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  • Keyaira Boone

Manifest Yourself Offers A Twist On The Millennial Mixer

“I wanted love so I got my butt on Tinder” said Kimberly Brown gesturing to her nearby fiance while sitting up straight in her director’s style chair. Men in the crowd responded with enthusiastic hoots and yelps while a few women squealed. Two people even jokingly called out “swipe right!” causing everyone in the crowd to erupt into a fit of good natured laughter.

The scene was not a familiar one for many of the people in the room, lots of whom had only attended networking events populated by people of their own gender.

Progression towards entrepreneurship and an emphasis on personal development in the black community has unintentionally fostered a slight segregation of the sexes. Held seemingly daily “women's empowerment events” are often marked by swathes of pink and frills and exclusively female panels while similar (and less frequent) events geared towards male audiences are often industry specific and associated with fraternal organizations.

Brown bucked tradition by making May 19th’s “The Empowerment Social” an event for everyone.

The day’s color palette was a neutral black and gold. A balloon arch framed the small stage.

It’s co-educational nature wasn’t the only thing that set “The Empowerment Social” apart. It was intentionally designed to be more of a party and less of a series of panels.

The constant stream of hits played by DJ Talea Naomi, who Brown would also be playing at her upcoming wedding, were only briefly interrupted at the top of every hour by speakers.

The atmosphere wasn’t restrictive. People formed circles and danced to millenial favorites like Huey’s 2007 smash “Pop, Lock, and Drop It” in between discussions about the importance of customer service and maximizing 401k contributions.

Effen Vodka was the event’s liquor sponsor.

Party goers sipped on cucumber mojitos, spiked raspberry lemonades, and the brand’s signature fruit punch while taking selfies and exchanging contact information.

Aquahydrate provided everyone with water so they could stay hydrated while cutting a rug.

Danielle Fontus, also known as Dani Dares, introduced each of the speakers wearing a laser cut red bodice dress that highlighted the temporary tattoo she adopted for her business card.

She shared that the dress was an unlikely choice for her and that when she was scared of things she tended to do them anyway.

Speakers included Bola Sokunbi of Clever Girl Finance, Professor Lenny Williams of Trill or Not Trill, and Brown herself who shared candid details about both her personal and professional struggles.

During his talk Williams pointed out the need for small business owners to look beyond the obvious when promoting their products and services. “Marketing is not just social media” he said “it’s also customer service.”

Vendors Crown Candle Co. and BB Bombs displayed great customer service on the scene demonstrating their products to their supporters and answering questions with patience.

Another business who stood out that day was the event’s caterers. Party goers were greeted with multiple pans of fried chicken, chive laced eggs, flavorful waffles, and moist salmon as a part of the endless brunch buffet. But by far the standout was the potatoes and peppers.

Guests praised them while going back for plate after plate. One attendee complained that they were so good she didn’t have room for the beautifully arranged cupcakes.

Guests left with goodie bags featuring male and female grooming products, gifts from the vendors as well as sponsors including Miss Jessie's and Luster's.

Before seeing everyone off Brown urged attendees to take action on the personal and professional connections they made as a result of attending the event immediately “when you leave here do something” she said “even if it’s something very small.”

To learn more about Manifest Yourself check out their site here.

#empowerment #empowermentsocial #motivation #motivationalspeaking #networking #womeninbusiness #womeninmedia #blackbusiness #manifestyourself #KimberlyBrown #DaniDares #LennyWilliams

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