Belwah Media, formerly Genia Stevens & Associates, provides brand management services as well as content development, content distribution and social media marketing services.
“My company launched over 16 years ago and it has changed a lot since then. I started running my business as a side job out of a small room in my home while I finished my Bachelor’s degree. I went on to work on my MBA and still didn’t feel comfortable enough with my skills to make my company my full-time income,” Stevens said. “In 2008, when the economy tanked, I decided I had no choice. I started out helping eBay sellers improve their Google rankings. Today, I work with companies of all sizes. I help with everything from SEO to brand management to content development.”
Stevens is also the founder of the livestreaming virtual conference series BizTechWomen where she livestreams her experience as a coach and digital marketing consultant. She has also been a blogger for nearly 18 years. She has published articles on Business.com, Business 2 Community, Social Media Today, Huffington Post and Inquisitr. She speaks regularly about digital marketing at conferences across the country.
“I have always had a hard time adapting to a traditional corporate America culture. Or, maybe I should say, the corporate culture where I am located has had a hard time dealing with my personality,” Stevens said. “Midwest America doesn’t always know how to respond to an intelligent, outspoken, openly gay Black female. I’ve been told over and over again that I should move to a larger city outside the midwest, but I guess I like a challenge.”
Entrepreneurship has always been her desire. She grew up in a very small town in Georgia and her grandmother was a bootlegger for 30 years and her father was a handy man for 35 years.
“Over the years, I eventually learned that entrepreneurship would also be a necessity. Twenty years ago, I was diagnosed bipolar and learned that I would need to be in control of my own work schedule in order to cope with the challenges of living with bipolar disorder.”
According to Stevens the opportunities available to LGBT certified businesses are amazing. “I advise other small businesses to get certified, whether it’s LGBTBE or woman-owned or minority-owned, because the opportunities for your business are plentiful,” she said. “I never thought certification was important until my company Belwah Media became certified. It’s kinda like you never know what you’re missing until you know what you’re missing. After getting certified and attending a procurement event in Washington, DC, I kicked myself. I wondered why I hadn’t done it sooner.”
Ms. Stevens runs a very lean company and takes advantage of what technology has to offer.
“Seventy percent of my team is independent contractors who I communicate with via email and Skype. Team meetings happen via video chat and we use tools like Producteev to manage client projects,” Stevens said. “I don’t know what most of my team members look like and I like that. It keeps us focused on the work and our clients. I make sure it’s clear that Belwah Media is an LGBT-owned and operated company, so anyone who has a problem with that will remove themselves from the hiring process.” v
BizTechWomen is a women’s business and entrepreneurship conference series held using livestreaming tools. We have one conference every season and conferences are designed to help women build a bigger, better, stronger business without having to leave their home, office, or favorite seat at Starbucks. Sessions can be streamed on a smartphone from anywhere. PayPal signed on as a sponsor in February. We also have Arkon (a maker of mobile device and camera mounts) and Privy (a lead generation tool) as sponsors as well.
Article by Brenda Matamoros-Beveridge