Who am I? I’m Shereen Kassam, the host of Creative Breakthrough and internationally touring speaker and comedian.  If you are looking for a speaker to talk on topics including creativity, branding, or work life balance, get in touch! I am also open to being guest on your podcast, TV show, or other medium. Contact me: Email: hi @ funnybrowngirl.com Facebook: facebook.com/funnybrowngirl Twitter: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Instagram: Instagram.com/funnybrowngirl

Sep 2020

50 min 51 sec

Welcome back to Season 3 of the Creative Breakthrough Podcast! After a three month, hiatus I am back! When I took a break from this podcast in June 2020, COVID was in full swing, I had been furloughed from my full-time job, all the comedy clubs were closed, and I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.  I’m happy to say, I’m back at work, comedy clubs are re-opening (though I am not yet taking any chances), and hyped to be back on this podcast! How did I spend the last three months? I grew my CBD business – My Pain Center -by learning about email marketing, digital marketing, and more!  And am transferring those learnings to grow my other store – Womandela.com E-commerce sites are booming right now! If you are interested in starting an e-commerce store, I suggest checking out Shopify I took a bunches of courses on Coursera.org such as The Science of Well-Being and Transmedia Storytelling I also thought a comedy class to high school students across the world, including Kenya, Congo, Russia, Syria, Qatar, UK, India, Pakistan, Canada, and USA.  I heavily relied on Judy Carter’s The Comedy Bible to create my curriculum And I had the chance to mentor seven undergrads at Brown University. You can say I kept busy! I also worked on this podcast! This season, we have amazing line-up of guests! I’ll be chatting with: Co-founder of Def Comedy Jam Bob Sumner Actor on Tyler Perry’s BET hit show Ruthless and Perfect Pickup Jaime Callica Chef Saqib Keval whose restaurant Masala y Maiz has been named One of the World’s Greatest Places by Time Magazine Nelu Handa who is a writer and actor on the hit Netflix show Working Moms Host of MSNBC Ali Velshi   Who am I? I’m Shereen Kassam, the host of Creative Breakthrough and internationally touring speaker and comedian.  If you are looking for a speaker to talk on topics including creativity, branding, or work life balance, get in touch! I am also open to being guest on your podcast, TV show, or other medium.   Contact me: Email: hi @ funnybrowngirl.com Facebook: facebook.com/funnybrowngirl Twitter: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Instagram: Instagram.com/funnybrowngirl

Sep 2020

16 min 28 sec

Host Shereen Kassam, a serial side hustler, shares her tips and advice on starting a successful side hustle and ideas to get you started.  She also shares her thoughts about the recent murder of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement, and how as a creative you can get involved.  Also, we are taking a summer break to focus on self-care and wellness. We will be back with new episodes on September 10th!

Jun 2020

27 min 5 sec

This week, we chat: How to handle rejection How not to let rejection turn in to resentment And the 4 ways to be successful in your creative journey   Tina Mabry, our guest from Episode 2 of Creative Breakthrough, shared her thoughts on dealing with rejection, her viewpoint on fear, and her advice to creatives on their journey.   Tina Mabry is a writer, producer, and director, whose directing credits include Queen Sugar, Proven Innocent, Queen of the South, Insecure, Dear White People, Power, and Pose.      Key Questions answered by Tina Mabry: How to stay motivated How to deal with rejection How to stay optimistic   Tina Mabry Discusses: Why she chose to pursue an MFA Moving to LA Her thoughts on Fear Advice for creatives     Key Takeaways from Tina Mabry: Be OK with rejection Fear can hold you back or it can drive you Success and opportunities come when they’re supposed to It’s the one yes you get, that’s what’s important Don’t stop pushing forward with your goals, your time will come   Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect Online:   Shereen Kassam – www.funnybrowngirl.com   Twitter: Tina Mabry - @morgansmark Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   Instagram Tina Mabry - @tinamabry Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeBT

May 2020

49 min 5 sec

This week I discuss my third week of furlough from Walt Disney World, my own creative breakthrough, and how I’m staying sane.    Felicia Pride, from episode 33, released her first short film this week - Tender.  In this episode, she talks about applying to TV Writing competitions such as NBC on the Verge, the importance of informal mentors, self-care, and patience.    Felicia wrote and directed Tender.    Here's the official description: After an unexpected one night stand, two women at very different stages of their lives, share an even more intimate morning after   Link to Felicia Pride’s Tender: https://www.vanndigital.com/watch-felicia-prides-tender-short-film/     Who is Felicia Pride? Two weeks ago, the Hollywood Reporter's feature No More "We Can't Find Any Black Female Writers" profiled Black woman screenwriters -- 62 to be exact -- to literally prove to Hollywood that there is a great pool of Black woman writers creating exceptional content and supporting (not competing) each other in the industry. And together, we smiled on the marking of another dope step toward making the case for our visibility, representation and overall a salute to our seat at the table. As we shine a light on the women writers of color who cleverly innovate the stories we watch on screen, I'd like to introduce to you another talented Black woman writer/producer on a personal mission to elevate our stories -- for us and by us: Felicia Pride. Felicia Pride has been winning 2018. In just one year, the cultural journalist turned author turned screenwriter achieved a career trifecta: Charles D. King’s MACRO (Fences, Mudbound) picked up her first feature film (Really Love, 2019), she sold a television pilot and in October, she a writer on Ava Duvernay’s Queen Sugar which airs on OWN. And earlier this month, Pride launched “Honey Chile,” a consumer facing digital brand of her production company, Felix & Annie, aimed at Gen X women -- and though she’s got over 15+ years in the writing game, it’s clear that Felicia’s rising star is next up to shine.    Popularly known among creatives as the founder and voice of The Create Daily, a resource for underrepresented creators, Felicia Pride is a thought-leader among creative content creators. From VIBE to NYC’s book publishing scene to her short film The End Again, Felicia has proven to be one to watch. Tapped by Sean “Diddy” Combs’ communications team for her writing, she also worked with the mogul on the hit FOX show, THE FOUR and has become an in-demand speaker at events nationwide, including SXSW, TEDx, Film Independent Forum and AFI Docs. After a break from the writers life spent running her marketing consultancy focused on expanding audiences for impactful media projects, Felicia returned to her first love rejuvenated and with a fresh approach to storytelling, earning her a highly coveted spot in Film Independent’s Screenwriting Lab (2016) followed by NBC's Writers on the Verge program (2017). She chronicles her journey from a creative rut to creative zone in a chapter series (and course!) she penned titled The Creative Comeback.     Felicia Pride Discusses: Taking a risk Networking Self-Care     Key Takeaways from Felicia Pride:   Take risks in your writing Take care of yourself Be patient Match your mindset with your work Find a mentor Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect Online:   Felicia Pride – www.feliciapride.com Shereen Kassam – www.funnybrowngirl.com   Twitter: Felicia Pride - @feliciapride Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   Instagram Felicia Pride - @feliciapride Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeBT

May 2020

34 min 48 sec

This week, host Shereen Kassam, chats about being laid off from Disney due to COVID-19 and why now is the perfect time to start or continue pursuing your creative passion.  Shereen also chat the importance of maintaining a schedule and not allowing yourself to be BORED.  Other topics discussed: how to make this the best time of your life, how to stay sane, and how to balance all the emotions you may be feeling.     Shereen shares free resources for creatives also available on the Facebook group.    This week’s guest: Tissa Hami,   Who is Tissa Hami? Activist. Idealist. Smartass. In fall 2002, just a year after 9/11, Tissa Hami dared to do something that no one in America had ever done -- step onstage veiled and tell jokes. At a time when Muslim-Americans were advised to keep a low profile, she chose to stand up.   Tissa's groundbreaking humor quickly caught the attention of audiences, bookers, and the media. She earned a reputation for making people think as well as laugh.   Due to increased demand for her voice and perspective, Tissa branched out into speaking engagements, classroom workshops, and writing. She has traveled to 25 states, bringing her show to diverse audiences. From prominent universities like Harvard and Yale, to small towns where she's been told that she's "the first Muslim they've ever seen," Tissa has connected with audiences across the country.   Tissa grew up in a traditional Iranian family in a predominantly white suburb of Boston. The daughter of a pediatric dentist and a software engineer, she earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Ivy League universities. Her parents were "thrilled" that she wanted to pursue a career in comedy.   Tissa has been featured in media around the world including the PBS documentary “Stand Up,” ABC's "The View," NPR, BBC, and the Washington Post. The San Francisco Chronicle named her one of the Top 11 female comedians in the country.   Tissa Hami recently opened her own boutique consulting firm focused on diversity, equality, and inclusion.  She works with corporate clients on creative ideas to advance D&I in their organizations, including training programs that feature interactive theater, stand-up comedy, and storytelling. She regularly speaks and performs at D&I conferences nationwide. This is a great story of how Tissa was able to pivot her time in unemployment to discover her creative passion!   Key Questions answered by Tissa Hami: How did your creative journey begin? Why Tissa left a well-paying job on Wall Street to pursue stand-up comedy   Tissa Hami Discusses: Dealing with unemployment and a recession How she made the jump in to comedy full-time Challenges to being a full-time creative   Key Takeaways from Tissa Hami:   Your creative life could surprise you Don’t be afraid to deviate from a standard career Don’t be scared to try It’s a life experience even if it doesn’t work out If you love it, do it. Don’t give up.    Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect Online:   Shereen Kassam – www.funnybrowngirl.com   Twitter: Tissa Hami - @tissahami Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   Instagram Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   Connect on Facebook:   Tissa Hami - @tissacomedy Shereen Kassam – @funnybrowngirl   Creative Breakthrough Community   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeBT

Apr 2020

39 min 47 sec

Damon Williams is an internationally touring comedian who has been seen on Showtime at the Apollo, BET’s Comic View, and The Tom Joyner Sky Show.  We chat about the emotional and financial impacts of COVID-19 and Damon’s advice to creatives during this unprecedented time.  Participate in Damon’s #steptothemic competition on Instagram   Shereen Kassam aka Funny Brown Girl shares her thoughts from self-quarantine – everything from how she’s surviving without comedy to almost being arrested for stealing.    We talk free resources and opportunities all available on the Facebook group and by subscribing to my email list   Free course on Happiness:  The Science of Well-Being   We chat resources if you’re feeling depressed or struggling with what’s going on – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA only): 1-800-273-8255 International Suicide Lifeline: org/international-suicide-hotlines.html Talkspaceis an online and mobile therapy company based in New York City.  Talkspace users have access to licensed therapists through the website or mobile app on iOS and Android.   Donate to my Podcast Fund: www.ko-fi.com/funnybrowngirl Donate $20 or more, and we can schedule a 30 minute Skype call to chat about your creative journey and challenges   This week’s guest: Damon Williams from Subway shop owner to internationally touring comedian   Who is Damon Williams? With 25 years in the industry, Damon Williams is a former Subway sandwich shop owner from Chicago, IL who began his comedy career at All Jokes Aside Comedy club. Damon's previous television appearances include BET's Comic View dating back to 1994, including his own one-hour special. He's been featured on BET LIVE, Comedy Central's Premium Blend, The Tom Joyner Sky Show on TV ONE, and HBO's P Diddy's Bad Boys of Comedy.   The Funny Man from Chicago even hosted several episodes of the legendary Showtime at the Apollo, following seasoned host & TV star Steve Harvey. In 1999 Damon performed for over 300,000 fans as the opening act for the highly successful Kings of Comedy Tour, establishing him as one of the elite comics in the nation. His popularity has provided him the opportunity to work with some of the biggest stars in the business such as Aretha Franklin, Pattie Labelle, Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, Harry Belafonte, Chris Rock, James Brown, Jamie Foxx, Little Richard, and even President Barack Obama – where he served as host for a campaign brunch.   Damon is keeping Chicago on the map as co-owner of Riddle’s Comedy Club where he’s providing a stage for new and veteran comedic talent. Damon previously held the "Funny Chair" seat as co-host on the legendary nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show, and is seen consistently on Chicago’s #1 Day Talk Show, Windy City Live.   Key Questions answered by Damon Williams: How he went from entrepreneur to comedian How being an entrepreneur helped him as a creative Should I be performing live on social media during this lockdown? As a creative, what should I be doing during COVID-19 lockdown? What’s the best advice Damon has received? What is Damon’s definition of success Who inspires Damon? What is a habit that has helped Damon on his journey What does Damon want his journey to be   Damon Williams Discusses: Negotiations and contracts Creating opportunities for exposure Chicago vs LA vs NYC His comedy club in the midst of COVID-19 How Damon is spending his day’s in lockdown What made Damon successful Advice Damon has for creatives     Key Takeaways from Damon Williams:   Always negotiate first Create your own opportunities to build exposure Appreciate the simple things during this time Use this time to reset Find ways to adapt Do what you love and opportunities will find you Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect Online:   Damon Williams – www.damonwilliamscomedian.com Shereen Kassam – www.funnybrowngirl.com   Twitter: Damon Williams - @damonwilliam Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   Instagram Damon Williams - @damonwilliamscomedy Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeBT

Apr 2020

1 hr 3 min

Jeff Friday, the CEO of American Black Film Festival Ventures, a multifaceted company specializing in the production of live events, television and films focused on African American culture shares why he discovered ABFF.   It’s an unsettling time right now.  We are in the midst of something we haven’t experienced in our lifetime before – a global pandemic.  I’m anxious and struggling to be creative.  Here is how I’m trying to stay focused and create: Create a schedule (set an alarm has been the hardest!) Take breaks (you may not have friends around, but doesn’t mean you can’t talk to yourself!) Work out (so important! Go outside and take a walk, if you are allowed, but remember social distancing!) Eat healthy (stop snacking!) Self-Care (now is the time to take those bubble baths and focus on yourself)   I share stories of creatives who are finding their groove during quarantine such as DJ DNice and Dana Jay Bein with this humorous Coronovirus Rhapsody.    Also, I’m asking if you cannot purchase your cup of coffee this morning due to the quarantine, would you donate it to help purchase new podcasting equipment?  www.ko-fi.com/funnybrowngirl  Who is Jeff Friday? Jeff Friday is one of the most innovative entrepreneurs in the film and television industry today. A successful producer, festival founder, film financier, champion of diversity and mentor to many, Friday has established a unique legacy in Hollywood, generating a tremendous amount of goodwill within the creative and corporate communities.   Twenty-three years ago, following his first trip to Sundance Film Festival, an inspired Friday took a blind leap of faith. Departing from his lucrative job as president of the prominent multicultural advertising agency UniWorld, Friday devoted his professional life to the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). Recognized today as the leading film festival of its kind, ABFF remains the premiere platform that introduces filmmakers of color to the industry at large and has created opportunities for people of color outside of Hollywood’s doors by helping them find their inroad.   Having curated hundreds of hours of content, Friday developed an acute skill for identifying promising new talent. His work put a spotlight on many of today’s successful new artists, introducing them to the industry when they were unknowns. That spotlight showcased the early work of many of today’s most talented and recognizable artists, content creators, and stand-up comedians.   Friday is a successful producer of several live events, including the Pro-Hollywood BootCamp in partnership with the National Football League. He has financed numerous independent films; created & executive produced television specials – Black Movie Awards (TNT), ABFF Honors (BET) and  series – ABFF Independent and Icons, Idols & Influencers (ASPIRE); and recently produced feature documentary Storm over Brooklyn for HBO in  partnership  with  Emmy  and Oscar winning production company Lightbox.   Jeff Friday currently serves as CEO of ABFF Ventures LLC (ABFFV), a multifaceted company specializing in the production of live events, television and films focused on African American culture.   Key Questions answered by Jeff Friday: When did your creative journey begin? Why did you create the American Black Film Festival? How did you grow and sustain the festival over 24 years? Why should creatives attend ABFF/Festivals? How do you manage your time and prioritize ventures? What advice do you have for creatives on their journey? What’s the best piece of advice you have received? What is your definition of success? Who inspires you? What’s a habit that’s helped you on your journey? What do you want your legacy to be?   Jeff Friday Discusses: American Black Film Festival How his childhood molded the idea and creation of ABFF The need to be an active member of a community Networking Collaboration and Community Managing time Being true to yourself and your goals     Key Takeaways from Jeff Friday:   Be steadfast in your mission Find a community and become an active member of giving and receiving Collaborate with the community Have a focused plan, a sense of reality, and self-check yourself Authenticity is important Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect Online:   Jeff Friday – www.abffventures.com   Shereen Kassam – www.funnybrowngirl.com   Twitter: Jeff Friday - @jefffriday Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   Instagram Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeBT

Mar 2020

50 min 18 sec

Playlist Live conference strategies, learnings, and more! Shereen shares what she learned at this conference for YouTube and TikTok influencers.    Big shout out to the UK and Zimbabwe where Creative Breakthrough is trending, as is both episodes with Maaza Mengiste! Thank you for listening and sharing!   This week we were supposed to talk to Jeff Friday, the Founder of the American Black Film Festival.  However due to travel issues it is postponed until next week.  If you have questions for Jeff, email me at hi@funnybrowngirl.com   We are now on episode 47 of the Creative Breakthrough Podcast! These episodes take a lot of time, energy and love to make.  As well as funds for new equipment, hosting fees, and website maintenance.  If you are enjoying this podcast, please support my creative journey by donating your next cup of coffee to me.  You can do this easily with Paypal or Credit Card at www.ko-fi.com/funnybrowngirl  Your donation will go a long way!   Last weekend, I attended the Playlist Live Conference in Orlando, Florida   What is Playlist Live? It is an annual convention primarily for YouTube content creators, though this year I feel there were just as many TikTok creators and podcasters.  The convention is held annually since 2010.   Playlist Live’s programming is divided into three different tracks The Community Track is best suited for fans of Youtuber creators. The panels on this track consist of creators talking about various lifestyle topics. These topics include mental health, staying motivated and LGBTQ life. The Insight Track is created for current and aspiring YouTube content creators. The panels are geared toward teaching guests how to make a living from making YouTube videos. The Industry Track is for guests who currently work in the media industry. This track benefits marketers, managers, agents, producers, etc. This track goes in depth of the technicalities of the business realm.   I checked out all the different tracks as I had an all-access pass.    Observational takeaways of the panelists: (Important if you aspire to be a speaker or panelist in your creative field) Be prepared. The questions were provided in advance. You should not be stumped Have confidence and presence Dress the part   Motivation and the Creative Process Creators shared tips about what goes into their creative process that keeps them inspired and motivated. Speakers: SuperMarioLogan, LeeThe4th, and one other guy   Key Takeaways: Set aside time to write down ideas so when you have writer’s block you can still create content Aim to make the fans happy and do not chase fame or money Be consistent with putting out content Most ideas have been done before. Look at old videos and see how you can make them better or more relevant Don’t do it for the money (Lamborghini) Do what makes you happy Create content that you love If you feel burnt out, try something new in your life, like travel or skydiving for a new perspective Treat it like a job Before you launch, have ideas in your back pocket so you can stay on a schedule   How to Build Your Personal Brand How do you build a brand that is authentic and resonates with your viewers?  Speakers: Alex Ojeda, Cosette Rinab, Jay Mendoza   Most of the panelists were TikTokers.  Formerly known as musical.ly, TikTok is a social media platform for creating, sharing and discovering short music videos, think Karaoke for the digital age.  However, other than dancing videos which are carefully synchronized, there are skits, travel, fashion, and beauty videos on the platform.  The majority of the videos are 15 second long, but can be as long as 1 minute.  If you are looking for quick entertainment, this is the platform for you.    Key Takeaways:   Make your brand consistent across all your videos.  All your videos should have a similar vibe.  If you want to be family friendly, then all your content should be family friendly Being family friendly will open more doors with brands and sponsors Be genuine. People want to see the real you.  Don’t sacrifice your authenticity Create what make you happy and what you believe in. People can tell Don’t try to satisfy everyone People don’t know you so don’t let their negative comments bring you down. Be unapologetically you. Make other people’s ideas better. It’s not stealing, it’s inspiration to grow Don’t compare yourself to other people Don’t be scared to post. You have nothing to lose.  Post consistently; however, remember its quality over quantity. Care about what you put out there   Production 101 I stopped by this panel because JP Lambiase from episode 45 of the Creative Breakthrough podcast was on this panel.  Growing a social media channel or page can seem pretty hard. This panel will discuss what goes into creating content that stands out, what you need in terms of equipment, editing tips, what you should be thinking about, and general best practices for building an audience.    Speakers: JP Lambiase, Julia Goolia, Legendary Shots, Most Amazing, Information Overload, Jonathan Paula, and Ben De Almeida   Key Takeaways: Make your idea unique by bringing in your personality and unique perspective If you have an idea do your due diligence before you start to see who else has done it and how you can make it better. Don’t worry if the idea has been done before, put your own spin on it and make it better Highlight your strengths in your content, so that you can continue making quality content and not get stuck. e. if you’re not a singer, don’t make a singing podcast. You will get stuck real quick.  The more you put out there, the more opportunities you will have Don’t have high expectations. Remember, everyone started at the bottom and now they’re here…meaning on this panel Find something you enjoy, otherwise it becomes work Passion shows through your work, so make sure you enjoy it Soul search – find what you are strong at and what you enjoy doing Remember, it has never been easier to create content and to be seen, so what are you waiting on? You don’t need any fancy equipment to get started, your cell phone has a camera, editing tools, and filters. You’re ready now.   Finding Your Place How to carve out a special place for yourself, your content, and your communities in the sea of creators and platforms. Speakers: Drew Lynch, Fur, Hannah Forcier, Sarah Lugor, Supdaily, syd’s vids   Find what you do well, hone in on that, repeat it, and refine it Do not follow a formula Develop your own voice and style   Expanding Your Creative Career These creators started out on one platform but have been able to translate their success onto different platforms, verticals, gigs, jobs, and more Speakers: Mark Daniel, Brandi Marie King, Shark Puppet, The Ballinger Family, Thomas Hayden sWooZie   Find what platform works for you – podcast, YouTube, blogging Make sure your content represents you If you are aiming for an entertainment career, showcase your skills online. For example, one woman wanted to be a TV host so she began making YouTube videos to showcase her skill set.  Another person put his magic tricks online and now travels the world doing magic Treat your content as if your grandma is watching or listening if your goal is to acquire sponsors Don’t worry about views and numbers Focus on engagement Experiment and try different types of content Don’t let bad experiences or comments demotivate you, learn from them Do not be afraid to evolve Understand your priorities, meaning how do you prioritize your content versus your family or how do you prioritize making content you enjoy versus money Battling Burnout Coping with feelings that come with content curation challenges Speakers: Brandon Baldwin, Emzotic, Jonathan Paula, Kati Morton, Rhino   Burnout effects everyone. Everyone on the panel agreed they had felt burnout at some point in their career Learn to put yourself first Have patience with the process Don’t let others bring you down Do what you love   Pushing Through Sometimes what you’re working on doesn’t perform as you wanted it to, or something didn’t turn out how you expected.  Hear how these creators stay motivated through the ups and downs of life and work.   Speakers: EnochTrue, Hailey Reese, Mark Daniel, Slice N Rice, Vanessa Nagoya   Keep reading about changes in the algorithms on Google, YouTube, Instagram, etc. Remember even influencers videos don’t always perform well Keep a running list of ideas for when you have writers’ block Find new ideas in the comment sections of your content and other people’s content Remember why you started making and putting content out - the joy, the passion, the love   One question that people kept asking the panelist – How do you deal with negative comments?     Key takeaways from the entire conference: Do what you love and do it for love, not for money Stay consistent Have fun!   Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect Online:   Shereen Kassam – www.funnybrowngirl.com   Twitter: Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   Instagram Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   YouTube Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   TikTok Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeBT

Mar 2020

30 min 40 sec

Maaza Mengiste, the author of The Shadow King, selected by the New York Times as one of the 100 most notable books of 2019 This week I talk about balancing a Full-Time Job with a Creative Passion! Check out the YouTube video here - https://youtu.be/w4trvPrIfAo, as well, as my first vlog about being a stand-up comedian - https://youtu.be/hrKB6b47DO4   We chat about past interviews with creatives who had or have a Full-Time job while pursuing their creative passion.  Interviewees include Shereen Ladha, JP Lambiase, Abi Varghese, Maaza Mengiste, and Tissa Hami.    Who is Maaza Mengiste?  Maaza Mengiste is a novelist and essayist. She is the author of the forthcoming novel (September 24, 2019), The Shadow King, called “a brilliant novel…compulsively readable” by Salman Rushdie. Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was selected by The Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, and other publications. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Creative Capital. Her work can be found in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Granta, The Guardian, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and BBC, among other places. Maaza’s fiction and nonfiction examines the individual lives at stake during migration, war, and exile, and considers the intersections of photography, memory, and violence. She was a writer on the documentary projects, GIRL RISING and THE INVISIBLE CITY: KAKUMA.   Key Questions answered by Maaza Mengiste: How to stay motivated How she writes How to write historical fiction What is a Full Bright Scholar What’s the best piece of advice Maaza’s received Maaza’s definition of success What inspires Maaza What is a habit that has helped Maaza be successful What does Maaza want her legacy to be   Maaza Mengiste Discusses: The highs and lows of being a creative entrepreneur Advice for creatives What’s next for Maaza     Key Takeaways from Maaza Mengiste:   Force yourself to work on your passion everyday Keep working the way you want to work.  Let the people come to you The story comes first Don’t give up Be immersed in the creative process  Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect Online:   Maaza Mengiste – www.maazamengiste.com Shereen Kassam – www.funnybrowngirl.com   Twitter: Maaza Mengiste - @maazamengiste Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   Instagram Maaza Mengiste - @maazamengiste The Shadow King - @theshadowkingnovel Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeBT

Feb 2020

40 min 45 sec

Maaza Mengiste, the author of The Shadow King, selected by the New York Times as one of the 100 most notable books of 2019 Who is Maaza Mengiste? Maaza Mengiste is a novelist and essayist. She is the author of the forthcoming novel (September 24, 2019), The Shadow King, called “a brilliant novel…compulsively readable” by Salman Rushdie. Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was selected by The Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, and other publications. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Creative Capital. Her work can be found in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Granta, The Guardian, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and BBC, among other places. Maaza’s fiction and nonfiction examines the individual lives at stake during migration, war, and exile, and considers the intersections of photography, memory, and violence. She was a writer on the documentary projects, GIRL RISING and THE INVISIBLE CITY: KAKUMA.   Key Questions answered by Maaza Mengiste: When did Maaza’s Creative Journey begin? Why did she not pursue writing in College? Is an MFA necessary? How she balances working and writing?   Maaza Mengiste Discusses:   Working in Corporate America and what it helped her learn Why she transitioned in to advertising and then to Hollywood Why she finally made the decision to get her MFA The benefits of an MFA How she finds time to write with her schedule   Key Takeaways from Maaza Mengiste:   Every job you have is teaching you something for a higher purpose Don’t be complacent Embrace your restlessness as a form of ambition Utilize your time after work to work on your passion As long as you’re doing something towards that dream, it’s moving, you just can’t feel it Change your schedule and your patterns to make time for your passion Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect Online:   Maaza Mengiste – www.maazamengiste.com Shereen Kassam – www.funnybrowngirl.com   Twitter: Maaza Mengiste - @maazamengiste Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   Instagram Maaza Mengiste - @maazamengiste The Shadow King - @theshadowkingnovel Shereen Kassam - @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeHustler

Feb 2020

35 min 14 sec

JP Lambiase, YouTube Personality of the Hellthy Junkfood channel with over 2.2M subscribers   Who is JP Lambiase? Chef and YouTube personality best known as the co-creator of the food channel HellthyJunkFood, which has amassed over 2.2 million subscribers. On the channel, he presents recipes for healthier versions of well-known fast food items.   A graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology, began his career as an Engineer.  He worked his way up to President of his division before deciding to pursue YouTube full-time.   He now has two YoutTube channels with his co-founder and fiancé Julia Gool.    Key Questions answered by JP Lambiase: How did JP’s Creative Journey begin? Why did JP become an engineer? How to stay successful? What does it take to have a successful YouTube channel What does a YouTube Personality’s day look like What advice JP Labiase has for creatives   JP Lambiase Discusses: Need for a strong support system Utilizing your free time Picking a niche How to mix pleasure and business and create a strong personal and working relationship with your Partner When does it make sense to start a second YouTube channel Branding yourself on YouTube What to look for in a popular YouTube Channel     Key Takeaways from JP Lambiase:   Do it for fun without any expectations If you are bored at work, use your time wisely to learn new skills Have a strong support system It’s easy to become successful. It’s difficult to stay successful Every aspect of the video matters from the title to the thumbnail Keep up with trends in your industry Work smart, not hard because you don’t want to burn yourself out Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect Online:   JP Lambiase – www.hellthyjunkfood.com Shereen Kassam – www.funnybrowngirl.com    #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeHustler

Jan 2020

42 min 43 sec

Jason Gregory, writer and producer of the film Waking Up White Who is Jason Gregory? Jason D. Gregory is a recent film production MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media (Go Knights!). As a child, he recalls that his friends wanted to “be like Mike,” while Gregory’s dream was to “be like Spike.”   He received his undergraduate degree in film from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2002 and during his studies, Gregory was selected, twice, as a participant in the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Writer’s Workshop.   In 2010, Gregory founded his own Telly-award-winning, multicultural advertising agency, Gregory Media Group, LLC. Yet, he still yearned for the “business of show.”   Jason Gregory took the plunge to chase his childhood dream and in 2016 enrolled in the MFA film production program where he immediately began writing his thesis project, Waking Up White. Filmed as a television pilot, Waking Up White is the story of a Black family that wakes up White and has 30 days to determine if they’d rather return to their cultural roots or stick with the “new skin” they’re in. Since its development, the pilot script for has been selected as a 2018 Quarterfinalist in ScreenCraft’s Film Fund and Pilot Launch TV Script competitions and a 2018 Semifinalist in the WeScreenplay Television Competition. The television pilot has recently been submitted to various local, national and international film festivals, while also garnering local and regional media coverage.   And because of his commitment to nurturing and mentoring the next generation of filmmakers, Gregory was recently appointed as the president of the Orlando Urban Film Festival; a festival dedicated to promoting and supporting minority films and filmmakers.   In 2018, Gregory was selected to participate in the National Association of Television Producers and Executive’s (NATPE) first Emerging Producers Workshop, where thirteen “emerging producers” where brought together to discuss the future of unscripted, reality television programming. As a result of that workshop, Gregory and the other producers formed 13 Brains; an unscripted, reality television “think tank.” Under the mentorship of Scott Sternberg Productions, 13 Brains develops unscripted, TV concepts and pitches them to networks and streaming platforms. Since its establishment in 2018, 13 Brains has successfully sold its first concept to Netflix, and continues to cultivate and pitch additional programming.   As a graduate student, Gregory was the recipient of the 2019 College of Arts and Humanities Graduate Student Teaching Award and the inaugural Nicholson School of Communication and Media’s Outstanding Teaching Graduate Programs Award. He was nominated for his commitment to teaching his students to “fail their way to success” and is honored to have received both awards.   In 2019, Gregory completed another childhood dream and joined UCF’s English department as a scriptwriting lecturer. In this position, he will continue to mold, mentor and challenge his students to find their voice through the art of scriptwriting.   Finally, Gregory has been married to his wife, Monique, whom he affectionally calls “the girl next door”, for 16 years and they reside in Oviedo, Florida with their two sons, Austin and Miles.   Key Questions answered by Jason Gregory: How to write a winning screenplay Advice Jason has for creatives Is an MFA necessary Why it’s OK to start your dream job later in life Best piece of advice Jason has received Jason’s definition of success Who inspires Jason and why A habit that’s helped Jason on his journey What Jason wants his legacy to be   Jason Gregory Discusses: Writing vs Producing Understanding the game Fears writers grapple with Age and following one’s dream     Key Takeaways from Jason Gregory:   You’re never too old to pursue your dreams The older you are the more life experiences you will have to draw from There are many free options to learn and study on the internet Keep at it, don’t stop Take calculated risks Be consistent     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Jason Gregory – @jaydgreg FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl    Resources for Film and Screenwriting Episodic Labs: https://episodiclab.staymacro.com/   Script Lab: https://360.thescriptlab.com/   Script Anatomy: https://www.scriptanatomy.com/ Black List: blcklst.com List of 2020 screenwriting competitions: https://www.wgfoundation.org/fellowship-writing-programs-for-screenwriters-masterlist   Ultimate Film Budget Guide: https://nofilmschool.com/film-budget-template   Screen writing course I took for the Issa Rae competition: https://www.coursera.org/learn/script-writing   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeHustler  

Jan 2020

35 min 50 sec

Episode 43: From Advertising to Film: Jason Gregory on Waking Up White (Part 1 of 2 episodes)   This week’s guest: Jason Gregory, writer and producer of the film Waking Up White   Who is Jason Gregory? Jason D. Gregory is a recent film production MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication and Media (Go Knights!). As a child, he recalls that his friends wanted to “be like Mike,” while Gregory’s dream was to “be like Spike.”   He received his undergraduate degree in film from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2002 and during his studies, Gregory was selected, twice, as a participant in the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Writer’s Workshop.   In 2010, Gregory founded his own Telly-award-winning, multicultural advertising agency, Gregory Media Group, LLC. Yet, he still yearned for the “business of show.”   Jason Gregory took the plunge to chase his childhood dream and in 2016 enrolled in the MFA film production program where he immediately began writing his thesis project, Waking Up White. Filmed as a television pilot, Waking Up White is the story of a Black family that wakes up White and has 30 days to determine if they’d rather return to their cultural roots or stick with the “new skin” they’re in. Since its development, the pilot script for has been selected as a 2018 Quarterfinalist in ScreenCraft’s Film Fund and Pilot Launch TV Script competitions and a 2018 Semifinalist in the WeScreenplay Television Competition. The television pilot has recently been submitted to various local, national and international film festivals, while also garnering local and regional media coverage.   And because of his commitment to nurturing and mentoring the next generation of filmmakers, Gregory was recently appointed as the president of the Orlando Urban Film Festival; a festival dedicated to promoting and supporting minority films and filmmakers.   In 2018, Gregory was selected to participate in the National Association of Television Producers and Executive’s (NATPE) first Emerging Producers Workshop, where thirteen “emerging producers” where brought together to discuss the future of unscripted, reality television programming. As a result of that workshop, Gregory and the other producers formed 13 Brains; an unscripted, reality television “think tank.” Under the mentorship of Scott Sternberg Productions, 13 Brains develops unscripted, TV concepts and pitches them to networks and streaming platforms. Since its establishment in 2018, 13 Brains has successfully sold its first concept to Netflix, and continues to cultivate and pitch additional programming.   As a graduate student, Gregory was the recipient of the 2019 College of Arts and Humanities Graduate Student Teaching Award and the inaugural Nicholson School of Communication and Media’s Outstanding Teaching Graduate Programs Award. He was nominated for his commitment to teaching his students to “fail their way to success” and is honored to have received both awards.   In 2019, Gregory completed another childhood dream and joined UCF’s English department as a scriptwriting lecturer. In this position, he will continue to mold, mentor and challenge his students to find their voice through the art of scriptwriting.   Finally, Gregory has been married to his wife, Monique, whom he affectionally calls “the girl next door”, for 16 years and they reside in Oviedo, Florida with their two sons, Austin and Miles.   Key Questions answered by Jason Gregory: How did Jason’s creative journey begin? What are the challenges to being a creative entrepreneur? How did Jason build up his own advertising firm? Why Jason decided to get an MFA? Why is UCF a strong film school? How did Jason come up with the thesis of Waking Up White?   Jason Gregory Discusses: Opening up his own ad shop Challenges of the unknown Pursuing a film degree How Jason balanced his time in Grad school while still running his ad shop Crafting his story How Jason strengthens his writing muscle How Jason stays motivated How to find a mentor and what to look for     Key Takeaways from Jason Gregory:   Develop a positive reputation in the field Create a team of people you can depend on Make note of your personal experiences Write every single day Take calculated risks Fail your way to success Find a mentor     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Jason Gregory – @jaydgreg FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl    Resources for Film and Screenwriting Episodic Labs: https://episodiclab.staymacro.com/   Script Lab: https://360.thescriptlab.com/   Script Anatomy: https://www.scriptanatomy.com/ Black List: blcklst.com List of 2020 screenwriting competitions: https://www.wgfoundation.org/fellowship-writing-programs-for-screenwriters-masterlist   Ultimate Film Budget Guide: https://nofilmschool.com/film-budget-template   Screen writing course I took for the Issa Rae competition: https://www.coursera.org/learn/script-writing   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeHustler

Jan 2020

39 min 57 sec

Big news – we are trending in Kenya!! Thank you to my Kenyan listeners.   This is my last episode for 2019.  Last year, I did an episode on goal setting and how much I love the end of the year because it’s a time to reflect on the past year and plan for the next year.  If you struggle with goal setting check out last year’s episode and download my goal setting worksheet.   December is a difficult month for me.  I always find myself in a funk.  This year I feel like I’m in a funk because I feel I didn’t accomplish as much as I had hoped.  But thank goodness for Instagram for reminding me of all the things I did accomplish!   I knew 2019 was not going to be the best year.  I was in a miserable job and would spend the first 7 months of the year actively job searching.  And when you start a new job, most of your time is focused on the learning curve and doing a great job.  I did get super lucky with my new job – I was on the launch team for Disney+ so there’s a win there, but man was I busy!    Comedy took a back burner this year.  I didn’t do half as many shows as I would have liked, but I also didn’t try.  I said no to more shows then yes.  And as I’m saying this I’m contemplating if it’s time to stop doing comedy and focus my attention elsewhere.  Perhaps comedy is a stepping stone to something else.  Or maybe it was a means to find myself.    I also feel I’m in a funk because I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.  I want to do everything and I did, this year. I did comedy, I acted, I did radio, I did this podcast, I started a business, I played competitive sports, I tried to do it all.  But where am I going?  What’s the end goal?   I have no idea! And as the year went by, auditions stopped coming my way, I stopped being invited to come on the radio, my relationship began to fall apart, and by December all I have is this podcast.  And while I love doing this podcast, I felt by now it would be further along.   I didn’t accomplish the goals I was hoping to.  I didn’t do a TED talk.  I didn’t write a second screenplay.  I didn’t write a one-woman play for the Fringe, crap I even forgot to submit to the lottery. Or maybe I didn’t forget and I’m scared of failing?   I didn’t advance my creative career.  I mean both Jeff Friday, the founder of American Black Film Festival, and Bob Sumner, the founder of Def Comedy Jam commented on my lack of presence in the comedy scene this year and that put me in a bigger funk.      I feel stagnant this year as if I lack motivation and inspiration.      Yes, I had big wins. I started a business that may lead me to financial freedom.  I have been podcasting for 1 full year now! Woot woot!  I made it to the finals of Florida’s Funniest and did comedy in Africa.  And those are big wins! But for some reason, I don’t feel fulfilled.   I didn’t win any competitions. I didn’t travel as much for comedy or speaking.  I didn’t attend any festivals.  I didn’t have those moments where I felt all my hard work was paying off.      I’ve been having urges to start writing.  But that could be because I binged watched 5 seasons of Jane the Virgin.  Which is how I’ve been spending most of my free time lately – watching TV.  Which is not like me.  But even with that I’ve been asked to submit writing samples for various competitions and I just sat back and watched the deadlines pass.  I don’t know why I didn’t submit.    I’ve started researching MFA programs.  If anyone listening has an MFA, please reach out, I would love to pick your brain.  But again, I’m not sure if I really want an MFA or I’m doing it because it will surround me with creatives and hopefully inspire me.    I know in 2020 I want to select one of two goals to focus on. I realize that I can’t do everything.  Over the past few weeks I’ve been in a state of exhaustion.  Maybe it’s because I’m doing better waking up before work to work out lol.  But I feel I need to focus my time on my main goals, because if I try to do everything I may never succeed.   The question is – what are the main goals? I have no idea!!   So I know for the next few weeks before 2020 gets here I am going to spend a lot of time thinking about what is next for me.  What do I want to accomplish in 2020.  And if you have any thoughts or advice, please let me know!   And it wouldn’t be a Creative Breakthrough episode without some Instragram love.  If you’re new to this podcast, I love Instagram quotes.  The quote for 2020 is:    Don’t be surprised if you go from depending on a paycheck to making the FORBES list! It’s your winning season.   Id love to know what your goals for 2020 are! Send me a message at info@funnybrowngirl.com or drop it on the facebook page.   So what I’m trying to say is, if you feel unsure of your creative career or goals, it’s OK.  We can figure it out together.  Perhaps we can have a virtual round table or conference call with a handful of listeners and brainstorm and help each other flush out 2020 goals and ideas to act upon them.  If this is something you would be interested in, let me know and let’s make it happen!   Again, as the year comes to an end, I want to say thank you to each and every one of you for tuning in to this podcast.  I love sharing guest stories with you and I do hope they are informational and insightful.  I wish you and your families a Happy Holiday’s.  And remember, if you don’t know what to get me for Christmas, an Apple review will be awesome!   Now go flex your creative muscle and keep winning. 

Dec 2019

10 min 30 sec

This week’s guest: Me, your host – Shereen Kassam aka the Funny Brown Girl!   Who is Shereen Kassam? Shereen Kassam has been named “Funniest Female in Florida” and has performed on HBO and NBC.    After receiving her Bachelors from Brown, an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and working for Fortune 100 firms including Deloitte, Amazon, JPMorgan, and Disney, Kassam decided she wanted more from life. That’s when she discovered entertainment – specifically stand-up comedy.  Her first time on stage, Kassam realized she was born to perform.  She is now an internationally touring stand-up comedian who has performed worldwide on stages from New York to Saigon.  She has appeared on HBO and NBC, worked with Arsenio Hall and Preacher Lawson, and hosted the International Arts Festival in Lisbon, Portugal.  Kassam is also the host of the award-winning podcast – Creative Breakthrough – where she shares strategies and inspiration to pursue one’s creative passions and is a guest host on iHeartRadio’s #1 Morning Talk Show.  When she’s not telling jokes, Kassam also acts and speaks on subjects ranging from Work-Life Balance to Creativity.    Kassam currently resides in Orlando, Florida and has a difficult time saying no to chicken wings.  Episode Show Notes: “Art leads you back to the person you were after the world took you away from yourself.”   This quote embodies everything I want to talk about today.   For me, discovering stand-up comedy helped me develop in to the woman I am today.  But it also allowed me to rediscover my voice, my confidence, and most of all my sense of worth.   When I was 19 years old, I had just completed my freshman year at Brown.  Life was great.  I had no qualms, no issues, and no stress.    I attended a camp that summer.  It was a privilege to be invited and I didn’t hesitate to say yes.          The first day of camp, I went to sleep as I always do. Until I woke up with a member of the camp’s leadership board on top of me.    My life changed that night.  Not only because of the incident of that night, but what followed.    No one cared.  No one wanted to listen.  Not the women, and definitely not the men.  They all had excuses.  I was told to go to sleep and I’ll feel better in the morning.  Some said it’s just fun and games.  Others said it’s not a big deal, it happens.  Fathers who had daughters.  Mothers who had sons.  Women I considered friends.  Men I considered my brothers.   No one listened to me.  My calls and my emails went unanswered for days that became weeks that became months.  I quickly felt my voice stripped away from me.  I was in a deep depression.         For years, I had nightmares, turned to alcohol, and stopped being an active member of society.  I was hurt and angered.  At times I felt like giving up.    Then I discovered stand-up comedy.  Why I started stand-up is a crazy story.  I had never seen a live stand-up show, but a friend dragged me to a show against my will.  I bored silly, with dude after dude telling the same jokes about their wives, dogs, and gentiles.  After the show, I demanded a refund.  And well, I didn’t get my refund.  Instead I was told to try comedy and see how difficult it is to make people laugh.  I took on that challenge.  The first time I got on stage and I heard the crowd roar in laughter, I knew I found my calling.    But deep down inside, I loved stand-up because I finally had a voice again.  I could I get on stage, share my views of the world, and people listened.  People were engaged in what I had to say. It was such an amazing feeling to be confident again after all those years.  To discover a part of me that had become hidden.  I poured my time in to comedy.    A few years ago, I discovered that the man who had assaulted me was now in a leadership role that oversaw the camp! I was outraged.  I spoke out again.  It wasn't any different 15 years later - people still wanted to ignore the situation.  But this time I was stronger and more vocal.  People started responding to my calls and emails.  Slowly changes started to happen.   The leaders of the camp agreed we should have a sexual assault policy in place, as well as an escalation policy if this happened again.  These policies were introduced nationwide this summer.  The man who assaulted me suddenly resigned.  I received an apology from leadership.  And most of all – I discovered a new passion for women empowerment and mental health.      Stand-up comedy helped me find myself again and make a difference.  It was a long journey, but a necessary one.  I can’t go back and save all the other women who may have come in contact with this predator, but I can at least protect women going forward.   I also finally took the necessary steps I need to heal and started to see a therapist this year.  Holding on to all that anger for so many years was not healthy.  It was a relief to finally share how I felt with someone who cared, who understood, and who gave me the confidence to fight.    Whether you are dealing with grief, a breakup, or any other hardship, I urge you to pour that emotion in to your art, seek help, and most of all, remember you are worthy and able to overcome whatever life is throwing at you.      With that I wish you all a safe holiday season and please if you need someone to talk to please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline that’s available 24 hours every day and is anonymous – 1.800.273.8255   Now go flex your creative muscle and keep winning.   Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe   Social Media Info   Connect on Instagram:   FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   Connect on Twitter: FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeHustler

Dec 2019

11 min 56 sec

Episode 40: How to Launch an Award-Winning Podcast with Ahmed Akbar   This week’s guest: Ahmed Akbar, host of the podcast See Something Say Something   Who is Ahmed Akbar? Ahmed Ali Akbar is a writer and host of the See Something Say Something podcast and video series. Previously, he was a Staff Writer for BuzzFeed and a Detroit public school teacher. He acted as a correspondent to Netflix’s ”Follow This”, Pushkin’s Solvable, and other shows. He was the editor of the now-defunct Rad Brown Dads tumblr and contributed to the "Salaam, Love" essay anthology. He is a graduate of University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and holds a Masters in Islamic Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Find him on Twitter @radbrowndads.    Key Questions answered by Ahmed Akbar: The best piece of advice Ahmed has received Ahmed’s definition of success Who inspires Ahmed and why   Ahmed Akbar Discusses: Advice to fellow podcasters on developing a successful podcast How he shifted his role function at BuzzFeed to align with his passions What’s next for Ahmed post-BuzzFeed Ahmed’s dad’s reaction to Ahmed’s career choice What’s a habit that’s helped Ahmed on his journey What Ahmed wants his legacy to be     Key Takeaways from Ahmed Akbar:   Care about your audience and your story Your podcast should matter more to you than your listeners Be consistent with your work It takes time, but find your niche Be OK with rejection Be open to people’s perspective   Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook   Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Ahmed Akbar – @radbrowndads FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   Connect on Twitter:   Ahmed Akbar – @radbrowndads FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeHustler   Check out this episode!

Nov 2019

20 min 54 sec

This week’s guest: Ahmed Akbar, host of the podcast See Something Say Something   Who is Ahmed Akbar? Ahmed Ali Akbar is a writer and host of the See Something Say Something podcast and video series. Previously, he was a Staff Writer for BuzzFeed and a Detroit public school teacher. He acted as a correspondent to Netflix’s ”Follow This”, Pushkin’s Solvable, and other shows. He was the editor of the now-defunct Rad Brown Dads tumblr and contributed to the "Salaam, Love" essay anthology. He is a graduate of University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and holds a Masters in Islamic Studies from Harvard Divinity School. Find him on Twitter @radbrowndads.    Key Questions answered by Ahmed Akbar: Where did Ahmed get the idea for the Tumblr Rad Brown Dads? Why Ahmed wanted to pursue journalist How Ahmed landed a job with BuzzFeed How his popular podcast “See Something Say Something” came about   Ahmed Akbar Discusses: How Ahmed pivoted his career Why Ahmed did not continue pursuing teaching or his PhD His Master’s in Islamic Studies His story in the book “Salaam, Love” Why you should submit your art for free Media fellowships How Ahmed shaped his job and his work at BuzzFeed to correlate with his passions How Ahmed developed his voice How to pitch an idea The future of podcasting     Key Takeaways from Ahmed Akbar:   You can always change your career path You can get paid for your work Craft your job around your passion and doors will open Do good work and people will notice If you have a good idea, people will listen Go hard for the big moments   Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook   Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe    Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Ahmed Akbar – @radbrowndads FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   Connect on Twitter:   Ahmed Akbar – @radbrowndads FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeHustler   Check out this episode!

Nov 2019

34 min 26 sec

This week’s guest: Who is Darryl Hinds? Darryl Hinds is a graduate of the University of Toronto – Mississauga Theatre and Drama Program and alum of the Second City Toronto Main State where he had the privilege of writing and performing five revues.  Since his days at the Second City, Darryl has been lucky enough to find work on TV as a regular on shows like CBS’s Little Mosque on the Prairie, Nickelodeon/YTV’s Max & Shred, and PBS/TVO’s Odd Squad.  Darryl has also had brief writing stints for This Hour Has 22 Minutes and CityTV’s Sunnyside.  Darryl is currently a cast member of the legendary Royal Canadian Air Farce and on the web series “the Ninth” about a rag team beer league baseball team.  If you live in Canada you can find it on the CBS Gem – app and website.   Key Questions answered by Darryl Hinds: Why Darryl attended theater school How Darryl became part of Second City What is Improv Advice for creatives on their journey Best advice Darryl has received Who inspires Darryl Darryl’s definition of success Habit that’s helped Darryl on his journey What Darryl wants his legacy to be   Daryll Hinds Discusses: How Darryl’s creative journey began When Darryl realized he wanted to be an entertainer How taking chances are necessary to finding success Importance of being a multi faced creative, especially as a creative of color The significance of Little Mosque on the Prairie and his recurring role Benefits of doing improv whether you are a creative or not How improv can help creatives and non-creatives How to audition for Second City Advice if you don’t live in an entertainment hub     Key Takeaways from Darryl Hinds:   Being a multi-faceted creative opens more doors Your journey will be different from the person next to you Be brave All creatives have a rollercoaster journey It’s ok to pivot Be true to yourself Improv can help creatives and non-creatives alike It’s ok to pursue a creative passion as a hobby, and not professionally Create what’s in your heart Taking chances is necessary to finding success     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook   Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe  Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Darryl Hinds - @hindssight FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   Connect on Twitter:   Darryl Hinds - @hindssight   FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeHustler

Oct 2019

44 min 30 sec

Highlights: It’s our one year anniversary! Thank you everyone for listening! Past guest are killing it! Episode 8: Rizwan Manji was nominated for an Emmy for his role in Schitt’s Creek. He’s also staring in the hit NBC show Perfect Harmony! Episode 21: Sarah Thawer appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last week, where she was on the drums for Tegan and Sara! Episode 25: Chaunte Wayans is on tour with Tiffany Haddish as part of Netflix’s They Ready tour. Check out her tour schedule and go watch a live show! October is officially our month to shine! What is one thing you can do this month to shine?   This week’s guest:   Who is Shereen Ladha? Shereen Ladha is a professional dancer, choreographer, artist, instructor, and social influencer based in Toronto, Canada. She is the director of the popular YouTube channel 'dancewithSL' that now has over 100,000 subscribers and 20 million views, and features dance covers and tutorials to the latest Bollywood hits. - Google Canada/YouTube's Next 15 Canadian Stars on the rise - FLARE Top 100 Canadian women with cool jobs - CBC Canada’s top female artists - Strategy Magazine’s 2019 New Establishment Innovator award winner Shereen has also been profiled by BuzzFeed, the Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, CTV, CBC, Breakfast Television, and Strategy Magazine for her work. DancewithSL is also the creative force behind several YouTube viral videos including viral sensation 'Maafi' - the Bollywood cover of Justin Bieber's 'Sorry,' and the hit touring stage shows'Roots: A Journey Through India' and 'Rihla: From Roots to Dreams.' More here: www.shereenladha.com/about     Key Questions answered by Shereen Ladha: When did Shereen’s creative journey begin? How Shereen has balanced two careers – Corporate Life and Dancing How Shereen combines her creativity and her corporate career When Shereen will leave her full-time job and pursue her passion full-time How Shereen has grown her Dance Company How Shereen frames her creative brand to set herself up for success in Corporate America How Shereen has amassed 100,000 YouTube subscribers Why it’s important to bring your “whole-self” to work What is the formula to getting YouTube views and subscribers? Why Shereen doesn’t pursue dancing or YouTube full-time What would Shereen do if YouTube went away?     Shereen Ladha Discusses: Why one’s creative passion is their biggest selling point in interviews Why Shereen completed an MBA program How does an MBA help you if you’re a creative How Shereen prioritizes her passion projects How Shereen manages her brand in the office Why Shereen started a YouTube channel How Shereen created a niche for herself on YouTube What does it take to build a brand What Shereen is building her brand to do in the future Where Shereen’s motivation comes from Why Shereen stopped using an alias on social media Finding your unique proposition to the world Advice Shereen has for other creatives What is Shereen’s creative goal       Key Takeaways from Shereen Ladha:   Create for yourself, not for others It is possible to balance two careers. And yes, your side-hustle is a career! Be open with your corporate job about your creative side. It’s a positive for the company and you should be valued for it Bring your whole self to work, don’t hide who you are Understand your unique proposition to the world and build on it Build your brand outside of social media Do your research and know your niche Continue to assess your position in the market and change your strategy as needed Take care of yourself Keep learning     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play     Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook   Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe  Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Shereen Ladha - @shereenladha FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   Shereen Ladha - @dancewithSL FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   Connect on Twitter:   Shereen Ladha - @shereenladha   FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast #CreativeHustler  

Oct 2019

55 min 38 sec

Who is Stefon Bristol? Brooklyn-born, Long Island-bred, Stefon Bristol is writing his own success story as a fresh face with a creative voice in the indie film world. Stefon is an award-winning filmmaker.  His first feature film, See You Yesterday, was released on Netflix in May 2019. As a recent alumni of NYU's Graduate Film Program, Stefon helmed many films including the Cine Golden Eagle Award winner The Bodega. Spike Lee, a longtime mentor, awarded Stefon with the 2016 Spike Lee Production Grant for his thesis short film, See You Yesterday, which his feature film is based on. The short is currently streaming on Cinemax’s online platform, Max Go. He has also co-directed the upcoming television series Payroll with Dennis Williams and directed a proof-of-concept for Chad Sander’s The Archer Connection, the upcoming BET television series. Some of his favorite films are Back to the Future and Jurassic Park... Don't judge!       Key Questions answered by Stefon Bristol: Why Stefon decided to go to an HBCU – Morehouse College What Stefon learned about being Black in America How Stefon met Spike Lee and turned him in to a mentor Biggest reason why people ignore you when you ask for their help How do you pitch someone to be your mentor? How do you nurture a mentoring relationship? What advice does Stefon have for other creatives? What is Stefon’s next breakthrough project?     Stefon Bristol Discusses: When Stefon decided he wanted to be a film maker Growing up in Brooklyn His immigrant parents’ response to his career choice Why Stefon suggests acting classes for aspiring actors The impact of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) and HBO What Stefon has been up to since we met two years ago at ABFF What does a pitch to Netflix entail? What does a pitch timeline to Netflix look like?       Movies mentioned: See You Yesterday – Stefon Bristol Do the Right Thing – Spike Lee Kobe Doin’ Work – Spike Lee Jesus Children of America – Spike Lee BlacKKKlansman – Spike Lee     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play     Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook   Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe  Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Stefon Bristol - @stefonbristol FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   Connect on Twitter:   FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl  

Sep 2019

39 min 58 sec

Welcome back to season 2 of Creative Breakthrough!  After a three-month hiatus I have a lot to share!  At the end of Season 1, I was stressed out, semi-depressed, and definitely not feeling creative.  After taking inventory of my life, I decided to make some changes, but that meant taking a break from podcasting.  Tune in to hear about the changes I made (and my good news!) and how I’ve been able to align myself with the universe to begin accepting blessings (again!)!  I also share the accomplishments of our listeners and our Season 1 guests.  If you are a creative entrepreneur or creative hustler, and are feeling uncreative or not yourself and need inspiration, this is the episode for you!     Announcements: This podcast will now be bi-monthly Calling all Creative entrepreneurs - share your wins and accomplishment with our listeners at hi@funnybrowngirl.com or via Instagram @funnybrowngirl Join our Facebook community for creative hustlers funnybrowngirl.com/facebook Subscribe to my newsletter full of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe   Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher and Google Play     Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creative entrepreneurs to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/facebook   Subscribe to my newsletter of creative resources, including opportunities and fellowships at http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe  Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:    FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   Connect on Twitter:   FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   #CreativeBreakthrough  

Sep 2019

10 min 48 sec

Announcements This is the last episode of season 1. Season 2 will start in September. Thank you for joining me every week for the past 34 weeks! I have loved the feedback, the reviews, and most of all the listens! Please keep the feedback coming, as I want to make season 2 bigger and better! What I’ve learned - podcast is a lot of work! It does not provide the instant gratification that comedy does. Thank you all for sending in your goals! And for joining our Facebook group! If you haven’t joined our FB group it’s com/groups/creativebreakthroughcommunity or via the link on funnybrowngirl.com! Regarding your goals, A lot of you wrote in you want to submit a TV pilot, finish your book, or get casted.  We can all help each other meet these goals and provide inspiration and new ways of attaining them in the Facebook group! So please head over there … http://facebook.com/groups/creativebreakthroughcommunity   Today’s episode is supposed to be a solo episode, but I felt this interview with comedian Tissa Hami is a better way to end season 1. We talk about finding your passion, pursing your passion full-time, the pros and cons of pursuing your passion, leaving your passion, the challenges of being a women of color, and lots more – all in 60 minutes! Listen to the end, because this story has a wonderful ending!   Activist. Idealist. Smartass. In fall 2002, just a year after 9/11, Tissa Hami dared to do something that no one in America had ever done -- step onstage veiled and tell jokes. At a time when Muslim-Americans were advised to keep a low profile, she chose to stand up.   Tissa's groundbreaking humor quickly caught the attention of audiences, bookers, and the media. She earned a reputation for making people think as well as laugh.   Due to increased demand for her voice and perspective, Tissa branched out into speaking engagements, classroom workshops, and writing. She has traveled to 25 states, bringing her show to diverse audiences. From prominent universities like Harvard and Yale, to small towns where she's been told that she's "the first Muslim they've ever seen," Tissa has connected with audiences across the country.   Tissa grew up in a traditional Iranian family in a predominantly white suburb of Boston. The daughter of a pediatric dentist and a software engineer, she earned Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Ivy League universities. Her parents were "thrilled" that she wanted to pursue a career in comedy.   Tissa has been featured in media around the world including the PBS documentary “Stand Up,” ABC's "The View," NPR, BBC, and the Washington Post. The San Francisco Chronicle named her one of the Top 11 female comedians in the country.   Tissa Hami is now a Diversity & Inclusion Consultant and Trainer. She works with corporate clients on creative ideas to advance D&I in their organizations, including training programs that feature interactive theater, stand-up comedy, and storytelling. She regularly speaks and performs at D&I conferences nationwide. This is a great story of how Tissa was able to pivot her creative passion and combine her passion for comedy and activism.  And with that, I say goodbye until September.  Now go Flex Your Creative Muscle, and Keep Winning!     Key Questions answered by Tissa Hami How did your creative journey begin? How do you balance a full-time job and a creative side hustle? Why she left a well-paying job on Wall Street to pursue stand-up comedy Why Tissa decided to stop performing comedy What resources she recommends to creatives   Tissa Hami Discusses: Her parents’ reaction to her new found career How she addresses issues through humor How she made the jump in to comedy full-time How she created success in her comedy career Highlights in her comedy career (and lows) Which is harder in entertainment – being a woman or a Muslim? Challenges to being a full-time creative     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Shereen Kassam – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   Tissa Hami - https://www.facebook.com/tissacomedy/ Shereen Kassam – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Creative Breakthrough Community Connect on Twitter: Tissa Hami – www.twitter.com/tissahami Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast      

May 2019

58 min 41 sec

Announcements We were trending on Apple’s What’s Hot podcast last week! Thank you all for listening! Next week will be the last episode of season 1. We will then take a 3 month break and resume with season 2 in September! This week I want you all to make a goal or 2 goals for the summer.  What are you going to do to accelerate your creative journey?  Write more, book more shows, take a class, whatever it is, I want to know! Email them to me and next week we will read some of them out on the show next week – info@funnybrowngirl.com.  My goal is to create a more positive environment for myself.  Right now, I’m not in an environment that values me and that in turn is impacting my creativity.  My second goal is to fill up my comedy calendar for the rest of 2019. I started a Facebook community so we can network, share ideas, and accelerate our creative journey! It is https://www.facebook.com/groups/creativebreakthroughcommunity. This week I’m speaking to Felicia Pride and it could not be timelier, because we dive into the how your self-worth is connected to your creative process.  This week I’m speaking to Felicia Pride and it could not be timelier, because we dive into the how your self-worth is connected to your creative process.  Felicia is currently a writer on Ava DuVernay’s QUEEN SUGAR and the co-writer and executive producer of the upcoming 2019 feature film REALLY LOVE produced by Charles D. King’s MACRO. Pride began her writing career as an entertainment journalist, contributing stories to VIBE, The Root, The Baltimore Sun and others. After graduating from Emerson College with her master’s degree in writing, literature and publishing, she worked in New York’s book publishing scene, pre-Kindle era, before carving out a niche for herself advocating for and covering the literary world from an African-American perspective. Pride eventually became an author, penning six books, including the young adult novel, PATTERSON HEIGHTS, recognized by the American Library Association. She was tapped by Simon & Schuster to pen two books in their EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS book series based on the hit show.  After refocusing her talents on writing more dynamic content for TV, film and digital, Pride took a leap of faith and moved from DC to Los Angeles. By day, she served as the Director of Independent Film at Tugg, acquiring films for theatrical and educational distribution while writing screenplays at night. By 2016, she was selected as a Film Independent Screenwriting Fellow and in the following year, Pride was chosen as one of eight writers for NBC’s Writers on the Verge program for television writing. Now, she’s setting her sights on building her production company Felix & Annie, that’s dedicated to creating dope film, TV, digital, and book projects for Gen X audiences of color.   Key Questions answered by Felicia Pride How did your creative journey begin? How do you balance a full-time job and a creative side hustle? Why she decided to move to LA and how she supported herself What it takes to win a spot in a coveted writing program, such as NBC on the Verge Best advice Felicia has received Felicia’s definition of success Who inspires Felicia What’s a habit that’s helped Felicia on her journey What Felicia wants her legacy to be   Felicia Pride Discusses: Getting her Master’s degree The practical side of Creativity – finding a real job Why she stopped writing and opened up a consulting firm Why she went back to writing How self-worth and one’s craft are intertwined How one can lose themselves in their full-time job and put their passion second How a career coach helped her develop a brand, prioritize opportunities, and get focused Resources for anyone interested in screen writing, as well as advice on framing up your application Advice to Creatives     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Felicia Pride - @FeliciaPride FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Creative Breakthrough Community Connect on Twitter: Felicia Pride – twitter.com/feliciapride Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast      

May 2019

46 min 13 sec

I’m back from Africa, where I had the opportunity to speak about creativity and my podcast, facilitate improv workshops, and perform comedy.  In this week’s episode, I talk about my experience, how I landed this once in a lifetime opportunity, lessons learned, and advice for creatives looking to share their creative content with a global audience! And of course, a big thank you to the organizers of the Ismaili Economic Forum for inviting me and giving me this awesome opportunity!   ten on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Connect on Twitter: Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast    

May 2019

16 min 13 sec

James Lopez, the Head of Motion Pictures at Will Packer Production, opens up about his journey from call center representative to Producer of Girls Trip and Little.  He discusses his time in the music industry working at Atlantic Records and his transition in to the film industry.  James also shares how he re-branded himself from a marketer to a producer.  In this interview, James shares his strategies to be successful and his advice to others looking to excel in their creative journey.     JAMES F. LOPEZ is Head of Motion Pictures at Will Packer Productions. In this position he is responsible for developing and overseeing production on all film projects through the company’s first look deal with Universal Pictures. He is an executive producer on the hit comedy Girls Trip starring Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Queen Latifah and Tiffany Haddish. The film opened to critical acclaim and has grossed over $140 million to date. He also executive produced Almost Christmas, starring Gabrielle Union and Danny Glover as well as the upcoming films Night School, starring Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, and Jacob’s Ladder, a reimagining of the 1980’s thriller classic, starring Michael Ealy, Jesse Williams and Nicole Beharie. He is also producer on— Breaking In starring Gabrielle Union, What Men Want starring Taraji P. Henson, and Little starring Issa Rae, Regina Hall & Marsai Martin. Prior to joining Will Packer Productions, Lopez was Senior Vice President of Production at Screen Gems, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. During his tenure, Lopez oversaw some of the company’s top grossing and most anticipated projects. He was the production executive for the box office hit Think Like A Man. He also oversaw production on About Last Night, Think Like A Man Too, The Wedding Ringer, The Perfect Guy and When The Bough Breaks for the studio. He also produced and conceived the story for the acclaimed short film #AmeriCAN, directed by actor Nate Parker. Lopez’ films have grossed over $480 million at the box office. Formerly Senior Vice President of Marketing for Atlantic Records before joining Screen Gems, Lopez played an instrumental role in developing and overseeing the marketing campaigns for several multi-platinum artists including T.I. during his award winning tenure in the music business. He also oversaw the soundtrack campaigns for numerous films including Hustle & Flow, P.S. I Love You, Step Up 2: The Streets, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls, Meet The Browns, Why Did I Get Married? and Avatar. In addition to overseeing marketing for artists, Lopez has directed a series of television commercials for album campaigns and led efforts for film soundtracks and brand partnerships. His music video for T.I.’s “No Matter What” from his double platinum album Paper Trail, was nominated for an MTV Video Music Award. Lopez also has a Grammy nomination for his producing of a long form video for the Nappy Roots. Lopez holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Sam Houston State University. He is a member of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and has been included on Ebony Magazine’s Power 100 list and Imagen Foundation’s Most Powerful & Influential Latinos in Entertainment.   Learn more at: https://willpackerprods.com/   Key Questions answered by James Lopez How James’s creative career began How James transitioned from Corporate America to Entertainment How James transition from Music to Film and how he knew it was the right now How to know if it’s the right move How James has been so successful and his advice to creatives James’s perspective on POC in the film space today   James Lopez Discusses: How to make moves Standing out from the competition Taking risks Following your dreams His career path and how he transitioned from one career to another Diversifying his creative talents by doing this one trick Advice to other creatives looking to make a a jump into entertainment Challenges James has faced as a person of color and how he overcomes them Importance of pivoting     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   James Lopez - @iamjamesflopez FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Connect on Twitter: Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast       

Apr 2019

45 min 4 sec

There is a stigma around quitting.  We are scared people will judge us or that we are not worthy of the opportunity.  But guess what?  Winners quit all the time.  Being flexible is a key trait of a winner, and sometimes that includes quitting.  Today, I open up for the first time why I left the radio and the lessons learned.  If you feel stuck or unhappy in your creative pursuit, you don’t want to miss this episode.    LISTEN ON: APPLE PODCASTS, SOUNDCLOUD, STITCHER, SPOTIFY, AND GOOGLE PLAY   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe   Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   Connect on Facebook:   FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/   Connect on Twitter: Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl   Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast

Apr 2019

25 min 15 sec

Armed with a prestigious MBA, Aliya was on track to be a successful banker on Wall Street when she decided to leave her coveted job and trained at the International Culinary Center.    She now calls herself a Chef, Cookbook Author, Television Personality, Mother and (now!) App Developer with a passion for bringing global and socially conscious foods, spices, and traditions into everyday cooking and eating   Aliya has traveled to many different countries to learn food traditions, and worked in a number of restaurants around New York City including Jean Georges and Per Se.   Aliya has worked at a number of restaurants around NYC including Junoon (which won a Michelin Star!) before writing her first cookbook, Exotic Table - Flavors, Inspiration, and Recipes from Around the World – to Your Kitchen (named “Best of the Best” by Food & Wine magazine in 2014).     Aliya has been a guest chef on NBC’s Today Show, a judge on Food Network shows Kitchen Casino, Beat Bobby Flay, and Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition, a culinary expert on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and has been widely covered in publications like Food & Wine, Vogue India, Shape, Oprah, Eater, and Food Republic.     Aliya is now Head of Culinary for RealEats.  In this episode, Aliya shares how she made the decision to leave her corporate job, the challenges she faced, how she overcame them, how she created a niche for herself, and advice to other creatives looking to make a career switch.    Learn more at: aliyaleekong.com     Key Questions answered by Aliya LeeKong How Aliya’s creative journey began How Aliya transitioned from Corporate America to Culinary How to know if it’s the right move How Aliya was able to find success quickly in her new career How Aliya gets closer to her goals How Aliya differentiates herself in her industry   Aliya LeeKong Discusses: How to leave your full-time job to pursue your creative passion Finding your niche and showcasing yourself Taking risks Following your dreams Her parent’s reaction to her leaving a 6-figure job Diversifying her creative talents and launching an app Advice to other creatives looking to make a career switch Challenges Aliya has faced as a woman of color and how she overcomes them Why Aliya decided to launch an app Importance of pivoting     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Aliya LeeKong - @aliyaleekong FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   Aliya LeeKong: https://www.facebook.com/aliyaleekong FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Connect on Twitter: Aliya LeeKong: http://www.twitter.com/aliyaleekong Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast

Apr 2019

33 min 50 sec

Do you struggle getting to work?  Are you afraid to show your work to others? Do you believe your work is not good enough?  This is creative anxiety. Also known as self-doubt.  Or your inner critic.  Today, I want to walk through some steps to help you quiet your inner critic so you can continue flexing your creative muscle in peace.  I am also going to introduce you to CBD, a supplement I take to calm my anxiety and available at www.mypaincenter.com   Your creative anxiety may be masked.    You may be mistaking it for not having time, or being a parent, nor not feeling ready.    Creative anxiety can stop a project before it can even begin.    Anxiety is self-protection.    Creative anxiety can hinder us.  That voice in the back of your head telling you you’re not good enough.    We start to question our passion and our work.  We also start to overthink our art and what will people like.  This is more detrimental, when you start to produce art you think people will like versus art you are passionate about.    This is harder and harder to move away from with Social Media.  We want to create content for likes and not for ourselves.    But You are not alone.  Almost all creatives have struggled with this, many still do.   Today I want to walk through some steps to help you quiet your inner critic so you can continue flexing your creative muscle in peace.   Identify what you are feeling and why What is that you are feeling?  What is causing this sense of anxiety?  Is it that you’re afraid of failing?  That your work will suck?  That people will laugh at you?  Make a list of everything standing in your way that’s making you avoid focusing on your creative passion.  For example, my list is – My jokes aren’t funny, no one will laugh, people will think I suck, I won’t book more dates, If I don’t book more dates I’ll never survive as a comedian Once I get these thoughts out of my head and on to paper, I can see how silly some of these are.  I mean let’s start with #1.  If my jokes are funny then there are no other items on my list! So instead of moping around feeling anxious I should just focus on writing really funny jokes.    Understand WHY you’re pursuing your creative passion Why did you start along this path?  Did someone tell you to?  Probably not.  No guidance counselor I know sits you down and says you should go be a musician, or a comedian, or a dancer.  No, they tell you to go be doctors and lawyers.   You most likely chose to pursue this creative passion.  And that is a big step! You’re trying something completely new, something risky.  Of course, you are anxious!  And on top of that, you have to share this passion with others. Super scary.    But at the end of the day remember, you started this because you want to not, not because someone said you should.   Why did you want to make art when you first started? Does it move you?  Give your life meaning?  Feed your soul? Enrich your life?    Remind yourself when you feel anxious why you started, what got you to this point.    Lower your expectations of yourself I am being a hypocrite here, but yes, stop being so hard on yourself.  I fall into this trap.  We all have these visions about our art and where it will take us, and sometimes that that doesn’t align with reality.  Or we put out content and it doesn’t do as well as we imagined.   We have to be okay with that.  We have to give ourselves props that we even took the first step of making the art and then releasing it, which is more than others are doing.   With time, and practice, we will get closer and closer to our vision of success.   Our society puts a lot of pressure on us not to make mistakes.  We as a society are impatient and want instant gratification.  But we need to be self-accepting and understand that it’s ok to make mistakes.  It’s OK to stumble.  If you recognize your fears as listed in step 1, confront them, and keep moving forward.  This is where real progress will take place.   And if you’re inner critic tells you are not good enough to continue, tell him or her to shut up.  Because how are you going to get good if you don’t keep putting in the time and effort.  Your inner critic is holding you down when you should be rising.    So tell your brain to hush and keep pushing.   Calm yourself down if you need to For many, they can only write with a glass of wine or with candles.  Others need to take a long shower to clear their mind.  While others go for a walk.   Find what works for you and implement it into your creative process.   For me, I spend a full-day in the office.  By the time I come home from work I’m stressed out and overwhelmed.  The last thing I want to think about is being creative.    I also struggle with anxiety and have a hard time leaving it at work.    So I actually utilize CBD in my daily routine.        CBD is a safe, non-psychoactive substance that relaxes and calms the body.  It is the cousin of THC, that stuff in weed, except CBD is legal and doesn’t make you stoned.   Instead it helps me calm down, breathe, and restart my evening on a positive note.  I am a big fan of the gummies – for some reason I crave sugar after work and mixed with CBD, it does the trick.        If you are interested in learning more check out my new website where I provide you everything you need to know about CBD and more – www.mypaincenter.com   And lastly 6. Join communities of like-minded people Facebook is a great place to start.  Join communities of creatives in your field or your city.  Reading their posts keep me motivated and many times teach me something new.  You may also find new resources or books to check out, upcoming events to showcase your creativity, and or new friends.  Or listen to podcasts that could inspire you.  Like this one.  Or read – pick up a book by your favorite author or even a book on creativity.  All these ideas can help you discover something new that may inspire you to create something that’s been blocked up.    In the end remember when you finally put out your masterpiece, whether it’s a novel or a new song.  You will have made mistakes along the way.  You will have tripped and slipped.  You will have started over a hundred times.  But now you have something amazing to share with the world. You.  Because you told you’re your inner critic to hush.  It’s all possible, you just need to get started.    LISTEN ON: APPLE PODCASTS, SOUNDCLOUD, STITCHER, SPOTIFY, AND GOOGLE PLAY   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe   Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   Connect on Facebook:   FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/   Connect on Twitter: Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl   Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast

Mar 2019

15 min 56 sec

Abi Varghese recently launched his third TV comedy series - Metro Park. You may also know him as the writer and director of the popular Netflix series Brown Nation. Abi talks with us about writing a TV script, pitching to Netflix, and the process of writing, selling, and producing a TV show! He also shares with us his journey from Corporate America to Creative Entrepreneur!   Abi is a New York based writer/director, best known for his Netflix Series "Brown Nation." His other notable work includes "Akkara Kazhchakal" an Indian TV sitcom that went for 5 season (50 episodes). Abi's feature film includes "Monsoon Mangoes" which stars Fahadh Faasil, Vijay Raaz, Vinay Forrt & Tovino Thomas.     Abi is currently working on a feature film in Hindi as well as a couple of new TV series.     In this episode we talk about balancing a full-time career with a passion project, making the move to full-time creative entrepreneur, and taking your script from creation to production.   So what are we waiting for, let’s get started!   Learn more: www.infamouscoconuts.com     Key Questions answered by Abi Varghese How Abi’s creative journey began How Abi balanced a full-time career at Unilever with his passion Is an MBA worth Memorable moments in Abi’s journey Challenges that Abi has faced How to pitch a TV show idea or feature film How to pitch to Nexflix Writing, selling, and producing a TV pilot or feature film How to find investors for feature films or TV shows   Abi Varghese Discusses: How to leave your full-time job to pursue your creative passion How to take your script from creation to production How Abi created his pilot, Brown Nation, and pitched it to Netflix Tips to get your TV pilot noticed How to find film investors Where does Abi’s inspiration come from Advice Abi has to other creatives     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Abi Varghese - @abivarghese FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   Abi Varghese: https://www.facebook.com/abi.varghese FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Connect on Twitter: Abi Varghese: http://www.twitter.com/abivarghese Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast      

Mar 2019

35 min 46 sec

No matter how long you've been pursuing your creative passion, it is important to promote yourself. In this episode, Shereen shares how she promotes herself to maximize her exposure which in turn leads to more opportunities. If you need advice on how to promote your creativity and talent, this episode will break down the tactics Shereen utilizes to promote herself and what she’s learned throughout her journey.   We discuss: Setting up a domain name and website Creating a mailing list Setting up Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, and LinkedIn Creating content Networking Necessary items to have in your toolkit How to #humblebrag What not to do Free sites for promotion   LISTEN ON: APPLE PODCASTS, SOUNDCLOUD, STITCHER, SPOTIFY, AND GOOGLE PLAY   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss   Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: https://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe   Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl   Connect on Facebook:   FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/   Connect on Twitter: Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl   Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast Check out this episode!

Mar 2019

37 min

Chaunte Wayans is a comedian, writer and actress who proudly represents the new generation of Wayans’ legacy making its mark in Hollywood.  In this episode of CREATIVE BREAKTHROUGH, Chaunte opens up about her ordeal with alcohol, as well as other trials and tribulations she has faced in life.  Chaunte also shares advice on the importance of knowing yourself, especially during the creative journey, finding your voice, and overcoming pain through humor.    Chaunte Wayans was last seen in the film 50 Shades of Black, with other film and television credits including Hollywood Misconceptions, Dance Flick, TLC's Trading Spaces, Bounce TV's Off The Chain and Nicktoon'sanimated series, The Boo Crew.   As a comedian, she has toured nationally wowing audience with her unique brand of comedy featuring for comedic veterans such as Katt Williams, Russell Peters, and her uncles Marlon, Shawn and Damon Wayans. Her comedic talent led her to become a featured cast member on MTV’s hit sketch comedy series Nick Cannon Presents: Wild N’ Out. Chaunte can also be seen on Katt Williams comedy special Kattpacalypse.      Chaunte has showcased as a writer as part of CBS’ Diversity Showcase 2017.  Recently she has featured on 50 Cents "50 Central" on Bet.  Currently you can see her featuring on TruTV's "Laff Tracks."    Key Questions answered by Chaunte Wayans: When Chaunte found her voice How Chaunte address the haters The #1 criteria when performing stand-up comedy How Chaunte addressed her issues with alcohol How Chaunte overcame pain in her life The obstacles Chaunte faces on her creative journey and how she deals with them What is Chaunte Wayans goal in her creative journey Advice Chaunte has for other creatives on their journey   Chaunte Wayans Discusses: Knowing how to pitch yourself When Chaunte’s creative journey began How Chaunte Wayans got started in stand-up comedy Importance of being open and genuine through your art Stepping out of the shadow of her uncles – Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans, and Damon Wayons The importance of knowing yourself How to create your own opportunities in the creative space     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe THANDOS Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Chaunte Wayans - @cwayans FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   Chaunte Wayans: https://www.facebook.com/cwayans FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Connect on Twitter: Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast  

Mar 2019

33 min 15 sec

Over the past week, two pop culture stories have taken over the airwaves – the story of Jussie Smollett and the story of Jordyn Woods and the Kardashians.  Both these stories highlight the importance of giving thanks for your opportunities.  This week, Shereen discusses the importance of being grateful and not allowing anger and jealousy to take you down.  We all have so much to be grateful for so let’s count our blessings and practice gratitude.      Announcements: If you are interested in becoming a full-time creative entrepreneur, the fashion industry, or doing social good check out last week’s episode with co-founder of Thandos Shoes, JG Ayodele If you want to learn more about my story or becoming a stand-up comedian check out my interview on the fun French podcast – Waves – by Max Solaro Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter where I will be including competitions/fellowships for creatives and artists In two weeks, I will be speaking on how to promote yourself. If you have any questions send them my way – info@funnybrowngirl.com    Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Connect on Twitter: Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast    

Feb 2019

20 min 5 sec

JG Ayodele transitioned from Corporate America to Creative Entrepreneur, more specifically from banking to fashion.  Jibolu “J.G.” Ayodele is the co-founder of Thando’s, a Lagos and NY based fashion company that provides a platform for African artists to design for a global audience.  Join us, as we discuss the Wakanda effect, working with your spouse, and starting a new creative endeavor!     Thando’s utilizes design competitions to crowdsource its designs from aspiring African artists. Each competition highlights a social cause in Africa and drives the inspiration behind the designs.  Each competition highlights a social cause in Africa and drives the inspiration behind the designs. The community of fans/followers votes on their favorite designs and profits are shared with the artist(s) that design the winning print. In addition, a portion of the sales is used to support the social cause that influenced the design competition via partnerships with NGOs. Our first product is a vegan, machine washable foldable ballerina flat.   Prior to Thando’s, JG led the business development efforts of Viacom International Media Networks in Nigeria where he co-created partnerships with brands such as Hewlett Packard and Lufthansa.   Prior to Viacom, JG worked with Deloitte’s audit practice, and spent five years in Leveraged Finance at Bank of America where he worked on industry agnostic private equity deals. Subsequently, he worked at GE Capital where he originated and closed mid-market to large cap transactions in the Restaurant and Real Estate sectors.   JG holds an MBA specializing in Finance, Entertainment, Media, and Technology from NYU - Stern School of Business, a Masters in Accounting from NC State University, and a Bachelors in Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.   JG is married to his co-founder, Taffi Ayodele.  JG is now Head of Management for Laolu #Iseedifferent   Key Questions answered by JG: When you left your corporate job to start your own company, what would you have done differently? Any regrets?  Any timing issues? Did you have mentors when you started? How did JG learn about the footwear industry – manufacture, source, etc.? How JG navigated the challenges of starting a footwear company Is an MBA beneficial? Advice for creatives   JG Discusses: Where the idea for Thandos came from Finding a job that allows him to merge his left and right brain How JG prepared himself for taking the jump into his creative journey How he learned to run a shoe company How JG transitioned from finance to retail What excites JG everyday now that he is a creative entrepreneur Challenges JG has faced as a person of color The Wakanda Effect How JG positions Thandos Shoes to be successful Working with your spouse     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe THANDOS Find THANDOS online – www.thandos.com Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Thandos - @thandos FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   Thandos: https://www.facebook.com/Thandos FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Connect on Twitter: Thandos: twitter.com/ThandosShoes Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast    

Feb 2019

34 min 34 sec

Anyone can pursue a passion or a hobby, but how do you soar?  On this week’s episode I discuss how to take your passion project to the next level! We talk dealing with critics, asking for help, managing anxiety, and more! If you are serious about your passion project then this episode is for you!   Key Questions answered by Shereen: How to manage your fears How she discovered his passion How to commit to positive behaviors How to push yourself out of your comfort zone   Shereen Discusses: Being grateful Clarifying what does success mean to you Why it’s important to ask for help Dealing with anxiety Why she focuses on the critics    Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Connect on Twitter: Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Connect on YouTube: Shereen Kassam: https://www.youtube.com/c/FunnyBrownGirl Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast    

Feb 2019

24 min 8 sec

Sarah Thawer is a self-taught drummer based in Toronto, Canada. She started playing drums at age 2 and her first stage performance was at age 5.   Sarah is currently freelancing, touring, recording and performing with international artists playing various genres including jazz, fusion, latin, gospel, funk, r&b, hip hop, Indian and world music.   She studied jazz and world music at York University and was the recipient of the Oscar Peterson Scholarship, the highest award given by the institution, in addition to graduating with the Summa Cum Laude distinction.   Sarah has shared the stage and played with many popular artists including AR Rahman, George Watsky, Robert Sput Searight, Jane Bunnett, Charlotte Day Wilson, Tyler Shaw, Ruth B, Osman Mir, Shweta Subram, Jeremy Ledbetter, Salim-Sulaiman, Benny Dayal, Thompson Egbo-Egbo, Roger and Sam Grandison to name a few.   Sarah endorses Vic Firth drum sticks, Evans drum heads, Yamaha drums, Zildjian cymbals, 64 Audio, Gruv Gear and Prologix Pads. Sarah is also the Brand Ambassador for the company Remitbee.       Key Questions answered by Sarah Thawer: How she convinced her parents to allow her to pursue music How she discovered his passion How she got signed by sponsors How Sarah challenges herself and goal setting What traits Sarah believes helped her achieve success Advice for other creatives on their journey   Sarah Thawer Discusses: How her creative journey started How Sarah became a social influencer   How Sarah got “discovered” How her purpose makes her feel Being a freelance musician How to make opportunities for yourself How to disengage from jealousy and competition Being a woman in the music industry Her work ethic     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe Learn more about Sarah Thawer: www.sarahthawer.com Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Sarah Thawer - @SarahTDrumGuru FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   Sarah Thawer - https://www.facebook.com/SarahTDrumGuru1 FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Connect on Twitter: Sarah Thawer: twitter.com/sarahtdrumguru Shereen Kassam: twitter.com/funnybrowngirl Connect on YouTube: Sarah Thawer: https://www.youtube.com/user/SarahTDrumGuru Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast   A podcast spotlighting successful creative entrepreneurs of color who share real life strategies and inspiration! 

Feb 2019

28 min 5 sec

Fear stops many of us.  It stops us from telling someone we love them.  Or taking a new job in a new city.  Or even taking the first step towards our new-found passion.   Fear can debilitate us.  It can give us an excuse.  It’s strong enough to derail us.   It plays with our minds.  It plays with our hearts.  It plays with our lives.   People think I’m a strong confident woman.  That I’ve accomplished so much in life because I don’t fear anything or anyone.  They are wrong.  But while I do have fear, I don’t let it stop me.    I recently had an experience at a comedy show that instilled fear in me.  It was a type of fear I never imagined feeling while doing something I love.  This fear derailed me.  It stopped me from performing.  This fear stripped the happiness from my life.      In January 2018, I performed at a club in Orlando, Florida.  I had performed at this venue multiple times.  People would call the club asking when I would be back to perform and others would even ask the GM at the venue.      This Saturday night was no different than any other Saturday I had performed at this club.  The MC warmed up the crowd, did his jokes, and then introduced me.  I came on the stage, and started my set.  Next to the stage was a table of 10 individuals.  Most of them were on their phones, not paying attention to me.  Which was fine, until one woman actually started to talk on her phone! I kindly asked if they could please put down your phones that would be great.  She looked at me and continued her conversation.  I was bit annoyed that this woman had the nerve to sit in the front of the club, near the stage, and take a phone call.  But I let it be.  You can’t teach people manners. I just turned my body positioning and focused on the other side of the room, the room paying attention.    After I got off stage, I walked to the back of the club where the comedians and their friends usually hang out, drink, and watch the other comedians.   No less than 2 minutes later, the woman who I had asked to put her phone down, came up to me and started yelling.   “Don’t you ever embarrass me like that again! I paid for my tickets, I have every right to be on the phone if I want to.  You can’t tell me what to do,” she continued until security intervened and told her to go sit down.   Just to be clear, she didn’t pay for her tickets.  All tickets to this venue are comped.   Moments later her husband approached me.  He is an ex-Army man – stocky built, much bigger than me.    He got right up to my face and started yelling at me, as well.  I could feel the spit of his words bounce of my face.   “You are so rude.  You have no right to be rude to us.  If you ever, ever, threaten someone in my family again, I will personally take care of you.”   I didn’t flinch or back down.    I wasn’t going to let someone intimidate me.  Especially when I didn’t do anything wrong.    But he had so much anger in him.  He kept yelling at me and threatening to “take care of me”.   While the audience in the back stood by and watched this all unfold, two women stepped in to help.  However, he kept yelling and getting closer and closer.   Finally, the MC of the night saw what was transpiring and pulled the gentleman away from us.    At the end of the night, four people including security walked me to my car because I was a bit shook up.   But it didn’t stop there.   This man and his wife went on Facebook and posted a picture, tagged the club, and wrote “I brought a group of bloggers to the show tonight.  We had a terrible time thanks to this Comedian.  I will never support a show she is on.  This comedian accused of us being rude because we were blogging about the show during the show!  My group has supported this club for over 15 years ask blah blah blah.   The worst part was that he tagged 50 people including other comedians I work with in this embarrassing post.    From some fact checking and a quick google search, they aren’t professional bloggers.    His friends chimed in all night with comments like, “she looks like a bitch”, “she’s not funny”, she’s ugly, “no one even noticed here, we were there for the headliner, who killed it, probably why she was rude.”, and the list goes on.   Some of his friends understood the issue and commented, “Wait what? Y’all were blogging during the show?”   Sadly, most of these comments were from women.   For more than 24 hours, people continued to post negative feedback about me.  People who had never met me or seen me perform.   None of the comedians that performed with me that night stepped in to defend me even though they were tagged in the post.  I had worked with the headliner of the show for over three years, and even he didn’t say anything to defend me or diffuse the situation.    Even when the comments were directed at him, such as, “Why would you let someone so disgusting open for you?”   However, a few comedians who knew me and my reputation stood up for me.  It was nice to see comedians step up and say that I’m not confrontational, rude, or violent.  Even though these people were trying to ruin my reputation, others who knew weren’t fooled.   Finally, after 24 hours Facebook removed the post for harassment.   The best comment was from the husband himself, that really got to the issue at hand: “Most of her act is about being a Muslim.  As a Military Vet (Army) that can wear on you after a while.  The funny thing is that we were trying to find something positive to say about her.”    But the story doesn’t stop there either.  The husband and wife sent an email to the club.  In their email they accused me of putting the woman in a choke hold.  Now you all don’t know me like that, but I’m a professional.  I’ve worked in corporate America for more than 10 years.  I know when not to cross the line, and being physically abusive towards someone is not in my DNA.  However, this couple made a complaint against me.   Since that day, I’ve never been asked to come back to this so-called club or to work for this club.  Whether it’s because the club owners believed I was physically violent or for another reason, I don’t know.   What I do know is that the actions of 2 people changed my love for comedy.   I was scared to perform anymore.  I was scared someone would actually hit me next time.  I was scared that the comedians in attendance wouldn’t stand up for me, just like they didn’t that night.  I was scared that this couple would show up at another one of my shows to stir up trouble.    I allowed fear to stop me from performing for 4 months.   In those four months I made a bunch of realizations.  I realized that the couple was dealing with something that night.  I realized that their anger wasn’t directed at me, but something bigger than me.  The fact that the comics that night didn’t defend me talks volumes about their character not mine.  I need to surround myself with people that will stand up for me when I’m in danger.  The club that doesn’t want me to perform for them anymore lost a valuable comedian.  There are more clubs out there and that not working for one isn’t going to ruin my career.   What I’m trying to say is that while fear can hold you down in the short-term, you have to pick yourself back up, put yourself together and continue to go out there and slay.  Don’t let anyone take your shine.  You deserve to be out in the world sharing your talent.  Just because some people are intimidated by it, doesn’t mean you stop.   And when I look back at those four months that I didn’t perform comedy, not all was wasted.  It was during that time I crafted my podcast and started to put together the pieces to make it come to fruition.  Because I was so scared to perform at any club outside of the Orlando area, I decided to start pitching myself to corporations and colleges.  A safer environment.  From redoing my website to working on my social media, I was able to book more private events in 2018 than my entire career. I also used the time to taking acting classes which led to my first commercial.   What I’m saying is that if fear is stopping you, don’t let it.  Don’t allow yourself to stall in your creative journey because of one mishap or failure.  Find new ways to share your vision with the world.  Keep pushing forward. And most of all, keep creating! Because if you don’t do you are doing a disservice to yourself and to the people around you.   And be kind.  I spent the entire night and day crying over this incident.  All types of emotions had taken over me.  I was sad, angry, humiliated.  This was my passion, my career to a degree.  And within 24 hours someone was trying to damage my reputation not only publicly but also with comedians that I worked with.  To this day, some of those relationships haven’t been fixed.  In a split second I went from being the headliner that night’s feature act to never working with him again.  All I’m saying is this industry is hard enough, please don’t make it harder for us.  If there is an issue, let’s talk it out.  Your actions in a fit of anger could have led to severe consequences for me.  Luckily, I am a strong person and was able to allow my character to speak for itself.  But the next person may not be a strong.  Let’s be kind and respectful.  You don’t know what someone is else is going through.   With that – now go flex your creative muscle and keep winning.    Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Website: FunnyBrownGirl – http://funnybrowngirl.com   Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast   A podcast spotlighting successful creative entrepreneurs of color who share real life strategies and inspiration!   

Jan 2019

17 min 40 sec

Ed grew up on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. The youngest of 6 siblings, Ed was determined not to be another hopeless statistic from the inner city. In High School where he gained a reputation for Singing, DJ’ing and being a class clown, Ed also knew he wanted more out of life. Using his jokes and charm, Ed won over his high school sweetheart and now wife, Mrs. Love, and soon after graduating High School he enlisted in the US Army and was well on his way to building a career in the telecommunications industry.   After 20 years in the telecommunications industry, Ed decided to change careers and discovered his passion for film.    Ed’s first film, I Tried To Give Up, has been well received in several film festivals and continues to win over audiences across the Southeastern United States. Ed also has a second film coming out, “Courage To Stand” and Episode 1 of a TV Sitcom “Apartment 5210”. With several other Film and TV Series in production. Key Questions answered by Ed Love: When he knew it was the right time to quit his job How he discovered his passion Managing school and a side-hustle How to live your best life Advice for other creatives on their journey Advice to make a transition from corporate America to pursuing your passion   Ed Love Discusses: How his creative journey started Living his best life by pursuing his passion Power of independent thought The struggles of being a creative entrepreneur How he prepares to make big decisions Being fearless Going back to school full-time to study film Ed’s first film – I Tried to Give Up Challenges Ed has faced Dealing with Public Perception   Memorable Quotes: “Don’t be concerned with what others think…” “You’re not dreaming big enough if you’re not scared…”   Memorable Quotes: Tickets to Courage to Stand Red Carpet movie premier (Central Florida) Download and watch I Tried to Give Up     Listen on Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play   Click here to subscribe via RSS feed (non-iTunes feed): https://funnybrowngirl.libsyn.com/rss Announcements If you’re looking for a community of supportive creatives to elevate your journey to the next level, join me here: http://funnybrowngirl.com/subscribe Social Media Info Connect on Instagram:   Ed Love - @edlove89 FunnyBrownGirl – @funnybrowngirl Connect on Facebook:   Ed Love - https://www.facebook.com/edlove89 FunnyBrownGirl – https://www.facebook.com/FunnyBrownGirl/ Website: Ed Love - http://eight9media.com/ FunnyBrownGirl – http://funnybrowngirl.com   Connect via Email Shereen Kassam – info@funnybrowngirl.com   #CreativeBreakthroughPodcast A podcast spotlighting successful creative entrepreneurs of color who share real life strategies and inspiration! 

Jan 2019

39 min 51 sec