Tene Nicole Creative Agency has done it once again. The team put together their 4th annual #SupportYourGirlfriends Pow(H)er Awards and it was nothing short of inspirational. Rightfully so, as the team had to go on a two year hiatus due to the pandemic. But they came back better than ever.
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It was a night full of nothing but excellence and the room was filled with changemakers. When asked about the importance of bringing together all of these women under one roof, Tene Nicole founder, Nikkia McClain said she had to make a space when there wasn’t one. “I actually created this because I was tired of not having a seat at the table,” she recalled. “It was really important for me to curate something like this because it’s often about the celebrities when there are real women doing real work and we want to highlight them.”
McClain knows the importance of having women around you who inspire and uplift you. As a teenage mom, she believes that she needed women in her corner who could challenge her to be better. “I had a lot of mentors in my life, I think that’s why I am where I am today. So it’s very important for me to reach back and pull my sisters forward.”
For this year’s awards, she was ecstatic to have her first board filled with women to help choose the night’s honorees. The 5 board members as well as McClain hand picked the honorees for the night who have done the work and are continuing to make their marks on this world.
“The honorees for the night were women who have inspired me throughout my career and an entire generation of women who needed someone to pave the way for other women to win as well,” said McClain. Honorees included Pinky Cole, Misa Hylton, Lyndsay Levingston and Valeisha Butterfield-Jones amongst many others. When speaking to Butterfield-Jones, she felt honored to be recognized by another Black woman in this space. “It feels so good to be recognized, not just for what I do in this world but how I do it,” she explained. “I think about being bold and being courageous. I know now that young women that look like us are watching and they’re looking to see how courageous I’m going to be so maybe they can get some inspiration to be bold in their own lives.”
Butterfield-Jones has shown her courageousness throughout her career. In 2020, she left her global head of inclusion role at Google to become the Recording Academy’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer. She was then promoted to co-president of the Academy in 2021. She surprised the world earlier this year by stepping down from that role and returning back to Google, this time as VP of partnerships on its diversity team. She showed everyone that every decision she makes is her own decision, not anyone else’s.
“Im so big on living in color and for me that means living out loud, being unapologetic and making bold, swift moves,” she says. “When I think about the shift in my own career, I always want to be on the driver’s side and go where the love is. I like to go where the purpose is and go where I’m passionate… When I feel like I’ve given all I could give to a space and I can go to a new space and solve big problems, that’s what I do.”
Another honoree for the night has shown her strength but in a much different way. Lyndsay Levingston is the founder of non-profit, SurviveHER, that focuses on breast cancer awareness and wellness with a mission is to inform, inspire and empower women. In July of 2019, Levingston was diagnosed with Stage 2B triple-negative breast cancer. She received a call in February of 2020 that she finally was in remission but she knew her work didn’t stop there. She educated herself and wanted to make sure other women could too.
“I do the work for God, not for recognition or acknowledgment,” she stated. “So to receive a reward is just an added bonus for the work that I do and I guess a testament and a confirmation that the work that I’m doing is purposeful and has an impact on the world.” She went on to discuss her influence on other women, which lead her to receiving the Pow(H)er Award for health and wellness. She believes that everyone is a survivor in their own right whether it be from marital challenges, job challenges or personal challenges. She is just really grateful to be able to touch lives in the capacity of she has and continues to.
Throughout the night, each woman got up to receive their awards and shared their wisdom with the audience. Their stories resonated with each individual on a personal level which shows the type of influence these women had. McClain is excited to get back into the swing of things and bring this event back with a fresh new batch of inspirational women to showcase to the world. “As long as you’re doing the work, you’re being unapologetic, we can see you, we can connect with you… chances are, you’re going to be honored.”