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How Women of Valor is empowering women to boss up

In the era of “putting on for the gram,” it can be hard to appreciate those intimate, in-person moments that allow us to make real-life connections with fellow hustlers on the grind, especially women.

On July 13, Michelle Hockett and Deena Morrison held their inaugural “Women of Valor Brunch,” an event aimed to link sistas in media together for good vibes, food, and of course conversation. Hockett said,

“[It feels] amazing. My heart is so full. I can’t believe that 50 plus people came just to celebrate each other, celebrate us, and support us.  It feels really good. It’s really good momentum and energy to keep going. So, why not keep doing it and bring in a wider network?”

Both Hockett and Morrison have spent their early twenties working in media, at companies such as Revolt, Turner Broadcasting, Madison Square Garden, Arise Entertainment 360, and Hearst. They cultivated the idea for the event while at their current home, TIDAL where Hockett stands as the Marketing Coordinator and Morrison a Content Producer. 

Photo Cred: Jesse Vargas (@vargasvisuals)

Working on the creative and business ends in the entertainment industry is still challenging for many women. Despite being qualified and having that 10K80 mindset, there are still old sentiments and misconceptions that make us have to work 10 times harder just to get a seat at the table.

Not to mention that many of the seats at that table are occupied by white men. At its core, Women of Valor puts emphasis on women of color bonding and helping each other make our OWN tables within the industry.

Over 50 attendees gathered on a ‘gram-worthy roof overlooking the NhunYC skyline in Williamsburg, all of whom were hand-selected by the dream-team from their network of badass go-getters. 

Sponsored by My Executive Room, the brunch started off with some mingling time elevated by curated cocktails from D’USSE. It would then lead on to the most succulent brunch bites by Omar’s Kitchen. As the vibes continued, us ladies were blessed with performances by Lexxy and Hunni, which was followed by a keynote speech from, the very special, Bianca Nicole Edwards.

Photo Cred: Jesse Vargas (@vargasvisuals)

Hailing from DC, Edwards has built an extensive resume and network in media, most recently working as a Talent Booker at Complex Media. During her keynote, Edwards stressed the importance of putting yourself out there and making the most of every room you step in. No matter what. 

Even Hockett had to overcome her biggest fear “always networking.” She’s an extrovert once you get to know her but she still pushes herself to accomplish her goals and see out her visions. Hockett said,

“Put yourself out there, you have to come out of your comfort zone somehow… No one else is going to be stopping you.”

Highlighting the diverse backgrounds of the brunch’s attendees were women holding rank as A&R’s, designers, directors, and other leading roles at companies many have dreamed of being a part of.

The speech and ultimately event as a whole drove home the significance of growing laterally, rather than just seeking more successful people to put us on. For Morrison and Hockett it’s one of their personal goals to “pour into other women and financially fund their ideas.” Morrison said,

“Money isn’t evil, money is a tool. And if you use well, you can reap so many benefits and be a blessing to so many other people. So we need more women of power with that money to invest into other people.”

Photo Cred: Jesse Vargas (@vargasvisuals)

While monetary investment certainly is necessary to help fuel and growth the many movements other female grinders are launching, remember that every little bit of support serves as an investment as well. You know that one chick, who’s always posting about her events or business that she’s trying to get off the ground?

Give her a chance, pull up, and support. It will always come back to you tenfold. In today’s climate, it’s easy to think that showing love for another woman in the same or similar spot as you will stifle your growth.

But honestly, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The biggest takeaway, for me, from the Women of Valor Brunch: women can co-exist in the same space and all equally shine. Sharing that love for your fellow sista doing her thang doesn’t make your crown shine less. It just makes those crowns more noticeable. 

Another motif of the event was seizing opportunities. There’s nothing like seizing the opportunity and giving your all. It’s also important to understand “that every moment counts.” Morrison said, 

“When you get that opportunity, do you’re 100% best. If you want something, just don’t take that opportunity for granted. You never know who’s watching your reputation… Every moment counts, any minute counts. Take that leap of faith, do what you gotta do, but at the end of the day, give it 100%”

Photo Cred: Jesse Vargas (@vargasvisuals)

If you missed the first brunch, no sweat, the squad is gearing up to cultivate a multitude of events incorporating women of color from all industries, making the movement stronger than ever. 

Check out more flicks from the event below via our homie Jesse Vargas @vargasvisuals

Photo Cred: Jesse Vargas (@vargasvisuals)
Photo Cred: Jesse Vargas (@vargasvisuals)
Photo Cred: Jesse Vargas (@vargasvisuals)
Photo Cred: Jesse Vargas (@vargasvisuals)
Photo Cred: Jesse Vargas (@vargasvisuals)
Photo Cred: Jesse Vargas (@vargasvisuals)