Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image


07 Jun


Angela Rye to Guest Co-Host MSNBC’s The Cycle

June 7, 2013 | By |

NEW YORK—The week of June 10, 2013, Angela Rye, Director of IMPACT and political strategist, will serve as a guest co-host on MSNBC’s The Cycle. Rye has become a regular political pundit on many of MSNBC’s programs including Politics Nation with Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Bashir, MSNBC Live, The Daily Rundown, and others. Next week, Rye will serve as a guest host on the popular network for the first time.  

WHO:              Angela Rye, Director, IMPACT

WHAT:             Guest Co-Host on MSNBC’s The Cycle

WHEN:            Monday, June 10 – Friday, June 14, 2013 at 3:00 PM Eastern Time

IMPACT (@teamIMPACT) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color to foster civic engagement, increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and enhance economic empowerment opportunities. For additional information about IMPACT, visit


04 Jun


Winners of the “2013 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40” To Be Honored at National Bar Association Gala

June 4, 2013 | By |

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  IMPACT and the National Bar Association (NBA) will honor the “Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40” at a special awards gala on Saturday, July 27, 2013 during NBA’s 88th Annual Convention in Miami, Florida.

Nation’s Best Advocates recognizes talented individuals (age 40 and under) within the African American legal community who have achieved prominence and distinction, professionally and philanthropically. Selected nominees represent a cross-section of legal professionals: solo practitioners, government lawyers, judges, academicians, corporate counsels, young elected officials, and other lawyers using their degree in innovative ways. Nominees were chosen based on their achievement, innovation, vision, leadership, and legal community involvement.

“The NBA is proud to partner again with IMPACT for this year’s 40 Lawyers Under 40 event. We applaud the awardees for their significant accomplishments and contributions towards the legal profession and community,” said John Page, NBA President.  “We look forward to honoring these awardees during our 88th Annual Convention in Miami and most importantly, we look forward to sustaining our mission of service and ensuring that justice is achieved by all.”

“The 2013 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40 are continuing the tradition of legal giants in American history,” said IMPACT Director Angela Rye. “The invaluable contributions made by these attorneys establish a standard for service and excellence in our communities and our Nation.”

The recipients of the Nation’s Best Advocate of the Year, Excellence in Leadership, Service, Activism, and Innovation awards will be recognized at the event, which is the only of its kind. For more information, visit:

2013 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40

·         Barbara J. Walker, Associate, Parks & Crump, LLC

·         Breon C.M. Walker, Partner, Gallivan, White & Boyd, PA.

·         Candice S. Petty, Corporate Counsel, 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc.

·         Carlos Leach, Partner, Morgan and Morgan, PA

·         Cassandra Georges, Mediator &Arbitrator, Above and Beyond Dispute Resolution, LLC

·         Chigozie Onyema, Policy Analyst, Council of State Governments

·         Craig A. A. Dixon, Assistant Vice President, Senior Counsel and Assistant Secretary, Smithfield Foods, Inc.

·         Dannelle F. Walker, General Counsel, Tennessee State Board of Education

·         Edward “Ted” James, II, State Representative, District 101, Louisiana House of Representatives

·         E.M. Lysonge, Vice President, Legal Affairs, Churchill Downs Incorporated.

·         Evangeline M. Mitchell, Principal, Persistence of Vision LLC/Founder & Executive Director, National Black Pre-Law  Conference and Law Fair

·         Harmon L. (Monty) Cooper, Associate, Sedgwick, LLP

·         JaDawnya Butler, Assistant District Attorney, Fulton County, GA

·         JaRai A. Williams, Appellate Defense Counsel, United States Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps

·         Jasmine Rand, Associate, Parks and Crump, LLC

·         Justin Fairfax, Justin Fairfax for Virginia

·         Kristal Lauren High, Esq. , Editor and Chief Politic365

·         Lacy L. Durham, Tax Manager, Deloitte Tax, LLP

·         LaKeisha C. Marsh, Associate Vice President and Counsel, TCS Education System

·         Lashonda Council Rogers, Managing Attorney, Council & Associates, LLC

·         Lynnette D. Espy-Williams, Partner, Cozen O’Connor

·         Malaika Billups, Associate, Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP

·         Marie Giraud, Associate, Morrison Mahoney

·         Michelle N. Lipkowitz, Partner, Saul Ewing, LLP

·         Monica D. Barnes, Assistant City Attorney, City of Miami Gardens, FL

·         Monique Liburd, Associate Trademark Counsel, Google, Inc.

·         Nichole Francis Reynolds, Chief of Staff, Congresswoman Terri Sewell

·         Nicole Isaac, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, The White House

·         Radiance Harris, Associate, DLA Piper

·         Rashida MacMurray-Abdullah, Core Forensic & Dispute Services Manager, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services

·         Reginald Roberts, Jr., Co-Managing Partner, Sanders Roberts, LLP

·         Rhonda Peoples-Waters, President/CEO, Rhonda Peoples-Waters-PA

·         Shontavia Jackson Johnson, Owner, Johnson International Group, Assistant Professor of Law, Drake University Law School

·         Tanya Bullock, Judge, Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court

·         Tara Dawson Elliott, Principal, Fish & Richardson, PC

·         Tashinda Glover Richardson, US Navy Judge Advocate General’s Corps

·         Valyncia Simmons, Partner, Baker Williams Matthiesen LLP

·         W. Dewayne Richardson, District Attorney, Fourth Judicial District of Mississippi

·         Wade Hinton, Deputy General Counsel, Volkswagon Group of America

·         Zulema Green, Regional Managing Attorney, Portfolio Recovery Associates

The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 and is the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African American attorneys and judges. It represents approximately 44,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students and has over 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world. For additional information about the National Bar Association, visit

IMPACT (@teamIMPACT) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to engage and build a network of young professionals of color to foster civic engagement, increase knowledge of the political and legislative processes, and enhance economic empowerment opportunities. For additional information about IMPACT, visit


31 May


IMPACT Engages Students,Highlights VoteReady Efforts at Commitment to Core Program

May 31, 2013 | By |

When we think of civic engagement we think of political campaigns and voting, but we must challenge ourselves to avoid that parochial definition. Instead, civic engagement must be seen as an approach to building the community. With that in mind, the Michael Walton Foundation enacted an expanded view of civic engagement through its Commitment to Core initiative. Recently, IMPACT was invited to present a workshop on the importance of civic engagement and voter registration as a part of the initiative.

The most recent Commitment to Core program took place at Friendship Collegiate Academy and consisted of a day of workshops that help inform students about life skills, while preparing them for college and career opportunities. As a participant in Commitment to Core, IMPACT presented work from its award-winning VoteReady campaign, which was instrumental in raising awareness about mendacious voter suppression tactics attempted during the 2012 Election cycle.

While there, IMPACT members asked students to consider the current landscape of national politics and what it means for them and future generations. It is important to note that civic engagement has no age requirement. As a way to engage students, we asked that they form groups and develop plans to target Reduced Opportunity Voters (ROVs). Reduced Opportunity Voters are those who live three, four, or five miles away from their nearest DMV location in states that have strict photo voter ID laws. Students were very creative in putting together slogans and plans to target those in rural areas versus those in urban areas. Students’ slogans ranged from “You NEED to VOTE” to “Get Rich Voting,” as a play on targeting ROVs in Richmond, VA.

IMPACT is appreciative of the invitation extended to us by the Michael Walton Foundation to work with the students at Friendship Collegiate Academy. To that end, we are passionate about the necessity of continuing the fight to enlighten, engage, and invigorate citizens, both young and old alike, to be engaged in their communities.

02 Apr


IMPACT Your World… Spring 2013 Financial E-Newsletter

April 2, 2013 | By |

This quarter’s newsletter focuses on the importance of financial literacy for young professionals of color. All Americans are in need of financial literacy skills and financial planning know-how. But minorities are seemingly in particular need of those information, knowledge, and skills. Since April is tax season, now is the perfect time to brush up on financial literacy 101.

In this issue, we delve into the world of ALIAKIM, an accessory and clothing line by Mikaila Brown that blends fashion with activism. She discusses her experience of being a young entrepreneur and the challenges it presents, both financial and otherwise.

Ryan Mack, president of Optimum Capital Management, LLC, reminds readers to shift the political focus to financial literacy within the African American community. Dominique Broadway, a financial advisor in the Washington, D.C. area, offers financial tips to help the busy, young professional stay on a stable financial track. Business owner Deshon Owens breaks down the negative psychological effects of what he coins as the “Trick Bank.” By reducing expenses and training your mind to spend less, you will unlock the key to financial success. Lastly, Certified Financial Planner Robin Young shares the behaviors that separate the wealthy from everyone else. Establishing a new attitude and establishing reachable financial goals are the keys to turning your income into wealth and experiencing financial freedom.

ALIAKIM offers Revolutionary Chic to Fashionably Aware Women

ALIAKIM is a distinctive accessory and clothing line that blends fashion with activism. Each piece uniquely melds cultural images with high-end fashion elements to artistically raise awareness to current world affairs. Our mission is to provide cultivated women everywhere with clothing and accessories that express their advocacy as sophisticatedly as their femininity. Giving meaning to the term “revolutionary chic,” it is the intention of this line to put the “wear” in “awareness” and, as a result, inspire change.

Who is Mikaila Brown?

I am ALIAKIM’s founder and I have a doctorate in Anthropology and Education from Columbia University. I initially took a conventional anthropological route, working seven years with domestic and international non-profit organizations. In 2008, after a mildly major burn out, I decided to creatively re-channel my commitment to raising awareness of social issues around the world.

I have always had a fanatical passion for fashion and so it was an obvious next step for me after quitting my cushy job as a non-profit executive, overlooking the pressure of looming student loans and embarking on a new course of education. While attending courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the London College of Fashion, I plunged into a two-year period of hodge-podge jobs. This work included experience with a variety of world-class designers like Reem Acra, Pamela Rolland, and Oscar de la Renta.

How does ALIAKIM use images with negative connotations to to represent visions of power and beauty?

My newest collection, ENLISTED, primarily inspired by my custom fabrics, which flip counter-cultural images of things considered sad, bad and other people’s problems. For example, some fabrics have grenades, brass knuckles and child soldiers. I turn into visually stimulating images like butterflies and flowers. War meets nature, making it all more relatable. My intention was to visually and stylistically empower my customers. It’s hard to be a wall flower or a push over while wearing a skirt adorned with brass knuckles. Famed fashion photographer Bill Cunningham put it best when he said, “Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.” My primary inspiration and thus motivation with this collection is to provide women with an armor that is strong, discernible and commanding.

What is the most exciting part of being an entrepreneur for Brown?

I live for the creative process. I experience stomach somersaults with every new design concept. I enjoy the process of refining an initial idea, I find it gratifying yet challenging by the puzzle of making that idea a reality. Being a creative entrepreneur means I get to leave my mark on the world. I am fulfilled by the knowledge that something now exists in this world because I exist. Designing for myself rather than an established fashion house allows me the freedom to create without the restrictions of time and supervision or other people’s intentions.

Financial Literacy: The Foundation Toward Financial Freedom

By: Ryan Mack

During 2012, we witnessed a rigorous U.S. presidential election with controversial debates that pulled in high television ratings. Democrats, Independents and Republicans were glued to their TVs night and day to monitor polling data; economists, such as Nathaniel Silver, were sought-after for predictions. Everyone was watching. But was the heightened political focus a positive occurrence or a distraction from other significant issues in the African-American community?

Consider the following statistics:

  • 55% of African Americans are unbanked or under-banked: they do not have a bank account or the appropriate bank account (Federal Deposit Corporation Survey)

  • About a quarter of all Hispanic (24%) and Black (24%) households in 2009 had no assets other than a vehicle, compared with just six percent of white households. These percentages are little changed from 2005. (Pew Research)

  • For the first time in a decade, African-American households reported saving less than $200 per month. African-American households reported saving $189 monthly compared to $367 among Caucasian households. (Ariel Investments 2010 Black Investor Survey)

  • Author Lee Jenkins of Taking Care of Business wrote: “93% of our income is spent outside the community.”

  • “Blacks on the average are six times more likely than Whites to buy a Mercedes, and the average income of a Black who buys a Jaguar is about one-third less than that of a White purchaser of the luxury vehicle.”  Earl Graves, Black Enterprise Magazine

These frightening statistics reveal a financial literacy problem that is not a political issue, but an economic one. A politician cannot write legislation that will  force someone to open a bank account, save more income, support local businesses or purchase a car within their means of income. Principles of financial literacy are the foundation for economic advancement within your household and community.

I wrote the book “Living in the Village” with a mission to shift the national political focus to the economic survival of the African-American community. I am not saying politics does not matter; I was a true political junkie during the 2012 election.  However, we must learn how to walk and chew gum at the same time; we must know what our politicians are doing and time take control over our finances. We should focus more on issues within our own control such as our own economic survival.

We must learn how to prioritize our thoughts and our actions based on what is truly important in our community. During my workshops, I always ask participants why financial literacy is important. I usually receive self-serving answers such as: it helps to fulfill the desire to purchase a home, send kids to school and plan for retirement.  In addition to these important individual goals, we must pay attention to the larger picture of our role within our communities.  Financial literacy helps your household, and positions you to make a financial IMPACT within your community.

Individuals within our communities must learn how to manage money and take advantage of financial resources to help others. If you are going through a foreclosure or dodging bill collectors, it is hard to help someone else with their finances.  But if you manage your resources well enough to start your own business there will be others in your community who will benefit through employment opportunities.

It is difficult to create economic advancement for our communities if we are constantly spending our money outside our community. The essence of economic survival is  found in our willingness to support each other by adhering to sound money management principles in our homes.

As we pay attention to politics let us pay attention to our bank accounts.  Let us pay attention to where we spend our money, how to improve our credit,  new business ventures and more to create a strong financial foundation for future generations.

Ryan Charles Mack is President and CEO of the financial planning firm, Optimum Capital Management, LLC. Ryan can be regularly viewed on television networks such as GMTV, CNBC, CNN, Thomson Reuters, and BET discussing economic/social issues that impact American citizens. He has also written and published the book “Living in the Village.” You can reach Ryan on Twitter at @ryancmack or visit his website at

Reclaim Control of Your Finances Now!

By: Dominique Broadway

Personal finance is rarely discussed.  Growing up, people were taught to leave money and politics out of conversations; it was rude to ask people how much they make. Unfortunately, people have carried these rules throughout their lives. As we develop in our careers and begin to earn more money, we do not know who to go to with our money concerns, and how to really have full control over our financial situations.

Track Your Spending

The first step to reclaiming control of your finances is to know exactly where your money is going each month. Using free systems such as or will allow you to link all of your bank accounts and closely monitor your spending habits. Knowing where your hard-earned money goes each month gives you more control regarding how to allocate those funds.


Once you know where your money is going, you can then begin to create a budget to fit your current income.  Having your funds pre-allocated for certain spending categories will reduce your chances of overspending. When allocating funds for each spending category (housing, food, entertainment, etc.) it is also very important to ensure that you allocate funds for savings.

Rainy Day & Retirement Savings

As you begin to save you should set a specific amount that you are comfortable to save each month.  Then take that amount and break it up into a weekly or bi-weekly amount depending on your pay schedule.  Once you’ve set the amount, make the savings automatic! Waiting until the end of the month greatly decreases your chances of saving.  In addition to saving for your emergency fund, which should be 3-6 months of your monthly expenses, it is also pertinent to begin saving for your retirement. If your employer offers a retirement plan, contribute to it. Not only do these contributions reduce the amount of your income that is taxed each year, but in most cases, your employer will provide a match (free money) based on the amount that you contribute to the plan.


Finding the best method to tackling your debt can be very daunting. Using a free website such as will allow you to link all of your current loan accounts, and they will create the best strategy for you to pay down your debt and even provide you with your debt free date.  This system can even automate your debt payments for you to stay on track.

Implementing all of these steps will afford you more control of your personal finances and provide a clearer picture of your financial future. Using money as a tool and not as a crutch is the key.  You don’t have to worry about your finances taking control of you if you are always in control.

Dominique Broadway is a Financial Planner and Personal Finance Coach in Washington, D.C. She works closely with young professionals and entrepreneurs to bring their Dreams2Reality! Dominique is also the founder of Finances De•mys•ti•fied and the “Social Money Movement”. You can find her on Twitter at @MsFinanceCoach or visit her website at

Understanding Your Budget and Its Effect on Your Net Worth

By: Deshon Owens

As Mother’s Day approaches, most Americans are making dinner reservations at restaurants that they have patronized in the past and what would typically cost $45 any other day will be priced as $150 on the holidays. Why do most Americans fall this outlandish practice?  The answer: the TRICK BANK®.

The Trick Bank is the world’s trap to get you to spend money on goods and services that you do not need. Consumer spending is accountable for ~70% of the U.S. gross domestic product.  It is defined as the personal purchase of goods and services such as food, clothing, gasoline, toiletries, entertainment or a trip to the dentist. These types of expenditures typically have a negative impact on your net worth. As Americans struggle to recover from an economic recession, most people will have to cut back on spending due to reduced income and economic uncertainty. However, you can use this time of economic difficulty as a conduit to greater financial independence in the future.

Why is it that Americans spend more money during good times than hard times? The Trick Bank disguises the identity of a dollar as a relative value rather than its true absolute value. Do not be fooled, $100 today equals $100 whether you have $500 or $500,000 in the bank.  Regardless of how much money you have, everyone needs a financial budget, especially during times of national economic hardship.  I challenge you to use these circumstances as a means to correct your spending habits and permanently eliminate (or at least reduce) expenses that you do not need from your budget. Use this time of financial difficulty as an opportunity to train your mind to avoid the Trick Bank; no expenditure is too small.

Think about your budget during times of economic hardship. With reduced disposable income, the majority of your spending is allocated to the necessities such as food, shelter, clothing and transportation. Within necessities, there is probably some variation in quality and quantity of these expenditures as compared to more prosperous times; maybe you buy less fashion accessories, switch to generic household goods or downsize your automobile.

Upon economic recovery, I encourage you to think twice before re-inflating your budget. Was life really that bad without HBO and Showtime? Is it cheaper to stream your favorite shows online?  Think about cost effective alternatives for consumption and their effects on your budget.

Understanding your budget is simple because there are only three possible outcomes: you spend more than you make, you spend exactly what you make or you spend less than what you make. The first two instances are less desirable because you are either accumulating debt or living check to check.  In the latter instance, you are accumulating cash. You are creating a surplus of capital that can be used to positively IMPACT your net worth by paying down debt or investing to generate returns.

In conclusion, spending has a significant impact on your net worth over time. Imagine if you could walk into the Trick Bank and make a withdrawal for just half of the money you have spent over the last ten years on designer apparel, partying, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, fines and other consumables for which you have nothing to show. When you are 65 years old, would you rather have a closet full of old shoes (Air Jordan’s excluded) or a $150,000 savings bond? The Trick Bank collects dust in your closet, the real bank pays dividends.

Deshon Owens has participated in the investment of more than $300 million of capital across various asset classes. He is a highly committed analytical and quantitative investment professional with expert proficiency in financial modeling, enterprise valuation, due diligence and industry research. He founded The Deshon Owens Company, LLC in order to bridge the gap between Wall Street veterans and young high networth individuals. Visit his website at or tweet him at @DeshonOwens.

Are You a Person Behaving Wealthy?

By: Robin A. Young

Everything you’ve been taught about money is wrong!

As a financial adviser, I managed nearly a billion dollars for more than  500 millionaires. During those 13 years of working with wealthy individuals, I cracked the wealth code. There are two main differences between people who are wealthy and people who are not. I call the two differences – the 2 Cs: Confidence and Customization.

Wealthy people use both to turn income into wealth.  If you are like some of my clients who are not yet financially free, then you can follow my easy to implement step-by-step process to develop the financial confidence and customization you need to turn your hard-earned income into wealth.

Most people ask me this question: “How do I achieve financial independence?”

My response: Take baby steps to emulate wealthy habits. Rich people have a different set of behaviors and habits than those who financially struggle. To achieve financial freedom, you must learn, embody and implement proven, successful behaviors that propel you financial control and freedom.

Wealthy people habitually customize their financial goals by first calculating the cost of said goals.

Let’s say you want to retire in 20 years, you are currently contributing to your retirement account, but you have no idea whether you could retire comfortably or not.

Let’s say you estimate that you need to save an additional $1,000 per year in order to achieve your retirement goal. You now have the power. You have choice. You can decide how to save that additional money.

You can buy one less designer item or you can save $83/month or some combination of the two options. By calculating how much your goals cost, you are empowered to take action to reach your goals. Once you choose your course of action, you build confidence. That confidence is then used as momentum for attacking other financial goals.

What if you determine that you don’t have an additional $83/month to save? Start planning to use part of your next raise to increase your retirement contribution.

Let’s say you will receive a $500 raise. I suggest allocating it to several particular accounts or “buckets.” Set aside 25% of your raise to an account dedicated solely to your pleasurable activities (e.g. traveling, entertainment, shopping, etc.). You worked hard, and it is time to reward yourself responsibly. Another 25% can go to saving increasing your 401k contribution or increasing your savings or investing amounts. A third 25% should be allotted toward paying down any debt you may have. The final 25% should be earmarked for another goal of your choice. Your percentages may be different but the strategy holds true for anyone.

The key to saving more money is to have a clear vision of why you are saving. Being connected to your goals helps you have the discipline to forego something today in exchange for saving for what you can enjoy tomorrow. I recommend writing down a specific goal and its cost.  Determine if you are on track. If so, great – keep doing what you are doing.  If not, rededicated yourself to saving more!

Please visit to learn more about my simple step-by-step process of achieving your financial goals and to schedule your free consultation for customized guidance.

Robin A. Young is a Certified Financial Planner and Founder & CEO of Women Behaving Wealthy. She may be reached at Please reach her on Facebook at or on Twitter at @behavingwealthy.

Stop Procrastinating, Start Saving

By: David Hawkins

When it comes to retirement savings, have you been caught up in “planning to make a plan?” A 2010 Prudential Financial survey offers welcome insights that will help women of all ages stop procrastinating and get their financial plan on track.

The fifth biennial Prudential Financial survey, “Financial Experience &  Behaviors Among Women,”  indicates that in the last decade women have taken greater control of their finances and increasingly recognize the need for a plan that will meet their long-term goals.  Other findings from the survey:

  • 95% of women today are involved in household financial decisions. That includes life insurance and family protection goals.

  • More than 20% are more involved today than they were five years ago.

  • But not all of the survey results were positive. While many more women are involved in financial decisions, few admit to having the confidence to move forward in any meaningful or strategic way. While the economic crisis has heightened women’s recognition of the need to develop a plan that will meet long-term financial goals, only one third have one in place. Reasons vary from limited time, lack of knowledge about financial products, and the lack of a relationship with a financial professional.

Another factor is that younger women may not feel a sense of urgency when it comes to planning financially. But the fact is, for women ages 25-34, time is on your side when it comes to tapping into the power of compound interest. Money you set aside now will help you build wealth and financial security and avoid having to play “catch up” in your 40s and 50s, when the retirement years begin to near.

For women who are ready to stop procrastinating and take action, several key steps can help you get moving in the right direction:

  • Call a financial professional and ask for an assessment of your situation. How much have you saved already? How long do you plan to work? Will having children impact your ability to save for the future? These are all good questions to discuss with a financial professional.

  • Have you established adequate safeguards such as life insurance or long-term care insurance? While conversations about what happens when you’re no longer around and/or able to take care of yourself can be difficult, they are an important aspect of a solid financial plan.

  • Do your homework. The internet offers a wealth of educational materials to help you build confidence and knowledge when it comes to financial products and services. For example, Prudential offers specific financial and educational needs through its research and women and money microsite (

No matter where you find yourself now, taking even a small step in the right direction can get you out of the “planning to make a plan” rut and onto the road to financial success. Turn procrastination into pro-activity by taking steps to get started today.

Provided courtesy of Prudential for more information, contact David Hawkins, insurance license DC, MD & VA. A Financial Professional with The Prudential Insurance Company of America’s CMDA agency located in Vienna, VA. David Hawkins’s private office is located in Vienna, VA.  He can be reached at (703)245-5014.

Navigating Risky Waters How You Can Protect Your Retirement Assets

By: David Hawkins

Saving for retirement cannot take place in a vacuum. Whether you are just starting out, nearing retirement, or already enjoying those golden years, it’s important to be aware of the risks we all face. That’s where a retirement plan comes in—it helps you identify risks to your retirement assets and formulate strategies for addressing them.

Risk is usually defined as the potential for loss. When most people think of financial risk, they focus on investment risk and the potential for loss due to downturns in the economy, changing interest rates, inflation, or poor management of the companies in which they invest. These risks are typically addressed through diversification of one’s assets—selecting different types of investments across several industry sectors.  Please note that there is no guarantee that diversification will ensure a profit, or protect your investment against losses in declining markets.

But risk of loss also arises from life events such as illness, disability, or death.

Health Risks:

While most people look to health insurance to pay for health care, finding adequate insurance is increasingly difficult. Rising premiums have forced many employers to shift a greater share of the burden to employees and to discontinue health coverage for retirees. The answer is to be prepared for the unexpected. Many experts recommend health insurance with high deductibles and co-payments as a way to keep premiums down, yet protect against catastrophic loss. This suggests keeping a portion of your retirement assets in cash to pay for doctor and emergency room visits, routine physicals, tests, and prescription drugs.

Long-term Care Risks:

Another risk is chronic illness or a disability that requires not only medical treatment but also ongoing custodial care. Whether the care is delivered in your home or at a nursing facility, it can be expensive.

Keep in mind, that while Medicare covers most medical procedures and treatment for individuals, it is not intended to pay for extended or long-term custodial care. And although Medicaid, a program sponsored jointly by state and federal governments, covers long-term care services, eligibility depends on meeting strict guidelines and you may be forced to “spend down” to qualify.

A possible solution is long-term care insurance.  As more and more people live longer lives, the risk of requiring long-term care increases.

Death and Disability Risks

The financial loss due to the death of a wage-earner can be devastating.  Sometimes overlooked is the impact on a surviving spouse’s retirement. Assets that had been earmarked for retirement including IRAs, mutual funds, and 401(k) s may need to be tapped for immediate needs. Life insurance can be an affordable way to provide generally income tax-free death benefits (See IRC Section 101(a)) to survivors at the time they need it most. Death benefits can be used to settle outstanding doctor bills, funeral expenses, and other death-related costs. The balance can be used to help pay off mortgage and other debts, fund college education tuitions, and provide income for survivors, leaving retirement assets intact for the purpose for which they were intended.

Many individuals find that life insurance needs diminish during retirement as mortgages are paid off and children become financially independent. On the other hand, increasing estate values and the potential for increased death taxes can increase life insurance needs during retirement. Life insurance can also be a good solution for retirees who wish to provide a bequest to a favorite charity or create a legacy for their heirs.

A long-term disability results in a financial strain that is similar to the death of a breadwinner. With a wage earner unable to work or earn at the same level, it is easy to divert retirement savings to more immediate needs.  Individual disability income insurance is a good solution, for self-employed professionals and other high-income individuals.


While risk cannot be avoided, it can be managed. It’s important to keep in mind that in a world with many risks, you’re not alone.

*This article provides general information for the subject matter covered. Prudential Financial, its affiliates and representatives do not render tax or legal advice. An individual’s particular circumstances should be discussed with a personal tax or legal advisor.

Provided courtesy of Prudential for more information, contact David Hawkins, insurance license DC, MD & VA. A Financial Professional with The Prudential Insurance Company of America’s CMDA agency located in Vienna, VA. David Hawkins’s private office is located in Vienna, VA.  He can be reached at (703)245-5014.

18 Dec


December 2012: The Law’s IMPACT*

December 18, 2012 | By |

Dear Bari,

I haven’t finished my holiday shopping, but I wanted to see if you have any insight or tips on using gift certificates and gift cards.  I bought my mom a $250 massage gift certificate three years ago, only to learn that they didn’t have a copy of it on file and she couldn’t get her massage.  Any tips on how to avoid these types of situations?

Happy Holidays,


Hi Ken!

Happy holidays to you, too.  Tis the season… for spending money and finding out your gift has gone to waste, huh?  Well, let’s see if we can rectify that.

Under the law, generally most gift cards and gift certificates can’t expire for five years after purchase.  For store specific gift certificates, not gift cards (we’ll tackle those next), ask for a copy of the certificate to be placed on file with the merchant, particularly if it’s for services such as a massage.  Ask for the certificate to be filed under your name, and the recipient’s name.  Also, check to make sure there isn’t an expiration date printed on the certificate.  Perhaps your mom couldn’t use the certificate because it expired (and you purchased it prior to 2008-09, see below).

As for gift cards, any gift cards you purchase this holiday season cannot expire within five years of purchase.  Under the law, a retailer or financial institution that issues a gift card can’t refuse to accept it within five years of purchase or after adding value to the card (i.e. if you receive a $25 gift card, spend $10 of it, and then add $15 to it, that starts the clock over).

The federal Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (the CARD Act) prohibits gift cards from expiring prior to five years from their issuance. (15 U.S.C. § 1693l-1(c)).  Pay attention to expiration dates for gift cards you may already have from past years, because you may still be able to use them, as these laws were just enacted around 2009.  Expiration dates can be longer than 5 years – they just can’t be shorter.

Happy Shopping!

written by Bari A. Williams

*The Law’s IMPACT is our bi-monthly advice column on topics that young professionals may encounter in their daily travels.

17 Dec


IMPACT Your World… Winter 2012/2013

December 17, 2012 | By |

December 17, 2012

In this quarter’s newsletter, IMPACT focuses on health and wellness issues. From HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness during AIDS Awareness Month in December to  addressing the relationship between obesity and food insecurity throughout the year, these select contributors give you their take on health issues plaguing minority communities.

In this issue, Omonigho Ufomata makes a striking analogy between the popularity of hip-hop and the use of condoms. Omonigho questions stark statistics, which show African-Americans still bearing the brunt of the AIDS/HIV pandemic. Eyang Garrison argues that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps combat hunger and obesity in lower-income families. With the looming fiscal cliff and other economic challenges facing the country, many social programs face potential cuts; Eyang believes that means trouble for Americans as they continue to work to curb hunger and obesity. Dr. Rani G. Whitfield, also known as “The Hip Hop Doc,” paints a picture of an HIV/AIDS-free world—a world where patients with HIV can live “normal” lives. Whitfield explains how education and public policies can make an huge IMPACT to eliminate this pandemic.   Finally, Larissa J. Estes uses interactive maps in her piece to illustrate the fight against HIV/AIDS. She highlights  an accessible detailed map, which shows where the highest HIV rates are–calling attention to areas in the United States where treatment and prevention is needed.


Condoms & You: Partners in the fight
By: Omonigho Ufomata

We are the hip-hop generation—and by most standards—the most informed generation, with the greatest resources.  But are we the lost generation in the fight against HIV/AIDS? We don’t have to be.

The 1980s was the decade of hip-hop; LL Cool J, Biz Markie, Dougie E. Fresh, NWA and other groups gave us a new genre of music that would forever define our culture. The ‘80s was also a time when a new disease appeared that would go on to kill millions of people across the planet.  Since the first reported case of HIV/AIDS 31 years ago, AIDS has killed more than 33 million people globally.

HIV/AIDS  has both progressed in its strains and reach as a global pandemic, but today, we have more tools than ever to prevent and manage the disease. So why do young people age 17-39 make up the highest rate of infected persons in the United States with African Americans bearing the highest burden of infected persons?

According to the CDC, the keeper of AIDS statistics in the United States, 50,000 new infections were recorded in 2010.  When those numbers are analyzed according to race, the CDC accounts for blacks at an estimated 44 percent of those infected in spite of accounting for only 14 percent of the U.S. population.

We should be unsettled by these numbers. We have the information we need to fight this disease.  HIV spreads primarily through sexual intercourse and we know that condoms are 95 percent effective at preventing HIV transmission when used properly. The reality of our generation is that we are having sexual intercourse and there is no excuse for not using a condom every time. The myths about size, tear and functionality are hindering our ability to fight HIV/AIDS and negotiate our sexual health.  The most important player in the fight against HIV/AIDS is YOU.  By making condom use a regular practice regardless of whether we are in monogamous relationships means we are taking responsibility not only for ourselves but our partners too.

Routine HIV testing should be as commonplace as getting a physical, but should occur more often – every three months rather than annually.  Our generation is not the lost generation in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  It is our personal responsibility to make condoms and testing as mainstream as the hip-hop sounds that dominate the airwaves and radio.

Omonigho Ufomata serves as Director of Global Advocacy & Policy with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation; the nation’s largest non-profit provider of HIV care.  She advocates for better policies around condom distribution; testing, treatment and care for people living with HIV/AIDS through AHF’s programs in 26 countries around the world.  Previously, Ms. Ufomata served as the Director of the Mayor’s Office on African Affairs (OAA).   Ms. Ufomata has also worked in the government affairs practice at K&L Gates, LLP and as a legislative staffer for Rep. John Barrow (D-GA) and later with the House Ways and Means Committee, Democratic Staff. Ms. Ufomata received a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Kentucky State University and M.P.A. from The George Washington University.  Born in England, Ms. Ufomata is a native of Nigeria; and resides in Washington, DC.  

SNAP Out Of It
By: Eyang Garrison

Hunger and obesity are serious problems affecting millions of children and adults in the United States with food insecurity and poverty at the most fundamental levels. In 2010,  more than 48 million Americans were struggling against hunger and more than 60 million people were living in poverty. Since the 1970s, obesity rates have more than doubled in adults and children.

While it may seem counterintuitive, hunger and obesity can coexist within the same family and community. Research shows that low-income and food insecure populations are especially vulnerable to obesity due to risk factors directly associated with poverty. One of these risk factors is the absence of full service grocery stores in urban and rural areas, also known as “food deserts.”  According to a 2009 USDA report to Congress, 23.5 million people in the U.S. are living in low-income areas that are more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store. Additional risk factors for obesity among low-income and food insecure populations include a lack of opportunity for physical activity, limited access to health care, and high levels of stress. As a result, vulnerable families (often minority populations) are at a greater disadvantage than their higher income counterparts.

We can see some of these disparities in recent data. Hispanics (10.4 percent) and African Americans (9.5 percent) report considerably higher rates of inadequate access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables compared to Whites (7.5 percent), according to FRAC’s A Half Empty Plate: Fruit and Vegetable Affordability and Access Challenges in America. National data finds that African-American women (82.1 percent) and Hispanic women (75.7 percent) have higher rates of being overweight or obese compared to White women (59.5 percent). In 2010, USDA data found that African-American households (25.1 percent) experienced food insecurity at rates more than the national average (14.5 percent).

Participation in federal nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the new name for the federal Food Stamp Program, plays a critical role in reducing hunger and obesity by improving dietary intake. For instance, USDA researchers found that the boost to SNAP benefits included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) improved the food security of millions of low-income people. SNAP also has economic benefits. The United States Census Bureau found that SNAP lifted 3.9 million Americans above the poverty line in 2010, including 1.7 million children and 280,000 seniors. And according to the USDA, every dollar in new federally-funded SNAP benefits generates up to $1.80 in economic activity.

It is clear that the program is working, yet some in Congress are trying to make harsh cuts to SNAP. The U.S. Senate’s plan for the House Agriculture Committee Farm bill includes a cut of $4.4 billion over 10 years to the program, a proposal that would trigger sizable reductions (averaging $90/month) in SNAP benefits for an estimated 500,000 households a year. The farm bill would make these same cuts and eventually end benefits completely for at least 1.8 million people, cutting the program by $16 billion. These cuts would particularly harm seniors, children and working families.

To learn more about what you can do to help protect and strengthen SNAP, visit FRAC’s Legislative Action Center.

Eyang Garrison is the school breakfast associate at the Food Research and Action Center. She works in targeted states, school districts, and schools in collaboration with national and local anti-hunger organizations to increase the number of children participating in school breakfast and the number of schools offering breakfast in the classroom free to all students. Before joining FRAC, she worked as a legislative assistant for Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI). During her work on Capitol Hill, she worked to expand the School Breakfast Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and to provide low-income families with greater access to federal assistance programs including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. In 2012, she received the “Friend of WIC Award” from the National WIC Association for her contributions in support of the WIC program. She earned a BS in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma.

The End of HIV
By: Rani G. Whitfield, M.D.

I’ve read several articles this year that discussed a possible cure for HIV/AIDS. The 2012 International AIDS Conference held in Washington DC had a “positive” theme: An HIV/AIDS-free generation. Treatment options for HIV/AIDS patients have improved significantly during the last 30 years.  The possibility of a vaccine to prevent transmission of the virus looks better, and stem cell transplants may one day provide a cure for some. Are we closer to finding a cure? Could we really end this pandemic?

HIV/AIDS remains is still one of world’s most serious health challenges. In 2011, an estimated 34.2 million people worldwide had HIV–this is up 18 percent compared to 28.9 million who were living with HIV in 2001. There were more than two million new infections in 2011, which included an roughly 330,000 children.

Globally, more than eight million people had access to antiretroviral therapy, an increase of 20 percent from 2010. A year’s supply of antiretroviral therapy costs less than $100 per person per year for the least expensive regimen, which was recommended by the United Nations Programme on AIDS. And just think, in the year 2000, the price tag was more than $10,000.

There’s no doubt medical advances have allowed us to glimpse the possibility of a world free of HIV/AIDS, but statistics still reveal alarming disparities among people living with HIV/AIDS.

There is a huge disparity among men who have sex with men (MSM). The disparity among young black MSM compared to other MSM cannot be explained by drastic differences in behavior. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other studies have dispelled the myths that black men have a greater number of sexual partners, engage in riskier sexual activity, and have higher rates of drug use than white MSM.

However, a young black MSM’s risk of contracting HIV in his lifetime is exponentially higher. The need and urgency to do research, educate, test, and treat, is heightened by these findings, but the resources, community, and public policy must be there to implement such an approach.

Despite medical advances, exclusively relying on drugs, vaccines, and stem cells will not rid the world of HIV/AIDS. HIV prevention, to be effective, must be inclusive of education, behavioral strategies, and access to quality affordable health care. The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 along with the Affordable Care Act will be key sources of funding and support for health and social services for patients with HIV/AIDS.

Are we closer to the end? Yes, closer than we have ever been before, but we have a long way to go as long as specific populations continue to suffer and die from HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Rani Whitfield is a board certified family practice and sports medicine physician practicing in Baton Rouge, LA. He is a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association and medical director for the National Association of Free Clinics. He is affectionately known as Tha Hip Hop Doc. Visit his website at and/or follow him on twitter @ThaHipHopDoc.

Online Tools Vital in HIV/AIDS Comprehension
By: Larissa J. Estes, DrPH

Healthy People 2020 and the National HIV/AIDS Strategy challenges researchers, healthcare providers, and advocates to increase the number of people aged 13 and older living with HIV who know their serostatus from 80.6 percent in 2006 to 90 percent by 2020 (CDC, 2012).  Though the percentage of people who know their HIV status has increased, we must implement strategies to meet these nationally established goals.  Accurate and timely data is necessary for researchers, healthcare providers, and advocates to better understand populations at risk for HIV infection, implement targeted strategies, and move towards meeting national goals for HIV prevention.

As of 2012, 1.2 million in the United States are living with HIV, and 1 out of 5 are unaware of their HIV positive status (CDC, 2012), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .  Approximately 50,000 Americans are infected with HIV each year (CDC, 2012).  African-Americans carry the heaviest burden of HIV.  In 2009, African-Americans represented 14 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for about 44 percent of new HIV infections (CDC, 2012).

On June 1, 2011, the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University launched AIDSVu ( to increase accessibility to accurate and timely data on HIV prevalence.  This free, interactive online mapping tool pinpoints the areas of the U.S. where HIV prevalence rates are the highest and identifies areas that urgently need prevention, testing and treatment services.  AIDSVu displays data at the national, state, and local levels and by different demographic indicators (e.g. age, race, and sex). Figure 1 shows the concentration of rates of HIV diagnosis in metropolitan and rural areas, and in northeast and southern states.

The 2012 update to AIDSVu adds social determinants of health indicators (e.g. income, insurance coverage, and education) comparison feature.  Not only does AIDSVu make the prevalence data readily accessible, it also provides local, geographically mapped information on HIV testing and treatment locations.  Knowing where the burden of disease lies helps prevention researchers, clinicians and advocates understand where to focus resources.  The ability to view not only accurate data but also the location of HIV testing and treatment locations gives individuals the opportunity to visually understand the impact and state of HIV on specific communities, spread the word, and get tested.

Acknowledgements:  Marcia Wolverton, HIV/STD Program Manager, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Surveillance and Public Health Preparedness; Biru Yang, Epidemiologist/Biostatistician, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Surveillance and Public Health Preparedness

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV in the United States: At A Glance. Published March 2012. Accessed June 29, 2012.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators: Objective HIV -13: Proportion of Persons Living with HIV Who Know Their Serostatus. Published June 2012. Accessed June 29, 2012.

Larissa J. Estes, DrPH is a native of Portland, Oregon. She received her B.S. in Athletic Training from Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA) and M.P.H. in Family and Child Health from The University of Arizona College of Public Health (Tucson, AZ) in 2003 and 2005, respectively. She served as the Vince L. Hutchins Fellow in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Office of Women’s Health from 2005 – 2007. Dr. Estes received her Dr.P.H. in Management, Policy and Community Health from the University of Texas Health Science Center – Houston School of Public Health. Dr. Estes is currently the Performance Improvement Manager and Accreditation Coordinator for the Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Surveillance and Public Health Preparedness. Dr. Estes is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc and the Ivy League Educational & Charities Foundation (Houston, TX).

08 Nov


November 8, 2012 | By |



Inaugural Jazz Brunch Honoring Champions of Change

||Sunday, January 20, 2013 :: 1:00pm – 3:00pm||


The Marcus Mitchell Project, an award winning jazz ensemble, will fill the air with music while guests network and enjoy catered cuisine at a notable restaurant in the heart of Washington, DC. During the brunch, IMPACT will honor our special invited Champions of Change – individuals selected through a competitive process for their service and dedication to positively impacting individuals and communities throughout the country. As we celebrate the President and the accomplishments of so many who assisted in his re-election, IMPACT believes it is important to recognize the unsung heroes who the work that often goes unnoticed.

With a special lounge for conversation, video capture of your thoughts of the last four years and a social media room, this event is sure to be spectacular. We have a very limited number of tickets available for this event so don’t delay, purchase your tickets today!


Inaugural Events 2013

On Friday, January 18, 2013 from 9 am to noon, IMPACT will be supporting a panel discussion at Howard University titled, “Looking Back, Looking Ahead: The Legacy of President Obama.” The event will be held in the  Blackburn Center Ballroom on campus. The panel is part of a series of University events marking the 2013 Inauguration of President Barack Obama.


Service_Flyer Final Png

01 Oct


October 2012: The Law’s IMPACT*

October 1, 2012 | By |

What’s the big deal with election protection?  I’ve heard a lot about disenfranchising minorities voters this election cycle, but what is all the hype about?  What can I do?



Hi Warren!  Thanks for being proactive and wanting to get involved!
Well, the short answer to your question is that Election Protection is about making sure that traditionally disenfranchised populations exercise their right to vote free from intimidation, harm, or dismay.  Who are those traditionally disenfranchised groups, you ask?  They are minorities (particularly Blacks and Latinos), young voters, and the elderly/disabled elderly.

We must adapt to the new reality that photo identification is required in certain states, and that steps must be taken to assist eligible voters in obtaining the necessary ID in order to vote.  However, studies show that those without ID are most likely to be Blacks, Latinos, low-income wage earners, young adults, seniors, and the disabled.  The following states require photo ID in order to vote: Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.What can you do to help?  So glad you asked!  You can volunteer to staff a polling place on voting day as a volunteer.  The official Election Protection website can guide you when it comes to options on how to participate in your particular home state, as well as the hotline.  The phone number is 1-866-OUR-VOTE.  The website is:

In addition to serving as a polling place volunteer, you can lead carpools to get out the vote on election day.  Because of lack of transportation, no notice in order to order and mail in absentee/early voting ballots, lots of people, particularly low-income voters and the elderly, may not vote.  By providing rides, you can assist them in getting to their local polling place.  Get together with a group of friends and organize a carpool from a college dorm, or to and from a local nursing home.  This effort may be facilitated by your local NAACP, Voto Latino, or other organizations, so check around.

Also, be sure to check out IMPACT’s #Voteready website: and follow @teamIMPACT on Twitter. There are several resources under the #VoteReady hashtag as well.

Exercising your right to vote is very important, and as young professionals interested in making an IMPACT, it’s our job to assist those that may find it difficult to do so.  Every vote counts, and we should honor those that fought for this right by exercising it, and helping others exercise it as well.

Happy voting!

written by Bari A. Williams

*The Law’s IMPACT is our monthly advice column on topics that young professionals may encounter in their daily travels.

26 Sep


Partner with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington to IMPACT the life of a local youth!

September 26, 2012 | By |

On October 27, 2012, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington’s Next Generation Leaders (NGL) will host a Career Day at The Arc in Southeast DC. Career Day  provides high school age youth an opportunity to learn about an array of career options through creative, visual, and hands-on engagement.  NGL strives to expose D.C. youth to the world of career opportunities that await them, and is looking for volunteers to help make this event a success.

Please join this effort by volunteering to assist on the day of the event, either in a general capacity, or as a presenter.  You can also support the D.C. Clubs by making an online tax deductible contribution to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington.  The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington need our help and every dollar raised will be used to provide much needed financial and programmatic support to D.C.’s clubs.

For more information regarding Career Day 2012, or to volunteer for Career Day 2012, please contact Mr. Ricky Allen at  For more information about Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington, Next Generation Leaders, please contact NGL Chair Joseph A. C. Smith at

It’s no secret what a helping hand can mean in the life of a child. Together, we can be a hand of support to the kids of our city.

NGL Career Day Registration Form

October 27, 2012


Career/ Occupation:
How many people:
Email address:
Phone Number:
Prop/ Interaction idea:

Additional Information:

02 Sep


What it Takes to be an IMPACT Leader

September 2, 2012 | By |

IMPACT is proud to honor young professionals who make significant contributions both professionally and philanthropically.

Here are the 2011-2012 IMPACT Leaders of the Month

Joshua Humbert: Founder, Envest Fund
Paul C. Brunson: Match Maker Extraordinaire
Valeisha Butterfield – Jones: Director,Obama for America campaign
Zakiya Smith: Senior Advisor, White House Domestic Policy Council
Ifeomasinachi Ike: Policy Advocate, Consultant
Joshua DuBois: Special Assistant to the President
Waseem Zaffar: Labour Councillor in Birmingham, UK
Gregory S. Hall: Designer, Community Leader
Alex T. Johnson: Policy Changer, World Leader
Rahiel Tesfamariam: Journalist, Social Activist, Public Theologian
Hydeia Broadbent: HIV/AIDS Activist

These IMPACT Leaders are now in the running for IMPACT Leader of the Year.  Recognition will be provided to the Leader who receives the most votes in advance of Preview 2012: A Red Carpet Affair on September 21, 2012.

Vote NOW for an IMPACT Leader of the Year