Drag Me To Lunch

Drag me to lunch was a great way to end pride month. It was a fabulous panel discussion moderated by Tonya Walley, VP Field & Maintenance Ops, Cox Communications. The panel included Sandra Onassis Lopez, drag queen extraordinaire and performer at Croc’s 19th Street Bistro in Virginia Beach. Tonya was also joined by Sylvia Gray Holley, Supervisor Technical Support, Cox Communications and Kevin Lee, retired veteran, United States Marines and United States Army. Rounding out the panel was Veronica Quick, Supervisor Social Media, Cox Communications and her son Mason who has embodied strength and pride on his transgender journey.

Kevin shared experiences from his military experience and the challenges he overcame being a gay man in the military. He led an open dialogue around the impact of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and gave some inspiring stories of military leadership that supported and protected him later in his career. Sandra also served in the military and shared having to navigate bias and intimidation while serving. It was an open and raw conversation about the realities faced by the LGBTQ+ community serving our country.

Sylvia shared her courage and how she overcame obstacles within her family to find her true self and happiness with her wife. To hear Sylvia discuss candid conversations with her parents was emotional and inspiring. Veronica and Mason spoke about his journey as a transgender youth and how their family supports Mason as he continues to embrace his true identity. To see the emotion Veronica shows speaking about her son is a demonstration of the love every parent should have for their child. Mason has shown determination to overcome hate and embrace his true self.

Tonya led the panel in engaging dialogue around the role of church in everyone’s upbringing. That discussion led to the role faith plays in everyone’s life today. Tonya was eloquent connecting with each panelist and leading an amazing conversation on how all of us need to be allies for those most vulnerable to hate and discrimination.

NAMIC is more than a professional organization. We embody the best of what our community has to offer. We have been on the right side of history from our inception. We believe in the power of diversity and inclusion in the Communications Industry and society at large. Get involved. Join the conversation. Follow us on social media and consider joining us for one of our upcoming events. This moment in time is calling all of us to lean on each other for strength and learn from each other for inspiration.

Make Money Moves

We had an educational afternoon in the second part of our 3-part series – Make Money Moves! Our host, Aileen Anonas, addressed how to manage debt of any size. Aileen also led us in conversation about how we can protect ourselves, especially in times of uncertainty. Be sure to check out our events page and follow us on social media. We provide a wide range of content so everyone has the opportunity to take advantage of our offerings!

Men With a Purpose

NAMIC-Virginia was joined by an incredible panel of leaders in our industry. Moderator, LeVoyd Carter, is Executive Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Cox Communications. Our panelists included Carvel Wallace, Vice President, NAMIC-NY. Carvel also is the Manager, Affiliate Distribution Operations for AMC Networks. We were also joined by Dave Duff, Vice President, Content Distribution, REVOLT MEDIA & TV. Our panel was rounded out with Bruce Crooks, Vice President, Customer Care, Cox Communications.

We had an excellent session jam-packed with pearls of wisdom for us to takeaway. The discussion kicked off with with the panelists sharing personal experiences about learning from past mistakes. The conversation then led us into how to avoid complacency in our current roles. We engaged on how early career choices can lead to success including how to approach new challenges and developing our networks. The panelists shared thoughts around creating a safe workspace for everyone in challenging times.

The event also embraced head-on issues with Diversity and Inclusion which is what we are so passionate about in our organization. The panelists really dropped some jewels for us on this topic. We talked about closing the gap for women in non-traditional roles and how men can be advocates for women in the workplace. The panelists also shared candid thoughts on how you can appropriately stand up in the workplace for what is right in terms of racial inequity. We got to hear personal experiences that our panelists used to solidify their convictions and strengthen their leadership abilities. We closed with a renewed sense of purpose in our mission as the panelists and NAMIC-Virginia leadership gave closing remarks.

Meditation Monday

We were joined again by Khalilah, Infinite Lotus Instructor. Thank you to everyone that participated. Khalilah shared approaches to self-care techniques that respect our need for inner peace. She discussed healthy boundaries and the need to recharge. We appreciate Khalilah’s partnership with NAMIC-Virginia as we promote the health and well-being of our members during stressful times.

Fitness Fun Friday!

We got the weekend off to a great start with some positive endorphins that definitely raised our spirits. Professional Zumba instructor, Kathy Parham, led us in a virtual zumba class that was fun for everyone. Follow us on social media and engage with us in one of our upcoming events!

Are You Promotable?

Dr. David Arrington, Best Selling Author and CEO of Arrington Coaching, joined us to share what it takes to become the obvious choice in business and in life. We partnered with Cox’s Black/African American Employee Resource Group for this eye-opening event where we learned how to increase our value and land a promotion in any job market.

Dr. Arrington spoke about how to make ourselves indispensable, build healthy professional relationships and consistently invest in ourselves while maintaining appropriate work/life balance. We learned why it’s important to understand your leaders’ goals and how to look for opportunities to crush stretch assignments.

This was an empowering session where we discussed the importance of helping others to enable and accept rapid and relentless change. It’s about who knows you … not who you know! Thank you Dr. Arrington for sharing candid thoughts on mentoring, coaching, sponsorship and the distinction between them. Connect with NAMIC-Virginia on social media to ensure you take advantage of everything we have to offer!


NAMIC-Virginia was joined again by Khalilah, Infin8te Lotus Owner and Lead Instructor. Khalilah led us in meditation creating a calmness we all need in these uncertain times. It’s important now more than ever to take a break from the stress of our daily lives and focus on emotional well-being. Thank you to everyone that joined.

Women on a Mission

We had an amazing event with three inspirational leaders. We were joined by Alexandria Latimer, Research Manager TV One / NAMIC -Capital Area along with Verlaine Quinniey, Founder/CEO The Connect 757 and Kathryn Falk, VP/Market Leader Cox Communications. Kathryn shared her thoughts on work-life balance which she states can vary depending on the day. The key according to Kathryn is to always focus on who needs us the most on any given day. Be focused and “in the moment” at all times giving 100% of yourself whether you’re focused on work, children or other aspects of life. Alexandria shared some of her most important values which include prioritizing mental health and self health in these challenging times. Verlaine spoke to us about mentoring, challenging ourselves and how to focus on adding additional skills.

Kathryn described herself as an optimist focusing on strengthening relationships through gratitude. She also shared strategies for building trust with our teams when leading individuals that may be more guarded. Alexandria talked about she is constantly evolving and what that means to her. She also shared that she prefers to put pen to paper in a journal as opposed to using her phone for everything. Oh, and she showed us her style personalizing her journal to create moments of joy even as she plans her day. Verlaine is ever-expanding and gave us great advice and tips to help those of us living alone through the pandemic.

Each leader shared thoughts on potential changes to our new normal when the quarantine is over. Some things that aren’t changing are the value of your networking skills, the value of tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, and the value of real human connection. Namic-Virginia President, Lakysha Laing, gave us some food for thought discussing the power of grace and how to ask for help, be forgiving of yourself and how to recognize when others need help. If you missed out on this event, make sure to follow NAMIC-Virginia on your platform of choice so you don’t miss the opportunities to connect throughout the year!

Lunch with Lakysha

It was a fun time having Lunch with Lakysha! We are all in this together, and our NAMIC chapter remains active connecting with all our members. We learned a lot about NAMIC VA President, Lakysha Laing and she shared impactful stories during a candid Q&A session. We also had a couple of special guests in attendance. Susan Waldman, Sr. Mgr. Membership and Publications from our NAMIC national team attended highlighting our chapter’s contribution to the broader NAMIC community. We also hosted Carvel Wallace, Vice President of our NAMIC New York chapter. He gave great advice from his experience in the industry. We discussed working through the challenges of an almost exclusive remote workforce, why networking is so much more than working towards a promotion and we heard success stories from chapter members. Throughout 2020, our chapter will be doing more than ever to engage YOU with programs and meeting formats that have broad appeal. Get involved. Participate. Watch for our e-mails. Connect with us! 

“You don’t know a person until they share their story. The event was fun and inspiring and I look forward to the next event.” – Shanna Williams

“I wanted to send you a quick “Thank You” for putting together today’s “Lunch with Lakysha”. It was nice to hear some stories that help shape/develop you professionally. It also was Fun, Fast Paced and Informative. I’m looking forward to the next one.” – Randy Morgart