Events

 

Swizz Beatz and Jackie No Commission Dean Collection Art Basel 2015 IMG_0126

So Art Basel/Miami Art Week has come and gone.  If you missed out, well, you missed out. About the same time every year, the most wonderful time of the year, the Magic City comes alive with its yearly art festival. Artists, art dealers, art enthusiasts and celebrities from all over flood the city for Art Basel and satellite fairs in Miami Beach and Wynwood. I love Basel but unlike last year where I attended a different event every night for a week straight, this year I played it slightly low-key but I enjoyed it immensely nonetheless. Here's the round up of how my Art Week went.

Conception Art Fair

Beyonce Conception Art Fair Art Basel IMG_9832_1024

Wednesday was the press preview for the Conception Art Fair. Conception was billed as the only art fair founded, owned and run exclusively by women. I thought this would be a great fair to cover for my audience because I know we are all about girl power. With the event scheduled to begin at 6 o'clock, my colleague and I arrived with five minutes to spare. Unfortunately, when we arrived full-fledged construction was still underway on the venue (picture giant ladders, power tools and hammers).  There was no one up front to check in with the visitors and the place was essentially a holy mess. However, once you got past the fear of a large object potentially crashing down on your head, there were some really great pieces to take note of.

Conception Art Fair collage
Much of the art work featured images of strong women including the center image dipicting Frida Kahlo as Wonder Woman.

Vibes 305

Vibes Art Basel 2015 Toe Jam Gil Green IMG_0008v2

Each year this is the one party I vow to not miss.  You may not know Gil Green by name but if you're a fan of hip-hop music, you definitely know his work. The mega-successful filmmaker/video director has worked with many hip hop legends and today's brightest stars including Nicki Minaj, Usher, P. Diddy and more. Each year Green and friends host the unconventional art party at the ToeJam Backlot in Wynwood. This ain’t your artsy-fartsy art party with wine and assorted cheeses. Food trucks however, those were aplenty.

Ace Hood Vibes Art Basel 2015 Toe Jam Gil Green IMG_0032
Rapper Ace Hood performs.
Shaggy Vibes Art Basel 2015 Toe Jam Gil Green IMG_0087
Reggae artist Shaggy performs new and old school songs.

I've seen the event change and grow from its first year where it was much smaller with a very eclectic crowd of hip-hop lovers (young and older), appreciators and newbies to the scene, to a massive crowd of attendees who pretty much all look the same. Vibes 305 used to be more of a hidden gem. Like your favorite little bakery before they became super popular and started lining up customers down the block and skimping on the cupcake icing. Don't get me wrong Vibes is still a good ol’ time, but for me it's just not what it used to be and for some that's great. I however, look fondly back on being able to casually run into one of my absolute favorite Miami Heat players, and seeing local celebrities hanging out among the crowd sans security vs. this year watching rappers race by with a 6-person security detail/entourage. Oh, and let's not talk about the chaos at the door, hour-plus long, line to get in, and the non ticketed line that was three times faster than the ticketed line (side bar: Thanks to the young lady who eventually helped with my guest list fiasco).

Vibes 305 Art Basel Party Crowd Toe Jam

It also seemed like the art used to be much more prominent. This year seemed to lack a little in newness, showing several pieces that were on display last year. I had one guy come up to me and ask me where the art was? He was being facetious of course and obviously not of the culture so it was hard for him to get it but it speaks to the sense of lacking. I think part of the problem is we were all packed in there like sardines. If you really take a step back to look at the venue, the ToeJam Backlot in and of itself is a work of art. Every square inch of the actual building is covered in some eccentric "thing" for lack of a better word. You have to think beyond seeing something hanging on a wall. I mean there's an actual cockpit and hallowed out school bus in the backlot for Christ sake but that may be hard to appreciate when your vision is obstructed by a thousand people. Maybe.

Bottom line: Cool event. Cool venue. Great music. But... gone to the masses.

 

No Commission Art Fair X The Dean Collection

Swizz Beatz and Jeffrey Deitch No Commission Dean Collection Art Basel 2015 IMG_0165
Swizz Beatz gives art world legend, Jeffery Deitch the tour of the No Commission fair, stopping to discuss a piece by Sandra Chevrier.

 

So you've probably heard of mega producer Kasseem "Swizz Beatz" Dean but what you may not know is that the musical superstar is also a passionate art lover and collector. Last year he was asked to curate a collection for the Scope Art Fair, which he branded The Dean Collection. This year he branched out and expanded, partnering with Bacardi to launch his own art fair and concert series entitled No Commission.

The interesting thing about Art Basel is some events are free, some are pricey, some are open to the public, some are super exclusive, some are of the highest quality and some are a damn joke. How Swizz managed to create an experience that was, of the highest quality, free, open to the public while also being exclusive says a lot about how much effort was put into this project.

Sue Tsai No Commission Dean Collection Art Basel 2015 IMG_8376
Artist Sue Tsai poses next to her piece entitled "Rooted in Love", inspired by the quote: "You fell in love with my flowers but not with my roots. So when Autumn arrived you didn't know what to do." One of my top two of the entire week.

The No Commission fair afforded the participating artists the opportunity to show and sell their work at one if the worlds biggest art events without the burden of having to pay a gallery a hefty commission, hence the fair's title. Swizz curated the collection himself, handpicking the artists for the showing but giving them the opportunity to pick the pieces they wanted to show and set their own sale prices. Up and comers showed alongside more established artists like Sandra Chevrier for a collection Swizz describes as "by the artist for the artist”.

Sandra Chevrier No Commission Dean Collection Art Basel 2015
Amazing piece by Sandra Chevrier. Close up look at the intricate details.

Sandra Chevrier No Commission Dean Collection Art Basel 2015 IMG_0159v2

I for one ate it all up. I loved the concept, loved the execution, loved the pieces selected, loved being able to chat with all the artists, and loved how gracious a host Swizz Beats was. This clearly wasn't something he just slapped his name on and took credit for. It was quite evident how passionate he was about making his vision come to fruition.  Hat's off to you Mr. Dean.

Simply Gallery

Simply Gallery Wynwood_IMG_0198

So I ventured to some other galleries after the Dean Collection and found some really great pieces. The Simply Gallery hosted by Simply Jess, Alessandra Gold & MJA, mixed art with fashion, showing off paintings sculptures and a couple of boutique-like setups with unique articles of clothing and footwear. One of my favorites included one from artist Aaron Maybin who I discovered at Basel two years ago and a crazy bullet-themed piece from Charles Soto aka Soto Ink.

Simply Gallery Aaron Maybin paintings

Alexander Mijares

Alexander Mijares Art Basel 2015 IMG_0210

Near by was an absolutely amazing gallery exhibition by Cuban-American Artist Alexander Mijares. The exhibit entitled, Freedom was centered on history, exile and redemption and featured a large-scale installation of a Cuban refugee boat that recently brought 16 exiles to American soil. Displayed with the original contents still left inside, the boats sail was painted in customary Mijares fashion.

Alexander Mijares Art Basel 2015 IMG_v2

Gallery 212 & Wynwood Walls

Gallery 212 Art Basel 2015 IMG_0235

I also managed to stop by local spot, Gallery 212 and Wynwood staple, Wynwood Walls. If you’re unfamiliar, Wynwood Walls was born in 2009 when a section of warehouse building walls were turned into giant canvases for graffiti and street art. It brings in all kinds of artists from around the world. For this year’s Art Basel, 14 new large-scale murals and installations were included. As usual, Wynwood Walls was a sight to behold.

Gallery 212 Art Basel 2015 IMG_v2
Cuteness at Gallery 212
Wynwood Walls Art Basel 2015 IMG_0240
The infamous Wynwood Walls

Another great year of Baseling as I like to call it, has come to an end and I’m going to miss it. I already can’t wait until next year. See you there!

Check out more photos below:

 

Jackie Daniel Salvation Army Redesign Bash IMG_9805

You'll have to forgive me. This post is really late but life is chaotic right about now (I'm getting things back on track. Just bear with me). Now, if you don't ready know, I'm a big fan of home design and if I happen to have any free time, something you're very likely to catch me doing is taking in some good ol' HGTV. From the shows about fixer uppers to finding new property to beach homes or finding homes out of the country, I just can't get enough. So, without question when fellow blogger Whitney Kidd, of Stiletto Life & Lipstick Rules asked me to join her for a special design-theme, charity event put together by The Salvation Army, I happily and eagerly accepted.

Jackie Daniel Carter Oosterhouse Salvation Army ReDesign Bash IMG_6994
Me with rehab guru, Carter Oosterhouse.

 

FYI Network’s very own Carter Oosterhouse  (previously of HGTV) hosted the event. Proceeds were to benefit Salvation Army programs, which aim to help homeless people turn their lives round. The event was billed as an evening of fun, food, and inspired design, and it surely did not disappoint. Twenty-five “ReDesigners”, which included both professional and newbie designers, were tasked with rehabbing an old piece of furniture. But a simple rehab just wouldn't do. The volunteer participants literally transformed these pieces, in many cases making the final product was almost unrecognizable from the piece in its original form.

Salvation Army ReDesign Bash IMG_9777 Carter Oosterhouse Salvation Army ReDesign Bash IMG_9817 Salvation Army ReDesign Bash IMG_9821

My favorite piece, a luxury dog bed crafted from an old end table. Christine Griffin Smith flipped this table on its head and added some amazingly intricate detailing. Even the underside of the canopy bed was upholstered and fitted with whimsical lighting. It was remarkable to say the least.

Dog Bed Salvation Army ReDesign Bash IMG_9789

 

The top redesigned pieces were pieces were selected for the auction. Even Carter submitted a piece to the auction, a handcrafted wood box that housed two bottles of wine from his personal winery. It was a great event with a great turnout for a great cause. To learn more about the Salvation Army’s Florida Division, visit their site here: salvationarmyflorida.org

 

Diner_en_Blanc_2015_29 Richard Graulich
Photo Credit: Richard Graulich c/o Palm Beach Post

If you’re a lover of fancy picnics and or white parties, you may already be familiar with the Dîner en Blanc events. If not, here’s a brief run down. The concept was born in Paris in 1988 when François Pasquier had the idea to assemble a small group of friends for a picnic. The general idea: “Bring a meal, and bring a new friend”.  The friends all convened at the Bois de Boulogne dressed in white so they could easily find each other.  What started as a small get-together continued to grow over the years and now brings in over 15,000 participants in Paris.

The concept has been so successful that it has spread to various countries and cities around the world including Johannesburg, Montréal, Singapore, New York, Haiti, Jamaica and so many more. I first heard about Dîner en Blanc a few years ago after viewing pictures from Dîner en Blanc - Haiti. Just from looking at photos I could tell that this was an extraordinary event so when fellow Haitian-American blogger, Wanda of L’union Suite  made the announcement that a West Palm Beach edition was coming in November, I immediately wanted to be a part of it. I was lucky enough to score an invite to the secretive dinner and attended with my longtime friend and founder of W.H.I.T.E (Women Have It To Empower), Ketly Marcellus.

Ketly Marcellus Diner en Blanc West Palm Beach IMG_7989Jackie Daniel Diner en Blanc West Palm Beach IMG_7990

 

The dinner's location is kept secret until the day if the event. In most cases you don't find out until the moment you arrive at the site. One of the keys to this secrecy is in how the event is organized. Participants select group leaders and meet-up locations where they are to board a chartered bus and then head out for the dinner. Upon arrival, all of the buses unload their picnic supplies and begin setting up their tables according to the row they were assigned.

Diner_en_Blanc_2015_1 PBP Richard Graulich
Photo Credit: Richard Graulich c/o Palm Beach Post
Diner_en_Blanc_2015_18 Richard Graulich
Photo Credit: Richard Graulich c/o Palm Beach Post

Because this was Palm Beach's first year holding the dinner, I have to admit there were a couple of snags. Our bus left ridiculously late, and table setup was chaotic (let's not get into the torrential downpour that occured just before dinner since we can't blame anyone for that). However, once everything came together, it was a lovely experience. Performances from local artists were superb, the ambiance was elegant and the DJ played a great set that kept the diverse crowd on their feet until the end of the night. I'm looking forward to the next event. Maybe I'll check out the Miami edition when it comes around again next year.

White Napkin Wave Diner en Blanc West Palm Beach
Ceremonious waving of the white napkin to mark the beginning of the dinner.

 

Jackie Daniel and Ketly Marcellus Diner en Blanc IMG_7981

 

Check out some more photos from the event:

This post contains photos from the Palm Beach Post shot by photographer Richard Graulich.

 

9664 Office Halloween black Princess Jasmine

The Halloween celebration at my job seems to get bigger and bigger every year. From the elaborate party in the downstairs auditorium to the costume contest, and the haunted house and other related activities, Halloween definitively isn’t one of those days where you want to call out sick. This year a couple of my super-creative colleagues decided to decorate our entire department in the theme of an evil carnival, a CarnEvil to be precise. They went all out with the decor and needless to say our department emerged victorious when it came to the decorating contest.

I’m always up for having fun at work so I was all in on the festivities. I didn’t go for my usual over-the-top, creative costume this year (*side bar: I made a BuzzFeed list this year for my Halloween Costume as “The Cloud” last year check me out at #10). I just didn’t have the time or the energy to commit but I did thoroughly enjoy my Princess Jasmine getup. Check out a few pictures from the day’s shenanigans.

9684 Office Halloween CarnEvil carnival theme
Skeleton manned ticket booth entry (skeleton not pictured).

9688 Office Halloween clowns 9697 Office Halloween carnEvil mouse popcorn 9718 Office Halloween Clown 9712 Office Halloween Cotton candy

9750 Office Halloween Haunted House
The haunted house got a little crazy this year.

6903 Office Halloween pumpkin carving Trumpkin9720 Office Halloween food throw up guac

Office Halloween Starwars Costumes Department VPs
EVPs and VPs patrolling these mean corporate halls like badasses from Starwars.
6951 Office Halloween Princess Jasmine and Ariel
Disney princesses among the clowns and sketchy carnival types.

Nu You Empowerment Brunch Cyn Santana 8632

This past weekend I attended the NU YOU Empowerment Brunch. The event was a collaboration between Cyn Santana, reoccurring cast member on the reality show Love and Hip Hop New York and local marketing agency, Socially Loud.

Held at the Epic Hotel in Downtown Miami, NU YOU drew in young professionals from various walks of life. These entrepreneurs, business professionals, entertainment industry types, and creative types came together for a day filled with empowering messages, entertainment, good food, shopping and more.

NU You Empowerment Bruch Cyn Santana 8472

 

NU You Empowerment Bruch Cyn Santana 8481

Black and white stripe skater dress pink heels 8489
Outfit details to follow.

The event opened with a networking lounge with sweet treats and mimosas served. In the foyer, attendees took advantage of photo ops along the red carpet and gold chevron pattern backdrop with fun props. A slew of vendors lined the room, providing and highlighting products and services like, art, jewelry, clothing, makeup and more.

NU You Empowerment Brunch Cyn Santana 8794

NU You Empowerment Brunch Cyn Santana Simply Jess 8789
Artist, Simply Jess

 

NU You Empowerment Brunch Cyn Santana 8444

Brunch commenced with sounds by DJ Mili Beats and was followed by live performances by singers, spoken word artists and dancers from N.O.L.A., Nest of Living Arts from Miramar, FL. The entertainers did a great job of getting the audience fired up for the panel discussion that would follow, particularly the cover of R. Kelly’s World’s Greatest, which brought the crowd to their feet.

NU You Empowerment Cyn Santana 8511 NU You Empowerment Cyn Santana 8570

NU You Empowerment Brunch Cyn Santana 8588

 

The panel, which was was moderated by Johanne Wilson (President/Partner, Cool Creative, Inc.) featured Cyn Santana and included local influencers such as Shyann Malone (Anchor, ABC Local 10 News), Monica Reyes (Partner, RKE Law Group), John Owens, III ( Partner, K&L Gates, LLP), Brittany Gath (Life Coach & Clinical Family Therapy), David Mcdermott (Owner/Broker, H&M Realty Group), and Michael Hall (Founder, Digital Grass). The overall theme of the discussion was empowerment. What does it mean? How do we become empowered and how to deal with the obstacles that keep you from becoming empowered.

NU You Empowerment Brunch Cyn Santana 8616

There were two ideas/statements that stood out to me overall. The first came from Monica Reyes, a former victim of domestic violence as she urged the audience to stop using what she called “victim language”.  The point being, you put yourself in a position to lose if you keep viewing yourself as a victim versus the victor.  The next idea came from Michael Hall in reference to entrepreneurship: “What makes you authentic? Monetize that and that’s your business.”

 

Supa Cindy Felicia Monet 99 Jamz Latosia Colton Finga Licking 8649
Left to Right: Latosia Colton, Supa Cindy, Felicia Monet

Following the panel discussion Felisha Monet and Supa Cindy, radio personalities from local radio station, 99 Jamz briefly delivered some inspiring words to the audience sharing some personal stories including Supa Cindy’s battle with Lupus along with career setbacks and comebacks. They invited up Latosia Colton, of the super-popular eatery, Finga Licking who also shared her inspiring personal story of starting with zero business knowledge and learning several tough business lessons the hard way but persevering in the end.

NU You Empowerment Brunch Cyn Santana 8775

 

Cyn Santana closed out the brunch with a fashion show presentation featuring items from her new fashion line, NU. The line, which includes options for the plus size woman, primarily featured pieces in neutral tones.  The style of the collection was characteristic of the twenty-something set, dominated by figure-hugging fits with ruching and bare midriffs.

NU You Empowerment Brunch Cyn Santana 8665
Event organizer Randa Quraan and partner Subelette Hernandez

Overall, it was a lovely event. Organizers did a wonderful job of pulling all of the elements together. Inspiring messages, good food, good company, fashion, and libations flowed. What more could a girl ask for? The brunch was billed as a “first annual” so I’m looking forward to seeing how this event progresses in the future. As for this year, job well done. See below for more photos from the day's events.

 

Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit Day 3 2015

Once again the day began with a wonderful continental breakfast. Attendees gathered in the Grand Ballroom for what would be the two keynote addresses of the summit. The first was given by Don Thompson the former CEO of McDonald's (now serving as a consultant, post retirement) and the second given by Judy Smith, Founder and CEO of Smith & Company also known as the real-life inspiration behind Scandal’s, Olivia Pope character. Unfortunately, press coverage was not allowed for these two sessions so I can't relay any exhilarating nuggets of information but you can probably just use the summits previous speakers as indication of how inspiring these two sessions were.

After the morning sessions I did some mingling and met some interesting new people. I also ran into Susan Taylor. She spoke about her organization and how she was looking for help via donations and volunteering to keep the movement going and growing. For our photo op she was partial to selfies "We're not going to take a selfie?" she asked which I found totally endearing. Here's our selfie:

Susan Taylor Essence Mag National CARES

Because of my mingling, I missed out on the majority of the Corporate Board Boot Camp session making it only to the final few moments but I managed to meet some more interesting people both on my way to the session and leaving it. Yup, I'll still count that as a win/win.

Getting Unstuck!

Getting unstuck Women Of Power Summit 2015

Panelists gathered to discuss the things that we allow to limit the forward movement of our careers and the adverse effects of those limitations whether they are the inability to get promoted or the inability to find satisfaction in the work we do.

Moderator:

Trudy Bourgeois, Founder, Center for Workplace Excellence

Panelists:

  • Dawn Davis, VP & Publisher, Simon & Schuster
  • Marlene Gordon, VP and General Counsel, North America, Bacardi U.S.A., Inc
  • Barbara Carr, VP, Agency/Sales – Southern Florida Market Area, State Farm

Some standout quotes from this session:

Trudy

“Evaluate gaps and opportunities. How are you doing?”

“Currency is relationship.”

“Be crystal clear on what you want. Build a strategy."

Dawn

"After entry-level people recommend people for jobs"

"Promote what you do. Listen to people. Build relationships." 

Barbara

"What do you want? Go out and find it and wrestle it down."

"Reverse mentoring.  I can learn something from someone working for me."

Marlene

"No, but I can learn it.” (in response to “questions on having experience with something she didn’t know )

"You don’t define me or what I’m capable of."

"A lot of what happens in that room is based on perception.”

Outdoor Garden Luncheon

Luncheon BE Women of Power Summit Yellow dress Macy's Fashion Show Women of Power Summit

 

Next up was the out door garden luncheon. The luncheon hosted by Carnival, was held on the Ocean Patio and featured The Execu Diva Fashion show by Macy's. The host of the show was the fabulous Audrey Smaltz, CEO of The Ground Crew, a backstage management company for the fashion industry. Models walked the red carpet runway with confidence in their struts as Audrey provided Pixar-caliber animated commentary.  The doors opened to the Macy's beauty pavilion immediately following the garden lunch so that attendees could shop the looks they had just seen.

Real Talk! The Trick, Traps & Truths About Success

Real Talk Women of Power Summit Susan Taylor Pam Grier

After lunch it was time to get real and that’s exactly what we did. Caroline Clarke moderated a discussion with Susan L. Taylor and Pam Grier. In this powerful session the women discussed everything from the road to their professional success to surviving personal hardships. Susan discussed her humble beginnings at Essence as a beauty contributor and struggling with feelings of inadequacy because she didn’t possess a college education. Pam spoke about her incredible punctuality (she is always on set an hour early) and her constant desire to learn and know all aspects of the business. She’s enthusiastically taken acting classes, screen play writing classes, and even legal classes to ensure that she could comprehend her contracts.

Some standout quotes from this session:

“Anything that is known is knowable.” (Coretta Scott King told her about Dr. King.)

“You can’t count on people’s behavior. It’s very rare that your gifts are returned from the people you give them to.” 

“Teach children to be the authors of their own image.”

This was my last session of the conference *single tear falls from my eye. I felt like I had done so much but still managed to miss out on a lot. Keep in mind that I didn't attend every session. There was just no way humanly possible. Some sessions happened simultaneously so you had no choice but to choose. For other sessions I may have missed, there simply wasn’t enough time to attend. I hear I missed a great discussion in the Moving from Pain to POWER session and the Masterful Moves with Optimal Impact session featuring moderator Star Jones. I may have missed some interesting things, but I couldn’t have asked for a better summit experience.

Farewell Celebration and Dinner

50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America Women of Power Summit

The summit culminated in a ceremony, which celebrated the 50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America as named by Black Enterprise.  After the winners were acknowledged and dinner was served, the evening transitioned to entertainment. Attendees enjoyed the comedic stylings of Ameberia Allen, Zainab Johnson, and Hadiyah Robinson of the Hey Ladies Tour. After we all had our chuckle it was time for the headliners, Boyz II Men.

Boyz II Men Women of Power Summit 2015

There couldn’t have been a more perfect way to close out the summit. Guest let lose and 90’s nostalgia filled the room. I almost didn’t want it to end. Well that’s a lie. I actually didn’t want it to end but alas it did and I had work in the morning. So there you have it. Amazing summit. Amazing experience. I can’t wait to do it all again next year. Did I say Amazing. Well done BE, well done.

Check out some more pictures from day three.

 

Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.

BE Women Of Power Summit Day 2 Legacy Awards

When I said day two was action-packed I was not kidding. Breaking it up into two sections was the only way to go. Now for the deets on day two part two.

Power Lunch | One-on-One Conversation featuring Mellody Hobson

Mellody Hobson Ariel Investments Caroline Clarke Women of Power TV

All right, let’s eat. After an intense morning of activities, it was time for a recharge with the afternoon’s power lunch.  Host of Women of Power TV, Caroline Clarke sat down with Melody Hobson, President of Ariel Investments L.L.C. and Chairman of the Board of Dreamworks Animation.

As Caroline probed Mellody about her career journey we discovered that she has had the same job for over 23 years. Obviously she’s moved up in her career since graduating from Princeton but she has worked for the same company for over 23 years. When she first joined Ariel she would follow her boss (John Rogers) around trying to squeeze any information out of him she could. She followed him on his regular McDonald’s trips and sat with him as he took in his morning reading. She would sit in silence reading the same magazines he was reading and waited for him to talk to her. When he would finally speak, he would ask her to do something and she would dutifully jot it down while he went right back to his reading.

She would take any bad assignment as long as she was given a shot, she recalled. Rogers warned her early on “ You’re going to be with people that make a lot of money and have big titles but it doesn’t mean they have better ideas than you.” She also remembered speaking with Tom Joyner, who in her words was “unapologetically black.” He told her “‘Don’t apologize for being who you are or your interests.” As far as one of the best pieces of advice she’d ever received, it was to simply to “smile a lot.”

My Favorite Mellody Hobson quotes

“Sometimes you have to give up on perfect for fast.”

“I’ve taught myself to get on the other side of it. What’s the worst that could happen?” (In regards to dealing with fear).

“I like things to be well done. I want to be great. I don’t want to be good. I want to be great.”

Leverage Your Power – Clifton Strengths Finder Powered by Gallup

Paul Allen StrengthsFinder Gallup

This next session was all about self awareness and understanding how to leverage your strengths to solve complex issues and positively impact your professional performance. Facilitated by Paul Allen, Chief Evangelist for StrengthsFinder, and co-founder of Ancestry.com.

To really get full value out of this session one would have had to have already taken the StrengthFinder assessment. But for those of us who hadn’t, this session provided a good starting point for understanding why it’s so important to identify and understand your strengths and find the corresponding needs for each strength. For example where "Learner" is identified as strength, we know that the Learner needs exposure to new information and experiences in order to thrive.

StrengthFinder employee well-being infographic

The session helped put into perspective that even “negative” personality traits are positive in the right circumstances. This assessment enables us to focus on what’s right instead of accepting what is wrong because when you can’t do what you were designed to do, it’s very difficult to stay engaged.  A great takeaway from this session was somewhat of a formula for identifying your strengths.

5 Clues To Talent

  1. Yearning – What did you yearn to do as a child?
  2. Rapid Learning – Things you pick naturally without much practice or instruction.
  3. Glimpses of Excellence – When someone else observes a skill or talent you posses that you may not have noticed yourself.
  4. Satisfaction – After your hard work is done and everything is complete out the feeling when you get when it’s over is that you can’t wait to do it again.
  5. Flow (Timelessness) – You get so caught up doing what you’re doing that you loose track of time.

10th Annual Legacy Awards Gala

Valerie Coleman Morris Legacy Awards Gala

Moving from the daytime events to the evening festivities, attendees gathered in the grand ballroom for an elegant evening honoring the inspiring women who were the recipients of the Legacy Award this year. Dinner was fabulous and wine flowed freely as we gathered to pay homage to an incredible group of women.

Legacy Award Recipients

Charlayne Hunter-Gault - Journalist Legacy Award

Charlayne Hunter-Gault, American Journalist and former Foreign Correspondent, National Public Radio & Public Broadcasting Service - awarded for her contributions to the field of journalism.

Susan L. Taylor Essence Magazine, National CARES Mentoring Movement- Legacy Award

Susan L. Taylor, Founder & CEO, National CARES Mentoring Movement and Editor-In-Chief Emeritus, Essence magazine - recognized for her role as editor in chief of essence magazine for years and now for creating the national cares organization.

Pam Grier Actress -Legacy Award

Pam Grier, Actress and Activist - recognized for her work in film, the empowered women she portrayed and for her activism.

Barbara Graves Legacy Award

Beverly Daniel Tatum, Ph.D., Spelman College Legacy Award

Beverly Daniel Tatum, PH.D., President, Spelman College - recognized for her accomplishments in her role as president of the illustrious Spellman College.

Oh what a spectacular night it was. The inspiring stories and the works of these accomplished women were all truly deserving of every bit of adulation they were showered with this evening. I was so appreciative to be in the room, loving each and every minute and still there was more to come. Stay tuned for my day 3 recap ladies. You won’t want to miss that either.  In the meantime, check out some additional pictures from the day's events.

 

Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.

Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit Day 2

After day one’s inspiring Purpose & Pearls Beach Party, I knew I would have a lot to look forward to on day two. For the early risers the day began at 6:00 a.m. with the Power Cardio Sculpt and Yoga on the Beach sessions. For the majority of the attendees including myself the day began a little later with a continental breakfast feast from 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 am

We’ve Got the Power!

6445 Lisa Nichols BE Women of Power Summit 2015

Immediately following breakfast, we officially began the day with the "We’ve Got the Power" session featuring speaker Lisa Nichols, CEO of Motivating the Masses, Inc.  Lisa is a successful entrepreneur and best selling author of 6 books. She was featured in the self-help movie The Secret and has appeared on Oprah, Larry King Live and Extra.  From the moment she walked out on stage you could see that Ms. Nichols was a firecracker (read: commercial grade firework). She got the crowd fired up in a manner that I have only ever seen from the likes of Tony Robbins or Oprah herself.

My favorite quotes from Lisa’s session:

“Power is in the surrender to your assignment.”

“Power is in living your life in seasons and recognizing when some seasons are over.”

“Allow your greatness to show up even if people don’t like it.”

“Comparison is the thief of all joy.”

“Power is in your down moment. That’s when you remember who you were born to be. This circumstance does not define me.”

Lisa told her story, letting us in on some of her hardships.  As she told a particular story she recalled a moment where she was on public assistance and had run out of diapers for her baby.  It was the weekend and she’d gone to the ATM to pull money out but only had eleven dollars and change available. With the ATM only dispensing cash in increments of $20, she would be forced to wait until Monday morning to retrieve the remaining cash from her account. For two days she wrapped her baby in a towel as a substitute for the diapers. It was then that she held her baby and told him not to worry because they would never have to go through this again.  After years of building her business she stated that her company was now near the launch of their IPO. What was the sassy statement she made to punctuate this accomplishment? “From Public Assistance to going public.” To that statement the crowd leapt to their feet with roaring shouts and applause.  Was I at church or the first leadership session of the day? I couldn’t tell.

 

Zero to Breakthrough

6454 Vernice FlyGirl Armour BE Women of Power Summit 2015

The second session of the day featured Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, President, VAI Consulting & Training L.L.C. Vernice was the first African American female combat pilot in the U.S. armed forces and is author of Zero to Breakthrough; 7-Step, Battle-Tested Methods for Accomplishing Goals that Matter. Vernice took the stage in what appeared to be an official combat pilot uniform.  She discussed seizing opportunities and acknowledging obstacles.  She spoke of the moment were she decided she wanted to attend a conference but was short on funds. She made a decision to make a “gutsy move“ embarking on a road trip to the conference. As she told this story, Vernice began removing her flight suit. She revealed the tailored shirt and dress slacks she was sporting underneath. She switched out the boots for heels and put on a red jacket. Continuing her story, she told us how she drove for hours not knowing what the outcome would be or how she would pay for anything. Upon her arrival she met an event organizer who told her a speaker had just dropped out and asked her to speak in that persons place.  He also informed her that all of her expenses would be fully taken care of.

My favorite quotes from Vernice’s session:

“Opportunities don’t go away other people take advantage of them.”

“Acknowledge the obstacles. Don’t give them power!”

“A breakthrough mentality creates your reality.”

“Make your gutsy move.”

At the end of her segment FlyGirl held up a copy of her book. Lisa Nichols who had just taken the stage before her had given a gift to the entire audience but FlyGirl had something else in mind. She stated that she didn’t have enough books to give away to the entire audience but still wanted to giveaway her book to attendees. “Who wants this book?” she asked. The audience roared and clapped some raised their hands. “Who wants this book?” she asked again. More shouting and clapping. I believe it was on the 4th instance of her asking that same question that one woman got out of her seat and approached Ms. Armour with her hand held out. FlyGirl happily handed her the book. “Make your gutsy move.” She reiterated.  You could feel the entire crowd experience an aha! moment.

Building Real leadership in Real Time

6458 Building Real Leadership

Next up was an executive leadership panel and probably my favorite panel of the summit.

Moderator:

Elizabeth R. Thornton, Author and Professor of Management Practice, Babson Executive Education, Babson College 

Panelists:

  • Adrienne Lofton - SVP, Global Brand Marketing, Under Armor
  • Ramona Rogers-Windsor - Managing Director, Northwestern Mutual Investment Management Co. LLC.
  • Katrina Adams - Chairman, CEO & President, USTA (United States Tennis Association)

The session covered a myriad of subjects pertaining to leadership timelines and plotting a realistic trajectory that fits your life and career objectives. I questioned the panel about the setbacks of race and gender and my own personality trait of introversion and the responses were enlightening.  The overwhelming sentiment was that I should derive power from being black and female as apposed to viewing those things as crutches. Ramona revealed that she doesn’t think about race or gender while Katrina directed me to replace Black, Woman, Introvert with Courage Grace, Dignity.

These women exhibited a certain level of poise and confidence that I completely admire and by the end of the session it felt like some of that aura had been transferred over to me.  I was thinking about possessing the ability to walk into a room or situation with confidence because I not only have a strong sense of self I also have the knowledge and know the details. As Adrienne put it, “When you’re maniacal about knowing the business it’s easy to feel confident in having a point of view.”

Some other standout quotes from the session.

Adrienne

“Stand up. Stand out. Have a point of view. Stay measured”

“Lead through where you are most passionate.”

“Always think about what’s next.”

“Go slow to go fast.”

Ramona

“I care very little about what people think.”

“Ask for what you want.”

“Find people who want you to succeed.”

Katrina

“Mental models drive our perceptions about the way things are supposed to be.”

“Embrace the path that you lead and enjoy the battle.

“Start with a dream and be disciplined.”

 

Day two was so action packed I had to split it up into two posts. Stay tuned for Day 2- Part two.

Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.

 

In case you missed the recap of day one, check it out here.

Caroline Clark Women of Power TV

What’s it all about?

I heard about this event one morning on the radio and decided to look into attending. I’m not sure how I’ve managed to miss it all these years, but this year the summit celebrated its 10th anniversary in a three-day long celebration that can only be described as awe inspiring.

The title of the event alone should be enough to give you an indication of what transpires here but in case it doesn’t, the Black Enterprise Women of Power Summit is an annual executive leadership conference held by Black Enterprise and hosted by title sponsor State Farm. Each year powerful women in Corporate America convene in droves to meet, connect, and learn from one another. Sessions and keynote speakers cover issues like career advancement strategies, work/life balance and money management. What I discovered was how truly indicative of its name the summit is, providing a preeminent forum for women of color to come together to network and build lasting relationships.

Let’s talk about Day 1

Monday was the unofficial start to the summit. While activities like the Wine & Design painting class and shopping excursion to Macy's took place during the day, conference attendees began to arrive at the Marriott Fort Lauderdale Harbor Beach to pick up their registration packets before the first leadership event of the night, the Purpose & Pearls Beach Party. The all white affair, which touted a keynote address from Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senor Client Advisor, Morgan Stanley gave clear indication to how wonderful the rest of the summit’s events would be.

Held on the Ocean Patio of the hotel overlooking beautiful Fort Lauderdale beach, the atmosphere of the evening was something of sheer elegance. Guests stunned in chic, all-white ensembles and were seated at tables set with all-white linens and florals as ambient lighting from all-white candles romanticized the space.

Atendees BE Women of Power Summit

The first keynote of the summit, which was from the wildly charismatic and captivating Carla Harris, provided personal details on her career journey, letting us in on the secrets of some of what she's gone through to accomplish what she has in her career to date. She spoke at length on the powers of staying true to yourself and not losing sight of who you are as person. As an accomplished singer and businesswoman one of the “pearls of wisdom” she shared with attendees was letting go of the notion that she should never mix those two parts of her life. Harris realized after making a connection based on a shared interest of music that she should embrace her true self. On a second occasion when her company was among several bidding for an account with McDonald's, it was her ability to remember a specific version of the McDonald's jingle and sing it to the CEO (who could not recall that there had ever been an alternate version to begin with) that would help form a relationship that would be the catalyst for landing her firm the deal.

Carla Harris Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management Morgan Stanley

She said some other things that really resonated with me. First, “Your voice is at the heart of your power”. The second was a ditty she recited that went like this: “A bell is not a bell until you ring it. A song is not a song until you sing it. Power was not put in your hands to stay. Power isn’t’ power until you give it away.” And the third builds on the ditty. “Don’t sleep on your power to influence change in your work, life, or the world. It is in us to be used.” Preach Ms. Carla, preach.

Jackie Daniel and Carla Harris

I seized the opportunity to chat with Carla after her address and ask her for advice on how to handle some recent events in my own personal career journey. While I won’t divulge her specific advice to me, I can say that she spoke to my soul and it was an honor and a pleasure to get her input. Wow if this was night one, I could only imagine what day two had in store. Check out the slide show for more photos from the evening.

I’ll cover day two in tomorrow’s post. You won’t want to miss it.

Thank you for reading. Now… Let the power moves continue.

Leopard print pencil dress holiday party_sml_6190

I couldn’t decide what to wear for this year’s holiday party. As I rummaged through my closet, I found a great leopard print dress that I hadn’t worn yet. I thought about wearing it but didn’t quite think it was fitting for the holiday party. A coworker of mine gave me the idea to pear it with a red bag and shoes to throw in a little holiday flair. I didn’t go with the red shoes but accented with gold and red jewelry and a bright red clutch. It was certainly an untraditional way to do holiday but I think it totally worked.

drinks flowing_6175
Drinks were a'flowing.
Deck the halls_6181
The halls were decked.

Leopard print pencil dress holiday party_sml_6188 Leopard print pencil dress holiday party_edit_6189v2

 

  • Dress: Rampage, Leopard Print Dress
  • Shoes: BCBG, Mahogany Perdra Pumps
  • Handbag: Vieta, Red Envelope Clutch