Women Lead Orlando: Yep, It's Worth The Investment
We talked race, gender, politics, and money at the dinner table, and no one left!
There’s a certain type of magic in the room that you can only feel when present at Women Lead Orlando. For some, maybe it’s something in the cocktails and for others it might be that I’m-feeling-myself vibe you get when you finally get to dress up. Personally, the unity in the room sends me to cloud nine. It’s one few nights when 100 women decide to block off their calendars, spend $100 to support another local women-owned business, and commit to connecting with strangers for the evening. (Shout out to Artful Life Studios for these amazing photos!)
Let’s explore some thoughts that are still on my mind:
I hate being the only black person in the room. Yep, I just went there. Our table lead posed the question, “What is something that you see as a detriment, that could also be viewed as a strength?” Honestly, the first thing I thought about was that I’m often the only black person in or at a meeting, office, event, or store. I will expound of these thoughts in a later post, but in the short time that we had the conversation, I was reminded that my presence can be a change maker. I can blaze a new trail for the next woman of color, advocate for the marginalized, and bring a fresh, and different perspective to every conversation and decision-making process. What may feel burdensome or lonely to me is often just what God set up to use me for a greater good.
Women are more similar than we think. Race, class, profession, marital status are all factors that can lead to division. But as I sat at the table and talked, read verbal cues, and opened my heart, I realized that when I listened closely enough, I could identify a little bit of myself or someone that I know in the other women. Her feelings of inadequacy on the job at times or the plight of having to fight for a raise— these are topics that I believe many of us have to deal with.
Fig & Flour is the real VIP again. Let me tell you about this baker named Olivia. OMG. Fig & Flour’s cakes put some bakers to shame. Sorry, not sorry. She whipped up a Tahitian cake with rum caramel and tropical fruits. Olivia blessed my soul with a vegan version, and it was beyond amazing. Light, creamy, sweet, and memorable. If I would have been at home, I most definitely would have licked the plate.
We must talk about sexual harassment before it happens. Stephanie Darden Bennett, president of Primastic told her story of rising up in the ranks, as well as the harassment that she faced along the way. She reminded me that while it’s important to teach my team members how to properly market a product or manage a crisis, it’s also my responsibility to teach them how to navigate today’s workplace where #MeToo occurrences happen more often than we’re willing to admit.
You can count on Dana Marie Roquemore to host a party. Dana doesn’t settle. Every event that has her name on it has a certain level of intimacy, care, localism, and love attached to it. If you’re reading this and you haven’t signed up for a Dinner Party Project experience, I urge you to give one a try. I recommend starting with a smaller dinner, where you can expect to enjoy a four-course meal with seven strangers. It’s all about creating new friends over dinner and drinks. Sign up on TheDinnerPartyProject.Co.