By K. Dawn Rutledge, Ed.D.

NASHVILLE, TN — Some may say mixing business and pleasure does not work, but the Winns have discovered a recipe as sweet as the day they met. 

Tim and Jewell Winn will celebrate 20 years of marriage next month and have spent many of those years not only blending their families

Jewell and Tim Winn are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year.

but blending a successful business formula that includes four ventures: boutique catering, corporate catering, a specialty tea recipe, and an events venue and private membership club. 

“It is not always easy running a business and being married. They are both something you have to work on,” said Tim Winn, who co-owns parent company ESPO Hospitality LLC with his wife Jewell. “We know and understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses, when to step in and when not to step in, and we have found a balance.”

It all started when Tim decided to step out on faith and put his years of culinary expertise into cooking up his own business. For almost eight years, he managed the entire food service operations for Marriott Hotels before starting Catering Concepts by Timothy in 2001.

 It was a slow start appealing to smaller events such as baby showers, wedding receptions, and service and social groups while still juggling full-time employment as food service manager for Metro Action Commission where he ensured more than 3,000 children were fed each day. In 2019, he launched his catering business full-time. 

Prior to that, he was also perfecting what is now known as his famous Tim’s Southern Tea. The homemade tea brings a southern twist that infuses natural fruit juices with no added sugar. 

“We started with lemonade, and then we went to fruit tea,” Tim said. “In 2018, we bottled the tea, and we are proud to say Alkebu-Lan

Tim Winn’s Southern Tea is popular throughout middle Tennessee.

Images Bookstore, a Black-owned business, was the first to support us by carrying it in their store.”

Since then, the widely popular tea is sold in several other locations locally including the Local Distro, Willie B’s, The Standard and the soon-to-open Tennessee Tribune Store in the Nashville airport. 

The couple said their business model works because of two important elements at the forefront: God and family. 

“We have a strong team that is supportive, loyal and trustworthy,” Tim continued. “The expertise and resources they bring have helped us tackle some of the challenges that have come our way.”

Although COVID-19 hit many businesses hard, particularly Black businesses, Tim said they never stopped. The company cleverly pivoted to meet current needs and focused on enhancing meal prep and to-go meal services. An unexpected opportunity led them to open a business in Hendersonville, Tennessee after investors approached them in late July. 

“They had been looking for us for three months,” said Jewell, who is also senior international officer, deputy chief diversity officer and assistant professor at Tennessee State University. “After they made contact with us, it was only 10 days later that we acquired the business.”

Lighthouse on the Lake officially opened to the public Oct. 1. The Lighthouse operates a private membership club, hosts a Jazz Brunch every 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month and accommodates diverse events such as weddings, receptions, corporate meetings, birthday parties, and other affairs. 

Additionally, each second Tuesday of the month, their Business and Networking Series’ “Wine and Conversation” is presented in partnership with The Tennessee Tribune. Speakers from various areas of expertise engage in candid and informative discussions on everything from building a business to managing stress to living healthier lifestyles, among other topics.

“A quality experience and top-notch customer service is what we strive for every single day,” Tim added. “And along with that, we prioritize philanthropy and outreach in our business mission. 

“This is a ministry for us. Once you make a commitment and follow what God has for you, everything else falls into place.”


Love on a Budget During Pandemic Equals the ‘Perfect’ Wedding

By K. Dawn Rutledge, Ed.D.

Social distance. Mask up. Get married.

“It was such a beautiful day. It was a perfect day,” Dr. LaKisha Simmons said of her wedding day. 

Even in the middle of a pandemic, Isaac and LaKisha (Simmons) Addae wanted to express their love with the ultimate commitment – joining together as husband and wife.

According to Brides’ ( 2020 American Wedding Study, while the impact of COVID-19 has shifted some wedding plans, four in five couples (82%) said that living through the pandemic has made them want to marry their significant other more. And two in three couples (66%) had to postpone their wedding because of COVID-19. However, 36% still decided to proceed with their weddings during the pandemic.

“We had our first date at Yellow Porch restaurant,” said Simmons, adding that Addae invited her to a ‘networking lunch.’ Since that casual lunch, the duo has been inseparable. 

After a two-year engagement, they decided to officially tie the knot in May 2020 with several family and friends surrounding them. That plan was shelved when Nashville restrictions and the reality that gathering in large groups could be detrimental to the reason for why they wanted to have a wedding in the first place. 

So, they did the responsible thing and kept it simple. 

Taking that route also meant scaling back expenses, something they had discussed even prior to the pandemic. Both are business and financial gurus, so practical spending and money management was a natural goal. But how did they pull off the wedding of their dreams for just $1,500?  

“Yep, in our front yard, during Covid-19, Isaac Addae and I tied the knot in a beautiful spiritual ceremony,” said LaKisha Simmons, Ph.D., 41, an associate professor of business systems and analytics at Belmont University. “[But] anyone who knows me, knows I’m ‘frugal’ to say the least. So Covid or no Covid, we planned to create the wedding experience of our dream…but on a budget!”

The couple leaned on a friend to officiate the ceremony at no cost last November. A white backdrop cost $250. Wedding bands were $125. The bride’s bouquet was also gifted. The costliest service secured for the affair was video and photo services at $500. 

“We always wanted to keep costs low,” Simmons said. “When we decided to do the wedding in the front yard, we just paired that down and went with what we had.”

Love was in the air for the happy couple who were both entering their second marriages. Getting it right the second time around was not about the fanfare of it all, but about their commitment to one another. 

“We spent the year trying to decide what to do,” said Isaac Addae, 39, assistant professor of business at Tennessee State University and a doctoral candidate. “We didn’t know what 2021 would be like and we wanted to do something more meaningful to us.”

Addae and Simmons have also successfully blended their families. Between them are three young boys ages 10 and 6. The couple also keeps busy in their roles as professors and have aggressively taken on entrepreneurship opportunities that focus on business and financial supports and services. Further, Simmons, also author of “The Unlikely AchieveHer,” began a nonprofit organization called The Achiever Academy which empowers girls and women which oversees The Period Project initiative. She is also CEO of Brave Consulting LLC, an empowerment training company. Addae, too, has his own ventures as founder of the 260 Change Fund, creator of the popular Conscious Conversations community engagement series, and co-founder of Black Entrepreneurship Week.

In line with keeping things simple, their romance includes taking walks and holding hands, watching movies, and enjoying their favorite meal – the Tennessee Burger (veggie), Memphis dry rub wings and a side salad from Burger Republic. 

“I want people to know that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to be happy,” Simmons said. “We have a modest home and cars. We have quite simple lives and that’s our love story.

What Was Most Important to Us?

“The most important aspect of the experience for me was the vow exchange,” La Kisha said. “For Isaac, guess what, it was the vows. So, as you see, it wasn’t the dress, the cake or anything that could cost us a ton of money.”

“For three reasons: one, we were both married before and had the huge wedding experience. Second, we wanted to focus on us and God, and nothing or no one else. Third, I grew up poor and have an insecurity about money (more about that later). So here is what we focused on:”

• Officiant (Harry Allen, friend)

• Backdrop (Signature Creations)

• Wedding bands (King Will and Modern Gents)

• Cupcakes and a small Cake for Isaac and me (Kirbee Miller of Kinimi Kitchen is a dear friend of ours and we have hired her for events for years. So, she offered us a discount which we appreciate!).

• Video and Photos (Mario Charles)

• Dress (Fashion Nova), shoes (from my closet)

• Makeup – did it myself with this kit!

• Hair (Poiseblu) and a hair pin from my sorority sister

• Isaac’s Haircut (Tristan Buckner)

• Isaac’s outfit (from his closet: Ghanaian shirt, pants from Target, shoes from Aldo)

• Bouquet – was hand made by my sister (J Creations)

• A few other things were gifted (champagne, cake cutter, chairs) or came from our home.

Descriptions of LaKisha’s career and involvements

Descriptions of Isaac’s career and involvements


Parenting and Creating Healthy Relationships With Your Children

Parenting is not easy.

The level of love and joy you feel for your children is met with the same magnitude of hurt and sadness when they are out of alignment with their purpose. 

Delnita Smith

It is important that we establish the foundation of communication, discipline, and nurturing in our parenting in order to have healthy relationships with our children.

In today’s culture, there is so much competing with the standards that we set for our children. There is music that can influence a mindset of violence, sexual immorality, and lyrics that can be degrading to both women and men. 

There is social media, the media, and movies that embellish on what reality is. Lastly, the greatest influence through the generations that sways our children’s choices is peer pressure. 

With so much outside influence, we as parents have to be sure to form a relationship with our children. They need to grow up understanding how we are on their team. I believe they know that we want what’s best for them. But, understanding how we plan to work along with them to get them to the life they want can be challenging.

The funny thing is, they don’t even know what “the life they want” is just yet. They think they know everything and we know nothing (especially  teenagers). Inhale. Exhale. Patience. In order for them to listen to us, they have to know that we understand their point of view. 

Then, we have to be willing to explore with them the process and outcome of their ideas. Allowing them to share their thoughts opens the door for ongoing communication.

You become a safe place. You’re no longer viewed as the judge and jury. You’re now viewed as an ally. 

Although ultimately, as the parent, you are the decision maker. Spending time showing interest in their thoughts, feelings, and activities is vital to having a healthy relationship with your children.

Giving your children the freedom to communicate with you doesn’t replace the need for discipline and setting boundaries. Whatever that looks like for your family should be the standard for each child.

Your family should have core values that you live by. Those values should help them learn right from wrong as well as honesty, integrity, and compassion.

At each phase of your child’s development, it is our responsibility to teach and exemplify in our own actions what our core values look like. It is also our responsibility to hold them accountable. 

Growing up with core values helps children have a better sense of how to handle themselves in the world around them.

Nurturing is also a key ingredient to healthy relationships with your children. Some of the choices your child makes will not be a reflection of how you raised them. It is important to remember that they are finding their own way and learning their own voice. 

Expressing anger because we know the implications of the bad choice can make the child feel judged. That can sometimes make them feel distant, emotionally and physically. 

When you cultivate a relationship with your children by listening to understand them, nurturing and guiding them, holding them accountable, and supporting them through the challenges and choices that life will present is vital to raising healthy, well balanced, and happier humans.

Delnita Smith is a life coach and certified human behavior mastery consultant.


Putting together a special love song playlist for Valentine’s Day? 

Here’s five contemporary love classics suggested by Tribune writer Ron Wynn. 

1. “Everlasting Love” – Co-written by Buzz Cason and Mac Gayden, Robert Knight (1967) had the first hit. Subsequently covered by multiple artists including Carl Carlton, Gloria Estefan, Rachel Sweet, Rex Smith, The Love Affair, Narvel Felts, Louise Mandrell, U2.

2. “I Ain’t Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You – Written by Ronnie Shannon, Aretha Franklin (1967)

3.. “The Love We Had Stays On My Mind” – Co-written by Terry Callier and Larry Wade, The Dells (1971) Also recorded by Joss Stone

4.  “Love Ballad” – Written by Skip Scarborough, LTD, lead vocalist Jeffrey Osborne (1976)

5. “Real Love” – Writtenn by Cory Rooney and Mark Morales, Mary J. Blige (1992)