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A shining light in Harlem: A talk with Barbara Askins, president and CEO of the 125th Street BID

Brooklyn Paper
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Power Women with Victoria Schneps

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This week’s “Power Woman” podcast features Barbara Askins, President & CEO of the 125th Street Business Improvement District (BID) speaking with host Victoria Schneps. Ms. Askins talks about growing up in her small-town childhood home of Plaquemine, LA, her life today, and her advice to other women on how to succeed in business.

Recalling her early life, she candidly shared it was women such as her first grade teacher and her college mentor who greatly influenced her to get to where she is now, and how she will always remember “all of those wonderful women.”

Askins left Plaquemine for Houston where she majored in the sciences before realizing she needed to be in a more “creative” field. After visiting on a school trip, she eventually landed in New York City where, after “trying many fields,” her journey led her to 125th Street. While working on a transportation project she realized she loved the energy and the culture of the neighborhood and decided to stay.

Barbara Askins created the 125th Street BID which was one of the first BIDs in the community of color in the world. “125 Alive” is her mantra and her passion comes through as you hear her talk about the BID’s benefit to the community by the jobs it creates and the opportunities it presents.

“It’s challenging and it can only happen if business owners participate with all of the planning of the BID,” she says. Askins also knows that it takes a village and she works closely with the police and sanitation departments as well. “It’s a family of people working together, not just the BID,” said Askins.

The BID’s yearly Harlem Holiday Lights celebration, created by Ms. Askins, will take place this year on Nov. 20, 2019. Schneps has already penciled in the date to ride on one of the illuminated floats with Barbara!

According to Askins, “It is truly an event that brings the community together.” It is a magical day to kick off the holiday season.

When Schneps asked her advice to other women to be successful, Ms. Askins said, “The key is recognizing who and what you are and what your strength is.” She continued, “Everybody has their strength.”

“Power Women” podcasts share successful women’s secrets to success. Tune in to the podcast at SchnepsBroadcasting.com and wherever podcasts are heard.

Updated 9:51 am, August 16, 2019
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