Conversations Magazine's Business Issue 2023

Conversations Magazine's Business Issue 2023

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

One-On-One with Master Event Planner and Entrepreneur Melissa Banks

by Cyrus Webb

I have had the opportunity over the past few years to see Melissa Banks in action, and she is indeed inspiring. As a Master Event Planner, Entrepreneur, author, Podcast Host and Founder of the Imagine the Possibilities community, she is living proof that you CAN push past any challenge or difficulty that comes your way.

Melissa, congratulations on all of your success already in 2023. What has it been like for you to reflect on this year so far?

Thank you so much. This year has been an absolute world wind. It has moved so fast and I’m so grateful for the direction it has taken me. One of the biggest things for me this year is clarity for myself and my business.

You wear many hats. What has helped you to keep all the balls in the air when it comes to your business and brand?

What really has helped me the most is to stay focused on my purpose, to operate from my lane, have a plan and get up every day ready to execute.

Social media is something you have definitely used a lot. What advice would you give to business owners about the best way to use it?

Social media is something if you have a business you must learn to do well. That means we can use it to amplify our voices and what we bring to the world. What I have learned is there’s so many things in place already to help you be successful in getting your product/service noticed. Control what you see and whose voice you hear. And don’t ever stop learning because it changes consistently. To always show up the way you want to be known.

One of the things you have done this year is released your newest book DREAM BY DESIGN Inspirational Journal. Tell us about it.

I’m excited about this book. It is so important that we have some reminders to keep us focused and moving in the direction of our dreams. I believe everything begins and ends with the message you say to yourself. This book provides weekly prompts to help you begin each week ready to achieve your goals. It not only gives you the prompt, but it also provides a space to write your goals and what you’re going to do to make it happen.

You are also celebrating the second season of your talk show Dream by Design. What has it been like to share the stories of other inspiring women?

This show excites me! To listen to these women and hear some of the hard stuff that they have overcome inspires me and I believe my listeners as well. Their stories show us what happens when you keep going despite the circumstances you can create the life you want and deserve. When women support women, we’re unstoppable. 

Coaching is something you have also leaned more into. Why has it been important for you to pour into others when it comes to what you have learned?

Early in my journey I asked a woman who was running a successful business to help me with certifications. She wouldn’t help me the way I wanted, but in reality she really did help me without knowing it. I did the work and the research to find what I needed. I made a commitment to myself that I would always pour into others what I have learned. Coaching others gives me the opportunity to do that. I believe that helping you win doesn’t stop me from winning. In fact, it helps me win! 

Challenges come to all of us as entrepreneurs. Tell our readers how you approach it and what helps you to not give up when things get hard.

It is important to me during these times to be grateful to God for what He has already done. It is also important to speak life into myself using affirmations. It is important not to get stuck looking at the situation. Then look at what is happening, be honest with myself about my part and then give myself some grace to move on. I lean into scriptures, or quotes that encourage me during that time.  And never make quitting an option. I have learned when challenges come this is not the time to sit down and do nothing. This is the time to dig deeper and keep moving.

What are you looking forward to next?

We have a lot of exciting opportunities coming up this year. More opportunities to impact women. Look for some in person and virtual events coming from us and new things with my Imagine the Possibilities community.

Any other advice you want to share for entrepreneurs or those looking to start a business?

Everything begins with believing in yourself! It’s ok not to have it all figured out to start. Just do it! Don’t ever stop learning and growing. Get up everyday moving in the direction of your dreams.

Thanks again for your time, Melissa. How can our readers stay connected with you? 

You can connect with us at 

One-on-One with author Gerry Boylan

by Cyrus Webb

Author Gerry Boylan is someone I have had the pleasure of interviewing on Conversations LIVE the radio show in the past. This year I had a chance to welcome him back in a series of conversations with his grandson Eli Clark. Together they have written an entertaining book called SHOWDOWN AT FIREFLY ISLAND.

In this chat we talk about Gerry's love of storytelling and what it has been like sharing this experience with his grandson. 

Gerry, congratulations on your new book with your grandson Eli Clark. What has it been like to see the response to SHOWDOWN AT FIREFLY ISLAND?  

The response has been terrific and rewarding. Eli said that he learned that if you put the work in to making a book as good as possible, readers will enjoy the story and tell their friends about it. On both a personal level with friends and family enjoying the story and complete strangers appreciating the book, we’re thrilled. 

Storytelling is something you have been doing for some time. When did you realize that writing was a gift you had? 

You’re correct that I’ve been storytelling for a long time and I found I could entertain people from an early age. But putting the time in to learn and excel at the craft of writing started about 15 years ago. It takes time and good teachers/editors to write a story readers will love. 

The business of writing and publishing can be challenging. Has it been easy for you to navigate the changes that have occurred in the industry since you first started?

Like most things, change can be daunting, as you point out, so much has changed since I first published a book 12 years ago. But with the help of my daughter Moira, we’ve been able to adapt. And it helps to know someone like you, who has thrived in the high seas of change. 

Technology is such a big part of our world today. How has it helped you to amplify your message? I’ve found that the message still remains an important part of getting the word out…so that old-school part of the effort is still meaningful. But the ability to reach so many people, and quickly, is a huge benefit, if you have plan for how to maximize exposure via the right technology channels. Watching how you meld your messaging with technology is a great example, Cyrus. 

Part of what you are doing with SHOWDOWN AT FIREFLY ISLAND is raising awareness about the Detroit Police Athletic League. Tell us why that is important for you. 

I learned about giving back to the community from my parents and my wife Kathy, who was a nurse providing care for those without access to insurance. The Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL) enabled me to be part of team of inspiring staff, volunteer mentor/coaches and dedicated, caring police officers. PAL helps thousands of Detroit’s children find their greatness via 11 athletic, leadership and enrichment programs. PAL’s programs connecting police officers and children in a positive way is another important part of PAL’s work. 

Thanks again for the time, Gerry. How can our readers stay connected with you

Our website is and my email is 

[Book Review] With SMART BREVITY the founders of Axios show how you can achieve more by saying less


No matter your profession I believe that SMART BREVITY is the kind of book you can read and apply to an aspect of your life, personal and professional.

What the founders of Axios have done is take their lessons learned and examples of others and put them together to share with the reader how you can achieve more with less---and keep people wanting more. The style of the book is brilliant, letting you know about how much time it will take to digest each section. The examples are spot-on, allowing us to realize the ways we can apply what others have gleaned along the way in their lives.

The end result? Writing and speaking in a way that gets the attention, conveys a thought and keeps the individual wanting more. Why? Because you have met their need, satisfied their want for information and they now see you a trusted, reliable source.

This is the kind of book that you'll want to reference for sure. SMART BREVITY is all about thinking, listening and responding in a way that meets your audience where they are with what they need.

Get your copy on Amazon

[Book Review] Evan Carmichael's MOMENTUM shows what it takes to go from a goal to success

 Anyone that has followed Evan Carmichael knows that he's a man of action. That is what he shows in the book MOMENTUM as well, letting you know what it takes to go from a goal to success.

The book reminds us of Evan's journey, what has helped me to have the success and reach he has----and how you can do the same. This means we have to be mindful of how we spend our time, who we spend time with and the importance of focus on what our mission is.

MOMENTUM propels us forward if you allow yourself space to do the work. Get out of your own way, stay focused and there is no way you won't win.

Get your copy on Amazon

[Book Review] With MASTER YOUR DIGITAL BUSINESS LIKE A BOSS Omegia Keeys shares valuable tips

 If you want to reach a level you have never been to before you need someone to help you on that journey. With MASTER YOUR DIGITAL BUSINESS LIKE A BOSS entrepreneur and author Omegia Keeys shares how she has gotten where she is, and how her roadmap can help you in attaining your own goals.

It's not about a shortcut. It's all about the helping hand that we all need when trying to navigate a new path. I love that the book is written in such a way that it will inspire you and give you real tips and strategies.

If you're ready to go to the next level this will help you on your way.

Get your copy on Amazon

[Movie Review] AboutFace Media outdid itself with this one. FATED REUNION is a must-watch!

 I have seen other productions from AboutFace Media, but this is by far my favorite.

FATED REUNION has a bit of it all: life lessons, love lessons, humor, social issues and facing consequences.

We meet Mandy Sanders, someone who has found success professionally but dealing with the past. When an opportunity comes to face some of those in that past she takes it, but decides not to do it alone. That leads to meeting Dante, someone is also doing well for himself. Helping out a friend initially he meets Mandy. Though it's not the welcome he was expecting it plants a seed that we see blossom as the film goes on.

Not to spoil it for anyone I'll say this: we see Mandy and Dante dealing with life, expectations and secrets that come up from the past. Will it bring them closer together or force them apart?

I honestly couldn't turn away from this movie, afraid I might miss something. It's just THAT GOOD. A great film that men and women can watch and enjoy---and maybe learn some lessons of our own.

Watch FATED REUNION on Amazon

[Book Review] When wondering about the next step, Ahmard Moore Vital's NOW WHAT helps you take action

 There is no doubt that Ahmard Moore Vital is a man of action. Any one who has watched his career would attest to the fact that he makes a plan and then goes about making it a reality. Ever wonder how YOU can do the same? That is what NOW WHAT does for the reader.

The book addresses areas where you might feel stuck and then shares ways you can take the steps to move forward and ultimately win. Will it take effort on your part? Yes. Will you have to make changes in your thoughts and actions? ABSOLUTELY. What the book shows, however, is that such movement is necessary if you truly want to win and live the best life possible.

Inspiring and full of actionable tips and strategies, NOW WHAT is the kind of book that will help you get where you want to go.

Get your copy of NOW WHAT on Amazon