By Lisa Brown,
Special to the AFRO

Build (Her) 2022 by Halcyon started with coffee and smiles. The event’s lineup was filled with diverse women who are who’s who in business. From health disparities to tech, to investment angels, the conversations were robust, rapid panels that allowed the time and space for questions from the engaged audience. 

Women from all backgrounds and careers were ready to take notes, whispering to get ready to ask questions or nodding to complex answers.

Former Commissioner of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and daughter of Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) Mignon Clyburn had the crowd laughing and taking several notes.

“I would be a lot richer and cuter if I just asked for help,” she said jokingly, emphasizing that asking for help in the beginning can further a women’s business, but do homework before approaching a table. 

Melissa Bradley was also an inspirational speaker, who gave the audience- particularly Black and Brown women- some advice on how to show up in a room where people might not respect them. 

Bradley encouraged women to “show up” more and “talk less” about business. She also highlighted that women need to value themselves.

The conference was also a great opportunity for networking.

The Honorable Isabella Casillas Guzman is the 27th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. (Photo by Lisa Brown)

Everyone migrated between each session, passing business cards and greeting each other with masked smiles. Someone said loudly, ”smile with your eyes,” soliciting a roar of laughter.

Halcyon Chief Information Officer Dahna Goldstein led the question and answer portion.

Stephanie Thomas with investments for Impact America Fund shared words of wisdom that had the crowd listening intensely and people in the back frantically writing every word she uttered.

 She called out to the younger generation encouraging them to begin “having conversations early and often,” and emphasized knowing your price, evaluation and cap before exiting out. 

After each question and answer session there was a long line of anxious fans to meet each speaker. 

Women left empowered by more than words, but through connections and strength in numbers. 

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