Happy International Women’s Day!
We are excited to honor 11 women on this historic and illustrious day! The number 11 is special to us because our grandmother Benita Jones Lynn’s favorite number is 11, her birthday is 10/11, and we wear 11 on all of our jerseys to honor her. She died after losing the battle to breast cancer in 2006–only Collin and our oldest sibling Nai met her—but without her, there would be no is She inspired our mom, Celena Gill, to go after her dreams and she inspires us daily to go for ours.
- Beatrice (Bea) Dixon— Ms. Bea is the founder and CEO of The Honey Pot Co., a company that creates 100% natural feminine care products. She has a varied background that includes work in pharmacy, natural foods, and retail. She combined her business experience and a little help (in the form of dreams) from her ancestors to launch The Honey Pot Company.
- Kori Johnson—the FIRST African-American general manager of the historic Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC. Ms. Kori has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry and oversaw a $28 million renovation of the Washington Marriott Georgetown, completed in less than seven months. She created our the opportunity for our very first hotel partnership and still supports us 100%!
- Our mom, Celena Gill. She is a speaker, lawyer, teacher, designer, and writer. She was the FIRST (and only) beauty and fashion writer for Jet Magazine. She has been featured in Essence, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and has worked with companies such as Lexus, Coca Cola, IBM, Virginia Tech, George Washington University. She has BA from the College of William and Mary, a ED.D. and MA Ed form the George Washington University, and a JD from Rutgers University School of Law (Newark). Plus—she’s our mom—she automatically makes the list! :) She is the mom of 4 children and has been married to our dad for 15 years.
- Sara Haines—we love Sara’s personality, her upbeat attitude, and persistence to achieve excellence in her career! She She’s a mom of 3 who knows how to be silly and have fun. Ms. Sara is a host and journalist, known for her work as a correspondent on Today, ABC News, and Good Morning America. Haines was a co-host of The View during its 20th and 21st seasons. Haines is a co-anchor of daytime talk show Strahan, Sara and Keke on ABC alongside Michael Strahan and Keke Palmer. We love watching her on Strahan, Sara, & Keke!
- Dr. Christine Darden—is an American mathematician, data analyst, and aeronautical engineer who devoted much of her 40-year career in aerodynamics at NASA to researching supersonic flight and sonic booms. Dr. Darden is one of the researchers featured in the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (2016), a history of some of the influential African-American women mathematicians and engineers at NASA in the mid-20th century, by Margot Lee Shetterly. In 2019, Dr. Darden was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
- Keke Palmer—one of our favorite actress, singers, dancers, and TV personalities. She is currently a host on Strahan, Saran and Keke. She is strong black queen who is unafraid to speak her truth and speak for others who can’t speak for themselves. She has starred in films such as Barbershop 2: Back in Business, Akeelah and the Bee, Madea's Family Reunion, The Longshots, Shrink, Animal, Joyful Noise, Winx Club: The Secret of the Lost Kingdom, Ice Age: Continental Drift. Ms. Palmer has also had numerous television roles including the lead role in Nickelodeon sitcom True Jackson, VP and was also a series regular in the Fox horror comedy Scream Queens and the 2019 VH1 slasher Scream. We are consistently amazed by her ability to keep forging ahead with success—plus we loved meeting her when we were on Good Morning America!
- Dr. Gina Paige—Dr. Gina has led the way in helping African-Americans discover their true African identity through her groundbreaking company, AfricanAncestry.com. Dr. Gina resides in Washington, D.C. and holds a degree in Economics from Stanford University and an MBA from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. She was also honored with an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy from Global Oved Dei Seminary University. We can’t describe in words how it feels to KNOW where you are from. You have to know your past to find your future and Dr. Gina is helping millions find a place to call home through their African heritage.
- Arlan Hamilton—the founder of Backstage Capital, Ms. Arlan decided to create venture capital funding opportunities in tech for underrepresented high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT—and she began this idea all while homeless. Backstage Capital has invested over $7M in more than 120 companies led by underrepresented founders. Ms. Arlan is one of the reasons that we donate money to homeless shelters—most of time, all people need is a chance to succeed. Your living situation should not dictate or diminish your potential for success!
- Anika Hobbs—Ms. Anika is the founder and owner of Nubian Hueman (Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD). Ms. Anika studied Environmental Design at Syracuse University. After graduation, she took a job at H&M and stayed with them for 11 years, advancing to District manager before she ventured out on her own to open Nubian Hueman DC in 2013. She was one of our FIRST retailers and has consistently supported us since we started. She always offers advice, support, and words of encourage. She is a pillar in the Washington, DC business community and an example of black excellence.
- Lara Spencer— Ms. Lara is a co-host on Good Morning America and is also a correspondent for Nightline and ABC News. Previously, she was the host of the syndicated entertainment newsmagazine The Insider from 2004 to 2011, and was a regular contributor to CBS's The Early Show. She also hosted Antiques Roadshow on PBS for the 2004 and 2005 seasons, and Antiques Roadshow FYI. She hosts the show Flea Market Flip on both HGTV and the Great American Country channel—a show that our mom watches religiously and will hopefully appear on one day with one her sister-cousin Sharon Cummings! Ms. Lara shows us how to turn our passion into profit—she turned her love of thrifting and upcycling into a much loved show with a huge following. Many items are upcycled in our home thanks to your show!
- Robin Roberts—WE LOVE MS. ROBIN!!! From encouraging girls and women to thrive through adversity to being an icon in journalism, Ms. Robin has been one of our favorite people to watch. We thank her for inviting us on Good Morning America last summer after being featured in the Washington Post (thanks to Hannah Natanson and Danita Platt—2 other awesome women of distinction). You are gracious, inviting, and so sincere. It is fitting that you are #11—you represent everything that our grandmother was remembered for—she would give her last dime/shirt off of her back to help others with a smile and open heart. Thank you for reminding us that goodness still exists in this world!