Last night was one of the proudest moments I have had as a business owner. I was able to bring an idea
to fruition through an organization I am very passionate about and with the help of my phenomenal
colleagues. Gender in Media: The Mistruths in Reality was an event that was created out of an idea and
a conversation. Back in March, I summonsed my dear friend Akilah Wallace of the Dallas Women’s
Foundation because one of my clients I was working with had an insightful, impactful and inspiring
message to share with women of color. Akilah and I were both serving on the executive board of the
Urban League of Greater Dallas Young Professionals; she as Strategic Alliance chair, myself as
Communications chair. We had never officially worked together, knew nothing of each other’s work
styles or dispositions. I just knew Sil Lai Abrams needed a platform to speak to women, Akilah was
connected to the Dallas Women’s Foundation, and somehow we were going to make this connection
happen. No more than two weeks later, Akilah came back to me saying the Dallas Women’s Foundation
was willing to partner with the Urban League of Greater Dallas Young Professionals to produce this
event with granted funds from the foundation. (INSERT SHOCK HERE!) The Dallas Women’s Foundation
had never worked with ULGDYP, didn’t really know much about our capacity as an organization, much
like Akilah and I didn’t know much about one another. But this multimillion dollar funded community
foundation was willing to bank on our ability to pull this off. We pulled our Public Relations chair, Ayona
Anderson into the fold because we knew it was going to require some heavy publicity and media and we
were off to the races. Four short months later, we did it. Mistruths was a huge success. We hosted a
diverse panel of women of color who worked in the media to discuss the issues surrounding our
misrepresentation in reality TV. Our panel bolstered both beauty and brains with the likes of Nikki
Woods of the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Gauthami Vemula of Color Me Safe, Anita Marcos of Marcos
Productions, Kim Clemons of AMS Pictures, Tammy Nguyen Lee of Against the Grain Productions and
Dawn Neufeld, Attorney at Law and former reality star of VH1s Football Wives. Our keynote speaker,
Ms. Sil Lai Abrams of Truth in Reality, the inspiration for the entire event, spoke eloquently about the
way the media trivializes women. She captivated our attention with stats, quotes, pictures and her own
personal story of triumph over tragedy in the face of self-esteem issues and domestic violence; similar
to the backstory many of the women in reality TV share. My brief synopsis of this event really does it no
justice, but I share this to illustrate three things:
- Relationships matter. If I didn’t have a relationship with Sil Lai, Akilah, Ayona and Nikki this
event would not have happened. If Akilah wasn’t willing to put herself and her connections to
both the Urban League of Greater Dallas Young Professionals and the Dallas Women’s
Foundation on the line, this event would not have happened. If Ayona had not used her media
connections to shine a light on this event and this issue, it wouldn’t have had the same impact.
- Women are extremely powerful. Not to dim the light on our brothers, but this entire event was
planned and executed by women (with the exception of our phenomenal A/V crew led by Mr.
Matt Shaw of Shaw Solutions). We took a stand on an issue, we garnered the resources and the
right people and we made a thunder clap about it. Not only that, but we raised a significant
amount of money for ULGDYP to host this event and so that we can continue to empower our
community and change lives.
- Color and gender boundaries are trivial and irrelevant. Until we see issues as affecting all of us,
we won’t come together to solve them because we will excuse them as someone else’s problem.
The room last night was filled with White, Black, Brown, and Yellow women and men.
We all came together to address something that impacts us all whether we’d like to believe it or
not. If we can take this same unity back to our communities we can break down barriers in
business, education, and civil rights, and bring parity where it hasn’t been.
This all circles back to my first point. Relationships really do matter. When people in business and in
community realize it is not about THEM personally, but they rally around causes and issues, things can
get done. This was a proud moment for me because we were able to leverage relationships we had and
build new ones. We weren’t concerned about the limelight and who got what. This was the last event
for me as Communications chair for the Urban League of Greater Dallas Young Professionals and it was
poignant because it spoke to my heart for the organization. The power in connectivity is limitless when
harnessed for positive change. I am now transitioning into my role as Communications Co-Chair for the
National Urban League Young Professionals and I hope to take this same spirit of relationship to that
role. If you take nothing away from this blog post, know that partnerships and strategic relationships are
ALWAYS worth the effort. I got that from my new friend, Ms. Lyria Howland of Howland PR. My business
is built entirely on mutually beneficial relationships and strategic partnerships. I welcome and cherish
them at every turn because you never know who’s hand you might shake that might lead to your next
level of success – whatever success looks like to you.