By KARINE MELISSA
Special to South Florida Times
MIAMI – It’s not easy to find a good conference here in Miami. The advertising usually comes with a lot of fluff just to get you to purchase a high priced ticket. Many new entrepreneurs are thirsty for information and resources that will bring them quick success.
In my experience of over 20 years in leadership and entrepreneurship, I’ve learned that there is no quick path to success. However, attending the right business empowerment conferences can help equip you with the tools needed along your journey to success.
Last weekend in Miami, two conferences hit the airwaves with exciting guests and networking opportunities. The Flourish Media Conference (FMC) and An Empowered You professed to be very promising. I had to attend and see for myself.
The inaugural “Flourish Media Conference: Where Women Do Business” was held at Florida International University’s (FIU) south campus. FMC is one of the only media conferences with opportunities for business funding for female entrepreneurs of color, offering them the opportunity to learn about branding, visibility and funding through interactive workshops and panel discussions.
“Our goal is to prepare conference attendees with the knowledge, resources, and more importantly, access to willing investors, to help close the hugely disproportional female funding gap and under-representation of women of color in high-growth startup industries. This conference presents the perfect opportunity to do just that,” said Vivian Olodun of FMC.
The conference was filled with a wealth of information from panelists such as Wanda Tima, founder of Lunionsuite.com the largest Haitian-American online media outlet in the world. Radio personality Felisha Monet, also shared her experience as a woman in the media spotlight.
Empowering women of color in business was the sole focus of this conference. FMC was created out of necessity by three brown women in business who have a desire for all women of color to flourish and receive the same opportunities and recognition that other successful business owners receive.
Sasha Revolus of FMC said, “My main goal is to help women to do business easier and with confidence.” The Flourish Media Conference did just that. Women of color were empowered and provided with key resources for funding and investment opportunities.
My next visit was to FIU’s north campus. “An Empowered You” was presented by Simons Sportswear, sponsored by Puma, and powered by Socially Loud and CinD Media. As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by Gabrielle Charles, one of Miami’s finest publicists. Right after check in, I entered the Simon’s Sportswear welcome area where vendors such as Raw Republic Juice Cleansers and Makeup Sincere by Karen Raymond were on display. After mingling and great networking I made my way up to the second floor where there was a very lavish display of brunch items.
As I made my way into the ballroom, the conference opened with a moving poetic piece by Roojerry Dangervil, who boldly spoke on the topic of mental depression within the black community and the importance of reaching out for help. This was followed by what I believe was the anchor of this event, the panel.
Panelists included Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon, celebrity designer Angel Brinks, Forbes accredited agency founder Alex Quinn, Sports Anchor Ashley Nicole Moss, Life Coach Brittany Garth (who has been recognized by Essence Magazine) and Media Maven Supa Cindy.
Each panelist shared their stories of overcoming obstacles to achieve their success. Pastor and C.O.O.L co-founder Terrance
Wilson reminded everyone how important it is to love people first; and Lexx Pierre- Louis, founder of Lexx Promotions and Marketing, emphasized key components to making it in the entertainment industry. The panel was moderated by Johanne Wilson, another co-founder of C.O.O.L. The information, resources and tips shared by the panel were priceless. Each panelist delivered tools for empowerment with a push to be a better.
This conference was unique because it was a four-course event which entailed: brunch and mimosas, a panel of industry professionals giving advice from their trajectory of success, live performances and fashion shows presented by Puma, Angel Brinks and Simon’s Sportswear.
An important highlight of “An Empowered You” was an exclusive look at Puma’s Black History Month collection, which honors David T. Howard High School and their famous alumnus Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr., which was the icing on the cake for me. It was a meaningful tribute on display to honor the contributions of blacks throughout history.
Both conferences were successful in delivering vital information to empower our next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders. The panelists were knowledgeable and helpful. The vendors and displays were resourceful and entertaining. It is my hope that conferences like these continue to flourish and empower our community.