For The Love Of Country
For Dikembe Mutombo, the idea of wanting to improve the lives of those located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was realized through the process of building a hospital for those in need. In a recent interview with Dikembe, he reflected on the initial motivation and desire to want to build a hospital and stated that, “hospitals are where we are born, they are where we will die and are very important to every single person in this world.” Even as a child Dikembe dreamt that one day he would become a doctor. As he reflected on those memories he elaborated on the fact that all he’s wanted to do, is help people. Yet, he explained that his path in life changed after he moved to America to pursue medicine at the prestigious Georgetown School of Medicine. While in the midsts of his studies, Dikembe cultivated many great relationships with professors, coaches and other peers. It was here, that one a friend and mentor, who happened to be the lead coach of Georgetown’s basketball team, asked Dikembe to play basketball and to possibly consider a shift into diplomacy studies. This decision he says, “Led me to play a great game of basketball over the course of the next three years, and eventually allowed me to make a lot of money.”
As a four-time winner of the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award and an eight-time NBA All-Star, Dikembe explained that he reconnected with his true passion shortly after his mother passed away. He says, “it was after her passing that I began to think about my passion and realized that I needed to build a hospital.” Dikembe explained that his mother’s passing was unnecessary and could have been easily avoided with the proper facilities in place. “She did not have access to the appropriate life-saving medical services,” that a good hospital could provide. “There were no ambulance systems, the quality of care and infrastructure wasn’t there; and there was chaos in the capital city. All of these factors played a factor in her passing, and each influenced my desire to want to build a hospital.”
Dikembe committed to his promise. Together, Dikembe and his wife launched a campaign to build the hospital, which in total, raised over 47 million dollars. The money earned from this campaign would aid in the design and creation of the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital, which today, after nearly 20 years, is helping to save lives and is critical to the health and humanitarian efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Today, Dikembe has ensured that these efforts continue to grow through the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation. Under his foundation, individuals are able to volunteer and have been creating an amazing platform to help more specific challenges innate to the region, such as earning over thirty plus awards, honors and recognitions ranging from John Thompson Jr. Legacy of a Dream Award, which was presented to Dikembe by president Obama in 2010, to being inducted into the Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2012. It is no doubt that the legacy which Dikembe has built over the course of 20 years, will sustain well into the future.
For The Love Of Parfum
Susan Sexton, the owner of BLEND, says she found her passion for parfum following a serious case of burnout while working in the world of advertising sales and marketing. “I was absolutely exhausted,” she explained. While getting to know Susan on a deeper level, she elaborated on the trip that ultimately changed her life. It was during a trip to France, in the town of Grasse, while visiting Galimard, the oldest parfumerie in France that her future career, and path would evolve in a way that she had not previously anticipated. Her future was fragrance. “There’s a lot of mystery around fragrance,” she illustrated. “It’s much like a living thing. It responds differently to individual body chemistry, and tells a deep and intimate story about those who choose its aroma.” Susan went on to explain that after several conversations with Galimard, she was able to utilize her skills in marketing and advertising to team up with the 269 year old company, which gave her the opportunity to bring the art of custom parfum blending to the Atlanta area. Blend, which is located in Buckhead, is home to 136 world-class essences. Each of which, Susan is able to concoct into a masterful blend of aromatic perfection.
In discussing the art of her process, Susan explained that finding a scent starts with building something of a scent profile, which is then built around the ‘perfume triangle,’ layering in heaviest scent first, two accords, a heart, and other notes which compose something of a symphonic melody. “The beauty,” she says, “is built around the fact that, every combination, every layering of scent, can create something so unique and individualized, that the possibilities can become truly infinite.” “One of the most popular scents,” she says, is Oud and Woody Moss. Yet surprisingly enough, scents individuals wear, have more in common with their personality, complexion, or age and less to do with gender. “Most scents are more unisex than you’d probably imagine.” After spending years returning to France, in order to learn the ins-and-outs of scent making, Susan has become more confident in her abilities to help individuals discover scents that work for their true selves. “You build a fragrance based on a lot of different components,” Susan says, “I’ve managed to help people find compatible fragrances with their own personal chemistry. And you would be amazed at how well you get to know someone in the discovery process. Creating fragrance, is as much of an art as it is a science.” The intimate nature of her process came into full eclipse in France, where she had the pleasure of working with all families of perfumes. “While I was in France, I had the opportunity to work with Masculine fragrances. This experience came shortly after my father passed away. I had always been a daddy’s girl growing up. Riding horses, the smell of leather reminded me of him…dearly.” From that experience came the scent WRS, reminiscent of those memories, but also named after her father. “Creating this fragrance was an extremely emotional and personal experience.” This is something she relates to her customers. As she explained, creating custom fragrances allows clients to cope with divorce, loss of a loved one and other major life events.
For those interested in BLEND’s custom services, the boutique includes everything from personalized consultations to corporate team building events. Individual sessions start at $200, and small groups of 4, start at $90 a person. This is a truly is an experience where you can design your own Celebrity Fragrance.
For The Love Of Art
“Art has been a part of my life from the very beginning. I remember being able to draw out my expressions from elementary, up until high school. I’ve won several awards in high school for my paintings and sculptures. My teachers were the one’s telling me to enter my works into the shows!” While recalling instances that were pivotal for her growth in the world of art, Jeni Jimenez reflected on a time when she created a self-portrait. This project required that Jeni work with loose materials, mainly torn pieces of paper, and was a new experience for her to play around with mediums she had yet to familiarize herself with. “My sculpting teacher had continued to ask me to allow her to enter it into the art show.” Hesitant, Jeni decided to enter her work into the competition only to end up winning the competition.
It was in the same year, that Jeni began painting oriental landscapes in watercolor. Experimenting with tools to create her artistic masterpieces, she utilized bamboo brushes, and other tools which would work to enhance work quality and overall aesthetic. “Nature has so many bright colorful flowers, trees, and animals, they just bring me joy. I began my creations by drawing and painting butterflies, with their rich decorated wings, every one of them different. Daisies, ladybugs and sunflowers in the rain, dragonflies and green fields. I love the look of knobby old trees, twisted and knotted. They remind me of wisdom, and the storms we encounter to gain that wisdom. Battle scars of life, yet we stand firm and tall, giving shade to another who needs rest. The pink snow of flower petals that spin on the breeze from a Japanese Cherry Blossom.” She explained that from there, she became more intrigued with the process of how to integrate her art into decorative spaces. “I began experimenting with curtains, accessories, furniture, pictures, and especially unique pieces that no one else would commonly have. It’s exciting to me, to take something that may not be (on it’s own), a unique item, but to turn it into something that’s truly unique and special when you have given it a new space and environment.” Utilizing this approach, Jeni’s begun to use mirrors on a number of occasions, as the canvas for which she will overlay beautiful designs. In other instances, she has helped decorate a sanctuary at a local church, and even worked to help craft the visual design for kids games at festivals. Recently, Jeni has been adapting her decoration skills for parties and graduations.
Jeni recently had the honor and incredible opportunity of furthering her education when she completed the “Decorating and Design for the Home” course taught by Jan Britt. Jan, a popular influence in the home decor space, has won many awards for her teaching, and interior design, as well as being featured on HGTV. “I am now able to further customize my clients requests to match a particular room or office! All I need are some swatches of the colors, and a general picture of the idea they are looking to create.” Jeni loves working in collaborative environments with her clients. “ Working together allows me to make sure I get exactly what they are wanting before we start. Every detail counts, like getting a better understanding for personal tastes, preference and personality. Not to mention, which colors make them happy and for what environment.”
Yet, Jenni couldn’t be more thrilled about what’s to come in the new year. “In 2017 I will be welcoming into my collection, pieces done by airbrush. I will also continue to create masterpieces on mirrors. Mirrors can make a room or space and have the ability to make those spaces feel much bigger.” She also elaborated on trends for the upcoming year and explained that many people are now hanging canvas alone, without frame. In doing so, her goal is to enhance her pieces so that as stand-alone items, they will appear even more enriched. “I want to be sure that my clients have that special option available to them, to hang their art as they please, in accordance with the current decorating trend, and it look beautiful from every angle.” Currently, she is using Facebook to promote her latest work and shows to friends, acquaintances and possible vendors. “My art has been spreading quickly by word of mouth. In talking with people, I’m usually able to help them customize their ideas, and cater to their requests.”
For The Love Of Cars
Some may define success as the attainment of wealth, position, and honor, but for Robbie Ashcar, owner of Select Luxary Car; success is something greater than a quantifiable metric or achievement which can simply be hung from a wall. For Robbie, success is defined by a personal quest for growth and self-discovery. Filled with challenges, obstacles, and the ever-critical ‘Ah-Ha’ moment, Robbie’s outlook on success has helped sustain his desire, determination, and hunger to become a more complete version of himself. To a degree, one might even say his life’s mantra is tightly centered around the idea that personal evolution only stems from moments in life that provide life-altering challenges.
As the son of an entrepreneur and immigrant from Lebanon, Robbie was no stranger to the barriers of success. While Robbie had big plans for his career and future, his path to achievement was layered with challenges. Ranging from lack of capital to having very little money, Robbie experienced a number of situations that were aligned just-so, creating scenarios that would require creative problem solving. Luckily, Robbie was in no short supply of those skills. One instance of this, would be when he was in charge of developing business opportunities for a golf tournament. While he didn’t have the finances in place to pay for upfront costs associated with the tournament, Robbie utilized his networking abilities to create unique advertising and sponsorship opportunities for some very big players. Yet, in the struggle of it all, Robbie honed in on his ability to nurture relationships.
However, in order to understand the future, one must look to the past. Upon graduating from college in Lafayette, Louisiana, Robbie moved to Charlotte and eventually to Atlanta in his quest for growth, self-discovery and personal success. From the 1980’s through the early 1990’s, Robbie made several attempts to launch businesses. After a few unsuccessful attempts, Robbie recalled feeling uncertain of his ability to be successful in life. Robbie used his innate ability to cultivate business as a platform to test a slew of products, services and concepts in various markets. With very little cash and hardly any capital, Robbie decided to enter into the world of car sales. Cars were something Robbie had always loved, and for him, the idea of helping someone buy a car was less about closing a deal and more-so about helping customers enhance their lifestyle. So it came with little surprise that Robbie had great success in this industry. Launching his career in cars at Atlanta Nalley Automotive in Marietta, Robbie learned that he was extremely talented in his line of business. His clients loved him, he helped nurture his team, yet there was a part of him that remained unsatiated. That missing piece, he discovered, was entrepreneurial freedom.
Roughly a year after starting, Robbie quit to go off on his own. It took some time, but Robbie knew his path was to remain in the car business. What Robbie wanted, was to build the most successful car business in Atlanta. Today, Robbie has turned his hard work and passion into a nearly 20-year success, better known as Select Luxury Cars. With the business growing, Robbie’s plans for the future are grand. Today, Robbie now owns the Nalley Automotive center in Marietta where he began his career in cars. In the coming year will be the new, highly interactive and modern home for his booming brand.