The Business of Sisterhood

By Alice Liu for ListenGive Initiative

Courtesy of Shades of Pink

In society, we have been programmed by mainstream media to think that sisterhood promotes gossip and harmful competition. However, a group of powerful women came together to redefine sisterhood and promote collaboration with other female entrepreneurs to make a positive impact in each other’s lives. Hélène Sanoussi (Life Coach), MarieDee Fleurstin (Hair Stylist), and Barbara Joi Mitchell (Cosmetic Chemist/Product Developer) partnered together to launch their event Shades of Pink: Enriching the Feminine Magic, on October 15, 2017 at an upscale lounge called Slate in NYC.

(MarieDee Fleurstin, Barbara Joi Mitchell, Hélène Sanoussi)

With an atmosphere of sophistication and fun, the event had a poetic performance, an emcee, a DJ and female business owners that sold their delightful products ranging from wine, skin care, hair care, clothes, artwork, to desserts. In a few topic discussions, the esteemed guest speakers shared their personal experiences about sisterhood, wellness, business strategies, words of wisdom, and the importance of collaboration.

The panel discussion on sisterhood forced me to rethink stereotypes and open my mind and life to collaborating with women in both personal and professional settings. The panelists offered some great shares about sisterhood. Dr. Venis Wilder (Family Doctor AKA The City Doc) stated that “as women, we are the backbones of our communities in our world.” With the support of our mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, etc, we have overcome tough times mentally and emotionally to get things done. Having a sisterhood of businesswomen will also carry you further in life both personally and professionally. Marianna Newman (Recreation Therapist and owner of Journeyscape Design) expressed beautifully that “sisterhood is a dance where beautiful adventures, different feelings, strengths and creative facets…come together. You can choose your sisters.” Newman was a professional dancer and she relied on her sisters who offered invaluable advice to progress her career and started a new business. Dr. Wilder also drew strength and support from the sisters she met during medical school to become who she is today.

Health and wellness is definitely a topic that is important to discuss. Many of us forget to drink water, eat a meal, get up and take a break or forgo sleep when there are pressures in life or in the business. In the long run, these habits are detrimental to both our health and businesses. Our mind, body and spirit needs rest and recharging so we have the energy to take on tough tasks. Stress left unchecked can develop into other issues such as anxiety, depression, etc., but there is hope. Ashleigh Abramovich (Meditation and Yoga Instructor at Mahtava) has experienced that “mental health issues can be overcome through meditation and yoga. The goal of meditation is not to stop your thinking: Allow your thoughts to pass through.” So instead of coping with drugs, alcohol, smoking, food and other unhealthy habits, try healthier stress relievers like meditation and exercise.

It is important to take the right steps in business. Finding successful strategies for dealing with conflict is a vital aspect of that which requires patience, finesse and honesty. Nicole Sallis (Author, Poet, Powerful speaker and creator of Design+Her+Life) spoke about “outlining expectations from the beginning.” This allows the parties to understand where each other is coming from. More great advice that Chizzy Igbokwe (International Speaker and Global Career Consultant) shared is to “Remove my ego. The ego is the foundation of a lot of our problems.” We have experienced bad interactions where the ego gets involved and it becomes about the Self and not the partnership or the results that would be created in collaboration. Nethania Abrahams (Owner of Sovereignty Beauty) shared that it’s important to “Give feedback instead of criticism. Acknowledge the work that they did. Teamwork makes the dream work.”

Some of our panelists had some words of wisdom and encouragement around networking, and nurturing partnerships. When we need encouragement, it’s best to remember what Kar Logan (Actor and Writer) shared and that is to “have a mindset where there is no option for failure. Keep going for it.” When we need empowerment, Paula Sow (Author and Professor) advises us to “Be the love, Be the difference, Grow sisterhood.” As we stand in our leadership, it’s best to have courage and not to give up. As Unik Ernest (President of Edeyo) reassures “Keep on pushing, Stay hungry, Live your life, Choose your partner wisely.”

Carmen Pucci (Career Consultant) gave a great discussion on the importance of collaboration as opposed to being in competition with one another. “We all have the ability to collaborate. We just listen to the other person.” Though competition can give us a push to do better, it is definitely more rewarding to collaborate with others and go farther in the results it provides compared to doing it alone.

It was truly an inspiring and enriching event, where the audience learned about the importance of sisterhood and was given the opportunity to network and collaborate with like-minded people to create something positive for the future. Some key takeaways from this event for me were:

  1. Contrary to cliché narrative, women are willing to put aside competition and support other female entrepreneurs.

  2. Through Hélène Sanoussi’s sharing, I realized that the power of sisterhood can accelerate results in both our business and personal life, overcoming any breakdowns.

  3. My spiritual well-being is important in my personal life and in making better business decisions as well.

With the level of passion and commitment the women from Shades of Pink have about making positive changes in their lives and their communities, I look forward to their next event.

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