Women’s Leadership 'Critical' to Future of Niger 

Mahamadou Issoufu

UN News/Daniel Dickinson
President Mahamadou Issoufu of Niger (c) welcomes a high-level joint UN-AU delegation including the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed (l) and the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Margot Wallström (r)

The role of women in leadership positions is critical to the future of a peaceful Niger according to the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed. Ms Mohammed was speaking at a meeting with the Nigerien president, Mahamadou Issoufu, on Saturday in the capital Niamey which was part of a joint United Nations -African Union (UN-AU) mission to the country.

“I stressed to the President the importance of women’s participation and leadership in preventing conflicts,” she said. “I also underlined the need to include women in all national and regional responses to the ongoing environmental, humanitarian and development challenges that Niger and the Sahel region face."

The deputy UNchief is leading the UN-AU visit to Niger, which includes many of the most senior women in the UN, the African Union, Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, as well as the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Margot Wallström.

A key focus of the two-day trip is women’s participation and leadership in conflict prevention, including violent extremism.

The security situation in Niger has worsened since 2015, when the first attack was launched by Boko Haram extremists in Diffa in the east of the country – an attack which displaced some 300,000 people, the majority of whom are women and children.

The presence of Boko Haram, whose goal is to create an Islamic state in the north of Nigeria, has been particularly harmful to women and girls who have experienced what the UN has called “staggering and multiple forms of sexual and gender-based violence.”

Insecurity which has caused displacement, and climate change, including insufficient rains, have led to a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Niger. The number of people in need of assistance has reached 2.3 million in 2018, an increase of 400,000 over 2017.

Moreover, the country is currently hosting some 165,000 refugees the majority from neighbouring north-eastern Nigeria, the epicenter of Boko Haram activities.

Niger is one of ten countries which are part of the UN Support Plan for the Sahel, a region which stretches from Chad in central Africa to Mauritania and Senegal in the west.

The plan, which was presented by Ms. Mohammed on the margins of the AU summit held in the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott last month, aims to build lasting peace in the ten focus countries. It also prioritizes economic growth, women youth and job creation.

Ibrahim Thiaw, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the Sahel was part of the UN–AU joint visit to Niger.

“There are certainly significant challenges in this region, but there are also opportunities,” he told UN News in the Nigerien capital, Niamey. “The degradation of the environment, insecurity due to extremism and terrorism are both deep-rooted problems. However, the region has enormous potential due to its natural resources and cultural assets as well as, of course, its people.”

The UN Security Council is due to hold a debate on the Sahel region on Wednesday.

The ten focus countries in the Sahel Support Plan are: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, The Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.

AME Church and Black Banks Launch New Partnership for Black Wealth 

By Hazel Trice Edney

AME Church

AME Church Bishops pose with Black bankers and business leaders after announcing historic partnership. PHOTO: Klarque Garrison/Trice Edney News Wire

( - The Black church, among the most prosperous institutions in America, has long led movements for the spiritual, social and civic uplift of Black people. When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, he had just launched the Poor People's Movement, which quickly fizzled after his death.

With this historic backdrop, the African Methodist Episcopal Church - with a legacy of leadership in its own right - has announced an innovative economic partnership with Black-owned banks across the country. The partnership aims to be a catalyst to spur business development, homeownership and wealth in the Black community.

"We are now pleased to announce a partnership with the presidents of the nineteen (19) Black banks in the United States, with the goal of increasing Black wealth," said Bishop Reginald T. Jackson, president of the Council of AME Bishops. "This initiative will strengthen Black banks across the United States and increase their capacity to lend to small businesses, to secure mortgages, to provide personal lines of credit, and to offer oth other forms of credit to AME churches and our members. This, of course, includes enabling members and their families to become homeowners."

AME Church

Bishop Reginald Jackson,
President, Council of AME Bishops

Bishop Jackson made the announcement during a press conference held during the 2018 Council of Bishops and General Board Meeting in Atlanta June 26. The specific details of a memorandum of understanding are being formulated and will be announced this summer. But the goals are as follows:

Increase deposits and loans with Black banks;

Increase Black homeownership to over 50 percent nationwide. This means 2,000,000 more Black homeowners than now exist; and

Grow the number of Black businesses from 2.6 million to 4 million and total gross receipts from an average of $72,500.00 to $150,000.00.

"The spirit in which you all have shared the commitment to the community, to the banks and to what we can do together is outstanding," responded Preston Pinkett, III, chairman and CEO of the City National Bank of New Jersey and chairman of the National Bankers Association. "Thank you for your willingness to step outside of the norm to do something that I would say is extraordinary here in America and extraordinary in the world."

AME Church

Preston Pinkett,
Chairman, National Bankers Association

Pinkett says the church-bank partnerships are already beginning around the nation. "It is safe to say that this kind of commitment; this kind of demonstration will go a long way in supporting our banks and the banks to be able to support the community...With God's blessings, we will accomplish great things."

Amidst an atmosphere of excitement, the bankers, bishops and supporters of the movement packed into a meeting room in a Downtown Atlanta hotel. Jackson was surrounded by all 20 Bishops of the 231-year-old denomination as well as supporters of the movement. They included principals of the growing economic movement, Black Wealth 2020, which Jackson credited as inspiration for the idea.

"This partnership grows out of an initiative formed in Washington, DC in 2015, called Black Wealth 2020 which is providing an economic blueprint for Black America," Jackson said."

Michael Grant, one of the founders of Black Wealth 2020, presided at the press conference. He connected the new partnership directly with the movement begun by Dr. King.

"The great civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others has now morphed into a full-fledged movement for economic empowerment," Grant said. "The offspring of African slaves and their unrewarded labor have catapulted a small Colonial outpost into the greatest industrial giant the world has ever known. Now, as a people, we are turning our efforts toward our own enrichment. We must now create those economic opportunities for ourselves."

Opening the press conference, Grant underscored the historicity of the moment. "For those of you who are students of history, you would not be surprised that the Church of Richard Allen would be leading an effort to close the wealth gap across the United States of America." Allen, among America's most influential Black leaders, founded the AME church in 1794. It was the first independent Black denomination in the U. S. "And we do this with malice towards none," stressed Grant.

Bishop James L. Davis, of the Second Episcopal District, likened the partnership to a marriage - a marriage between a church and its community. "It is a marriage that says a church that is concerned about its people, concerned about the good and the bad, all of the things our people have had to go through."

"The great civil rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others has now morphed into a full-fledged movement for economic empowerment," Grant said. "The offspring of African slaves and their unrewarded labor have catapulted a small Colonial outpost into the greatest industrial giant the world has ever known. Now, as a people, we are turning our efforts toward our own enrichment. We must now create those economic opportunities for ourselves."

The prophetic voices of Black church leaders not only articulate ideas, but strategies.

AME Church

Bishop Vashti Murphy Mckenzie,
General Board Chair, AME Church

"In the next decade in the global church and in the AME church and in Black banking, we will see both evolution and revolution. Banks must reinvent themselves, not just to respond to the pressures of the day, but to be flexible enough to adapt to the world of tomorrow. The ecclesia, the church, must also evolve its business knowledge, educational platform, and its missional thrust without losing its stance in the Word of God," said General Board Chair Bishop Vashti Murphy Mckenzie. "Both of our institutions are dealing with increasing assertive governmental intrusion, higher membership and customer demands along with increasing change in the wider world."

The announcement of the new partnership was met with applause from national civil rights leaders.

"Thank you and your fellow bishops for making economic development a priority of your denomination," wrote civil rights icon Georgia Congressman John Lewis in a letter to Bishop Jackson. "Hopefully, your visionary leadership will inspire other denominations to replicate your efforts nationwide."

National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial also weighed in with a letter: "I want to express the support of the National Urban League for your leadership and initiative in addressing the challenges of Black homeownership and the need to increase the support, viability and profitability of our African-American businesses," he wrote.

Morial is among economic leaders who have determined that among the reasons homeownership among African-Americans is disparately low is, in part, because of discriminatory lending practices.

Mortgage Banker Lois Johnson, president/CEO of Salt Lake City-based United Security Financial, said she takes "great pride in our HUD designation as a fair practice lender. We provide loans to all who meet the minimum criteria, especially people of color who have been denied the opportunity to have their own homes."

Johnson, who is licensed to operate in 49 states, says she intends to travel to each of the AME church's episcopal districts to "create hope and opportunities."

The principals agreed that the key to the success of the partnership must be mutual respect for Black spending power and mutual support of Black businesses.

"We hear about Black folks have a trillion dollars in spending power," said Ron Busby, president/CEO of the U. S. Black Chamber, Inc. and co-founder of Black Wealth 2020. "But that's usually White folk talking about our dollar sand how can they get their share of it. We came together to say how can we deal with the Black wealth, the gap of it and really to move our agenda forward inside our own community."

Busby pointed to the USBC's new AP called the USBC Mobile Directory with 109,000 Black-owned businesses in order to help consumers make targeted purchases inside the Black business community.

Robert James, CEO of the Carver State Bank in Savannah discussed how the movement will be sustained. "There was a time that no church got financed in Savannah Georgia unless we financed them at Carver State Bank," James said to applause. "This program will get us back on the path."

James says he knows the relationship can be sustained because the bishops have authority to oversee and encourage AME church leaders to do business with Black-owned banks. "We can talk to the Bishops about those local churches. And you can talk to your elders and your preachers," he said.

AME Church

Bishop Reginald Jackson,
President, Council of AME Bishops

Bishop Jackson underscored the fact that the U. S. partnership is only the beginning. He indicated that the movement will also expand abroad. "The possibilities extend throughout the Diaspora. The African Methodist Episcopal Church has over 4,000 churches in Africa, the Caribbean, West Indies and Europe. These churches and members can also benefit from this partnership," he said.

To augment this expansion, Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, ambassador for the African Union, spoke to the Bishops the day before the press conference, promising to encourage Africans in America to also put their deposits in Black banks. She stressed the need for Black-owned institutions to unify, cooperate and not turn on one another.

"I hope we will all come together and support the idea of putting all of our money in Black banks. I have already taken the initiative and listed all of the Black banks in the country on our website," Chihombori-Quao said. "I'm already encouraging all Black people when I do presentations to say we've been stupid for too long. We drive past Black banks to give our money to people who don't give a hoot about us. And they take our money so they can get rich; not only here, but in Africa. We've got to change this."

AME Church

Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao,
Ambassador for the African Union, addressed the Council of AME Bishops the day before the press conference.

Jamaican Financial Institution receives Regulatory License in New York 

Victoria Mutual Building Society

Courtney Campbell,
President and Chief Executive Officer
of The Victoria Mutual Group

June 8, 2018 - KINGSTON, JAMAICA: Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS), headquartered in Kingston Jamaica has recently secured regulatory approval to open a Representative Office in New York, United States of America (USA) from the Federal Reserve Board and the New York State Department of Financial Services. The approval of this non-banking license is a great achievement for the 140 year old institution, which boasts a customer base in over 70 countries world-wide, and currently has a distribution network of 15 Branches in Jamaica, three Representative Offices in the United Kingdom and one in Florida.

President and Chief Executive Officer of the Victoria Mutual Group Courtney Campbell said, "Jamaicans in the tri-state area account for a significant segment of our portfolio. They are already saving and borrowing with us, but the Office will be for those who appreciate personal interaction. "The addition of the New York Representative Office is in keeping with the Group's commitment to delivering the best customer service and value to its Members in the Diaspora community for savings and mortgage loan options.

In the next coming months the Society will announce its plans for an official opening date, as well as announcement of its locations designed to serve its over 30,000 Members in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

Caribbean Gearing Up for Culinary Showcase in Miami 

Taste of the Caribbean and Caribbean305 to be held this month.
Caribbean News

Barbados won Caribbean National Team of the Year in 2017

MIAMI (June 11, 2018) - A dozen teams are getting ready to participate in the highly anticipated Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition taking place June 22 to 26 at the Hyatt Regency Miami.

Hosted by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bonaire, Cayman Islands, Curaçao, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos have selected their best chefs and mixologists for this year's Taste of the Caribbean.

A combined team representing chefs from some of the Caribbean destinations that were impacted by last September's hurricanes will also compete. The team comprises members from Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.

Since 1993, the Caribbean's best chefs and culinary teams meet at Taste to compete, demonstrate their skills, learn from each other and offer the travel trade a scintillating exhibition of the most delectable culinary treats of the region.

The Caribbean cultural showcase also provides a forum for food and beverage professionals to gather practical information, develop skills, sample and purchase, strengthen and establish supplier relationships and meet new vendors. "In addition to the exciting competitions, food and beverage managers and hospitality professionals will once again participate in innovative and exciting educational sessions that promise to enhance individual skills and increase the value of their businesses," said Frank Comito, CHTA's CEO and Director General.

He added that due to hurricane recovery efforts in some of the islands, CHTA was delighted to welcome a united "Caribbean Strong" team, a significant development as the trade association emphasizes the need to develop superior food and beverage professionals across the entire Caribbean.

In addition to judging the best chefs, mixologists and culinary teams from the region, CHTA will feature the cuisine of 16 Caribbean destinations in one night when the general public can enjoy the second annual Caribbean305 culinary and cultural spectacular on Saturday, June 23, 2018 at 8 p.m. at the Treetop Ballroom in Jungle Island in Miami. Tickets are available at

Both Taste of the Caribbean and Caribbean305 run concurrently with CHTA's fourth Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), taking place from June 22 to 24.

About Taste of the Caribbean

Produced by the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, Taste of the Caribbean is supported by host sponsors Interval International and JetBlue Vacations. The House of Angostura is the Bartender of the Year sponsor, while event sponsors include Certified Angus Beef, Best Dressed Chicken, Figment Design, Marketplace Excellence, Mastercard, OBMI, Rak Porcelain and Travel Channel. Product sponsors include C & T Design and Equipment Co., Certified Angus Beef, Fresh Point, Halperns', RAK Porcelain, Rational, and U.S. Meat Export Federation.

About the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA)

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is the Caribbean's leading association representing the interests of national hotel and tourism associations. For more than 50 years, CHTA has been the backbone of the Caribbean hospitality industry. Working with some 1,000 hotel and allied members, and 32 National Hotel Associations, CHTA is shaping the Caribbean's future and helping members to grow their businesses. Whether navigating new worlds like social media, sustainability, legislative issues, emerging technologies, climate change, data and intelligence or, looking for avenues and ideas to better market and manage businesses, CHTA is helping members on issues which matter most.

In the News with Zebra Strategies 

Zebra Strategies
Montefiore Medical Center

Zebra Strategies has had an ongoing passion for partnering with organizations which improve the health and quality of life of millions of people. Zebra Strategies is proud to announce our partnership with the Adolescent AIDS Program at Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center. Because of Zebra's mission to give a voice to underserved communities, and our continual work with the LGBTQ+ community, it is an honor to work with such a reputable institution and to be a part of this research.

Zebra Strategies
Big Business

Zebra Strategies has supported corporations in truly understanding the importance of nuance in their messaging to end users, to ensure the farthest reach. In Q1, Zebra's work with dynamic and fast-paced companies has given us the opportunity to shine on a national level, with studies that focus on cultural enhancements, helping businesses optimize their internal and external policies.


Zebra Strategies' CEO and Founder, Denene Rodney, along with her executive team, are committed to expanding Zebra's knowledge set.

The first quarter of 2018 saw Denene and her team leading studies in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as participating in many conferences and conventions, including Black Women Talk Tech - a technology conference focused on empowering vibrant female entrepreneurs, much like Zebra's beloved CEO.

Zebra Strategies
Strategic Steps for Growth

Remember the Strategic Steps for growth Program we mentioned in the first newsletter? Since then, Denene has completed the course and is sharing her success story with everyone! If you're interested in increasing your business like Denene has, check out the program.

Always Growing has experienced a surge of interest from new respondents, further helping Zebra to extend its reach into more unique communities. Zebra is always growing and strengthening its ties to marginalized and disenfranchised populations, bringing their voice forward.

Stay tuned! We have a big announcement from our CEO, Denene Rodney, as she has once again set a gold standard.

Quick Facts

  • Zebra Strategies has expanded its language capabilities to include Bengali & Urdu!
  • In the first half of 2018, ZS has conducted 30+ in-language focus groups, which now include Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian, Bengali and Urdu, as well as 300 in language intercepts.
  • We have increased our capacity to conduct in-language groups in several other languages and dialects too. How’s that for inclusivity?


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212.244.3960 |

Revlon Appoints First Female CEO, Debra Perelman

Debra Perelman

Debra Perelman 

Revlon Inc. has worked hard in recent years to show that, despite being founded in the 1930s, the company is still relevant to today's beauty lovers.

Much of that effort has gone to its campaigns, and naming models like Adwoa Aboah and Ashley Graham as beauty ambassadors. Now, taking another step into the future: Revlon has named Debra Perelman as president and chief executive officer; she is the first woman to hold the CEO position at the company in its 86-year history.

Perelman, 44, is the daughter of Revlon board chairman Ronald O. Perelman. She was named chief operating officer of the company in January and has also been a member of the board since 2015. Before her work at Revlon, Perelman worked as part of the senior leadership team of MacAndrews & Forbes, her father's investment firm, which owns more than 80% of Revlon.

"Revlon has been a central part of my personal and professional life for more than 20 years," Perelman said in a company statement. "Beauty has emerged as one of today’s most dynamic and fastest-growing industries and I look forward to working with Revlon's world-class team to amplify our strategy and accelerate growth."

The press release emphasized the new CEO's interest in innovation, including a partnership with the MIT Media Lab and previous investments in technology, showing those areas will likely be key points of focus under her leadership. Revlon's portfolio includes familiar drugstore mainstays like Elizabeth Arden, Almay, CND, but the company has struggled to profit from those legacy offerings and rebranding efforts in recent years.

"The company posted a $90.3 million net loss for the quarter ended March 31, following an annual loss of $183.2 million in 2017," Bloomberg reports. In a phenomenon dubbed the "glass cliff," women are often appointed to top leadership positions when companies are in crisis mode and charged with turning things around. Only time will tell if that will be true for Revlon, but all it takes is a glimpse around the beauty industry to see that women are changing things up in a big way (see Glossier and Fenty Beauty). And that makes good sense, as the products are largely aimed at women. For that reason, a legacy beauty brand having a woman at the top might be a very good thing.

Paula A. Price to Join Macy’s, Inc. as Chief Financial Officer

Business Macy 

Macy’s, Inc. announced that Paula A. Price will be appointed chief financial officer, effective July 9, 2018.

Price will be responsible for leading the company’s finance, accounting, investor relations and internal audit functions. She will report to Jeff Gennette, Macy’s, Inc. chairman and chief executive officer, and will be based in New York. Price will succeed Karen Hoguet who, as previously announced, plans to retire at the end of the 2018 fiscal year. Ms. Hoguet will remain with Macy’s, Inc. in an advisory role to support the company during a transition period until February 2, 2019.

“I’m excited to have Paula join Macy’s, Inc. at such an important time for our business. She is an accomplished financial executive with an impressive breadth and depth of retail experience and will be a great addition to the team. Having led finance in a variety of complex and dynamic retail organizations, Paula’s insights and experience will serve Macy’s, Inc. well,” said Gennette.

“Karen Hoguet is truly one of the great leaders in retail. I want to again thank her for her outstanding contributions to the company over the past three decades, for her partnership with me over the past year, and for her support through this transition,” said Gennette.

Price joins Macy’s, Inc. with 30 years of finance experience primarily in retail and consumer-facing businesses. She is currently a full-time senior lecturer in the accounting and management unit at Harvard Business School, a role she has held since 2014.

In her most recent corporate role as executive vice president, chief financial officer of Ahold USA, Price led a team of over 1,000 across finance, accounting, strategy and planning, real estate and information technology. She was also responsible for the successful development and execution of a $1 billion program to fund Ahold USA’s strategic growth initiatives, which included sales efforts, customer loyalty and e-commerce initiatives. Prior to her role with Ahold USA, she served as senior vice president, controller and chief accounting officer of CVS Caremark Corporation, where she was a major contributor to the execution of the CVS/Caremark merger. Earlier in her career, Price held finance and strategy positions at a variety of retail, consumer products and financial services companies.

Paula A. Price has 30 years of finance experience mostly from retail and consumer-facing businesses, including as executive vice president, chief financial officer of Ahold USA, and senior vice president, controller and chief accounting officer of CVS Caremark Corporation.

Viacom Labs Names Kiel Berry as Co-Head/SVP

Kiel Berry 

Viacom Labs, an incubator for the future of fan experience and engagement, today announced that Kiel Berry has joined as Co-Head and SVP. Berry, most recently head of Linkin Park’s Machine Shop Ventures, will co-lead Viacom Labs with Viacom veteran Susan Claxton who was recently promoted to SVP. The division reports to Viacom Executive Vice Presidents Ross Martin and Kern Schireson.

“In its first five months, we’ve doubled the Labs team, tripled its slate of projects, and seen the real business impact this team is already having across the Viacom portfolio,” said Martin, EVP of Marketing Strategy & Engagement. “With their unique backgrounds in entertainment, technology and business innovation, we’re thrilled to have Kiel and Sue leading the charge.”

Berry helped launch Linkin Park’s Machine Shop Ventures, which has stakes in Lyft, Hyperloop One, and Blue Bottle Coffee, among many others. He maintains an advisory role there. Berry started at Machine Shop Entertainment, aligning Linkin Park’s influence and interest across music, technology, content and design. Before that he worked at Creative Artists Agency in their Entertainment Marketing and International Business Development groups. Berry began his career working overseas and stateside as an investment banker at J.P. Morgan after graduating from University of Pennsylvania.

Susan Claxton 

Berry’s co-head Susan Claxton has served as Viacom Labs’ executive producer since its launch. Claxton joined Viacom in 2010 as a Vice President at the company’s in-house creative consultancy Scratch. Previously, she was VP of Development & Production for Omnicom’s branded entertainment company, Full Circle Entertainment. She graduated from Yale University.

The New York-based Viacom Labs launched in May 2016 and has quickly made an impact across the company’s portfolio through Labs’ partnerships with Airbnb, GIPHY, real-time animation studio FlickerLab, and mobile-first publishing platform Citia.

Macy’s Reinvents Loyalty with New Star Rewards

Macy’s announced the reinvention of the retailer’s loyalty program, Star Rewards. Using their Macy’s card and beginning October 2017, Macy’s customers can enjoy an even more engaging shopping experience at Macy’s stores and at

Macy’s new Star Rewards makes it simple for customers to receive benefits with every Macy’s purchase. Based on annual spend, customers with a Macy’s credit card will be automatically enrolled into one of three levels: Silver, Gold or Platinum. Rewards are tiered by level, with Macy’s best customers receiving benefits that include free shipping, additional savings and earned points on every purchase. Additionally, cardholders are automatically upgraded to the next tier when annual spend reaches the new level. The program was developed with the customer in mind, based on a careful analysis of evolving shopping behaviors and consumer preferences.

“Macy’s customers have high expectations for their shopping experience, and earning and keeping their loyalty is now more important than ever. We listened to our customers – and with the reinvention of Macy’s Star Rewards, we are delivering a loyalty program that will strengthen our relationships and better engage, reward and grow our best customers,” said Jeff Gennette, Macy’s, Inc. chief executive officer. “Loyalty is a foundational element of our North Star Strategy, and stronger relationships increase the lifetime value of our customers. We are providing what matters most to her – an enhanced experience both in store and online, edited and elevated products, compelling value and an excellent loyalty offering.” Platinum – Customers who spend $1,200 or more annually at Macy’s with their Macy’s credit card will receive 25 percent off any day they choose with Star Pass coupons and free shipping on any purchase with no minimum spend. Customers will also earn five percent back in rewards on every purchase and, once they spend $200, will be issued $10 in Star Money that can be used immediately with no merchandise exclusions. Platinum cardholders will also receive an exclusive platinum-colored Macy’s credit card.

Gold – Customers who spend between $500 to $1,199 annually at Macy’s with their Macy’s credit card will receive 25 percent off any day they choose with Star Pass coupons and free shipping on any purchase with no minimum spend.

Silver – Customers who spend up to $499 annually at Macy’s with their Macy’s credit card will receive 25 percent off any day they choose with Star Pass coupons. Complete program details are available at

Macy’s will continue to roll out enhancements to Star Rewards throughout 2018, including more experiential benefits where members can win access to unique experiences and rewards elements that only Macy’s can offer. Macy’s customers will be notified of the new Star Rewards program beginning in late September through dedicated email and in-home mailers in addition to advertising in store and online. Additionally, cardholders will be able to check their status and track their rewards on and via the Macy’s App.

In celebration of the new Star Rewards, Macy’s stores across the country will host Macy’s cardholders for an exclusive shopping event from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, October 15, 2017.

Build a Business Your Way

Creating a business from the ground up is no small endeavor. From planning to financing to putting standard business services in place, there’s a lot to tackle. All of that is in addition to operating the day-to-day business. To overcome these obstacles, franchising is an ideal solution for many aspiring business owners. It provides the advantages of business ownership, but with the added support of a recognized brand and an established method of doing business. Partnering with a franchise like The UPS Store offers numerous benefits. Flexibility. Opening a franchise allows you to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of making your own business decisions and being your own boss, while working toward your goals of personal and financial independence at your own pace.

Start-up resources. Getting a new business off the ground requires a wide range of activity, from site selection and lease negotiation to hiring and training staff. A franchise can help you navigate these early decisions and needs with a deep pool of experience and knowledge to help overcome the hurdles you may encounter. Training. Even a well-educated business owner has room to learn. With a franchise, you have the opportunity to receive in-depth training in areas such as business operations, technical systems, human resources, marketing and financial management.

Networking opportunities, connecting with other franchisees at area meetings, regional conferences and national conventions help you stay informed of industry trends, discover new tools and resources, and develop lasting relationships with fellow franchisees. The result is a peer group that has intimate knowledge of your business model that can serve as a valuable resource as your business grows.

Product development. Part of developing your business is understanding your customers’ needs and introducing new products and solutions. As a franchise owner, you can contribute insight to the process but focus on running your business while development experts dedicate themselves to researching and innovating new products and services that can help you better serve your customers.

Marketing support. Many franchises conduct national advertising campaigns to build brand awareness, while regional efforts and local store marketing can build excitement in your market. A layered marketing plan extends the reach of your marketing budget and lend credibility to your business.Financing assistance. Funding your franchise according to your unique goals and background can help eliminate many of the financial pitfalls that those without experience or industry expertise may encounter.

Learn more about franchising and the options available to aspiring small business owners at A Milestone Accomplishment A focus on small business is driving big results for one national retailer. The nation’s largest franchise system of retail shipping, print and business service centers, The UPS Store, Inc., is now 5,000 locations strong.

“The UPS Store network is made up of dedicated individuals and families who are committed to serving small business owners, customers and their communities,” said Chris Adkins, vice president of franchise development for The UPS Store. “We look forward to welcoming more franchisees into our network as we continue to challenge ourselves to find new ways we can bring convenience and value to our customers.”

Over the years, the retail concept has expanded to include a range of solutions for small business owners, creating a one-stop shop for small-business support. Small business owners can find resources such as notary services, shredding, mailbox and locker rental, and, in some cases, even inventory management solutions, as well as the packing and shipping services that business and non-business customers alike can utilize.

5 Tips for Creating a Business Plan Once you’ve settled on a business model that meets your needs, developing a business plan is an essential next step. These five tips can help you get started: •Think long-term. A solid business plan should account for your start-up, of course, but also the longer range future of your operations. Consider how you want your business to look five years down the road. Create goals and build in milestones to chart your progress on that long-term path.

Write it yourself. No one can embrace your vision as completely as you can and developing the plan yourself gives you a deep understand ing of every aspect of the business, which is essential for good management. Even if you hand over certain responsibilities down the road, being aware of each aspect of your business can make you a stronger, more successful leader.

Review the plan over time. Know that time brings change. The business climate and other variables that influenced your original plan wil likely shift over the course of your ownership. That’s why it’s important to revisit your plan at least annually to ensure your original roadmap is still on the right track strategically.

•Share your plan with others. Inviting input from an adviser or experienced friend or colleague is a great way to spur new ideas and identify potential problem areas. Be sure you’re prepared to accept constructive criticism to help shape the best possible business plan.

Stick to it. After all the sweat equity you invest in creating your business plan, the worst thing you can do is allow it to collect dust on a shelf. Use the plan to guide you in launching and growing your business. When business is booming and you’re too busy to think strategically, you’ll be grateful to have a well-conceived plan to rely upon.