The trailblazers behind The Powerful Women’s Weekend represent a new breed of entrepreneurs and change makers—ones who understand the importance of reaching back to help others achieve their dreams.
With a commitment to educate and inspire women on everything from brand development and financial literacy to self-worth, the Detroit-based organization has evolved from a simple lunch to a national conference attracting more than 200 like-minded women from across the country. On the heels of the organization’s upcoming event on June 25 & 26, BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the founder, Meagan Ward and executive board members to discuss the evolution of the organization.
BlackEnterprise.com: Tell us about the defining moment you decided to start an organization focused on connecting and uplifting women.
Ward: I was in college trying to make things happen without the support of a community. Then, it hit me. I knew that there was something more that I wanted to experience. In the beginning, it was about just connecting with women, then I found out we were actually bonding on our excellence, sharing our goals, and celebrating our wins. These were powerful women just like me! It was about 25-30 of us, all from the metro-Detroit area and an experience that we didn’t want to end. At that moment, I knew this was something greater than I expected and that’s when The Powerful Women was born.
Your events have evolved from a luncheon to an entire weekend. How did you know you were ready to scale your events?
The luncheons were a great start, but once you really start to indulge in the purpose of an organization you have no choice but to grow. Summer 2014, we were on our third luncheon and it was amazing. We started getting feedback from the women who attended and they wanted it to be longer, so we knew what we had to do next: A conference. We wanted to stick with the core of our previous events, but enhance it so this drove the purpose of our events to engage womanhood fully, from personal development to professional/business development. The idea of it being an entire weekend came from a need to collaborate and bond through sisterhood. We didn’t want it to be just listening to people talk, but an interactive experience between women where you could meet accountability partners, friends, and sisters.
Now that we’ve expanded our local luncheons to a national conference, we have women all over the U.S. and beyond. Our network is more powerful than we imagined.
Can you share a few ways women can collaborate and build community?
- Make networking a part of your personal business plan. Meeting people can allow you to not only build community but get closer to your goals; you may meet a mentor who can steer you in the right direction, an accountability partner that can hold you accountable for your goals, or a business bestie that’s in your industry.
- Create a circle, connect your circle to other circles and maximize all of those relationships.
- While social media is a great tool, don’t limit yourself to just that. Attend events locally and nationally, in-person relationships are just as valuable.