Friday, November 6th, I had the opportunity of attending this wonderful event presented by Essence and Prudential. As the flyer says, all of the guests joined together for “a rich conversation”. And that’s exactly what the night entailed. There was a panel of very successful business women who came together to discuss their experiences in their separate fields, as well as help encourage and motivate other business owners trying to reach their status of success, as well as aspiring entrepreneurs.
On this panel of amazing women were: ESSENCE Feature Editor Lauren Williams (as the moderator), President and CEO of Britto Agency Marvet Britto, TV Personality and Lifestyle Expert Tai Beachamp, “The Budgetnista” Tiffany Aliche (who we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing), and Interior Designer Dani Arps. All these women are powerhouses in their own right.
Before the intriguing conversation began, there was thirty minutes set aside for cocktails. I assume it was a time for drinks, possibly food, and networking. Because I was late for the event due to work, I missed it. However, by the time I got there, there were a few minutes before the conversation began. I checked in quickly and headed right into the designated room at the Apella, Event Space at the Alexandria Center. Which is an absolutely gorgeous venue. There were posted set up nicely in the area before the conversations space. The latest issue of ESSENCE with Taraji P. Henson on the cover so gracefully stood on a stand. As well as selfie props that had great sayings on them. I initially grabbed the prop that said, “I do what I love. I love what I do.” However, by the time the event ended, I left with three more. Which said, “I am a strategist”, “I am an innovator”, and “I am a trailblazer”.
The conversation started out with introductions. Then we went full speed into the conversation that helped many women that night. Below you’ll find a few questions and answers from the evening from each woman on the panel.
Lauren Williams asked, how are you able to manage to maintain and build your brand. Marvet Britto answered, and explained that she focuses on being the best her. Marvet, who’s a very successful Public Relations Architect and Brand Strategist, has never had to solicit any one of her clients. She stressed that when it comes to branding, all that you desire comes by the work you do. Branding is really about the work that’s put in. Many people have made it about popularity, but it’s really all about the work. We have to learn how to be masterful professionals. She said that it’s important to make sure you nurture the trunk of the tree first, before worrying about the branch (brand) extensions. It’s about the work, and mastering what you have to offer.
The discussion the led to a point where many people have been. The point of transition. Tai Beachamp, who has been able to incorporate her background in beauty and fashion with her love and passion for philanthropy, shared some of her experience by discussing some of the steps before leaving her job. She began to feel unfulfilled and burnt out. Although doing something she was great at, her purpose and hearts work was to empower. Tai expressed that we have to be able to distinguish between our passion and our purpose. She also let us know, that on the other hand, the answer doesn’t have to be today. Meaning things won’t be where you want them to be overnight. You won’t be where you want to be overnight. Sometimes you have to stay in the position that you’re in for a little longer than you’d like. She also said, you learn one thing from a position and take it and apply it to your purpose.
Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, who is a financial educator who has helped thousands of women take a journey to get their finances in order through her Live Richer Challenge, shared a similar story later in the conversation. She shared her story and where she started. Learning about finances growing up, but deciding to become a teacher. She was able to take her teaching skills and become the financial educator that she is today, because she took what she could from where she was. Often times we may become frustrated after sometime on the jobs we have, but we have to come to the place where we learn that we are there for a reason. There’s something that we can learn and take with us when it’s time for us to start our own business. It’s a matter of what will you learn from the position that you’re in. You’re strategically put in places to learn these particular lessons. Embrace where you are. Then after you’ve learned from the positions you were in and have been able to step out and start your own business, go around and explore to see what else you can learn. Never get too comfortable.
Tiffany later went on to defining what having a business really is. She explained that many people have created something that looks like a business; a nice website, pretty business cards. However, there’s no product. She says, a business is when you have a product and people are willing to pay for it. And sometimes we don’t get this right away when we’re working towards a goal. So Tiffany lets us know that some things wot directly give you money in the beginning, but it will overtime. You have to make the proper investments first.
Marvet also added to the startup of a business. When you have a desire to become an entrepreneur you think about a void that you want to fill. You have to have something that’s different, that people are willing to pay for.
The question was then asked, as business women, what is the one things that keeps you up at night. Each lady had the opportunity to answer.
Dani Arps, who is an interior designer and has had great success in only a year and half, said something that many of us (business owner or aspiring entrepreneurs) may concern ourselves with; meeting the needs of her clients. Making sure that she’s doing the work according to their standards.
Tiffany’s concern is not letting one part of her life pass her by while pursuing her career. She doesn’t want to chase her dreams career wise and love an unfulfilled personal life. Therefore, she’s in the process of balancing her life. It’s important to have a balance.
Tai thinks about the people she has to feed. From her clients, down to the people she employs. Her company isn’t all about her, but the people that she services.
Marvets’ main concern is shattering glass ceiling. I truly believe that this was a pivotal point during the discussion. She’s concerned about women of color being taken out of the boxes that society so often places us in.
She the. Went on to how we need to work hard to make sure we are given a seat at the table. And in order to do so, we have to make sure we are consistent and deliberate in all that we do. Our capabilities and talents outweigh our color, and we have to be sure to put forth the effort in showing that. We must also look at the ones who have come before us, and we’re able to succeed. As well as think strategically, understand where your place is, and finding ways to stretch our culture.
The conversation shifted into mentorship. Tai raised a few good points when it comes to mentorship and connection. We don’t always like to admit when we need help. Sometimes we can’t do everything on our own. And that perfectly ok. When finding connections, it’s good to seek out people who we can partner up with. And fulfill our goal and vision together. Also when it comes to mentorship, we shouldn’t just try to see what we can get from others, it’s reciprocal. You should also be able to give something in return.
As you can see, this event was intriguing, and very thought provoking. And there was so much more. After the conversation, there was an after party where drinks and food were served. But the most important part, was that these women stuck around and talked individually with the guest. We were able to share our experiences, our future plans, and receive advice. These women spoke a few good words into my life. And I, and I’m sure many other females as well, am grateful for the opportunity.
A special thanks to ESSENCE and Prudential for putting on such a great event, having an amazing panel of successful business women, giving other women the opportunity to connect and share with others, and the gifts as well.