Authors of "The Force of Friendship"

A chance meeting at a Mary Kay skin-care class forged a decades-long friendship between seven black women entrepreneurs that led them to their first book together, “The Force of Friendship.”

Gloria Mayfield Banks, Caterina Harris Earl, Crisette Ellis, Sabrina Goodwin Monday, Andrea Johnson, Natalie Privette-Jones and Nora Shariff-Borden collaboratively authored an inspirational book that testifies to the essentialism of friendship.

“The Force of Friendship is a loving and deliberate family with continuous rewards and simplicity,” Banks said. “The consistent encouragement between this group of women extends wide and deep, meaning that the friendship is genuine, easy and always joyous.”

The friends say that the Force of Friendship: 100 Powerful Inspirations is a 100-page collection of quick and easily digestible daily affirmations written by all seven women that covers such topics as faith, mindset, leadership, belief, love, dream, fear and, of course, friendship.

“I came in for something small and it turned out to be really big,” Banks said. “A friend invited me to this Mary Kay class and I didn’t want to go, but I went anyway and I fell in love with the product and the process.

“Along the way the women in the Force of Friendship became apart of my Mary Kay world and we bonded,” she said. “We all we went to the highest position, which is a national sales director. We started out in our 20s and 30s and now our kids are graduating high school and some of us are grandparents.”

Banks said that the circle of friends has traveled and worked the world together.

“We’re not those ‘Real Housewives’ kind of girlfriends,” she said. “We all live in different cities and have been through marriages, divorces, good and bad times and we have sustained our friendship.”

Banks said the book project spawned from Shariff-Borden, who said God told her that the seven of them should write a book together. Initially Shariff-Borden resisted, but eventually got everyone on board.

“She said, ‘Oh no, I’m not writing a book with all those people,’” Banks said. “But the beauty of the process of doing a project like this is that it brought us even closer together, and it gave us a tremendous amount of respect, because we knew we admired each other but to put it in writing is great.”

The process of writing the book took roughly a year, with all of the women contributing equally.

Banks, a Detroit native, Baltimore resident, Howard and Harvard alum, believes the value of friendship is to strengthen each other when times are great and when times are not so great.

“Your girlfriends are some of the best people to celebrate you,” Banks said. “They are some of the best people to see the good in you and the good in your life even when you’re not seeing it at that moment.”

The book can be purchased at

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Sarafina Wright –Washington Informer Staff Writer

Sarafina Wright is a staff writer at the Washington Informer where she covers business, community events, education, health and politics. She also serves as the editor-in-chief of the WI Bridge, the Informer’s...

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