Happy New Year, WBEC South!
Last December, I had the pleasure of attending (in person!) the Annual Meeting and Holiday Open House at the WB Collective New Orleans. I offered a few thoughts as 2021 ended and thought I might share some of them to this broader audience as we start the new year.
As always, I speak from my heart and choose my words carefully. WBEC South has grown and flourished in the most challenging times when many other organizations are struggling to survive. The openings of the WB Collectives, WB Marketplace, receiving grants from SBA and MBDA to launch our Women’s Business Center South and the Enterprising Women of Color programs have been tremendous.
While I know how impactful and meaningful each of those programs have been—still that’s not what was on my heart in December and still not today…
When I became the Chairman of WBEC South at the end of 2019, replacing the coolest of the cool, Kimberly Duck, from then until now, I have not presided over a single in-person meeting. But even before then, this Council was beginning to hear the “drumbeat of change.”
It became clear that if we were going to be true to the mission, then we were going to need to be different. We’re not guided by what others are doing or by how we have always done things. We must set aside our egos and establish a culture that prohibits the three, make that four, “P’s”: Preening, Posturing, Personal Agendas and Phavoratism. To be successful, we had to define a culture which values: Activism, Challenging, Questioning, Inclusiveness and Empowerment.
And we cannot be afraid. I was told once that the entire Bible can be summed up in two words “fear not.” As we face the challenges of an uncertain year with a pandemic, recovering from tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes (seems to point directly at Louisiana the past two years), we are going forward to continue to grow and flourish. With the strength of leaders like Phala, Katherine, Lance, Tiffany and Vonesha we continue to question, challenge, empower and invest in you, each other, and our communities. That’s how we’ll continue to flourish, grow, and remain true to our mission.
Thanks to you all for what you do everyday to support the mission and vision of WBEC South.