The Texas Black Expo delivered on Texas size fun!

The Texas Black Expo is just what you may expect, but sooo much more.  The expo is a great opportunity not only to support black owned businesses, but also offers some great showcases and seminars from everything from entertainment, to health and wellness to real talk from successful professionals.  Last weekend I had the opportunity to not only check out some of the great vendors at the expo but also get a little insight in the age old question, what are the differences between men and women?  In the Diva Dialogues Entertainment Attorney Jalene Mack brought together a power packed panel to take on the challenge of “The Great Divide” and see just how different do many and women feel about things from business to love and relationships.

This Texas Black Expo seminar was a great look into the differences, sometimes subtle, sometime distinct, between how men and women see the world. This type of conversation can either be lots of fun or down right argumentative so it was an extra bonus that Jalene was not just an entertainment attorney but an actor as well, and able to keep everyone both on task and having fun.  With a feisty panel of professionals you who are enjoying themselves and openly sharing you almost cannot help yourself but get wrapped up in the fun.  The panelists ranging from philanthropist, to attorneys, to radio station owners, to successful entrepreneurs and even a special guest Golden Brooks, a successful actress and business owner most known for her role on Girlfriends.

So what is the take on the great divide? Actually in listening to the responses you begin to understand women and men are looking at the same side of the different coin.  Although initially it may seem like two completely different approaches, the more you communicate and open your mind the more clarity you see on the differences.  Whether big or small, however, the panel offered some great insight on how they take on the challenges of being a business owner.  Here are a couple of pearls that most of us know, but often forget to apply and use in the way to approach both business and life:

  • Jalene Mack – Entertainment Attorney and founder of MPAC: On networking Jalene recommends entering into it with purpose. When you are focused in on finding opportunities you make sure networking actually enhances your business.
  • Golden Brooks – Actress and Entrepreneur: When faced with the challenge of being an African American woman in business Golden found strength by walking in her own light. By knowing herself she is not diminished by others but can use it as a basis of celebration for the unique person she is and the distinctive gifts she brings to the table
  • CleRenda McGrady – Author and Philanthropist – in referencing her favorite movie scene in The Wizard of Oz CleRenda draws strength from the idea that the power is within you all along, you just have to believe it for yourself.
  • Velma Trayham – PR Expert recommends business owners really invest the time and energy to know their market. When you don’t waste time and money focusing on being everything to everyone you can focus on making real connections with your target audience
  • Keisha Nicole – DJ for 97.9 The Box: In speaking to purpose Keisha is inspired by knowing that if God gave her a purpose, he also blesses with the gifts and capacity to carry it out if you are willing to put in the work.
  • Al Rucker – owner of Midtown Bail Bonds – For those who do not network Al recommends using the energy to focus on building their brand. After time a strong enough brand gets people searching for them instead of the other way around.
  • Danny Norris – Attorney with Norris & Norris Attorneys Essential tips for starting a business are to work out a business plan, a mentor, and the capital needed to get the business off the ground
  • Marcus Bowers – Owner of She’s Happy Hair – In his journey to hair mogul Marcus made a commitment to himself to just try to be better every day than he was the day before
  • Oscar Hines – Owner of KYND Radio shared his favorite quote that captured his life philosophy – “It’s not the number of breaths you have in life, it is the number or moments that take your breath away”

All in all the Texas Black Expo is a great way to support your community with businesses you love and others you have yet to fall in love with. Most importantly it is a great opportunity to have more breath taking moments and learn something along the way.

Empowerment over coffee and conversations

TBE 2014 Coffee and Conversations RecapEmpowerment at its best provides not just the instructions on how someone else did something, but the why that gives deeper insight to not just replicate their success but to have the tools to make a path of your own.  A poignant opportunity for this type of empowerment came with the “Coffee & Conversation” Business Empowerment Series at the Texas Black Expo.  This series featured intimate insight from Jeff Hoffman, Founding member of Priceline” but also opened the floor for other business leaders to share their insight on attaining success.

TBE 2014 Coffee and Conversations Keynote speakerAs the keynote speaker, Jeff Hoffman started the series off with a focus not on the how to of running or building a travel titian or by retracing the steps that lead him to the success.  The keynote speech instead took a retrospective of how to intertwine being a success in business with being a success in life.  Within the words he share the message was not a life built on bottom lines and increasing bank accounts but on an internal drive of passion and purpose that allowed Jeff to “take a chance on excellence because money follows excellence”.  This focus has proven fruitful as Jeff has contributed to building a company that is a household name and now continues to build his personal legacy on demanding excellence from himself to motivate this same excellence from others.  In this spirit of servant leadership Jeff continues to enable others to become successful.  This point of view provides a never-ending well of inspiration as the purpose to make money to empower him to build people far exceeds the purpose of making money that stops at the bank.

With these motivating opening words peaking the rooms interest, the panelist were able to share add to the conversation on success by exploring some critical areas that determine one’s level of success both internally and by the world.  Here are some of their key insights:

TBE 2014 Coffee and Conversations panelistCore strengths: The challenge in developing ones core strengths is in the appreciation that it is a journey, not a destination.  By rising to the challenge that there is always that possibility that one can do better you can see areas of greatness but also areas for improvement.  Additionally this internal challenge can be applied outward.  In doing so encounters with others around you promote the challenge to leave others better than you found them. This endeavor ultimately provides a win-win motivation to push oneself harder as you see the reward in others as wells as within.

Team Development:  Entrepreneurs have the challenge of being not just a boss but a critical member of a team.  In doing so recognizing what people do well guarantees not just personal success but the success of the business as well.  By checking the ego at the door the boss can accept help when need and find empowering ways to delegate work that develops the team around them.

Skills of a CEO vs. the skills of an entrepreneur: The skills are different and in recognizing the difference you can get the best skillset out of all members of the team.  An entrepreneur is a problems solver, however, to be CEO these skills have to be coupled with organization, systems building and execution.  If an entrepreneur does not have this skill set to be a CEO they can still build an empire by working with others who can provide the skillset they are lacking.

Networking Strategies: Strong networking skills are just that, a skill.  While some are naturally gifted with a friendly or outgoing personality, by honing the skillset anyone can successfully become great at networking.  The panelist used books like “How to Work a Room” or programs like Toastmasters and the American Leadership Forum to cultivate the skills that made a lasting impression on others by how they treated them, not just what they said.