Tag Archives: leadership

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. 

There’s Always More

It’s always been my opinion that as an entrepreneur, you’re never not working towards building or improving your business. If you wake up in the morning and you don’t have anything to do, you’re not hands on enough in your business and that could have dire consequences. It’s not that you have to go to an office every day, or that you need to micromanage your staff, but you should know exactly what is taking place with your business and have a system in place to be informed of it on a regular basis.

If you’re as hands on as I am with your business [which is not necessarily recommended, but for me, that’s just how it is], you soon realize you are never done. There is always more.

There’s always more to do, more to learn, more to accomplish, more to research.

And if you do those things right and well, there are always new opportunities that you can take advantage of because of your entrepreneurial vision and the work you dedicate towards it.

For example, I went from having no annual events to having two after 5 years in business, now four before my seventh year in business. I went from having no community and nonprofit partnerships in my first six years, to now having two with Karmanos Cancer Institute and Lung Force. I went from blogging on what was once the Essence Community Ning-site (which has since been dismantled) to blogging for Six Brown Chicks. I went from have one or two articles and features published about me in the entire year of 2011 to having nine (plus) articles and features published about me in the last six months alone…and there are more pending. There is always more.

There is always more work to do, more to learn, more to accomplish and more to research.

I wrote a little book, this year, called Breaking Through the Black Ceiling, which took me less than a year to complete. I already have the foundation for two more books; one work of erotic fiction and one based on a true story. Before I could finish those, I was referred to very promising funding opportunities for some of the television and web series scripts I’ve had lying around for the last few years. These scripts have been waiting for their turn to come to fruition before an audience and they will soon get it. Because there’s always more.

The only thing I can’t seem to get more of is time. However, that isn’t an issue if the time I have is spent wisely and used for the purposes of being more productive and more profitable. That is what an entrepreneur should do based on my experience, not what is taught in business school. As I look forward, 2015 has a great deal of promise in it because there is always more. I’ve already had planning meetings and discussions about 2015 events and the expansion of them. We’re already considering guests for Fridays in 2015 for The FabLife Radio Show, which is now in season 3. And that’s not all, because there’s always more.

There isn’t a day that I wake up and don’t have something to do. Even if I initially think I don’t, that thought changes very quickly when I see or hear something that sparks an idea or completes an existing one. That may be the major difference between being a media entrepreneur like myself and another entrepreneur in a different industry – the type of task and the process of getting to it. But a task in need of tackling is still inevitable. It has to be. Growth and sustainability are paramount in building a business from the ground up, regardless of what type of business it is. There is always more.

I’m writing this blog in the between taking webinars and participating in conference calls. No joke. I also checked my social media analytics and scheduled posts for later this evening and tomorrow morning while writing this. I’m not bragging, I’m just reiterating that there is always something for an entrepreneur to do where their business is concerned. If you call yourself an entrepreneur and you’re finding yourself bored without anything to do on any given day, please reevaluate how serious you are about being an entrepreneur. Even if it’s planning the holiday party for your staff (or hiring someone to do it), there should be something on the horizon for you to look forward to completing, learning or accomplishing for your business. If you don’t know what it might be, download Breaking Through the Black Ceiling and see if it helps you uncover what it may be.

 

 

 

 

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! 

Reflections On My Younger Self

I don’t think too much about my past unless a memory is triggered. That’s because I don’t believe that you can move forward in life if you’re always looking behind you hoping, wishing and praying about what you would have or could have done “only if things had been done/turned out differently”. However, I have grown to realize that my experiences have value, not just in the woman I have become, but also as a motivating factors to others.

I receive a lot of emails and messages from people who tell me something I did or said changed their lives in a positive way. I feel blessed to be a part of other people’s personal or professional growth process.  Those seemingly small gestures of gratitude from others is one of the things that keeps me motivated as well.  Knowing that I make a difference is its own reward. That is why I have intentionally made an effort to be more transparent with you, my Super Fans, about who I am as a person and some of my challenges, both professionally and personally. I hope that you enjoy this brief article written by me for another media source and feel free to share it with someone else who may benefit from it.

~ Smooches 

The Power of Self Worth 

 

If We Didn’t Stop Growing, We’d All Be Giants

When human beings reach adult maturation, we eventually stop growing taller. As a result, we remain whatever height we are at that time, for the remainder of our adult lives. People are different heights due to their DNA. Regardless of how you think man came to exist here, one thing is true: There had to be an off switch for growth, otherwise we all would be giants.

Sadly some of us also have an off switch when it comes to realizing our potential. We put limitations on ourselves and our way of thinking which stifles our personal growth. We make excuses for not exceeding mediocrity. We blame others for our failures. We don’t take personal responsibility for the direction our lives are going in. We limit ourselves. We stop growing. Regardless of our physical limitations, there shouldn’t be limitations placed on our other abilities. Instead of “I can’t”, more of us should learn to say “I will”.

What hinders you most? Is it what you think of yourself or do you absorb the negativity that others think of you? Is it easier for you to be mediocre than great? Is greatness too much responsibility for you to handle? Understand what I mean by greatness. Greatness isn’t the same as being rich, being a celebrity or even being the boss. Greatness is taking whatever God-given abilities and talents you have and using them completely and without apology to be the best at whatever it is that you do. I don’t care if you sweep floors, greatness is doing your personal best at sweeping those floors.

There’s a lot to be said for putting forth a little effort. Almost every idea I’ve had thus far has come to fruition. I’ve discovered that when I take one step towards making an idea a reality, everything I need to continue comes to me; the people, the connections, the resources and the money. Even when I’m down to the last few dollars I have to invest in the idea, something happens that makes those last few dollars feel like a million dollars. Remember this: everything I’ve done during the last five years that I have been in business has been financed completely by me. I’ve never had a bank loan or financial investor in any of my business endeavors, and I’m still here. Yes, I’ve taken some minor losses, but they haven’t been anything I couldn’t claim as a business expense. I’ve never had to sacrifice the roof over my head or use anything I own as collateral. I haven’t had to visit a single pawn shop or sell anything that I hold dear. That is all because I don’t stop trying. Even if I fail, I take the experience as a lesson and try to do it again but a lot better the next time around, OR I acknowledge that particular endeavor just may not be the right fit for the Super Woman Brand and I set it aside with grace and move on to the next project.

I believe I’m bigger than any of my so-called failures. I believe that every opportunity that comes my way will be something I can touch one day. Maybe not today, but one day. Provided that I continue to take small steps towards it. I know that there are a lot of naysayers who don’t believe in me or anything I do. There are also a lot of doubters and people wishing for my demise with every breath they take. I could care less. I don’t do anything that I do to please those people. I don’t live for those people. I don’t work for those people. They are not my competition, not will they deter me from my goals. Everyone isn’t going to want to ride in my life’s boat with me. Not even when it becomes a beautiful yacht. I don’t even waste time inviting everyone to come aboard. Some people aren’t worthy and if they are included, they will only try to push me overboard off of my own life’s boat. Those people who are worthy will be put in the proper time and place for us to meet. How do I know that? Because it happens almost everyday.

I refuse to let anything or anyone stunt my growth. Growth is more important than money to me. Growth adds value to a person’s life that money could never do. Yes, being a profitable business is important. But also doing something to inspire others to reach their full potential is equally important to me. I don’t have the time to personally mentor everyone who asks, although I wish I did. Many people have unfortunately declined opportunities with me that would have inevitably helped them in the long-term. I learned that can’t give forth thought to short-sighted people so I don’t waste my time trying and I don’t let it upset me. I just continue to move forward with my own goals and show by example what can happen when you make a decision and stick to it.

When I was a child I nearly towered over everyone I went to school with. Occasionally there would be one or two other girls taller than me that would distract people from staring up at me and saying “WOW! How tall ARE you?!?!?

Now, as an adult at 5’10” tall, I still  get that question and I still tower over many people, even ones who are physically taller than I am, simply because I strive to continue to grow.

I strive to grow in my industry.

I strive to grow in my business.

I strive to grow in my community.

I strive to grow my bank account.

I strive to grow my employees.

I strive to grow my network.

I strive to grow my influence.

I strive to growth my value.

And I will continue growing until I become a GIANT

 

♦Super Woman is showing other women how to become a GIANT. Attend or Sponsor the upcoming I Feel Good! Mind, Body and Soul Women’s Conference © Sponsored by Wayne State University on August 17, 2013 at Wayne State University. 

What If Justice Wasn’t Blind?

Michael David Dunn

257 Ocean Residence Ct

Satellite Beach, FL 32937

 

Dear Michael,

What if instead of justice being blind, it was an eye for an eye? What if the system that you hide behind said that because you took a life, you had to give one equal to it other than your own? What if because you killed Jordan and shot at his friends, any of us other mothers and fathers across this country could come to your house and kill your child and shoot at your family? How would that make you feel?

I ask because it doesn’t matter that Jordan and his friends were young Black men. It doesn’t matter that you are white and apparently become violent after you drink. All that matters is that you thought you had the right to kill someone else for no reason. Music isn’t a weapon aimed at you. There was no gun in the car. None of the teenagers had a gun on their person. In fact, the only person wielding a weapon that day was YOU. YOU who thinks you have the right to police everyone else’s taste in music, actions and whereabouts. Yet you don’t have any self-discipline to police yourself. YOU, the coward, who thinks he can kill young Black men because you think they are beneath you. You, who thinks lying about feeling threatened will get you acquitted. You are an ignorant, prejudiced, homicidal maniac, who has absolutely no respect for human life.

You had just witnessed your son get married. Were you not happy about that occasion? Was it really necessary for you to leave a day of celebration and make someone else’s life a day of tragedy? You are a piece of trash. Not because I say so; but because your actions and excuses for them make you so. If someone had walked into your son’s wedding, just hours prior, and decided to shoot him because they didn’t like the wedding music he had elected to play, how would that have made you feel?

These are the things you need to consider while you spend the rest of your life in prison. I also want you to know that as a mother of a young Black man, had that been my son you killed, you’d already be dead.  I believe in an eye for an eye. Be thankful you get to remain breathing for a moment, Michael. I hope the state of Florida ends that soon and sentences you to execution along with the other 401 prisoners on the list. That probably won’t happen though, because it seems that the only people who are executed quickly and without remorse in Florida are young Black men, and you don’t fit the criteria.

I pray that if you and your buddy, George Zimmerman (with whom you apparently share the same hobby of killing innocent people), don’t get the execution you greatly deserve, that in exchange the two of you spend the rest of your lives getting raped in prison. The two of you aren’t what we would call “real” killers, so you won’t be able to handle what they do to you in there. No punishment handed down is powerful enough to bring Jordan and Trayvon back to their parents, but maybe it will make you appreciate human life a lot more before you die.  

 

Sincerely,

A mother of a young Black man and a citizen of the United States of America demanding justice

~ The “Stand Your Ground” law is a racist and prejudiced device used in Florida to kill us, not protect us. It is unequally applied at the whim of the judges and prosecutors. A Black woman, Marissa Alexander, was sentenced to prison for 20 years in 2012, for shooting a warning shot into a wall because her physically abusive husband attacked her. Yet, Michael Dunn and George Zimmerman both killed young Black men, who were minding their own business in public, not abusing anyone or committing any felonies in the process during the same year (2012) using the same exact defense. This is Michael Dunn’s real home address.