Feature

Like A Boss

The phrase “like a boss” comes to mind when thinking about Delores Balogun. She is vivacious, innovative and chic. This serial entrepreneur is on fire and it’s just the beginning.

Delores is a professional event planner by trade. She studied event planning during her undergraduate career at Illinois State University. The beginning was a little on the rocky side. By her second semester she was failing her classes and placed on academic probation. She didn’t understand how she could go from having a 3.2 grade point average in high school to failing out of college before college really began. Her years of primary and secondary education had not properly prepare her for college. After a meeting with the president of the university, Delores was able to continue attending ISU. After completing her education at ISU she became an event planner for National PTA. It was her responsibility to plan the annual convention and other major events. One event in particular was a bit different than the others. The keynote speaker was former Flotus, Michelle Obama. Her staff took notice of how meticulous Delores was when it came to every detail for the event. So much so, that they inquired if she would be interested in joining an advanced team working the Mrs. Obama planning her events. Two weeks later Delores was working for Mrs. Obama!

Fast forward a bit to 2012 when Ellen Degeneres and Michelle Obama joined with JCPenney to help several hundred girls of military families get ready for prom. Delores was assigned the task of helping these individuals get everything they needed. While interacting with them she couldn’t help but think about how this was a rare experience for the participants. That, paired with her passion for working with girls, inspired her to take action and start iGlow Mentoring in her hometown, Chicago. Delores had planned her first event expecting maybe about 20-25 girls to register. Her expectations were exceeded. She had over 500 girls to attend. iGlow mentoring has taught Delores that there is a strong need for the presence of organizations for girls. Five years later the organization is still going and growing.

The organization recently expanded to a 1,100 square foot office in the downtown area. If you know about urban real estate, that’s a hot commodity. They are currently in the developing stages of Glow boxes as part of the for-profit arm which is a social enterprise to bring money back to iGlow mentoring. There are so many participants in the mentoring program, that they are no longer able to do one-on-one mentor to mentee relationships. They have adopted peer-to-peer mentoring and there is still a waiting list. There are different locations throughout the city of Chicago where the participants come together to meet every other Saturday. iGlow mentoring deals with social/ emotional health, bullying, self esteem, college preparation and exposes the girls to things that aren’t necessarily normal opportunities. The mentees have been exposed to the Joffrey Ballet and visited the McDonald’s headquarters in Illinois. They also have been fortunate enough to have interns. Just this summer, there were 25 paid interns. Delores shared on social media, in excitement,“I love that we hire high school and college girls to work for iGlow during the summer months. For some working with me will be their first job experience. After working for me, they can work for ANYONE!!! Sooo honored to be their leader!!”

You have learned that Delores is an event planner and founder of iGlow, but did you know she has Pumps and Power, which is an organization for faith based for entrepreneurs. The tagline is “Where women, the bible and spirituality meet.” This organization was birthed when Delores started interacting with women who were powerhouses but were beyond disconnected from the church and she believes that the church is the heartbeat of God. The Holy Spirit began to show her what to do about this. She thought it would be something small, as if she hadn’t learned her lesson with iGlow. It started with a couple of dozen women and grew from there. It went from a small group to an organization. They come together once a month and have strategy sessions to reconnect their faith to what they are doing in business. Delores brings in experts, who are believers and nonbelievers, to train them about increase, net worth and business strategies.

At this point you may be wondering what is her secret? Life, sometimes, is the best teacher. When Delores was working in her field as an event planner, she could feel God tugging at her to pull her into entrepreneurship. She wanted to do it, but thought she was still too young and maybe in her late 30’s or 40’s she would that jump. Well, here she was employed for a university in Chicago. She was a hard worker and over achiever who was fired…yes, FIRED. They gave her a nice package of several months salary, but for someone who thrived off of staying busy and completing tasks, she was hurting. “Sometimes when you love God so much and you’ve literally molded your entire life around pleasing, serving and loving God when things happen to you that feel unfair and unjust you feel like how did you let that happen to me,” said Delores.

She was looking for something to do. God was trying to show her that her wealth was inside of her but she wasn’t listening. Everything she applied for, she was either overqualified or asking too much for salary. iGlow was a well oiled machine and didn’t need her for any day to day operations. Everyday she would wake up quoting scriptures. God began imparting wisdom and doing character changes for the next level he was moving her to. Eventually, she found another job working for a mega ministry with multiple churches world-wide. She was running events and knew this was what God called her to do. She was getting people together for the kingdom. After seven months, they had to lay her off due to budget issues. While they couldn’t afford to keep her on salary, they offered her a position to stay on as a consultant. After toying around with the idea for a while, Delores declined. As she began to make moves as an entrepreneur, God began to bless her with a $20,000 contract here and an $80,000 contract there. Delores’ nature was to make plans and focus on the details. She really just wanted God to share the plan with her so they could work on it together. She quickly learned this was an area where she was going to have to learn to trust God and put on her blinders.

Things became clearer for Delores last year. In 2016 she stayed off of social media for six months. She zoned in with God and shut out the noise. She began attending therapy and spending time in devotion. She read books addressing things she struggled with such as rejection and abandonment. This was the turning point for her and the more she became focused on the purpose God had given her to inspire girls and women globally, she was able to say no to the things that were not relative. Delores has had some big no’s. She doesn’t share them all, but this year, she turned down an Executive Pastor position for a well known ministry in the United States as well as a major corporation who requested to meet with her to hire her as the Senior Vice President of event planning. Could life get anymore exciting? Delores put it best, when you are anointed, favor will chase you down. When Delores learned to turn things down, things began to change for the best.

Delores simply feels unstoppable. Her experiences have shaped her thinking to another level. She has employees, interns, clients,mentees and more who are looking to her. She believes the purpose God has given you, can protect you from what you can’t see and keep you from falling down a path that isn’t ordained for your life. People hit bumps in the road and choose if they will and will not recover. Delores knows that life is a fight. She wants people to know that because you love Jesus and he loves you doesn’t mean it won’t be a fight, but it’s a fixed fight.

 

The editor was was raised as a pastor’s daughter in the city of Chicago and now resides in southern Illinois and is married to a minister. Don’t mistake her roles as a preacher’s kid (p.k.) and a preacher’s wife (p.k.) as a lack for awareness for what happens in the life of the average woman. She has had acquaintances and friendships over the years with women from all walks of life and the one thing that she has had in common with them all is her faith. Through those relationships she learned that everyone has moments of doubt, discouragement and even triumphs. The key is to have a connection to other believers so they can encourage each other through the ups and downs of life. That is what inspired her to create Nouveau Exposure Magazine. She has purposed to find other believers with testimonies of success after struggle, dreams coming to fruition by applying faith and action as well as lessons on self love. email address: SharondaCawthon@nouveauexposure.org