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Celebrating + Nurturing WOC at the WCC!

Hey #SheOwned Queens! 


Welcome to the February edition of #SheOwned, brought to you by the Women's Chamber of Commerce of Miami-Dade County. This month, we're diving headfirst into a celebration of some truly remarkable women who are making waves in the business world, especially women of color. But it's not just about celebrating; it's about nurturing our future leaders.


At the Chamber, every month is about empowerment and upliftment through the guidance of role models and community leaders. We believe in the power of mentorship, and this blog edition we're about to introduce you to a line-up of unstoppable superstars - our six #SheOwned queens who are redefining what it means to be a boss in business. These ladies aren't just breaking barriers; they're building bridges for those who follow in their footsteps. 


Let’s go… First Stop…



Her mission is to empower individuals to find their own voices and share their stories, not as a voice for the voiceless, but as a guide toward empowerment.


How has mentorship played a role in your life?


I have always wanted a mentor really bad to the point that at times it held me back, I felt like I could not move forward until I had one and if I had maintained that mindset I would still be stuck today. Eventually I realized that even without a specific mentor I could use the blueprint many women before me have created. I listened to the podcasts, read the books that were recommended, followed tips for wellness they provided online and felt a lot of gratitude for all the people that openly and transparently shared their journey. I also decided to be that on my own journey, leaving as many clues as I can for others to follow. Eventually mentors showed up, not in the one on one way I expected but people that would connect me with others they believed could push my journey open as well as be a soundboard for my ideas.


One educational resource that has changed your life. 


I read a lot of books to help me on my path. As an artist my top two recommendations are The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. Podcasts: Everything is Connected by Light Work, Chanel Connects by CHANEL, Creative Pep Talk by Andy J Pizza. Not everything will resonate, but when it does it has done wonders for my creative journey.


One tip for women of color to create and maintain supportive networks. 


Be what you are seeking. If you are seeking support, support others. If you are seeking mentorship, be a mentor. Give before you expect to receive and carry lots of gratitude for the spaces you occupy. The abundance will flow in soon after.



A vibrant Afro-Latina artist, entrepreneur, TV Host for LATV Network, and actor in independent films. Eliana's inspirational journey empowers others to find their purpose and shine, and she serves as Board Chair for WISE, a nonprofit supporting immigrant and refugee women and girls. 


How has mentorship played a role in your life? 


I think mentorship is extremely important. We live in a world where we only see the end results. We don’t see the process, the struggle, the years it takes to achieve our goals. A good mentor can help you get out of your own way, navigate whatever industry difficulties you’re experiencing and most importantly they help you grow and embrace the journey ahead.  Mentors can also help with accountability, problem solving and with developing the discipline and necessary self-belief to get to where you’re going. I’ve been a mentor and I’ve also had several  mentors. One thing I’ve learned is that “the right match” in a mentor and mentee  is important, it makes a world of difference when you’re working with someone who really sees you and values your experience. The truth is, we all do better in the marathon when we know we have people cheering us on and waiting for us at the finish line. Having a team/village that understands you and wants to see you win is key. I’m grateful to these amazing humans that have officially and unofficially mentored me, be it for a moment or long term. A special shout-out to Camille Thomas, Ada Rojas, Calixto Chinchilla, Melanie Santos, Jessica Velasquez, Jovian Zayne, Chris McDuffie and Massy Arias who have all served and supported me along the way. 


One educational resource that has changed your life.


One book that changed my life is “The Artist’s Way” . It really helped me get out of my own shadow and embrace the multifaceted artist I am. Before reading it and going through the tasks, I didn’t realize how creatively repressed I was and how that was affecting all areas of my life. I completed it in 2016 and that’s when I realized I wasn’t living MY LIFE. I was doing what was socially acceptable and what felt secure and safe, but I wasn’t aligned, I wasn’t authentic and I wasn’t mentally liberated. I then decided to be honest with myself and live as authentically as possible. That’s the year I transitioned out of corporate finance into working on camera as an artist and creating behind camera as a director/producer. I’ve never been the same since that book and regardless of all the challenges I’ve never looked back. 


One tip for women of color to create and maintain supportive networks. 


Don’t underestimate the power of sliding into DMs. Digital networking and building/joining online communities has been crucial for me and has brought me so many opportunities not just for work but to connect. Since I moved to LA, the majority of the people I know and I’m in community with, I met on social media. Some of my closest and most meaningful relationships right now, I found online. So, find like-minded people, connect with them virtually and then follow up with an in-person meeting/coffee. Additionally, remember to network laterally, it’s important to have people in your network at the level you aspire to be, BUT I’ve also learned it’s  REALLY important to have people on the same level as you, going through the same things as you. Those are your people, they’re the ones that will go through the heavy mud with you. They understand you. Lastly, put yourself out there and follow through. Be humble, drop the ego and ask for help, mentorship, community, etc. I promise the right people will find you. Networking and maintaining connections is work, but it’s nothing we will always need as the communal people we are.  We’re never too old or too successful to connect with each other.



Leisis Stevenson: Founder of Angels & Allies and Her Swag Shop, is the Chief Empowerment Officer dedicated to inspiring and motivating others. With nearly 20 years in the medical field and a history of mood disorders, Leisis understands the importance of self-esteem, self-acceptance, and happiness. She's on a mission to empower the next generation with real tools for real life.


How has mentorship played a role in your life? 


As a woman who never received formal mentorship, starting a business centered around empowerment and guidance has been a transformative experience for me. It has allowed me to fill the void that I felt growing up and as a young adult, and it has had a profound impact on both my personal and professional life. By offering guidance, support, and empowerment to others, I am able to make a positive difference in their lives and help them navigate the challenges that I once faced alone. This has been incredibly fulfilling and rewarding, as I get to witness the growth and transformation of individuals who I have had the gift of working with. 


One educational resource that has changed your life. 


Attending a lecture by Deepak Chopra in 2013 had a profound impact on me. This led to the expansion of my spiritual practice, ability to quiet the ”noise”, find my own voice, and connect with others. Most importantly it helped me find the courage to do what was necessary to truly get out of my own way. 


One tip for women of color to create and maintain supportive networks. 


One tip for women of color to create and maintain supportive networks is to embrace and celebrate your unique cultural background as a strength without isolating other groups.  By connecting with other women of color who share similar experiences or backgrounds, you can build a strong support system that understands and uplifts you. By keeping a culturally open mind you allow yourself opportunities to gain perspective and insight into experiences you otherwise do not have access to. Additionally, seek out mentorship opportunities and professional networks that prioritize the true growth and empowerment of women as this can provide valuable resources and connections.



Ekaterina ‘Katrina’ Fouche: A multi-faceted individual, fulfilling roles as a mother, author, and entrepreneur. She is the proud owner of "For the Resilient Woman," a women's empowerment business dedicated to assisting women in prioritizing their well-being.


How has mentorship played a role in your life?


Mentorship holds great significance but I believe representation matters more. Although I do not have a specific mentor. However, I find great inspiration in the representation of numerous strong women. These women, are all from diverse walks of life. Women who have overcome different obstacles. We have the potential to learn valuable lessons from one another if we approach with openness and willingness. As we continue to develop, it becomes our responsibility to guide and mentor the upcoming generation of young women.


One educational resource that has changed your life. 


The act of reading and writing has undeniably had a transformative impact on my life. I enjoy reading self-help and motivational books. Writing serves as a powerful outlet for me to navigate through my emotions and explore my creativity.


One tip for women of color is to create and maintain supportive networks.


One thing I've learned is to be real and to be transparent. People can tell the difference when you're not. Share your story because that's where your power is, be yourself unapologetically, and your tribe will find you!



Barbara Perpignan: A problem solver and CEO of three diverse companies. Barbara's a dedicated Executive Director at The Rebirth Project, a loving wife and mother, and an avid traveler and sneaker enthusiast. Her message: Every 24 hours in 2024 is ours! Keep pushing forward to achieve your dreams! 


How has mentorship played a role in your life?


Mentorship has played a huge role in my life! When I started in the sports and entertainment industry, I always wanted to make sure that I was never the smartest person in the room! So, a lot of my early mentors were men, because I worked in a male-dominated industry. Once women became more prevalent in the sports and entertainment industry, I began to expand and had a few women mentors who were dope. I also believe in giving back, so I spend my time mentoring young women who want to do things that are against the grain. Being a minority woman in a male-dominated industry is going against the grain, and I want to teach other women that they can do the same.

 

One educational resource that has changed your life.


For me, my one educational resource was college! I know that there’s so many areas now where you don’t need college, but I got my Bachelor's in Psychology and my Master, in Mental Health Counseling, and I believe both help me with my day-to-day movements. I think it is very important to understand Why people do what they do, and my degrees help me to do that. Although college is not for everyone, you should never stop learning. Whether it’s reading books, taking classes online, or just becoming part of groups, like Boss Babes, or WCC, where you can learn from other very intelligent women, will help you in whatever you wanna do.

 

One tip for women of color is to create and maintain supportive networks.


The tip that I would give women is to not compete. Understand that there are more than enough resources out there for all of us. Even if we are in the same field, there are enough people who need what we have to offer that competition is not necessary! I don’t believe in a crabs-in-a-barrel mentality. I believe that we should slingshot each other… I elevate you and you turn around and elevate me. And we continue to slingshot each other as long as we’re connected. Every relationship for me has to be win-win or no deal and I will always give you the first win!



And we couldn’t end this segment without featuring our President KARINE MELISSA: A whole freaking Powerhouse! Feel free to google her, as her bio is nothing short of extensive, including a large amount of support, empowerment, mentorship, leadership, uplifting and seriously honoring and celebrating every woman who steps into her path, we love you, Madam President!


Karine Melissa: WCC 2024 President! 


How has mentorship played a role in your life? 


Mentorship has kept me alive. Like, literally! The most critical part of mentorship for me came to life in the moments when I wanted to give up completely. True mentors come to the rescue in moments like those. Not to swoop in and fix everything for you but to guide you through your pain and extract the lessons for teachable moments. (My mentor doesn't have social media).


One educational resource that has changed your life. 


The "International Leadership Summit" @thisisils has had a great impact on my life as a leader. I've been attending for the past few years now and every year I am challenged and stretched as a leader. Conferences work well for me because it's a moment to get away from the noise and just focus on becoming a better me.


One tip for women of color is to create and maintain supportive networks. 


Network with everyone. Many times we stick to those who look like us and understand us. That is great and there are major benefits in our community to embrace. However, we are not alone. There's more money out there. I encourage women of color to network outside of their circle and connect with all cultures of credible professionals who can help you achieve your goals.


As we wrap up the stories and wisdom of these fantastic women, we hope you've found it as uplifting as we have. These ladies have shared with us the importance of mentorship, the game-changing educational resources they've discovered, and their top tips for building supportive networks. It's all about helping each other rise together!


Before we go, a big thank you to our featured #SheOwned Queens and to all of you who've joined us on this adventure. If you're not yet part of our Women's Chamber of Commerce, we'd love for you to become a member. Click here to connect with us. 


Together, we can continue celebrating and supporting amazing women of color in business. As our 2025 President-Elect, Barbara Perpignan stated at our induction ceremony, “Every 24 hours in 2024 is OURS” we are ready to be part of it with you! 


Don't forget to follow all these outstanding women on social media to stay inspired by their stories and accomplishments. Also, we will be hosting our IG LIVE for February featuring this incredible lineup of powerhouses, so save the date, add the reminder, and share with your girls: on February 21st at noon on @wccmiami IG.

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