Candice Georgiadis
Jul 29 · 9 min read

I had the pleasure of interviewing Bernetta Knighten, also known as at the Dream Architect. Bernetta a certified Life Coach who helps motivate women in developing a blueprint to follow their dreams. Bernetta is the creator of BernettaStyle.com, a lifestyle site and resource focused on motherhood (family), marriage, and motivating mothers to live the life of their dreams, one day at a time. Bernetta also launched The Knighten Project in 2015. It is a non-profit organization with a vision to reinvent how everyday people dream by making one big dream come true for people who have hope but lack the network, resources, and opportunity. The Midwest native earned her Bachelor’s degree from Alabama State University and currently lives in the Tampa Bay area with her husband Earl, and 3 children. Bernetta lives by the quote: For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

There was a time when I would watch Oprah, Ellen & Steve Harvey on television. My favorite shows were the ones when they surprised guest with things that actually changed their life. Unexpected surprises. Each time I saw one of those shows, I would get Goosebumps on my arm. I didn’t get Goosebumps because I wanted to be on the receiving end, I wanted to be the giver.

While on maternity leave with my 3rd child, I again was watching Ellen or Steve give someone something that changed their life. I immediately told my husband, ‘What if there was an organization that made dreams come true for everyday people like you and me!” Of course he said, “That is a great idea!” Then I hit him with, “Well, what if it was me!” Again, he said it was a great idea. I honestly don’t believe he thought I would do anything from there. However, it was that moment that the idea of The Knighten Project was born.

I didn’t launch it for 3 years after my initial idea, because of fear and lack of confidence. There was actually one moment in time I told my husband, “I am giving up on all of MY dreams and just going to be your wife and raise these kids!”

He told me, “No! Out of all people, YOU can’t stop dreaming!’ I launched the Knighten Project about 1 year later.

The Knighten Project is a non-profit organization that makes dreams come true for everyday moms. One Big Dream. Unfortunately, dreams are not cheap so I do work a full time job while running this organization welcoming donations to help fund these dreams.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began this career? I was working as a social media influencer at Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Success Conference and was given an opportunity to ask the president (at that time) of his company a question. I asked him for advice on how to get more donations for my non-profit and more exposure. He asked about what I do and loved the concept. He then said, “I’m going to bring you on the show! The Steve Harvey Show!” The next thing I know, I was on the Just One More Thing Segment and Steve Harvey was handing me a $5,000 check for The Knighten Project.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? When I first started, I should have been consistent with campaigning and finding sponsors. Although, I didn’t know where to start. Honestly, it’s still a struggle, but everyday I am open to learning new ways to get in front of people.

Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that? Be a student of life. You can start something if it isn’t perfect, but always be working to perfect it.

Ok super. Let’s now jump to the core focus of our interview. Can you describe to our readers how you are using your platform to make a significant social impact?

I started my first blog WIFE (Why Isn’t Forever Easy) in 2010 where I shared stories on marriage. In 2012, I transitioned into BernettaStyle. It’s a lifestyle site about motherhood, marriage and motivational stories. My whole platform has always been about women following their dreams, because it’s always been important to make my own dreams come true. Although my dreams have evolved over the years, I’ve always desired the opportunity & chance to make them happen.

When I started The Knighten Project in 2015, I decided to select moms as the recipient of these dreams. As a mom — I know how many of us put our dreams aside or shelf them altogether for our spouse and/or children. Although, it’s possible — it’s hard to get the gusto to go after a dream 18–21 years later. Because these women are waiting for “the perfect time” , life is passing them by. My goal is to allow moms the opportunity through resources (& granting dreams) to take the first step NOW on whatever it is they want to do. If they want to get their degree, just start with a class. If you want to travel to another country, start saving a little bit every week. Just start the process and you will look up and your dream will soon be happening right before your eyes.

Wow! Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted by this cause?

Over the last couple of years, we created the campaign “Purses with Purpose” and raised money for women in a domestic violence shelter. Through donations, we were able to get 25 new purses and fill them (they were overflowing) with items every woman needs if she finds herself in a situation where she has to flee. We took these bags to a shelter for women, the day after Christmas. We wanted to let these moms know they are loved, appreciated and they are not alone.

Was there a tipping point the made you decide to focus on this particular area? Can you share a story about that?

Initially, I created the organization to make dreams come true only. However, while trying to get donations and raise money for certain dreams, I felt that I wanted to do more for the moms around me everyday. I may not be able to grant every dream for moms that submit a request, but I can motivate them into actions with real resources in person. The revelation allowed me to start having weekly DreamChat interviews on Instagram Lives with mothers who are actually following their dreams. I’ve also recently incorporated monthly Dream Chats, where moms meet in person and we discuss motherhood and dreams/goals. It holds everyone accountable.

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

I believe the community of moms should just support each other. Being a wife and mom comes with many levels and layers. Outside of our immediate family, friends and a support system are definitely welcomed. I just want moms to know that they aren’t alone in this journey but also give them resources to live their best life.

What specific strategies have you been using to promote and advance this cause?

Keeping a presence on social media always helps. In addition to a social media presence, adding the IG Dream Chat and in person meetings is a big plus. It’s important to stay in front of your audience and people that can help further your initiative. It’s great when moms want to help support other moms.

Can you recommend any good tips for people who want to follow your lead and use their social platform for a social good?

What makes your heart happy? What makes your heart sing? Or what is that one thing you see on a regular basis that you’ve always wanted to be apart of or change. Just take the first step and start.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

1. You’re going to need to learn how to raise money. People think that just because you start a non-profit that people are going to want to freely give. Wrong. You have to become a master at asking for money.

2. Non-profits NEED MONEY! Even though it’s a non-profit, the organization needs money to run properly.

3. Create a team of people that believe in what you’re trying to do. When people believe in your vision, their work reflects that.

4. Be consistent.

5. Running a non-profit is hard, but worth it.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I just want to restore the hope in everyday moms, that no matter what — they aren’t alone in motherhood. Their dreams matter. Their desire matters. There are different stages in life, but we all deserve happiness. I want to bring back giving. If I could have it my way, I’d have a show where I traveled the world surprising mothers with dreams that would change their lives.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite life lesson quote is a scripture. It applies to so many things. For God has not given me the spirit of fear, but the power of love and a sound mind. 1 Tim 7:10

This scripture is relevant to me because there have been many times that I didn’t want to do something based on FEAR. I’ve been afraid to make the call, send the email, speak first in a crowded room, raise my hand, post a certain thing on social media, start my business, and the list goes on. However, every time I say this scripture to myself, it gives me power and more power.

Fear is all in our head. If God didn’t give me fear, I should be able to move past it and go forth. I have the scripture in a frame on my desk to remind me that if fear starts to creep in — that this is just False Evidence Appearing Real and it’s a reminder to keep going forward. Sometimes you have to do things afraid. Those are the life changing moments many times!

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. :-)

Robert Smith. What’s so funny is that Mr. Smith was recently the keynote speaker at Morehouse College and announced that he would be paying off of all of the 2019 graduates student loan debt. I was already reading about Mr. Smith and his work and contributions to society. I would enjoy having lunch with him to learn more about his WHY behind giving back, learn his thought process.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

BernettaStyle.com (lifestyle blog)

TheKnightenProject.org (Non-profit site)

@KnightenProject (IG/FB)

@BernettaStyle (IG/FB)

Thank you for all of these great insights!

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

Candice Georgiadis

Written by

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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