Rita and Britt have always been best friends and thick as thieves, but in 2017, new seeds of success were planted that would lead to a one-of-a-kind mother-daughter business venture. In 2017, Rita began writing articles for Black Enterprise Magazine to help women succeed in a corporate environment. These articles were integral to shaping Britt's career trajectory as she came into her own success in the corporate world.
In 2018, Brittany served on the Marketing committee for TEDx Normal in Bloomington, IL. Knowing this would be the perfect platform for her mom's timeless wisdom to reach a broader audience (outside of Nashville, TN), Britt encouraged her mom to apply to be one of the speakers. Rita won her spot in the line-up and delivered a powerful talk on when to say yes and when to say no.
From the moment Rita was confirmed to speak on the TEDx stage, Britt put her decade of marketing experience to task and built out her mom's marketing strategy. Britt created a logo that captured Rita's iconic look (big curly hair and bright red lips), launched her website, and built and managed her social media presence.
With 40+ years of corporate success in the highly competitive, male-dominated world of financial services, Rita always knew she wanted to write a book to help young women succeed in their careers. But not just any kind of book. In 1986, Rita read the book Who Moved My Cheese and it made her stop, reflect, and change. Thus, she wanted to write a short and powerful go-to-guide that would do the same, make the reader stop, reflect, and change.
In 2018, Rita retired from First Tennessee Bank as Executive Vice President and Manger of Private Client Services for Nashville and Middle Tennessee. While Rita worked culminating her career life lessons into a short guidebook, her daughter, Britt was facing major corporate challenges of her own as a new manager at a Fortune 50 company. Britt would call her mom almost everyday and ask "is the Oracle available to chat" which meant, "can I get some work advice?" As Rita helped her daughter overcome her corporate obstacles, they decided to fold those stories and lessons into Rita's book as well. Britt ended up being an integral part of the creation of Rita's first book, Own Your Phenomenal Self: A Guide on Character, Success, and Leadership, including writing the forward.
In January 2019, Rita and Britt published Own Your Phenomenal Self: A Guide on Character, Success, and Leadership which fans fondly refer to as a "pocket mentor." Rita describes her book as a path to "move 40 steps ahead without receiving 40 lashes." Rita encourages young women to learn from her mistakes and avoid them as they follow the path to their desired success.
A native Nashvillian, Rita has always been (and continues to be) highly involved in the Nashville community. As a 25+ year volunteer and past Board Chair of the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, Rita is committed to the YWCA's mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. Rita also sits on the YWCA USA Board and is Co-Chair of the Development Committee.
Rita also serves on the Boards of Cheekwood, Leadership Nashville Alumni Association, and the Founders' Advisory Board of Studio Bank, a start-up Nashville boutique bank. Rita is a Rotarian and member of the International Women’s Forum.
In April 2021, Rita was profiled as one of the FACES of Nashville in StyleBlueprint a lifestyle publication featuring trailblazers and influencers in the South.
In 2019, Britt took the opportunity to move to her dream city, New York City to further her corporate career. By early 2020, coronavirus shut the world down and Rita moved up to NYC to stay with Brittany during lockdown and the pandemic.
In 2021, Rita and Britt decided to get a bigger place in New York and make this a more permanent living situation. In the process of decorating their new apartment, they were struggling to find inspirational art for their living room and Britt, leaning into her passion and talent for painting, decided to paint something special. Britt wanted to paint 3 strong black women in a bold way: minimal background, a few key colors (red, black, and brown), and one large stand our feature (i.e. an afro so big it comes off the frame of the canvas).
Rita was so inspired by Britt's 3 paintings that she wrote 3 matching poems. Rita saw these 3 women as representations of herself throughout the phases of her life: just starting out, in the middle of her corporate career, and post-retirement looking to leave a legacy. Britt's art was so powerful it made Rita want to speak to it, hence the book title Spoken Art. Ultimately, Spoken Art: Too Brave to Back Down became a book about taking your dreams off the shelf and finding joy in challenging times.
In July 2021, Rita and Britt published their 2nd book Spoken Art: Too Brave to Back Down a mother-daughter memoir of Britt's 20+ years of paintings, Rita's poetry, and their personal affirmations.
With the success of their new book, Spoken Art: Too Brave to Back Down, Rita and Britt were invited to create and interactive art show at the historic Cheekwood Estate & Gardens in Nashville, TN. Their art show premiered at Cheekwood's inaugural African-American Family Cultural Celebration. For this exhibit, it was important to Rita and Britt that visitors would feel like they were literally walking through the pages of the book. From life-size posters of Britt's art and Rita's poems to an interactive "affirmation station" where kids and parents could write their own affirmations and hang them on a giant display to a curated selection of items from Rita and Britt's fashion line (made from Britt's art), the exhibit was a huge success!
In December 2021, Rita and Britt spoke about the power of affirmations and vision boarding to Pinterest's 3,000 employees globally at The Pinterest Global Women’s Conference 2021: Building Better. This conference kicked off a whirlwind speaking tour in 2022.
Rita and Britt's message of joy and success continue to resonate among career-driven women which led Rita and Britt to multiple speaking engagements and workshop opportunities in 2022. Highlights include a virtual vision board workshop for Women at Meta, a hybrid (in-person and virtual) networking event and workshop for Deloitte, and an in-person Keynote at the 12th Annual Southern Automotive Women's Forum Conference (200+ women).
Moving into 2023, Rita and Britt want to have a bigger impact on women in the workforce. They plan to accomplish this through their newly launched online course How to Own Your Phenomenal Self and Not Get Lost in the Sauce. They've also launched a Q&A platform were people can submit their corporate questions.
The love and joy of cooking has been passed down for generations and now Rita and Britt want to share their love for food, family, and fun in the kitchen with you! They are working on their 3rd book, a family legacy cookbook which will help people find joy in cooking... with our without a recipe. More to come!