What do you get when you put 1,500 Black women in a room with a US congresswoman, high-powered businesswomen, Hollywood actresses and the woman who gave birth to Beyoncé? One bada*s Summit 21 Conference. That’s what.
If you were one of the women lucky enough to attend 21Ninety’s conference in Atlanta, not only did you get to see a bunch of bada*s Black beauties bossed up, but you got practical, yet powerful advice to take your career to the next level.
Oh, yes, honey. Edges were snatched, wigs were tossed, pearls were clutched and if you didn’t know the steps to Beyoncé’s "Before I Let Go" challenge, you knew it by the end of the conference.
I typically steer clear of conferences because I find that they’re long on inspiration and gorgeous flower walls, but short on real-life advice that I can apply after the conference ends. I’m happy to report that this was not the case at Summit 21!
In fact, I’m still unpacking and already thinking about next year. I honestly don’t know how they’re going to top themselves. Organizers put together an incredible slate of powerful women who are big on words and even bigger on action.
US Congresswoman Maxine Waters, businesswoman Tina Knowles-Lawson, blogger Mattie James, influencer Alex Wolf, high-ticket sales coach Jereshia Hawk, finance guru Marsha Barnes, and actress Essence Atkins were just some of the incredible speakers who addressed the audience during the two-day conference. And they delivered.
All of them seemed genuinely happy to share their knowledge and offer tangible tools that anyone can use to experience a career and personal breakthrough. Here are the top 6 reasons why this event needs to be permanently added to your calendar.
1. The MVPs Of Speakers
Summit 21 does not play when it comes to putting together its speaker list. There were lots of heavy hitters, and even those who weren’t household names bore impressive bios. This was a serious crew. That alone will get you hyped. But, the part that I loved most was that the women they assembled weren’t highfalutin. They were all very relatable.
2. A Real Roadmap For Success
It’s not all inspiration. For those attendees who feel like they have plateaued, they got out-of-the-box advice on what they should be doing to make more money and attract clients. Creatives often undervalue themselves and charge rates that are just too low. One of my favorite speakers, Jereshia Hawk, acknowledged that. She gave attendees the verbal kick in the pants they needed to get moving and increase their income. Her advice: take your current rate and triple it. But, she noted, that you’d better give the client a lot of value.
3. You Never Know Who You Might Meet
Sometimes we get so focused on the big names on the speaker schedule that we forget that the girl boss sitting to our right is already doing big things, or is on the verge of greatness. Summit 21 attracted many talented people from all over the world who were eager to share tips and partner. I was happy to meet many of them.
4. Location Location Location!
Atlanta is Black Hollywood, ok? Let’s just get that out of the way. Everything about the city is lit, yet it still maintains its southern charm. The city is perfect for creatives and the people are friendly and colorful.
5. Instagram Spots On Overload
21Ninety was clearly trying to break the Internet. Every single corner of the conference center was Instagram worthy. The aesthetics were everything, from the magical entrance with the lavender colored flowers hanging from the ceiling to Sally Beauty’s vibrant booth with the transparent egg-shaped swing.
There were positive words of affirmation plastered on every wall and on the floor. The spirit of Beyoncé was everywhere as there was a booth with a full bedroom set up and a sign that read, "I Woke Up Like This." It took me and my friends two days to get through everything. It was simply gorgeous.
6. You Will Not Be Bored
If you said you were bored, you wanted to be bored. The MCs were very entertaining and the DJ kept things hyped by playing a solid mix of current songs and classics. I don’t know what voodoo rapper Juvenile performed on his track, "Back That Thing Up" — but I swear, every single person in the building ran to the dancefloor the minute they heard, "Cash Money Records taking over for the ‘99 and the 2000."
There was hula hooping, flash mobs, shopping, runway shows and a whole lot more.
Some Tips You Don’t Want To Ignore
If you’re planning on heading to the next Summit 21 Conference, I have a few tips:
- Get to the city a day before the event. Planes get canceled or delayed. Anything can happen. It’s best to arrive, get your bearings and then relax. One of the speakers didn’t make it for her session due to the poor weather.
- Bring a good camera. God was truly looking out for me because my phone’s camera sucked. But, my friend was kind enough to take photos of me and I’m forever grateful because I would have missed lots of amazing shots.
- Bring a good friend. Yes, one of the goals of the conference is to meet new friends. But it’s always better when you have someone you already know with you. It just makes everything more fun. And they save you when your camera fails.
- Bring your business cards, books that you’ve written, whatever you have to showcase yourself. I know what you’re saying, duh! But, guess what? Lots of people did not have business cards. You are your business and if you don’t have a card, it shows me that you don’t mean business.
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