The Fearless Five Mompreneurs (L-R) Jodie Patterson, Karen Pavlin, Judia Black, Selena Cuffe and Sharon Lopez pay tribute to Nelson Mandela and Mandela wines at Mandela Tribute 2013 (Photo courtesy Fearless Five Mompreneurs)

*What do you get when you put five dynamic working mothers together?  Mompreneurs!

That’s what they’re calling themselves – the Fearless Five: Mompreneurs – who have collectively partnered to “move money in directions that make our world better.”

They are Judia Black, Selena Cuffe, Sharon Lopez, Karen Pavlin, and Jodie Patterson who will use their business acumen to raise funds for good causes.

On a sun-drenched Saturday afternoon, July 27, 2013, the Fearless Five: Mompreneurs hosted a swellegant summer soiree at the “house beautiful” summer home of Judia Black in Bridgehampton, NY.  In celebration of the former South African President Nelson Mandela, the inaugural event will benefit the House of Mandela Family Foundation (HoMFF).  HoMFF seeks to improve the lives of Africa’s poverty-stricken communities through working with existing development organizations and charities in the education, health, agriculture and alternative energy sectors.

“In the case of our event, the HoMFF has selected the charity MyLife to be the recipient of the event proceeds,” stated Black.  “MyLife, which operates in the Eastern Cape (homeland of the Mandelas), takes kids off the street and rehabilitates them, so they can be better citizens of society.”

As guests walked around the sleekly manicured grounds of the spacious home they enjoyed libations from the House of Mandela with healthy bites of African cuisine while shopping for natural beauty products and jewelry inspired by heritage, travel and culture.  They reveled knowing that 100% of net proceeds from the first event will go to HoMFF, which improves lives of Africa’s poverty stricken communities through education, career opportunities, health, agriculture and alternative energy.

The first event was an unprecedented success.  And at the end of the inspirational evening, guests left with warm feelings of having partied for a purpose and redubbed the Fearless Five: Mompreneurs — the “fierceful five!”  Here’s a précis of the Fierceful Five:

Judia Black, CEO, enJoie, a lifestyle, media and events company that provides food and wine-related education, services and marketing to private and corporate clients.  Services include wine tasting events, personal and corporate gift shopping and cellar planning and management.

Selena Cuffe is CEO and co-founder of Heritage Link Brands, pre-eminent importer of South African wines produced by indigenous Blacks, with a special emphasis on producers affected by South Africa’s system of apartheid.  Her company carries the House of Mandela wines created by the daughter and granddaughter of Nelson Mandela

Sharon Lopez, CEO of Purple Giraffe Productions, a production company that provides strategic event, marketing and programming solutions for innovators, entrepreneurs, thought leaders and people who want to have a positive effect on the world.

Jodie Patterson is CEO of GEORGIA by Jodie Patterson, a beauty company that offers more than just product.  The company focuses on igniting your inner and outer beauty with daily doses of natural beauty care, healthy salon services, inspiring beauty tips, plus family, travel, small business, fashion & health tips.

Karen Pavlin, CEO, MZ Designs, is a New York-based jewelry designer inspired by beauty, art and creativity through naturally empowering elements.  Her jewelry is now carried throughout several locations nationwide.


Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz (honoree), WABC-TV Anchor Lori Stokes (emcee), National Grid President for New York Ken Daly (honoree), WHC Executive Director Pamela Green, Vice President, Associate General Counsel for JetBlue Airways Brandon Nelson (honoree) (Photo by Julie Skarratt)

*The Weeksville Heritage Center (WHC) is a multidimensional museum dedicated to preserving the history of the 19th century African American community of Weeksville, Brooklyn.  In June 2008, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilman Domenic M. Recchia Jr., Council Member Darlene Mealy and WHC Executive Director Pam Green broke ground on the new Education and Cultural Arts Building at the Weeksville Heritage Society’s historic Hunterfly Road Houses.

The Hunterfly Road Houses are the only surviving, intact residential structures remaining of Weeksville, an African American community in Brooklyn which dates back to 1838.  Weeksville was a safe haven for southern Blacks fleeing slavery and free northern Blacks fleeing racial hatred and violence in the 19th Century.

The City committed $23 million in funding for the new 19,000 square-foot facility, which will provide a new orientation point for visitors, and will quadruple the organization’s current programming space.  The building is near completion.

Each year, WHC hosts an annual event to raise funds to benefit its mission to reserve the history of the 19th century.  This year’s blissful event featured a cocktail reception, cuisine stations, music and fun activities including a photo shoot, games and prizes followed by a brief program which handed out Weeksville honors to an exemplary trio.

This year’s honorees included Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, National Grid President for New York Ken Daly, and Vice President, Associate General Counsel for JetBlue Airways Brandon Nelson.

“There is much to celebrate tonight,” said a beaming Green in her rousing welcoming remarks to over 200 attendees at WHC’s 12th annual awards benefit held on Tuesday evening, June 11, 2013.  “Since its founding 175 years ago, Weeksville has transformed from a vibrant and independent free African American community to a multidimensional museum which uses a contemporary lens to celebrate its past and envision the future.”

During her remarks, Green’s smile broadened when discussing the new Education and Cultural Arts Building.  “With the development of the new Education and Cultural Arts Building, Weeksville will continue growing as a unique and important historical center and become one of the leading African American cultural institutions in the country.”

This was the first gala event ever held in the iconic center’s new Certified LEED Gold Sustainable Education and Cultural Arts Building located on the grounds of the historical community of Weeksville, Brooklyn.  This was a proud moment for Green and her staff who have worked tirelessly to see the new building come to fruition.

Guests attending the “Save the Memories of Self” awards benefit – “One Night Only” – were afforded a sneak peek inside the new building.  When it officially opens to the public later this year the building will give visitors and the surrounding community opportunities for expanded research, education and programming.

WABC-TV Co-Anchor Lori Stokes served as the Master of Ceremonies.  Honorary Chair Keija Minor, editor-in-chief, Brides Magazine, was also in attendance.  Dwight Johnson of Dwight Johnson Design produced the awesomely rewarding evening.

About Weeksville Heritage Center
The Brooklyn based Weeksville Heritage Center located at 158 Buffalo Avenue (between Bergen and St. Marks Streets), Brooklyn, NY 11213 is an historic site of great national significance.  The center lives, breathes and preserves the entrepreneurial spirit of the village of Weeksville; an independent African American community that thrived during the 19th century in Brooklyn, New York.  Still in its original location, the organization services, directly and indirectly, some 20,000 visitors yearly.  Rooted in African American history, Weeksville honors the past by offering innovative, socially conscious learning experiences through history, art, environment and technology.

New York based award-winning journalist Audrey J. Bernard covers entertainment, fashion & beauty, film, lifestyles and travel for the Electronic Urban Report and other outlets.  Contact her via: [email protected]

audrey bernard

Audrey J. Bernard