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I read recently in a Fortune article that female entrepreneurship is growing at rates higher than both their male and non-black counterparts. After I tweeted out that article with a series of “YASSSSSS” “#BlackGirlMagic” and other forms of celebratory congrats, I really took a moment to myself to really understand what this means as a black woman and to reassure myself that the many things that I have on my vision board and floating around in my head WILL and CAN come to fruition.
Throughout my time at Howard University (H UUUUUU), I’ve attended a plethora of panels discussing female entrepreneurship. But who can ever really get enough? I’m always looking to draw inspiration for others, so naturally I was super excited when I was invited to The Formation: A Female Celebration by none other than Melissa and Shakira of the natural hair blog Trials N Tresses.
Every aspiring female entrepreneur should attend a panel of this caliber, sooner than later…
Typically, panels like this usually consist of people telling a cliche “rags to riches” story but this panel offered something more unique, inviting and intimate than any other that I’ve attended in the past few years. It was such a refreshing feeling to look around the room to a gorgeous group of individuals looking to better themselves and support others in the process. From the baby hair and afros all around the room to the amazing vendors, I think we all came well prepared to get in formation with this panel.
In a dimly lit room of the Croton Tavern in Midtown Manhattan, filled with the aroma of delectable dishes and the scent of LIT Bklyn Candles burning, we got much deeper than the basic “how to start a business” conversation. The panel was made of female entrepreneurs that we all know and love; Tanya Wright from Orange Is The New Black, Monica Stevens of Mo Knows Hair, Shalleen-Kaye Of Natural Hair Does Care and Phylencia Taylor author of Evolving Beauty. We also had an absolutely FANTASTIC hair demo from none other Vincenzo Stylist aka the Curl King.
Both the panelists and attendees shared very personal stories and breakthroughs that we all so very often go through but oddly enough don’t really talk about. From conversations about the art (not the science) of building your network (subjective term) to getting yourself a little uncomfortable before you get comfortable, attending this power panel was definitely a rewarding experience.
A BIG takeaway: the importance of self-care while striving to be an entrepreneur
One of the most eye-opening experiences was the ice breaker lead by Shalleen-Kaye Of Natural Hair Does Care. The audience was instructed to take out their phones and pull up their calendar app. The thought provoking question that followed was:
While at first, it may seem absurd to have to schedule time for yourself into your calendar but the reality is for most people it is necessary. As women, especially women who are entrepreneurs, we very often put the needs of others before our own. This can detrimental to our spiritual, emotional, physical and even financial health.
Gem after gem was dropped by both panelists and attendees.
Acknowledging your blessings
About work-life balance
And of course natural hair…duh
All in all, this was an AMAZING event and I can’t wait to attend another. In the meantime, I’ll be catching up on some of the amazing things that all these women are doing. And of course getting my daily dose Trials N’ Tresses for all of my natural hair care needs.