Updated: Jun 15, 2019
Maven: an expert, someone knowledgeable in their field.
On Sunday, I attended an event for lady entrepreneurs called The Made Maven Meet Up. It was a fantastic experience for a number of reasons. The first, and not least of which is that there was a TON of wisdom and energy in the room and we all left with it! Second, shopping (duh!). A number of vendors attended the event as sponsors; they each had booths to promote their products. Finally, to begin the presentation series, we enjoyed some African dance and sang lyrics to familiar songs led by a fantastic entertainer, Del Marie. It was a blast!
The Made Maven Meet Up was set up by Kris Christian, the leading lady of Chicago French Press, a coffee company infusing flavors like chocolate blueberry and coconut creme. Though I was previously unfamiliar with her, I overheard several conversations that were simply gushing over Mrs. Christian's delightful and charismatic charm. That was a great impression to begin the afternoon with! Throughout the evening, I was excited to take down copious notes so that I could share them here. And trust me, friend, there is plenty to share!
Here are some tidbits I took away from this event, meant to inspire lady entrepreneurs. I hope you are just as inspired as I have been!
WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER
CBS Chicago news anchor, Audrina Bigos, served as a great host, while inspiring us to work together. She encouraged us to use affirmations in order to bolster our commitment to achieving our dreams. Throughout the evening, she helped us affirm that "we are better together."
Jenny LeFlore, also known as "Mama Fresh" in the Chicago, family circuit reminded us that if we have a "lack" mentality, we will never believe that there is enough figurative "pie" for all entrepreneurs to be successful. In contrast, she reassured us that believing in "abundance" will help us win. When running a business, she challenged our competitive natures, instead of worrying about how much success there is to go around, we should appreciate the uniqueness that each of us bring to the table. That uniqueness allows us to appeal to our potential clients.
ADD VALUE TO POTENTIAL MENTORS
Halleemah Nash is an author, speaker, and notable leader. In her one-one-one session with Kris Christian, we learned that it was Halleemah who actually gave Kris her start. It was no surprise then, that we gained so much wisdom during this session. Halleemah drove home the idea that we need to consistently seek out a healthy circle for growth as lady entrepreneurs. Furthermore, we need to be willing to sit at the feet of potential mentors. She stressed the importance of requesting volunteer opportunities from those we respect, in order to learn. This was something that many of the other distinguished guests agreed with. It became a theme to "ask for just fifteen minutes, and be prepared" as Kyra Seay, of Bumble, reinforced during the panel discussion.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP IS NOT LINEAR
Taylar Barrington is developer of the brand, Cliquish, an online hub for content creators to learn business skills. Taylar helped us understand a key point in how to process our journey through successful business. "Entrepreneurship is not linear," she said. Put simply, we should not look at another's experience in comparison to our own, our path will be unique to us.
NEVER STOP LEARNING
Michael Donnelly, the powerful woman behind a developing business network called, FWD (For Women & Diversity) Collective left us with a couple of great books to check out. Build Your Dream Network: Forging Powerful Relationships in a Hyper-Connected World, by J. Kelly Hoey challenges the stereotypical ideas behind how to network. Also, The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, invites you to focus on the one, most important thing you need to accomplish at a time.
LIST YOUR VALUES
A final way to strengthen yourself as a businessperson is to know who you are. Several of the panelists agreed on the importance of having your values listed and visible. Mama Fresh recounted a story of how her value statement, being written and visible to her clients, helped her to navigate an uncomfortable conversation. Your values being written also helps you to make decisions on the best use of your time and energy.
After a long afternoon at this workshop, I was certainly happy to come home to the smiling faces of my three kids. But, also, thanks to these mavens, I was incredibly ready to take on the week for work. I know I was not the only one.
I encourage you to follow each of these ladies on Instagram.
Kris Christian | @krisdchristian | @chicagofrenchpress | @mademavens
Del Marie | @__itsdelmarie
Audrina Bigos | @audrina_ontv
Taylar Barrington | @taylarbarrington | @cliquish
Jenny LeFlore | @mamafreshchi
Michael Donnelly | @realmdonnelly | @fwdcollectiveio
Kyra Seay | @kyraadrenia | @bumblebizz