Up next was the International Women's lunch which was truly empowering! A group of women executives from Coca-Cola discussed what it takes to remain authentic to who you are while learning how to win in a male dominated environment. The African- American women leaders discussed mentorship, brand, credibility, and relationships. As you move up the ladder, relationships become even more important. Network. Network. Network. Who you know matters even more when you are seeking to climb to the top of the food chain. Those words stayed in my mind after the presentation concluded. I abruptly left my seat so that I could attend the next session. I was stopped by a law student from UCLA who said "Hey! What an awesome lunch panel. I can't wait to connect with the women from Coca Cola. Which woman are you about to connect with?" Connect? Oh how could I forget to connect with those extraordinary women? I was so focused on not being late for the next session that I almost forgot to network with the women who were at the lunch. I looked over and noticed there was a long line of women waiting to connect with the speakers. Bummer. Then I look to the right of me. Guess who was there? The first lady! She was trying to exit the lunch area when she noticed my crown. This opened the door for a brief conversation. She said "Oh you look important. Let me get my photographer so that he can capture the picture for our social media sites." I had a chance to tell her why I was wearing the lovely crown and the purpose behind the Ms. Corporate America pageant. Wow!
How often do you see a woman wearing a crown and sash at a conference? Think about it. I’m waiting. Not often, right? If something has never happened in your world, that creates a remarkable opportunity in my world. I love the smell of opportunity! I have been able to create endless opportunities at conferences because the crown SPEAKS. Internationally!
I had the opportunity to attend my 5th conference this month (June 2015). Yes, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. As of June 23rd, I have attended 5 conferences. Guess what? I loved it! Strange, right? Well what can I say? I’m a conference enthusiast and I love to share the information with my contacts in order to make their lives easier.
On June 21st, I attended the reception for the 43rd Annual Rainbow Push Coalition International Convention. I was honored to receive an event invite from the moderator of the evening, Dr. Ewa Ewa. There was no typo in what I just wrote. His first and last name are the same! How cool is that? Dr. Ewa Ewa is not only known for his name but he is also the CFO of the Illinois Human Rights Commission. How did I meet him? Guess? Another Conference? Bingo! When I told Dr. Ewa that I was Ms. Corporate America and that my platform was diversity in business, a door was opened for me to be a guest at the International Convention which took place 4 days after we met. Life definitely moves faster with a crown and a compelling mission. My diversity in business initiative aligned perfectly with the work that Dr. Eva does. Dr. Ewa is a Nigerian who has facilitated international relations between Africa and the U.S. Due to his diverse relationships, he played a major role in identifying speakers and partners for the International Convention. I was welcomed by people from all walks of life when I attended the reception. As I was networking and taking pictures, the tone of the room suddenly changed and I knew what that meant. A group of individuals who were crowned with the highest values of leadership and respect were making their presence known. All bodies stood when Reverend Jesse Jackson and First Lady Bongi Ngema - Zuma entered the room. Jesse Jackson touched on various topics from the shooting in South Carolina to the ability to leverage our rich cultural resources in Illinois in order to optimize international relations. First Lady expressed her gratitude and focused on her goals to discuss Diabetes awareness and prevention during the convention.
Ms. Corporate America with Reverend Jesse Jackson
I was greeted by a team of community activists and organizers who were excited to hear about the Ms. Corporate America pageant
Ms. Corporate America networking with community organizers
Selfie with Jesse Jackson's lead event organizer and my DePaul University fellow peer mentor, Reverend Will Hall.
On Monday, June 22nd, I attended the International Plenary 1: Focus on Africa and the Africa Economic Expansion Forum. Unfortunately, Africa is a blurry image in the mind of many Americans. Most people don't realize that Africa is a continent and not a country. YIKES. While the media may portray Africa as warring, impoverished, and unfixable, many leaders from different parts of Africa painted a picture that reflected opportunity! It was noted that the "risk of missing this window of opportunity is greater than any of the risks you will encounter in actually doing business in Africa". Well how do promote Africa as an attractive investment among skeptics? Simple. Once conference participant stated that "You must mention the ROI."
Little did I know, the first lady was one of the speakers for the afternoon International Plenary session. So what's on the First Lady's agenda. Diabetes! Diabetes is not only a problem in the United States. First Lady Madam Bongi Ngema-Zuma speaks about her goal to eradicate diabetes in South Africa. Why did she want to tackle diabetes? Not only do her personal family experiences motivate her to take action, but she also knows how it impacts economic activity. Workers may not operate at maximum activity when they have health concerns. Unfortunately, 50% of people who have diabetes do not know they have diabetes. That's why the First Lady focused on awareness and identifying strategic partnerships that will create a diabetes free South America.
Take a look at some of the pictures form the International Convention that took place on Monday.
Selfie with Jesse Jackson's gatekeeper. That's right! This experienced Rainbow PUSH leader was responsible for scheduling all of Jesse Jackson's speaking engagements.
Ms. Corporate America with the First Lady of South Africa, Bongi Ngema - Zuma.
Listening to President of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Amy Hillard, discuss the purpose of the Chicago-based cosmetics company.
I can not believe I did not have the Rainbow Push Coalition International Convention on my calendar before I met Dr. Ewa Ewa. I had the pleasure of witnessing the convention because of 5 words that I claimed during a CIO executive conference introduction "I am Ms. Corporate America". When I put the crown on at the convention, it attracted people from Asia to Africa who were excited to take a picture and find out about the Ms. Corporate America organization. What is it about the crown that allows it to speak different languages? The crown is an accessory that is widely recognized all over the world because of its association with royalty, power, victory, and glory. When you have such an attractive accessory, make sure you know how to use it.
The crown can take you places that you didn't even know existed. I am grateful for the opportunity to have attended the Rainbow Push International Conference and meet a diverse group of individuals who are committed to enhancing international relations. The crown opened the door for me to obtain many valuable connections. It's true. The crown speaks internationally! So if you haven’t had the chance to sign up to compete in the Ms. Corporate America pageant, apply online today at www.mscorporateamerica.com
Keep Creating Endless Opportunities,
Ms. Corporate America 2015