Women of Color Event Connects Women of All Ages and Backgrounds


Power, purpose, fitness and well-being provided the framework for the Ninth Annual Spelman College Leadership and Women of Color Conference (WOCC) held last week at the Georgia International Convention Center.

The Women of Color Conference attracted a diverse representation of more than 500 of the nation’s best and brightest women in an array of fields, including business, finance, arts, public policy, entertainment and education.

Hosted by Atlanta radio personality Jennifer Keitt of “Today’s Black Woman” on KISS 104.1FM, the Legacy of Leadership Awards Dinner honored entrepreneur, activist and actress Nicole Ari Parker and famed crisis communications expert/author Judy Smith — the real-life inspiration for ABC’s hit series “Scandal.”


The elegant affair, featuring an electrifying spoken word and tribal dance tribute by Atlanta-based African dance company Giwayen Mata, paid tribute to Parker and Smith for their professional and philanthropic endeavors.

Both Smith and Ari Parker shared moving acceptance speeches and discussed the power of paying it forward, as well as the importance of health and wellness as the foundation for wealth building with the diverse group of attendees from around the country.

“I think it’s very important to pay it forward and each individual has to decide how they want to do that,” said Smith. “People think it has to be in big ways, but it doesn’t. It can be in small ways daily and that adds up… It doesn’t always have to be in a financial way either,” she added. “Sometimes just showing up and supporting each other is a great way to give back.”

“This is an entrepreneurial conference, but I love that we’re discussing how health and wellness are part of the wealth equation,” said Ari Parker. “Spelman is integrating the importance of physical, spiritual, emotional and relationship health into the whole spectrum of how to pursue your dreams, develop your entrepreneurial ideas and be successful… you can’t leave the body and spirit out of that. It’s been wonderful to be a part of this conference.”

Convened by Dr. Jane Smith, conference founder and Executive Director of the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement at Spelman, the Women of Color Conference gathered notable thought leaders and industry influencers to examine 21st century wealth building, developing businesses and using both to make important, sustainable contributions to their communities.

“The ultimate goal of the Spelman Women of Color Conference is to connect women of color from different demographic and socio-economic backgrounds, and help them realize their common interests,” said Dr. Smith. “One of the things that has grown out of this is the importance of inter-generational work. You have students and women from around the world as young as 18 into their 70’s all equal…talking to one another, with no gap between the young and the elders.”

Photos: (L-R) Author Gail Perry-Mason, CNBC Analyst Sharon Epperson, NNPA Editor-In-Chief George Curry, and Newsweek/Daily Beast Reporter Allison Samuels offered media resources and advice for retirement planning and financial strategies during the Role of Media in Wealth Building panel. (Photo Credit: Ben Kornegay, Courtesy of Spelman College/The FrontPage Firm).

(L-R) Spelman College President Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, Actress Nicole Ari Parker, and LEADS Executive Director/Conference founder Dr. Jane E. Smith participate in the Spelman Women of Color Conference at Legacy of Leadership Awards Dinner. Tatum and Smith present Parker with one of the two Legacy of Leadership awards for her professional and philanthropic endeavors. (Photo Credit: Ben Kornegay, Courtesy of Spelman College/ The FrontPage Firm)


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