Women of Resilience

ICYMI: Women of Resilience Awards 2019

Women of Resilience Awards, 2019; from left, Minda Harts (CEO, The Memo), Yari Blanco (honoree), Eboni K. Williams (honoree), Rachana Bhide (honoree)

Women of Resilience Awards, 2019; from left, Minda Harts (CEO, The Memo), Yari Blanco (honoree), Eboni K. Williams (honoree), Rachana Bhide (honoree)

On Thursday, we hosted our 3rd Annual Women of Resilience Awards event. Every year, we honor women who are doing amazing things in business and in their communities, and we are awed by the amazing stories of the women in the room. This year was no different. In case you weren’t able to make it, we’ve got you covered!

We were inspired by our honorees and by all of the women (and a few men) who shared their Thursday evening with us at SeatGeek in New York City.

This year we honored: Yari Blanco, Founder of The Girl Mob, and Senior Manager of Culture & Diversity at The Wing; Rachana Bhide, Broadcaster, and Founder of The Corner of the Court, a program that highlights the importance of gender partnerships and male allies in women’s careers; and Eboni K. Williams, TV host, attorney, and author of the best selling book, Pretty Powerful.

Dropping Gems:

Yari Blanco -- Founder, The Girl Mob:

  • Make sure mentorship is mutually beneficial.
  • Show up, be brave, and use your voice.
  • “I’m doing this not [only] for myself...I’m doing this for so many other people.”

Rachana Bhide -- Founder, Corner of the Court + Broadcaster:

  • Family, community and support systems are crucial -- that includes male allies.
  • Being a woman of color is about rewriting the script.
  • "My most resilient moment was a physical manifestation of literally being uncomfortable in my own skin, and finding resilience through that.”

Eboni K. Williams -- TV Host, Author, & Attorney

  • “I’m still betting on myself.”
  • The interview starts before you open your mouth.
  • Don’t let the glitz and glamour cause you to forget…“it is the blood of survivors that allows me the resilience to do what I do.”

Social Media:

For a full recap of the night, check out our WOR2019 Instagram story, curated by the amazing @_inspiredbykrys

Thank You:

Thanks to our speakers: Master of Ceremonies, Brittney Oliver, Founder of Lemons 2 Lemonade, and our Fireside Chat Speakers, Krystal Scott, CEO, The Well, and Dorianne St. Fleur, Founder, Your Career Girl

Thank you to all of our event sponsors, gift bag sponsors, and vendors: SeatGeek, Sweetgreen, Grammarly, Broadly.com, Vivid Lash Bar, and Gourmet Garage.

Thanks to our amazing DJ for the night, DjQLynn

Finally, thank you to everyone who attended!

If you know a woman who should be honored in 2020, let us know!

Celebrate Good Times

Celebrate Good Times

Three years ago, we were thinking of ways to highlight more women of color in business that might not be celebrated in the ways that some of our counterparts are celebrated. And, that idea manifested in the creation of The Women of Resilience Awards--three years ago. And each year it has been a privilege to celebrate our accomplishments together.

We are Resilient!

We are Resilient!

If you missed our 2nd Annual Women of Resilience Awards, you missed a beautiful night of "soul food" - our stomachs, our minds, and our souls were nourished. We were inspired by our honorees and by all of the women who shared their Thursday evening with us at Grand Central Tech in New York City.

#MemoMonday Best of 2017

#MemoMonday Best of 2017

It’s been another exciting year at The Memo! In case you missed a #memomonday, we're recapping some of our favorite blog posts and moments from this year.

2017 Women of Resilience Awards

Photo:  Sergio Santos

Photo:  Sergio Santos

by: The Memo Staff

This past Thursday, in partnership with our friends at Shutterstock and Miss Jessie's, The Memo hosted its first annual Women of Resilience Awards in the Empire State Building. It was a great night, where we honored three amazing women -- Natalie Cofield, Founder and CEO of Walker's Legacy, Tanya Selvaratnam, writer, actor, producer, and activist, and Miko Branch, the Co-Founder and CEO of Miss Jessie's.

These women encouraged, inspired, and motivated us. They are business owners, speakers, authors, producers, award winners, and activists, and we were proud to have a little of their magic sprinkled on us.

In case you missed it, here are some of our favorite photos from the event:

(Photos via: Sergio Santos)

Be sure to check out highlights and some inspirational gems from the Twitter feed.

A special thank you to the following partners, speakers, and organizations: Shutterstock; Miss Jessie's; Brittney Oliver, Lemons 2 Lemonade; Angelina Darrisaw, C-Suite Coach; Gabrielle Brown, NYC Bar Diversity.

Aquaria Harley, Director of Sales and Marketing, Starwood Hotel and Resorts

How did you end up choosing a career in the hospitality industry?

When I was growing up in Parsippany, New Jersey, we used to take family trips to various locations in the US. We would stay in hotels and I really enjoyed the ambience and friendly people. I soon realized that I could make this career work for me in various places.

What would surprise people most about your role?

People are surprised that I have various job responsibilities. As the Director of Sales & Marketing at a boutique hotel, I not only have the job of bringing groups to stay at my hotel, but I also support many other departments such as Accounting, Reservations, and Events. You must have great organizational skills and the ability to multi-task.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I enjoy meeting people from all over the world and making their experiences at my hotel memorable! There are many reasons why people choose to stay at hotels such as family reunions, weddings, corporate/social events, graduations, et cetera. I want to ensure that they have a great experience! Our guests will return back to our hotel if we provide excellent customer service and if we value their business. Guests have many choices for hotel accommodations since there is a greater supply of hotels than those in demand in New York.

How important is a good support system?

Very important! I am truly blessed to have family, friends, and mentors that support me and who want me to be successful in all that I do. I am also very focused and driven about my career goals.

What advice would you give women who are interested in a career in Hospitality Management?

You must enjoy working with people and have the ability to multi-task. The industry is moving toward more individual responsibility and fewer staff members. To gain as much hospitality experience as possible, you should be well-rounded. The more well-rounded you are, the more opportunities there are to advance.

You've been in this industry for some time now, what are some lessons learned?

You must have a strong backbone and know what you are worth; it is not easy moving up the corporate ladder because you might not have the support from your colleagues. They might not feel that you are ready to move forward. You are in charge of your own destiny! I have learned to take risks and be willing to relocate as well. I started as a Guest Services Operator and now I am the Director of Sales & Marketing. I have been the industry for over 15 years and I have worked in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Florida.

What are a few of your favorite must-haves?

Lipstick and business cards! You are always selling! ☺

Meet Cee Sando, Social Media Marketer, Fashion Stylist

Trust Your Gut

1) Do you remember the moment when you said, I have to pursue my dreams and do work that I am passionate about?

Absolutely! I was living in Toronto, at a job I could not stand and that I dreaded going to every day. I KNEW that it was absolutely NOT the life I was meant to be living. I vowed to do everything I could to drastically change my situation. First, I did the responsible thing and started saving every single penny – I downsized my home, liquidated most of my material items, and even sold my car to be able to have as much saved money as possible. Then I did the ultimate crazy thing and
moved thousands of miles away, to a city I had never lived in, and where I did not know a single person. Plus, I had no idea how I would support myself. My gut told me that I needed to be there at that time and I listened. Craziest and best decision I ever made!

2) What’s next for you in 2016?

This year has already been a huge one for me! I can honestly say that I have never been better or happier than right now! I have finally come to terms with being a typical Gemini in all things, including my career. For years, I battled between focusing on practical/ business/ left brain pursuits versus artistic/creative/right brain interests. I have now created a career that is the perfect marriage of the two! I know I am the only person able to do what I do exactly in the way I do it, and that is incredibly gratifying. I love being a wardrobe stylist, working on set and dressing my private clients just as much as I love putting together social media marketing campaigns for retail stores, training beauty corporations on how to make the best use of Snapchat, and posting on Instagram on behalf of a favorite fashion brand. Merging my love of fashion, beauty, and lifestyle with my obsession for social media in this way is what my education, training and experience has been leading me to. I have a number of fashion editorials coming out in print this season and I did costume design for my first film, which comes out this summer. I also have a limited list of incredible social media clients that I am super proud of!

3) Where does your inspiration come from?

Everywhere! From a cup of tea, the street style I see on daily walks through my Hollywood neighborhood, or the ideas I get during my yoga practice... all of my experiences inform my work.

4) How important is a good support system?

Having a good support system is huge! As an entrepreneur, I know having the right support can mean the difference between success and failure. No woman is an island and it is a waste of time and energy to think you need to do, be, or handle everything on your own. When I first moved to Los Angeles, I did not know a single person and it has taken me time to find the right group of positive, driven, energetic people to surround myself with. It has been 5 years and I am still working on it, but I am finally in a place where I feel brave and comfortable enough to turn to my system and ask for help when I need it.

5) What advice would you give women who want to start a business and/or pursue their dream?

The best advice I have ever received and the one thing I will say time and time again is TRUST YOUR GUT. You have all the answers to every possible question you can think of, because only you know what is best for you! Learn to listen to that inner voice that might be very quiet right now. Regardless of how weird, crazy, or counter intuitive the voice might seem, trust what you hear, and everything else will come naturally.

6) You’ve been in the entertainment/fashion industry for some time now, what are some lessons learned?

I'll double back to the previous answer here, because after making so many mistakes I realized that if I had been able to trust my gut a lot sooner, I could have saved myself a whole lot of money, time and disappointment. Besides this, the best lessons I have learned are:

  1. Stay true to yourself.

  2. Be 100% true to your word.

  3. Punctuality is a game changer.

  4. Impossibility is relative

  5. Jettison trends, wear what makes you feel like your best self.

  6. You only have 1 pair of feet so be good to them, even if that means wearing sneakers to work!

7) What are a few of your favorite must-haves?

 My phone (obviously)

 Lip Balm

 My rescue pit bull/ service animal, Stokely

 My styling kit (because I never know when I might receive a last-minute booking)

 Tea in a travel mug

 A killer pair of sunglasses (right now I am absolutely obsessed with a new local brand, Burkinabae)

To learn more about Cee Sando, and to see some of her great work, visit her website, Facebook, and Twitter