Today, here at Image of Faith we’re talking with Nina Keyes-Reid, mother, model, entrepreneur, and Founder of Philly Cheesesteak Tour. Nina is a beautiful, fabulous, and admirable dream chaser and that is why I reached out to her to see if she would be gracious enough to speak with me today in an effort to inspire others to use their gifts to reach the dreams that have been placed inside of them. Nina, thank you for being here today.
Nina Keyes-Reid: Thank you for having me.
Image of Faith: I want to start off with how I know of Nina. I noticed Nina on Facebook. I don’t remember how we became friends on Facebook, but I know we have some mutual acquaintances, a few beautiful women that I went to Central High with in the great City of Philadelphia. And if I’m not mistaken, many of these women are also entrepreneurs. When they have a vision they go for it and continue to reshape and reinvent their lives at such a young age, and I’m truly inspired.
I want to share what I’ve noticed about you over the past year or two. The first thing that I noticed is that you have an entrepreneurial spirit. When I first met you on Facebook you were in some sort of business, and the messaging that you were putting out on Facebook was how much it was changing your life. Then I started to see messaging about how you were changing your diet and exercising more. Every once in a while you would post group workout photos and things of that sort. Next, I started to see photos of you doing fashion shows in the city wearing upscale and sophisticated designs.
A little over a year ago, I attended an event where another Central High alum was showing a screening of his basketball documentary, and I noticed you at this function, and I was like wow, she’s really tall and beautiful, like none of your Facebook photos do you real justice. And I mean that as a compliment.
Recently, I started to see you post images of your new business, The Philly Cheesesteak Tour, that take tourist and city residents around town, visiting some of the best cheesesteak restaurants for a little history and a bit of taste testing, and last but not least, you posted an interview that you did with “Tiffany Talks,” another dream chaser and your story resonated with me on many levels, but mainly because there were a few parallels between your life and my life.
So in essence Nina, you among many others, inadvertently inspired me to get moving with some things that I’ve been sitting on. So let me stop doing all the talking and allow our readers to hear from you.
Nina Keyes-Reid: Let me just say that I’m so thankful for your words. As you were talking, I’m thinking, is she talking about me?
Image of Faith: Nina how have you reshaped, reinvented, or repositioned your life?
Nina Keyes-Reid: This is a great question and it’s a pretty hard question. Basically, repositioning your life is a process. At the time that we became Facebook Friends, I just started working with a network marketing company. This was something that I’ve never done before and the model of the business required personal development that I didn’t know I needed. The company eventually took a turn and decided to move in another direction, which was tailored more towards promoting healthy lifestyle products. I loved working out and eating healthier, and this new step in my life took me to another level – mind, body, and spirit.
Once I gained clarity in my mind, I gained confidence. I started to remove toxic people from my life and that was a process in itself. I slowly let go of these people by spending less and less time with them. It wasn’t that I didn’t like those people, it was just that I realized that we were going in different directions. Soon I became uncomfortable with my daily routine. I was doing the same thing day and night, and I became bored. I began to do new things, intentionally getting out of the habit of routine. This is how I started to reshape my identity.
Image of Faith: So you’ve mentioned that as you started to change your lifestyle, you began to get clarity. How did having clarity allow you to focus on the dreams that were inside of you?
Nina Keyes-Reid: As a little girl, I always had the desire to help people. I also have a background in education. In searching for my purpose I begin to ask myself, why do I love the process of teaching so much? After questioning myself, I found that it was the idea of having these people in my space and having the ability to move them from one level to another level that gave me joy. I love the process of seeing someone grow.
I’ve always been a leader, but I didn’t always know it. What I found later in life is that people would see things through me and then feel that they too could do what I’m doing. It’s as if I’m serving as a vessel or vehicle for people to go after their goals. I want to be an example to people and allow them to see the power of God through me. I also have a dream of being a speaker, and I’m currently working on writing a book that talks about some of my experiences and the things that I’ve been through.
Image of Faith: Wow that’s wonderful! So, you’ve pretty much answered my next question. Tell me, how did the Cheesesteak Tour come about? How does this relate to your vision?
Nina Keyes-Reid: It all started with a conversation with a colleague. Her son moved away to California and when he came back home to Philly he went on a cheesesteak tour. But not a cheesesteak tour in the literal sense. He basically went to all his favorite cheesesteak places, ordered cheesesteaks, and went home and ate them.
Again, being the person that I am, added to the fact that I now have a more open and clear mind, I immediately saw this as a business opportunity. I did some research and found that no one was doing the same thing, so I thought, maybe this is my purpose. I said, I’m going to go for it and see what happens. I put a few things into place and touring has been great from day one, but I will say that from day one, there has been ups and downs as well, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Philly Cheesesteak Tour relates to my vision because it allows me to give back. I truly believe in mentorship. I am blessed to have a strong mother who is also my mentor. She has always exposed me to strong African American women that were in business, so starting a business wasn’t something strange to me.
Image of Faith: I know that I’ve read that Philly Cheesesteak Tour gives a portion of its proceeds to charity. Tell me a little about that?
Nina Keyes-Reid: I love my city. The city of Philadelphia often gets a bad rap and I wanted to highlight the positives and give back at the same time. We give back to companies and organizations that have our city’s best interest at heart. We’ve partnered with Nehemiah Christian Center Back to School Bash. We constantly get emails from organizations wanting to do small tours or requesting tickets for tours in an effort to pour more positivity into the city.
Image of Faith: Nina, that’s excellent and we all know that giving back is a proven step in bringing continued success in business and in life. I would like to go back to something you mentioned earlier. Mentorship. So many people find it difficult to find a mentor. How can those seeking a mentor take steps towards that goal?
Nina Keyes-Reid: Being connected is key. Connect by going to different events. People talk, but a lot of times people don’t continue the search for a mentor. I often go to events and the speaker will give out his card to guest and tell them to give him a call. Out of curiosity, I once asked a speaker, why do you give out your card? Are you really going to talk to all of these people? His response was, only about 10% of the people in this room will take the time to pick up the phone and call.
If you want a mentor, you will have to open your mouth and ask. Successful people want to give back but their time is valuable. Go to the person you’re interested in having as a mentor, ask for 5 minutes of their time, invite them to lunch, do whatever it takes. If you don’t get a response the first time, call or email again. Exceptional people are busy, so that second touch will more often than not get their attention to reach back out to you.
Image of Faith: That’s interesting that you say this. I’m currently reading Lala Anthony’s Power Playbook and she mentions how she wanted to audition for a part in the HBO Series, “Power”. She reached out to 50 Cent by text but didn’t hear back from him. No response didn’t curtail her. She reached out again and he hit her back with details on how to get the audition she wanted.
Nina Keyes-Reid: Absolutely, no response doesn’t mean no, so keep trying until you get an answer.
Image of Faith: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Nina Keyes-Reid: In 5 years, I see myself as the owner of a multi-billion dollar company.
Image of Faith: Wow!
Nina Keyes-Reid: I have so many ideas that fall under the umbrella of just this one company. I’m speaking life into everything that I do. I’m speaking, traveling, just giving my all. What I’ve learned is that not knowing the path is okay. Having a profound passion for what you love will allow you to touch more people and that’s when it’s even more important to be authentic by walking the walk and talking the talk. I will get to the place I dream by walking in truth, 100% of the time.
Image of Faith: Whether you realize it or not, if you participate in social media you have an audience. What do you want people to know about you that you may not have shared with your audience?
Nina Keyes-Reid: That there is a story behind the success. The struggle is real. I didn’t get to where I am overnight. It was a process. You know I have two children as well and sometimes the mommy guilt sets in. Sometimes things get really busy and as a working mom you can’t always be there when you want to. I’m so thankful for my older son because he helps out a lot with my youngest.
Many people don’t know all that I’m doing, because I don’t put it out there like that. It’s just not my style to share all that I have planned, or would like out of life on social media.
Image of Faith: How do you stay grounded? What’s does your spiritual walk look like? In other words, how do you keep your mind, body, and spirit in alignment with your purpose?
Nina Keyes-Reid: I attend church weekly. If I can’t get to service my church streams their service online and also offer multiple service times on Sunday. I talk to God daily – it doesn’t matter where. Sometimes I talk to him in my car, in the shower, wherever.
I try not to judge. If I see someone doing or saying something that I don’t agree with, I immediately stop myself from judging and pray for them. You know a lot of the times when we see someone doing or saying something we don’t like, it’s because we have the same issues, so I try to be mindful of that.
I work out 3-4 days a week, and although I have a busy schedule, I try to eat healthy and get the proper sleep at night. I know that if I don’t take care of myself, I can’t take care of others.
Image of Faith: What message would you like to leave with readers today in regards to chasing their dream?
Nina Keyes-Reid: Go for it! Sometimes people struggle with making a decision – wondering if the path they’re taking is the right path. They spend a lot of time trying to figure out if one is right or if one is wrong. In all actuality, the wrong decision is not making a decision at all. Whatever path you’re on, it’s the right path for this season in your life. Find a mentor, don’t give up and continually reinvent yourself each day and remember that people are watching you – trying to figure out their next step in moving towards their dream.
Image of Faith: How can readers connect with you?
Nina Keyes-Reid: Philly Cheesesteak Tour is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/phillycheesesteaktourllc