Who Runs The World? Women!
As Women’s History Month comes to a close I want to highlight Baltimore’s most festive function. It started with an invitation from an old radio friend a few weeks ago named Lolah, that lead to an empowering experience, the 1st Annual EFFIE Awards held at Baltimore’s historic Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) on International Women’s Day. The Friends for Financial Freedom & Equality (EFFIE) Award is an honor given by founders Kayla Ingram, Robert Ingram, & Erika Walker of the Global Gender Economic Forum (GGEF). I was embraced with cocktails and conversation with several of the award winners and there was a different kind of energy that filled Baltimore’s 104+ year old institution MICA. Sometimes, through the people that love us, God uses his voice of reason through them and I was listening. The award ceremony opened up with a beautiful performance by Xpressive 4Ever Dance Inc. who illustrated why women are the light of life and the movements through the dancers limbs created an energy that set the pace of passion throughout the show. Kayla Ingram a graduate of the MICA and as our evening speaker, introduced Sammy Hoi, President of the MICA. Honoring change makers for the EFFIE awards is the purpose for the event and the impact is just as powerful as those who are being honored.
Originally the rekindling of relationships was the desire that grew into an entire movement represented by women leaders and supporters. Bringing us to the honorees of the night, Jawauna (Jo) Green, who received the first award holds the title as Director of Advertising and Marketing for what the DMV knows as the METRO. She was raised by a house hold of women who pushed education and she was recognized for her non-profit work. Jo gave a quote that I felt was powerfully well put, “if you want a job done right make sure you delegate it to the right woman!” This quote matches the energy in the world right now since women are in more leadership roles than ever.
Award winner Dr. Leslie King Hammond has a story about staying rooted in Baltimore and spreading throughout the DMV. While accepting her award she said she stayed here (Maryland) because she believed in the process of artists trying to find their artistic voice. Many famous celebrities like Abbi Jacobson, one creator of Comedy Central’s “Broad City” or Baltimore celebrity Micheal Owen, who painted the city with his “Love” mural graduated from MICA including Dr. Hammond, left a legacy behind. She’s won many awards and achieve several degrees of higher education including her doctorate which she uses everyday to help create initiatives that address the community on a larger scale.
Next EFFIE Award winner to come to the stage was Janet Salazar, who drove 5 hours from NY and stated how important this ceremony was for her that she’d drive another 5 hours just to be in the presence of her colleagues and peers. Janet is the Chief and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, where she focuses on social and economic issues all over the world. She’s been awarded the honor due to her tireless efforts championing to move the needle for female membership within the United Nations & work together. Her passion was so heart felt as she left us with this quote, “Achieve equal footing… be fearless in your pursuit on what sets you on fire because no one can take that away.”
We were led to a brief intermission, when Baltimore’s own spoken word artist Mecca Verdell. I loved the captivating poetic justice that flowed from the soulful queen, she was a representation of me, of all young women. Robert began his introduction in remembrance of his mother and honoring his dedication the entire launch to her.
Queen B with Meccamorphosis (Mecca Verdell)Beside every Bad Boy is a Bad Girl, and when it comes to Combs Wine & Spiritz, Dia Simms is Presidential. Dia oversees all brands in accordance to Cîroc Ultra-Premium Vodka, DeLeón Tequila and the Blue Flame Marketing Agency and the ambiance was set by their sponsorship. A Morgan State University graduate, but Dia and I share our degree major in psychology, which I believe is an underrated advantage in the entertainment industry and in our personal lives. Balancing between being a successful mother and businesswoman is just one of the reasons why she is well respected, leaving a legacy for young queens to remain forever inspired. Supported by family and friends, she fashionably shared statistics about women in leadership. She give many thanks to her mother and quotes, “This here is to strong women, may we know them may we be them and may we raise them.” I had time to catch up with her afterwards and we shared nothing but laughs and good vibes, cheers to you queen!
The Ladies room is always a place were women just randomly exchange conversation and that was were I first met this beautiful minded EFFIE winner, Sonia Suber. Serving currently as the Vice President of Relationship Management for Information Systems and Technology for Sodexo, Inc. Mentoring men and women throughout the company, impacting the minds of thousands on diversity in the workplace. Sonia has several awards prior to her appearance this evening, she was recently awarded in 2015 recognition by the Women of Color, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) organization. Her speech focused on expressing to women fortitude and how we finish what we as women have started. Sonia’s roots hail from Washington St. and Lafayette, were her mother instilled in her that unity is important as mother & daughter. I gravitated not only to her humorous personality but I can relate to her message as I have worked hard to have the relationship my mother and I share today. Sonia left us all with a reminder to give back to one another and thats the way Baltimore will become the maim stream of this national holiday and purpose.
As any gentleman would let the ladies go first, Christopher Weber-Fürst, is truly compassionate towards the role and importance of women in the world. A native to my old home in Germany where his wife and three children reside, he is very lucid with his heart and purpose and he fills us with his background of personal expertise to impacting people to live in a true democracy. He stands for human rights and equal rights as his book, ‘The Future Is Female’, delivers an empowering message to how we can transform ourselves. Christopher explains that a higher level of thinking in how do you prioritize the social unification of people is a power that each of us contain and can unleash. I loved Christopher’s approach that a women should live from their inner voice and then started to reflect on my own inner voice and the ceremony was coming to a close.
I was soaking in all the energy that was accented with beautiful masterpieces all over, even on the floor! Even the International Women’s Day logo was created with images Rosa parks & Frida Kahlo which symbolized the range of women of color and power in my eyes. I felt moved, inspired, and my desire for my inner voice wanting to be heard had never been so driven. My message from the invitation was that this is just the beginning to where my voice will carry!
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