So, umm my Kandid Conversations event finally happened at the Brooklyn Wine Yard, in Brooklyn, NY, and I’m not going to lie, I didn’t really know what to expect. But as I watched over 30 guests sit around a quaint courtyard, indulge in wine and small bites, and engage in open dialogue about everything from career to relationships, I realized my vision was being taken to a whole new level.
You see Kandid Conversations was a chance to finally tell my story about my transition from employee to entrepreneur—the good, the bad and the snot tear ugly. It was birthed in South Africa, when I realized so many other people, like myself, were unhappy, living a life based on society’s definition of success. It evolved during my darkest times at the county welfare office, while I was facing foreclosure, my car being repossessed, etc, etc. And earlier this year, I realized there was power in my story so I began to share some of the insights using the #KandidConversations hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. But never did I expect the flame it would ignite in my soul to inspire more people—around the world.
The event featured a rock star panel of ‘Rebels, Revolutionaries and Rulebreakers,’ people who carved out their own paths for success:
- Sakita Holley, CEO at House of Success, a Lifestyle Public Relations Firm and Founder of HashtagsandStilettos; talked about her transition from employee to entrepreneur. She drove the message home about sacrifice–At one point her dog ate better food than her. Sakita also dropped gems on finding your tribe as key to successfully launching an idea, business, and impacting change.
- Janice Fredericks, the owner of Fabulous Freddy’s Beauty Supply Store, shared her story about becoming frustrated with the beauty market (African-Americans only own 1% of the market) being dominated by Asians, so she decided to open a Beauty Supply store in Queens, NY. Her faith and willingness to change the conversation about the number of African-Americans owning beauty businesses is ah-ma-zing.
- Tayo, a photographer, and chef, talked about combining his passions and rejecting the “Nigerian” status quo. Tayo’s energy and bold approach to marching to the beat of his own drum is infectious.
- Serena Saunders, a dope artist from Philadelphia, turned her message into movement using art to keep the conversation about the social injustice of Sandra Bland. Talk about revolutionary.
To top it all off, the fact that my event was held at a Wine Bar owned by Rule breaker & Serial Entrepreneur, Karen Mitchell was outstanding. And the fact that Heritage Link Brands, an African-American owned wine distributor, sponsored one hour of wine tasting of Seven Sisters Wine, a South African wine brand by Seven black sisters from Cape Town, South Africa, was all sort of awesomeness. Oh and the Seven Sisters wines are named after each sister–how cool is that?!
Anywho, I cried. I laughed. I sipped. I shared my untold story with family, friends, and strangers, and I walked away feeling like I inspired people to own their truth and design a life on their own terms. And guess what y’all? I’m ready to do it all again!
Here’s a storify recap: