If you know anything about me, you know that I live for rebuttals. I always try to give a new perspective and challenge traditional ways of thinking, because if we all think the same, then the world would be a really boring place. I wrote this post weeks ago, but decided that International Women's Day was the perfect time to post it and celebrate women near and dear to my heart. I remember reading an article on XoNecole about Erika Pittman,Vice President of Combs Enterprises - yeah, Diddy's brand. All I could think of was “OMG, I need to meet her!” I immediately started searching for ways to get in touch. After a few minutes, I quickly gave up on the idea. Not because I didn't think it was possible, but because I wasn't sure how I could be valuable to her. I could pick her brain, interview her for my site, but what would I be offering her in return? I went on a Twitter rant and questioned why we are so biased around who we give our attention to? We are so quick to support celebrities and other public figures, but don't put half of that effort in supporting our own friends and people in our network. We will pay $30 for Kylie's lip kit or Karen Civil's book, before we pay $15 to attend a friend's event. Why? Why are we constantly looking up to these powerhouses of women and simultaneously neglect our peers? Think about it. How many times have you curved brunch with your friend, but would immediately drop everything if someone like Erika Pittman or Oprah made time for a 15 minute meeting with you? You would probably travel 2 hours on camelback in the desert of Dubai if you had to.
[Tweet "Don't get so consumed looking up to people, that you forget to look around you."]
Guess what? One day, the women we are looking up to are going to retire and be out of the game. If you fail to cultivate relationships now, you will have no connections with your peers who are up next. You will realize that you spent so much time trying to connect with the Bevy Smiths of the world that you missed out on the Kela Walkers. You were so consumed with the Valeshia Butterfields, that you overlooked the Raven Robinsons. In the race to break into these inner circles of success, I realized I was ignoring the resources around me. That's what I hope this list can be. It's an ode to the amazing women in my network that I have overlooked, undervalued or downright ignored. It's also a celebration of women in my circle who I don't give enough credit to.
13 (and counting) Up and Coming Women of Color Under 30
Note: Comparisons are just for reference.
Darian Harvin - the next Ariana Huffington
Greatest Accomplishment: Working to put out a hardcover culture magazine, HRDCVR .
Words of Encouragement: Gimme the loot, gimme the loot.
Raven Robinson - the next Valeshia Butterfield
Greatest accomplishment: Receiving the top 30 under 30 rising star in government in New York State by award by City&State Magazine.
Words of Encouragement: Remember you can only win or learn, there is no such thing as losing!
Tiffany Bender - the next Mona Scott Young
Greatest Accomplishment: Bringing home a Black Girls Rock Award for Harlem! *hits milly rock*
Words of Encouragement: get up and do everything you want to do, everyday.
Brittnee Anderson -the next Erika Pittman
Accomplishment: Traveling rural China for 10 days (basically by myself).
Words of Encouragement: if you can, you must.
Cristine Jacquez - the next Alison Brod
Greatest Accomplishment: Working on a brand that has cultivated an online community of Latinas to over 1.5MM members while giving women a platform to be authentically seen, heard and understood.
Words of Encouragement: Be bold & be YOU - there are those who will appreciate you for the same reason others are intimidated by you; be you anyway!
Chasity Cooper - the next Melissa Harris Perry
Greatest accomplishment: Whenever I have the opportunity to connect with young people and empower them to chase their dreams, it's a win for me.
Words of Encouragement: Do the things that set your soul on fire. Ask all the questions. Have faith that everything will work out for the best. Consistently create dope sh*t that will make you proud and leave your mark on the world and do it unapologetically.
Ada Rojas - the next Myliek Teele
Greatest Accomplishment: Being the first in my family to graduate from college.
Words of Encouragement: Trust your struggle. The moment you are ready to quit is usually the moment right before a miracle happens. Don’t give up. Have in your yourself and your hustle.
Altrichia Cook - the next Draya (Mint Swim)
Alechia Reese - the next Marshawn Evans
Raevyn Jones - the next Small Biz Lady
Hiliana Devila - the next Dulce Candy
Gia Peppers - the next Issa Rae
Marisa Mendez - the next Necole Bitchie
And of course me, Emmelie De La Cruz. - the next Beyonce of Business as I have come to be so hilariously called. Hello - If I don't believe in me, who will?
Who is up next in your circle? The women you should build and bond with? Let them know today. Tomorrow is too late. (I'll be updating the list until 5PM EST on March 8th. Let me know)
[Tweet "Happy #InternationalWomensDay! @[Overlooked woman here], you're up next. #SheInspiresMe"]
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