Tiffany Wood has plenty to say to young ladies at the “Community of 1” forum Saturday at the Senior Activity Center on Urbane Road.
Her part in the forum will be mainly directed toward young ladies, but she also has something for young men to think about.
“Fathers set the foundation of the family and all too many of our black women, more than any other group, we need to realize we can’t subtract fathers from our home,” she said. “They are not just ‘our’ children. We have to include fathers in the raising part because fatherhood doesn’t stop at conception.”
The conference is designed to bring information and awareness to young people in the areas of education, employment, health, self-employment, politics, athletics and finances. It is planned for Saturday at the Bradley-Cleveland Senior Activity Center at 230 Urbane Rd. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The purpose is to provide everyone in attendance with a greater sense of self-worth, personal confidence and service to the city of Cleveland and Bradley County. It is with those things in mind that local professionals are coalescing into a “Community of 1.” The theme of the conference is “Getting Things Started.”
Just to help get things started, Food Network celebrity chef Jenard Wells of Chattanooga Wing Co. will be the featured food vendor and there will be a free giveaway of a 32-inch flat-screen TV.
Conference organizer Solomon Williams said the giveaways will be awarded only to those present throughout the entire conference.
Speakers include Kelly Runyons, Staff Management; coach Frank Walker, Tennessee Christian Preparatory School; Quantal Langford, Langford Design; Del Baker, former Cleveland High School Basketball All-American; Shaun Cox, Golden Orchid Photography; Michelle Styles, Overcoming Faith Christian Center; Tiffany “Tipp” Wood, Omega Salon; Danielle Farrell, Raw Art & Dance Studio; and gospel recording artist Ashlyn Prather.
As Tiffany Wood (Sharp), 38, tells her story, it is readily apparent that she has always had people to help shape her life.
Wood is a native Clevelander and graduate of Cleveland High School. She married Greg Wood at age 20. They have three sons: Curtis, 22; Rondazz Mee Jr., 20; and JaCobi, 11. Wood is also a businesswoman and hair stylist at her own shop, The Omega Salon at 870 Inman Street, where she says is the end of bad hair days.
“Omega just happens to be my middle name because I’m the end. I’m the last of four children.” she said. “I first discovered I wanted to do hair when I was 8 years old. I woke up and did my own hair that morning and from that day on, my mother has never done my hair.”
Her mother only knew how to plait hair. But, Wood said, she wanted French braids so her godmother, Kimberly Pugh and her sister, taught Wood how to French braid.
“So that morning I woke up and French braided my own hair and from then on, I have been doing other people’s hair. I did people on my softball team at Northeast (College Hill Recreation Center) and it just carried on from there. But when I got married and had my son, I had to put hair on the back burner, but it has always been a dream of mine. It has always been a passion because I love to do it. I’ve done hair for free because if you have a passion like that, you’ll do it for free for awhile because you have to pour out until it starts flowing back in.”
After marriage and having a child, Wood had to go to work because having a business just wasn’t in the cards for her at that time.
“Then I was blessed with the opportunity to quit work, move back home with my mom and go to school fulltime at Franklin Academy,” she said.
After graduation, she went to work at Tanglez II on North Ocoee Street where her friend and mentor, Melanie Snyder, taught her about how to do color and the business aspect of hair styling.
“She left and went to another salon and then I got blessed with this now-or-never opportunity. It was just like the Lord laid it at my feet,” she said. “I was looking for a place, but the prices were too high.
“I can’t consult my pocketbook with my dream. I have to consult God. God said ‘I will maintain your business’ and He did.”
The location of her salon is the prime example. She drove passed the house across from Dotson Funeral Home one day in early 2012. It had just been vacated and Alma Dotson had purchased it on one day and Wood called her the next.
She opened The Omega Salon Feb. 6, 2012, “and from then on, I’ve been here living my dream.”
She wants to let girls know that it is OK to need someone who is willing to be with them in times of need, whether it is a coach, teacher or someone else in the community.
“We’re trying to turn this around for our community and make it stronger and better,” Wood said.
Girls should know that it is OK to be pursued without being aggressive.
“In our black history, women have been made to be aggressive, strong and independent. You don’t have to be that way,” she said. “You can be interdependent. You can depend on each other. We’re trying to be a Community of 1 here. You don’t have to be strong all the time. It’s OK to need your mom. It’s OK to need your dad. It’s OK to need a friend. A lot of black women don’t even compliment each other.”
She said parents unknowingly teach their children forms of behavior through body language.
“You can teach your 6-year-old daughter something without saying a word. It’s how you live your life, your day-to-day routine — a little girl can pick up on that so fast — she won’t even know her momma taught her to disrespect a man, to not want a man, to say she doesn’t need a man. But we need men,” she said.