The term #BlackgirlMagic has been floating around a lot lately and for good reason as black women of all shapes, texture and sizes are finally grabbing the bull by the horn and celebrating all that makes them beautiful. Saturday’s (3/19) #EbonyWomenUp Chicago brunch echoed the sentiment, celebrating the beauty, intelligence, ambition and perseverance of Black women in all walks of life, the magazine’s March 2016 “Body Brigade” issue and Women’s History Month. The event held at the Wit Hotel, a partnership between the Chicago based Johnson Publishing publication and Hilton Worldwide, originated from the Women Up ongoing feature series created by EBONY Editor-in-Chief Kierna Mayo and Senior Editor Jamilah Lemieux.
Linda Johnson Rice-Chairman JPC, Veranda Dickens-Chairman, Seaway National Bank
With around 200 current and next generation women leaders, mentors and mentees from different industries filling the room, the magic began with remarks from Vice President, Head of Digital Editorial Kyra Kyles and Andrea Richardson, Hilton Worldwide Multicultural & Diversity Marketing Global Marketing Director. JPC Chief Operating Officer and President of Digital Cheryl Mayberry-McKissack, who served as emcee for the brunch, also addressed guests in attendance before commending and presenting Burrell Communications with a special gift from the Ebony photo archives, which Linda Jefferson, SVP Media services received on their behalf.
Rev. Neichelle Guidry, Associate Pastor to Young Adults at Trinity United Church of Christ and founder of ShePreaches then led prayers before the networking and eating began.
Rev Neichelle Guidry
As guests, including newly elected Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, Juliana Stratton, mingled with the likes of Chicago Urban League’s new CEO Shari Runner, Madeleine Burrell, Cameka Smith of BOSS Network, Burrell Communications’ Lorraine Miller, MSI’s LaTonya Foster, Sil Lai Abrams and next gen-ers including Vanessa Abron, Iman Jefferson, Aisha Jefferson, Taryn Williams, Camila Crews-Strength Of Nature’s Senior Communications & Marketing Manager, Briahna Gatlin to name a few.
Aisha Jefferson, Iman Jefferson and Ashanti Morgan
Camila Crews and guests
Kikora Mason, Rev Neichelle Guidry, Chrishon Lampley, Vanessa Abron
Some of the Chicago media personalities in attendance included Robin Robinson, FOX 32 Chicago’s Darlene Hill, WGN TV’s Courtney Gousman as well as Chicago Defender’s Publisher Cheryl Mainor, Shawnelle Richie-CBS Chicago’s Director of Communications and Public Affairs and Diana Palomar -VP, Community Affairs at ABC 7 Chicago.
Courtney Gousman, Robin Robinson, Kim Foxx, Shawnelle Richie, Diana Palomar, Darlene Hill
Veranda Dickens, Cheryl Mainor, Robin Robinson
Darlene Hill, Juliana Stratton
Following an inspiring keynote speech from Seaway National Bank Chairman Veranda Dickens, who talked about how she assumed the role after the unfortunate passing of her husband, she extolled the need to mentor the next generation, many ways you can hug someone without touching them and finding your theme song, hers is Katy Perry’s “Roar.” The bench ended with thanks from Johnson Publishing Chairman Linda Johnson Rice and some lucky winners walked away with framed EBONY vintage covers.