Last night I had the pleasure of attending the 'This is Her Way' We Are Legendary Gala & Awards Dinner. The founder, Sherry Williams, honored five women last night and the pearls of wisdom shared during their acceptance speeches left me full and wanting more. I know, sounds like an oxymoron so let me explain. I definitely could have listened to each of them speak for at least another hour but I was full because I was so greatly impacted by what they shared. I received further confirmation, heard from God while listening, and accepted greater calls to action so I was indeed full. What I mean by wanting more is that they left me wanting more opportunities to serve, more opportunities to use my gifts in ways that honor God, and more time to pursue my purpose relentlessly.
The dynamic Quinta Brunson, creator of the widely popular Instagram/YouTube series “The Girl Who’s Never Been On A Nice Date Before” reminded us that we all have immense power and challenged us to further consider how we will use that power to rebuild our communities.
Gabrielle Jordan, the 15-year old author, entrepreneur, jewelry designer, inspirational speaker, and philanthropist who has been featured in Black Enterprise, graced the TED stage, and honored at Black Girls Rock, proclaimed that "fear is not legitimate."
Brittany O’Rourke, Radio and Television Host, Spokesperson, Presenter and Emcee, Creative Director, Songwriter and Model dropped so many jewels that I literally heard her voice while pin-curling my hair last night. One of the things she said that stood out and I believe many can relate to is “I was happy but I wasn’t fulfilled, there is a difference.” Wow! Now that’s a WORD.
The ‘Woman on the Rise’ recipient, 24 year old Tiara Willis, inspired us all by her life of service. Internationally, she has helped children learn English, donated food and clothing, and helped gain access to reading materials. She will be serving in Peace Corps Nicaragua focusing on economic development starting in the spring. She is urging her peers to give more, to serve, and to make an impact. She shared that when people ask why she gives back, she responds “Why don’t you?”
Miko Branch, the co-founder of Miss Jessie’s moved us to tears as she shared parts of her journey. She discussed some of the highs and lows, the loss of her sister, and didn’t hesitate to acknowledge God’s role in her life. She reminded us to “stay the course” and that “being in a position of choice is everything.” I was able to chat briefly with Miko before the book signing portion of the evening. In just a few moments, I felt this woman’s spirit. Just a few words in and we were both teary eyed; If you have never met her, she’s the friend you want to call when you’ve had a good or bad day, the sister you want to watch movies with all night, the auntie you want to take with you to an unnerving doctor’s appointment, and the teacher that inspires you to greatness, all in one! She speaks with intent, walks with grace, and moves in purpose. Her words were profound and her actions spoke volumes. As we gathered for the book signing and waited for the device to be secured to accept payments, Miko quietly asked one of the host how many women were in attendance. The host responded with the number and Miko in turn shared that everyone would receive a complimentary copy of the book she co-authored with her sister Titi, Miss Jessie’s: Creating a Successful Business from Scratch---Naturally. Her beneficence reminds me of two important principles and scriptures
Operate from a space of abundance. 2nd Corinthians 9:8, ”And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (NLT)
Your gift is not yours to keep, it is to be shared with others. 1 Peter 4:10, ”As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (NAS)
Sherry concluded the evening reminding us of the important calls on our lives as well as the sanctity of sisterhood, and closed us out ‘Empowered Woman-Benediction Style’ by declaring “I am a woman, how dare I not be great!”