Writer Spotlight: Dr. La Verne Tolbert, Ph.D.

Writer Spotlight: Dr. La Verne Tolbert, Ph.D.

Tolbert IMageFor the past two weeks, we have been featuring some of the speakers and panelists of the upcoming UMI Christian Writers Conference that will be held on Friday, April 22-23. Up next is a brief Q&A with Author and UMI’s Vice President of Editorial Dr. LaVerne Tolbert, Ph.D. In addition to being a best-selling author of her book Teaching Like Jesus: A Practical Guide to Christian Education in Your Church, Dr. Tolbert is also a former editor of Family Circle and Bride’s Magazine. Find out more about Dr. Tolbert and her journey to become a successful writer below:


When did you discover that you had a passion for writing?

During my early childhood years, my father required me to read at least 5 books every summer. I loved reading and found that I also loved writing.

Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction?
When I was a magazine editor, I focused on writing non-fiction, and today this remains as my preference. I enjoy writing “how-to,” and my classic text, Teaching Like Jesus, explains how to teach.

What are you looking forward to most about the UMI Christian Writers Conference?
I’m looking forward to networking with and meeting new writers who are interested in working for Urban Ministries, Inc.

With so many other genres and styles of writing, how did you make the decision to pursue a career in Christian writing and publishing?
I’m a former professor of Christian education (Talbot School of Theology). Since my masters and doctoral work are in this field, it’s natural for me to also write for a Christian audience.

Do you have one piece of advice that you’d like to share with someone who is interested in pursuing a career in writing?
My advice to anyone who wants to pursue a career in writing is this…write! Often, people say they want to write, and they think about writing, but they don’t actually sit down and write. At the conference, I’ll share my easy-to-follow steps for beginning this process.


For more information about the UMI Christian Writers Conference, visit the website.

Diary of a Celebrity Makeup Maven: Entry 4

Diary of a Celebrity Makeup Maven: Entry 4

Deida PhotoHere is the final blog entry from Celebrity Makeup Artist Deida Massey on her experience as a Christian makeup artist in the entertainment industry. Read along as Deida answers our fourth and final question below and be sure to check out all of Deida’s blog entries about her career as a successful, God-fearing MUA.

Do you have final words of advice for anyone who is looking to become a successful, makeup artist?

My advice to anyone who wants to work in my industry would be to research the makeup field and prepare. Preparation is key.

I knew when I moved to L.A. I wanted to work in film and television and the application was different. Therefore, I wanted to prepare for that. In addition, I worked at the makeup counters to learn diversity. I worked at makeup counters to build my confidence and learn the application of makeup as it relates to different ethnicities.

Today I never would’ve imagined my full-time career being a makeup artist. The Bible says “A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great” (Proverbs 18:16). Truly working as a makeup artist is a faith walk! Everything that has unfolded in my career I believe is by FAITH. In my profession, there are times when you don’t know when you are getting paid. There are peaks and valleys in this profession. So my advice to anyone pursuing a career in entrepreneurship is to have FAITH.

Yes, I worked hard to prepare to become a successful makeup artist, but I also believe I have a natural gift for the art of makeup. I didn’t go to school to learn makeup. I only took one class at Columbia College Chicago to learn the application of makeup for film and television. I never ever thought I would be a makeup artist. Only GOD knew that. While working a 9 to 5, I realize I didn’t want to live in monotony. It wasn’t until my aunt, who later became my client, bought me two makeup books that intrigued me. I decided to research how to make my gift a profession.

The makeup field has changed drastically since I started. Today, artists are saturating social media with makeup videos and product demos to promote their brand and showcase their work.

In order to obtain jobs in the profession of makeup, one should understand the importance of networking. Networking and finding mentors in your field are important to help discover and develop your skills as a makeup artist. In the beginning, I not only researched how having a career in makeup could be lucrative, but I took the time to research other successful professionals in the industry. I strategically aligned myself with people who later became my mentors and taught me things about the industry I never knew.

It is also important to have a passion for what you do. I believe your passion leads to your paycheck. There were times I did not get paid for doing makeup because I had a passion to learn more and explore more. As I became more confident in doing makeup, I learned to turn my passion into a business. I set myself up as an LLC, got an EIN number and started to operate as an actual business.

I learned how securing the job was just as important as getting booked for the job. Therefore, I used my education that I learned while in law school and applied that knowledge to writing deal memos that would break down the terms and conditions. When it’s your passion you don’t mind getting up doing what you love to do.


Did you miss any of Deida’s blogs about her career as a successful makeup artist in the entertainment industry? We’ve included her previous entries below:

Blog #1

Blog #2

Blog #3