Women Who Brunch
By Sharron Duncan, ENGL 336.001
FSU’s collegiate section of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) held their first annual Women Who Brunch on April 15, 2014 at the Lyric Theatre, located at 20 East Main Street. The event was created so that collegiate women could connect and network with successful, professional, more experienced women. The event kicked off around 11 a.m. as women of all ages and backgrounds mingled over danishes, tea and coffee. A few young men were also there for support and insight. The atmosphere was full of smiles, laughs and warm greetings. Shortly after, the president of NCNW, LaQuasia Burns, delivered the welcome.
Mary Greene was the first speaker who was introduced. Ms. Greene is the Executive Director of Greater Washington Women Network, an affiliate of National Association for Female Executives. The organization focuses on educational events, youth development, community projects, and networking. Ms. Greene graced the podium with her over-sized, yet elegant, hat and her even bigger personality. Before she began, she encouraged everyone to applaud one another, not just in a public setting, but in life. She gave a very interactive presentation on Career Strategies for College Women’s Success. Ms. Greene also had some of the Frostburg students read poems and quotes to accompany her A, B, C, D points of success. Those points were: Attitude, Believe, Communication, and Desire. She took time out to acknowledge the young men in the room by saying, “These strategies work for men too. So men, don’t think we’re neglecting you.” Out of everything that Ms. Greene discussed, her “hammer and nail” analogy is what stuck out, and she made sure of it. Ms. Greene held up an actual hammer and a set of nails, asking the audience to repeat the following quote 5 times: “hammer never nail, lead never tail.”
A hearty brunch of French toast, eggs, bacon and sliced, buttered potatoes was served, and the second speaker took the stage. Ms. Wanda Gibson, Director and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Fairfax County, VA., took a different approach to sharing her success. She began by talking about her early jobs and how those jobs led her to become a CTO. In the middle of talking about being employed at a self serve gas station and at Up Against the Wall, a clothing store in Washington D.C., Ms. Gibson stated, “nowhere in my mind was I headed to be a chief tech officer.” She shared some personal experiences that come along with being on “the top.” Alluding to Ms. Greene’s analogy from earlier about hammers and nails, Ms. Gibson attributed a portion of her success to the nails in her life. Before closing, she gave some very sound and beneficial advice to the young men and women in the room. She said, “If you’re at entry level, you want to be on top of your game because you want someone like me to know your reputation, even without ever meeting you. I have 300 people under me who could be watching you.”
Finally, Ms. Phronie Jackson, Project Coordinator from National Council of Negro Women Headquarters in Washington D.C., came to share her work on the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative. She opened by sharing two minutes worth of her successes and credentials. Then, she hastily showed a brief documentary on her initiative. Her goal is to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the current generation and future generations. She stated, “the women of this generation are open to talking and are open to new ideas. I feel like I can be an agent for change.” Ms. Jackson encouraged everyone to go on Facebook and like NCNW’s HIV Testing Pledge, as well as join FSU's collegiate page for the initiative titled, NCNW Group 10. The collegiate section that earns the most likes and support will be awarded. Ms. Jackson shared information about her initiative not only to spread the word, but to advise the young people in the audience to follow their passions rather than chase dollar signs. She closed with, “set your goals in life, have a passion, and love yourself.”
From left to right: Wanda Gibson, Mary Greene and Phronie Jackson