By MICHELLE HOLLINGER
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Continuing its mission to enhance and expand leadership opportunities for women of color, South Florida Women of Color (WOC) presents an action-packed weekend of entertainment, information and inspiration. Kicking off on Sept. 9, the event begins with a benefit concert featuring R&B songstress, Miki Howard, soul singer, Avery Sunshine and The Allen Paul Band.
The fun morphs into information with Saturday’s line-up of informational panels.
“Saturday, morning we’ll have hot topics, issues that leaders should know about. We’ll have a panel on unconscious bias in workplace culture, running for office and how to do that,” said Burnadette Norris-Weeks, WOC Chairwoman.
“The biggest panel of the day will be on media images of women of color and we have a panel of journalists talking about images of women of color in media. Where we are now, what we can do to improve these images,” Norris-Weeks shared.
Bringing a huge dose of inspiration to the affair is media mogul Cathy Hughes, who is the event’s keynote luncheon speaker. In addition to being the founder of Radio One, Hughes has served as its chairperson of the board and secretary since 1980. She was also the company’s CEO for 17 years.
Of Hughes, Norris-Weeks said, “She has a rich and deep history of being able to operate with integrity in a high performing way in environments we typically don’t see us operating in. She’s just operated at the top of her game for a number of years.”
A key facet of the conference is an emphasis on women having their financial house in order.
“You can’t really lead if your financial situation is raggedy,” Norris-Weeks explained. “We always focus on that at our conferences.” The financial conversation hap- pens on Saturday with a panel discussion; and on Sunday at the Sisterhood Breakfast, financial expert, Debra Owens will present, ‘Seven Steps to Seven Figures.’ Owens can be seen nationally on TVOne’s News One Now as “America’s Wealth Coach.”
One of several highlights of the weekend will be WOC’s introduction of its first graduate mentee class. Norris-Weeks said, “We’ve been working with them all year.” The program included pairing ten young women up with a professional woman in their field who served as their mentor. “We just had the exit interview and some were brought to tears by their experience.”
As a non-profit organization that presents numerous free events throughout the year, NorrisWeeks said the benefit concert is especially important. “We use those funds that we raise there to support the free activities that we do all year round, including supporting our mentorship program. We don’t really make a lot of money off of this conference. It is a labor of love,” she added.
For more information, visit southfloridawomenofcolor.com.