Celebrating Women: Courtney Maki’s Journey to Success

By Emily Cervone on March 22, 2017

“Start Each Day with a Grateful Heart”, a framed picture reads in the corner of Courtney Maki’s office, founder of Glow Social Media in REO Town Lansing. Maki is the 2017 recipient of ATHENAPowerLink, a mentoring program that honors women business owners in the “growth stage” in the Lansing area.

“I get advisement from a panel of volunteers–financial and legal– and I get to meet with experts and have quarterly team meetings all free of cost,” said Maki. “They want to help you to succeed.”

Although Maki now owns her own business, she never thought she would be interested in that field, she said. However, she was drawn to social media because of the spike in its relevance after she graduated college.

“Social media was the onset of the personal branding phenomenon,” said Maki. “Since MySpace, Black Planet, etc., I used to update my media every day and I was interested in the personal branding side of things. I could never see myself in anything else.”

Graduating from Lansing Catholic Central in 2003, Maki made her way to Florida A&M where she received a full academic scholarship to a 5-year MBA program.

“I had, and still have, a hard time spending other people’s money,” said Maki. “So I figured I would go where they were giving me money. I didn’t even go to the orientation [program]. I figured if I go and don’t like it, there’s nothing I can do anyways.”

Since the program was rigorous and required students to do at least three internships (each three months long, two without classes), she thought her resume was more than ready for the real world — until she graduated.

“Of course, it was during the economic downturn in 2009,” said Maki. “So I found myself as an assistant manager at a mall boutique. I resigned myself to being a retail employee for the rest of my life.”

However, her plan changed in the form of a call from Disney, who hired her on a contract-basis. Three weeks later she found herself in Orlando, FL. Amongst the many hats she wore, including working on social media for Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons, she still focused primarily on personal branding.

“It was the best place to learn about social media with all of the resources I had,” said Maki. “We launched every form of social media there was available at the time: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest…it was an ideal scenario.”

Unfortunately they did not have a contract to renew for her, so she ended doing social media for a small network in Atlanta called UpTV in 2010. This was a pivotal experience in her growth as a small business owner.

“As a sort of ‘faith based’ ABC family-type network, it was a huge change because I went from a huge company [Disney] to maybe 30 people running this whole network,” said Maki. “It was a learning opportunity, and set me up for solving problems, learning about the company.”

Maki continued until she was laid off in 2012, which was an “extremely devastating” time. After a conversation with her dad, she decided to email all of her previous employers of her situation; she ended up getting in touch with the editor in chief of CocoFab.com.

“It was a freelance job, I needed money so during it I just applied to other jobs,” said Maki. “But I didn’t receive any offers. I didn’t know it, but there was something better in the works.”

Family and friends started asking her for help with personal branding during this time, which turned into a couple of “gigs”, she said. From this, her first LLC, ‘Courtney Lane Maki’ was born.

“Over a glass of champagne with my friend, I got the name Glow Social media,” said Maki. “I think because of my effervescent personality and passion I bring.”

Within the course of her first year, there were many ups and downs: inconsistent numbers of clients, moving into her mother’s cousin’s basement, and selling her clothes for a little extra cash. But she doesn’t want this painted as a “hard-knock-time” story.

“I had about $10,000 of clothes in my closet,” said Maki. “I learned that it’s stuff, it’s fluid. And in your journey, yes, people will push you to question yourself – and not in a good way.”

Her “small” misfortunes were met with a few positives: she dabbled into acting and booked a national Ford commercial, with a check containing money she had “never seen before.”

“I was a 20+ single woman, so I spent it all,” she laughed. “I bought clothes, went to Paris…but I also bought stocks.”

Still, she felt she had no direction until her mom became diagnosed with cancer in 2014 while visiting her family for the holidays. From networking through Craigslist and LinkedIn, she booked her first “gig” with a PBS hunting show, virtually as a personal brander. The rest is history, she says.

“I joined the chamber here, and in the first year I was at every single event they had,” said Maki. “I took advantage of all of the resources given to me. I really attribute my success to going away during my career, it really made an impact on me.”

Maki’s eccentric career helped her serve the variety of clients now at her job, she says. Remaining transparent and open is one of her biggest mantras. She has a large posterboard of 1, 3 and 5 year goals – which have altered slightly due to her new engagement.

“You never know who walks in and asks what your goals are,” she said. “So they are right here, for everyone to see.”

However, as a woman business owner, she has faced some unfortunate backlash, and offers advice to any women pursuing owning their own business.

“Assert yourself,” she said “Watch your body language, keep it in mind. I think because I’m bright, people never labeled me ‘aggressive’, but as a young woman you have to be. Remain acutely aware of your physical language and actual language.”

Nevertheless, Maki continues to plan for her upcoming wedding, expanding her business, and the excitement of starting a new family.

“I am so confident in this: if you are organized, well-documented, and have a good plan: you don’t have to worry,” said Maki. “Listen to God, the Universe…whatever you call it. Trust your gut.”

Unsung Women in History: Scientists

By Leah Boelkins on March 20, 2017 

Women working in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) today are few and far between. While approximately 48% of the United States workforce is comprised of women, only 24% of the STEM field consists of women. Even today, Marie Curie is one of the only female scientists in history who has become a household name. While women have been making strides in these fields for years, there is still a long way to go. Check out these three unsung women heroes in the past who have paved the way for women and girls who want to pursue careers in STEM fields:

Dr. Mae Jemison

Mae Carol Jemison made history in September of 1992 when she became the first African-American female to travel to space. Jemison had been interested in science since she was in grade school as she spent much of her time reading about astronomy in her school’s library. She later in high school decided that she wanted to become a biomedical engineer and then furthered her education at Stanford University on scholarship. In her career, she, along with six other astronauts, flew into space conducting several experiments over a span of eight days. After her experience, Jemison emphasized how much minority groups could contribute to science and society if provided with the right opportunities.

Edith Clarke

Edith Clarke paved the way for women and girls looking to enter the STEM fields today as she was the first female electrical engineer in the United States. Before finding a job at General Electric, Clarke struggled to find work as engineering was not a “typical” or “normal” job for women during the early 20th Century. She worked as a “computer,” essentially performing extremely complicated mathematical equations during a time in which calculators and computers as we know today did not exist. After her career in the field, Clarke became a professor of electrical engineering, further serving as a model for women who were passionate about working in the STEM fields.

Cecilia H Payne-Gaposchkin

Cecilia H Payne-Gaposchkin was an American astronomer born in Great Britain. She began a successful career in astronomy in the United States at Harvard after receiving a fellowship to study there. Much of her work revolved around researching the Milky Way Galaxy and stars, as she made the discovery that stars are made up mainly of hydrogen and helium. In addition to this, Payne-Gaposchkin was the first woman to be a full time professor at Harvard and was the first woman to be a department chair at Harvard after she was appointed to this position at the Department of Astronomy.



Women’s Health Matters

A symposium presented by the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing

When: Wednesday, March 22 at 6:00pm (doors open at 5:30pm)

Where: Plymouth Congregational Church, 2001 East Grand River Ave., Lansing, MI

About: Join Carla Wysko, Certified Reflexologist and Nutrition Coach, and other practitioners from iHealth of Michigan for an eye-opening presentation and demonstration on the benefits of reflexology and lymphatic massage, especially for breast cancer survivors undergoing chemotherapy and/or mastectomy. All are welcome!

Click on Donate Now to buy your tickets online ($10 online, $15 at the door). ALL tickets will be held at the door. 

Check out our flyer and share it with your friends! Women’s_Health_Matters_Flyer

Bowl to Benefit the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing

Bowl to Benefit the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing on Sunday, March 26th, 2017!

We’ll start checking in and lacing up our bowling shoes at 1:30pm, and bowling will be from 2:00-4:00pm.

Cost to bowl: $15 per person ($60 for a team of 4)

Location: City Limits Bowling Alley – MASON, MI

Click on our flyer below to check out our Facebook event; share it with your friends and let us know that you’re coming! All proceeds go toward programs at the Center.