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Second Annual Ready, Set, AIM Summit Empowers Local Women

By Mariah Hicks

Sojourner’s Truth Reporter


“Success is different for everyone. Often, you don’t see what is under the success that is standing,” said Katy Crosby, who facilitated this year’s panel discussion alongside her three friends.


The Ready, Set, AIM Summit was founded by Tianna Anderson and first took off in 2018.


Anderson’s inspiration to start the summit stemmed from her move to Toledo and her individual journey as a businesswoman.


“I just met so many brilliant women who kind of lacked that network that they needed to advance themselves and their careers or their businesses,” Anderson said. “A lot of people have advanced education, advanced degrees, but yet were still kind of stagnant in their careers and their businesses, so I wanted to provide an opportunity to have a solution to that.”


Anderson founded her own business, Anderson Innovative Marketing, where she provides strategic marketing consulting and copywriting services to small businesses. After having provided her services free of charge for several years, Anderson realized she had something going and should have been charging all along. Through the summit, she strives to help other women also recognize their worth and navigate their way through the business world.


“The number one way that it’s helped women is through the networking aspect,” Anderson said. “So many women have connected on a partnership level and mentorship level. I tell people all the time, this is the place where you come to find your tribe.”


Saturday’s panel discussion titled “Becoming: I’m Here, Now What?” was facilitated by  Crosby, City of Toledo chief of staff; alongside Demetria Simpson of LMHA; Wendi Huntley, president of Connecting Kids to Meals and Stephanie Kynard of Kynard’s Child Development Center..


The panel touched on how women can balance their personal and professional lives while also staying true to themselves.


“It’s just something about giving people the opportunity to fly, to strive, to be the best that they can be,” said Simpson.


As a first lady, president and CEO of Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority, and a member of various boards, Simpson touched on how she balances her roles while tending to those in underserved communities.


“For me to be able to overcome my obstacles to become that leader, I want to be able to reach back and grab the women who are trying to get there,” Simpson said. “I look forward to continuing to redefine leadership, but I’ll do it in a way that I can reach behind me and pull the young women, other women who so greatly need to be encouraged.”


A key point she left with the audience was that it has caused her more grief as a black woman trying to be like others rather than just being herself.


 "It's so easy for us to second guess ourselves when we are measuring ourselves to others," Simpson said. "We should just clap for each other every time we are in each other's presence."


The panel discussion also included conversation on the roles of leadership. The panelists described leading as servanthood and sowing into others.


“Leadership is a state of being. It’s not a title, it’s not the person, but it’s how you treat people, it’s how you allow people to be who they are in their spaces,” said Crosby. “It’s about rolling up your sleeves and doing the work. It's about making sure you create opportunities for other people to be in leadership roles which sometimes means you're that watermark in the background whispering in somebody's ear and pushing them out there."


The panelists gave examples of how they grew into their leadership roles and shared some valuable resources that helped them along the way. As founder of the Ready, Set, AIM Summit, even Anderson thought back over her role as a leader.


“The number one way I've grown is in my leadership skills,” Anderson said. “After last year’s summit, I realized that I lacked leadership skills, and so I poured myself into every leadership devotional that I could find. In order to get people on board with my vision, I had to be able to lead.”


In addition to Saturday’s panel discussion, this year’s summit also included a meet and greet on Friday, then presentations by Carolyn Fraser, CEO of the PR Shoppe; Bria Hash of 4ourty; Melanie Towns, a commercial banker and Kelly Miller, talent lead at Owens Corning. Saturday’s presentations included Tracee Perryman, PhD, CEO of Center of Hope Family Services; and Kenny Farrar, deal flow associate at JumpStart, Inc.


Looking towards future summits, Anderson hopes to continue connecting with women, building relationships and encouraging the rise of leaders amongst the black women community.



Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/03/19 14:16:29 -0400.

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