The Playbook is an online educational platform by Distinctly Creative that provides creatives of all mediums with the skill-sets, knowledge, and resources needed to turn their talents + gifts into viable businesses, and to also help existing creative entrepreneurs take their business to the next level. Understanding the business side of the industry shouldn’t be hard -- which is why we've got your back.
The foundation of The Playbook is our program “Hustle Hard: Fundamentals of Creative Entrepreneurship”. Hustle Hard is a 10-week, online program that consists of five main courses: Business Development, Customer Acquisition + Marketing, Visual Presentation + Graphic Design, Finance, and Legal. Each topic is taught by experienced professionals, and consists of various lecture videos. Each student will receive a comprehensive e-textbook that will guide them through all five topics, provide recommended readings, assignments, and additional information to ensure that you’re set-up for success. "Hustle Hard" will be launching in May of 2018.
Rolling out later this year, in addition to “Hustle Hard”, The Playbook will also be offering add-on courses that are tailored to different creative industries or concepts like leasing a commercial space, starting a boutique, working with manufactures, arts activism, becoming a professional MUA, curating, and more.
To put an emphasis on networking + community building, we provide opportunities for students and instructors to connect through Facebook groups, a live “office hour” at the beginning and end of the program, and add-on 1+1 sessions.
Ashley Nicole Johnson is a dynamic and energetic public relations and marketing professional recognized as one of The Top 25 African American PR Millennials to Watch by The Huffington Post. Johnson is a native of Stafford, Virginia and graduate of Mountain View High School. She obtained a B.A in Public Relations from Howard University and MPS in Public Relations & Corporate Communications from Georgetown University. During high school, Ashley was selected to be a member of the Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and was brought back as alumni during her senior year at Howard University. Ashley is the CEO and Publicist of ANJPR Consulting, LLC. a public relations agency specializing in entertainment, lifestyle and non-profit organizations. Through her company, she is the Multicultural Marketing & Communications Consultant for the nation's largest non-profit, AARP. She has worked with national brands such as BET Networks, Essence, Walt Disney World Resorts, and Univision to name a few.
In 2017, Ashley released her new book joined by 17 co-authors titled, Planners Unplugged: Secrets of the World's Greatest Event Planners. Planners Unplugged is an exciting new addition to the event planning world where eighteen of the top female event planners have joined to produce an in-depth and behind-the-scenes look of the not-so-glamourous side of event planning. In Ashley's chapter, 'A Millennial Who Turned Nos to Yesses as Miss CEO,' she shares her journey on starting a public relations business when there was little to no job opportunities available after graduating from college. The story describes the tough lessons learned and how building a team and working collaboratively with seasoned professionals have been instrumental in her success as a young professional. Ashley continues to give back as an active member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. Prince William County Chapter, Inc. and Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce. She is also a member of Women of Color in PR (WOCIPR), Black Public Relations Society, Washington, D.C., and PR CommunicateHER.
SHAVON J. SMITH
Shavon helps small and medium-sized businesses solve problems. She is the founder of The SJS Law Firm, PLLC where she represents business owners, entrepreneurs, and non-profits in all legal aspects of their ventures, including employment matters, contracts, intellectual property, compliance and legal strategy. Shavon frequently speaks and presents training and seminars for business owners, speaking on topics such as Performing a Legal Check Up: Ensuring Your Business is Legally Protected & Prime for Growth; Working With An Attorney For Your Small Business and Growing Your Business With Teaming Arrangements. Shavon regularly volunteers with various organizations to provide pro bono assistance to community entrepreneurs. She also sits on the board of a southeast DC non-profit, Wheeler Creek Community Development Corporation. Prior to starting SJS, she practiced law with a big DC law firm. For nearly 6 years she counseled corporations on variety of commercial matters.
Gregory “Mr. Wicket” Pickett currently serves as the Director of the Business Finance Center at the Community Business Partnership (CBP). In this role, he has lead responsibility for the federal (US Treasury Department CDFI Fund) certification and capitalization of a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Microenterprise Loan Fund. A certified CDFI is a specialized financial institution with a primary mission of community economic development and works to bring responsible capital and finance to markets that are underserved by traditional financial institutions.
As a Greater Washington DC Regionwide CDFI based in Northern Virginia and serving a designated targeted population of African Americans, Mr. Pickett becomes what is believed to be the first African American to achieve this accomplishment. Though he may be indeed be the first, his Wicket Philosophy of “Become the wicket gateway to open small doors that lead to big economically empowering opportunities for cultural communities”.
Entrepreneurship, and the arts has been a large part of Morgan’s life. At the age of 17, Morgan started her first plus-size clothing line, where she would sew custom pieces for women sizes 14 and up. From there, this created a full-fledged catalyst into business development, fashion design, graphic design, marketing, photography, and videography.
Morgan is the founder of Distinctly Creative, a company that focuses on providing opportunities and platforms for black creatives and entrepreneurs. In addition, she provides various graphic, website, fashion design, and videography services for various individuals and small businesses in the DMV area. Additionally, she also provides marketing, graphic design, photography, and videography services for the University of Maryland College Park’s entrepreneurship programs.
Previously, she has worked with Google to help small and medium businesses better assess their marketing goals, Fashion Law Week DC, and various independent clothing lines.
As a proud fashion design graduate of Howard University, Morgan constantly strives to provide innovative ways to help creative entrepreneurs succeed professionally -- especially those within the black community because representation matters.