FForce of Friendshipriendship can be the sweetest part of human relationships.  It is a fundamental element needed for our deepest relationships to grow and last.  However, the road to smooth friendships is not one for the weak-hearted.  It requires understanding, love, investment, compassion, open-mindedness, boundary control, give and take and so many more things.  Often times, finding true friendships can seem difficult.  There is a special dance to the magic of friendships and once you learn the steps, the force of friendship that you will receive will be one of your most cherished relationships.

Meet six successful girlfriends celebrating three decades of friendship, Nora Shariff-Borden, Gloria Mayfield-Banks, Crissette Ellis, Caterina Harris-Earl, Sabrina Goodwin Monday and Andrea C. Scott. This amazing group of friends inspire each other. They love being with each other, traveling and seeing the world together all in the name of friendship.  The ladies are originally from different areas but found each other in one place through their careers in Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.  The ladies met and they fell easily in line with one another and their friendship blossomed.

Nora Shariff-Borden was born in Boston, Massachusetts and now resides in Stone Mountain, GA.  Her occupation prior to Mary Kay was as a nail salon owner and a fashion designer where she sold to specialty shops all over the US.  She is married to Neil Borden, who is  supervisor for Marta Transit Authority in Atlanta. They have six children between the two of them, plus 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.  Nora has been with Mary Kay Cosmetics for 25 years.  She is a Senior National Sales Director, which is one of the highest levels one can reach within the company.  Shariff-Borden is passionate about women becoming all that they can be.  Dr. Gloria Mayfield Banks, described by many as “energy in motion”, is a woman of many accomplishments.  She has a Harvard MBA and an honorary doctorate from the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore.  She is a renowned motivational success strategist, a multimillionaire entrepreneur and a Mary Kay Independent Elite Executive National Sales Director.  Growing up in a loving family in Detroit, Michigan, Banks was the third of four girls born to parents who where both educators.  She is happily married to Ken Banks and they share four adult children and four grandchildren. Banks resides with her family in Baltimore, Maryland. Crisette Ellis is a native of Detroit, MI.  She is married to Bishop Charles H. Ellis,III who is the Senior Pastor of Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, MI. They have two children, Kiera and Charles IV.  Ellis is a graduate of Michigan State University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Public Affairs Management. Ellis has achieved the highest position with Mary Kay as a National Sales Director.  She is also the CEO of Affirmations By Crisette which is a lifestyle brand of motivational and inspirational products that encourage people to live their best life.  She has also authored a children’s book entitled My Future Is So BRIGHT.  Ellis is also a philanthropist and financially supports high school students who are interested in entrepreneurship through the Kristen Marie Scholarship fund that she established in memory of her deceased daughter.  Ellis enjoys reading, writing, inspiring others and traveling the world. Caterina Harris Earl, originally from Fremont, CA, now lives in Brentwood, CA.  Earl’s passion is to empower others to help them find their passion and live their dreams. She is a powerful motivator and trainer. Earl is a college graduate with a degree in Political Science and Economics and a master’s degree from USC in Public Administration.  She has achieved the highest position with Mary Kay as a National Sales Director,  her background is in nonprofit work in Oakland, CA, and Washington, DC.  Earl is married to Dr. Anthony Earl, a Chicago Pastor and International Missionary and Church Planter.  They share 5 grown children and 9 grandchildren.  She has been self-employed since 1991 and works in full time ministry with her husband. She loves to travel the world, attend jazz festivals, and master every latest gadget.  Sabrina Goodwin Monday was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She now resides in Dallas, TX.  She received her Bachelor’s degree from Tennessee State University and holds a Master’s degree from Boston University in broadest journalism.  Monday has been with Mary Kay for over 25 years, and has achieved the highest position in the company as a National Sales Director.  She is married to Kenny Monday, an Olympic Gold medalist in the sport of wrestling, who is now coaching elite athletes. They have three children, Sydnee, Kennedy and Quincy. Monday enjoys reading, traveling and volunteering with young people.  She and her family attend The Potter’s House Church, with Bishop T.D. Jakes. Andrea C. Scott immigrated to the United States from the beautiful Caribbean island of Jamaica, West Indies, and grew up in the Bronx, NY.  She attended the famed Music & Art High School in Manhattan as a vocal music major and went on to attend Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, where she majored in Jazz Commercial/Performance Music.  Scott thought she was living her dream performing on stage until she found her true calling as a successful entrepreneur with Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.  She has been with Mary Kay since January 25, 1993, and currently serves as an Independent national Sales Director.  She is single with no children and enjoys singing, traveling, mentoring women and having fun with friends.  She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a proud member of Life Point Church in Jacksonville, FL, where she currently resides.

Friendship for these women is not a fluctuating nor contrived concept. It is a bond of sisterly love that carries the strength each needs to travel through life with the support and love necessary for all things. Throughout the more than 30-year friendship, the women have experienced all that life can bring. Successful careers, international travel, marriage, motherhood, divorce, abuse and death have touched their journeys. Yet, through it all, they remain a solid support system for each other and say their bond continually deepens as the years progress.

The focus on adult friendships and the impact they have on individuals and their involvement in society has been greatly under dressed. In a society where the idea of friendship and relationship building tools are emphasized on adolescents and teenagers, it is surprising at how the importance of adult friendships has fallen to the wayside. It is critical that we reassert the importance of building and maintaining life long friendships in our adult lives. Friendships are the essence of human bonds and how we best learn and grow to our fullest magnitude. Understanding this missing variable and having such a special, long-lasting friendship between six women led Nora Shariff-Borden to recommend to her girlfriends that they introduce their relationship to the world by forming The Force of Friendship. “The Force of Friendship was a vision given to me by God. I went to my girlfriends and told them about the vision for us to tell the world about our amazing friendship so that we could inspire others to find friends that do for them what our friendship does for us,” comments Shariff-Borden.  “What I love about having a friendship with these amazing women is that we inspire each other and travel the world together, all while bringing laughter and joy to each other’s lives. Our love for each other inspired us to write this book of inspirations, which we hope will inspire people everywhere, especially women, to live your dreams, own your power, and find friendships as meaningful and beautiful as ours.”  The ladies decided a book would be a great vehicle for their message.

The Force of Friendship: 100 Powerful Inspirations (FOF) is a 100-page collection of quick and easily digestible daily affirmations written by all six girlfriends and covers such topics as faith, mindset, leadership, courage, success, belief, love, dreams, fears, and, of course, friendship. It is a book of inspirational thoughts and quotes that people can look to on a daily basis for encouragement.  The book is unique in that you can really feel the love that radiates through the pages.  Cultivated by the ladies with care and kindness, the pages hold their praises and prayers that helped each other grow in their friendship and their lives. The ladies understand how difficult it is to maintain lasting friendships in our fast-paced, technology enhanced world. Remembering to take time, even just minutes, to reach out to a friend just to say “hello” can make a difference in someone’s day. Why not give that to the people who stand by our side, through the highs and lows?  By singing praise to our friends, lifting them up, shining a light on them, we raise ourselves. In turn, they see all the things that make us shine and remind us of the things that make us who we are as a person. The women of FOF show us how maintaining our close friendships rewards us in ways that cannot be contained in words but felt deep in our souls.  So what is the exact formula that these ladies have found that make their friendship extraordinary?  “Collectively we realize that friendship is not one sided and that it is not about what we can or cannot do for each other.  It is all about the unconditional love we have for each other,” states Shariff-Borden. They all have their roles in the friendship that creates the magic flow that makes it all work. Sharrif-Borden describes her role as the girlfriend who holds everyone accountable. We all need that little nudge every now and then that pushes us back in our lane and helps us recognize where we need a little personal growth. The friends biggest lesson has been to master the skills of working together with 6 different personalities.  This has ultimately helped them to work better with others outside their circle, as well. The group believes so deeply in the Force of Friendship because they know that it is impossible to get through all the trials and tribulations of life without some phenomenal friends to help you along the way.  They inspire even with their chapter titles, using simple words of power such as Mindset, Leadership and Courage.

In addition to the book, the FOF circle of friendship is conducting webinars and touring the country to help motivate and show women how to make friends, how to be a good friend, as well as how to nurture and cultivate good friendships with girlfriends that are free of cattiness and drama. Their recent “Rock Your World with Courageous Girlfriends” webinar provided insights on: developing quality friendships in a new city; balancing personal and business friendships; supporting a friend through singleness, divorce, and abuse; and comforting and supporting friends who are caregivers.  They are excited about giving the world more of their continuously flourishing friendship! They plan on continuing to share the secrets of their sisterhood to all those who believe in the joy of friendships.  As Crisette Ellis says, “There is a ship that seldom grows weary of the storms it encounters because it has been built to stand against the gust and tempest.  For within its bowels it carries the most precious of cargo.  FRIENDSHIP.”

For more information, visit www.theforceoffriendship.com.

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