Last month was Women's Month and every day in March we do our best to educate ourselves and others about the many contributions women have made to the world in which we live. The women who brought us into this world had to fight to earn the respect of both men and other women.
We make a point to do this annually; not because women aren’t deserving recognition at any other time of the year, but for that one month the nation is focused on women’s vision, and their past and present contributions and accomplishments.
Several months ago an intimate group of my friends from around the nation gathered together from New York, California, Maryland to Detroit which included an incredible mixture of talent from Hollywood's Diva Miss Sheryl Lee Ralph, Marsha Reeves Jews, Radio Personality and Founder of Keep It Moving with Marsha Reeves Jews, Radio Show; Sanya Hudson of S.H.E and On Air With Sanya Hudson; founder of Fashion Magazine, Sofia Davis, Detroit radio personality Cheryl Suite Lady Dunlap, to Foodie expert founder of Cuisine Noir Magazine V. Sheree Williams, and created a national media platform for women, “Women In Media Meet-Up (WIMM).”
The mission of WIMM is to educate, empower, encourage, enlighten, elevate, and celebrate women in all aspects of media. We aim to improve the work lives of women in media through professional and personal development - by providing access to educational training programs & partnerships, mentorships, internships, and advocacy. WIMM has developed strategic partnerships and innovative collaborations with organizations that are nimble in leveraging corporate and media relationships - enabling the distribution of information and the transformation of global women in media.
On Wednesday, March 30th at the prestigious Bergdorf Goodman Café, WIMM and the Founders we celebrated the life of several iconic women in media and the legacy of their body of work. It is their magnificent work and leadership that many of us observed that laid the foundation for many of us to become who we are today. The goal for this meet and greet with informative panel discussions; was to celebrate the body of work and contributions made in media from our Legends which included Sue Simmons, Soledad O'Brien, Susan Taylor, Melissa Harris Perry. These pioneers put their lives on the line for the betterment of access to information.
We were delighted to be joined by several representatives from the most prestigious media outlets and international sponsors which included Lancome; a corporation that has made a major commitment to promoting diversity in beauty, especially since Lupita Nyong'o is one of their brand ambassador, and Moet Chandon all focused on honoring the lives of the following Legends and trailblazers which included Harriette Cole- Miss DreamLeapers, who intends on encouraging others to make their dreams come true by taking the necessary steps to put it into action. Teri Agins, whose newly released second book- Hijacking The Runway, which gives us Insight on the changes, and evolution of the fashion industry. Mikki Taylor- Iconic Beauty Expert that encourages women to be your best and know your worth, and step out of your comfort zone, motivational speaker and the queen of round table discussion of getting out of your own way. And new comer, mover and shaker Kierna Mayo- who is about to take Ebony Magazine to a much needed makeover. Of course, we are already seeing the impact with that last powerful issue Body Brigade which took the magazine world by storm with full figure celebrities giving you nothing less than sexy and confidence. Go ahead Kierna Mayo take your seat at the table with the women that have changed the vision of what women leaders can really do; when given the "opportunity".
While Lesley Jane Seymour could not be present for the event, we could not help but celebrate the impact she made in the industry with her brilliant leadership skills in 2008 when she built the confidence of women over 35 and made it the new sexy.
These women may have just been doing their job, but those bold moves inspired these next set of women to continue building an incredible body of work and while bridging the gap between the work that the legends built and creating an infrastructure for today’s millennials.
Publisher and literary agent Regina Brooks feels everyone can write a book, especially those women that were in that room. Her company Serendipity is one of the noted companies pushing out great writers to big publishing houses. Okay Africa co-founder Vanessa Wruble has been showing us another Africa that many of us may not know. Ayesha Hakki is bridging the gap for South Asian women and men to find their place here in America and around the world with her Magazine and PR Firm BIBI. While Yelena Deyneko created a Spirit and Flesh Magazine to give the rising stars of today’s age the opportunity to become the next Peter Lindberg, Annie Leibowitz through the pages of her magazine that promotes, art, culture, travel and fashion, full lifestyle from a global prospective. Cara Alwill motivational speaker for her age will not allow the mean girl syndrome into the lives and spirits of today’s young women.
And, the real gate keeper Gwen Wunderlich, the woman that can single handedly press the send button on a press release, pick-up a phone and editors, television, cameras, radio shows are printing, publishing and airing her ideas and embracing her vision.
To change how women, work and contribute in the media industry takes boldness and courage to dare to be "cute and smart." These women have taken the leap time and time again and do so while wearing stilettos.
While we may be wearing the latest lipsticks by Lancôme. popping bottles with Moet and shopping at Bergdorf, please don't mistake these moves and think this is not hard work. These ladies just make it "look" effortless because that is how they were trained and they take their lives and those whom they inspire seriously.
So, in honor of all these incredible women, I thought it only fitting that we celebrate these women continuously by creating Women In Media Meet-Up (WIMM), so we can always celebrate each other. Salute.