International Women’s Day 2022

This year’s campaign theme— #BreaktheBias —spotlights the individual and collective biases against women that fuel gender inequality. 

I am patiently waiting for the next”Embrace   Ambition” Summit!  I had the amazing opportunity to join The Tory Burch Foundation for their Embrace Ambition Summit in 2020. I have added the link here so you can view the article. 

https://abeautifulintellect.com/2020/03/08/embrace-ambition-summit-2020               

 If you are a blogger, small business owner, CEO, or still have a vision board with future goals, I strongly encourage you to head over to the website and join the mailing list for updates and exclusives: http://www.toryburchfoundation.org

A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable and inclusive. A world where difference and value is celebrated. Together we can all forge women’s equality. To all the incredible women in the world, shine on, not just today but every day!

Embrace Ambition Summit 2020

There is no force equal to a woman determined to rise

Happy International Womens’ Day! We celebrate the collective achievements and progress women create every day in the world. Thursday, March 5th, 2020 at Jazz@Lincoln Center, I had the awesome opportunity to attend this years’ #EmbraceAmbition summit. The Embrace Ambition initiative was started by the Tory Burch Foundation in 2017 and aims to address the double standard that exists around ambition, which is often seen as a compliment for men and a critique of women. It is a one-day event that’s focused on overcoming the negative attitudes about ambition in women and addressing other harmful stereotypes that impact gender, race, and sexuality. Visionary leaders in Hollywood, business, science, entrepreneurship, and youth movements take the stage along with performances meant to inspire and empower. You must apply for a chance to attend the summit with an online application and essay about your own experience with embracing ambition. I was excited to receive an email that my essay had been chosen and I was invited!

Ms. Claudette Colvin & Ms. Michelle Norris

In one of the morning sessions, Michelle Norris, whose a contributing columnist for The Washington Post and Civil Rights Activist, Ms. Claudette Colvin had a discussion about her story and the changes she has seen in America in the last 65 years. In 1955, she was the first woman of color to refuse to move to the back of the bus for a white person in Montgomery, Alabama, and was promptly arrested. It wasn’t until nearly nine months later that Rosa Parks did the same thing and became the face of the movement.

Diane Von Furstenberg & Jason Bolden

In another session, Fashion Icon Diane Von Furstenberg talks with Celebrity stylist Jason Bolden about being “In Charge”: owning who we are, own imperfections and it will become your asset. Once you are comfortable with yourself, any relationship, business or personal, is a plus and not a must. There is an ambition guidebook for those who are interested in having a written plan for their goals/ dreams. http://www.toryburchfoundation.org/resources/growth/ambition-guidebook/

I’ve met some amazing women like Nicole Aandahl during lunch. http://www.healthynailproject.com. Nicole and I talked about the stigma associated with mental health and her personal battle with nail biting. She has created a blog and tools to help others with the same struggles she has faced. Audrey Washington is a personal finance coach, speaker and author at http://www.fiercelyfinancial.com. She offers one on one coaching programs, financial empowerment master class, and info on employee financial education programs. Ariane, a native of Jamaica, has an interest in Fashion design, we talked about inclusion in the fashion industry and she expressed some ideas for a line she wants to get started.

During breaks, attendees had time to snap photos, exchange business cards and grab refreshments. At the cocktail hour, after the event, many of us decided to recap the day and continue to share stories. At one point, some of the speakers joined us at various tables and I had a chance to talk with big wave surfer Bianca Valenti. Awesome vibe and I was impressed with all of her success in the surfing world. https://www.bigwavebianca.com/

Bianca Valenti is a professional big wave surfer in San Francisco.

Grammy nominated British Singer/Songwriter Yola Wade gave an amazing live performance of one of her hits ” It Ain’t Easier”. Before the song, she briefly talked about her struggles within the music industry and how colorism has played a major part in her journey. I have to admit, this was the highlight of the day for me. Beautiful voice and I, along with several others were captivated by her wonderful sound. Have to add, she’s dope on guitar as well!

Yola Wade

Tory Burch, who is the CEO and founder, has often shied away from the word ambition. It was often a harmful stereotype along with being known as a “feminist”. She says ” Feminism has often been misinterpreted. It’s not about disliking men, it’s about equal rights for women.” I agree with her statement but I also feel like we have made some significant progress over the years. Always room for improvement but working together and having a genuine dialogue, it can be done. I encourage anyone whose interested in the summit to apply early and be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster. Thought-provoking & inspiring, #Embrace Ambition is more than a mantra for women of today. It is a call to action and a commitment to being your best self and in turn empowering others to do the same.

Everything is possible. Your dreams, your ideas. Your vision. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.

Still I Rise- Dr. Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994)

Perspective

I want to share this special message with you in the hope that it will help you on the days that are not going your way. ..

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
Because
True happiness can be attained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
Creates
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say
Today was a very good day

Now read it from bottom to top!

Black Gold

Hold your head as high as you can
High enough to see who you are, little man
Life sometimes is cold and cruel
Baby no one else will tell you so remember that

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold

Now maybe no one else has ever told you so
But you’re golden, baby
Black gold with a diamond soul

Think of all the strength you have in you
From the blood you carry within you
Ancient men, powerful men
Builders of civilization

They’ll be folks hell bent on putting you down
Don’t get burned (don’t get burned)
Not necessarily everyone will know your worth

Think of all the strength you have in you
From the blood you carry within you
Ancient men, powerful men
Built us a civilization
Think of all the strength you have in you
Powerful, powerful men
Builders of civilization

Hold your head as high as you can
High enough to see who you are, little man
Life sometimes is cold and cruel
Baby no one else will tell you so remember that

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold

Think of all the strength you have in you
From the blood you carry within you
Ancient men, powerful men
Builders of civilization
Think of all the strength you have in you
Ancient men, powerful men
Builders of civilization

Hold your head as high as you can
High enough to see who you are, little man
Life sometimes is cold and cruel
Baby no one else will tell you so remember that

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold

Hold your head as high as you can
High enough to see who you are, little man
Life sometimes is cold and cruel
Baby no one else will tell you so remember that

You are black gold, black gold
You are black gold
You are
You are
You are
Hold your head up
Don’t give up
You are black gold
You are
You are
Black gold

Balance Works Better

It seems that for many of us, a life balance may be an impossible goal. There’s work, school, relationships, children etc. Not to mention any outside interests or hobbies we may want to pursue. So it should come as no surprise that there are a lot of us that feel stressed. The definition of stress: a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. In the rush to get everything done, we don’t understand that as stress rises, it can mess with our concentration, make us irritable or depressed as well as harm personal/professional relationships. Stress can also mess with our physical bodies, as sickness and ailments.

While we all need a certain amount of stress/motivation to get things accomplished, the key to managing it all is one word: balance. There are a few things you can do to learn how to do. First, recognize the need for personal time. If you need to unplug from technology also, great. Give yourself a time frame and during that time, rest or engage in something that relaxes you. Shed the superwoman or superman urge! When looking at your calendar, schedule in time just for yourself. Don’t overcommit, it’s better to say no to certain activities and/or events.

Stay active. We all know exercise has so many benefits but one of the most important things to note is that exercise reduces stress levels significantly when it is consistent. Those feel-good hormones are released and work their way to your mental and emotional well-being. Whether its a gym membership, a trek team in your neighborhood or taking a walk on your lunch break, make time to be active and over time you will see the benefits. Treat your body right. Alcohol, cigarettes and drugs only weaken the immune system and can lead to serious addictions. Look for support also. Chatting with family/friends can be an important part of the de-stress routine. Make time to send a text or phone call to check in with loved ones and friends. Most times, people with stronger support systems have a more aggressive immune system and can ward off potential problems. Its a known fact! Don’t let stress stand in your way of happiness. Figure out a meaningful balance between work/rest/play that will enable you to lead a more satisfying and fulfilling life. You’re worth it.

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson