I flock to spaces focused on empowerment and women, specifically Black women. On a daily basis I consume –whether I flick on my TV, open up my laptop screen and scroll through my Twitter timeline – media that’s anti-women, anti-Black and anti-empowerment. I do everything in my power not to, but it happens.
So, I was excited to break from a typical hectic day to step into a welcoming space designed by leading organic hair products company CURLS. More than 150 women and girls of color connected at Mist-Harlem to enter into new mentorship relationships at the CURLS Girls Rule the World: Empowering Entrepreneurs Luncheon on April 1.
Over 100 girls were paired with celebrity expert mentors by industry and interests who shared life and careers lessons with them over a delicious lunch. Celebrity expert mentors include award-winning novelist Zane; Jasmine Sanders, co-host of The DL Hughley Show; Tyrha M. Lindsey-Warren, Managing Director of L.A.I. Communications; and CURLS founder and CEO Mahisha Dellinger, among others.
“My goal of giving young women access to resources and connections were truly realized. Having our girls meet face-to-face with women who have and are still succeeding will empower them to live the lives they have always desired,” said Dellinger. “This is only the beginning.”
The goal of the empowerment luncheon was to expose CURLS Girls to accomplished mentors in various industries so they could begin to learn how they, too, can make their dreams come true. Over the summer and fall of 2016, the celebrity expert mentors will also host seminars and workshops for the girls on various topics, from business writing to event production.
I had the opportunity to speak with actress Nicole Ari Parker; Brandi Harvey, executive director of the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation, and listen to women from numerous industries. Here’s my list of the top empowering lessons shared at the first-ever CURLS Girls Rule The World luncheon:
1. The power of exposure.
The luncheon provided the next generation of leaders with a major KEY: exposure. The opportunity to connect in-person with leading women in media, business, non-profit, government and technology.
“What they see on TV is just entertainment,” said Parker. “You can watch your favorite TV show, but why don’t you meet the woman who produces that show? Why don’t you meet the woman that runs that network, or casts that show, or writes that show? The access that the girls have here today is eye-opening.”
2. You can be great.
Harvey reflected on the many women who poured into her. “Even though I didn’t see myself, or someone who looked like me on television all the time, or in every magazine that I turned the pages on, that I could be great.”
3. Use your voice.
“Encourage the young women in your life to speak up,” shared Parker.
4. Be your authentic self, always.
What every woman who has been very successful has told me was to be myself. Be my authentic self. Unapologetic about who I was and who I am, and who I’m going to be,” said Harvey.
5. Always get up after you fall.
CURLS chief exec led us in an empowering chant, “…I’ll always get up after I fall.” In life, the falls are inevitable, but what you do after that is what’s most important. Dellinger reminded attendees to rise and dust yourself off, always.
I look forward to the next CURLS Girls Rule The World luncheon!
Have some advice to share? Share your most valuable advice in the comments section below.