Dining & Wine
"Be the change you want to see in the world"
- Mahatma Gandhi
Birungi Ives, Founder
GEOF |Global Echo Online Forum| is a Lifestyle Journal for the Globally Conscious.
In 1974, on the wings of academic opportunity, my parents fled Idi Amin's regime in Uganda for the United States to pursue a vision of a better life for themselves, their family and their people. I continue this legacy with GEOF |Global Echo Online Forum|.
I was born on March 7th, 1975, at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA. My father was in his first year of his PhD in Judas Prudence at Harvard Law School. My mother was about to start her Masters in Library Sciences at Simmons College. I spent my early years playing in Cambridge Commons. Then, we moved to Somerville, MA. Then, on to Brockton, MA, where I had most of my schooling through to high school graduation. At 16, I was accepted to Mount Holyoke College, one of the top ranked liberal art colleges in the country. In 1996, I graduated with a B.A. in African and African American Studies.
Two years later, I was living in England with my husband Jamie Ives. Since then, I have lived and worked in the areas of Communications, Education and Community outreach from England as the African Caribbean Community Development Liaison for the City of Nottingham to Senior Admissions Officer at a technical college in Virginia Beach, VA. Only to find that my toughest and most rewarding job was yet to come as a mother.
My son, Jediah Ives, was born in Norfolk, Virginia on May 1st 2004. Since his birth, we have lived in Virginia, Florida, New York, South Carolina and now California. My husband's career field keeps us on our toes. I must admit, I LOVE Southern California, but I will always be an East Coast Girl. My favorite place in the world is Nantucket Island.
While living in Huntington, New York with my boys, my frustrations with mainstream media led to ACTION. It was 2008 and the very beginning of the global financial meltdown. It was all doom and gloom from every media outlet. I was tired of hearing more about the problems of the world and less about the individuals, organizations and companies committed to finding the solutions. So, I decided to bring forth a voice of Change, Passion and Service... and a voice that I had yet to truly hear, MINE. I wanted to speak on behalf of those gone unrecognized by mainstream media. My focus was on issues the indirectly and directly affected Women and the Continent of Africa.
While blogging away, I decided to counteract the economic downturn by getting back in the workforce. Well, that proved more of a challenge than I thought it would. My son was 4. That meant I had been home and out of the work force for nearly 5 years, never mind that it was a tough job market for people that were just let go. What I heard from most employers was, "What is your most recent work experience?". Back before Mommy Blogging became as big as you see today, saying that I was a stay at home mother and blogged about the world's most important and pressing issues did not seem to cut it. I was also volunteering in a low-income community by teaching an Art Workshop to middle-school aged children after school on a weekly basis. However, my volunteer experience did not seem to give me any headway in my job search. It was unspoken, but it almost felt like they were saying, "...but do you have any REAL work experience recently?". Well I did not end up getting a job. At that point, many companies were in a hiring freeze. We ended up relocating and left New York after a year long job search on my part. But, I did not give up my writing. I am glad I didn't, because there were many days that people asked me and I asked myself, "Why are you doing this? How will you get paid?". For the longest, I had no answers. I was just driven or something was driving me. We moved to South Carolina with my husband's new job and I pursued other opportunities. But GEOF, would not leave my spirit alone. I was even guided by one friend, whom said to me, "I think you should go back to pursuing GEOF! That is where your passion is!". I tried to ignore her. I thought that it did not make sense to pursue it. I needed to do something "real', something "tangible". Well that something "real" and something "tangible" that I was so busy pursuing did not work out, because its roots were in South Carolina and my wings were taking me and my family to Southern California with my husband's promotion. So, I left "real" and "tangible" there in South Carolina and pursued what I thought was impossible in Malibu, CA.
A funny thing happens when you are pursuing the impossible and you finally approach it on your path. You are there face to face with the impossible. You go to push it out of the way. Then, you realize that impossibility was just a self projected obstacle that disappears into a cloud of dust as you continue purposefully on your journey! Greeting it with a smile, you'll remember what it truly is, if you ever meet it again!
Today, GEOF is a Lifestyle Journal for the Globally Conscious! Focused on Women and Africa, we cater to an audience that is committed to lifestyle that has a beneficial impact on our WORLD. We are read in over 50 countries. We have been invited to cover and participate in events all over the world by organizations, such as the United Nations Foundation, the ONE Campaign and the Clinton Foundation. We have formed amazing relationships with corporations, such as General Motors and TESLA. We have interviewed world renowned activist, academy award winners and global influencers, such as Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington-Burns and Mary Steenburgen. We offer a online media platform and resource for people from every walk of life that have committed their blood, sweat and tears, most figuratively and some literally, to the welfare of others and our planet.
With a growing staff of 10, my voice has grown from one to a chorus of many. WE ARE A VOICE that has the power take a WORLD struggling with itself and make it a WORLD at PEACE! Many of you have forgotten, there is no US or THEM. All it takes is...OUR VOICES, OUR WORDS, OUR PASSION, OUR COMMITMENT!
We welcome you to explore our lifestyle and learn what companies, organizations and individuals are doing to make this world a better a place to live! We hope to empower you with the awareness to do the same.
The diverse perspectives and lives of our selected contributors reflect our belief that information that speaks to the masses must be From the People, By the People and For the People.
Lefifia Lewis, Editor-in-Chief
You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.—Maya Angelou
Lefifia Lewis is Editor-in-Chief of GEOF |Global Echo Online Forum|. Prior to her current position, she worked as the Producer for KBCS radio in Bellevue, Washington. She was in charge of the pre-production and post-production duties for the station’s top-rated programs. She helped engender a nightly news program that was designed to broaden the audience and increase its listenership.
She is an advocate for children with disabilities, domestic violence, women and children. Her passion for writing and journalism began when she was at the tender age of ten years old. Lefifia, which means, “She will bring good news”, is an insatiable journaler who has recently created her own blog and twitter accounts. Her affinity for writing and story telling expanded over the years and served as her favorite pass-time during her informative years, which has transpired into a life-long passion and career.
An East Coast native with southern roots, this perspicacious journalist has wisdom and experiences beyond her thirty -something years. Raised by a single mother who worked three jobs to support her and her four siblings, Lefifia - pronounced la-fee-fee-yah -set her sights high on the prize and dared to dream big. Defying all the odds and refusing to become a statistic, she navigated through the most unlikely, challenging and sometimes unfair circumstances. Always the optimist, she remained solid and certain about her direction in life. She graduated high school with honors and received an academic scholarship to attend college. While attending Bellevue College’s journalism program, she stumbled on a great opportunity to work for a public radio station where she found her calling and her niche in communications. Having dreamt of becoming a television journalist, she decided to move her family to sunny, southern California to pursue her dreams.
Expecting the transition from radio to television to be seamless, she made every effort and every attempt to land a gig in television, but to no avail. After many failed promises and deals gone wrong, it has taken her seven years to finally find her place in the world of media. During her seven years, this buoyant ink slinger has found creative ways to pepper her gifts and talents in story-telling, editing and writing in all facets of her life and careers.
In the fall of 2011, on a chance meeting, she met Birungi Ives, founder and CEO of Geof Magazine and the rest is, as they say, HERSTORY .
Lefifia enjoys spending time with her husband Carlos Harris and their four children. She is ever the insatiate for journaling and is working on building her blog. You can follow her on twitter @LadyByrdLewis.
Jared Johnson, Contributing ECO-Fashion Journalist
When it comes to fashion, Jared Johnson is a true connoisseur. From Vivenne Westwood to Dior Homme, he is obsessed. He found the passion for fashion journalism at an early age, and studied his craft at the University of South Carolina. His favorite magazines are: Elle, Vogue, Details, and of course, W Magazine. His favorite model is Liya Kebede.
Jared has also spent time over-seas and loves to incorporate European trends and styles into his wardrobe. He may be new to the "greener" side of fashion, but is excited to channel his two loves of journalism, and fashion, into something creative for a good cause. Follow him on twitter @parisan_wanabe or add him on Facebook ( Jared Cantdoitlikeme Johnson).
Arlene Mosshart, Photojournalist
Born on the east coast, but raised in California since she was 4, Arlene is a true So Cal girl. Her passion for photography began at an early age and she has been capturing stills for almost 20 years. She has photographed everything from destination weddings to red carpet events and enjoys the creativity that comes with each job. Her work has been published in In Style Magazine and internationally in OGGI Magazine Italy. She has contributed her time to photographing The Race to Erase MS for five years and enjoys working with organizations that “make a difference.” Arlene is also the staff photographer for Enviro Board, a global sustainable housing system manufacturer. “If I can incorporate my love for photography and help support companies, organizations or individuals who care about others and our Earth, I’m all in!” In addition to being an enthusiastic photographer, Arlene is also a critical care nurse at RRUCLA Medical Center. When she is not working, Arlene loves spending time at home in Malibu with her husband and four children. To contact Arlene you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Haley Ann O'Neil, Contributing Journalist
From the very start Haley Ann O’Neil has been an individual with unique varied interests. She has always desired to be part of great and influential projects in the hope of changing the world. This activism has been expressed in a wide array of formats. Ranging from street based activism to world wide global heritage conservation projects as the Director of Operations for The Landmarks Foundation,Protecting Sacred Sites Globally. Haley Ann has always been fascinated by the diverse people around the world and is currently en route to her long term goal of a Doctorate in Anthropology, with a current BDIC major of Multicultural Education, Sacred Sites and Sustainability.
She is also participating in The University of Massachusetts Amherst Certificate Program in Native American Indian Studies, with the focus of understanding the historical and contemporary issues affecting the Western Hemisphere's First Nations. Haley Ann also works with Greenworks, a not for profit who's mission is to promote and support businesses, business opportunities and workforce development in the North Quabbin Region with particular emphasis on environmental responsibility, sustainability and restorative effect. Based out of the Orange Innovation Center (OIC)in Orange, MA the OIC supports initiatives in sustainable industry, artisanship, and community service. She spent time volunteering in a number of fields, such as campaigning for political awareness during presidential elections, and as an animal caregiver and socialization specialist at the Animal Rescue League. Haley Ann also acted as Volunteer Administrative Assistant and Petersham Property Volunteer Coordinator with The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR), doing her part to help care for the surrounding wilderness. Haley Ann’s interest in conservation applies to many genres including culture, sacred sites, wild life, and the environment. She has worked as a freelance writer, artist, model and activist and is always looking to expand her horizons.
JoAnn Guilfoil, Photojournalist
JoAnn Guilfoil, photographer, is a wife and a proud mother of 4 boys. She studied photography and communications and earned her Bachelor of Arts at Eastern Illinois University. JoAnn has lived in Illinois, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Michigan and is now settled in Camarillo, California. Her passion is taking pictures of her children. She loves capturing her children's emotions and passion for any sport they are participating in. Pictures are remembering wonderful memories, and that's what she always try's to capture, a sweet memory! Contact JoAnn at email@example.com
Kendall Dill, Contributing Video Journalist
Kendall Dill is a native of Los Angeles, California. From an early age she was exposed to the Arts, gaining an appreciation and insight into classic literature, painting, dance film both quality American and foreign films. Her father and mother, both creative professionals in the entertainment industry, encouraged her to explore and develop her creativity and appreciation for all the arts including writing, singing, dancing, painting, acting and filmmaking.
Kendall also enjoys competitive sports, showing a gift for soccer, surfing and water polo, where she won trophies in competitive high school surfing. She studied acting with Stella Adler protégé Arthur Mendoza, whose pupils include Lawrence Fishburne and Selma Hayek.
Kendall's rich multicultural and racial heritage--African, Native American, Italian, Irish, English, Swedish and Scottish--has played an important developmental role in her outlook and her creative expression. With her keen and ardent interest in media, Kendall sees herself as a bridge between cultures, applying her interest to connect people through art and entertainment. Ultimately, her desire is to use the arts to weave a beautiful, complex tapestry that reflects the diversity and the interconnectedness of life, helping to create a new Earth based on diversity and the interconnectedness of life.
James Lewis, Contributing Energy Access Journalist, United Nations Correspondent
James Lewis came to the energy field by way of a mixture of disciplines. When he attended University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the late 90's in Engineering Physics, the renewable energy movement was still in its opening stages, the American market having yet to discover its full potential. It was simply an "alternatve". So upon graduation, not seeing much new happening in Physics, he mved on to invest his time ad energies in people. He spent years working in both religious settings and retail management, developing a high regard for societal needs, ranging from the practical need for products and services to intangibles, like hope and mission and opportunity.
Opportunity both opened and closed doors for James. In the past 6 yeaars, he's been involved in the opening of three retail stores, one local church, the closing of a local church, and the layoff of 20% of the staff of a retail branch during the recession. All these experiences led James full circle, back to the possibilities that sustainability and renewable energy will provide to the world. Since then, he's studied renewable energy and energy efficiency through a trendsetting grant-driven program at Greenfield Community College. In his spare time, he enjoys life in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts with his boyfriend.
Mabel Lawrence, Content Manager
Mabel Lawrence is currently a high school student in California. She came to GEOF through an internship at the nonprofit Creative Visions Foundation in the summer of 2012. Working with GEOF has given her the opportunity to spread awareness of the wonderful work people from around the world are doing to help the Earth. Mabel also plays violin and is interested in set design and architecure.
Bret Crain, Contributing Red Carpet Journalist
Actor/Singer/Writer/Full-Time Mom of Three. Activist for the Environment, Organic Food, Health, Children, Happiness, Joy, Pleasure and Art.