In this episode of Founder Hustle, Melissa Bradley is chatting with Roz Brooks, community garden founder and creator of Well Women of Color about having the courage to pour into yourself, and trusting that what is meant for you will not bass you by!
About Roz Brooks:
Today’s founder is Roz Brooks, CEO of Well Women of Color. Roz teaches us that it is possible to have many roles, as long as you have one goal. She has created a series of enterprises in Las Vegas that focus on being healthy.
She has committed her entire life to helping black women not only realize their power, by trusting themselves enough to make healthy changes.
You will learn from her is that it is indeed possible to make money, to do good, to care about others and to create a healthy and sustainable environment where both businesses and people are able to not just survive, but actually thrive.
0:00:05.4 Melissa Bradley: From Sermons Beyond Sunday and Kinetic Energy Entertainment. This is Founder Hustle.
0:00:10.9 Roz Brooks: I had found a little cute house that I had wanted. It had been boarded up for a long time. I didn’t know who owned it. It was just full of trash. I had my friends, we were cleaning the lot up. I just knew that was gonna be mine. I knew it. So let me go ahead and clean it up and get started.
0:00:25.8 MB: And then get prepared.
0:00:27.3 RB: That couldn’t be bought. It was going through whatever. And then I couldn’t get the license. And I was like, “What in the hizzie?”
0:00:36.0 MB: You’re like, “Wait a minute. I served, I did everything I was supposed to do.” And then you got side railed.
0:00:41.4 RB: It was amazing how every open door that was there before I quit, just closed.
0:00:48.8 MB: Welcome to Founder Hustle, a podcast series by, for, and about the New Majority Entrepreneur. I’m your host, Melissa Bradley, founder of 1863 ventures. In each episode, I interview a new majority entrepreneur to create a safe space for them, to be honest with you about their journey. These founders will redefine and represent the true definition of what it means to hustle. And their stories will demystify, uplift, and educate anyone who is interested in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. As the general partner of a venture fund, I want to highlight the tools, strategies, lessons, and support systems that are the blueprint for becoming a successful entrepreneur and shift your perspective on what it means to go from founder to CEO.
0:01:40.8 MB: Today’s founder is Roz Brooks, CEO of Well Women of Color. The wonderful thing about Roz is she teaches us that it is possible to have many roles, as long as you have one goal. Roz has created a series of enterprises in Las Vegas of all places that, no, don’t focus on gambling, but focus on being healthy. She has committed her entire life to helping black women not only realize their power, but to make sure that they remain a presence in those who are most important to them, by making sure they’re healthy. What’s most unique about Roz that you will learn from her is that it is indeed possible to make money, to do good, to care about others and to create a healthy and sustainable environment where both businesses and people are able to not just survive, but actually thrive.
0:02:35.8 MB: So all the way live from Las Vegas.
0:02:39.0 RB: Yeah.
0:02:39.3 MB: This is Roz Brooks.
0:02:40.5 MB: Who are you Roz?
0:02:43.3 RB: Who is Roz?
0:02:44.2 MB: Yes.
0:02:44.9 RB: I am a mother of two beautiful daughters, ages 28 and 30.
0:02:50.4 MB: God bless you.
0:02:51.3 RB: I’m a wife. I am a woman of God first and foremost, I am a farmer, an entrepreneur, and now I’m a new runner.
0:03:02.7 MB: I think I knew everything there except the farmer. Talk to me about being a farmer.
0:03:06.7 RB: I have a five acre urban farm in Las Vegas that I started in March of 2010. And it was the first public urban farm and community garden that they had. And I was donated five acres of land. And when you’re donated five acres of land, it’s like, “Okay, God, what do you want me to do with this?”
0:03:26.1 MB: Yeah.
0:03:26.2 RB: And decided to start that. And it’s been going ever since.
0:03:31.4 MB: And so what happens in the garden?
0:03:33.4 RB: I have 32 raised beds and so people actually can lease those out and I teach ’em how to grow their own food. I have 21 rows that are four feet by I think a hundred feet. And that’s where I grow for the community. So anyone can just come and pick and pay. So it’s an outdoor produce department.
0:03:55.3 MB: Wow.
0:03:55.9 RB: I have a walking track, a fruit tree orchard, a outdoor pizza oven and kitchen.
0:04:01.5 MB: Oh, right now I was like, I heard all vegetables. Where’s the good stuff. Sorry. Okay. Pizza oven.
0:04:05.3 RB: [chuckle] Yeah.
0:04:06.0 MB: Okay. That’s good. That’s good.
0:04:06.5 RB: I have 18 chickens.
0:04:08.2 MB: Wow.
0:04:08.5 RB: I sell fresh eggs. I had two goats, but I don’t have those anymore, but yeah. So, and people rent the garden for events and I do classes, …
0:04:19.0 MB: I’m sure it’s beautiful.
0:04:20.1 RB: And it’s really, really amazing.
0:04:22.3 MB: And how did you get into farming?
0:04:24.9 RB: I had never grown anything before, had never even planted. I’m a city girl from Las Vegas. We don’t grow nothing in Vegas.
0:04:34.2 MB: Right.
0:04:34.5 RB: I was a school teacher and I taught kindergarten and first grade with the school district and have always had a passion for the homeless, always. And I just knew that I was gonna have a homeless day shelter and God led me exactly in the direction to have that. And so when I thought that that was gonna be my journey, ’cause I have served the homeless, like my whole life. Bringing home stray babies, cats, all of that when I was nine, 10, 11, I find a homeless friend that I knew from school and she had a little baby. I’m like, “Mom, please. Like, can we keep it?” You know, but thought that that’s what I’d be doing. And so, when I felt God calling me out of the classroom to do this, ’cause he sent me to Boston to tour their homeless day shelter. I wanted to model that and all. I was running out of the classroom when I thought that that was going to be what I was going to do. 20 seconds after I quit my job, every single door to opening up a homeless shelter shut.
0:05:36.4 MB: Wow.
0:05:36.7 RB: When I say shut it shut.
0:05:39.0 MB: Wow. Like what?
0:05:39.7 RB: To the point of where the city of Las Vegas was no longer giving out social service licenses to non-profits that were serving homeless because we had such a huge… At the time our mayor was trying to send them to like Timbuktu because you know how they all congregate in the downtown area.
0:06:03.5 MB: I do, yes.
0:06:03.9 RB: And they were trying to clean up the city and all of that.
0:06:06.4 MB: This was during let’s make Vegas family friendly. Wasn’t it? Which is still think ironic with the exotic dancer signs all down the street.
0:06:13.4 RB: Right, right.
0:06:13.7 MB: Okay. Got it. Got it.
0:06:14.3 RB: And so, you need to have your facility where they are. I can’t go across town 20 miles away. And they were like… I went to the city council, they were like, “Really sorry, you’re not gonna be able to get any licensing. We’re trying to restructure, don’t know what to do.” And I had found a little cute house that I had wanted. And it had been boarded up for a long time. I had my friend, I didn’t know who owned it, it was just full of trash. I had my friends, we were cleaning the lot up, I just knew that was gonna be mine. I knew it, so let me go ahead and clean it up and get started.
0:06:49.6 MB: And then get prepared.
0:06:51.6 RB: That couldn’t be bought, it was going through whatever and that was… And then I couldn’t get the license. And I was like, “What in the hizzie?” And so…
0:07:03.2 MB: You’re like, “Wait, a minute. I served. I did everything I was supposed to do,” and then you got side railed.
0:07:10.6 RB: It was amazing how every open door that was there before I quit, just closed.
0:07:19.9 MB: But it sounds like another door opened.
0:07:21.4 RB: So I was in my… I went through this two weeks of just probably being super, super depressed. “I know I heard you right. Maybe I didn’t. Oh my gosh, what do I do now?” And just crying and all of that. And then one day a song came on the radio and the song just simply says… It’s by John Waller. I love this song. And the song says, “Serve me while you wait.” And that song brought me all the way out of my depression and lack of faith and all of that. And God just simply says, “Serve me while you wait, like, chill. I got this.” And I can remember…
0:08:08.2 MB: You had nothing else to do ’cause you quit your job, so calm down.
0:08:11.7 RB: I had nothing else to do. And my husband, such an awesome guy. Before I quit my job, and I’m always… Before I make any kind of big decision or announcement, I always tell God, “God put it in his spirit first.” So when I come to him, he’s like, “Damn, did I dream this?” Like, “Did I have a vision?” You know, he already… So I had given God like two weeks like God, “I’m gonna give you two weeks to”…
0:08:37.0 MB: You got two weeks notice.
0:08:37.7 RB: Right. And so, we always take an after dinner walk, and I was like, “Babe, I really feel like I need to quit my job, blah, blah, blah.” We talked about it for two hours. And he said, “You know what, if this is what you feel led to do, we’ll tighten up our belt and we’ll do it.” So that’s when I quit teaching. So I hear this song. And I remember my pastor at the time saying, “If you don’t know what your purpose is, help some damn body who do. Don’t just sit on the pews year after year after year with the excuse of, I don’t know what God want me to do.” He’s like, “Help some damn body that God had already showed them.”
0:09:16.0 MB: Right. Wow.
0:09:16.3 RB: And I said, “You know, that’s just so true.” So I began to volunteer at all the homeless shelters. Anybody who was doing anything for homeless, everyday. It was…
0:09:26.5 MB: They’re like, “Here she come, here she come. Here come Roz. Look at her, here she come.”
0:09:29.0 RB: [chuckle] It was like a job. Like, I got…
0:09:31.1 MB: So, every day, you get up every day?
0:09:32.5 RB: Yeah. And I loved it. I loved it. So I’m in a meeting one day, a business meeting for something else. And this gentleman, I was talking about… We were having a sidebar conversation, and I was saying… And I was always into health and wellness and always had that ministry at church and trying to help women of color. And I said, “You know, as I’m teaching women how to eat healthy, it would be so awesome if right in our community, we had somewhere to go and pick fresh fruits and vegetables to just buy them, like I would love.” And so he said, “I have five acres of land. I have tried to donate it to different organizations who’ve wanted to start a community garden.” I don’t even think I’d ever heard of a community garden. Like, it just seemed like it was just foreign to me. And ’cause we didn’t…
0:10:24.0 MB: But you live in Las Vegas, let’s be honest. You were obviously growing things but that is not it.
0:10:29.0 RB: We did not have those in Vegas. And he said, “I’ve tried to give it to… ” and some really top nonprofits that we’ve all heard of. He’s like, “I tried to give it to them. I tried to give it to them.” And he’s like, “You know, you can’t get two of us together to ever make a decision.” So three years later here it still sit.
0:10:49.6 MB: It’s still there. Wow.
0:10:50.5 RB: He was like, “If you want it, go for it.” Melissa, I go to the property and I could show you some before pictures later. It’s a dirt lot. It’s got glass, old trailers because he was a contractor and so that was the trap. That was the dump off for the stuff from sites. Just barren, barren. And I was just like “Good Lord.” [chuckle] And mind you I ain’t ever, I don’t even have plants at the house.
0:11:28.2 MB: And you’re like, “What am I supposed to do with it?” You were like, “No wonder nobody wants it. They can’t grow anything on this.”
0:11:33.4 RB: You know what? I never thought about that. They probably all walked out there.
0:11:36.7 MB: I’m sure they did. They were like, “This sounds great, a free donation of five acres.” And they were probably thinking there was some houses on there, and they walked by and go, “This is like a wasteland. I’m not taking this.”
0:11:46.3 RB: That’s exactly right.
0:11:46.8 MB: Because as a nonprofit you’re thinking, “Everything is free ain’t really free. So now I gotta clean all this up? Yeah, okay, thanks, pastor. But no, thanks.”
0:11:55.4 RB: [chuckle] That’s probably exactly what happened. And I don’t know, something about the land just really spoke to me. I went to the nursery, and the only plant I recognized was a aloe vera plant.
0:12:10.1 MB: Oh boy.
0:12:10.8 RB: I buy an aloe vera plant. I go back and I sit it in the middle of this land. And I said, “Okay, let’s do this shit. Let’s grow.”
0:12:20.9 MB: And fast forward. You’ve now got beds everywhere. So how many people do you think are coming through on the regular?
0:12:27.9 RB: On a regular, ’cause now I’ve partnered with the court system and so people who have to do community service hours and…
0:12:34.3 MB: Got you. That was smart. Yeah, that’s awesome.
0:12:35.4 RB: We do a lot of the school field trips, but probably monthly at least 300 people a month come through.
0:12:45.6 MB: Wow.
0:12:46.0 RB: Yeah.
0:12:46.5 MB: And knowing you, they’re not just coming through and picking stuff. They’re coming through and they’re hearing a story about that and what it could do for them and why you need more of this herb and not that?
0:12:57.4 RB: Yeah, yeah. Yeah. They really, they get a lot.
0:13:01.2 MB: It’s like Whole Foods on steroids, I’m sure.
0:13:02.9 RB: Right. Yeah. They definitely get a lot. So that’s how I became a farmer. And there’s been so many times I’m like, “God, really? You sure you got the right Roz? Was this really what I was supposed … go back down that book, and see… ”
0:13:14.3 MB: Right, right. It should say homeless. It should say homeless shelter, but the homeless shelters need food. So I would imagine you were supplying food to shelters.
0:13:21.8 RB: No, no.
0:13:22.2 MB: No? Not yet?
0:13:22.6 RB: Because I can’t give the food away, like It… And I don’t have, people were always like, “You have a work for food program?” Like there’s just no way that I could do that.
0:13:34.0 MB: Gotcha.
0:13:34.5 RB: You know, and I’m not growing in enough quantity to even be… I would give everything away and it’d take another three or four months before I could grow anything else.
0:13:43.0 MB: That’s right.
0:13:44.1 RB: Yeah.
0:13:44.4 MB: I could see you giving stuff away.
0:13:46.2 RB: I gave a lot away, but you know, not in that kind of quantity.
0:13:49.8 MB: So when I met you, you were giving stuff away. You were giving away advice, particularly to Black women. I met you in Vegas the oddest places. And you were talking about women’s wellness. And I was like, “Huh, this is intriguing.” How did you get into wellness?
0:14:06.3 RB: I used to babysit when I was 12 years old, a lady, a couple doors down and she was a vegan and she was really into health. And I learned a lot from her. But I was only 12 or 13 and then fast forward when it was time for me to go to college. Once I graduated, I wanted to be a dietician. And I went away to school in California and I just couldn’t handle it. I’m an only child. And even LA was just…
0:14:31.3 MB: Was like, it’s not that far?
0:14:32.3 RB: I was miserable. My grandmother was like, “I see you more now, baby, than when you lived here.” But they didn’t have a dietetics program at UNLV. So I had to go there, but after one year I was like, “I don’t wanna do this anymore.” So I go back home and I got a degree in business, but I always…
0:14:51.6 MB: Yay.
0:14:52.5 RB: But I’d always still helped. And like I said, I had a ministry at the church, but at the garden I’m telling you God, just so awesome, how he lined stuff up. My whole journey just blows me away. But my husband was in the military and an old military buddy called him and said, “Hey man, I’m in town, I’m doing a lecture at a church. I would love, I haven’t seen you in 10 years. I would love for you to come and listen in, and then we can break bread afterwards or whatever.” My husband’s like “Roz, you wanna come?” And I’m like, “No, you know, I don’t wanna come.” And he was like, “Oh, just come on. I want you to meet my buddy Bob.” And I was like, “What is he gonna be talking about?” He’s like, “I don’t know.” So we go, it was on a Friday. He was a medical missionary and he taught all about how to heal the body, according to the word of God. And it was the most amazing information I’d ever heard.
0:15:54.9 RB: And it was a three day, a three-day workshop he was doing, and I went every day. By Monday, I was a vegan. I was ready to learn as much as I could, God put such a spark in me to do this. And I asked him, when is your, like, “How do I learn this? Do you have a certification process?” He was like, “Yeah. But I live in Phoenix and I’ll be doing it in Phoenix. And I don’t know when the next one is.” And so, he called me like three or four months later. He said, “If you’re still interested, I have a certification coming up.” And I flew on my own dime to Phoenix for eight weekends in a row from Friday to Sunday, and I learned, and I came back and I started teaching. And I didn’t know very much, but I said, “God, the little bit, whatever, as I learn, I’m gonna teach. If I don’t know but four things, I’m gonna teach that.” And I drag and cajoled and just coerced everybody I could, to come to the class and learn. And then I just started to do more and more and it eventually became a business.
0:17:05.8 MB: So what is the certificate in?
0:17:08.1 RB: It is medical missionary training. So it’s…I’m certified in holistic health.
0:17:14.2 MB: Okay. So you still somehow got to that medicine, you said, “Okay, dietician, no, ’cause that’s only in LA.” So you still got there?
0:17:20.3 RB: Yeah. I still got there. And now I’m so thankful because dieticians, I love getting them in a room. I just eat them alive.
0:17:27.9 MB: [chuckle] Why what’s up with them?
0:17:30.4 RB: I mean, they don’t know much. They don’t know much about how to really help us. How to really heal. ‘Cause if that was the case, we’d all be doing really, really well.
0:17:40.3 MB: That’s true. That’s true.
0:17:41.5 RB: And so I love getting doctors in a room and dieticians in a room.
0:17:46.1 MB: Because you’re talking about the whole body. ‘Cause I remember when you were up there and I was like “Oh, oh”, Phil and I, we were like, “Is this gonna be like how we lose weight?” And you know, Phil is like already a size zero. I personally could have benefited from that. But it wasn’t about that. It was… You were talking about your business and it was about just being well, like emotionally, physically, spiritually. So in the land of sin in Las Vegas, how was that landing?
0:18:12.9 RB: You know, I’ve spoken everywhere in Las Vegas, been on the front cover of everything, every event, anything and everything that, especially the Black community is doing, I’ve spoken at. To the point of where now, like they just had the NAACP annual banquet. I didn’t go. But when I went last year… When I walk in the room, everybody’s hiding their plate, I’m like, “I’m not the food police.”
0:18:42.0 RB: Everywhere I go. People are like, “Hide the donuts, put the chips. Here she comes, here she comes.” So I have… They definitely know. But this is a whole different animal because this takes making those cultural changes and shifts that we as a people, not just Vegas, but anywhere across the country just have a hard time making and don’t really know how to make those changes.
0:19:06.9 MB: And what are some of those shifts?
0:19:09.4 RB: Those shifts are getting out and moving, ’cause that’s not… I don’t ever… Not once in my whole entire life did my mother ever go exercise, ever.
0:19:20.9 MB: Oh, wow.
0:19:21.7 RB: I just never saw that, and so we just don’t grow up getting out and going for a run and going to the gym, so…
0:19:30.2 MB: Sure. ‘Cause sometimes, there was no gym in the neighborhood anywhere you were.
0:19:33.7 RB: Yeah, that’s true. But we don’t… You know, we don’t, unless you played sports.
0:19:37.9 MB: Right, right.
0:19:38.9 RB: We don’t grow up learning healthy things to eat, different ways to prepare. In my last diabetes session, it was so funny, one of the ladies in the class, we were having a Q&A at the end of the session, and she said, “You know what, Roz? I recently went to a function at one of my co-workers’ houses, a White family,” she said, “I went to their house, everything that you’re teaching us now, all the foods, all of this, they had all of that, and I was just… ” She said, “I was just blown away. That was just… Their whole refrigerator just looked like what you’ve been talking about.”
0:20:17.7 MB: Sure, sure.
0:20:18.9 RB: And she said, “I’ve never seen that.” And she said that was such an eye-opener for her, that there’s just so much that we don’t know, and even when we know it, it’s just hard to incorporate quinoa instead of rice.
0:20:33.4 MB: Sure, sure. First of all, I didn’t even know what that is.
0:20:35.7 MB: I do now. But I would say there’s also this piece… You know, I only know Downtown Vegas, I’ve been out a little bit, but I find that in most major cities, there is this divide. So when I think about DC, like the grocery store that I would go to when I was in college was in a Black neighborhood, and it’d be like chicken that you had one day to get it done, but if you dare to venture north, you would say, “Wow, this grocery store is like a whole new experience,” like vegetables actually look they’re alive, and there’s vegetables I had never heard of. And it’s also something more expensive, but it was like double the aisles. And so when you talk about helping your community, how much of it is we don’t know and how much of it is what’s happening in our community?
0:21:20.7 RB: It’s a little bit of both. And I say that because there is a grocery store in the Black community in Vegas called Mario’s Market, and he actually has a nice array of… And it’s traditional veggies that we’re used to, the okra, the collards, the bell peppers, the onions of this and that.
0:21:39.7 MB: Yes, right. But it is something we didn’t put salt and pepper and everything on.
0:21:44.2 RB: And it’s still prior to me ’cause I have a… I recently got a grant to support families on SNAP, and it’s spend a dollar in veggies, get a dollar free, you spend $10, you get $10 free. Prior to him being a part of my program, he hardly ever… He would sell collards on Sunday. He hardly ever sold any of that. And because of this program now, he has expanded it by 30%. He had to get a whole new produce case, so now it is affordable because it’s free. We do demos there to kind of show, but it’s still the same… Pretty much the same vegetables that he’s been selling, because we’re not really gonna eat a lot of vegetables that we’ve never… We’re just not gonna really buy eggplant and artichokes and all of that, but you can, the 15 veggies you know you can do a lot with those, and you can prepare them in a healthy way and you can eat them more often, and you can reduce your carbs and eat a little bit more. So I’m not all the way sold on the fact that because we don’t have the state-of-the-art produce departments, use what you got.
0:22:54.4 MB: [chuckle] Right. Make it work. So you’re giving a lot, giving away your knowledge, helping people. Where does the business come in?
0:23:04.9 RB: The business part came in when I was… When I first started teaching, when I got out of training, I was… It’s so crazy. I was charging $50 for six months.
0:23:21.2 MB: What?
0:23:21.7 RB: And I… Once a week…
0:23:23.3 MB: Oh, okay, how far we’ve come. Gosh, okay.
0:23:28.2 MB: $50, okay.
0:23:29.2 RB: ’cause it was $50 a session, I just want you to be in.
0:23:34.2 MB: Wow.
0:23:35.7 RB: It was really like pulling teeth to get people to even join. And then I realized six months, no one’s gonna do anything for six months. So I brought it down to three months, still kept it at the 50, couldn’t still hardly get anyone in. But I realized like I really wanna do this. And then I got with this branding coach, who gave me the most amazing… I was trying to explain to her what it is that I wanted to do and what my vision was for this, and she said, “So basically, it’s Weight Watchers dipped in chocolate?” And I said, “That’s it.” And because I had that visual and that vision, now I’m like, “You know what? I have to turn this into a real business, because the only thing I can see now is that even when I’m long gone, just like Weight Watchers, Jean Nidetch, who started that, she died, I think in 2001 or something, but…
0:24:31.7 MB: Everybody knows it.
0:24:33.2 RB: Right, everybody knows it. And I want Black women, Black families to have a place that they can go so that they can truly learn. And I say, “You know, I gotta turn this into business,” but I’m telling you, the hardest part, the most challenging part is that we truly do not know how to invest in our health, that is so foreign, so to… And I was laughing about the $50 for the six months, and even three months, because there is a online diabetes program right now that does exactly what I do, don’t even do as much as I do. Their program does not encompass as much as mine does, and it’s $300 a month, and it’s just… It’s 300 a month.
0:25:23.2 RB: Wow.
0:25:24.2 MB: It’s all online. It’s…
0:25:26.6 RB: And so I just began to go, “Roz, you’ve got to figure out a way,” but we just… It’s just hard for us to pay. It’s hard for us to pay for things that one we don’t really wanna do. You know, I’m really selling something that…
0:25:41.7 MB: You sell a lifestyle change. I’d rather invest in cryptocurrency and take my odds there. And because it’s passive, but you’re really… I mean… You know, you’re like, it’s not just your money, because… I mean, you want the money as a business, but if we don’t do the work, it doesn’t matter.
0:25:56.2 RB: It doesn’t matter. So I’m really pushing something that people know that they need, but they run from as often and as fast as they can. Even when they know they need it. So I have that extra added burden of convincing you that this is what… But…
0:26:15.0 MB: And let’s be clear, it doesn’t help that you’re already size zero, right? I mean, I always love, like, “Oh, let me help you lose weight.” Yeah. Because you ain’t got to do nothing. You’re already like a size two. You don’t… We say, “You don’t understand my journey.”
0:26:27.1 RB: But look, I’ve heard that but the flip side is if I was 300 pounds, would you really wanna let you be like…
0:26:32.3 MB: Probably not. I think it’s your… You’re stuck all the way in that. [laughter]
0:26:35.3 RB: It must not work sis. I know what you saying, It’s probably true, but it can’t work.
0:26:41.4 MB: Somewhere between, somewhere between. So what’s the name of the business and what do you do?
0:26:45.8 RB: So my organization is called Healthy Creations and we are just creating all things health. A wellness program for women of color, a community garden. I have a mobile farmer’s market where we go out into the community. The last thing I want to add and do before I transition outta here is a childhood obesity program. That is just near and dear to my heart.
0:27:12.1 MB: Sure.
0:27:12.1 RB: And so I want a version of this for teens.
0:27:18.1 MB: Gotcha.
0:27:18.8 RB: I think that that’s so needed because they’re going all the way left very, very early. And more and more kids now are becoming Type 2 diabetics and high blood pressure…
0:27:30.5 MB: That’s right. That’s right.
0:27:31.2 RB: Extremely early. So Healthy Creations is just creating all things health. And so the membership based program is called Wellness University.
0:27:42.8 MB: I love it. So, let’s go back a second because when you were talking, first of all, I love the childhood obesity program. You know, we’ve got a lot of kids. But one of our youngest twins was on the path to be diabetic and I was like…
0:27:54.9 RB: How old?
0:27:56.3 MB: She was 12.
0:27:56.6 RB: See?
0:27:57.5 MB: And I was like, “I’m sure it’s my fault.” ‘Cause I don’t cook and we would eat out and that was like our social time. And now it’s gone, it’s gone. She’s lost weight…
0:28:06.4 RB: You changed…
0:28:07.4 MB: Everybody changed.
0:28:08.7 RB: And they changed.
0:28:09.1 MB: And it was easier for her I will say, than it is, I think for adults because they… Luckily they go, “Oh yeah, okay. I need… ” And there was also some peer pressure there, but I haven’t had the pleasure to kind of be in one of your classes or workshops. What happens there? ‘Cause it really is, you can tell me all this stuff, you can lead a horse to water, like what are the… What happens and when do you know somebody’s got it?
0:28:33.1 RB: So one of the reasons I transitioned… Now, my focus is on women with Type 2 diabetes.
0:28:41.1 MB: Gotcha.
0:28:41.8 RB: I really want to pivot into that.
0:28:44.6 MB: And how prevalent is that?
0:28:46.3 RB: Extremely. So two thirds of the Black community are either pre-diabetic or diabetic or on their way. And that’s a lot.
0:28:55.2 MB: That is a lot.
0:28:55.9 RB: That’s a lot. And so it’s so much easier to track and monitor that because either your glucose is up or is not.
0:29:04.5 MB: Gotcha.
0:29:05.8 RB: Whereas with just wellness, you can’t really…
0:29:08.2 MB: And weight, it’s like a rollercoaster.
0:29:10.9 RB: It’s just harder to see. It’s harder for the person to see.
0:29:12.9 MB: Gotcha.
0:29:13.4 RB: It’s harder for them to keep going when it just comes to wellness. But during that quarantine and during the pandemic, I was hearing so much about the preexisting conditions and how we were suffering and Type 2 diabetes just kept coming up in my mind, coming up in articles and coming up… And I was like, you know what? And I had helped a lot of people who were… Because I’ve had now about 600 people go through my class prior to starting the online. Because I used to teach right at the Garden, I have a classroom there and those who were diabetic, they actually came off their medication and those who had high blood pressure actually came off. But now I’m like, you know what? During the pandemic, I just was like, boom, this is where we’re gonna focus at. And so now what happens… and it’s just so awesome. My last session… So Aetna funded me to do a pilot in October of last year. And it was a… I pitched them to do a four month diabetes program for women of color. About six weeks in, their A1Cs were coming down. I have 40 participants. I recruited a 100 ’cause of your people…
0:30:38.5 MB: That’s right, I’ll take them. I’ll take them. Consistency.
0:30:41.6 RB: I needed to get at least 40…
0:30:45.0 MB: Okay. Okay.
0:30:45.1 RB: Across the finish line.
0:30:46.4 MB: I gotcha.
0:30:46.6 RB: So like I’m gonna need to recruit 9000.
0:30:48.6 MB: Top of the funnel, big top of the funnel.
0:30:50.5 RB: [laughter] Right.
0:30:50.9 MB: Okay. I got you. Alright.
0:30:52.1 RB: And 40 actually joined and began to do the work.
0:30:56.5 MB: Love it.
0:30:56.6 RB: And they stayed the entire time.
0:30:58.0 MB: Sure. Well, yeah, because once you see those results, that’s awesome. How hard is that otherwise? I mean, for people who don’t know how diabetes works, I mean, you see all the commercials like A1C.
0:31:05.7 RB: So this is the thing, this is what was so amazing about it is that about six to eight weeks in, their glucose levels, you know when they’re pricking them…
0:31:16.9 MB: Sticking themselves, yeah.
0:31:17.3 RB: Every day was 180, 170, vacillate between 160 and 180 and all of a sudden they’re like, “It’s 140…
0:31:27.4 MB: What should it be?
0:31:28.0 RB: It’s 130.” It should be roughly about 120.
0:31:31.1 MB: Okay. Okay.
0:31:32.5 RB: And they just were blown away, had no idea.
0:31:36.5 MB: Sure, sure. Because I’m sure they were taking all kinds of pills, lugging stuff around with them. And it was like, “Wait a minute, Roz got something here.”
0:31:42.0 RB: And they really had no idea that they could reverse or improve their diabetes because they never heard that before.
0:31:50.7 MB: And that’s not what the medical establishment tells you.
0:31:53.1 RB: They just didn’t know that they could do that with diet and with lifestyle changes. So I give them a meal plan. I give them an exercise plan. I teach a lot about the organs and what your pancreas is doing and what your blood is doing. And when you eat a morsel of this, let me give you this visual of what’s going on in your body. And because they have those visuals, and they know all of that, it helps them to stay the course. And then they’re seeing the receipts from it.
0:32:21.1 MB: Right, right.
0:32:21.6 RB: And so all of a sudden, they’re like, Oh, I got this, they don’t want to change back. Oh, they come off insulin…
0:32:28.6 MB: So where are they now? ‘Cause that’s almost a year ago now, what are they up to now?
0:32:33.0 RB: That’s almost a year ago. So then during the program, 30% of the ladies totally came off their medication and, or insulin…
0:32:44.2 MB: That’s huge.
0:32:46.9 RB: And for those that I can get to join Wellness University, so they could continue to have support, because everybody’s gonna fall. It’s hard to do.
0:32:56.8 MB: Sure, sure.
0:32:57.7 RB: They have stayed totally off the meds. All of the ladies in the four months lost between 15 and 25 pounds.
0:33:07.3 MB: Wow. Good for them.
0:33:08.6 RB: Not even trying because that’s not the goal. But as you get healthier…
0:33:12.7 MB: Sure.
0:33:13.4 RB: And when your blood sugar goes down, you don’t have a choice. But to reduce the medication. There’s just no way you could continue taking the same medication, you’d be passing out, your blood sugar’s too too low, so you’re still having all these different symptoms. So they have to call their doctor and go, “Doctor, my blood sugar is like 120 every day.”
0:33:33.6 MB: And what did the doctors say? Are they suspect? They’d be like, “Who’s this Dr. Roz? And what’s she trying to do for you?”
0:33:38.4 RB: Yeah. Look, so many of the ladies would come back because we had a weekly session, will come back and say, “I gotta find a new doctor”. Because they are just like, “Look, it’s not, I understand it’s coming down now. But it’s not gonna work. I can’t take you off the medication. Let’s just adjust it. And if you get off, you’re just gonna be back on and all of that.” And so, when I was talking to the health insurance companies, and they’re trying to figure out how is this, why is this… Because both of them, United and Aetna said they have less than a 1% success rate.
0:34:14.6 MB: Wow.
0:34:15.9 RB: And so…
0:34:16.2 MB: And that’s bad for business. It’s bad for their business.
0:34:18.5 RB: And that’s bad for business.
0:34:19.7 MB: Wow.
0:34:21.2 RB: But you know, disease used to be really profitable.
0:34:24.1 MB: That’s right.
0:34:24.2 RB: And it’s not so much because we are doing the most.
0:34:26.8 MB: That’s right.
0:34:27.9 RB: We’re using it up to the max.
0:34:30.7 RB: So all of a sudden now, they are willing to listen to preventative. Like we have to get some of these people off because now they’re going to insulin even faster than before.
0:34:43.4 MB: Wow.
0:34:44.9 RB: And diabetes is not only as a cause of obesity, but it’s one of the catalysts for kidney failure, for heart disease, they usually have high cholesterol and so this whole is…
0:34:57.9 MB: It’s our precursor to death really. So, but you couldn’t get people to pay in the beginning. So how are they paying?
0:35:04.0 RB: It’s $50 a month now.
0:35:06.2 MB: I like it, alright, we’re getting there. We’re getting there.
0:35:07.6 MB: But how did you get there? Right? ‘Cause here you are. You’re trying to do this stuff. I met you at a pitch competition that you successfully won and blew everybody under the water. So what was that process like? So if nobody else was gonna pay? You’re still doing this stuff? So where’d the money come from?
0:35:22.6 RB: My money come from doing the business.
0:35:24.2 MB: The business. Yeah.
0:35:26.6 RB: Because most of it, I could do myself, that really helped.
0:35:29.4 MB: Gotcha.
0:35:30.3 RB: And I had a salary from the garden from the nonprofit.
0:35:33.6 MB: Gotcha. Okay.
0:35:33.9 RB: And so I wasn’t really hurting for it. And I was just determined, I’m just gonna keep going. Because eventually it will… Eventually something will happen. It was prior to… I’m embarrassed to even say this, prior to the diabetes program last year, my program was $14 a month. So that… It’s been $14 a month for a few years now.
0:36:01.4 MB: Wow.
0:36:01.9 RB: When I had that kind of success, with people getting off of meds, and I could see that and it was such a short period of time. I was like, “You know what, I’m doing $50 a month, and I don’t care if somebody joins it or not joins it.” This does not make any sense.
0:36:18.0 MB: Right. But that’s a key lesson, right? That it’s not just like don’t… Yes, people aren’t gonna pay. But it’s less about that. It’s how do you articulate the value and now you have a cadre of women walking around going, “Girl, I don’t have to stick myself. I’m not taking that insulin anymore.” None of this stuff that they can be touching themselves or checking their stuff while they’re having a meal. And so the value is demonstrated through your success stories.
0:36:41.8 RB: Now mind you the other companies are still charging $300…
0:36:44.5 MB: Right.
0:36:44.5 RB: I ain’t there yet, but… [laughter]
0:36:46.2 MB: We gonna get you there. We gonna get you there. But you’ve been… Also, I know you had some grants. You had some pitch competitions. And so what was that like and how did that help? And did people even get… They were like, “What’s she trying to do? That don’t sound like no real business.”
0:37:00.4 RB: Right. Right. The biggest shifts for me with this whole journey was one… And this is how I knew… This is what really kept me going and how I knew I was where I was supposed to be and I just needed to stay forward. One, it was the whole homeless thing and becoming a farmer. And then meeting the brother who taught me health, and now I’m doing this. And that third piece was when I did the pitch competition with new voices. The top winner, I think, got $25,000.
0:37:34.6 MB: That’s right.
0:37:35.1 RB: And I got $10,000. And afterwards when we took the picture with…
0:37:42.7 MB: Rich.
0:37:43.0 RB: With Rich, he pulled me to the side. And he said, “I just want you to know the check that you got is not indicative of what your program is worth, what you’re doing. I want you to know that what you’re doing matters, and it’s valuable and just don’t quit. It’s not about the money. It’s about that.” And that really, really changed the game for me because it just validated that it wasn’t about the money, it was about, do I have something that our community needs? And can I keep going? Can I keep going until those who need it can really see the value and are willing to do the work and are willing to invest in it? And after that competition, it just really, I was like, “Yep, I got it,” ’cause when a billionaire say, “Keep going”, he can’t be wrong, he can’t be wrong.
0:38:48.1 MB: Right, right.
0:38:48.9 RB: And so I kept going.
0:38:50.1 MB: And so now, fast forward you talked about Aetna, doing something with United healthcare, how did that come about it and what does that look like for your business model?
0:38:58.4 RB: It’s wonderful. I just knocked on their doors during the pandemic with this program, but each of them reached out to me at different points because of the garden.
0:39:08.5 MB: Gotcha.
0:39:09.1 RB: We have a volunteer group that wants to come to the garden.
0:39:12.9 MB: Sure, sure, sure.
0:39:13.4 RB: Come any day but let me also tell you what I got going, and so that’s really how…
0:39:18.2 MB: That’s awesome.
0:39:20.1 RB: I just decided, “I’m just gonna go for it”, and tell them the garden is good, but let me tell you what’s really, really good. And I just began to say, “You need something for us, you need something for Black people.” If all during this time you can clearly see the media’s all over the fact that we’re the ones suffering, we’re dying, we have the most preexisting conditions, blah, blah, blah, what are you gonna do about that? Because surely we have to be costing you the most amount of money. And for a segment of people that’s costing the most amount of money, you need to do something about it, you need something for Black folks. And I just kept hounding, hounding them and hounding them and sending them emails and doing all of this and finally Aetna said, “You know what? We’re gonna do it. We’re gonna do it.”
0:40:10.3 MB: Well, with the thousandths email, she was like, “Either I’ma do something or Roz’s gonna send us another email at the same time next week, let’s do something.”
0:40:16.4 RB: They finally…
0:40:17.4 MB: And honestly, what did they have to lose at that point, right? The risk tolerance was pretty high post-COVID.
0:40:22.8 RB: They had everything to gain. They had everything to gain. And Aetna said, “We’re gonna try,” and we did a pilot. And it was so successful. And as I was working with that group, that pilot, I was sending testimonials to my contact at United, ’cause they were like, “Ah! No, no, no.” And I just kept sending them and I had people doing videos. One lady who was on the verge of blindness, girl, totally, she said she did a video for me that I sent to Aetna and United and they probably started crying. But she did a video because she has to always get shots, she’s on a lot of insulin. She had to always get shots in her eyeballs.
0:41:00.9 MB: Oh, god! Wow.
0:41:02.6 RB: And so she was having an appointment. She had an eye doctor appointment. I think she had to get it every three months or something. She had an eye doctor appointment, she said, of course on the way there, “I’m stressed, my anxiety level is high.” She was like, “I hate getting that,” and she said they did the exam and she said, “Roz, I was so blown away. The doctor said we don’t need to do that.”
0:41:23.0 MB: Wow.
0:41:23.6 RB: Like, “The pressure on your eye has really come down, what are you doing? How’d you do it?” And so she’s doing this video and she’s in tears and she’s like, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” And I’m always very mindful that the body works how it, works it’s really not me. It’s really just God really giving me the words and the program to give to them and then he actually is doing the healing. Because we’re getting back to Genesis, we’re getting back to nature, we’re getting back to natural remedies, and it just, it worked. And so once United saw all of that, they were like, “Alright.”
0:42:01.3 MB: That’s it.
0:42:02.5 RB: So the last thing or this latest thing that really really allowed me to do what I am doing is, I joined this amazing business platform called Ureeka. Thank god for Ureeka. So much that I don’t know about business. And you know what, you have over the years, you’re always just like, “Know your numbers, know your numbers,” you’re like ad nauseum, “Know your numbers.”
0:42:35.8 MB: Well, you know the body, two plus two is always four, you know what the organs always do, they were in our lane.
0:42:40.7 RB: Right, you’re like, “Now… ” It’s really easy to get just caught up in the talent, caught up in the thing that you do.
0:42:47.8 MB: That’s right.
0:42:48.2 RB: And if I had to do it all over again, I would do both of those together. I would invest in having someone to be able to teach me, to help me with the business ’cause it’s easy when you first start, ’cause you ain’t got nothing.
0:43:04.7 MB: Sure. [laughter]
0:43:05.1 RB: You ain’t got no money.
0:43:06.8 MB: You just gotta manage your time is all you gotta do.. is manage your time.
0:43:09.8 RB: So it’s really easy to set up that system, that financial system so that you know what you’re good with your ROIs and you’re good with your budgeting and you can produce a balance sheet and all of that, it’s easy then. ‘Cause it’s just not a lot. And I wish that I would have been doing those together. But after I joined Ureeka and I was able to invest in a coach there. I would never ever have been able to close this deal with United. When I tell you that contract… ‘Cause they were like, “Okay, we can do it but we’ve got to put a contract together.” The contract was 80 pages to say, “We’re gonna let you work with X amount of people and pay you this.”
0:44:02.6 MB: Wow!
0:44:02.8 RB: Like super, super, and…
0:44:04.1 MB: Well, sure, they had to minimize their liability, they had to make sure their name was not used in vain, like all that kind of stuff, sure, right?
0:44:13.0 RB: It was a lot and we… It was a lot to go through, and because I have to have the patients’ emails and personal information so then I had to do a whole lot with that, but having someone to just help me navigate that, so I found an attorney and in between my business coach on Ureeka, Dave, and the attorney, they helped me put it together. And then I would have to have a Zoom call with the powers that be at United, and I grabbed a few friends and Dave and you’re that person everybody got a title and it’s like, “Just sit there.” I just needed to look like, [chuckle] “You don’t have to say nothing. You are my marketing person, you are my mission, you are that,” ’cause you gotta fake it till you make it.
0:45:01.7 MB: Sure, sure. Yeah.
0:45:02.8 RB: But then being able to call Dave or forward him the email that I got and him saying, “Nope, don’t do that, do this. Blah, blah, blah.” Just to… There is no way that I would have been able to close this deal. My knowledge level was just zero. And so understanding that and being willing and admitting that and being willing to invest in that, totally invaluable.
0:45:27.1 MB: But that’s the same thing you’re teaching your patient, that you gotta be willing to invest in yourself, right? And I think what’s ironic is…in business we’re always looking for other people to invest in our businesses, right? But the reality is we have to invest in terms of time, in terms of talent, in terms of energy, and every now and then you do have to come up with some cash, but it pays off. I mean, your ROI right now is huge.
0:45:49.7 RB: It definitely pays off because now I understand the ROI is not just money.
0:45:55.5 MB: That’s right.
0:45:56.0 RB: That is such a small portion.
0:45:57.6 MB: That’s right, a small piece. That’s just… Financially just allows you to keep doing what you’re doing. But if you were not having the impact that people were now no longer gonna go blind. So how many people will you help with at United?
0:46:10.5 RB: Their pilot is gonna be 50 women, and after that’s over, then we will talk about rolling it out to their hundreds of thousands of members who are Type-2 diabetic across the country.
0:46:24.1 MB: That’s amazing. So, you truly are saving our community?
0:46:28.2 RB: Yes.
0:46:28.6 MB: How does it feel?
0:46:31.0 RB: It feels wonderful to know what your purpose is and to really be used by God. Like He says, “Look, I don’t really need you to do much, I need hands and feet, and some… I need a vocal because He’s spirit, I need to just be able to work”. So, if you let me use you…
0:46:53.5 MB: Right, you’re good.
0:46:54.7 RB: And you get out of my way and get out your way and just keep going and just let me use you. So, in terms of having the stick… Sticking with it and having the fortitude to just… Every wall, every challenge, every… To just be able to get past every barrier that you come across when you are in business for yourself. It hits different when you know that it’s God.
0:47:28.7 MB: That’s right.
0:47:30.2 RB: When you know, because the way He did line this stuff up.
0:47:33.5 MB: It’s perfect…
0:47:35.2 RB: So, quitting, it just…
0:47:37.6 MB: That was the beginning, it was almost like, “What took you so long?”
0:47:41.7 RB: I have no… I mean, it’s just there, He has just led me to this. So, it’s just different, that empowers you, that gives you the confidence, that gives you that faith. And one of my superpowers is that I don’t care about failing, I could care less about a no, I could care less if something fail, I don’t care, what next God? I just don’t care. I’m not attached to anything in that way, even with the garden, I could care less if I went home tomorrow and the whole thing was up in flames, I don’t care, I don’t care.
0:48:24.0 MB: Why?
0:48:26.5 RB: Because it’s just about going in the direction that He wants me to go, it’s just about… You know, it…
0:48:32.2 MB: That’s a lot of faith.
0:48:35.4 RB: I used to tell my daughters all the time, “It’s okay to have a vision for what you wanna do, you got some ideas about what… But have the kind of flexibility for God to just come in there, because a lot of things are just stepping stones to get you to where… ” Like He’s got a road map and the road ain’t ever straight. But I would tell them, “Stay flexible enough”, and imagine even if I was so… I had tunnel vision about this homeless shelter, I would have just stayed on that path from that day to this day, every door still would probably be shutting on that because that’s just not where he wanted me to be, and I can see that, I can… I can just spot it.
0:49:17.0 MB: Yeah.
0:49:17.9 RB: And I think because of that, God uses me a lot. Like I’ve gone to Africa and taught for two weeks in Ghana in the villages. I’ve gone to Peru, I’ve gone to China. I think he uses me ’cause he’s like, “You know what? That’s a foot soldier”.
0:49:34.8 MB: Right, that’s right.
0:49:36.7 RB: If I tell her to… I ain’t gotta worry about the what ifs and what fors and how… I don’t care…
0:49:42.9 MB: He’s not gonna keep asking me, “Why am I here? What are you doing?”
0:49:46.6 RB: I don’t care about that.
0:49:46.9 MB: You will say, “I’m grateful to be here, now what am I supposed to do?” Yeah, I can see it. So part of that though is… You said we should use the word “foot soldier” it, so part of that is just being grounded in what you know you have the capacity to do, and then the subject matter and the expertise will flow through. And you used the word “building blocks”. It’s almost like we keep thinking that entrepreneurship is this linear pathway, and there was like the method to be able to get to the end and you’re kind of like, “No, it’s kind of like building blocks”. And I may go this way and I may go this way and then it may turn and… So you shared a song, it says, “Serve me while you wait” or a line from that song. So, what are you waiting for next?
0:50:26.9 RB: I am waiting now to really, really impact communities of color with Type-2 diabetes. I am just so excited about whatever path that God is going to take to get to the point of where so many of us are dying from something that is so reversible. It just don’t make any sense that we are getting amputations. And amputations now are… It’s outpatient.
0:50:52.2 MB: Interesting.
0:50:53.7 RB: Yeah, it’s outpatient, you go…
0:50:55.1 MB: So the risks are higher than if I go home, it gets infected.
0:50:58.1 RB: But you know, it’s too many of us getting it. They’re like “We don’t have enough beds for it”, so it’s… So I’m really just… I won’t even say waiting, I’m just always in anticipation of what God’s gonna do next. And in my mind, that’s where we’re going, we’re gonna get to being able to scale this around the country, because it’s so easy, it’s really easy. The ladies in the program just… You know it takes work, you gotta give… I told them, “You gotta give up some shit, like you’re just gonna have to give up some stuff.”
0:51:35.5 MB: Yeah, you sure do.
0:51:37.5 RB: But it’s gonna be so worth it, and they realize that. And so I’m excited about where it’s gonna end and where it’s gonna lead.
0:51:46.5 MB: So many entrepreneurs talk about the money. You haven’t talked about the money today. And I think that’s a huge lesson. Because so far everything that you know you’ve needed has just come. And so like the garden came. Okay, you did work quite hard on Aetna and United, but they finally came through. And so when you talk about like being able to save our communities, what… Besides money, what do you need? Let’s put that in the universe. What do you need? More partners, more people to have faith and trust the process that you’re sharing? What do you need?
0:52:23.5 RB: That would probably be it, more people to really trust the process and to… I spend a lot of time now teaching Black women to love yourself enough to just give it a shot, love yourself enough to just try it. You try everything else.
0:52:39.1 MB: That’s true. [chuckle] That’s true.
0:52:40.4 RB: You try everything else. Just try it.
0:52:42.7 MB: True.
0:52:43.7 RB: And so I spend a lot of time teaching them that, they’re just worth it. You’re worth the effort, sis. You just are flat-out worth it.
0:52:49.2 MB: But you know how hard that is, right? Because the media images don’t say we’re worth it.
0:52:54.3 RB: Yeah.
0:52:54.3 MB: You’ll have people stay in bad relationships, you’ll have people stay in jobs they don’t want, because there’s not a lot in the world that is reinforcing Black women are worth it.
0:53:03.6 RB: Yeah. So that’s why with Wellness University it’s ongoing, it never ends. And I’m coaching them every day. We’re all in a private chat group, private Facebook group of which I’m getting my own app.
0:53:22.3 MB: Yay.
0:53:23.1 RB: Thankfully.
0:53:23.9 MB: Yay.
0:53:24.2 RB: And my coach Dave has facilitated, aligned me with a team to help me build the app. That way we could all… It’ll be just so much easier.
0:53:33.0 MB: Yeah.
0:53:34.3 RB: Every week I’m giving him challenges, I’m still giving him meal plans. I have a girl that’s weekly gonna be doing live exercises where we can all do it together. They text me, they call me, you really, really need that support until you can get over the hump.
0:53:50.5 MB: Yep.
0:53:50.6 RB: You really, really do. And I even think that that’s scalable because if I’m doing this full time and I have a small team that’s helping me, everybody’s not calling and email and texting at the same time. And even if they do, we can get back to ’em and to… If a thousand people emailed and called or texted today, I could get back to most of them in a day or two.
0:54:15.6 MB: I know you would.
0:54:16.3 RB: In a day or two. I answer a lot of questions live in the chat and all of that. It takes that level of support though.
0:54:25.6 MB: ‘Cause it’s about community.
0:54:26.6 RB: It is all about community.
0:54:28.4 MB: ‘Cause I have to imagine at some point in time, particularly in that group you would do within the women were just supporting each other.
0:54:33.8 RB: They are supporting each other.
0:54:34.5 MB: There’s a virality around… I mean, I’m almost excited, I’m like, “Okay, I need to go to the store on my way home,” but there’s a virality around what you’re doing, because what we do well is, particularly us as Black women, is we celebrate each other’s successes.
0:54:46.7 RB: Yes. And that’s so important in the group. And the ladies just know, they know how challenging it is ’cause they’re going through it.
0:54:52.1 MB: Of course.
0:54:52.1 RB: So when someone’s like, “My win for this week was only have one soda instead of four,” and they’re like, “Boy, you did think it’s Christmas Day”, but you’re like, oh, you know, because that’s huge. To give up anything that you’ve been doing for 40 years is just huge and it deserves being celebrated. So community is really, really important. The majority of what I need coming up is to get the app completed so that… And I’m investing my personal money to do the app.
0:55:27.7 MB: I love it, alright.
0:55:30.6 RB: And when they were giving out all this dough at 1% interest, I’m like, “Here’s my chance.” So just everything just always lines up, everything always lines up, and then you don’t have to make the first payment for a year and all of that good stuff. So getting the app. Getting a good amount of women on there. I wanna have at least a 100-200 women or so all doing it, all talking off. But what I realize is about, because this is so challenging to one, get us to invest our money, invest our time, all of this. If I could get… Partner with a machine that has my target market and that will pay for it, that’s just a win-win all the way around. And so that’s why I put it out there, like God… Insurance companies. I think that they would be great to partner with.
0:56:21.0 MB: And you found the win-win-win. Win for you, win for them. And most importantly win for women. And I think that’s important, is that people think about like “How am I gonna charge a customer?” And what you realize was, “I’m charging way less than everybody else. And they still… I just still can’t get them to pay”, because really it’s less about the bottom line, it’s the behavior change. But if I can get somebody else to subsidize… And I don’t know about you, but Aetna does my insurance. They send me texts all the time. “Hey, do you do this? Do you do that?” kind of push and compliment to you saying, it sounds like it’s changed a lot tremendously.
0:56:49.0 RB: Yes. So this pilot definitely has to be successful, which I know it will because it’s already been successful. And having the support of the insurance company and…
0:57:02.2 MB: Yeah, it’s huge.
0:57:02.9 RB: Having them to put it out there… that takes away…I don’t have to do no Facebook ads, no social media ads. I don’t have to… I can literally…
0:57:12.4 MB: They bring you the audience, you just do what you do best. You do you.
0:57:14.3 RB: I can literally just do what I do best.
0:57:17.2 MB: Yeah. That really, I mean, you kind of reframed like who is the payer? Like you have two customers, you have a primary customer and a secondary customer. Your focus is on the women, but there’s a different payer. And I think so many times people are like… I remember I was from my first company and I was like, I can’t figure out how to make money. So I became a nonprofit…which was not necessarily the best thing to do either. But I realized, like I was thinking about it all wrong. Right. I was thinking like, I wanna help Black people become financially healthy, but how am I gonna do that if they ain’t got no money? And then, of course, and I was like emailing all these other places and they were like, “That sounds like a lost cause.” And then finally you find some institutional partners, banking partners who are like, “Oh, I’m trying to get to that audience too.” And so I think it’s amazing that people have to really think outside the box of like, you know the customer you want, but there may be different ways. Everybody’s not gonna respond to a Facebook ad. I mean, so that’s huge.
0:58:05.8 RB: They sure aren’t. Especially when you’re like, “Let’s get healthy.”
0:58:09.0 MB: Right. Yeah. I’m not responding to that.
0:58:10.8 RB: Yeah. And so I tell… I tell them, this pilot with them now they’re all locals. And I tell ’em all the time, “Look, I will come to your house and pull that hog maw right out your hand.”
0:58:21.2 MB: There you go.
0:58:22.6 RB: That’s how much support you’re gonna get. You will succeed, and so it’s, it’s always about… Even though they’re bringing me the customers, I can still provide that same level of care and love and support, and they asked me once… Somebody asked me from United, “How is it that this works?” How is it? Because truthfully, they’re getting a meal plan that they probably… You could probably… It’s vegetables, it’s removing… Same thing.
0:58:57.5 MB: But it’s not you.
0:58:58.9 RB: And I tell them… ‘Cause people are like, “Aren’t you scared they’re gonna steal?” I mean it’s just fruits and veg… It’s just…
0:59:07.3 MB: Right, but if they steal, that’s a good thing for all of us, let’s be honest, right?
0:59:10.7 MB: Alright, like it’s the same dieticians and doctors are still giving every… Them the same list, “Don’t eat this, get rid of the sugar, the soda, the cigarettes.” And so they were like, “How is it?”. But it’s different when it’s created by a Black woman, for a Black woman, and I know who they are. I know you. They can’t even begin to give me an excuse without me… I mean, I got something for every… They’re like, “Alright, okay. Alright Roz, I’ll do…
0:59:39.0 MB: We’re in, we’re in.
0:59:42.0 RB: Right. “Okay, I won’t eat it this week, I won’t.” And they know that even though I’m beating them up, it’s just out of love and they can feel that. And that’s why it works and it doesn’t matter. And there’s this doctor that says, “I have an Asian friend who tried to do the same thing with communities of color, with diabetes, and it just failed. It just failed” So even to the point, I know my people so well, when the contract got approved and signed and in all of this, I said I have to be the one to make the calls because in order to get 50, so they have to sign up themselves, you have to reach out to them, cold call them, pitch ’em…
1:00:22.3 MB: You were like, “We don’t do no robocalls.”
1:00:23.8 RB: And they have to sign up. And so they had like 350 names that they were gonna call all, and they were all Black women with Type-2 Diabetes. So they were gonna call all the women to get 50, and I’m like, “Uh-uh, no, no, no, no. I have to be the one to make the call because soon as she called from Aetna, ‘Hi, my name is Lisa, we have a diabetes… ” Click, click, click.
1:00:49.8 MB: I know. I hang up on them too. Saying yes, and then I’m like “What? Are you trying to sell me something? This is in your benefit, now I’m going to show you my benefit. But…
1:00:58.2 RB: Right. The list that they have given me, 320 names, everyone’s on Medicaid too, which it wasn’t… I thought it was gonna be the commercial side, which is what… Initially, but then it turns out it’s gonna be Medicaid, so that just means God just gonna get more glory.
1:01:15.2 MB: That’s right.
1:01:16.3 RB: That’s all that means. And when it works, they will know it really really works.
1:01:21.2 MB: It works, right, because that’s the hardest audience for insurance companies.
1:01:26.2 RB: That’s the hardest audience. And so half of the numbers don’t… Aren’t in service anymore. A lot of the names don’t have numbers, they were like, You know… So they have street addresses, so I’m mailing out postcards to the street address, hoping that they’re there. But Melissa, I have on the phone 42 people on the phone I have talked to, and 39 have said yes.
1:01:55.4 MB: Wow. Why do you think they said yes?
1:01:58.9 RB: ‘Cause I’m like, “Look sis, this is an opportunity. How many pills you’re taking a day?” And so they’ll say “Eight or nine?” No, this is what I asked “So how long you’ve been diabetic?”. “12 years.” So you’re just planning on dying with the disease, like you’re just gonna die with it, you weren’t even gonna try to do nothing about it.” “Well, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know.” And then, I just start to say, “Look, this is what we can do, this is what I have done.” And half of the ladies have cried on the phone saying this, “I know this is God, I just prayed about this.” One lady said “Right now, I’m reading the paperwork for the weight loss surgery. I wanna get weight loss surgery. I was going through the paperwork, setting up an appointment next week.” And I said, “Just give me a chance, don’t sign… ” ‘Cause that…
1:02:51.5 MB: That’s a lot.
1:02:52.5 RB: Everybody I know that has had surgery has regretted it. They are having so many health issues because of that, and they usually gain the weight back. And I said, “Don’t do it. Just hold off, just hold off.” And I said, “How many pounds do you have to lose?” She said a hundred. I’m like, “Girl, you don’t get weight loss surgery… ” Now, if you said you were 699, I’d be like, Call… Let me hang up the phone, what are you doing talking to me? Give them folks a call and book your appointment. But I said “A hundred pounds, no.” I said, “In my last program, they lost 30 in four months.” And so she was just so, so thankful. And that’s what’s happening. One lady, she’s 30 years old, carried her baby to term for 35 weeks, they had her on insulin while she’s pregnant…
1:03:45.5 MB: Woah.
1:03:46.4 RB: And was changing her insulin because her blood sugar was still out of control. And the baby died in the womb. And so she said, “I had to deliver a dead baby.” And she said afterwards, the doctor said “You know, it was probably your diabetes that killed …” And so she came… I just had a meet and greet for the first sign-ups a few days ago, and she just cried and cried and cried. And she said, “I have to get rid of this disease. I want a baby, I want my own baby.” And she said, “To know that this could have been prevented, to know… ” Really she just shouldn’t have been on insulin as pregnant. She just really, really shouldn’t. I said, a semi-healthy person can’t handle insulin, but a fetus…
1:04:38.3 MB: But it just goes to show it’s all about the messenger. When people say, “Well, if I couldn’t do it, you can’t do it.” You’re like, “Yeah, but you’re not me.”
1:04:45.7 RB: You’re not me.
1:04:46.4 MB: ‘Cause how many times have all these health insurance companies tried to call people? How many times they try to sell stuff in the community like, I got this. But it’s more than just having the product. It’s understanding our journey.
1:04:57.2 RB: Yes, understanding our journey. And I told one of the reps, I said, “What I do that the medical industry doesn’t, is I give them hope. Everybody needs hope.”
1:05:08.8 MB: Medical Insurance gives you an alternative, and you give them hope.
1:05:11.4 RB: I said, I give them hope. I tell them, “yes, God has designed our bodies to heal. That’s why when you get a cut, it don’t stay cut for ten 10 years. It eventually closes… Our body. You break a bone, it fuses back together. Our bodies are designed to heal. Your body ain’t no different. Your body ain’t no different. God created you the same way.” And because of that hope, they’re willing to do the work.
1:05:38.3 MB: Wow, I will say two things. One, when I met you in Vegas which was a while ago, I was like, “I kinda believe her but it seems like a lot of work.” And I will say, there were many a day when I was going through my weight loss journey, I would think of you. And I was like, “Alright, when I see Roz, she’s gonna be impressed, she’s gonna be happy.” ‘Cause you’re like, “You can’t be drinking all that soda… ”
1:06:00.4 RB: Sodas for breakfast.
1:06:01.8 MB: But I stopped cold Turkey. And I would show up and you’d spend a half a day with me and I had my Mountain Dew and my Red Bull right there. And you were like, “What are you doing sis?” I was like, “Just trying to be here, I’m trying to be here.” And so many days, so I thank you for that. And I thank you for being an inspiration to me. But what’s so exciting about what you’re doing now, when I read about it I was like, “Oh my God.” And you truly… People talk about saving the community, like you’re truly saving our community.
1:06:28.8 RB: Yeah.
1:06:29.1 MB: Truly, and I’m grateful, ma’am.
1:06:31.5 RB: Yeah, thank you. Yeah, and that’s what I share with the women, “You can’t teach what you don’t know. You’re raising daughters, you’re raising nieces, don’t nobody care about your damn kids. Nobody but you. And in order for you to teach them, you’ve got to know something. Even if you don’t do it for yourself, do it for them. So that we don’t raise another generation of unhealthy somes.”
1:07:04.7 MB: That’s right. See what God knew, you were a school teacher, you taught and you helped the homeless but either way, you’re still teaching.
1:07:11.2 RB: Yes. Yeah, still teaching.
1:07:13.9 MB: We appreciate that. Thank you, ma’am.
1:07:15.5 RB: You are welcome.
1:07:16.4 MB: Well, we are glad you made it, ma’am.
1:07:17.5 RB: Yes.
1:07:17.6 MB: I appreciate you.
1:07:24.2 MB: Today’s lesson on your journey from Founder to CEO is that building a business on a shoestring is actually possible. The reality is, is that for entrepreneurs it’s not about the money. It’s about being in touch with your customers. It’s about being able to understand what they need in order to keep coming back to you. Roz tells us that when she was able to step out on faith and secure that land, that was the beginning of her helping those in need, which ironically included herself. She demonstrated that when doors close, undoubtedly another door will open. For Roz, she was clear that the return on her investment was the health of Black women. And that her competitive advantage as a Black woman is that she was going to be able to literally help save people’s lives. Now, the reality is, is that it had nothing to do with losing weight, it was about helping these women regain control of their lives.
1:08:24.3 MB: Roz demonstrated in her story with us that her focus on saving lives allowed her business to make money and it made her invaluable to the community. She also demonstrated that for her business, it wasn’t just a mission statement that was full of numbers and objectives and strategies but that her real vision and mission was providing hope, health and faith to the community. And that that indeed was the best ROI that she could provide for herself, and more importantly for all the children of those parents that she talked about and giving them freedom to walk away, not just from insulin but freedom to walk into the future that they desire happy and healthy with their family.
1:09:19.6 MB: Don’t forget to subscribe and feel free to give us five stars. We’ll put a link to a blog post about this episode in the show notes. The blog will be full of tidbits mentioned throughout the episode, information on our guests and anything else we think feels right and is needed for your entrepreneurial journey. For additional information on our guests and links to their businesses, please go to our site, founderhustle.io. And while you’re there, download the resource guides provided by 1863 ventures. I promise you, they will empower you with practical tools and advice. You can find us on Twitter @founderhustle, on Instagram, we’re underscore founderhustle, and if you’re a Facebook person, we’re also there as Founder Hustle. Founder Hustle is produced by Kinetic Energy Entertainment. Associate Producer is Misa Dayson. The show was edited and mixed by Ann Kane. Social media producer is Misako Envela. Our intro theme, Vuelta al Sol is by Tomás Novoa. Credit theme is Glide, by Columbia Nights, and the outro is Ratata by Curtis Cole. Founder Hustle was recorded at Clean Cuts in Washington DC.
1:10:29.8 MB: And to all the founders out there, remember to be flexible and follow your heart, soul and instinct. Do not let others tell you what to do. Do what you know is best for you and your customers.
1:10:52.5 MB: Okay. Here she come, now she gonna tell us all the stuff we gotta redo. Okay, yesterday she had all kinds of critique, “Could you do this, could you do that?”
1:11:05.0 DWProducer: It’s my job to do this, so… [chuckle]
1:11:07.6 MB: I know, I said “Here she come.”
Referenced in Today’s Episode:
- Founder Hustle is produced by Kinetic Energy Entertainment.
- Associate Producer is Misa Dayson.
- The show was edited and mixed by Ann Kane.
- Social media producer is Misako Envela.
- Our intro theme, Vuelta al Sol is by Tomás Novoa.
- Credit theme is Glide, by Columbia Nights, and the outro is Ratata by Curtis Cole.