Young Boss Women of St. Louis

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Inspired By

Powerful Women

Lately, I have felt inspired by powerful women coming together and supporting each other. When thinking about topics to write for this article, I thought it would be fitting to share the stories and successes of a few young women from my city of St. Louis. No questions asked- 2018 is the year of the woman. After watching the Golden Globes a few weekends ago, it was evident to me that women have a bigger voice now than they ever have. The positive female force in our society is dynamically boosting our sense of community as powerful women. On a personal level, having female friends to support and encourage me has been key in my development as a strong, confident woman. Powerful women using their platform to support each other- instead of belittle or degrade- makes for a more prosperous community for all women to thrive.
That being said, in this article I highlight four powerful females from my city of St. Louis. From a reality television star/rapper to business owners in a variety of industries, all four women answer different questions about their career experiences and what it takes to be successful. Young bosses- whether male or female- these stories of local St. Louis women and the advice they give will pertain to you.
St. Louis’ Biggest Female Rapper

Tiffany Foxx (32)

The first woman I thought of when writing this article was St. Louis’ biggest female rapper Tiffany Foxx.  Side note: I used to listen to her before every tennis match I played in college!   In 2005, Foxx appeared in Snoop Dogg’s compilation Welcome to the Church: Da Album.  In 2010, she formed a hip hop group called June 5th.  In 2012, Lil Kim signed Foxx to her record label International Rock Star Records, thus launching Foxx’s successful solo career.  Foxx has released three mixtapes and also appeared on season four of VH1’s reality show Love and Hip Hop Atlanta.  Tiffany is currently working on her mixtape King Foxx Extra Clip which will be released in March.  She is also working on an undisclosed tv show.   On top of all of that, Tiffany has a swimsuit line and work out clothing brand that she is currently working on.

What are some traits that you have that you believe helped you get to where you are today?

“I come from a very Christian background and keeping God first is very important especially for women in this industry because your integrity is all you have.  You have all this temptation around you that’s showing that you can get to your dreams or your goals if you take this route, and even though it may be the shorter route, it may be the route that might mess your life up.  If you have God in your corner, it may take you a little longer for the marathon, but He will keep everything in your favor and you will be able to appreciate what He has for you later.”

What advice do you have for people on going after their dreams?

“Don’t let anybody tell you-you can’t do it.  I know a lot of people say that, but everybody that was close to me told me I can’t do it and told me to do something else.  But if that isn’t what makes me happy I’m not gonna do that.  So if you tell me no, that motivates me.  So whatever your dreams are, keep going, keep God first, and persistence – I don’t even care if you’re not talented.  If you’re persistent at what you do, you’re going to eventually become successful and get what you want.  And God rewards that- being consistent and being determined, keeping Him involved in whatever you have going on.  Do not stop because another human being that’s just like you says you shouldn’t do it.”

Keep up with Tiffany: IG and Twitter: 1tiffanyfoxx

Snapchat: kingfoxxstl

SoundCloud: Tiffany Foxx

Owner of Thirty Four Culture

Michelle Romero (23)

Michelle Romero recently began Thirty Four Culture- a custom, handmade sports apparel and lifestyle company with the focus of positively influencing and encouraging people.  Born into a football family, Michelle’s father played professional football in Mexico and moved to the United States to play on the practice squad for the Steelers.  Michelle’s brother is currently in his junior year playing for Iowa State.  A couple years ago, Michelle worked for an NFL agency.  She always knew that she wanted to be involved in sports, but realized working for the NFL agency wasn’t exactly what she wanted to do. Michelle told her boyfriend Blake (who played football for the University of Kentucky) about her idea to make custom-made sports apparel for women.  Blake expressed that he wanted her to make him one, and that planted the seed for the idea to sell custom-made hoodies to men, who are now the target market of Thirty Four Culture.

What does Thirty Four Culture symbolize and mean?

“Thirty Four Culture was my father’s football number our family number.  Culture isn’t just a brand- I don’t want to just sell clothes; I’m not a fashion designer by any means.  I’ve always been a mover, a hustler. I always wanted to start something.  It’s beyond a brand. I really want to influence people with this. I really want to help people.”

What some obstacles that you have had with starting your own business?

“It’s easy to be a business owner- you can have your own ideas.  Not everyone is cut out for it.  Anyone can have an idea and do what they need to do, but if you do not have the business mindset or if you don’t have the vision or the drive to keep up with your business, it’s not going to work… there’s so many little things that you need to learn to do, like customer relations. You basically have to be very versatile. You can’t be scared of networking or scared of taking risks.  You have to step out of your own comfort zone in order to be a business owner.  I reach out to so many people and have to hear 10 no’s before 1 yes.  I’ve learned to have a thicker skin.”

Contact Thirty Four Culture:

IG: @ThirtyFourCulture

Owner of Celsius Cryotherapy

Maddie Lovell (25)

Maddie opened up Celsius Cryotherapy- the premier destination for anyone looking for enhanced recovery.  Since her early high school years, Maddie has been interested in injury recovery.  Growing up, she always knew she wanted to do something that was going to help people and make a difference.  Maddie studied exercise science in college and has always been on the lookout for new ways to help people recover.  Her father discovered cryotherapy at work, and she did some research.  After seeing all of its benefits, she realized St. Louis had a huge need and market for this new form of therapy.  She explains, “For the first time everything in my life kind of came together and I started Celsius!”  Cryotherapy is a cold therapy designed to provide maximum recovery by improving your body’s natural healing abilities.  Celsius also offers infrared sauna services, and normatec compression to help you recharge, rejuvenate, and recover.  Maddie takes pride in the Celsius environment stating that recovery is the top priority- you are not just a member, you are a part of a family.

What advice do you have for young women starting their own business?

“It takes a lot of patience to start a business from the ground up. Patience in the process, patience in the people, patience in yourself. Things started moving faster and more efficiently when I started trusting people. I thought I had to do this adventure alone and that’s not true. You have to surround yourself not only with positive people, but people who are going to continually build you up, help bounce ideas off you, buy you food at midnight when you’re still trying to do paperwork. You are going to have your highs and you are going to have your lows. The balance is going to come from the strong, confident, uplifting people in your life. I am very blessed to have a supportive family that has been with me the entire process. My last comment is that it doesn’t matter how old or young you are, you can still follow your dream.”

Starting a new business at a young age is never easy. Maddie shared some obstacles she faced and how she overcame them.

“From the beginning, people told me I didn’t know what I was doing, that St. Louis would never want such an exclusive spa, and that I would fail without my dad- just because I am young and inexperienced. People cutting me down just drove me to work harder. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and became a leader. I started surrounding myself with people who were going to build me up and I wasn’t afraid to ask for help. I remembered why I am doing this in the first place: I want to change lives.”

Contact Celsius Cryotherapy:

IG: celsius_cryo_stl

Owner of Fit Flavors

Jillian Tedesco (33)

Jillian began Fit Flavors at age 25.  When she was 22, she had her own personal training business which ended up folding through.  After going through a tough time and trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her life, she began training people at a mom and pop gym down the road from the gym she used to own.  After telling her clients about the way the she intends and wanted them to eat, she began cooking meals for them.  She enjoyed cooking healthy meals for her clients so much that she decided to go to culinary school to become a reputable chef.  After culinary school, she had so many requests for meals that she decided to rent a kitchen, which lead to opening the first Fit Flavors in 2013.  Jillian finally found her passion and drive which was to help people eat better.  Fit flavors just started making home and office deliveries.  If you are within 30 miles of the store, fit flavors will deliver.  This is the route she is taking the business this year- expanding and shipping outside St. Louis.

What is the most rewarding thing that comes from owning your own business?

“The most rewarding thing is providing a product that’s so awesome to help people, and providing a healthy resource to the community. We’re kind of a niche in St. Louis in what we do.  That is super satisfying.  Before, I would wish there was a place you could go in and get something healthy and I created a place like that.  I guess the thing that’s most rewarding for me personally is that I can be in control of my time.”

What advice do you have for young people starting their own business?

“Don’t underestimate the amount of work that goes in to it, because people do all the time.  People think that they are going to have this business and work 40-50 hours a week, BS!  Don’t underestimate the amount of work that goes in to you achieving your goals.”

Contact Fit Flavors:

IG: FitFlavors_byjillian

The 2017 US Open Through My Eyes

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The 2017 US Open will go down in history, and I was lucky enough to witness it. In my last article, I expressed the overall environment; let me go more in depth.

First round, I was sitting front row. Lights were flashing everywhere, and the crowd was going crazy. Out walked one of the greatest athletes of all time, Roger Federer, to take on young American player Frances Tiafoe. If there was a level of perfection in tennis, Roger was it. He hit the cleanest shots that I have ever seen. It looked like he had ice skates on as he glided from shot to shot. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. Not only did I get to see Federer, but I saw a rare appearance of his father in the players’ lounge. Fed’s father is known to not attend many of Roger’s tournaments but is always present at the US Open. My friends who I went to the match with are also players on tour and are close friends with Frances Tiafoe. I enjoyed hearing some of their thoughts on the match. It made me look at the game a little differently. They told me that Federer does everything off the court as precisely as he does on it, following a precise, routine schedule to a T. They also told me that before a match, Federer knows when his opponent is scared to death to play him, just by sensing the vibes they give off in the locker room before a match. This was not the case for Tiafoe. A player could not have looked more fearless than him, as he went for every single shot he hit. He ended up taking Federer to five sets, only losing by a couple games. Tiafoe has his own incredible story. If you are unfamiliar with it, I recommend reading about it or watching the CBS story on him. It will only make you a fan of the rising star.

Along with Tiafoe, I got to watch a few other up and coming players such as Denis Shapovalov. I remember going early to the courts one day about three years ago at the Roger’s Cup in Toronto to watch Jack Sock warm up for one of his matches. Out walks this skinny 15-year-old lefty. He started hitting and looked like a mini Federer/Nadal combination, producing powerful one-handed backhands and had superb on court movement. I remember Jack’s coach at the time turning to me and telling me that Shapovalov was going to be a star in a few years. And sure enough, coach was right! He has proven to be a threat to the top players of the game, currently sitting ranked 51 in the world, and beat Jo Wilfred Tsonga in the first round of the US Open. Side note- I predicted that upset 🙂

My favorite part of the tournament by far was day 2. I got to watch my favorite tennis player of all time, Rafael Nadal. He is one of the most aggressive players on tour, moving forward every shot, producing groundstrokes with fierce spin, but also flattening out the ball and closing the net any time he receives the short ball. On top of that, he is not just the clay king baseliner- his volleys, touch, and net game are second to none. I camped out at Arthur Ashe Stadium that day, watching match after match. I got to watch Kerber, Venus, Pliskova, and my favorite female player besides Serena, Garbine Muguruza. Garbine is long-limbed, very tall, and plays with a high-risk aggressive style. She is not your average Spanish grinder with variety- she plays more like a Russian- going for high-risk shots and hitting with power. I particularly liked watching young Japanese player Naomi Osaka soundly beat defending US Open champion Angelique Kerber. Osaka looked unaffected being on the big stage as she absolutely dominated.

If you watched any of the Open, I’m sure you saw a few players rocking red, yellow and blue. Multimedia mogul Pharrell Williams designed one of the most iconic tennis clothing lines for all Adidas sponsored tennis players. Pharrell attended the US Open along with many other celebrities including Leonardo DiCaprio, Victoria Beckham, and Tiger Woods. One of the most exciting takeaways from the Open was the complete domination of the American female tennis players.

I always admired one of the semi-finalists CoCo Vandeweghe because of her fitness journey. Aside from coming from a seriously athletic family (grandfather, Ernie Vandeweghe, played for the New York Knicks; uncle, Kiki Vandeweghe, is a former NBA player as well; and mother, Tauna Vandeweghe, is a former Olympic swimmer), CoCo credits an off-court exercise regimen for getting herself in Grand Slam shape. Growing up, I played in a couple of the same national tournaments as CoCo. Back then, she was always a very powerful, dominant player, and that definitely did not change as she cruised through to the semifinals of the US Open.

At the WTCA conference, along with many amazing speakers such as Judy Murray and Mary Pierce, Lindsay Davenport led a Q and A talk. It was so interesting to hear her perspective on the player she is currently coaching, Madison Keys. Lindsay seems to be the perfect fit for Madison, leading her to the US Open finals. She spoke a lot about how Madison has grown as a player this year. I see so many similarities in game styles between my college doubles partner at the University of Missouri, Cierra Gayton-Leach, and Madison, with their ‘go big or go home game style’. Ironically enough, Cierra happens to be the niece of Lindsay.

Sloane Stephens has grown to be one of my favorite players on tour. In fact, she may have been the best story of the entire tournament. After beating Serena Williams in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open , Sloane seemed to be very quiet in the Grand Slams, not making it past the 4th round since the 2015 French Open. She had foot surgery earlier this year, and made an unbelievable comeback this summer. Starting in August, Sloane was ranked 957th. After the US Open, my guess is that she will be ranked in the top 15. Not only that, with the hefty $3.7 million US Open Champion check, she multiplied her $310,546 career prize money by 12. I absolutely loved her post match speech, where she talked about never giving up and encouraged parents to believe in their children’s dreams. I also loved the moment Sloane shared with finalist, Madison Keys, after the match. It was a great site in the selfish sport of tennis of two opponents showing a mutual respect for each other after an absolute battle. American tennis fans certainly had reason to be proud.

Last but not least is the unsung hero, Venus Williams. Sometimes I feel for Venus. Being the older sister of the greatest female tennis player and perhaps the greatest female athlete of the world, cannot be easy. But she always shows support and humility and stays out of the spotlight, continuing to grind her way into the second week of Grand Slams. In my opinion, Venus is becoming the Brett Favre of tennis. She is 36-years-old and still showing consistency, absolute wisdom, and athleticism on court.

Along with bringing in $70 million worth of revenue to New York City, this US Open showed an unmeasurable amount of positivity for American tennis. A Sports Illustrated article I read by S.L. Price summarizes the evolution of the sport of tennis:

“The historic fact [is] that three of those women [in the semifinals] are African-American, which led to the first major final ever contested by two black players not named Williams. With the crowning of Sloane Stephens, 24, as U.S. Open champion, the generation inspired by Venus and Serena had, at last, arrived. ‘Tennis has gotten out of the country clubs,’ says Chris Evert. ‘The barriers have really been torn down. It’s not a snobby, white, rich sport anymore.’”

Programs like JTCC that supported Frances Tiafoe and the USTA are becoming more readily available for players who may need financial support and assistance to play the game. Tennis is becoming a sport that anyone can play and have a chance to be successful.

Along with these promising programs, the US Open proved that American college tennis players can successfully compete on tour and in Grand Slam events. With 12 former collegiate players on the men’s side and a handful in the women’s main draw, it certainly shows current college tennis players that there is an opportunity to be successful on tour. What is truly amazing is that US Open finalist Kevin Anderson played for the University of Illinois.

Finally, the 2017 US Open proved that the future of American tennis is very promising. Along with veterans like Venus, Serena, Sam Querrey, and John Isner, up-and-coming American players are showing signs of dominance. Keep an eye out for Stephens, Keys, Vandeweghe, Tiafoe, and the other young Americans who had strong performances at the 2017 US Open.