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The 18th Annual All Black Nov 3rd

Our Black Excellence Awards Honorees

 The Black Excellence Awards honors 20 extraordinary African Americans in our city in the areas of Education, Arts, Culture, Religion, Business and so much more.


Sheila Jackson Lee

U.S. Representative for Texas

"Like so many women, I experienced surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and other effects including loss of hair."

Jackson Lee said she came away from the experience even more committed to the cause of cancer research.

"I look forward to having many more years to enjoy my family, friends and to serve our community and nation.  I now intend to be an even more vigorous advocate and supporter for cancer research and improved care," she said.I announce that I am a survivor of a disease that has affected millions of women around the world- breast cancer.   Like so many women, I experienced surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and other effects including loss of hair. Now, I am cancer free.  What a great feeling!  I received exceptional care from the MD Anderson Cancer Center.  I would like to thank the medical professionals, including St. Luke’s Hospital, for the care and privacy they have given me.  Houston is fortunate to have such treasures of healing in our midst.

I look forward to having many more years to enjoy my family, friends and to serve our community and nation.  I now intend to be an even more vigorous advocate and supporter for cancer research and improved care.  I would like to take this opportunity to urge all women to learn about this disease and participate in preventative measures so that you can detect it early and increase your odds of survival. We can and will beat this disease.  I join the many women, men, organizations and the healthcare community who are working to support all of those who continue to fight to survive cancer every day.

Thank you for your concern and your support.  This is just one more battle that I had to win and my strength is renewed.  I especially want to thank my family for all of their support.  I know my purpose -- it is to use this challenge as an inspiration for the work that God calls me to do.


Thank you


Ron Reynolds

State of Texas Representative


Representative Reynolds was sworn in on January 10, 2011 as State Representative, House District 27. Ron is currently serving his seventh term in the Texas House. He is the first African American State Representative in Fort Bend County since Reconstruction. Reynolds was named “2021 87th Session Legislator of the Year” by Fort Bend United and The Young & the Politics. He was voted by his House colleagues as “Freshman Legislator of the Year” and “Public Servant of the Year” by the Houston Minority Contractors Association. He served as the House Minority Whip during the 83rd & 84th Legislative sessions.  Reynolds is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and 100 Black Men of America.

Reynolds is the Chair, Texas Legislative Black Caucus and 2nd Vice Chair of the Texas Energy & Climate Caucus. Founder and Chair Emeritus, Texas House Progressive Caucus. He also serves as the Legislative Leader for the Texas State NAACP and the Texas Coalition of Black Democrats.

Reynolds serves as the ranking member on the House Committee on Environmental Regulation and on Land & Resource Management.

Prior to being elected State Representative Reynolds was an Associate Municipal Judge for the City of Houston, Past President of the Houston Lawyers Association and Past President of the Missouri City & Vicinity NAACP. He is a recipient of three Honorary Doctorate’s; “Doctor of Humanities” from Trinity International University of Ambassadors, “Doctor of Philosophy in Humanitarianism” and a “Doctorate of Divinity” from Pendleton Chapel Seminary.   

Rep. Reynolds is a devout Christian.  He is a proud father of three wonderful children.


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Deirdre Dickson-Gilbert

Speaker and Community Organizer

Deirdre D. Dickson- Gilbert is a phenomenal woman with a phenomenal story. She's a former educator of 26 years. She was born and raised in Houston, Texas, the only daughter of Lovella “Hayes” Dickson. At an early age, she was exposed to the arts and desired to
emulate those who dominated the center stage. Her mother was a key influence in her life who as a community activist exposed Deirdre to the many facets of living a successful life as a public servant. Combine that with Deirdre’s mastery of writing books, plays, and songs and you have the makings of a 21st Century Renaissance woman.
In 2007, Deirdre released her first book entitled “Can I Just Have a Little Bit? A Little Bit of What! She is an avid speaker for groups such as book clubs, churches, and professional, civic, and community organizations. She has been featured in Saved Magazine along with
other powerful women in ministry such as Joyce Meyers, Beautifully Said Magazine, and the African American Newspaper, and in 2018 and 2020 featured in Bronze Magazine. She has been mentioned in Harper’s Magazine by Ralph Nader a strong advocate for justice.
Deirdre received professional recognition in the Women on the Move section of the Houston Business Journal. She has been mentioned in Washington Post, Stat News, and several online publications for her advocacy work in medical malpractice. Deirdre debuted in her first stage play “What a Man What a Man,” produced, written, and directed by acclaimed gospel artist Mona Moore. The first love of her life, her daughter Jocelyn, is the inspiration for her latest memoir, “Momma, Help Me Please.” It is a touching story recounting her 22-year fight for her daughter’s right to life. In honor of her deceased daughter, she has become an advocate for families with children who have C.H.A.R.G.E. Syndrome and those who have experienced medical negligence. She is the founder of the Jocelyn Dickson Foundation which supports and
promotes scholarships for students who pursue a medical career as well as supporting children with disabilities. She is also the National Director for National Medical Malpractice Advocacy. The association that she started in 2013. She was instrumental in getting the first proclamation in 2013 recognizing July as Medical Malpractice Month. In 2015 State Representative, Ron Reynolds (TX) presented Deirdre’s accomplishment with a Resolution, recognizing July as Medical Malpractice Month. In 2019, State Representative Ron Reynolds spearheaded a resolution garnishing HR 614 as a permanent document of the 86th Texas Legislative Session. Since then the organization has been given recognition from State of Missouri Governor Jeremiah W. Nixon, State of Colorado John Hickenlooper, and State of Georgia Nathan Deal. The organization has also received several congressional, state, and local recognition. Deirdre also created the first PSA that aired on Harkins movie screens across the states in September 2016, promoting and educating the public on “Preventable Medical Mistakes.”


Mika Edwards

Master of Science in Environment Toxicology

Ms. Edwards has led technical direction and business strategy on multi-national projects, exceeding goals and customer expectations. Her most notable accomplishment is implementing a $22B SAP S/4 project, the first in oil and gas. Her breadth and depth of knowledge expand into leading digital transformation by standardizing business processes, optimizing IT infrastructure, and providing solution delivery through value stream mapping. In her roles with multiple leading Fortune 500 Companies, she has repeatedly improved operations and processes and coordinates across globally complex organizations using collaborative tools.


Ms. Edwards has a Master of Science in Environment Toxicology with a concentration in Risk Management. A dual degree in Bachelor of Science in Biophysics and Biochemical and numerous certifications, including Certified Scrum Master, Project Management Professional, Certified Scrum Product Owner, Change Management Professional, IT Service Management Certification, Master Certificate in Business Analyst, Project Management for IS/IT Professionals Training and Certified SAFe® Program Consultant.


Lorenda Toran

Business Owner

Lorenda “Ren” Toran, founder and owner of Level'd Up Ink, is the only black woman operated tattoo shop in Missouri City & Houston area. Ren has 16 years of experience as both a tattoo artist and professional body piercer.  She started tattooing at the age of 19 working under various shops in the Houston area before opening her own in the heart of Missouri City. Level'd Up Ink has now been open for 5yrs. 

• Owning and operating her own tattoo parlor, providing her with the opportunity to be a platform and employ creative 

individuals in her community. 

• Hosting and touring tattoo conventions around the nation. 

• Features on reality TV shows on Lifetime

TV and VH1. 

•Providing tattoo and piercing services for celebrity clientele. 

•Providing "Art of Body" courses

and curriculum, educating countless graduates who receive gainful employment/entrepreneurship. 

• Orchestrating and organizing charitable events that provide school supplies hygiene products, and food and water for the residents of the City of Houston and Missouri City

Lorenda is no stranger to hard work. In the midst of running a prosperous business, she continues to mentor fledgling artists as well as being a voice for those who are/have experienced Domestic Violence. As a survivor, Ren serves a purpose to advocate for those who are suffering in silence with the resources and encouragement to walk away. It is safe to say that though Lorenda has exceeded as a pioneer in the body art industry. She continues to break glass ceilings, striving to hit her peak. She is proud to represent Black excellence at its best. 


Lanora (Onney) Laws

CEO of Onney Studios

Onney (Lanora Laws) is the CEO of “Onney Studios'', “Outside the Box with Onney, LLC” Talkshow, CEO of “Onney Publishing & Performances, Inc.”, and CEO & Co-Founder of “Swann Isle Sea Moss, LLC”. She is also one of the founders of “The Child’s Perspective” Non-Profit Organization founded to help the youth. Although Onney’s first love has always been spoken word, the Houston-bred poet has experienced unbridled success not only on-stage as a poet and actress, but off-stage as an author, playwright, painter, and casting director for multiple film companies; including her own and public speaker. She’s traveled the nation performing for thousands of people and sharing her gifts with the world as a spoken word artist while conducting book signings. She’s featured in multiple films and musical projects throughout her career. With over 140  Episodes of "Outside the Box With Onney" released on over 25 platforms and 15 Books Published through "Onney Publishing & Performances, Inc.", Onney is definitely building a legacy. She has been the recipient of a multitude of Awards, from "Woman of the Year'' from the Houston Sun Newspaper and Government Affiliates of Houston, "The Female Boss Award" from the Houston Hip Hop Awards, "The Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award'', "The Hustle Hard Award" for Media Company of the Year, and so many more. 
Onney is the proud mother of 3 sons, now ages 27, 24, and 20. She is also a proud grandmother of a handsome 7 year old. 


CEO Cenaca Cyprian 

Wife. Mom. Boss.

Wife. Mom. Boss.  

In that order and it’s this divine order that has set the tone for the supermom, superwoman, CEO we all know as Cenaca Cyprian.  Cenaca started her journey in the mortgage industry in 2005 in her hometown of Jackson, MS.  After weathering the storms, tests, trials, and the crash of 2008, she moved to Houston, TX met the love of her life Donald Cyprian, and started a family.  Driven by her passion to help families with homeownership and refinancing, she ventured back into the mortgage industry as a loan officer in 2016. Though this journey has had many ups and downs, Cenaca not only managed to land on her feet but persevered to victory. Like many, 2020 started off as her most challenging year, she faced job termination, market freezes and a public health crisis.  

In the midst of uncertainty, she decided to take a leap of faith and applied for her brokerage license. Unbeknownst to her, this was the first step in the direction of unprecedented success and prosperity.  In August of 2020, Cenaca launched Quality Lending Group LLC, one of the few African American female led mortgage company in the greater Houston area. This bold brave move has not been easy but three years, fifteen employees, and over 300 new homeowners later, Cenaca has no regrets! “I know with God all things are possible! As a new business owner, I am grateful that my Brokerage is off to an amazing start! After only 2 years in business, Cenaca was awarded one the Top 100 Female Mortgage Brokers in the US. Though the responsibilities of marriage, motherhood, and managing a business are great, the rewards are greater, and the possibilities are endless for this mortgage mom boss. Quality Lending Group is making major moves in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, and Illinois. “It’s important to me that I not only remember where I came from but do what I can to empower the community I grew up in”.  

Cenaca Cyprian is a mentor and inspiration to many young entrepreneurs and an inspiration to her two beautiful daughters and son. “A good work ethic is being instilled into her children at an early age, they see it in motion in the lives of their parents every day”. Cenaca attributes her success to faith, fortitude, and the unwavering love of her husband.  “I'm beyond thankful to have such an amazing and supportive husband who stands by my side and is my biggest cheerleader.” The sky is the limit for Cenaca and her company, she has been divinely positioned for success. “I am still in awe of all God has done for me says Cenaca. I came from humble beginnings. I can’t help but give God ALL the Glory on how He is writing my story and showing his faithfulness!”


Pastor Christy Babineaux

Pastor Christy Babineaux

Pastor Christy Babineaux was born on January 24, 1975 in Houston, Texas. She grew up in 5th Ward, later moved to South Park in an area known as the Dead End. She graduated from Sterling High School in 1993 and afterward attended Houston Community College. She was ordained as a Minister of The Gospel -July 13, 2019. Pastor Christy followed God’s instructions and left her home church after serving there for 33 years and left Chase Bank after 24 years of service to spiritually birth Christ~Y Ministries on August 7, 2021. Bible Study and Sunday Service is conducted out of their home until God blesses the ministry financially to maintain a building. Christy is the wife of Co-Pastor James Babineaux. She is the mother of Kia and Howard IV as well as three bonus children through marriage- Jasmine, Jeroid, and Jaiden. She’s also is the grandmother of Brayden, Nevaeh, and Carter. 

Christy has survived molestation, a stroke, and divorce, and has had to bury a son and daughter. Christy devotes her time to building the men and women of Christ~Y Ministries. Christy has a prayer line that is available to anyone Monday-Saturday 3 PM, the phone number is 848-220-3100 the code is 0124032. Christy enjoys spending time with her husband, family, writing, studying the Word of God, serving others, and making more disciples for the Kingdom of God. Christy also has a Facebook ministry under her name, Christy Babineaux that encourages people all over the world in which she started in 2012. She ventures out in the body of Christ by officiating various ceremonies, speaking at events and wherever The Lord leads her.

Throughout all her trials, tribulations, and storms she continues to trust God, persevere, and stand on the promises as well as the Word of God!


Sharon Caples McDougle

Suit Up with Shay, LLC/ Author / Speaker/ Veteran

Featured on Good Morning America and at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Sharon Caples McDougle is regarded as a “modern day hidden figure”. She joined the NASA family working in the Space Shuttle Crew Escape Equipment (CEE) department. She began her career as a CEE Suit Technician and was responsible for processing the orange launch/entry suit assemblies worn by astronauts. McDougle was one of only two women technicians and the only African American technician when she began her career. Everyone knows Dr. Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to go to space - but many don't know that an African American woman, with her own list of firsts, "suited her up". McDougle was Jemison's suit tech for her historic mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor. McDougle was promoted to the position of Crew Chief making her the first woman and first African American CEE Crew Chief. In her new position she was responsible for leading a team of technicians to suit up astronaut crews. McDougle had the honor of leading the first and only all-woman suit tech crew. She would go on to become the only woman and only African American promoted to the position of Manager of the CEE department. She led the team responsible for suiting up and strapping the astronauts into the space shuttle for launch and recovering the crew upon landing. She held this position until the Space Shuttle Program ended. She continued working to help close-out the program, ending an illustrious 22-year career with our nation’s space program. During her career she was recognized with the Astronaut “Silver Snoopy” Award, Space Flight Awareness Honoree Award, USA Employee of the Month Teamwork Award, USA Employee of the Month Community Service Award, and the coveted Women of Color in Flight Award from Dr. Mae Jemison recognizing her as the first and only African American woman suit tech/crew chief in her field. McDougle is also an Air Force veteran. She was an Aerospace Physiology Specialist responsible for training, suiting up, and strapping-in the SR-71 and U-2 reconnaissance aircraft pilots for high altitude operations. She also worked with the hypobaric and hyperbaric chambers and received her training at the School of Aerospace Medicine. She joined the Air Force after graduating high school and separated in 1990 with an honorable discharge. She was awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Good Conduct Medal, and Airman of the Month. McDougle has been featured in various publications, television and radio shows, and podcasts. She shares her inspirational story as keynote speaker as well as participating as a panelist. She is an avid volunteer in her community and works with several organizations. She serves as Vice President and Executive Administrator for Unveiled Aspirations – a women’s empowerment organization. Other volunteer activities include reading to children, being a mentor, cleaning community gardens, working in food pantries, feeding the homeless, and working in thrift stores, just to name a few. McDougle is a mentor with the Patti Grace Smith Fellowship; TWST4Girls (Together We Stand Tall 4 Girls) – TWST4Girls; Space Center Houston’s Girl’s STEM Pathway program; and she is a “Big” with the Big Brothers Big Sisters youth mentoring program. She is also a published author, her children’s book “Suit Up for Launch with Shay!” tells you all about the orange spacesuit astronauts wear to blast off into space. She also shares her story “Does God Love Me?” in the anthology Fearless Women Rock Volume III. She received The President’s Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Service Award for her lifelong commitment to building a stronger nation through volunteer service. McDougle is documented in the Smithsonian Institution’s Online Virtual Archives. She was selected by the MLK Grande Parade committee as a Special Honoree for the 2022 MLK Grande Parade in Houston, Texas where she was recognized for her contributions in community service and exemplifying the principles, values, and vision that best reflects the doctrines of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. McDougle has been recognized as a true leader in her home state of Mississippi where she was honored in the inaugural class of Mississippi’s Top 25 Most Influential African Americans. McDougle also received the Living Legend Lifetime Achievement award from the Moss Point Visionary Circle, and she was recognized by Who’s Who of Mississippi Women at their inaugural gala with the Dr. Helen Barnes Award. She has been recognized as a Mississippi Trailblazer at the Mississippi Trailblazers Awards Ceremony and Black-Tie Gala where she received two awards: The Calvin “Buck” Buchanan “FIRST” Award named for Mississippi’s first United States Attorney for the Northern District - honoring a Mississippian who holds the distinction of being the “first” in their profession and The Dr. Cindy Ayers “Legacy” Award honoring a Trailblazer whose singular work and contributions will leave a legacy long after their life has ended. The “That Girl” organization honored McDougle at the “Make Your Mark Symposium” where she received The Spirit of Detroit Award for exceptional achievement, outstanding leadership, and dedication to improving the quality of life and The Black Caucus Foundation of Michigan recognized her with the Leadership and Commitment of Excellence Award. She is also a That Girl Brand Ambassador. McDougle was made an Honorary Citizen of Lake Charles by the Mayor; she was recognized by Allstate and Tom Joyner for her story of strength and community service; and she was chosen as CW39’s Remarkable Woman of Houston 2022. She is also a proud member of the Red Hat Society’s Divas with Hattitude Chapter. She is happily married to her husband Maronald, and they have two adult children, Dominique, and Corbin, and a beautiful grandson, Landon. She and her husband are natives of Moss Point, MS, and have been Houston, TX area residents for over 30 years.



Team Lead, SCM Construction Sourcing &  Administration with Enbridge LP

I AM THAT GIRL who is just a simple, no-nonsense girl who was born to do more than just go to work, pay bills, and die.
I AM THAT GIRL who grew up in a military household as a child and then a wife. I have lived in Dayton, Ohio; Sacramento, California; Monmouth, Oregon; Hahn AB Germany; Goldsboro, North Carolina; Beale AFB, California, and finally Houston, Texas – my forever home since 1983.
I AM THAT GIRL who was not pretty, stylish, or popular. I was quite shy, a tomboy, loved sports, read tons of books, sewed all my clothes, and didn’t talk much.
I AM THAT GIRL who spent my high school summers in New York with my cousins who taught me how to cornrow/braid hair, dress, dance and force me out of my comfort zone.
I AM THAT GIRL who grew into her confidence, and danced on a television show in Raleigh, NC called “Teenage Frolics”, became a majorette, ran track in high school and college and had the audacity to
pursue a modeling career.
I AM THAT GIRL who earned money in college by braiding hair for male athletes. As the team’s “unofficial” braider (or hair stylist), I developed lifelong friendships by becoming a trusted confidante.
Those guys trusted me with their deepest secrets that I keep to this day.
I AM THAT GIRL who spent my freshman year at a Junior College in California carrying 21 transferable hours while working and running track so that I could transfer back to school in North Carolina where I
attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro majoring in Business Administration, in addition to taking Air Force ROTC at THE North Carolina A&T State University.
I AM THAT GIRL who prioritized her younger brothers and sisters' well-being over her college education,
returning to California to provide emotional support, stability, and a sense of protection through our family’s darkest day.
I AM THAT GIRL who got married at 22 years old, and moved to Houston so that her husband could work at NASA as the first Black diver who trained astronauts in a weightless environment, as I went to work for a NASA contractor as a purchasing assistant. Eventually, I became a computer operator for a woman owned NASA contractor where my responsibilities were the documents for the Space Station that had to be approved by Congress.
I AM THAT GIRL who tried for years to conceive with my husband but endured many issues that led to being told that I would be unable to have children. Imagine my devastation and sadness. BUT - enjoyed
being the stepmom of an awesome young man.
I AM THAT GIRL who realized that marriage was not meant to be, but I did not want to have a divorce that ended in anger, hurt or ugliness. So, we did what most would consider “abnormal”, we TALKED and
parted ways as friends, which we still are to this day.
I AM THAT GIRL who started her life over at 28 years old by stepping out on faith into another career path with the Oil & amp; Gas Industry. Without a degree, I was hired as an administrative assistant, but I taught myself how to read contracts, design a contract tracking system and quickly moved into a contract administration role.
I AM THAT GIRL who brought in more competent people who looked like me to an industry that did not look like US. Often, I was the only Black person in my field or the entire company.
I AM THAT GIRL who went to work for a company called ENRON handling contracts for natural gas, but additionally took over three other commodities where I worked with the IT and Risk departments to streamline and accommodate those commodities into one system.

I AM THAT GIRL who only lost a job, NOT money with the crash of Enron because I learned to diversify my assets and talents by never investing too much into a company that I don't own.
I AM THAT GIRL who was hired to revamp a contract administration department; was promoted into management within months. Due to my tenacity and reputation as a visionary, I strategically saw what
was needed for people to work smarter, not harder.
I AM THAT GIRL who encouraged my staff to complete their education if they had not done so, and for those who had bachelor’s degrees, I encouraged them to get master’s degrees.
I AM THAT GIRL who found out at 37 years old, I was indeed able to conceive after being told by doctors that I could not, but GOD always knows best.
I AM THAT GIRL who as a single mom stepped out on faith and built a house for my son, Sterling. I wanted him to grow up with his friends, attend the same school, and live in the same neighborhood. Essentially, I wanted him to be rooted in a home he would one day own.
I AM THAT GIRL who surrounded my son with great role models to make sure he is well-grounded in church, well-traveled, and culturally experienced. Encouraged him to be the best that he could be in
what HE chose in life. This path has led him to work in his dream field as an Architect, a candidate for graduation from the University of Texas at Austin, and soon to marry his high school sweetheart.
I AM THAT GIRL who surrounded herself around positive, God-fearing, well-meaning friends that have turned into family throughout the years.
I AM THAT GIRL who mentors young people, stressing the value of a college education and making my home a safe space where they can share their deepest feelings or enjoy rest, peace, and quietness.
I AM THAT GIRL who worked hard, but played harder by traveling the world, whether it is with friends, my longtime companion, Herbert, or just by myself.
I AM THAT GIRL who faithfully works behind the scenes supporting church ministries, organizations, and my close friend's never-ending events without seeking validation or recognition.
I AM THAT GIRL who recently had a conversation about completing my degree to which I replied, WHY? I have experienced at 63 years old what so many will never experience because…



Dominique Leonard

Business Owner/Prison Reform 

My name is Dominique Leonard.  I am the founder of Jus’ Free Parole Package Services.  Once classified as an inmate a few short years ago, I wrote my own parole plan and was granted the privilege of freedom.   Since my release, I have been dedicated in my efforts of humanizing inmates with favorable representation in their quest of obtaining parole.       

Jus’ Free is a parole package provider that goes above and beyond to bring forth and present the best potential of our clients.   Due to lack of knowledge, inmates are unaware of what is presented to the Board of Pardons and Parole.  Our company works with offenders and their loved ones to ensure the Board hears YOUR story.  Together, we humanize and purposely create a narrative for the Parole Board that deems those requesting the privilege of parole worthy of the transition to freedom.    


The vision of Jus' Free Parole Package Services is to help clients obtain parole by presenting them as humanized individuals ready to transition to freedom. We work with clients and are committed to delivering efficient and cost-effective services with a focus on communication, responsiveness, and attention to detail.


Our mission is to be the elite company and untiring advocate for parole reform in Texas. We endeavor to build our company's reputation by satisfying each of our clients’ needs – one client and one successful outcome at a time. We will grow our team by selectively adding individuals who can bring a new and diverse approach to client satisfaction. We will grow our support team by adding dedicated, personable and skilled professionals who can enhance our company.   Jus' Free Parole Package Services will be recognized as the company with which businesses desire to associate, due to the consistency of proficient teams who deliver an exceptional experience in regards to parole services.




is reflected in all aspects of our work demonstrating dedication to maintaining the highest moral standards in decisions, actions and communications.


to understand it is of paramount importance to our success as a company.  We are committed to timely, responsive, honest and respectful communication with our clients, their families and with each other.


to our clients by working expeditiously and productively to ensure quality work reducing unnecessary costs at all times to uphold the image of the company.

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