By editor-in-chief Shawn Chavis

If you are looking for a truly extraordinary experience- one filled with relaxation, luxury, revitalization, intellectual kinship, and sisterhood, then you need to discover The Black Diamond Sanctuary.  Owned by Cassandra Harris, BDS is a unique retreat experience especially designed with Black women in mind.  The company provides excursions that allow women to bond with one another by fostering friendships and social enjoyment while rejuvenating in exotic destinations.  We had an opportunity to catch up with Cassandra to find out more about her take on entrepreneurism and what makes BDS so unique.
BM: Hello Cassandra, thank you for taking time to speak with us today.  Please share with us what shaped your decision to become an entrepreneur.
CH: I had spent several years in corporate America…working myself into a robotic trance at times.  I woke up one morning, looked at myself in the mirror and said…”If you can work this hard for another person, then surely you can work this hard for yourself!”
BM: You have this amazing business The Black Diamond Sanctuary, which provides luxury retreat excursions especially designed with the Black woman in mind.  Tell us about the vision and mission of your company.
CH: My vision was to create a gathering place for Black Women where can they recharge themselves through fun times cultural experiences and social kinship.
BM: How important is a service like this for Black women?
CH: Our world seems to be a matrix of hurried hustle and bustle, crazed technology and sleep deprivation.  Today’s Black woman needs a place of refuge, where she can just get away from it all…whether if she’s a CEO, a single mother of five, or an organizer of the local neighborhood crime watch.  Many women would be surprised at how travel experiences such as these can provide mental clarity for themselves, as well as restoration for their bodies and spirits.
BM: You have described yourself as a “lady warrior.”  How has this description shaped your role as an entrepreneur/business owner?
CH: My deposition has always been one of tenacity and steadfastness.  Sometimes I can be like a raging bull…plowing ahead at full speed, but I am always careful to do things with meekness and grace.  There’s nothing like the feminine touch!
BM: How would you describe the environment of your retreats and what are some of your upcoming retreat destinations?
CH: My motto is…”Come…luxuriate, rejuvenate!” The retreat environments are Zen inspired and are designed for peace and solitude in a deluxe resort atmosphere.
This summer we will head to Las Vegas to enjoy and upscale luxurious weekend at the newly debuted Vdara Resort and Spa.  We will have some ‘good ole girlfriend time’ with each other…taking in the sights, nightlife…and of course some shopping!
In the fall, we will journey to the beautiful and chic city of Los Cabos, MX for our Decadent Serenity retreat.  The environment will incorporate both an elegant approach to luxury without limitations as well as nostalgic relaxation and self renewal.
Future retreats for 2011 include: Santa Barbara, Grenada, Antigua, Petra, and Abu Dhabi.
In 2013, I am planning to take the sisterhood on a luxury safari in South Africa.  I am currently in negotiations with the owner of a boutique resort that actually sits on a Game Reserve in the African outback.  I am most excited about this one!! 
BM: What best practice can you share with other female entrepreneurs?
CH: You will find those who will try to exploit the endowment of your gifting.  When making business deals with others, they will quickly be able to determine if you are a hard worker or not.  Consequently, they will try to solicit your business services for little or no charge.  Be sure to always present yourself professionally by always having examples of your work by being able to support it with facts, portfolio, references, etc.  This way, any potential clients will take you seriously.   
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