NAMIC-Virginia and NAMIC-Carolinas partnered to bring you “The Art of Diversity” Paint Nite. We came together for a fun night of painting, great conversation and laughs hosted by The Golden Easel. It turns out we have quite a creative group among NAMIC-Virginia and NAMIC-Carolinas. Even those that struggle to stay within the lines had a blast as there was plenty of wine and jokes which made for a perfect end to our week. Thank you to everyone that attended!
NAMIC-Virginia and WICT presented an intimate conversation between two amazing authors. Shinese Collins authored Resilient on Purpose, her story of finding courage, hope, and a path to peace on her journey to become resilient on purpose. Devon Croom is author of Abused Not Broken, an inspiring work designed to give hope to the hopeless and strength to the weak during times of trials and tribulations. It was a memorable event that won’t soon be forgotten! Devon and Shinese also shared advice to aspiring authors and shared experiences that have shaped them into the women they are today.
We were joined by licensed Zumba instructor, Brandon Khiry, for Groove to the Music Thursday. Brandon led us through a Zumba class for beginners and it was a great mix of high-energy music and exhilarating dance. Thank you to everyone that joined us for a great class we won’t soon forget.
Aileen Anonas, Senior Partner, World Financial Group, joined us to complete our web series on the six steps to financial independence. Aileen shared her mission to help people from all walks of life build a better future. We reviewed the first four steps from prior sessions including cash flow, emergency funds, debt management and proper protection for our income and assets. In today’s session, Aileen focused on strategies to build and preserve wealth. Participants learned the four disciplines that promote wealth building and the four threats every wealth builder must conquer. Aileen spoke to the rule of 72 and shared high level tax strategies that promote long term financial sustainability. We also gained a better understanding of the four documents every estate should have. Make sure to follow NAMIC-Virginia on social media and check out our events page for upcoming opportunities to participate in any of our virtual events!
We were joined by Khalilah, Infin8te Lotus Owner, Lead Instructor, for Meditation Monday. Khalilah gave us techniques we can use to reduce stress and refocus on positive thoughts. She shared an inspirational quote to get our week off to a great start, “Meditation is that one thing that gives you time back because it extends your life”.
Our GIG Talk was a powerful discussion about emerging technology and it’s impact on society. Rob Stoddard, SVP, Industry and Association Affairs at NCTA, moderated our all-star panel of industry executives. The panel included Mike Braham, SVP and General Manager at Trapollo and Abhi Ghosh, Senior Product Manager at Cox Communications. We were also joined by Steve Mace, AVP, Systems Technology, NCTA and Sarah Vergara, Senior Digital Media Strategist, Cablelabs.
Steve started the conversation by defining both 5G and 10G. Steve explained how 5G is the next generation of an existing set of standards. He continued to educate our audience that 10G relates to 10 gigabits per second. Steve helped us to understand that they are complimentary technologies with disparate use cases.
Abhi spoke about Cox’s commitment to provide equal access for their entire footprint as new technology becomes available. He also provided excellent perspective sharing how these technologies are evolutionary and not like flipping a switch. Abhi educated us on edge computing and how AI is an important piece of the design. He discussed intentional customer experiences and career opportunities emerging technology will drive.
Mike educated us on how Trapollo is using dynamic applications to empower people to age in place. Mike brought passion to the conversation discussing how technology can deliver improved mental, physical and spiritual health. He shared his thoughts that the best of what we have today is our collective solution. Mike also elaborated on using the best of both wired and wireless environments to bring healthcare to homes of underserved urban and rural communities. Powerful.
Sarah discussed the promise of these new technologies. Sarah shared how broadband remains central to digital experiences and emerging technologies. We were intrigued as she spoke about the real world and digital world colliding. It was a fascinating look at what’s required for mass adoption. We finished with a powerful Cablelabs video.
In our first session we spoke to the panelists about the reasons both systemic and cultural differences exist. In Part II of our series, we focused on identifying actions people can take to make a difference. We had an amazing panel take part in the discussion. Our moderator was Vonya Alleyne, SPHR, SHRM-SCP. Vonya serves as Vice President, Human Resources at Cox Communications. Our panelists included Dr. Ame Lambert., Vice President for Global Diversity and Inclusion at Portland State University. We were also joined by Cecil Lipscomb, Executive Director, United Black Fund of Greater Cleveland, Inc. Our panel also included Charlene Accetta, Deputy Director of Partner Engagement, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. We rounded out our extraordinary panel with Cheryl Tan, speaker, consultant, and CEO of Cheryl Tan Media.
Cheryl led powerful conversation talking about the power of storytelling and importance of creating relationships with influencers. She shared a heartwarming story of connecting someone with a current journalist because there was a story that needed to be told. Cheryl demonstrated the importance of connecting those with a story to those with a microphone.
Dr. Lambert reminded us of the importance of supporting the student voice and intentionally interrupting bias. She spoke eloquently on everyone’s ability to identify and eliminate barriers to inclusion in professional settings and with hiring practices. Dr. Lambert also evoked passion in all of us when she spoke of good intentions simply no longer being enough. She also raised awareness that young people have a purity of mission and the ability to hold their elders accountable for our inaction. She created dialogue around how we still must learn from history speaking about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s quote that “… a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear?”
Charlene prompted us to accept our responsibility as participants of change and to actively change the narrative. She spoke to us about taking small steps to drive large impacts. Charlene talked about engaging with organizations that know how to mobilize. She articulated her powerful message in practical terms explaining how supporting minority businesses and focusing on economic infrastructure are important while giving a compelling reminder of the power of our vote. Charlene spoke to being the best representation of ourselves; showing up and showing out! We were all inspired as she spoke of her work with Dr. Stacey A. Dixon, Deputy Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the barriers they have worked so hard to break down for those coming behind them.
Cecil spoke about the opportunities to create and leverage unconventional partnerships as he is doing through his organization. “Raised awareness is beautiful, increased funding is powerful”. We all understand that sustainable investment is required to correct systemic problems. You could hear a pin drop when Cecil inspirationally voiced the simple but actionable tasks we can all take showing empathy and seeing ourselves in others. We should all understand that the issues are not black versus white, but rather humane versus inhumane. Understanding the systemic practices that drive bias helps us to connect with one another and break down long standing silos in our communities and organizations.
That was fun! Sometimes we have an event that is educational and informative but also leaves you with joy for having attended. This was that type of event. Our hour with Lakysha helped us focus energy on how to get started on our boards and some advice to work through the process. Most of the comments you have shared have been about how enjoyable the experience was and the positive energy that was created brain-storming with colleagues. When we started, it was just another Wednesday. When we finished, it was a day that our goals became tangible, our dreams were a little closer to our reach and a pessimist had become an optimist.
Vicki Hamilton, Leadership Coach, Corporate Strategist and Change Management Advisor, joined us to share her experience and insight on maintaining our values and priorities as we face personal and professional challenges. Vicki discussed the value of Subliminal Vision Board apps and other ways to leverage technology that is supportive of our aspirations in a year that presents unique concerns for professionals at every level. We discussed ways to maintain control over our careers as we navigated the culture our our organizations and vision for our future growth personally and professionally. Check out the attached worksheet Vicki shared with us during our session.
Tonight we had a real conversation with an awe-inspiring panel of guests to discuss the state of race relations in our companies, communities and culture. Our moderator was J.D. Myers II, MBA, Senior Vice President and Region Manager of Virginia at Cox Communications, Inc. J.D. is also part of Cox’s national diversity council, Chairman, Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association (VCTA), Trustee of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce and Board Member for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC). Our panelists included Michael Garner, SVP of D&I for the NYC MTA and the President of the NYC chapter of 100 Black Men along with Kela Hall, affiliate professor in the Masters of Communications Leadership program at the University of Washington. Mr. Garner is responsible for the development and expansion of Minority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs for the MTA. Kela a professional speaker, moderator, producer, author, spokesperson, and specialized interest journalist. Kela also co-founded her communications firm KD Hall Communications, LLC, in 2015. We were also joined by Noah Prince, Senior Consultant and Director of Consultant Development, White Men as Full Diversity Partners and Camron Phillips, Social Justice Leader, Advocacy & Elections Chair for NAACP Chesapeake Unit 7409 & Advocacy Chair for Urban League of Hampton Roads Young Professionals.
Kela stimulated thought on race relations as she discussed her focus on education. The KD Hall foundation has a focus on college students and has graduated 60 students energizing young leadership and bringing communities together for courageous conversations. Michael discussed what police reform could mean for our communities and the healing process. Michael also shared his experience working with the legislature to create sustainable change.
Noah spoke to us about his work with executives struggling with race relations in their organizations. Noah articulated the responsibilities of white allies to change the narrative. He talked about how white privilege is having the wind at your back as opposed to minorities who have to overcome the societal winds in their faces. Camron talked about what the NAACP is doing today to carry us into 2021. He spoke about the social justice programs he is driving forward tapping into people’s time, talent and treasure for economic development.
We continued to have amazing conversation on voter registration and distractions used by the opposition to take attention away from racial inequity. J.D. also led the discussion on community reinvestment, the Black Lives Matter movement, the importance of community organizations and microaggression.
Please don’t underestimate how important your role is to bringing about the change you want, need and desire. Connect with us. Attend an event. Get off the sidelines and enter the conversation today. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “The ultimate measure of a person is not where one stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where one stands in times of challenge and controversy.”