It was a beautiful spring afternoon in Utah! If you don’t know Utah in the spring, it could be 70 degrees today and 20 degrees tomorrow. Considering it was one of those nice days, I decided to go with my gut to wear an off-white maxi dress from my favorite I’MarE Boutique to an invite only launch of a television show on PBS Utah.
When I arrived, I saw the graceful Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Utah Emma E. Houston and lawyer Richard Leverett. While speaking with Miss Emma and Rich, I saw a sharply dressed woman, with a gray streak in her hair heading my way. I knew this conversation was about to be good!
When she approached she let me know her name was Hollis Robbins. She told me how much she loved my dress and asked who was I. I thanked her kindly regarding my dress, let her know she was sharp herself, while proceeding to give her my name. As in most people when they meet me in Utah, she asked what do I do and how did it land me in Utah? Long story short, my answer is always, “I’m the Founder/Editor-In-Chief of IMPACT Magazine who left Atlanta to build the magazine here out west.” She replied, “Huh! Interesting, what’s the magazine about?” Giving my usual answer, “Black people! The mission for the last 15 years has been to empower, encourage, and educate black men and women through the power of words and images.”
At that moment, there was a spark in Hollis because excitement fell all over her, from her eyes to her body language. She shared that she’s dedicated her life to African American literature, had previously edited or co-edited five books, including the Penguin “Portable Nineteenth Century African American Women Writers,” co-edited with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., which was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2017, and is now the Dean of Humanities at the University of Utah!
God is amazing! I was in awe to stand in front of a woman who is a noted scholar whose work has been to ensure black writers are seen and heard! As the conversation was nearing the end, Hollis says to me, “Your story is fascinating! I’d love to learn more about IMPACT Magazine. In learning, I’d like it if you’d allow the University of Utah to archive the last 15 years of your work in the J. Willard Marriott Library! I’d really love if we could have the magazine on campus for our students and have interns working with IMPACT Magazine!”
My mind was spinning! Did this woman just say that the magazine I’ve worked so hard to establish will be housed in one of the top Universities in the country? Did she just say she would like to have the magazines on hand for the students? Did she say she wanted to give me access to interns, who are some of the brightest minds from around the world?
God is amazing!
Hollis told me she would be gone for six weeks, upon her return she’ll reach out to discuss all of these things. She had given me her card and found me on LinkedIn. Life went on for the both of us. I’d begun to travel around the country filming a segment in Atlanta on Urban Beauty Television for BET Her with my photographer Drea Nicole and Grammy Award Winner Tamela Mann, flew to DC to shoot the special edition winter cover with Jacqueline Fields Reed, made arrangements for the last Women of IMPACT Honorary Experience while in DC, and created an e-course for my client’s entertainment travel Masterclass in Arizona!
When I returned home from traveling, there was an email waiting for me from Hollis regarding all of the goodness she promised! We went to lunch to discuss the details with us beginning the archival and intern process! The magazine will be housed at the university as of next week! We chose the 15 year anniversary issue with Rasheeda on the cover to introduce the students to IMPACT Magazine!
“Twenty seconds into a casual conversation with Tunisha Brown at a PBS Utah event this spring I knew the College of Humanities should partner with IMPACT Magazine to support our shared mission to tell the stories of people around us living extraordinary and powerful lives. Tunisha Brown is a force for inspiration and change and University of Utah students will have the opportunity to experience and support her mission.” – Hollis Robbins – Dean, University of Utah College of Humanities
I’m honored! My work will have a stabilized home for those who are interested to know the stories of black women and men who are making an IMPACT in their industries and communities all around this country! For years to come, these IMPACTful stories will be shared and read. The interns will have a reputable magazine to work with and gain knowledge on culture, understanding of our voice, and an appreciation of our stories. The magazine will be able to get to another level with some of the greatest minds in the Communications Department working with it!
The archival process will be complete in December! Be prepared to be sick of ME! I’m going to host a private gala to commemorate this moment of legacy building in Utah! I’m honored, proud, and hope you’re reading this story with your heart beating as fast as mine with the desire to walk in the beauty of your dreams!
You’ll never know where the vision might lead you. Persevere, go with your gut, and keep the main thing the main thing! Always remember, all things are working together for your good! As Jimmy Carter stated, “Go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.”
Founder/Editor-In-Chief of IMPACT Magazine Follow @momentswithtunisha and @impactmagazine on IG