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Josette Simpson RESTAURANT OWNER EXTRAORDINAIRE 

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When Women Of Wealth Magazine was introduced to Josette Simpson, we were so impressed with this beautiful woman. Immediately, we knew we had to introduce her to our readers. Her story was so inspiring. Enjoy. 

Josette, your coping mechanisms amaze me, look at you standing there as if nothing challenging has ever happened to you, that your life was perfect. I would be fooled except I know your story. Will you please let my readers in on your little secret about how to stay strong even in the midst of the storm. What coping mechanisms did you use to come through your storm(s)? 

I come from an impoverished background and neither of my parents had more than a high school education. My father also suffered from substance abuse, so my home life was often times difficult. Because of the financial instability in my home, I was frequently shuffled between my parents’ and grandparents’ homes. Honestly, I was pretty unhappy most of my childhood and I yearned for a better life. Once I graduated high school and left home, I was determined to create a better life for myself. I focused on completing my education and eventually earned a Master’s Degree in Nursing. Professionally, I have financial stability and independence. In my personal life, I make sure that I have as little drama as possible. Of course, I have faced challenges in my life, and at those times, I have turned to my faith in God to see me through. It is my faith that enables me to withstand and surmount the challenges that I face. In addition to my faith, I rely on my husband’s abiding love and support. He has taught me to love, to forgive, to be patient, and to be generous. I thank God every day for his friendship and guidance. 

Is the discussion about your first marriage acceptable? 

Absolutely! I met my first husband when I was seventeen years old. Initially, we were very close friends. Later in our friendship, he expressed a desire to have a romantic relationship with me. I naively moved forward with a romantic relationship believing that the friendship would be fundamental to the success of a romantic relationship. Unfortunately, I was incorrect! We were great as friends, but romantically, we had too many incompatibilities. My divorce seemed inevitable, but actually getting a divorce left me feeling a little defeated. Rather than beating myself, I tried to learn from the experience. Being in my first marriage helped me to get know myself as a woman and to more clearly understand what I was looking for in a husband. I felt so bad about getting divorced, but on the bright side, I got the most wonderful son from that relationship. 

Well, you have picked yourself up very quickly, haven’t you? Tell us, how did you do it? 

Well, as I said, after my divorce, I really learned a lot about myself and what to look for in a husband. When I met my current husband, we hit it off immediately. We were married within three years! He has owned a technology firm for twenty-seven years now. So, when he told me that he wanted to open a restaurant, I was a little shocked. Neither of us had any culinary experience, so we had to do a lot of research before opening in February 2015. SoBe is a very beautiful restaurant that is one of a kind in our county. We have served our community and have met so many wonderful people at the same time. 

Does your community support you? If, yes. How? 

Yes! We are very blessed to have community support. We talk to our customers all of the time, and they tell us how proud they are to have a beautiful, black owned establishment in their neighborhood. SoBe has the ambiance and quality of a Washington D.C. restaurant, but you don’t have to leave home and deal with all of the traffic and parking issues. We have regular customers who thank us for building SoBe. They are happy to have some place nice close to home and a place to bring out of town family and friends. The local government is also very supportive. They host government sponsored events at SoBe frequently. 

Josette, how do you define wealth? 

I define wealth as having love, peace, education, and happiness. If you are blessed to attain these things, then the money will follow and you’ll know how to manage it responsibly. I have the benefit of having both perspectives. I have been poor and I am where I am now. Money only makes you more of what you already are as a person. 

That is a great line of thought. Now tell me, does any part of your belief system include helping other women? 

Of course it does. A lot of people know me through the restaurant, but I am a nurse anesthetist, and I work in an operating room giving anesthesia for patients having surgery. I’ve been a nurse since 2001 and that’s probably my biggest avenue for women’s empowerment. I work with women all of the time for health maintenance issues. I talk to women about women’s health issues, such as breast cancer and cervical cancer and preventative health maintenance. I am particularly focused on this area because the black community is truly underserved. There are fewer resources in this area and the patients lack education. Some patients have inherent fears about health care, and I really try to educate the patients and dispel as many fears as possible. I have met several men who were afraid to get a prostate exam and women who were afraid to get a mammogram. I spend a lot of time educating those people and encouraging them to get their exams. 

My biggest focus in helping women is on my two daughters. I met my step daughter when she was seventeen years old. I have spent a lot of time with her making sure that she pursued her education. Now that she has finished college, we talk about so many issues. I want to make sure that she is successful professionally and happy and healthy personally. I also have a five year old daughter. I’m making sure that she feels good about herself and that I instill that value of education. I want to serve as a role model to both of them. I think it is very important for them to see a strong, educated black woman. 

Josette what is your next Chapter, you are succeeding at so many wonderful things, nurse, businesswoman empowering other women, restaurant owner, mother, wife and community leader. 

Thank you so much for asking! My husband and I are actually about to open a hair salon. Once the salon opens, I want to start a blog. I want to cover issues, such as health, wellness, and beauty. I want a platform where people feel comfortable to talk about very personal issues. For instance, I would film myself getting a mammogram and talk about the importance of the exam. Hopefully, seeing the actual exam would help women feel less fearful about getting mammograms. Mammograms are uncomfortable, but the benefits of having a mammogram far outweigh any discomfort you might experience. 

Great, now let’s discuss the three qualities that we believe a woman should possess. Be Fearless in her pursuit of her happiness, stay relevant in her pursuit and be intentional at all times in her pursuit. I have talked about these things myself. I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic? 

Health and beauty are at the top of that list for me. I’ve always tried to live a healthy life. I have a healthy diet and I exercise regularly. The secondary benefit to regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle is beauty. As I’ve gotten older, I’m still in great shape and I still have the confidence of looking great. In terms of staying relevant, my children keep me relevant! They keep me apprised of current trends, including the use of social media. Frankly, I cannot understand the concept of posting your private business on the world wide web! But my children have explained the benefits of social media from a business perspective, and so I have professional social media pages. As far as being intentional, my husband and I are living our best lives and we are not apologizing for it! We have been kind to so many people and we work so hard. I think we have earned the right to live our best lives. We are truly happy and it’s not by accident! We keep it that way. If any of your readers desire to reach out to me, please do so at info@soberestaurantandlounge. com or look for the blog for McKenna Jordan Salon Bar.

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