Empowering. Driven. Compassion.These are example words that usual represents the tone of a great women’s conference.
The thing is…the creators behind Pink Productions, Bri’Ann Stephens and Klarke Foreman, brought the 2nd Plan HER Conference 2019 to a whole ‘NOTHER level! Listen! I’m not talking about how my co-workers say ‘another‘ at my job. It’s more like when I hear my mom and my country Louisiana aunties laughing/talking about whatever news is out there.
“Girrrrrl, Anna ‘nother thing!” …
*20 points for you, if you said that with NO ISSUE LOL !*
Seriously, the conference surpassed my expectations! The ladies made this event into a great, multifaceted production: everything from the speakers to the venue location played a HUGE part into their successful day. Nothing was lesser than, from start to finish, the flow of the schedule was finely tuned to detail.
The Westin Houston, Memorial City Hotel location was phenomenal, buuuut the beautiful ladies (**attendees, vendors, volunteers, speakers, press**) on the 2nd floor meeting area made the event alive and welcoming. Soon as I jumped off the elevator, I wanted to really dive into the action with the vendor tables. SHOUTOUT to the local WOMEN-led businesses that represented their brand well throughout the conference. I have tremendous respect for business-minded women of color. Despite ADVERSITY, you are chasing your dreams and building a market where we feel comfortable to buy from and support.
While I embraced the spirit of hustle and grind, I had a chance to talk to a few vendors *that’s just the friendly, connecting girl in me lol*. The ladies are Clariona from Pass on de Fashion (clothing pop-up boutique), Tiara from The Skai Luxe Collection (luxury hair extensions), and Andrea Venson (also part of the Music + Arts panel!) representing her brand Enlightened Dreams and her paintings. We had our casual conversations, but my general question to them was, “Why are you here at the conference?”. Even though, they represented different businesses, the answers are pretty similar…yet powerful. Not only did the conference offer them a platform for more exposure and unconventional confidence/faith to step out the box, but a chance to connect with other like-minded women and build STRONG sister bonds with one another.
Speaking of sisterly bonds, it was time to break the ice and really DIG deep into the panel discussions part of the day with a beautiful ‘swag surf’ (the traditional HBCU dance that turned to a reunion party with our fellow sisters). I LOVED how the panels were broken off by the areas of expertise that the 12 panel speakers represented, Fashion + Beauty, Music + Arts, and Women’s Activism. Bri’Ann and Klarke did a spectacular job hand picking and interviewing the ladies, each panelist spoke to me (and many other women!) in so many ways to encourage us, dropping gems after gems! Let me have the honor to share some:
- Eryn Shields, Founder of Style Sew Me, told us that our circumstances doesn’t have to HALT us from where we need to be.
- Tausha Sanders, Founder of SneakHER Summit, shared her story about KNOWING her identity and standing firm on her ground.
- Tay Powers, musician and recording engineer, reminded me of the Power of Saying ‘NO’ and knowing my worth.
- Valaencia Thompson, Founder of Glittered in Goals, engraved in my head to ‘not let what I go through go IN VAIN.’
OMG, I am appreciative that all of the speakers kept it real with us *unapologetic*, no glamourous personal stories and sugar coating their trials. They shared awesome resourceful tidbits that we can use in our personal and business life. I’m so sorry that I can’t share ALL of their stories because that would be a WHOLE miniseries, not a blog post lol.
*Truth Bomb* Sometimes, I hold a guard up when I go to different environments. Questions rise up in my head: “Will they be friendly?”, “Will they ignore me, give me mugshot faces when I smile and say ‘Hi’?” Or…“Do I need to have my “Knuck If You Buck” hands on deck???” *I am sweet as pie, but I’m from the hood, stay ready spirit 🙂 *
This experience showed me that we are not ‘so different’. We’ve had our share of hitting the ground HARD called LIFE and learning how to SURRENDER TO GOD to go forward. I felt the love from each lady, hugs turned to embracing, laughter/joy all around the vicinity…even tears coming down our cheeks. I was truly blessed to witness the greatness of this conference to the fullest.
The conference ended off with one of the all-time girl power songs from an ALL-GIRL POWER group, ‘Girl’ by Destiny’s Child. (4 hours went by QUICK!) The song exemplifies being there for your sister NO MATTER where you are in life: mentally, physically, and spiritually. “I GOT YOU” AND “I LOVE YOU”.
Even though most of us met for the first time, Bri’Ann and Klarke brought the spirit of unity and empathy. I left inspired, having an elevating spirit to level ‘HER’ up (*my inner me*) and help level my lovely sisters UP!
To the creators and people behind Pink Productions, volunteers, speakers, press, vendors, and attendees….
“I’m your girl, you’re my girl, we’re your girls, don’t chu know that we love you!”……I love you all and I can’t wait to see what Year 3 looks like! Thank you for giving opportunities for us to express ourselves and creating a freeing space to let our hair down! The mission was ACCOMPLISHED!
Make sure to get your RSVP’s ready quick for 2020, you don’t want to miss out!
~The Unconventional Shell