Lighting the Way: Issa Rae, Luvvie Ajayi Jones and the ‘Wolfette of Wall Street’ Honored at Black Enterprise’s Women of Power Summit

The Grand Ballroom was 1,800 women deep on Saturday, March 11, when doors opened for BLACK ENTERPRISE’s Annual Women of Power Summit‘s second Luminary Awards Luncheon.

Business professionals, decked out in elegant pantsuits and other business statement pieces, stepped into the room to enjoy one of the final gatherings of the event.

BLACK ENTERPRISE’s Social Media Manager Kristin Graves and Staff Writer Jeroslyn Jovonn kicked off the luncheon by getting the crowd “in there” and on their feet with a surprise lunchtime interlude infused with a dance break doing the “Wobble.”

Luminary Awards
(Image Black Enterprise)

The good vibes continued as awardees Luvvie Ajayi Jones, Lauren Simmons, and Issa Rae took the stage to receive recognition for fighting the good fight, creating new paths, and lighting the way for us all.


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The audience was intrigued by a hilarious story from Rae, the forever-entertaining actress, producer, writer, and director. She put into context why she always looks for the women in the room, sharing the time she went into an important face-to-face meeting and didn’t realize, until after, that she was still wearing her sleeping head scarf. Worst of all, it had been sliding back.

(Image Black Enterprise)

“A woman would’ve never,” said Rae to overwhelming laughter as she recalled berating her male colleague that accompanied her to the meeting that day.

“I frequently ask myself whenever I enter a room. Where are the women? Where are the Black women?”

“Now I’m in a position to be able to make sure they’re there, and that feels great,” she said proudly.

Simmons is the Wolfette of Wall Street who made history at 22 years old, becoming the youngest trader at The New York Stock Exchange, making her only the second Black female trader in the two centuries of the market organization.

“People are going to notice you regardless,” she said. “You are walking into a room, a white male-dominated space, as a young Black woman. Have something to say at all times.”

“If I’m being honest,” Simmons said, “Every time I hear about my story, I think who’s that woman on the stage? Who’s this kid on the stage?”

The small-town woman from Georgia shared her story of moving to New York, a decision she made the day she graduated college.

(Image: Black Enterprise)

“Take risks. Be fearless. Don’t take no for an answer,” she shared advice from her mother, who she says was her strength and backbone. Coming from a background in genetics, Simmons said she never thought of going into finance.


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As Jones, a writer, speaker, and multimedia entrepreneur took the stage to accept her award, Delta Sigma Theta sorors released “Oo-Oops” all across the room, holding up their sign.

“I’m so glad I was on time today,” Jones chuckled with attendees, adding that she’s “notorious for being late.”

“I am a 20-year overnight success,” the self-declared professional troublemaker said. “As I think about the rooms that I find myself in, I realize that is because of my hard work. It is about the people who speak my name up in the rooms that I’m not in, and it’s about God’s grace.”


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She shared how she was the person who used to get in trouble for her mouth, saying something to somebody if she didn’t like what they did.

“My job whenever I walk into any room is to elevate it, is to disrupt what’s happening that’s not OK,” she said. She’s grateful to be able to show up in every room in all her “too-much-ness,” just as she is, and asking for more money, so Black women who follow can collect their coins too.