Tag Archives: honorees

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. 

This Is SO Cool

I zip through my life so fast, making plans, working hard to execute them, saving kittens, helping lost little old ladies, defending the defenseless and other super heroine activities, that I rarely get to take time off. I must plan vacations almost six months to a year in advance (when I get to take one) let alone actually enjoy any of my accomplishments. The dust has been flying fast around me for the last several months leading up to September 12, 2012. Now that the dust has settled for two seconds, I can exhale and appreciate the moment.

Yesterday, September 12, 2012, I was recognized as a Media Professional in the Real Time Media’s sixth edition of Who’s Who In Black Detroit. The book is the size of the White Pages and I’m on page 237 of the thick, beautiful book. Last night, as I listened to Cathy Nedd, Associate Publisher say that Who’s Who isn’t about the most popular or those who have name recognition, a small sense of pride began to pour over me. Then she spoke about how they want to put copies of Who’s Who In Black Detroit into the schools, so that young Black men and women can see people who look like them and came from where they are, who aren’t necessarily celebrities, yet do good things as leaders in business and in the community. Cathy Nedd was talking about all the people listed as honorees…including me.

I don’t get very excited about the things I do. It was a year ago this month that a full-page article was written about me in the Front Page Detroit, another Real Time Media publication. From where I sit, what I do is a lot of thankless work that most people will never know anything about. I don’t do it to impress people; I do it because it’s my dream – to get paid for using my talents so that I can leave corporate America, provide jobs for others and leave a legacy that Super Son and his children can be proud of. I don’t really get to think about how other people perceive what I do. There have been so many times when people minimized my work and talents, that I’ve started to exclude people’s opinions from my thought process. I’m aware that I will not be able to please the masses, no matter what I do, and I’m very well aware that many people perceive me a lot differently than I really am. Yesterday, I was also told that I’ve very humble about my accomplishments. I can honestly say that I don’t really know how to “brag“, although some may consider what I do in this blog “bragging“. I believe in doing the work.

When I got home last night, I unwrapped my copy of Who’s Who In Black Detroit, not knowing where I was in the book. I went to the Entrepreneurs section and didn’t see myself. I didn’t even think to look at the alphabetical listing by name in the back. I picked up the book and ruffled the pages with my thumb. As if I were a magician, the book stopped right on page 237 and there I was. I stopped, looked and said aloud, in my kitchen, occupied by no one else, “That’s me… This is SO cooool.” Then I called my mom. And she told me that she is proud of me. Then I went to bed.

I showed the book to some friends and acquaintances who congratulated me and spoke of how impressed they were with the quality of the book and how I had done a good job by being recognized in it. Two of my best friends called me to ask how the event went the night before. I was still not gloating about it at this point. Super Woman was thinking “now I need to step my game up so I can be worthy of recognition next year for the seventh edition“. But the little girl inside of me, who was always told she was too tall, too skinny, was a nerd and was only pretty without her glasses on, was smiling really big and saying “They are talking about me…This is SO cooool.

Today, I started to reflect on the people in my life who aren’t here anymore, but would really be proud of me, like my grandfathers, my aunts and my uncles. I started to think about the people in the media and entertainment industries who are no longer among the living like Don Cornelius and Chris Lighty, and left blueprints for me to follow and created space for me to thrive. I hope they are proud of me as well. In spite of the achievement, accomplishment, accolade, honor or whatever you choose to refer to it as, I still have much more work to do. I don’t do it for the acknowledgement, although it is very cool. I’m glad that someone thinks I’m worthy of acknowledging. For me, that’s what makes this SO cooool.

 

~ The flower doesn’t dream of the bee; the flower blooms and the bee comes. 

Written on September 13, 2012