The Blossomed Lotus | Janelle Gumbs, "Women of Worth"

Miss Dosso: Let's begin by digging deeper. Introduce yourself and discuss any childhood upbringing/experiences that molded you into the person you are now.

Janelle: Hi, my name is Janelle Gumbs and I am the president and founder of B&R Events. I am caribbean-born, I was born in the beautiful island of st. vincent my family came to the state when I was about nine years old. Actually my mom came prior to me and my brother, where she lived for about two year and then sent for him and I. I grew up in Vanderveer projects which is now formally called Flatbush Gardens

Miss Dosso: Me too!

Janelle: Really? Oh my gosh! Yes, well I moved out of there when I was very young but that is where my family lived when they first arrived to the states from Haiti, it's where me & most of my cousins grew up.

O wow, small world...

Miss Dosso: Small world indeed!

Janelle: So I was raised there and at a very young age, I knew what poverty meant, what are some of the things I know, I did not want in the future and of course being raised in the projects, you see a lot of violence and a lot of things that arent good for you as a child. So at a very young age, I made a decision that there were certain things I did not want and I would do everything in my power to make sure my kids did not experience what i experience. So once I had the opportunity to high-tail on out of there, I sure enough did! I went away to school to Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland. I have a very strong Christian background, I was raised in a family where you go to church Sunday morning, Sunday evening for night service, Monday night for bible study, Wednesday night for whatever, Friday night for family training, then back to church Sunday for two services. So church is definitely a big part of my upbringing. Thank God for the seed my mom planted that has flourished and grown and I now have my own personal relationship with Christ.

Miss Dosso. Okay so let's talk more about your relationship with Christ. You said grew up in a Christian household but when did you realize that God is your Father? Sure we get it when our parents tell us, but when did it really click in for you? What effect did it have on you and your views on life moving forward?


Janelle: Of course, growing up you just "do church" because your parents tell you to "do what I say" & "that's what you have to do". But in high school was where I made the personal commitment to follow Christ and commit my life to Christ. I didn't have one of those big, dramatic experiences, it was a just a conscious decision I made that I know that when I spoke to him and I need him, He was there. I got baptized freshmen year in high school and i've been committed to the walk ever since. when I got to college I made sure that I stayed with people who also made that commitment to Christ and I found a church home, my roommate, Praise God was also a believer...

Miss Dosso: Wow, praise God! That's awesome that He totally set that up for you...

Janelle: Yea so I stayed that way through college. People now call me Ms. Innocent.. like a friend of mine who says "Janelle, you're so innocent!" because I don't have those stories and those experiences that most college students have of like drinking, partying, and all that other stuff. The first time I actually went to a club was in college when some of friends of mine convinced me to go. So, I went and never went back. It turns out that the night we went to the club was "Gay & Lesbian" night...

Miss Dosso: Oh Lord, Flee!!! (giggles)

Janelle: I high-tailed behind outta there! It was like "Okay God, I get ya. I hear you now" and never again... (chuckles)

So, I have been committed to this walk for a while now. I am going to be 32 in a few weeks and I've made the commitment since I was 14. To God Be The Glory.

Miss Dosso: Amen. So would you consider that your first example of true love? If not, what were the greatest examples of love in your household? When did you get a true experience of what love is? Talk more about your thoughts on love and how they have evolved throughout the years. Describe those experience that brought you to conclusions and/or beliefs about love itself.

Janelle: Well, I was raised in a single parent household and my mom just didn't have the time to show my brother and I the type of love and attention that children need. As I've gotten older, I realize that there are different ways that people show love. Every one has a different love language. My mom did what she needed to do. She needed to work to put food on the table so hours were longer than expected so there were times where she didn't come home while we were up and she was up before we woke up. I learned how to balance a checkbook at a very young age, I learned how to cook at a young age, I learned how to do a lot of things. I didn't understand it, my brother didn't understand. But, now that I'm older and I reflect back on what she done for us, that was definitely my first understanding of what love is and what sacrifices you make for the people you love. I'm sure she didn't want to work as much as she had to because she was a young mother herself but she chose to raise my brother and I. This was my first understanding of love...

Miss Dosso: Sacrificial love.

Janelle: Yes, sacrificial love. Also my relationship with Christ helped me to understand Agape Love.  The love of a Father.


I can honestly say that my experiences with the more romantic love...

Miss Dosso: Eros, I believe...

Janelle: Have not been all that great...

Miss Dosso: Yeah, join the club (chuckles)

Janelle: I've had two loves in my life and they both ended in heartbreak. But, I know that is not the end of the story. I do trust God that there will be...

Miss Dosso: That's right Girl, Get ya Boaz!!

(giggles)

Janelle: Yup, those are just commas so I know He is out there and he is going to love me the way God requires him to love me.

Miss Dosso: From a Christian's perspective, what is your ideal first date? How should a young woman carry herself when 1. seeking a man 2. during the courtship stage?

Janelle: Honestly, i'm so simple. People look at me and think that i'm a lot more high maintenance than I actually am but I am really simple.  Going to the park and having ice cream would be an ideal first date with me. Nothing too costly just an opportunity to talk and get to know each other. Very simple, very laidback. He doesn't have to pick me up in a new ride and all of that. That's not what I require. I would be totally content with that. I really don't want to sit down at a dinner if I don't like you. That is too much time to spend with someone if I am not feeling you...30 minutes would be sufficient.

In regards to how a young woman should carry herself if she is at that point to pursue a romantic relationship with someone, I am kinda traditional and kinda contemporary in the fact that I do believe it's totally fine for a woman to approach a guy...

Miss Dosso: hmmm, now that's Bold!

Janelle: If there's a guy you are interested in and you say "you know, I have admired you and I would like to get to know you. I am not saying I want to be your girl or your wife but you have definitely sparked an interest and I want to get to know you. Let's have coffee, ice cream whatever..." However, I do believe that a man should still be the one to pursue her. So once she has told him that she definitely has an interest, it's then up to him to cultivate that relationship. She shouldn't have to be the one always calling him and always have to make sure they are hanging out. At some point he has to come in to act on that God-given leadership role and begin to pursue her. So, I have a mixture of contemporary and traditional belief when it comes to courtship. "He that findeth a wife, findeth a good thing".  I know a lot of people use this scripture but it gets used out of context and made to sound as if the woman can not or doesn't play a role in that and we have an active role in that. It's more than just positioning yourself. If it's something you like and you want it, go ahead! I don't think it's a negative thing at all but I think you have to know when to fall back when it's time to fall back.

Miss Dosso: Hmmm okay. I don't know about this because I'm usually the damsel in distress like you know I'll make myself noticeable...

Janelle: Yea, but they don't pick up on these things...

Miss Dosso: I'm realizing that! You know common sense is no longer common...But I'm going to work on that sis! (giggles)

Okay so I have two questions: Courtship vs. Dating? What conversations must be made during that courtship or dating stage?

Janelle: The difference between courtship and dating and the way that the world uses dating I think when you are dating someone you are not really thinking long-term, you are thinking more like right now. For me as a 32 year old Christian women, I am thinking more long-term.  I want to be married, I want to have a family and I'm very clear about that. I think courtship is more of fostering and cultivating a relationship that leads to marriage.

I think an important conversation to have with someone you're romantically interested in, you should talk about past relationships and experiences because that would give you an indication of some of the things that you need to think about as you continue your courtship. So if you are with someone who has been cheated on or his relationships have ended in infidelity, he's more than likely going to have a problem with trust. These are some of the things that gives you an indication of the issues that you and that person might have to deal with in your relationship. You need to make a decision. Is it something negotiable or non-negotiable? Having those conversations about upbringing and how that person dealt with those experiences that shaped him/or is important. My mom always says that "you should see a person through seasons. You have to see him through Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall."

Miss Dosso: Would you consider yourself a "Love Guru"? What would make you qualified to speak on love?

Janelle: The answer to that is NO! I am not a "Love Guru" but I know God. Your experiences in life are not just for you; they are for other people.  I am very open to share about my experiences in life. Granted, they are only my experiences.

Miss Dosso: Any advice for a single woman on her quest for love? How should a single woman spend Valentine's Day? Besides being at Heart The Cause... (coughs) shameless plug...

Janelle: Yes, yes, yes, she should definitely be at Heart The Cause V-Day 2012...

Miss Dosso: It's going DOWN!

Janelle: Valentine's day is not a day for you to sulk and sit around thinking "Oh, I'm not in a relationship" "I don't have a boo"...definitely be involved. Step out of the norm, be open, and experience different things. Attend different types of events, meet different people, join organizations and clubs. That exposes you to more opportunities! As black Christian women, we have a church, school, home type of schedule and not do more things to meet new people. Then we wonder why we're not meeting people. What are YOU doing to meet people?God wants us to live a full life and prosperous life and live it in abundantly. You could be saved, sanctified, souled out for Christ and still have a fruitful social life. All those things are possible and God wants to have all those things. Go places by yourself. it's okay to go places by yourself.

Miss Dosso: Yes!!! I am a total advocate for Solo Dates! I can go the movies or go out to eat by myself and I have done it several times. I mean, how else can you get to know yourself?

*Stay tuned for Part II of President & CEO of B&R Events*