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“Undercover Billionaire” Star Monique Idlett-Mosley on Building a $1 Million Business in 90 Days

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Even after building multiple businesses, generating millions of dollars for brands, and launching a $25 million venture capital firm, nothing compares to Monique Idlett-Mosley’s latest venture: creating a $1 million dollar company in 90 days in a foreign city without her contacts, wealth, or identity. As if the undertaking wasn’t daunting enough, she accepted this challenge in the middle of the pandemic.

Up For The Challenge

Known for her business prowess as an entrepreneur, investor, and entertainment executive, Idlett-Mosley has overcome a number of hurdles throughout her journey. She pulled herself out of poverty, finished college despite having her first child at 18 years old, and rebounded from a public divorce from mega music producer Tim “Timbaland” Mosley.

Nevertheless, conquering those trials is what gave the Miami-based philanthropist the fuel to compete on “Undercover Billionaire,” a reality series on The Discovery Channel that challenges successful entrepreneurs to build a business under a fake alias with just $100 and an old vehicle.

“I’m going into uncharted territory, but I’m definitely not afraid of adversity. I think my whole life has been adversity,” says Idlett-Mosley in a promotional clip for the show.

Drive, tenacity, and gumption is also what led Idlett-Mosley to launch her career as an advertising executive when she was just 22 years old at USA Today, becoming both the youngest and first-ever African American woman senior executive at the publication. During her seven-year stint, she created a marketing agency representing clients like Kanye West, Verizon, and T.I. In 2006, she helped her ex-husband launch Mosley Brands and the Mosley Music Group (MMG) record label, serving as the CEO of both companies and managing artists like One Republic, Nelly Furtado, and Chris Cornell.  Her career path took another major turn in 2017 when she and angel investor Erica Duignan Minnihan co-founded Reign Ventures, an early-stage investment firm that focuses on women- and minority-led startups. Needless to say, Idlett-Mosley was never one to back away from a challenge.

$1 million business Tacoma
Michael Brown and Monique Idlett-Mosley pictured on “Undercover Billionaire” (Courtesy of Discovery Channel)

In the first episode, Idlett-Mosley is whisked away from her lavish lifestyle and dropped in Tacoma, a mid-sized urban port city in Washington, 32 miles southwest of Seattle. Shortly after arriving, she meets a local Black pastor who pays for her to sleep in a hotel for three nights. In exchange, she volunteers at his church and seizes the opportunity to question parishioners about Tacoma and key players in the city. She quickly builds relationships with the movers-and-shakers as she cultivates a business plan to open a green juice shop. According to Idlett-Mosley, the biggest challenges she faced was being away from her family and maintaining a false identity.

“Outside of stepping away from my children and the day-to-day of taking care of my family, the hardest part of this was being true to Tacoma,” she told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “The hardest part was lying to people.”

The business mogul says she felt the impact of being separated from her family instantly.

“I actually have never lived by myself before. I was a mom at 18, and so I’ve always taken care of people. And this was the first time ever in my life as an as a young adult to adulthood, that I actually came home by myself,” she says. “It was really hard at first. That first night, I cried.”

Although the circumstances were tough, Idlett-Mosley refused to give up. Not only was she personally committed to completing the mission at hand, but she knew that the stakes were higher for her as the only Black woman and person of color on the show.

“Not finishing this is not even an option. I thought about every single woman, every Black woman, every woman of color,” she said. “We can’t be what we don’t see.”

Undercover Billionaire
Monique Idlett-Mosley and Gregory Christopher pictured on “Undercover Billionaire” (Courtesy of Discovery Channel)

Vulnerability Is An Asset

In addition to her supreme networking skills, Idlett-Mosley says she tapped into the power of vulnerability, describing it as one of her biggest assets on the show.

“Women, and in particular Black women, we have been taught that we have to mimic the behavior of an alpha male — in particular, a Caucasian alpha male,” she said. “As women, we can’t cry, we can’t do this, we can’t do that. The reality is that in business, and in life personally, you have to allow people to know what you need. And how do you tell people what you need without being vulnerable? I had to learn quickly that I can’t be embarrassed by these circumstances. This is real life for so many people every single day,” she added. “We all have obstacles in our life, but be vulnerable with your journey. It’s okay.”

undercover billionaire discovery
Monique Idlett-Mosley pictured on “Undercover Billionaire” (Courtesy of Discovery Channel)

Along with Idlett-Mosely, season 2 of “Undercover Billionaire” follows Grant Cardone, a real estate investor, international motivational speaker, and best-selling author, as well as Elaine Culotti, a real estate developer, interior designer, builder, and the founder of House of Rock as they try to build a thriving business in separate cities.

Success is a Mindset

Episode 2 of the new season airs Wednesday, giving viewers the opportunity to see Idlett-Mosley put her business plan into action. Although she had no previous experience in the food industry, she was confident about opening a healthy food shop in Tacoma that sells juices and immunity shots.

“Success is a mindset,” she told BE. “You have to be able to see yourself successful [and] see your business successful before it actually is,” she said. “Before you can even have a revenue dollar, if you shift your mindset, your company is already going to win.”

Season 2 of ‘Undercover Billionaire’ airs on Discovery Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT and is currently streaming on Discovery+.

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez Gets Trump Pardon. Could This Be A Power Move By Jay-Z?

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Former President Trump disclosed last-minute commutations and pardons at 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Variety reported. On the list were many people from executives to politicians, including former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and rappers Kodak Black and Lil Wayne. To everyone’s surprise, an unexpected name appeared on Trump’s clemency list– Roc Nation CEO  Desiree Perez. According to the publication, Desiree and her husband are close friends with Jay-Z. Perez’s husband, Juan, is also the CEO of Roc Nation Sports.

A statement from the former Press Secretary regarding Desiree’s presidential pardon stated Trump took into account the positive changes the leader has made in her life since her conviction for attempting to distribute narcotics. 

“President Trump granted a full pardon to Desiree Perez. Ms. Perez was involved in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Since her conviction, Ms. Perez has taken full accountability for her actions and has turned her life around,” the letter read. “She has been gainfully employed and has been an advocate for criminal justice reform in her community.”

Desiree, who is Cuban-American, is a music-industry staple and was appointed to the top position in 2019. In the same year, Billboard Magazine deemed her Executive Of The Year during the publication’s yearly Women in Music event. She heads the organization’s numerous outlets like activism, television and movies, music, publishing and touring. The multi-million-dollar entertainment and sports organization is home to today’s most prominent pop culture names, including Shakira, J.Cole, Rihanna, Big Sean and Megan Thee Stallion, Variety reported.

According to Variety, Desiree was arrested in 1994 for drug possession and in 1998 for gun possession and grand theft. After becoming an informant for the U.S. Attorney’s office, she was sentenced to five years probation. She violated her probation and served nine months in jail in 1999.

“I’m grateful to have received a pardon and to have formally closed that chapter of my life in the eyes of the law,” the 52-year-old Cubana told Variety. “I have taken full accountability for my mistakes from 25 years ago, but I also take tremendous pride in my personal growth, perseverance and accomplishments since then. This pardon reinforces my lifelong commitment to advocate for criminal justice reform and social justice initiatives.”

It’s also fair to note that Jay-Z and Beyonce were extremely vocal about their support for the Obama administration. The Carters were relatively quiet during this last election cycle. According to an insider, the Roc Nation owner didn’t want to get on Trump’s bad side– especially if it could help Perez.

“As anyone who’s worked with the Trump White House knows, you can’t piss him off, or he will take revenge,” the source told Variety.

Although the power move is speculative, Jay-Z is looking to break into the cannabis business, and Desiree’s felonious record could’ve interfered with that plan.

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‘There is No Place for Mediocrity’: 86-Year-Old Accountant Shares Powerful Success Tips 

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Lester McKeever made history as one of the first 100 African-Americans to become a Certified Public Accountant in the U.S. According to the National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants (NSBCPAs), less than 1% of all CPAs in the U.S. are Black.

“Being a CPA, a highly recognized credential in the business world, provided me the opportunity to leverage many unique opportunities,” says McKeever in an exclusive interview with Black Enterprise.

For many decades, McKeever has worked to expose more students to the accounting profession. Through various programs, he has raised millions of dollars to provide scholarships and job opportunities for the next generation of leaders.

“Being Black limited your opportunities,” McKeever shared as he recalls his experience trying to find a job as a black accountant in the 1950s. “But showing true concern for your client’s success and working to improve your community provides unexpected benefits. When you give to others, you gain more than you give in trying to help.”

Creating a Foundation for Success

McKeever is proof that where you come from does not determine how far you can go.

McKeever was born in Chicago in 1934. His parents did not graduate from high school but they fully supported his education. McKeever displayed a strong desire to excel in all of his classes, earning him the math and science award in high school. McKeever didn’t dream of going to college until receiving a scholarship from a student club. This one moment changed his entire career trajectory. 

He went on to graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, obtain his CPA license, and study law at the Illinois Institute of Technology-Chicago Kent College of Law.

“It’s a paper world,” says McKeever. “It’s unbelievable what really happens when you have credentials that indicate that you are prepared to take on other challenges.”

Overcoming Obstacles as a Black Accountant

Mckeever believes that mentorship and networking are important in your career. They were the link that helped him secure a job when major corporations were not hiring black people.

“When I graduated from college, the Big 8 accounting firms and large corporations did not hire African Americans,” says Mckeever. “My university forced one firm to give me the courtesy of an interview. They said they couldn’t hire me because their clients wouldn’t accept me.”

McKeever started his career working with a Black-owned life insurance company. Through relationships at this firm, he was introduced to Mary T. Washington Wylie — the first Black woman to become a CPA in the U.S.

Wylie provided McKeever with a part-time work opportunity during tax season. This kicked off a long career with Washington & Pittman accounting firm, leading to an appointment on the Board of Directors as a managing partner. Later, the firm was renamed Washington, Pittman & McKeever.

One of Mckeever’s keys to success is knowing your craft inside and out. “Anything related to the success of your career, you have to be on top of that. There’s no place for mediocrity anymore. You have to be skilled in what you are trying to do.”

Becoming a History Maker

Mckeever has had a successful career as an accountant and has broken many barriers. He was a member of the Finance Committee under Chicago Mayor’s Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley. In 1997, he became chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. These history-making moments established McKeever as one of Chicago’s most influential business leaders. 

If you want to achieve success and attract mentors, Mckeever says that “you have to get involved in the community.” McKeever has served on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Institute of Technology and treasurer of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. McKeever was one of the founding members of the Chicago Urban League’s Impact Leadership Development Program. He also paved the way for the Mary T. Washington Wylie Internship Preparation Program.

“I always tell people to involve themselves in as many activities as you possibly can (especially) community type organizations. When people see you working hard and trying to help others, they see you working hard and try to help you.”

If you want to learn more about upcoming initiatives to support the advancement and awareness of Black accountants, visit the National Society of Black CPA’s Facebook page and join the #MyCPAIsBlack campaign.

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Biden’s Green Energy Boom Could Send These Electric Vehicle Stocks Soaring

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