Sunday, November 9, 2008

Recap: Essence Young Women's Leadership Conference

Saturday morning I actually had to work (what?! I know) but after I finished grown folks business, I rushed to the convention center to the first-ever Essence Young Women's Leadership Conference. When I heard this conference was coming to DC, I knew I had to be in the building. This great one-day conference was centered around young women and focused on empowerment.

Already late, I grabbed my Starbucks from the lobby and headed to my saved seat in the back of the room. Wow...I was already amazed to see over 1000 young women, suited in their best and eager to learn the nuggets of wisdom from the day's panelists.

DC Fab! with other conference attendees

The conference offered a variety of panels mostly catering to young women in college. With workshops such as "Set for Life: Your Fast Track to Financial Control," which had me taking notes in my iPhone and "Real Life 101: Lessons Learned Outside of the Classroom" where the entire room was inspired from the struggles and sacrifices made by the panelists who had come into their own (including "I Want to Work for Diddy's Capricorn who told an inspiring story about how she struggled to success after losing both parents).

Panelists included (from left) Cori Murray, Essence Entertainment Director,
Amy Barnett, former Teen People Editor and author, Capricorn Clark, Global Brand Manager of Sean John, Shante Bacon, Founding Partner of The 135th Street Agency

A highlight of the conference was a sit-down talk with Angela and Vanessa Simmons. Although most of the talk was redundant, (since we're all fans of Run's House and have heard their story before) it was nice to see them supporting this endeavor.

Essence Entertainment Director, Cori Murray moderating a talk with the Simmons sisters

Angela Simmons relaxing in the vendor area. (Photo Credit)

Another highlight of the conference was a panel hosted by the only man on the dais, Jeff Johnson, who hosted "Making Your Voice Heard: You Can Make a Difference." Continuing the theme of empowerment, this panel discussion even had me wanting to ask a question (if the line to ask a question wasn't so long).

Although the conference bags were empty, by the end of the day you could fill it up with sheer motivation. For me, attending this conference was a real kick in the you know what. I was itching to get out and get work done to forward not only my career but my dreams that often get mired by day-to-day worry, doubt and fear.

One of the best pieces of advice that I received from the conference was from Ionnie McNeill, a junior at Howard University. She advised to do five things (but I can only remember notes were a little shifty):

1. How much money do you want?
2. At what age would you like to accomplish this?
3. What are you going to do to earn it?

Create an action plan y'all...and get out there and do it! We gotta' take over the world. Now that Barack is President we really can do anything! :)

The conference ended with musical performances by Suai, a Universal Motown artist and Brandon Hines, who is no stranger to DC. I got a chance to tip toe backstage to interview this young man. Check in soon to view it! :)

Brandon Hines with DC Fab! Girl backstage

Click here to see how another young lady in DC enjoyed the conference (linked fixed!) :)