The women of Sumnu Marketing are as diverse in backgrounds, ideas, and personalities as they come. In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Urban Voice and Sumnu is proud to present these eclectic ladies who have one thing in common: They care.
Arlene Newsome, a native North Las Vegan, is the matriarch of the award-winning family-owned company. The business partner’s background in finance and experience in managing large teams in casinos makes her a perfect Finance and Human Resources Director. But she’s more than that to her team members and the many interns who journey through Sumnu. Arlene has those conversations that go beyond the normal training for job experience. She infuses her motherly instincts into action when she can assist young mothers with financial solutions, childcare innovation, and life skills.
Rosa Parks is the woman in history that Arlene most admires because she’s a strong woman who stood up for her rights as an American citizen. Arlene says her great accomplishment is getting married and being joined in Holy Matrimony. “This is special because we became one, in Christ Jesus.” Arlene’s young sister, Patricia, is her role model because she deals with adversity over and over and still lands on her feet. “It’s inspiring to me.” She exclaims. Working at Sumnu has helped Arlene accomplish something that she never dreamed in becoming, a Certified Financial Coach. Arlene would tell the younger version of herself, “Take your time and let God guide you through your life. Follow your heart through Christ.”
Tiara Flynn is the youngest daughter of Shaundell and Arlene Newsome, a U.S. Air Force veteran, wife, and mother of two children. As the principal partner in Sumnu, she utilizes her leadership, military experience, and wisdom from her ancestors to bridge the generational gap between her generation and previous generations. Paralee Booker, Tiara’s great-grandmother, is the woman that she most admires. “I admire my great-grandmother because she overcame so much as a Black woman living in the Jim Crow South. She purchased two homes in her name, the first in 1960 at beginning of the Civil Rights era.” Tiara said her level of bravery is very admirable. Tiara’s great accomplishment is being a Black-owned, woman-owned business owner who has employees (only 7% in U.S.). She’s proud to be a second-generation business owner. And she’s planning another business in a whole different industry.
Madame CJ Walker is a woman who has most impacted Tiara’s character. Like her great-grandmother, Madame CJ broke barriers and accomplished things that seemed impossible for their time. “She taught me how to be unapologetic.” “As a majority owner of Sumnu, I have learned a lot about myself as a leader and a business partner.” Tiara stated. She learned how to become resourceful and how to respond to adversity. “Adaptability has definitely become a major strength of mine.” Tiara would advise the younger her to “Go for it!” There had been a couple of times where she hesitated and now wonders, “What if?” She recently saw a post on Twitter that stated, “Procrastination is the arrogant assumption that God owes you another chance tomorrow what he gave you a chance to do today.” She never forgets it.
Frankie Moore, moved from Amarillo, Texas to Vegas, following her brother who was a small business owner over a decade ago. She worked for both the North Las Vegas and Vegas Chamber prior to working with Sumnu. Small business is her passion. Behind the scenes, Frankie quietly manages the administrative needs of the entire team while training and developing others to follow in her footsteps. She’s known for her calm demeanor. Frankie has always admired Mary J. Blige, award-winning singer, actress, and Hip-Hop icon. Blige is well known for her songs of strength and resiliency, drawing from her own life experiences. This is what Frankie loves about Mary J.
Frankie feels that her greatest accomplishment is keeping her only two sons out of the penal system. According to The Sentencing Project, Research and Advocacy for Reform, Black Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly 5 times the rate of white Americans. Black Men are usually the highest incarcerated and arrested. “I saw the heartache that it caused my mom and the family as a whole,” says Frankie. Frankie’s best role model is her mom. Her mother showed her the strength of a real woman, raising seven children (six boys and one girl). “My mom worked a full-time job and attended college to be a licensed nurse while she was pregnant. She made sure that we ate, had clothes laid out and prayed before we went to bed.” Frankie recalled. “I love that woman because she’s a REAL superwoman.”
Raven McSwain, a single mother who moved from Chicago to Las Vegas almost nine years ago, is always looking for ways to help small businesses, friends, and underserved populations in the community. She brings experience from the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) to Sumnu’s clients who look to connect with and grow Nevada’s small and minority firms. In addition, she’s already using her Vegas Chamber Leadership Advance degree as solid leader for up-and-coming team members within the family-owned business. Raven have always been a huge fan of women who have been trailblazers, whether they have been a first or broke barriers and glass ceilings. But she strongly admires fellow Chicagoan and the first Black First Lady of the United States of America, Michelle Obama. “She’s well accomplished, beautiful, nurturing and a passionate servant.”
“My granny and mama are the two women who have impacted my character most.” Says Raven. This is where she gets her strength and courage. Gerri Harris (another Chicagoan relocated to LV), founder of G. Harris Consulting, is a well-educated, articulate, bold yet humble; she is a courageous person who Raven admires. “Working at Sumnu has exposed me to resources, people, opportunities, and all sorts of cultures that continue to shape me into a better person daily.” Raven stated. She’s grown to understand the importance of REALationships© and begun to cultivate a few of her own with amazing people making Las Vegas feel a little more like home every day. Raven would tell her younger self to be bold and confident always. Don’t try to shoulder burdens alone. Don’t overstay your welcome in places that you have outgrown.
Zhane Conner is born and raised in Las Vegas and entered Sumnu through the Southern Nevada Workforce OJT internship program. She immediately became an asset to Sumnu. Zhane admires Harriet Tubman as a woman in history who had an impact on her. Tubman, an escaped slave, is responsible for freeing thousands through the famous Underground Railroad, helping them to get North to their freedom. “I couldn’t imagine the courage and selflessness that it took to do that. It pales in comparison to what we face today,” Zhane explains.
Zhane’s best role model is her grandmother, who was born on a plantation and worked since she was six years old. “Her struggle with raising six children and dealing with a husband with a gambling addiction was more than real.” “Working at Sumnu has helped me become a better woman through the amazing people we network with. It’s truly an empowering Black environment!”
Amber Pyle is the newest member of the Sumnu family. She comes with high energy and intellect. Amber is learning that the culture of family and faith is just as important as our core value of caring about our community, clients, and team members. Amber admires Kay Redfield Jamison, an American psychologist and leading authority on bipolar disorder as a woman in American history to celebrate. In addition to her mom, Amber’s role model is her sister, Melissa. “Her strength and motivation are what motivates me to be stronger.” Sumnu has impacted Amber greatly. “Sumnu has opened my eyes to where I now look at life differently and feel like I can have a firsthand in helping people where it matters most, which is what I love to do.
Keziah Wilson grew from intern to outreach team to Marketing Assistant at Sumnu over the past few years while attending college. She’s a quiet rockstar who sets the example for new team members. Her versatility and character are a value to Sumnu’s family business. Keziah most admires her mom as her hero from Women’s History because she’s a proud immigrant from Bukidnon, Philippines, a devoted Christian, mother, and wife. Proud of her Filipino heritage, Keziah celebrates her mom’s heroism and her grandmother’s patience to make her the woman that she wanted to become. “Working at Sumnu for almost two years and comparing to how I was to how I am now; I definitely see growth within myself. I feel more confident in the office, and my knowledge in marketing has expanded tremendously.” Keziah says.
Zahra Nejat joined Sumnu Marketing from the Southern Nevada Workforce Connections OJT program. She quickly adapted to the family environment of Sumnu Marketing. Her attention to detail and ability to listen attentively are gifts to the company. Zahra admires Marie Curie, physicist and chemist, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice. She discovered polonium and radium. Curie was the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris and developed portable radiography during World War I to allow X-ray imaging.
Mother Teresa received the Nobel Prize in 1979 and founded the order, The Missionaries of Charity, to look after abandoned babies and help the poorest of the poor. Zahra is most proud of this iconic woman.
Zahra’s role model is Masih Alinejad, an Iranian American journalist, author, and women's rights activist. “She is a role model for me as a strong and courageous woman whose family is in the captivity of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” She is also proud of her best friend for having such strong will through her adversity. Zahra says “Sumnu allows you to be yourself. Sumnu has nurtured confidence in me. I have seen Sumnu's appreciation of everyone, especially women, since I came here, and I enjoy it very much.”