Wow!

It happened. I hosted #LearnShiftGrow, a wellness event for working mothers, and it was an epic experience.

I learned. I shifted. I grew.

And I know the attendees did as well.

I wanted to publish this post as soon as the event was over, but I needed time.

I needed time to rest. I needed time to reflect. And honestly, I needed time to wrap my head around how this experience has changed me and what I want to do next.

So now, during a week when most of us are focusing on giving thanks, I want to share the details about an event that left me in awe of what God is doing in my life and how he is using me to serve others.

The image above provides a small glimpse into how happy I was the day of the event. My best friend captured this moment for me and that means a lot because, after almost 30 years of friendship, she flew to Maryland, despite her hectic schedule, just to support me. I love her for that.

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With my best friend

#LearnShiftGrow Welcome 

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Program Book

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Check-In Table

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Mykel Selph, our amazing emcee – Photo Credit: WRII Photography

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Delivering My Welcome – Photo Credit: WRII Photography

The #LearnShiftGrow Experience

When planning this event, I was so concerned about what the attendees would learn and the type of experience they would have. As a mother of three, when I take the time to step away from my family to attendee and event, I need the experience to be meaningful. I need to change me in some way. I knew I had to make this event meaningful. I had to give the attendees an opportunity to feel changed.

At #LearnShiftGrow, we had women speak about balancing motherhood and work, nutrition, mental health sleeping, self-care, and how to heal from disease. We also had women receive messages from the Hand and Stone in Columbia, Maryland, and get blood pressure readings from nursing students at Howard Community College. The food served at Turf Valley Resort was great and that was important to me as well. I believe good, healthy food plays a huge part in living a healthy lifestyle. Food should nourish our bodies, but I believe it should also be enjoyed.

And my keynote address was so well-received. I was able to share my story and pour into these women in a way that resonated with them. I hope they all walked away feeling like they are not alone. We all struggled. We all face challenges. But we all have the capacity to choose and to shift.

So yes, from speakers to swag bags to massages, #LearnShiftGrow was an incredible day of wellness for all the amazing working moms who attended. And it was also a phenomenal experience for the women even though they are not moms and not working. It was a space where we focused on wellness and sisterhood.

I feel blessed that God chose me to put something like this together. I know it truly changed lives.

#LearnShiftGrow Speakers 

When I launched my call for speakers, I wasn’t sure what would happen. Would I hear crickets? Would the right people be interested in speaking? Well, it all worked out better than I ever imagined. The right people applied for the right topics. And for topics that didn’t have the right applicants, I turned to my incredible network to find the perfect speakers.

The women who came to speak at #LearnShiftGrow were ready and willing to share their stories and expertise with the audience. I received comments from so many attendees about what they learned, how helpful the information was, and how they believe it will change their lives. I even had women reach out to me in the weeks following the event to share how they are practicing new habits because they attended the event.

That is exactly what I hoped for, so those stories make my heart smile. When I think about all of the time and effort I put into planning this event–during a year of major transition in my personal life–I am so grateful that everyone who needed to be in that room was there. It truly is remarkable. And while I won’t use this recap as a place to talk about each speaker, I strongly encourage you to visit the #LearnShiftGrow event page to learn more about these amazing women.

 

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Amazing Panelists: Bernetta Knighten, Christine St.Vil, Deborah Mills, and Amy Taylor

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Elle Cole and Dr. LaKeischa McMillan, Photo Credit: WRII Photography

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Tanya Barnett, Photo Credit: WRII Photography

 

 

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Dr. Bergina Isbell, Photo Credit: WRII Photography

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With Owner of Goodnight Darling Co., Aycee Brown and Influencer & Life Coach Bernetta Knighten

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Women of Wellness

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Photo Credit: WRII Photography

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Delivering My Keynote

#LearnShiftGrow Brand Exposure Partners 

I was able to partner with a number of amazing brands and as a result the #LearnShiftGrow attendees enjoyed incredible swag bags. I am still getting amazing feedback about the items in those bags. I am so grateful that all of these amazing brands agreed to work with me. These are all brands I love and use so I am thrilled I was able to expose my audience to them.

Brand exposure partners include:

The event was a success, so I am grateful these brands were able to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to expose their brand to a group of amazing working mothers.

You can visit my Instagram account to view a video where I share a glimpse of the swag bags.

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Swag Bag Items 

#LearnShiftGrow Planning Committee & Support Team

I would not have been able to host this event if I wasn’t inspired by my mom to do so. Mom, I thank you. And without the unwavering support of my husband and children, none of this would be possible. From the moment I shared this vision with my husband, he has supported me every step of the way. My children are the rays of light that kept me going when I wanted to give up. They also helped me with stuffing swag bags, moving boxes, and doing so many other things to help me bring this vision to life. My little helpers have my back!

And I have to give a special thank to my Uncle Roland and Aunt Donna. These two amazing people moved here all the way from California in June just so they could spend more time with my kids. Without their support and encouragement, I think I would have lost my mind long before the day of the event. From childcare to stuffing bags to being there the day of the event… they have been a source of strength and support and I thank them.

And my planning committee!

These ladies are amazing. I am grateful that all five of them agreed to serve on the committee and that three of them were actually able to make it to the event. These ladies spent their precious time on conference calls, responding to Facebook posts, reading emails, offering feedback, replying to text messages, decorating, planning, and so much more. Without them, this event would have failed. I can’t even begin to find the words to capture my gratitude.

Jamie Swain, Mykel Selph, Amy Taylor, Keshna Thermitus, and Lia Spicer… I thank each of you. I know what your personal lives look like so I know that saying “yes” to me was something you did because you truly believed in my vision. Thank you for helping me soar. Having women like you in my tribe is truly a gift from God. And Ms. Tikiah Brown, although you were not on the planning committee, I kind of feel like you were. You used your gifts to help Jamie create such a beautiful space. From the decor to the selfie corner, you both exceeded my expectations and you did so with love. I thank you so much!

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Amy, Mykel, and Jamie

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Selfie Corner

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Tables – Photo Credit: WRII Photography

And a Special Thanks to…

WRII Photography 

I am a firm believer in expressing gratitude, and I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to thank Mr. Wendell McMillan from WRII Photography. There were a few technical challenges the day of the event. Nothing worth going into detail about. But the result was pretty damaging. I was left with few quality images from my event.

I accepted this fact because things happen in life, but a couple of weeks after the event I received an unexpected email from Mr. McMillan, who was at the event to photograph his amazing wife, Dr. LaKeischa McMillan. While capturing images of his wife, he also captured several other images throughout the morning of the event. The results are many of the images you see above (including the feature image).

As an entrepreneur, planning an event is risky, both emotionally and financially. Truthfully, I didn’t have the budget to hire a professional photographer for this event and the arrangements I hoped to make with another photographer fell through. That’s why I was able to accept the technical challenges that occurred. I knew what I was risking when I didn’t hire a professional. But Wendell was kind enough to share some of the amazing images he captured with me and I am honored to share them with you. I am sure he had no idea his gesture would mean so much, but I truly am grateful. If you are looking for a photographer in the DMV area, visit WRII Photography.

Artistry by Hassana

Hassana was my makeup artist for the event. She also did the makeup for Jamie Swain,  Mykel Selph, and very light makeup for Amy Tylor. Hassana is incredible. Incredible! Not only did the makeup look fabulous, but she had a small window of time and she made it work. I appreciate her professionalism and her skills. She truly is an artist and I highly recommend Artistry by Hassana to anyone in search of a makeup artist in the DMV area.

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Photo Credit: WRII Photography

JMS Coaching Services

I thank JMS Coaching Services for believing in the vision for #LearnShiftGrow and for believing in me enough to sponsor the event. Your sponsorship helped me serve all of the women who attended and that means the world.

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I planned this event for working mothers because I understand the unique challenges that come with raising kids and managing our wellness. I also know what can happen if you don’t find a way to make your health a priority. Things can go terribly wrong.

And I also know it’s not easy. Managing parenting and careers and friendships and marriages and LIFE… none of it is easy.  But please remember that you can’t do this alone. God didn’t design you to do this alone.

You need help. We all need help. We need support. We need a tribe.

We need events like #LearnShiftGrow.

So what’s next? I will be hosting #LearnShiftGrow in 2018. It will still be in Maryland, but it will be at a new venue. I haven’t secured the date yet, but to stay in the loop about all things #LearnShiftGrow, please sign up by clicking the image below.

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I hope this recap gives you a glimpse into how powerful this event was. Every day, I see women put themselves last. And even when they decide to do something for themselves, focusing on health and wellness on a deeper level rarely makes it to the top of the list. As a mother and a health coach, I am going to keep spreading this message of wellness and I am determined to reach as many women as I can. I firmly believe you can add the most value to the world when you are able to take care of yourself and live well.

I want to help you live well so you can add the most value to the world.

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Girl on Fire

If you attended #LearnShiftGrow, thank you for being a part of it. If you weren’t able to attend, sign up to receive emails because I really want to see you there next year.

I look forward to the months ahead and I can’t wait to learn, shift, and grow with you!