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Samantha Frank-Beckford: A Beacon of Resilience

Samantha Frank-Beckford’s journey stands as a testament to her resilience and unwavering faith. Originally from Brooklyn, Samantha’s aspirations are deeply rooted in her dedication to her community and the pursuit of economic equity. Expressing her outlook, Samantha states, “My aspirations are founded on faith, strategy, and resilience. I want others to partake in my success because it doesn’t solely belong to me.”

A graduate of Bates College with a fervor for economics and community service, Samantha channels her expertise towards uplifting marginalized communities. Engaging in education and entrepreneurship, she empowers the next generation to overcome challenges and attain success. Samantha explains, “I aim to create spaces for wellness, encompassing emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual elements. My goal is to develop programs that cater to holistic well-being.”

Through her involvement in Common Ground Marketplace, Samantha strives to cultivate inclusivity and holistic wellness within the community. Emphasizing the marketplace’s role, she states, “Common Ground Marketplace offers affordable space and resources for its community. It’s about fostering opportunities for entrepreneurs to thrive and make a positive impact.”

Share a bit about yourself and what inspired the dreams and aspirations you are pursuing?

I’m Samantha Frank-Beckford, a 32-year-old from Brooklyn, New York, with boundless aspirations rooted in faith, strategy, and resilience. My journey has been deeply influenced by my family and community, who’ve instilled in me the belief that success is communal.I want others to share in my success because it doesn’t belong to just me. From the age of 5 my life has been heavily influenced by my family and  community and all they’ve sacrificed to help raise me. 

Graduating from Bates College with a focus on Economics, African American studies, and politics, I’m passionate about economic empowerment in black communities and equitable resource distribution. My experiences, including volunteering with organizations like the Somali Bantu Youth Association of Maine and participating in NYU’s Emerging Leaders in Public Service program, have shaped my commitment to addressing systemic issues like the school-to-prison pipeline. I have always been fascinated with the impacts of structural discrimination and the way it causes disparities. I know that as a black business owner I am helping to dismantle outdated systems and provide opportunities for my community. 

Additionally, as an urban high school educator, I provide transformative experiences for my students, teaching them the importance of entrepreneurship and community engagement from a young age. My journey is fueled by a desire to uplift others and create lasting change.

As a co-founder how does your distinct perspective and dedication to holistic wellness shape your contribution to establishing the Common Ground Marketplace?

My unique perspective and commitment to holistic wellness drive my role in establishing The Common Ground Marketplace. Recognizing the challenges entrepreneurs face, including myself, I believe CGM offers vital support through affordable space and resources. Initially, I doubted the feasibility of a storefront for newer businesses like mine, but my journey, particularly opening during the pandemic, has shifted my perspective. Through CGM, I aim to provide not just physical space, but also a community hub for educational wellness programs. As a co-founder, my background as the “Amlet Fairy” allows me to infuse creativity into our offerings, understanding that wellness events should be engaging and enjoyable. Ultimately, my goal is to foster spaces where wellness thrives

Could you give us an overview of your experiences with this venture this far and what can you anticipate from this?

I think that this is the first project where I get a chance to reimagine a space that is intentional about holding space for community. I think that this wellness is about receiving information and strategies and then applying it to your journey. I also believe that wellness includes emotional, physical , financial and spiritual elements.I am thoughtful about programs and partnership and want a space that is intergenerational and can engage all ages. 

Which 5 essential skills would you employ to start a business from ground up?

I believe essential skills needed to start a business from the ground up are self-starter, imaginative, patient, compassionate and resilient. 

  • 1. Self-Starter: Initiating and motivating oneself.
  • 2. Imaginative: Thinking creatively and innovatively.
  • 3. Patient: Navigating setbacks with endurance.
  • 4. Compassionate: Understanding others’ needs and building positive relationships.
  • 5. Resilient : Bouncing back from failures and adapting to change.

These skills collectively contribute to the foundation of a successful entrepreneurial journey. They not only address the practical aspects of starting and running a business but also encompass the emotional intelligence and adaptability needed to navigate the complexities of entrepreneurship.

How have your early experiences in foster care and supporting your mothers mental health influenced your entrepreneurial projects?

My experience in foster cafes was very unique. I was blessed to have a stable home with my aunt, my moms biological sister. But the experience of separation was traumatic for both me and my mom. Even though I was 5 I had to grow up instantly and really access what was happening. I remained hopeful that it could all be short lived but that just never happened and I remained in care until I graduated from College. Despite not physically living with my mom, our relationship grew stronger because even at the height of her own issues, and declining mental health she showed up for me in every way possible. She made sure she saw me frequently, she NEVER missed a visit, and she made sure she knew I was loved even when she was sometimes neglecting herself. I think my motivation as a child was to make sure that my mom remained hopeful even when things didn’t seem that hopeful. As an adult I want to provide my mom with the best life possible. I accomplish what I have because I am accomplishing for both of us. I want my success to fill her and I want her to feel that my accomplishments are her accomplishments as well. My mom is one of the most resilient people I know and she is very cherished and the backbone of my family in America and Grenada. 

How do you see the CGM contributing to the larger goals of promoting positive change and inclusivity within the community?

The Common Ground Marketplace (CGM) is dedicated to fostering positive change and inclusivity within the community by promoting business ownership, community wellness, and empathy. Through workshops and seminars, CGM offers practical guidance on entrepreneurship, covering topics like business planning and financial management. Additionally, CGM establishes business incubator programs, providing affordable space and mentorship for startups, thereby empowering local entrepreneurship and contributing to economic growth. Integrating fitness and nutrition programs promotes holistic health, while mental health initiatives offer workshops, seminars, and support groups led by professionals. CGM also fosters empathy and compassion through community support programs, collaborating with mental health organizations and offering curated resources. Overall, CGM serves as a vital hub for community empowerment and well-being.

Written By Francesca Andre