The Empowerment Zone

Dr Ramona Houston is focussing on all aspects of strengthening African American and Latinx communities.

In this show we zone in on Black and Brown empowerment: building economic, political, educational and social power; advocating for health, philanthropy and service; championing racial and social justice; critically analyzing current events and issues from our perspectives. We also spotlight and celebrate our history, (s)heroes, culture, institutions, organizations and events by creating synergies between our communities. We believe that by working together, we will increase our capacity and effectiveness in ushering in a better nation and world.

If you are interested in advancing the empowerment of the African American and Latinx communities, please subscribe on your favourite podcast app and join us twice weekly as Dr. Ramona Houston and her guests get into the zone to explore Black and Brown relations and our journey to empowering our communities.

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All available episodes

Jesus Martinez

How do you fund your business?

subscribe here Today Ramona talks to Jesus Martinez about his work in supporting small business owners. Quite simply, Jesus helps his clients to fund their businesses. As Jesus explains, business owners must understand the various types of lending. Jesus is Founder of Peach Tree Commercial Capital, a full service commercial loan brokerage firm. Raised in […]

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What does it take to be an effective leader in education?

Today Ramona talks to Hector Montenegro, Ed.D., about educational leadership. Dr. Montenegro has a long history in education, having served as a math teacher, principal, Chief of Staff for the DC Public Schools and Deputy Superintendent and Superintendent of Schools for three school districts in Texas. Now retired, Dr. Montenegro talks about his current work […]

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Roy S. Johnson

The Journey of an Agile Journalist

Today Ramona explores the fascinating journalism career of Roy S. Johnson. In their conversation, Roy discusses his extensive work covering sports, entertainment and business at several prominent publications including Sports Illustrated, History Channel magazine, Men’s Fitness and Savoy magazine. Roy also explores his current role as a statewide columnist for AL.com, where he has been […]

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Bryon Jennings

Is living debt-free really financial freedom?

In this enthralling conversation, Ramona talks to Bryon Jennings, who will be a regular guest to talk about wealth, economics and business. Today, Bryon discusses money and building wealth. As Bryon explains, the black church has shaped many of the ideas that African Americans have about money. Interestingly, Bryon challenges the community’s existing beliefs about […]

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Giovanni Gonzalez

Giovanni Gonzalez: Mindful Performance Blueprint, Your Resource for Building Trust

Today, Ramona’s guest Giovanni Gonzalez discusses how he helps individuals and companies to elevate their performance. According to Giovanni, building trust and transforming organizational culture is key to building an effective team. Giovanni is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Mindful Performance Blueprint (MPB), the creator of “Access the Leader Within – 3 day Leadership […]

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Dr. Maria Hernandez

Dr. Maria Hernandez: LatinaVIDA, Empowering Latinas to Lead

Today, Ramona talks to Victoria Archable, Owner, Certified Senior Advisor, and Certified Dementia Trainer with CarePatrol Metro Atlanta.  CarePatrol is a full service placement agency that assists families in finding safe and quality care for elderly loved ones. In this discussion Victoria discusses how she helps families navigate the complex process of finding the right […]

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Victoria Archable

Victoria Archable: Helping Families Navigate the Process of Finding the Right Care

Today, Ramona talks to Victoria Archable, Owner, Certified Senior Advisor, and Certified Dementia Trainer with CarePatrol Metro Atlanta.  CarePatrol is a full service placement agency that assists families in finding safe and quality care for elderly loved ones. In this discussion Victoria discusses how she helps families navigate the complex process of finding the right […]

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Sylvia Puente

Sylvia Puente: Reflections on the Transformative Year of 2020

Today Ramona talks to Sylvia Puente about the civil unrest of 2020 and how the movement has influenced and changed conversations among decision makers. No longer are the topics of systemic racism, structural inequality, and white privilege on the margins of discussion. Sylvia elaborates on how leaders within the nonprofit, advocacy and philanthropic spaces are […]

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Tracey Washington

Tracey Greene-Washington: Philanthropy and Community as Co-Creators and Co-Designers

Ramona’s guest in this episode is Tracey Greene-Washington, who talks about her leadership in transforming the relationship between philanthropy and community. According to Tracey, the philanthropic sector must change its approach from charity to see community as partners in solving complex social issues. Tracey is President of the Indigo Innovation Group and Founder of Co-Think […]

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Eboni Hall: American Forests and Tree Equity

Today, Ramona talks to her cousin Dr. Eboni Hall about urban forestry. In this enlightening conversation Dr. Hall expounds upon Tree Equity. Tree equity approaches urban forestry as a social equity issue and not just an environmental issue, considering the fact that trees are necessary in the fulfillment of basic needs for survival. As Dr. […]

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Izora Jones and Family

Izora Jones: You Can Learn at Any Age

In this episode, Ramona celebrates her grandmother Izora Jones, who turned 94 years old this month! A resident of Fort Worth, Texas, “Dr. Grandmommy,” as Ramona affectionately calls her, is a big advocate for education. She has educated three generations of her offspring, with three of her seven grandchildren earning doctorate degrees. On top of […]

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Ricardo Negron-Almodovar

Ricardo Negron-Almodovar: A Champion for Latino Justice and Del Ambiente

Today, Ramona talks to Ricardo Negron-Almodovar about his work with Latino Justice and Del Ambient. In this enlightening discussion, Ricardo sheds light on the various voter participation challenges of the upcoming 2020 elections and explains how Latino Justice is working to address these critical issues. As one of the founders of Del Ambiente, Ricardo also […]

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Shaleiah Fox

Shaleiah Fox: Engaging Alumni of Color

Today Ramona explores philanthropy and alumni giving in higher education with guest Shaleiah Fox. As predominantly white institutions change the way they recruit a more diverse student body, they should also change the way they engage alumni of color. Learn how Shaleiah, a fundraiser in higher education, is working to shift how The University of […]

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Dr. Rhesa Houston

Dr. Rhesa Houston: Finding Her Role in Addressing Institutional Racism and Systemic Oppression

Today, Ramona talks with her sister Rhesa Houston, DVM, about why and how she developed a racial and social justice initiative for her business Assistance Animals Consulting. Rhesa shares a very personal experience, where she encountered the convergence of the racial and social justice protests and white supremacists in the community of Birmingham, Alabama. This […]

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Sandy Holt

Sandy Holt: The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities

In this captivating conversation, Ramona talks to Sandra “Sandy” Holt about the incredible work of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). With HACU’s mission “To Champion Hispanic Success in Higher Education,” Sandra expands upon the multiple programs of the organization, which include advocacy, student programs, conferences and capacity-building initiatives. Whether you are a […]

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Suzette Arnold

Suzette Arnold: The Jamaican Chamber of Commerce of Atlanta

Today Ramona talks to Suzette Arnold, President of the Jamaican Chamber of Commerce of Atlanta. Suzette discusses the value of the Chamber and its role in growing businesses in the metro-Atlanta area. Suzette also explores her experiences as a female leader in an organization of majority men. Notably, Suzette announces and invites listeners to participate […]

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Elliot Kirk

Elliot Kirk: Building a Family Business

In this episode, Ramona explores the funeral home business with Elliot Kirk of Brownwood, Texas. Elliot discusses the long road of building the family business, exploring its many challenges and explaining how his family overcame these obstacles. Elliot also provides advice to aspiring business owners. Elliot is owner of Big Country Crematory and Kirk Family […]

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Crystal Mullen-Johnson

Crystal Mullen-Johnson: Take Care of Your Mental Health

Ramona’s guest today, Chrystal Mullen-Johnson, discusses mental health. As Crystal explains, there is a misunderstanding about mental health in the African American community. Although African Americans experience all types of life stressors, few seek professional help. Most internalize their pain and, consequently, suffer in silence. According to Crystal, African Americans must go beyond spiritually and […]

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Jim Estrada

Jim Estrada: Create Your Success

Today Ramona talks with Jim Estrada about how to build a career that brings joy and satisfaction. Jim’s advice includes identifying role models and mentors, surrounding yourself with affirming people, and staying connected to your culture and community. Jim is a recognized pioneer in ethnic marketing communications and author of The ABCs and Ñ of […]

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Angela Fobbs

Angela Fobbs: Every American Citizen Around the World Must Vote

Ramona’s guest today is Angela Fobbs, founding member and Chair of the Democrats Abroad Global Black Caucus and elected member of the Democrats Abroad Germany Executive Committee. In their discussion, Angela talks about the work of the Democrats Abroad and their efforts to engage Americans across the globe in the electoral process. She contents that […]

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Kent Jones

Kent Jones: Building a Successful Business Enterprise

How to Go from an Idea to a Sustainable Business – Kent Jones provides insight on how to create and build a successful business. Kent explores topics such as creating a business plan, marketing, and the importance of sustaining capital.

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Lyord Watson

Lyord Watson, Jr.: The Penny Foundation and Strategic Philanthropy

Strategic Philanthropy and Institution Building within Communities of Color – Today Ramona discusses strategic philanthropy with guest Lyord Watson, Jr., Founder and CEO of the Penny Foundation, based in Birmingham, Alabama.

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Aracely Panameño

Aracely Panameño: The Economic Impact of COVID

How COVID Has Made Political Engagement an Imperative – Today, Ramona’s guest Aracely Panameño discusses the economic impact of COVID on the African American, Latinx and immigrant communities.

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Dr. Robin Sibert

Dr. Robin Sibert: Special Education Services for K-12

A Discussion on How Special Education Services Levels the Playing Field for Students – Today, Ramona talks to Dr. Robin Sibert about special education services in K-12 education.

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Dr. Genine Ervin

Dr. Genine Ervin-Smith: Embracing Change in Post-Covid Veterinary Services

Ramona talk to Dr. Genine Ervin-Smith, a Los Angeles native, who is a proud graduate of Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Ervin-Smith sheds light on the historical and significant role that Tuskegee University has played in developing Black and Brown veterinarians—both in the US and abroad. As Chief of Staff for VCA in […]

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Anita Henderson

Anita Henderson: Tell Your Own Stories!

Why You Should Write about Your Life – As the saying goes, “History is told by the victor.” Ramona talks to Anita Henderson, owner of The Write Image and creator of the Write Your Life Author Coaching Program, about the importance of writing.

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Alfred Ramirez

Alfred Ramirez: Follow Your Heart and Passion

Some people stay on one job their entire life, while others create a professional Odyssey. In conversation with Ramona, Alfred Ramirez shares how to design a lifetime of rewarding professional experiences. One theme runs throughout his career, Alfred has always followed his heart and passions. Whether working in higher education at Columbia University, as special […]

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Dr. Juan Andrade

Dr. Juan Andrade: The Unsung Legacy of Congressman John Lewis

John Lewis—The Fuse that Launched Latino Political Power and Leadership Development. In this special episode, Ramona’s guest, Dr. Juan Andrade, shares the fascinating history and unsung legacy of Congressman John Lewis in the political empowerment and leadership development of the Latino community.

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Dr. Mara Perez

Dr. Mara Perez: Invest in Your Community

The Importance of Philanthropy — Dr. Mara Perez, Founder and Principal of Latino Futures, discusses the importance of Latinos and African Americans engaging in philanthropy—both as donors and as professionals. According to Dr. Perez, the Black and Brown communities must become more involved in the philanthropic sector on multiple levels to ensure the viability of organizations that serve our communities.

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Cause Marketing and Atlanta History with Marilyn Pearlman

Cause Marketing and Atlanta History with Marilyn Pearlman — Today’s guest is Marilyn Pearlman, Founder and Principal of Atlanta Cause Marketing and PR. Ramona talks to her about her professional evolution working in the field of public relations and cause marketing. Through her agency, Marilyn connects businesses and nonprofits to advance the good of humanity and promote both entities.

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Dr. Brian Gosa: Take Control of Your Health!

Today, Ramona speaks with Pharmacist Dr. Brian Gosa of Montgomery, Alabama, who now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, addressing health disparities within the Black and Brown communities. As a health advocate, Dr. Gosa encourages individuals to take control of their health by educating themselves about health…

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podcast: Episode 2 with guest Lydia Camarillo

Lydia Camarillo, President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project (SVREP), explains the history and importance of building the political power of the Latinx community. Based in San Antonio, Lydia discusses the founding of SVREP and its role in increasing Latino/a political participation. Asserting the importance of the upcoming elections, Lydia recommends strategies for maximizing […]

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Dr. Rhesa Houston

podcast: Episode 1 with guest Dr Rhesa Houston

Ramona talks to her younger sister Rhesa Houston, DVM, Founder and CEO of Assistance Animals Consulting (AAC), who explains how AAC partners with health care professionals and organizations to serve as a veterinary resource for any human-animal intervention treatment plans. After realizing there was a gap between veterinarians, health care professionals, support animals, and the patients […]

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