The more that I have grown to know, love, and understand who I am as a woman, the more I want to be around other women who are doing the same thing. It is really nothing like being surrounded by like-minded individuals and connecting over your common bonds.
Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to do just that when I was invited to be a blogger for the Dare 2 Aspire Houston Conference.
Dare 2 Aspire is a women’s business conference that was founded by Tosi Ufodike. Tosi is a serial entrepreneur and strong advocate for women (including women who are mothers), to not be afraid to start the business that they have always wanted.
As a mother of 2 daughters, Tosi understands the stress that motherhood alone can place on a woman, but she does not believe that motherhood should stop a woman from daring to aspire for her other goals. Tosi lead by example when she created her very own successful Nanny Agency in 2005 called, My Good Nanny.
Tosi created Dare 2 Aspire because she saw a need for information sharing among women who also want to start a business, but do not have the tools or business knowledge that they need. Dare 2 Aspire 2017 is the 7th annual conference that Tosi has hosted, and each year the event becomes more expansive.
The Dare 2 Aspire conference is usually held in Atlanta, GA, but Tosi brought the conference to Houston for the first time this year.
Women gathered at Hotel Derek, where vendors set up their booths, and offered unique shopping experiences to the guests. We saw everything from cupcakes to custom hand made jewelry being sold by the lady entreprenuers.
While the vendors were outstanding, the true highlight of the conference were the transparent and touching testimonies that were given by the 2017 Women in Business honorees.
I had a chance to interview a couple of them, and I can honestly say that I was so inspired.
These courageous women stood on stage and shared some personal details about their struggles in life that in turn affected their pursuit in their business journey. But, the resonating similarity between all of them is that they each are not letting anything get in the way of their purpose driven lives.
During my interview with one of the honorees, TV host and model, Kia Renee, she said something that really resonated with me.
“Do not let the nay sayers hold you back from what you are trying to do in life. So many people want to put their burdens on you and try to stop you from being great. You have to be great no matter what. You were put here to bless other people, so don’t let “THEY” tell you that you can’t. We all have to inspire and ASPIRE for more.”
Another honoree was fellow Houston blogger and owner of MsIndependent, Erin Creeks. I think that what Erin told me during our interview pretty much sums up the entire Dare 2 Aspire mission as a whole.
“Dare 2 Aspire means to acknowledge the audacity to not be mediocre. Anytime you do anything that isn’t the norm or encouraged by your environment, you’ll be met with criticism and unique challenges. You really have to dare to be great, and aspire to be an inspiration. It’s not for everyone, but when you know that it’s for you, you just have to accept the challenge.”
The greatest take away for me from the Dare 2 Aspire Houston Conference is that there is beauty, and strength in coming together. In a society that often aims to pit women against one another (ESPECIALLY women of color), it is wonderful to come together against those false expectations.