We had the good fortune of connecting with Johnene McBeth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Johnene, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I’m from Virginia Beach, VA. Most people would consider this a vacation destination, but since this is home for me, I find joy in getting to travel to other cities and countries every year. My grandmother is probably responsible for this way of thinking. She was a schoolteacher and every summer, she made it her business to take my cousins, siblings and me on a trip. I have been to Disney World more times than I can count and even though she is gone, I can still feel her spirit anytime I walk in any theme park. With not having to teach during the summer, I am grateful that she sacrificed her time, that she could have been using to relax herself, but she chose to give us a summer to remember. She inspired me to always work hard, but play harder. There is a piece of freedom in traveling or getting away from home and I am so lucky that she shared that importance at a young age, so that I can appreciate it and pass this way of thinking down to my son.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My story made sense to me in 2010, as I watched my hair rinse down my dorm room drain due to a hair treatment gone wrong. That experience ignited the entrepreneur in me. Now, I am a Serial Entrepreneur, Speaker, Podcaster, Course Creator, Graduate student, Military Spouse and Mom. Currently, I serve as the CEO of Jewels by Marcel, Texture + Style Co. and Room University. In founding My Natural, a student organization to educate college women about how to take care of their natural hair, I uncovered a problem in the beauty industry, natural hair product distribution. In 2013, before graduating from Winston-Salem State University, I pitched a business that would connect small businesses and beauty product manufacturers to their target audience. Within four years, I received almost 10K in event sponsorships, highlighted 100 small businesses and created a space for ten beauty product manufacturers to pitch their products. However, as successful as the events were, there was still some major hurdles with planning and venue management.
Then, in 2019, I was newly engaged, surprisingly pregnant and hesitant about planning our wedding because of the challenges with venue management in the past. Luckily, our venue of choice offered a seamless and professional digital planning experience, which confirmed the answer to my looming frustration with planning events.
I called my dad, Johnnie Benson, who gives the best business advice and has over 30 years of Sales Experience. He loved the idea so much that together, we created Room University! Room University is a digital marketplace offering exclusive access for professionals to rent unique event venues.
Success is defined by what you do in the moments when you are presented with a problem and even right after you fail. To experience it, you have to make a choice. You can use failure or unawareness as an excuse of why you can not reach your goals or see it as the currency to make a down payment for your new path to success.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d love for friends to visit during the summer! Here’s what we’d do for a week.
Monday – Hang at Virginia Beach, Brunch at Citrus – Grab Ice Cream at the Sweet Spot in Virginia Beach
Tuesday – Busch Gardens
Wednesday – Kings Dominion
Thursday – Take Selfies in the ViBe District
Friday – Walk around at Mount Trashmore – Dinner at Mr. Boil in Newport News
Saturday – Lynnhaven Mall – Virginia Beach Aquarium
Sunday – Church at Second Calvary Baptist Church – Brunch at Mango Mangeux in Hampton
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Johne’t Benson, soon to be Dr. Benson, is a phenomenal young woman currently on her journey to become an Epidemiologist. She is so intelligent and quite frankly, my inspiration to push for success.