Monique Greenwood means business. The Howard graduate and former Essence Magazine Editor-In-Chief is now what she calls the “Chief Enjoyment Officer” of Akwaaba Mansion Bed & Breakfast. After building her brand, and garnering one hell of a reputation, she’s now taking on another project-reality TV. On Tuesday, November 21st at 10 PM, “Checked Inn,” OWN’s newest reality series hits our television screens, and it’s definitely a breath of fresh air. I had the pleasure of meeting the woman behind it all, and she was kind enough to share some thoughts about her upcoming show, and more.
For Monique Greenwood, customer service is a top priority. Her guests’ experiences are different from most, because she offers a customized, upscale experience with one on one interaction from her and her staff. Monique greets each guest at the door when they arrive, welcoming them in. Each night, after settling in, new guests meet up for a cocktail mixer, where they have the opportunity to meet other vacationers, while getting to know Monique and her staff.
Prior to taking on this venture, Monique had an esteemed career in the journalism field. However, as time went on, she realized that she needed to own something if she wanted to create generational wealth. And while creating a family legacy is her goal, her daughter Glynn isn’t too sure she wants to take on such a huge responsibility. She’s more interested in being a writer. Of course, Monique isn’t very happy about that, and makes it clear throughout the season. “I’m hoping that we can find a way to encourage her to do what she wants to do, which is write, as well as encourage her to do what she needs to do-which is continue this legacy.”
Monique is a no holds barred woman, and she is what many might consider a perfectionist. Chipped paint? Dirty dishes? Hair in a guest’s bedroom? Better take cover. Monique’s husband of 27 years, Glenn Pogue offers a healthy balance to Monique’s Type A personality, taking time out to nap during the day, and pop his head in when certain guests arrive (Peabo Bryson, for example). With properties in Brooklyn, Washington, DC, Cape May, NJ and The Poconos, (Monique’s favorite cities) this is definitely a family business that requires all hands on deck. It’s Monique’s mission to make sure everyone is on board, and on the same page so she can be sure that things are running smoothly.
When asked about how the Akwaaba business is fairing in the face of competition such as AirBnB, Monique had this to say, “We’re doing well. But I want to be clear that they are not bed and breakfasts. They’ve co-opted the name. When you are staying in an AirBnB, you are staying in an un-hosted dwelling. Sometimes you don’t have a bed, and you definitely aren’t being served breakfast. We offer a different experience.”
Monique says she went into the Bed & Breakfast business because it’s her passion. Her love of decorating and entertaining really plays a major role in what she does, not to mention she thinks that real estate is the best investment anyone can make. “I believe your business plan has to be in sync with your life plan.”
As if this busy CEO doesn’t have enough on her plate, she finds time to serve as the Chair of Entrepreneurship at Howard University. She realizes that times are changing, and that many of her students’ parents aren’t necessarily sold on having their children live the entrepreneur lifestyle. “I have to convince their parents that it’s OK for their child to own a food truck. At the end of the day, it’s about helping them understand that they can be the creators of their own destinies.I’m working on a sort of retail incubator, and the goal is to take some of our dorm room entrepreneurs and put them in a storefront. I want to make sure that we all are living a luscious life.”
Monique is always thinking about brand building and entrepreneurship, especially when it comes to the Black community. ” All money is green of course, but I am honored to have that green money being passed to me by a Black hand. Black people need to be present and purposeful about creating generational wealth. I want us to be able make money and spend it in our communities.”
The first episode of “Checked Inn” features two Black couples who are seeking to rekindle their flames and spice things up in the romance department. I think this show is a good take on Black owned family businesses, and what it means to have an ambitious, opinionated, passionate Black woman at the wheel. It’s definitely a feel good series. Take a look at the first episode and leave your thoughts below!