During the course of my 20+ years as a special events fundraiser I have planned many events, including luncheons. Each celebration is always designed with a specific audience in mind. The venues have included art museums and galleries, trendy restaurants, hotel ballrooms, elegant catering halls and the homes of donors and friends. Over the years, I have learned that even when planning annual events, variety is necessary to keep each one fresh and to attract new supporters. Regardless of the setting, the attendees have gathered out of their excitement for the organization and to pledge their support.
Although the guest list changes from one event to the next, there is generally an even mix of women and men, who represent many age groups. In my role as planner and observer, I admit that I pay closer attention to the younger women who attend these events. I am impressed to see how quickly women connect with each other.
A rather quiet event space can, within a short time, become filled with laughter and conversation. As the excitement builds, I always see old friends becoming reacquainted and new friendships being forged. The breaks in conversation occur when the program officially begins and it is time to greet the mistress (or master) of ceremony, the organization’s leader shares her (or his) vision and issues a call to action that generates excitement from the guests, the featured entertainer performs and, lastly, the event ends and guests begin to depart. If the day follows this script, event planners like me are quite pleased.
A few months ago I put my role as special event planner aside, and took on the role of a guest, when I attended a Ladies Who Lunch with Latisha Daring event at Tribeca Grill in Manhattan. I will admit that until this year I was unaware of this event, but I was very aware of Latisha Daring. She is a beautiful sister who owned and operated Pieces Boutique in Brooklyn for 10 years. This was the “go-to” shop for women who wanted a one-of-a-kind dress, or accessory, that was guaranteed to be a conversation starter. After the boutique closed, Latisha spent many months considering her next step. It was during these moments of contemplation and reflection that she decided to use her business triumphs and challenges to inspire women to pursue their dreams of starting, and managing, a thriving business. This vision led her to create Ladies Who Lunch with Latisha Daring.
To provide further inspiration, Latisha invited several dynamic women, who are also successful business owners and community leaders, to share their stories with us, her guests. This year’s panel included Julee Wilson, style and beauty editor for the Huffington Post – Black Voices, Nanci Neffi Walker, an expert in sustainable luxurious eco living, Tanasha Pettigrew, a highly regarded, luxury real estate agent, Carline Balan, co-owner of Balan Inc., a luxury lifestyle agency, Tai Beauchamp, style and lifestyle expert and on-air personality, Laurie Cumbo, founder and former Executive Director of MoCADA. She is also a candidate for the NY City Council’s 35th District and dream hampton, hip-hop journalist, cultural critic and filmmaker, who joined the conversation via Skype.
In addition to the sage advice we received from the esteemed panel, we were able to ask questions of our host and panelists, and network with our table guests. Established business owners were also given an opportunity to present our brand to this gathering of nearly 250 women. As I have shared with my friends, I am filled with business ideas so, for me, this was event was the perfect motivator.
Like the women I have observed at the luncheons that I plan, I was adding to the laughter that filled this room as I became reacquainted with women I met briefly earlier in my career, and made new friends who are also Brooklyn residents. This time I was at the table that had to pause to greet our elegant and gracious hostess, Latisha Daring. During the event, I was reminded that my agenda was front and center and that it was time for me to sharpen my vision. I left with my call to action and, with the support of my husband and a cadre of friends; I am constantly reminded of my need to stay encouraged around my vision which includes Brooklyn Legends. I left feeling pleased that I attended and impressed with how the day unfolded.
As it turns out, Latisha has taken this concept to many other cities including Washington, DC, and Atlanta. Each event is sold-out and women, like me, are waiting to be inspired, challenged and motivated. If you are an aspiring business owner, or if you are looking for that extra bit of motivation and a chance to grow your network of friends and supporters, I encourage you to attend one of Latisha’s events. As I mentioned earlier, Pieces is now closed, but Latisha is hard at work developing Ashytn, the clothing line she created and named after her daughter. With her career in fashion to guide her, and an ability to draw positive and dynamic people into her circle, I know Latisha’s vision for Ladies Who Lunch with Latisha Daring and Ashytn will soar. Brooklyn Legends is proud to salute Latisha and we applaud her vision.
Please take a moment to learn more about Latisha and her vision by following this link. You will be inspired! So that you can follow Latisha’s great progress, I have added her site to the Brooklyn Legends blog roll.
Remember, the possibilities are endless so dream big!
Information on Latisha Daring – www.theladieswholunch.org
Young Mogul Life Magazine – Mogul of the Week: Latisha Daring Ymlifemag.com/mogul-of-the-week-latisha-daring/
Madam Noire – A Lifestyle Guide for Black Women – madamnoire.com
Photos taken by Alton Ritter, for the 2013 NYC Ladies Who Lunch with Latisha Daring