Women, By Design: The 2016 Empowerment Sphere

Lisa King

Lisa King

The second day of 2016 held a spirit of renewal that was palpable at the “Women, By Design” Empowerment Conference. Held in the Harlem Repertory Theater, the event’s focus was a culmination of emotional rejuvenation, rich conversation, and visual acceleration.

The conference opened with a hearty welcome from the event’s organizer and moderator, Lisa King. King is the founder of the women’s lifestyle brand, A Little Audacity, Inc. Her specialty is creating and hosting events that uplift women, and “Women, By Design” followed that course.

Certified yoga instructor Antonette Bailey helped the audience members to get their bodies limber with stretches that awakened joints and muscles. Meditation coach Lindsey Pearson followed with synchronized breathing exercises that set the audience at ease. A calmness floated throughout the room during this mental cleansing.

The “Get Ya Mind Right” mood had been laid and went into overdrive with the ladies’ discussion about self-awareness, personal and professional growth, and relationships.

[left to right] Selena Hill and Tashima Jones

[left to right] Selena Hill and Tashima Jones

The panel consisted of Dariana Colon-Bibb, the founder of Rebelle Agency, a public relations and brand management company; Damali Elliot, the founder of Petals-N-Belles, a non-profit organization that empowers girls to be their best selves and live out their dreams; Selena Hill, the creator of “Let Your Voice Be Heard! Radio” and on-camera TV reporter and social media manager for “What’s Eating Harlem” on PBS; Tracy G., co-host of the “Sway in the Morning” show on SiriusXM’s Shade 45; Tashima Jones, co-creator of Tashima Jones Media and co-host of “The Ash Cash Show“, a talk radio show focused on personal finances; and Koko, the co-founder and social media director of the entertainment blog, www.celebrityxo.com, and a radio personality on the “2 Girls and a Guy” show on 88.7 FM Impact Radio.

In keeping with the New Year’s tradition of reinvention and improvement, the discussion began with the topic of purpose. “Your purpose starts with who you are,” said Tashima Jones, author of Being Broke Made Me Rich. The road to self-discovery can be daunting. Tracy G., the founder of She’s Beauty and the Beast, a personal development brand, addressed that point. “Your purpose cannot be contingent on other people’s perception of what you should be doing,” she said.

One’s purpose often stems from a dream, the thing that sparks never-ending fireworks in your soul. Transforming those internal sparks to an external cornucopia of success can be perplexing. “It takes an authentic ‘yes’ within yourself [to get your dreams off the ground],” offered Jones.

The ladies shared that the “yes” to yourself must be followed by steadfast ambition. New York-based media edutainer Tracy G. said that she used to send e-mails to folks in positions she wanted to occupy. Dariana Colon-Bibb, the self-proclaimed queen of cold-e-mailing, recounted the time she e-mailed the Source and asked if they had any internships, and they said yes.

Damali Elliot

Damali Elliot

The Struggle of Greatness
The panelists were transparent about the struggle factor. “It’s gonna be more difficult than anything you could ever imagine, but it’s gonna be more fulfilling than anything you can ever imagine,” said Elliot, the relentless dreamer and social innovator who left a career in entertainment PR to pursue her passion of female empowerment.

Jones talked about wanting to quit and offered tips on how to surge past difficult times. “[You’ll want to give up] when money isn’t coming in.” Instead of quitting, she recommends that you “pray, curse, write, go in the bathroom and cry a little bit in those moments of fear.”

 

 

 

The Entrepreneurial Air
Entrepreneurship among women is on the rise. According to the “2015 State of Women-Owned Business Report” commissioned by American Express Open*, the number of women-owned businesses grew by 74% between 1997 and 2015. The report also states that women now own 30% of all businesses in the U.S. Increasingly, there has been coverage about kid entrepreneurs as well. The mothers on the panel shared how they nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in their children. Entertainment blogger Koko said that her daughter is with her when she blogs. “You prepare them for the future by showing them how to be an entrepreneur, not a worker,” she said.

Jones, whose son is in the process of writing his first children’s book, agreed with having your kids present while you work. She also urged moms to follow their passions fervently. “Don’t feel guilty [about pursuing your dreams]. You’re showing your children what it is to pursue your dreams and goals. You owe it to your kids to pursue your dreams,” she said.

Tracy G

Tracy G

What’s In A Vision?
Success starts with a vision. You must know what you want in order to attain it–and be sure to focus on the entire picture. Tracy G. was very direct in her explanation of that point. “Make sure you see the work in between so that you’re ready for it. Your ‘why’ has to be so hearty that you want to continue on after the honeymoon has passed,” she said.

Self-accountability was also a rampant theme of the day. Koko’s directive to “speak it [your vision] into the universe” was championed by Hill’s decree to “write it down.” The ladies (and gentlemen) in the audience did indeed “write it down” on vision boards at the event’s conclusion. Pictures of Earth’s treasures and affirmations such as “renewal” and “winner” filled vision boards across the room.

“Women, By Design” encapsulated the strength of women with a vision and breathed life into King’s declaration that, “[i]f faith, the size of a mustard seed is all that is needed to believe that all your dreams are possible–then ‘a little audacity’ is energy needed to transform those dreams into reality.”

*Source: fortune.com/2015/06/29/black-women-entrepreneurs/

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