United Presbyterian Church of West Orange




Minister Kim is posting Black-owned businesses, entrepreneurs

on our Instagram account (soon to our Facebook account as well).

This month’s highlighted honorees include:

     - Natash Verela aka *The Moneynista; https://www.themoneynista.com

     - Dr Benedict Nwachukwu (from the Hospital for Special Surgery)

     and on TV about getting a Covid vaccine;


     - Elves Florals on Etsy, created and managed by our very own Mrs. Jann Carden

     - Lynae Vanee—poet, Social Media Influencer, and Creator;

     - Black and Mission Foundation, Inc 

     (@blackandmissingfdn; #helpusfindus; or see HBO docuseries);


     Wood Legacy Productions – Ms. Lori Wood, President & Executive Producer

     The Urban Cone – Jamar Q. Chiles, Founder


     Dr. Michael Strakerhttps://www.bestcareobgyn.com/?utm_source=gmb_auth

     Keresse Dorcely, SIX/20 - https://www.six20style.com/

     Tony & Lisa Stevenson - https://letstalkrnr.libsyn.com/about

     Mark Peynado – Musician (Praise Band Drummer) : @Mark_Zeak_Peynado

     Tasha Hart – YouTube channel “Puzzled 2 Purpose with Tasha Hart”

     Dr. Mart Royal — Forest Hill Physical Therapy

     Akilah Peynado – Life Coach (akilahpeynado@gmail.com)

Service Providers

Financial Services

-          Natasha Verela, aka “The Moneynista” @_themoneynista_ is the founder of The Money Masters Academy, where she teaches tax strategy and planning using real estate and business ownership. Before founding The Money Masters Academy, she obtained over 18 years in audit, accounting, and tax including, 13 years at the IRS as a corporate tax examiner for large entities that report $10M in gross receipts and/or assets. Natasha is also real estate investor of 12 years beginning with one condo and acquiring several more properties that cash flow and “tax” flow by the end of 2021.  Natasha has managed to legally have no tax liability for 2020 and 2021. Her goal is to visually teach others how to build wealth by utilizing the tax code legally using specific strategies that prevent audit and minimize tax liability. https://www.themoneynista.com


Entertainment & Events

-          Wood Legacy Productions. Ms. Lori Wood, President & Executive Producer. Launched in 2017, Wood Legacy Productions has continued the family tradition to create & execute innovative events, while staying true to the foundation of building lifelong relationships through exemplary service and delectable cuisine. As the executive producer, Lori is recognized for her ability to develop fresh ideas and new procedures for every project she takes on. Wood Legacy Productions was proud to be included on the 2018 & 2019 East Orange MAC Fest team incorporating several new elements and special events, as well as expanding on the festival footprint with increased corporate sponsorships. Managing a wide variety of events, Wood Legacy Productions was proud to produce the first annual Roselle Park Jazz Festival in conjunction with JTole Music. Lori led the planning and execution of the festival and looks forward to working with the borough leadership to continue the expansion of this newly established event.

Lori’s leadership has been recognized by The New Jersey State Assembly, The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders and The National Action Network where she has been honored for her community service and as a woman of purpose. She was humbled to be sought after as the key member of the production team to plan and execute a star- studded birthday celebration and concert for Reverend Al Sharpton during the First Annual NAN New Jersey Conference in October 2017. Wood Legacy Productions is the proud recipient of the 2019 Madam CJ Walker Business Award by the Montclair Chapter of the NAACP.

Lori serves the community vigorously donating her time and services to causes she is passionate about. After losing her mother Diane to breast cancer in 2013, Lori has been actively engaged in raising funds and awareness towards the battle against this disease. She is an active member of AAngels NJ which provides breast cancer education and support services to the underserved, underinsured and uninsured community. 


-          The Urban Cone. Jamar Q. Chiles, Founder. Jamar Q. Chiles started The Urban Cone in 2019.  A lover of ice cream himself, Jamar saw the need for a mobile service, providing treats packed with flavor and served with love. Since then, this little Ice Cream Truck has become a staple in New Jersey. Serving fellow ice cream lovers near and far, The Urban Cone has an ever evolving menu — always keeping our treats fresh and unique.  The Urban Cone is available year round adding delicious hot chocolate offerings during the winter months.





Medical Professionals

-          Dr. Benedict Nwachukwu is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and specialist in hip, knee and shoulder surgery at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York City. He is the Co-Director of Clinical Research for the Sports Medicine Institute at HSS and an Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Nwachukwu completed his undergraduate work at Columbia University and obtained both his MD and MBA from Harvard.  His orthopedic surgery residency was completed at HSS followed by sports medicine fellowship training at the world-renowned Rush University.



-          Dr. Michael Straker is a board-certified OB/GYN and currently practices general obstetrics and gynecology at Bestcare OB/GYN, in Nutley, New Jersey, with an emphasis on minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.

Dr. Straker is a 1995 graduate of Johns Hopkins University where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Biology. He earned his medical degree in 1999 at Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, where he served as a Teaching Assistant in Anatomy and served as the Region IX Director of the Student National Medical Association. In 2003, he completed his residency training in Obstetrics & Gynecology at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey, where he was the first African American to graduate the program.

He maintains admitting privileges at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville and St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. Additionally, Dr. Straker has been serving as the Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Clara Maass since 2009 and previously served as the Co-Chair of the minimally invasive surgical steering committee.

Dr. Straker is licensed to practice medicine in the state of New Jersey and is certified in numerous areas including minimally invasive da Vinci Robotic Surgery. He is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is a member of the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association and is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (FACOG). He is a Clinical Assistant Professor of the Department of OB/GYN at the New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine. In this capacity, he teaches Obstetrics and Gynecology to medical students rotating through Clara Maass Medical Center. He previously sat on the Board of Directors of the Neighborhood Health Services Corporation (formerly the Plainfield Health Center) in Plainfield, New Jersey.





-          Mrs. Jan Carden, Owner of ElvesFlorals.  Mrs. Jan Carden is the owner of ElvesFlorals. ElvesFlorals is located on Etsy, with a website The Artful Broom by ElvesFlorals.

Mrs. Jan Carden opened ElvesFlorals after working in retail for sixteen years. She created her my own company which is now in its eleventh year. Her primary products - all designed and handmade by Mrs. Carden are wedding brooms for Jumping the Broom wedding ceremonies. She also creates other wedding accessories which can be made to coordinate with a wedding broom. The designs of her brooms range from African Heritage to floral and bling. Each broom is artistically detailed and can be customized to accommodate clients’ design desires.


-          Keresse Dorcely, SIX/20 

Six/20 @six20style is a luxury sportswear brand for women who value style and comfort equally. Women are superheroes who dash from place to place, balancing multiple responsibilities all at once. Unlike the superheroes in comic books, women don’t have the luxury of dashing into a phone both. They need for their garments to transition with them.  Six/20 combines quality fabrics with silhouettes that move seamlessly from work to weekend; from brunch with the girls to a night on the town. Six/20 doesn’t just want to be part of your very special day, Six/20 wants to be part of your everyday. The SIX/20 woman is a Champion in the Sport of Life.

-          Baltimore native and New Jersey transplant, Keresse (Pronounced Caress)  taught herself to sew as a way of healing after tragedy. On June 20, 2014 (SIX/20/14), Keresse gave birth to a beautiful but stillborn baby boy named Forte.  Losing a child is unimaginable pain that no one should have to endure, but Keresse had a 5-year-old daughter that needed her to be strong and resilient-a superhero.  While healing, Keresse kept having a nagging feeling that she needed to buy a sewing machine.  Up to this point, Keresse had been a high school music teacher who loved fashion, but even struggled with sewing on a button. With each day the desire to buy a machine only grew in intensity, so Keresse finally ordered one. A few days later it arrived and a friend showed her how to thread the machine. With every stitch, a new world opened for her. Fabric became puzzle pieces that when put together told her  story and healed her wounds. Keresse’s desire to express her philosophy on life through design and her desire to make her clients feel strong, powerful, and beautiful drive her to push the bounds of luxury sportswear and design. https://www.six20style.com/


-          Tony & Lisa Stevenson, Creators and Co-Hosts of the “Let’s Talk Relationship Not Religion” Podcast.  The Let's Talk RnR Podcast is hosted by the husband and wife team of Tony and Lisa Stevenson.  Every week the listener gets to sit on this dynamic couple as they laugh, have fun and have real conversations focused on the relationship with Jesus...not the religion of Jesus! The podcast is thought provoking, relevant and joyful.



-          Lynae Vanee - Poet, Social Media Influencer, and Creator of the popular IGTV Series, ‘Parking Lot Pimping’. Lynae Vanee is a former high school teacher turned Influencer and multi-hyphenate artist. She is also the Founder and CEO of From the Lot, LLC. She started this company to house all the content she produces. From her viral IGTV series Parking Lot Pimpin' to concept visuals, and upcoming YouTube and Facebook Watch series currently in the works. Most recently Ms. Vanee is a NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Social Media Personality.


Social Justice

-          The Black and Missing Foundation.  A third of the almost 300,000 U.S. girls and women reported missing in 2020 were Black. That's according to the National Crime Information Center. Yet those cases are often marginalized or ignored by law enforcement and national media. The Black and Missing Foundation, Inc (BAMFI) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to bring awareness to missing persons of color; provide vital resources and tools to missing person's families and friends and to educate the minority community on personal safety.

BAMFI was founded in 2008 by experts in the fields of law enforcement and public relations; two vital expertise needed to help bring awareness to and find those missing from our communities.

BAMFI creates public awareness campaigns for public safety and provides parents and loved ones of missing persons with a forum for spreading the word of their disappearance, with pictures and profiles of missing individuals. BAMFI also utilizes a variety of media platforms, including print, television, radio, and social media, to help locate those missing.

Derrica Wilson and Natalie Wilson work to ensure black people and other people of color reported missing don't slip through the cracks. In 2008, the two founded the Black And Missing Foundation to help raise awareness around these cases and help families navigate police and the media ― two spaces that can be hostile for people of color.