The Funemployed Gent: Diego Gonzalez-Zuniga

For Man Crush Monday, we are going to start doing some profiles of dope dudes in DC.  This will still be a girls club for the under represented, we’ll just mix in some men from time to time.  Except in March, cause that’s ours.

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The Funemployed: Claudia Diamante & Andréa Vieira

DCFunemployment: So Who Are You?

Claudia Diamante, nailsaloon, co-founder
CD: I am an optimistic and self-motivated person who wants, essentially, two things in life: to continually challenge myself to be a better version of me, and to have a balanced life close to family and friends. I began my corporate career in Argentina, where I grew up, and eventually moved to the U.S. to get my master’s degree, after which I continued down the corporate path. But I was always intrigued by the idea of having my own business. Prior to nailsaloon, I started a line of leather handbags, but that didn’t turn into a long-term project. The combination of the right timing and identifying an exciting niche, gave Andréa and me the push we needed to act on our entrepreneurial spirit and create the nailsaloon!

Andréa Vieira, nailsaloon, co-founder
AV: I am driven by joy, really. Joy in spending quality time with friends and family, joy in pursuing life’s passions, joy in connecting with the world, joy in the small things… and every once in a while, the really big ones. I am from Brazil, but grew up bopping around nine cities (in four countries) before finally realizing that DC is my home. I chose journalism as my profession, probably because it aligns with what ultimately moves me: getting to know others, hearing their stories and sharing unique life experiences. After 20 years working in broadcast journalism and TV production, I embarked on this adventure with Claudia. It’s funny to realize now that it wasn’t all that big a pivot. As it turns out, owning a business heightens all your senses, experiences and connections. For better or worse!

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The Funemployed: Joi-Marie McKenzie

DCF: Who Are You?

My name is Joi-Marie McKenzie and I’m the Entertainment/Lifestyle writer for ABC News. I’m also a brand new author — my debut memoir, “The Engagement Game,” hit bookshelves recently (DCF: WHOOOOO!!). It tells the story of why I ultimately walked away from a relationship after playing tons of games to secure a marriage proposal. People say it’s hilarious and I believe them.

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The Funemployed: Amanda Nelson

DCF: Who Are You?
Amanda Nelson, owner of Whistle & Wild – an online clothing boutique!

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The Funemployed: Kelly Ferenc

DCFunemployment: Who Are You?
Kelly Ferenc, Bishop Boutique, Small Business Owner & Mama of Four & Wife & Master of Chaos & Drinker of Straight Up Martinis & Lover of all Things Fun & Eternal Optimist with a Splash of Realism.

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The Funemployed: Angela Luna

DCF: So… Who Are You?
Angela Luna, ADIFF, Founder & CEO
Angela Luna is the Founder and CEO of ADIFF. She is a member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2017, winner of Parsons‘ 2016 Designer of the Year Award, and winner of the Eyes on Talents Innovation Award. She is a solution-based designer, committed to creating products and services to better the world.

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The Funemployed: Karen Bate

DCF: Who Are You? Why do you love what you do? What makes you funemployment?

Karen Bate, Founder and President of KB Concepts P.R.

With more than 25 years experience in nonprofit and corporate communications, Karen Bate, Founder and President of KB Concepts P.R., rebrands companies and nonprofits; positions organizations to achieve their public policy and fundraising objectives; manages the design and use of websites, publications and videos; garners key media placements; and harnesses the variety of social media tools to tell her clients’ stories and inspire others to support them. Karen is also Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer for Awesome Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), a networking group supporting women business owners with more than 100 members in Arlington, VA, and new chapters forming throughout the Washington, DC region. She co-hosts a weekly radio interview show, Awesome Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), at wera.fm.

Karen served on the board of the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) for six years, and continues as a member of the Development Committee. She also serves on the Board of Advisors for Amman Imman: Water is Life. KB Concepts won an Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award in 2012, and Karen is a proud graduate of Leadership Arlington, Class of 2010.

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The Funemployed: Astra Armstrong

DCF: Who are you?!

Astra Armstrong, Creator of STAND TALL AND RISE, an outreach center for children who have incarcerated parents.

Sophomore Business Management Major. Astra plans to open a performance theater for unaccompanied youth and children who have parents that are incarcerated. In March 2013, Astra had the chance to perform her own work alongside the late Maya Angelou, who was reciting her poem Still I Rise. After the performance, Astra lives by three words: “pride, determination, resilience”. Astra now teaches school aged children, at the YMCA, the importance of performing arts. In her free time she volunteers at the city of Norfolk Juvenile Detention Center. She looks forward to a bright future and hopes to become a motivational speaker so she can encourage other young people with similar circumstances.  She wants others to aspire and achieve more than what surrounds them to overcoming drugs, homelessness, neglect, poverty, and much more. She has won numerous awards for performances throughout the DC area for her phenomenal outreach within her community and her passion for the arts. She plans to study abroad in South Africa this May 2017 where she will teach underprivileged children the history of the arts as well as complete a community service based project. Astra embodies all these and more as a writer, a performer, and a dreamer. (DCF: I knew we all needed some hope so I am so proud to present the future!!)

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The Funemployed: Stephanie Kiah

DCFunemployment: Tell the people – Who are you?

Stephanie Kiah, Stephanie Kiah Art, Contemporary Fine Artist
Bio: Stephanie Kiah was born in 1987 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and had advanced training in art from an early age. In 2008, she served as an intern at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia. She also completed her field studies at the Dallas Museum of Art and Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas as well as at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington D.C. In 2009, Kiah graduated with honors from Norfolk State University (NSU) with a B.A. in Fine Arts.

Her first solo gallery show entitled “On Earth & Above” exhibited February through April 2015 at ARTs East New York Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Her current contemporary conceptual exhibit, In Tune, will be up through early March 2017 at NSU’s James Wise Gallery in Norfolk, Virginia. Kiah’s works have been a part of group shows and events in New York, Washington D.C., Virginia, New Jersey, California, Maryland, and Georgia, and are a part of private collections across the United States, as well as within Nigeria. Some of her more notable collectors are actress Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures, Empire) and Charles Allen (son of Eugene Allen, the man whose life inspired the movie The Butler.) Her art has also been exhibited at the Pfizer World Headquarters in New York City, the historic Hampton University Museum in Hampton, VA, and has been a part of the permanent collection of the Singletary Art Gallery & African Art Museum in Portsmouth, VA since 2008.

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The Funemployed: Kia Weatherspoon

DCFunemployment: Tell the people – Who are you?
Kia Weatherspoon, President of Determined by Design
Kia Weatherspoon’s path to interior design was unplanned. Shortly after 9-11, while serving in the U.S. Air Force, she was deployed to the Middle East. In a shared space with fifteen other women, Kia needed a sanctuary — but she lacked privacy and a sense of comfort. So when military supply issued troops sheets for their tent city living quarters, Kia didn’t put them on her cot. She took some string and attached it to the top of the tent to create three sheet walls around it. That was the first space Kia created — one not dictated by extravagant finishes and furniture. It evoked an emotional reaction and a lasting memory. When Kia left the military in 2004, she knew she wanted to create spaces.  After 10 years of diverse design experience in hospitality, multi-family and high-end residential markets, Kia founded Determined by Design to create interior spaces that enable the progress of people and their neighborhoods. Driven by a commitment to establish exceptional interior design as a standard for all, rather than a luxury for few — Kia seeks out opportunities to empower those who do not have access to well-designed spaces. She believes in service-based leadership, demonstrated through active involvement with several professional organizations. Kia is known as a fixture in the district’s design community, a nationally recognized speaker and a trailblazer for design equality. (DCF: Love everything about your bio and journey!)
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