Women connect in ways that men don’t. So when it comes to networking, women try to create connections or friendships. “After all, it not about what you know, or who you know, but who knows you,” said Mayor Taylor about the Opalocka Women’s Summit event held in March to celebrate Women’s History Month.
At the city’s first business networking event for women, over 140 women attended the 2-day event to exchange business cards, listen to unique ventures, and cultivate connections.
Cashe Royal owner of Glam Spot, an up-scaled hair salon on Fisherman Street, said networking events like this allow her to easily spread the word about her business. “It’s motivating to see women networking with each other,” said Royal who passed out gift cards at the event. “Events like this encourage you to become more active.”
At a round-circle networking on a Friday evening, women shared their business stories. “After I retired, I needed an uplifting, fun social outlet I could do with other 50 plus women who also wanted to stay active and healthy,” said Opa-locka resident Gloria Robinson. “So I put an ad in the paper to create a women’s softball team.” Originally named Diamond Stars, the softball team for women over 50, plays every Sunday afternoon at North Glades Park. Robinson says the team rivals younger players.
Saturday’s luncheon was just as inspiring. Guest speaker, Florida Representative Cynthia A. Stafford, from District 109, spoke to an energized crowd saying, “today’s event is timely as it is also very needed.” “We need a few good women to get out and make a difference where ever God has assigned us,” said Representative Stafford.
Ernisha Randolph, creator of Juanita’s Kitchen catering service along 27th Avenue, says she usually has to travel outside the city to attend a business networking event.
“I was extremely surprised when I heard about a women’s networking event in Opalocka,” said Randolph who attended the Saturday luncheon. “I learn from hearing other women’s stories and understanding their experiences in business. Networking opportunities like this are invaluable to me.” Randolph’s company specializes in healthier alternatives to southern cooked foods. “Instead of fried chicken, I prepare oven baked fried chicken. I like giving my clients another choice to eating home-style foods.”
At the event, she gained business opportunities, while showing her brand of barbeque sauce, she was offered to cater a private school. At the luncheon, Mayor Taylor presented the “2013 Phenomenal Woman” award to Patsy McCray who has been an Opa-locka resident for 69 years. McCray is 99 years old.
Mayor Taylor initiated the Opa-locka Women’s Initiative which held events in July and September and will hold a clothing drive in December. The Opa-locka Women’s Summit will become an annual event. “It’s time we pull together to encourage one another, empower each other as Opa-locka women,” said Mayor Taylor.