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Meet KOREN UNDERDUE: Spectacular Magazine 2017 Woman of Year/Arts & Culture

Koren Underdue was selected the Spectacular Magazine 2017 Woman of the Year in the Arts and Culture category. Koren is Founder and Chairman of Christ Saves Hearts Foundation, a non-profit she established after the untimely death of her husband. She is also the CEO of

KU Real Estate Group with Keller Williams Realty. Koren is a graduate of Virginia State University – Class 2003 where she majored in Economics with Finance Concentration.

The criteria for the Arts & Culture is a woman who must have made significant contributions to the African-American community in the area of visual art, music, dance, drama, creative writing and/or cultural events that broaden cultural understanding; a woman of any race, color or creed who serves the African-American community is eligible.

Koren discusses her work in Arts & Culture and what/who has contributed to the successful woman that she is today.

Spectacular Magazine (SM): Describe what makes you a successful leader in the area for which you were honored?

Koren Underdue (KU): My success has definitely been rooted from the largest source I have to pull from and that is God. Understanding that you can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you, and just being able to step out in faith is the basis of the foundation or success formula needed.  In addition, I had to understand core values at its best, set realistic goals, develop a game plan, and execute it by putting my plan to action. I have learned over the year’s consistency and persistence always plays a vital part in my success. Most businesses and non-profits fail truly because they give up, especially when things get difficult. Once you understand that is part of the course, and learn how to push through and create that drive of determination by not giving up, and embrace the concept of failing forward, you are on the way to victory. 


SM: Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? This could be someone who has been a mentor to you. Why and how did this person impact your life?

KU: My Pastor and Spiritual Leader, Pastor Andy Thompson of World Overcomers Christian Church. His teachings’ have been by far the greatest impact on my understanding of life, relationships, and business. He has opened my eyes so that I can believe, receive, and achieve the many blessings God has in store for me. He has showed my ways to strengthen my relationship with God, myself, spouse, children, and business partners which played a vast part in my personal and business success. He has definitely coached me through some very difficult times as well as knowing how to handle the victories.


SM: What problem or condition in your respective field do you want to solve or improve?

KU: At the end of the day, my ultimate goal is to help others. Whether if it’s by navigating them through a real estate transaction as they are making a huge financial decision or helping to save some one’s life. In my professional everyday life I am a Realtor, however, I am also heavily involved in the community. My biggest project to this day is my non-profit I started, Christ Saves Hearts Foundation.  Our ultimate purpose is to promote advocacy for heart disease through the love of God, education, resources, and community outreach. We provide scholarships to students and families every year that has been affected by this terrible disease. However, we are focusing on developing a strong task force of health care providers, community, civil, and state leaders to push the State of North Carolina to mandate that ALL student athletic programs in high school and state colleges have full health screening for our student athletes. There have been many cases and deaths across the country, and in our very own state, where student athletes have suffered and/or passed away on the football fields, basketball courts and track fields due to some “some unknown” heart disparity. We want to help the fight to end heart disease. 


SM: What legacy will you like to leave behind?

KU: As a widow and mother of two young children, I think about this question quite often. Knowing that you never know how much longer we have left on this Earth, I teach my children to live as righteous as they know how, yet learn how to be free of worries and distractions that can sometimes weigh us down. Understanding that God will never put more on us as we can bear, and that we all have our very own “special” journey we have to travel. I share with them victory will always await for us at the end of the road, as long we understand it is not going to be an easy journey and we learn how to lean on God and trust Him in everything we do. The premise of my life work is built on God’s word, which in return I want to not only create financial stability that will continue to grow exponentially through my businesses from generation to generation, but also the life work of philanthropy by giving back to a greater cause. Life is always bigger than us as the individual it’s what we do individually to give back to the collective.


SM: What is at the top of your bucket list for 2017?

KU: I would love to travel the world and visit at least one country from every continent. There is a joy and appreciation of life when you can witness through the eyes of others and experience different cultures across the globe.

Nominations for the Spectacular Magazine 2017 Man of the Year will open February 5, 2017.

Highlights of Spectacular Magazine 2017 Women of the Year Awards Gala (Photos: Mel Brown):

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Phyllis Coley
Phyllis D. Coley is CEO/Publisher of Spectacular Magazine and Host of Spectacular Magazine Radio Show. With a B.A. in English from NCCU, the Durham native began her professional career as Promotions/Marketing Director for New York City’s WKTU-FM. While at the radio station, Coley discovered the rap group Kid ‘n Play and managed them for five years, guiding their music and movie careers to success. Moving back to Durham, Coley produced a nationally syndicated television show, The Electric Factory, while working as News Director for FOXY 107/104. In April 2002, recognizing a void in highlighting the achievements of African Americans, she started her own business publishing ACE Magazine. Coley launched Spectacular Magazine in November 2004. Recognizing the lack of pertinent and truthful information, Coley began Spectacular Magazine Radio Show in March 2009. Coley is the organizer of Durham's Annual MLK/Black History Month Parade and the Annual North Carolina Juneteenth Celebration. She currently serves on Central Children’s Home Board of Directors, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Advisors, as Immediate Past Secretary of the Durham Rotary Club Board of Directors and is one of the founding members of the Triangle United Way’s African American Leadership Initiative.

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