Last Friday and Saturday, October 26 and 27, female entrepreneurs throughout Indiana came together in the culmination of Dorlita Blakely’s efforts, her first women’s conference. Embracing inspiration through passion, purpose, and potential, ip3: Women on a Mission, celebrates women joining together in collaborative efforts to rise up as successful and savvy members in society and, more specifically, business.
What you did not see was all the planning and preparations that went into making this event such a hit. Having opened their first store front earlier this year, Dorlita, her husband, and two daughters worked tirelessly to make the meeting space comfortable and inviting. Walls were sanded, patched, and painted in addition to the curtains that were hung. Chairs and tables were dressed in the colors of black, fuchsia, and white, and accented by chair covers and skillfully-tied ribbons. Centerpieces, lighting, and greenery supplemented the warm atmosphere.
What you also did not see was the Enemy’s attempts to sabotage the good that Dorlita was creating. Fighting trials and tribulations, especially in the three weeks leading up to it, she fought the urge to cancel the seminar. It may not have been easy, but Dorlita took the high road and persevered.
The conference’s lineup included diversified speakers, all of whom spoke to their expertise, experience, and passion. In summation, here’s what you missed:
Dorlita Blakely is a true grace girl. The product of her journey, the conference, was revealed by God in her dreams. She opened Friday’s event by offering her testimony, discussing the challenges Dorlita has overcome and how each of these have influenced the person she is today.
Sarina Williams encouraged listeners to discover, develop, and pursue their passions. She offered some questions for consideration so as to help others know and carry out their passion:
- What excites me (and motivates me to get out of bed each morning)?
- What keeps me up at night, preventing me from falling asleep?
- What angers me?
- What makes me lose track of time?
- What would I be willing to do no matter the cost?
- What would I do for free if money was not an object?
- What are my hobbies?
- What comes naturally?
- Why am I afraid of developing my gifts?
Take an honest and personal assessment. Reflect on each of these questions to gain better insight about yourself.
On Saturday morning, Melvin Blakely drew upon his past in a position of authority as a sergeant in the police department, making the topic of business and leadership relatable. There are times when we consider ourselves effective leaders; yet, the input of others can make us even better in positions of power. Melvin reminded us to maintain the humanity in leadership by doing the following:
- Recognize your limitations.
- Delegate to others.
- Be thankful for the work of others and show them appreciation for it.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
He further went on to discuss desirable qualities in a good leader:
- Leaders encourage good character qualities.
- Display wisdom, understanding, and respect.
- Effective leaders are servers.
As part of the church community, we recognize that we can’t go the path alone. Why should leadership and work relationships be any different?
Lennaire Vaughn, a visionary coach, energetically explained that coaches do not do work for others. Instead, they help individuals realize something about themselves, their purpose. If something is going wrong when trying to obtain your purpose, take a look inside yourself because “believers don’t make mistakes.” Lennaire issued a call to action: “We need to stop making excuses for why things are the way they are in our lives and PICK SOMETHING!”
Sarita Titus, like Melvin, also spoke from experience as a person in a position of authority within the police department. She discussed the challenges of being a female in what continues to be a predominantly male field: she has to work harder than her male counterparts in order to prove herself capable of the title she holds.
Sarita inspired attendees to do all things through Christ, even the small things. After all, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” Additionally, become a doer by developing a relationship with Christ.
Dorlita described entrepreneurship as a calling that requires an individual to be disciplined and self-motivated. “Strive for progress, not perfection.” She further brought to light an important truth: “People support your story, not you.” In order to be a successful entrepreneur, ask yourself these questions:
- Why do I want to be an entrepreneur?
- What’s my story?
- What are my core values?
- Am I comfortable being uncomfortable (i.e. acting outside of my comfort zone)?
- What do I want my business to say when I am gone? What will be my legacy?
Dorlita offered to provide guidance to anyone considering writing a book. One thing that accompanies the process is the need to be connected and market yourself through social media. While this may pose a challenge, it is crucial to get comfortable putting yourself out there for public exposure.
Shanieta LaDonna Bouyer addressed the topic of financial planning, which should not be kept a secret. Everyone should have the privilege of learning how to wisely invest in the future. She outlined her principles of increased finances as follows:
- Honor God with your possessions.
- Trust in God.
- Be Generous.
- Act with integrity.
- “God won’t bless lazy hands.” Work hard and be diligent.
Bearing these principles in mind, monthly assessments should be performed to determine where your budget is headed.
Lady Chantella Newsome emphasized what it means to inspire — to stimulate, motivate, or stir others. The act of inspiring requires talking, connecting, and interacting with one another. Here are some questions that we must answer about ourselves before we can impact others:
- How do I know my purpose?
- How do I determine my potential?
- What’s my treasure worth?
The conclusion of Dorlita’s two-day seminar resulted in the ultimate display of community support that is the Church when many of those who attended the event came together and raised enough donations to help Dorlita and her family offset the expenses needed to arrange the conference.
Having thanked everyone for their attendance and support, Dorlita announced that God has already told her to start planning the subsequent event. Even though the process was difficult, the next one should take place in six months so that women can once again come together in a safe environment to celebrate and embrace each other.