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  • Writer's pictureKeyaira Boone

7 Things I Learned At Win, Rock & Rule 2019

I’m backkkkk. After officially becoming a certified Red Hawk I have been spreading my wings in and around the Garden State. But no matter how far I fly there’s no place like home.

That’s why when Dee C. Marshall reached out to invite me to this year’s Win, Rock & Rule at Prudential Tower I didn’t think twice before accepting. A room full of women stepping into their power on Newark soil?! I was in.

I expected to pick up a few financial gems from sponsor Prudential, but I was unprepared for how many personal stories that I was touched by. Check out 7 lessons from the evening I took with me as I walked towards Halsey street.

Sometimes Identifying Your Weakness Leads You To Your Strengths

“I realized that I could not be a Japanese man,” said Megan Myungwon Lee about working her way to the head of human resources at Panasonic. The entire room laughed at her statement but there was a serious lesson there. By figuring out what she was not able to do Myungwon Lee was able to focus on what she was able to do-maintain relationships. The unique capabilities she had like charm, and consideration helped her stand out.

Leaving Is A Strategy All By Itself

I’m not a quitter. No matter how tough the situation I try and stick it out. But as each speaker emphasized the power of knowing your worth and when to walk away in her own tone it rang true in my spirit. Sometimes balance isn’t the way to go and you have to as Brandice Daniel pointed out later, “cliff jump.”

Our Sectary of State Is A Card-Carrying Member Of The Beyhive

I nearly reached to clutch my absent pearls when the honorable Tahesha Way, Esq. quoted THE Beyonce’ Giselle Knowles-Carter from the podium. “The most alluring thing a woman can have is confidence,” she repeated during her brief but stirring speech. She also reminded us that just as our beloved Queen was robbed by Star Search you can try your hardest and still lose.

Likeability Is Not Enough

Fear of coming off as abrasive or arrogant has taunted me my entire career. I didn’t want to make a wrong move and end up with a bad reputation. As a result, I tried to attend every event and respond to every email and it ended up being a big mistake. During one of the evening’s panels Angela Guzman shared that a superior once told her that it didn’t matter who liked her if people weren’t talking about what she was accomplishing, and I took it as a sign that I should be prioritizing more than “being nice," because really nobody cares if you're nice if you're falling short because you say yes to everything.

You Need More Than Financial Advisors

“Who would be your board of advisors?” “Are you playing to win?” I paused as Brandice Daniel spouted out the questions on stage. My friends often joke that I know everyone and while my rolodex is pretty wide my reluctance to making what my mentor Charreah Jackson calls “the ask,” is steep. It took me forever before I reached out to my editor at Essence and had I not done so I wouldn’t be writing there. Brandice’s speech reminded me that in order to get to the next level I have to keep putting myself out there. It may not be automatic for me but like my auntie says, “practice makes permanent.”

Your Digital Footprint Is Larger Than You Think

Like the rest of the human race I am not immune to moments where I become a problematic Patty. And while I have long ago accepted that my early days as a surly 19-year-old on Twitter will one day come back with a vengeance I had no idea that my group chat would be right beside them. Steph Humphrey’s reminder that even my inside jokes and sarcastic comments with the squad are “searchable and recoverable,” was a major wakeup call to keep my snark in check. I know better so doing better is a major must.

There’s A Thread In Every Transition, And It's Usually A Black Woman

My life is currently all about shifts. My career as a graduate student is over. My beloved solo office is about to be demolished. I’m writing for new publications (hey Bustle!), new names and faces are floating by me all the time. But as each shift happens there is someone there holding the shift steady by relaying information and offering assistance. It turns out this is common in many careers including the hostess’ Dee Marshall introduced me to Marcia Dukes who was the thread at Prudential who made the evening possible.

“She was the thread,” said Marshall. “The reason we the reason why we are able to celebrate women and bring people into this space women who have said I needed to change my career, the reason we have been able to be here nine years was because of a thread that connected the dots from the old regime to the new regime. It was only one person, a thread. It is powerful when black women have these spaces and they help others and they’re not always front and center. They’re unassuming,”she continued. She reminded me that it's important to celebrate those making space for us by making introductions, sharing stories, and directing resources.

That’s a lesson that can touch all of our lives.

Bonus Lesson: You Can Work And STILL HAVE FUN!

Shakira Johnson who I have stanned for foreverrrr rang around the Prudential Tower making sure everything from the sound system set up to blast Cardi B. to the crostini and adult coloring book pages was completely on point. If she could produce such a killer event and still have a moment to twirl around in a lace adorned black dress I can probably stand to loosen up.

#Winrockrule #deemarshall #brandicedaniel


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