INTRODUCING THE WALKER’S LEGACY WOMEN WHO ENTERPRISE ROCHESTER NY SPRING 2021 COHORT!
The Right Place At The Right Time
I believe in God’s timing. So when I saw an ad on Facebook for the Walker’s Legacy Women Who Enterprise first cohort that specialized in helping women minority entrepreneurs with their businesses, I felt like a prayer had finally been answered.
My prayer had been to get connected to another woman of color who was a self-starter, had succeeded and “failed” at owning a business, a mother, a wife, had a desire to lift other women up, and who had the capacity to commit to this type of relationship.
I’ve had mentors over the years, mostly who were men in either higher paid positions or in a position of authority. These mentors have been a great help over the years, however, I know I can only grow so much with people who are not on or have not been on a similar path.
In February 2021, I was struggling to figure out the most effective way to pivot our businesses. A year prior we were scaling up and then the pandemic shuttered us. So when vaccines began rolling out, that provided a glimmer of hope that we may very well be able to start serving our community safely again.
The Women Who Enterprise ad couldn’t have been in my face at a better time. I knew this was the next step I needed to take on the path God called me on. So I submitted an application and was accepted to the cohort!
Becoming Part Of A Community
Before the first session, I was really nervous. This would be the first long term group commitment I’ve taken in over two years and like many others, coming into it from being broken down, beat up, and hurt from the pandemic. My business suffered, and so did my confidence, my health, my home, and my family. I needed a community where we could learn, grow, and heal together, especially because for the last year, we were all isolated from our community. I remember telling my husband before going into our first session that I needed help being able to communicate with grace and tact, because of the difficulties from the last year, I was struggling being vulnerable in front of others.
Our instructor during that first session shared about the organization, what her professional background was, what some of the expectations were for the next three months, and then she shared something personal. She shared that at one point she dropped the ball prior to the session, while preparing for the session. She also shared that the group facilitator was able to communicate in such a way that was graceful, tactful, and impactful and how grateful she was to be in the company and working with people like that. At that moment, I knew I no longer needed to be nervous. I knew I was in the right place because God used the exact words through her that I spoke to my husband and stated I needed prior to the session.
Empowering Multicultural Women
The company website states Walker’s Legacy as a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business. The Women Who Enterprise cohort program in Rochester, NY was launched in the Spring of 2021 in an effort to help multicultural women in the area gain the personal financial planning and business skills needed to succeed. Every Saturday morning, for three months, 33 women, an instructor and facilitator, along with guest speakers and board members and influencers within the organization, dedicated themselves to the future economic development of the region.
The women who participated in this first cohort are exceptional. I met women who are community change agents, designers, virtual assistants, in finance, in entertainment, and more industries. Our instructor was well versed in each topic discussed and made sure to bring in other entrepreneurs to dive into their stories and advice. I really looked forward to spending time with these women every Saturday morning.
What I got out of it was a lot more than reviewing the big and small details of business and financial planning. I had an updated, thorough, and organized business plan for the next season. I had new relationships. I had a fresh perspective on the way I want to conduct my businesses moving forward. I got a glimpse into the lives of other minority women and the struggles they face and how they work through them. I had time to fellowship with other sisters in Christ. I took a deeper look into the kind of business and community leader I was and time to start developing into the leader I want to be. I got inspired. I got motivated. I got amped out to go out and share what I learned, and connect with others in our community.
What Happened Next
In May we graduated, and it’s September now. Since graduating, I have been connected with a mentor who is a woman of color, entrepreneur, mother, hustler, positive, raw, and keeps connected with me. In July, I was blessed to collaborate with my husband alongside other women entrepreneurs to host our cohort meet and greet. I also got connected with one of my peers who is a published author and focuses on helping authors write the story God intended them to write. So, I signed up for her challenge to write a book in 30 days, and I completed a whole rough draft. And now I have this awesome opportunity to share about my experience with the world in hopes that it inspires someone else to take that first step on the path God called them on.
I guess by now you could consider me a fan.
Take A Chance
Regardless of where you are in your business. Whether you have a big idea, need to pivot, want to grow your business, or haven’t dusted your business plan off in a while, I recommend submitting an application for the next cohort.
It was a great opportunity to review some of the basics, learn about new opportunities for funding, learn about new marketing techniques, hear testimonies from other leaders, and have an open conversation about what it takes to make a positive difference in both your personal and professional life.
Applications for the next cohort are open until October 4, 2021. All accelerator programs begin November 6 and will be conducted virtually due to the pandemic.
The criteria to be considered for the program is that all participants must:
- Be 21 years and older
- A woman of color and/or multicultural
- Must have an existing business that supplies goods and/or services
- Have been in business at least 12-24 consecutive months
- Businesses must be registered and in good standing in Rochester
- Must be the founder/CEO of business represented
- Have access to online learning in a dedicated, stationary space with mandatory on-camera presence.
To register for Rochester, NY, please visit https://www.walkerslegacy.org/accelerators-rochester.
Thank you for letting me share.