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IWD – It’s Not What You May Think

Happy International Women’s Day!

Today we celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women from all around the world, past and present. Today we also reflect and advocate on behalf of women’s issue and gender equality and social equity.

At Super Woman Productions and Publishing we contribute to International Women’s Day by hosting the only official IWD event in Michigan each March 8, called Women’s Day Tea. This year isn’t any different. However, for the first year this year, I ran into a small roadblock. In Detroit, I’m accustomed to people being behind in receiving and sharing information. I’m also accustomed to people not being receptive to something that is different from what they typically know about or are exposed to. Detroit isn’t the most innovative place in the world, like it once was.  It takes time for people to understand the value of something “different”.  Although I’m accustomed to these factors, I don’t accept them and I find ways to work around them.

This year, however, I received a lot of inquiries from women business owners whose only interest in Women’s Day Tea was to be a vendor at the event. I literally received messages on social media, by phone and email asking if there were any vendor tables left for the event. They didn’t seem to understand that vending wasn’t the purpose of the event and that I only offer four vendor tables to create an added feature and opportunity for women-business owners in Detroit, that would help them to meet and interact with other successful women in hopes it will encourage them and help them economically. Most of the women who contacted me by phone immediately dismissed me (practically hanging up on me) when I told them that vendor tables were sold out, and they didn’t allow me an opportunity to invite them to attend. Women who contacted me by email, didn’t accept my invitation to attend and responded with “let me know next time you have an event with vendors”.  Very disappointing.

When I vented about this sudden upswing of women business owners only wanting to be vendors at events and not understanding the importance of IWD as a whole, someone had the audacity to suggest that I should just turn the event into a vending event since so many people seem to want that and, in essence, just take the women’s money since they didn’t know any better.  That’s not the type of business woman I am and that does not contribute to the purpose of IWD.

In my post event surveys from Women’s Day Tea for two prior years, attendees stated that the event vendors were not the primary reason they attended the event or would attend again. Those who attend, attend to celebrate the purpose of International Women’s Day more than they attend to buy products from vendors at the event. In fact, their attendance still supports women-owned businesses, and attendees network with each other and hopefully support each others’ businesses and community projects after the event concludes. So, if my paying attendees have an understanding of the goal of the event and attend because of that goal, why would I want to shift the focus to please those who don’t have an understanding? I wouldn’t. And there are thousands of other events all over Michigan, throughout the year, if women want to buy a vendor table for a few hours or an entire day. I stuck to my guns. I did not turn Women’s Day Tea into a vending event or expo.

As a result this is what happened:

I received an email from an internet television program asking if they could cover the event; they now have a level of exclusivity and “bragging rights” because they get to cover the only official International Women’s Day event in MichiganWalt Disney Pictures contacted me and asked if they can send representatives to give away promotional items to the event attendees. Of course I said ‘yes‘ and it may turn into future business opportunities with Walt Disney Pictures. At the last-minute, for online ticket sales, tickets were still selling. I woke up this morning to emails from women asking if they can pay at the door.

At 6 pm today, Women’s Day Tea will take place as planned. The ladies who attend today will have a delicious and fun time, receive gifts and giveaways, network and celebrate the purpose of International Women’s Day with one another. Selected women in attendance will be awarded as #MakeItHappen honorees. Those women who opted not to attend Women’s Day Tea because they only wanted to be a vendor, have unfortunately lost out on opportunities to be vendors at the I Feel Good! Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference in August at Wayne State University, where we have up to 20 vendor tables available.  I have learned that sometimes passing up one opportunity because it doesn’t fit what you think it should, results in other missed opportunities. I truly wish more women in Detroit would realize that. That’s today’s lesson on being short-sighted, I suppose. 

Experience; A True Teacher

We have all experienced disappointment, rejection and loss. I myself experienced a tremendous amount this year alone. My mother died, I lost friends and I lost opportunities. All of these experiences forced me to make adjustments, changes and sacrifices. What I thought was going to be one of the best years of my life, turned into one of the most difficult. I was hurt, sad and even felt depressed throughout each experience I weathered. In spite of the negatives, I learned from each situation and as a result I also experienced positive growth.

While I was going through hidden pain, I was still having positive experiences. This year I became a correspondent blogger for Six Brown Chicks and I got to meet a woman I admire greatly as a result; Zondra Hughes. I was in featured in several articles written by talented journalists and bloggers, one of which was published in Italy. I finished my second book and (to my surprise and delight) it reached number 34 in the world on Amazon’s Urban/Regional list of eBooks. In a couple of weeks that same book Breaking Through the Black Ceiling will become available in paperback for purchase.

I had a lot of obstacles come up against me this year, some that were truly unthinkable and others that were completely frightening. Details of one of those obstacles is actually the topic of one of my next books. We won’t even begin to discuss my nonexistent love life. I no longer date. It just doesn’t work out well for me, so I’d rather avoid it than endure it. I still learned from the lack of romance in my life this year as well. I learned that it’s better to be happy and alone, than be miserable trying to force your love on someone who doesn’t want or deserve it. This year I opened up about my past experience with domestic violence for PURE Magazine, I mourned the loss of my friend and mentor, Mark England, and I made some very difficult decisions for my family. I also had to say ‘no, thank you’ quite often for the sake of my own sanity.

This year, I also learned the importance of forgiveness, not for others, but for you. I learned how much I truly value certain friendships, but that I don’t need the ones I lost. I learned that loyalty is often expected, but rarely received. I learned that it is often difficult to be your authentic self, but doing so gives you strength and takes away any negative power that others may have over you. I learned that I have the ability to shape my destiny and purpose, while still living the life that is written for me in the Master’s Plan. I learned that sometimes I won’t be happy, but I will be strong. I learned that my apprehension related to fame is hindering my success, and I decided to change that.

Experience is a true teacher. I truly believe that even the negative things that have occurred to me, not just this year, but throughout my life, served a purpose and were meant for me to learn from. Experience shapes us as individuals. We can’t always control what we go through, and everything we endure in life won’t be pleasant. However, we can make an effort to learn from every experience, good and bad, so that we can become better than we were before. I hope that all of the experiences I had in 2014 will strengthen me to become more resilient, stronger and more purpose driven, so that I can have more wealth, better health and happiness in the days and years to come. I want to continue to make a difference in the world using my voice, my creativity and my words, leaving behind a legacy that will influence others to do the same. I hope the same for you as well.

Next year already holds a great deal of promise and opportunity for my life and career. What I lost in 2014 will be replaced with more abundant and positive experiences in 2015. The obstacles, fear, pain and disappointment from 2014 will no longer exist.

All that will remain is me

Better than I was before.

 

Making A Bigger Difference

For those of you who were unable to attend this past weekend’s I Feel Good! Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference at Wayne State University, you not only missed a successful, empowering and inspiring event, you also missed the launch of my newest initiative. No worries! I’m going to tell you what it is now.

I am now the first Women’s Cabinet member for the American Lung Association’s LUNG FORCE campaign! 

I was surprised to be approached by the American Lung Association, but I am honored to have the opportunity to bring awareness to an issue that impacts the lives of many women. Although I don’t personally suffer from respiratory illnesses, I do have friends, relatives and colleagues who are directly affected. I have witnessed the effects of COPD, lung cancer, asthma and other illnesses, so I understand how important LUNG FORCE is to our community and the health of women everywhere.

The LUNG FORCE Run/Walk Detroit is on the evening of Friday, October 3, 2014, 6:00pm at Belle Isle. The event will include the 5K Run or Walk, yoga, barre and Zumba (starts at 4 pm), lung health information, music and fun! I have set up my team and everywhere is invited to join as a runner, walker, volunteer or as a virtual team member.

As you may know, I believe in living a purpose driven life. Being a business owner for me isn’t solely about making money; it is also about using my talents and influence to make a difference. Joining the Women’s Cabinet of the American Lung Association comes shortly after my Community Partnership with Karmanos Cancer Institute (who are sponsoring LUNG FORCE) and deepens my philanthropic efforts in Metro Detroit. I believe that in order to be an effective leader, I have to lead by example. I can’t tell someone to do something, that I’m not also willing to do. Although I can’t take on every campaign or cause, I do strive to put forth a tremendous amount of effort and dedication to the causes and campaigns that I support. Working with Karmanos and the American Lung Association are important to me because my loved ones have been affected by cancer and respiratory illnesses, and for some of them, these illnesses have resulted in death. Each day one of the blessings I count in my life is my health.

I truly hope that you can join my LUNG FORCE Team and support us, either online or in person, on October 3, 2014.

For additional information about LUNG FORCE click here! 

To Join The Super Woman Productions and Publishing LUNG FORCE Team Click Here! 

Productivity Is Addictive

I don’t smoke.

I only drink when I’m happy and my limit is two.

I’ve been celibate and I haven’t been on a single date by choice for seven….wait, eight months now.

I admit that if I have any one addiction, it is that I’m addicted to doing things well and being productive in my life and career.

It is an addiction that has cost me friends and relationships for several years. However, I’m not willing to go to rehab to trade-off being productive in exchange for making other people happy. I don’t know if this addiction is genetic or if it was learned behavior; both of my grandparents were hardworking people. Maybe I’m just highly ambitious or I’m aware that having the ability to do what I’d like to do in life isn’t free in the sense that some people think it is. Regardless, I’m an addict. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is check to see if I received any important emails while I was asleep. I quickly try to get replies out, often while squinting my eyes as the adjust to the light of the smart phone in the dark. To some people, that may be an annoyance and I’ve had people say to me “you get up early”. Well, I figure if someone can email me late at night, I can reply early in the morning.

I have my ‘to-do list’ like the planner I am, but I try to allow flexibility in my list for the Master’s Plan. I’ve learned that the plans I make will often need adjustment for one reason or another, particularly this year. I hired an assistant and she is amazing. That helps me to remain calm, focused and productive and people who know me very well can see the improvement. I now have exactly fifteen minutes extra every day that I can use to work on whatever I’m working on of importance that day. And when the day is over, I feel really good. There are events and commitments on my agenda up through December 2014 already and I’m looking forward to each and every one of them. The sacrifices I’ve made are well worth the blessings and opportunities I have received thus far. Sometimes you have to give up something you wanted to receive something you need.

I have goals that include expansion of the Super Woman Brand on a global level and I’m taking the small, yet necessary, steps to achieve those goals. I view each collaboration as an opportunity to introduce more people to the Super Woman Brand and its value. I couldn’t do half of what I’ve done, or a third of what I’m going to do in my career this year without my addiction.

It keeps me going. It wakes me up in the morning. It hugs me close in bed at night. It’s why complete strangers say I’m successful.

My journey hasn’t been without its challenges but I can truly say, my addiction (need) to be productive is definitely paying off.

 

Detroit’s Hidden Gem for Senior Adults

Sometimes, I like to provide information about things we may not know about that impact our community as a whole.

As you may know, I am a board member at St. Patrick’s Senior Center, which has been serving Detroit since 1973. St. Pat’s is located right behind Orchestra Hall in Midtown Detroit. Every day we provide our members with a hot lunch, field trips, computer classes, dance and choir activities, as well as health, transportation and advocacy services.

I truly believe that St. Pat’s is one of Detroit’s most amazing places and best-kept secrets. As a person who has many senior adults in my family, I support programs that support them. That’s why I’m asking you to help me spread the word in 2014, which is a banner year, as St. Pat’s develops, thanks to a partnership with Detroit Area on Aging, many services that will enable us to support even more people in these challenging economic times.

Here’s how you can help: 

  • Make an online donation by visiting our website at http://stpatsrctr.org 
  • Like our Facebook page – and tell your friends to like us, too!
  • Attend our festive events throughout the year, including the Spring Irish FestivalFall Musical Palooza or annual Golf Outing.
  • Serve as a volunteer!

If you’d like to experience St. Pat’s firsthand, I invite you to come visit, have lunch, and take a tour. We can set it up at your convenience. I promise that any support you provide will be tremendously helpful and appreciated. You don’t have to be from Detroit to support our senior community or St. Pat’s. Thank you in advance for supporting St. Pat’s Senior Center in Detroit!

 St. Pat’s is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization operating in Detroit, Michigan.