In its 7th year, the South Florida Women of Color Empowerment Conference serves as a gathering place for women across the country to enhance and expand their leadership capacities in the spirit of sisterhood. With breakout sessions such as “Branding Like A Boss” and “Legislative Issues Affecting Women of Color” (to name a few), attendees learn quickly that the event means serious business but not without room to play, dance, laugh and shop at the beautiful Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort.
Opportunities to develop key skills for personal and professional growth are abundant throughout the 3-day conference.
The energy is contagious. New friendships are created. Connections are made from start to finish and continue beyond the weekend (via social media, follow-up emails and phone calls). Whether you’re rocking kinky, curly or relaxed hair, working an entry-level job or at the top of your field, there is something on the agenda for everyone. Attendees tend to return annually.
“We [women of color] can be very competitive,” says Atlanta real estate developer Clareece Patrick. “I come because this conference feels like sisterhood.”
Tamron Hall, former NBC Today host and the first African American woman to hold that title, served as the keynote speaker of Saturday’s program. After sharing her reasons for leaving the high profile position with over 500 event-goers, Hall admits, “Although I didn’t know each face of those of you who support me, I could feel your energy.” The network felt it too when viewership dwindled after her departure.
Women of color, throughout history, have proven to be a powerful force collectively and as individuals. CNN commentator Angela Rye confirmed this fact during her keynote speech at Sunday’s breakfast concluding with Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I A Woman”.
Originally scheduled for early September, the conference was pushed to October due to Hurricane Irma, causing invited speaker Congresswoman Maxine Waters to cancel her attendance due to scheduling conflicts. The “Reclaiming My Time” powerhouse leader covers the Women Lead magazine; the official publication of the Women of Color Empowerment Institute Inc. (WOCEI), which is headquartered in the heart of the Sistrunk Community in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
If you would like to know more about the conference or WOCEI, visit southfloridawomenofcolor.com
(Top left) Former “Today Show” Host Tamron Hall explains the reason(s) for her departure from the NBC program. (Top right) CNN political commentator Angela Rye delivers keynote speech on Sunday of the Conference. (Bottom) WOCEI’s Burandette Norris-Weeks, Michelle Austin Parries and Kathy Eggleston express gratitude to event attendees.
Photos, video and story by Arri Henry, a contributor to the Westside Gazette Newspaper.