MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Camille A. Thomas and Shawntera Hardy are the epitome of “doing it all.” Not only are they busy with their day jobs, they even decided to take up a side project.

They’re calling attention to their peers by publishing the magazine Fearless Commerce to celebrate all the good work African-American women are doing in the Twin Cities.

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Free time is not something the longtime friends have.

“I have a business called the Vision Investment where I work with women around the world to get more out of life,” Minneapolis resident Thomas said.
As DEED commissioner, Hardy is in the thick of government affairs, as well as consults and runs her own tech company on the side.

“I know I didn’t get to where I am today by myself,” Hardy said.

“I think helping people is just a part of life,” Thomas said. “I think it’s so important to focus on others. It’s so fulfilling and the work that we both do is infused every single day.”

It’s that belief that inspired Fearless Commerce Magazine. Published late last year, the friends were inspired after seeing a recent publication that neglected to highlight black women here in the Twin Cities.

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“As I started looking through the book, I got more and more discouraged, because I didn’t see many faces of color and I definitely didn’t see African-American women. It was so hurtful because I know that they exist,” Thomas said.

Together the two went to work, calling on their network of friends and colleagues. Thomas and Hardy interviewed every business owner in the magazine.

“We made sure there was a combination of very established businesses as well as some newcomers,” Thomas said.

The issue is a Q&A style format featuring 24 African-American women in the Twin Cities who are running their own companies.

“Our goal is to develop a platform to invest in these women,” Hardy said. “These are strong women who have decided to step out on their own and to pursue their dreams, but also to be able to support these women who are doing good work not just for the African-American community, but the entire state and some of them beyond Minnesota.”

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Their second edition is due out at the end of the first quarter.