Black, Woman, and Genius: The Power of Identity
Black women receive more degrees than any other group in the U.S. and they are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs. The story of Black women is that of ambition, thriving… of ge(e)nius.
GeenieBox is a women’s empowerment subscription service profiling Black women who have redefined, remixed or leveraged identity (womanness, blackness, black womanness) for growth. Each month, an iconic woman shares a slice of her journey through a curated box featuring a book, beauty/productivity/wellness products, and VIP experiences (webinars, museum circles, events and more). GeenieBox is an exploration into how powerful Black women come to be and make magic in the world and how they work with each other and peers to level up. For Geenies, identity is power.
On April 24, 2017, GeenieBox partnered with Google’s Black Googler and Women@ Networks to present a conversation, where you met Geenies via Lightning Talks and a Panel discussion on Black Women at Work. Over 200 smart Black girls filled Google NYC and came together in a beautiful combination of #BlackGirlGenius and #BlackGirlMagic. Gems were dropped, wisdom was shared, and laughter resonated the space. Attendees were reminded to elevate and uplift other women, create achievable goals and tackle them, and most importantly never shy from the magic of being exceptional: Black, woman & genius.
WATCH BLACK WOMEN SHINE:
Event Agenda and Speaker Bios:
Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, Financial Educator (@thebudgetnista)
January 2017 Geenie
Lauren Maillian, Entrepreneur, Marketer, Investor (@laurenmaillian)
March 2016 Geenie
Talk: Personal Disruption
Crystal McCrary, Author, Filmmaker (@crystalmccrary)
April 2016 Geenie
Veronica Webb, Supermodel, Entrepreneur, Fashion/Beauty Writer (@veronicawebb)
September 2017 Geenie
Black Women at Work Panel
Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Head of Black Community Engagement, Google (co-moderator) (@valeisha)
Chana Ginelle Ewing, Founder/CEO, GeenieBox (co-moderator) (@chanaewing)
Renae Bluitt, Founder, Crush Media/In Her Shoes Blog (@inhershoesblog)
March 2017 Geenie
Rhonesha Byng, Founder, HerAgenda (@neshasagenda)
April 2017 Geenie
Marcia Cole, CEO/Chief Creative Officer, Ivy Digital, LLC (@marciaacole)
May 2017 Geenie
Jamilah Lemieux, VP, News & Mens Programming, InteractiveOne (@jamilahlemieux)
August 2016 Geenie
About Our Speakers:
Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, Financial Educator
January 2017 Geenie
Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche is quickly becoming America's favorite, personal financial educator. The Budgetnista is the founder of the LIVE RICHER Challenge and the Dream Catchers, a community of over 300,000 women worldwide that work together to improve their lives through financial education.
Tiffany is the bestselling author of the books, The One Week Budget and Live Richer Challenge , and she and her financial advice have been featured on: Good Morning America, the TODAY show, PBS, TIME, The New York Times, Reuters, ESSENCE Magazine, FORBES, Fox Business, MSNBC and CBS MoneyWatch. She also blogs about personal finance for The Huffington Post.
Lauren Maillian, Entrepreneur, Marketer, Investor
March 2016 Geenie
Lauren Maillian is a former model turned serial entrepreneur; she is the Founder and CEO of LMB Group, a strategic marketing and advisory company, is a Founding Partner at Gen Y Capital Partners, an early stage venture firm focused on investments in mobile and consumer facing technology enabled companies and is the author of the instant bestselling business memoir, The Path Redefined: Getting To the Top On Your Own Terms. Most recently, Lauren has brought her trademark personality and passion for entrepreneurship to television as co-star of the new startup focused reality TV show, Quit Your Day Job, premiering on Oxygen (NBCU) Q1 2016.
At age 19, Lauren cofounded a boutique winery that quickly became an internationally recognized award-winning wine brand, making her the youngest self-made winery owner in the country. She served as the Chief Operating Officer of the company from inception through the brand’s acquisition in 2011.
Lauren’s passionate about marrying marketing, branding, strategy and technology. She is known to spearhead the development of communication concepts to help others build, inspire, engage and connect. Lauren is a marketer at heart, who loves to build brands and devise business development strategies with a concentration on the creation and implementation of innovative yet strategic plans that build brand identity and increase revenue. She is a detail-oriented strategist with a deep understanding of business operations, management, and formation across various industries. She has a unique ability to turn opportunities into inflection points that help companies gain the traction and market share they need. Lauren has a global perspective and a fresh, yet entrepreneurial, approach to implementation. She is excited by innovative and unique concepts, and has been known to seize rare opportunities and turn them into iconic experiences.
Lauren often speaks about entrepreneurship, female leadership, marketing, branding, business development, startups and early stage venture at various conferences. She has spoken at prestigious institutions including Harvard University, Columbia University, the S.C. Johnson School of Management at Cornell University and the University of Virginia. She is a large supporter of entrepreneurship; she invests in numerous companies and serves on the advisory board of Digital Undivided, a social enterprise that increases the active participation of urban communities, especially women, in the digital space; CoSign, a technology company that allows you to monetize your social media and shareable content; and LIQS, a brand of pre-mixed single serve cocktail shots. Lauren judges the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship’s (NFTE) business plan competition and the incoming classes of Start Up Chile, an incubator program in support of entrepreneurship sponsored by the Chilean Government. She is an active advisor to several startups including the Levo League and the Pipeline Fellowship.
Lauren’s work has been featured in national media outlets including Forbes, American Express OPEN Forum, Interactive ONE, Sirius XM Radio, 1010 WIN’s, HuffPost LIVE, UPTOWN Magazine, CNBC’s Nightly Business Report, MSNBC, FOX 5, CBS New York, Business Insider, Fast Company, and Black Enterprise. In 2011 she was recognized at The White House by the Kauffman Foundation as an Empact100 Award honoree which lists the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 and in 2013, Essence Magazine named Lauren a “Shot Caller” to watch in business. In 2014, the New York Urban League’s Young Professionals awarded Lauren the honor of Philanthropist of the Year for her charitable involvement and dedication to giving back, in 2015 Kia Motors and UPTOWN Magazine awarded Lauren for being Inspirationally Crafted for her leadership and fearless entrepreneurial journey and in 2015, Smart CEO Magazine named Lauren as a Smart CEO Brava Award Winner.
Lauren is very involved in various philanthropic organizations that affect youth, poverty, education, and the arts. She serves on the Advisory Board of The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Multicultural Audience Development Initiative (MADI) Committee, as Vice Chair of The Apollo Theater Foundation Young Patrons Steering Committee, The New York Urban League’s Development Committee, is a founding member of the Young Entrepreneur Council, and a Lifetime Member of the Children’s Aid Society. Lauren has a Bachelors of Science, Magna Cum Laude, in International Trade and Marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology. She is a single mom and currently resides in Manhattan, New York with her two children, Jayden and Chloe.
Crystal McCrary, Author, Filmmaker
April 2016 Geenie
Crystal McCrary is an award-winning film, television producer, director and author. She began her career practicing entertainment law with the New York City firm of Paul Weiss before leaving to pursue a full-time career in writing, directing and producing. Since that time, she has written for several magazines, published two New York Times best-selling novels, and produced original programming for TV & Film including HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE, GOTHAM DIARIES and INSPIRATION: Profiles of Black Women Changing Our World. She also produced the independent film DIRTY LAUNDRY (FOX Films) and for six seasons Ms. McCrary served as co-creator/executive producer for the NAACP Image Award nominated BET documentary series LEADING WOMEN and LEADING MEN which profiled women and men who have impacted the country socially, politically and culturally. She also created and executive produced the three-part documentary series INSIDE: Black Culture profiling The Studio Museum in Harlem, Evidence Dance Company and Abyssinian Baptist Church.
Ms. McCrary directed and produced the feature-length documentary along with Amar'e Stoudemire and Lupe Fiasco, LITTLE BALLERS, which premiered on Nickelodeon Sports in February 2015. She has just completed production on a new Nickelodeon Sports series LITTLE BALLERS INDIANA with WNBA ALL-Star Skylar Diggins which premiered March 2017. She is now in production on a documentary about the history of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund..
Dedicated to and outspoken on education, children’s rights and women’s issues, Ms. McCrary has appeared on several national television shows including Good Morning America, The TODAY Show, and CNN. Ms. McCrary has also appeared as a guest co-host on ABC’s The View. She has also interviewed President Bill Clinton and Mayor Michael Bloomberg for her television shows. Ms. McCrary was named to Crain’s-New York Business Forty Under Forty.
Ms. McCrary is a cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and New York University School of Law and American University (J.D., 1995). Ms. McCrary also studied International European Community Law in Paris, France. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children.
Veronica Webb, Supermodel, Entrepreneur, Fashion/Beauty Writer
September 2017 Geenie
Known for being one of the first African–American supermodels to break barriers in the beauty and fashion industries, Veronica Webb became a lifestyle expert through her journey as an evolving model, beauty & fitness enthusiast, mother and wife. Throughout the years, she has appeared on covers of top international fashion magazines, has worked with designers such as Azzedine Alaïa, Versace, Chanel, Kanye West, Isaac Mizrahi and more. Today, in her early 50's, Webb continues as a trending figure by sharing her story through her lifestyle blog (WebbonTheFly.com), talks/lectures and collaborations with major brands and campaigns.
Chana Ginelle Ewing
Chana Ginelle Ewing is a storyteller, strategist and entrepreneur who galvanizes communities of color, young people, and women to make cultural dents that move society forward.
Chana’s interests lie at the intersection of innovation, women’s leadership and change-making. For over five years, she led littlebigGirl and CO, a NYC-based branding and marketing studio servicing non-profit, entertainment/media and technology clients. Committed to social justice, the firm has helped clients such as The Andrew Goodman Foundation activate the civic power of millennials through new programs and content creation, and Firelight Media make controversial historical moments sexy via social media campaigns and influencer activations.
Recently, Chana founded GeenieBox, a women’s empowerment subscription service on a mission to propel ambitious women to bolder action by showcasing iconic Black women and their secret weapons.
GeenieBox and other projects have been featured in blogs and digital properties including Voz, MadameNoire, HerAgenda, Black Enterprise and UPTOWN.
Chana is an in-demand speaker, emcee and judge on the topics of entrepreneurship, digital marketing, and women’s leadership. Chana has led or joined conversations at Social Media Week, Northside Festival, Civic Hall, Pipeline Fellowship Conference, and 3-Day Startup.
In addition to her entrepreneurial efforts, Chana serves on the Millennial Advisory Committee of The Andrew Goodman Foundation and the Young Professionals Committee of 651 ARTS. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia and resides in Brooklyn, NY.
Valeisha Butterfield Jones, Head of Black Community Engagement, Google
Recognized by ESSENCE Magazine as a top 40 executive under 40, Valeisha Butterfield Jones has blazed a trail in public and private sectors for more than a decade.
Valeisha Butterfield Jones is the Head of Black Community Engagement for Google and the Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN). Valeisha is also the author of the top selling book The Girlprint, a mentorship guide for women.
As a college student, Valeisha began working full-time for music legends Wu Tang Clan and for former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson. After graduation, Valeisha was recruited by HBO Boxing and served as the Executive Assistant to the President of HBO Sports.
Valeisha returned to her North Carolina roots and served as the Field Director for Chief Justice Henry Frye of the N.C. Supreme Court. After a devastating loss on election night, Valeisha moved to New York City to further pursue her entertainment dreams and landed an unpaid internship with music mogul Russell Simmons.
Valeisha was a professional standout and turned her entertainment aspirations into action by becoming one of the youngest Executive Director’s of a national organization at the time. Butterfield Jones served as the Program Manager, Director of Sponsorship and Events, Vice President and eventually the National Executive Director of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network over a seven-year period.
During this time, she was introduced to then Senator Barack Obama and began serving as a volunteer for his 2008 Presidential campaign. Valeisha recruited celebrity surrogates to endorse and support Senator Obama and received a call soon after election night to serve in the Obama Administration.
Valeisha served by Presidential appointment in the Administration of U.S. President Barack Obama as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for the International Trade Administration and as the National Youth Vote Director for the 2012 Obama for America campaign.
Valeisha has been widely credited for her magnetic relationship with youth culture and her role turning out young Americans during the 2004, 2008, 2012 Presidential elections. Valeisha also served as the National Ambassador for the United Negro College Fund’s Empower Me Tour in 2014 and 2015.
Valeisha has been recognized by Glamour, Marie Claire, Elle, Essence Top 40 under 40, Ebony Top 100, Jet, Black Enterprise and Sister 2 Sister Magazines as a leading young executive in the United States with her finger on the pulse of all things youth, entertainment and politics. Valeisha has also appeared on OWN TV’s Light Girls, Aspire TV’s Exhale, Arise News, Arise 360, Centric TV’s Morning Cup, BET News, BET’s 106 and Park and others.
Valeisha was born in Wilson, NC and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Clark Atlanta University. She currently serves on the board of directors for iVote (www.ivoteforamerica.org) and the Hip Hop Sisters Network (www.hiphopsisters.org).
Valeisha is married to 2016 NBA champion Dahntay Jones of the Cleveland Cavaliers and gave birth to her first child in 2012. She is the daughter of U.S. Congressman G. K Butterfield and N.C. State Legislator Jean Farmer Butterfield.
Renae Bluitt, Founder, Crush Media/In Her Shoes Blog
March 2017 Geenie
Renae Bluitt, founder of Crush Media, is a dedicated PR & lifestyle marketing specialist who understands the power of brand devotion. Consistently leveraging the inseparable worlds of marketing and pop culture, Renae's innovative approach keeps her in high demand not just within the multicultural segment, but in the broader market as well.
With over a decade in the industry, Renae has successfully executed PR and event programs for household brands such as Axe Body Spray, ESSENCE Magazine, Pantene, Cover Girl Queen Collection, McDonald's, Kraft Foods, and Coca-Cola. While she gained valuable experience in corporate and agency settings, Renae knew her professional story wouldn't end there.
After several years of searching, she was determined to create her own opportunities. Combining a successful PR career with her love of pop culture, beauty, and desire to meet the needs of the multicultural community, Renae launched Crush Media in January 2008. With a focus on beauty, she is more committed than ever to erasing the impersonal divide that often exists between a brand and its consumers.
Inspired by all of the successful women she's met on her journey, Renae launched In Her Shoes in 2009. As the one stop blog for women committed to being the captain of their own ship, In Her Shoes shines light on change agents from Brooklyn to the Bay and beyond. So when she's not busy shaping brands, she's sharing - introducing In Her Shoes readers to other "fly female entrepreneurs" like herself.
Rhonesha Byng, Founder, HerAgenda
April 2017 Geenie
Rhonesha Byng is the founder and CEO of Her Agenda. Her philosophy in life is represented by her acronym of N.E.S.H.A. – No one Ever Slows Her Agenda, which was also the inspiration for her company – HerAgenda.com.
The site is a digital media platform that bridges the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women. The site provides access to content and community that gives millennial women access to information and inspiration to help them get started or to move to the next level of their career.
Rhonesha is part of the 2017 class of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in both the media and dorm room founders categories. Previously she was named one of 28 Under 28 by NBCBLK and one of 29 People To Know by BET. She's spoken at The White House and The United State of Women Summit. She's also received awards from the Associated Press, and the New York Association of Black Journalists for her work in journalism. Early in her career, as a field producer with NBC New York (WNBC-TV) she earned an Emmy award as part of team coverage for a breaking news story.
Rhonesha is an alumna Posse Scholar and attended Depauw University on a full-tuition leadership scholarship.
Marcia Cole, CEO/Chief Creative Officer, Ivy Digital, LLC
May 2017 Geenie
Marcia A. Cole is the CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Ivy Digital. She drives the creative and digital business strategies for clients such as L’Oreal, American Salon magazine, IMAN Cosmetics, Jay Manuel Beauty, The African American Film Critics Association, Yitzhak Rabin Foundation, Bridgestreet Corporation and others. Marcia started her journey in media as a fashion illustrator while a student at Parsons School of Design. Then she built a career as a magazine and digital editor and writer, respectively, and became one of the media industry’s go-to media strategist/business development leaders with expertise in haircare, beauty, fashion, entertainment and lifestyle topics, and targeting general and multicultural audiences.
Over the past 20 years, Marcia has skillfully developed multi-million dollar revenue-generating opportunities and audience-building partnerships for targeted markets using content as the primary connector; she has held executive-level content positions at leading media corporations such as AOL, Time Inc., Latina Media Ventures, Fairchild Publications, and the now defunct, Vanguarde Media. She was one of the founder editors of Suede magazine, is the former executive editor of Heart & Soul magazine, and was the founder of AMBERmag.com, where she successfully activated beauty tours and social events for its sponsors, including CVS, MIZANI, Dr. Miracles and IMAN cosmetics. Her freelance articles about beauty, hair, health and entertainment have appeared in The New York Times and The New York Post, and in Elle, InStyle Weddings, Essence, Heart & Soul and Vibe magazines.
Along the way, Marcia has been recognized by her peers. She is the recipient of a MEG grant from New York Women in Communications, Inc., was named Woman of the Year by Golden Shears Awards for her commitment to the success of the beauty industry; received the Young, Gifted & Black Award for Entrepreneurship and was awarded with the C.H.I.C. (Charitable, Hopeful, Impactful, Classy) award by Jamaica Impact for her outstanding contribution to professional excellence and commitment to philanthropy. Her media appearances include The Biography Channel, R&B Divas LA, TV One All Access and Urban Radio Networks, and she has been quoted in WWD, Happi, NYWICI Next and Marie Claire magazine discussing mobile applications and career advice.
Marcia is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and holds a Master’s Degree in Publishing from Pace University. She served on the operating and Foundation Board of Directors for New York Women in Communications for ten years, and has taught graphic design to students at Harlem School of the Arts. She recently launched Passion Meets Purpose, which connects transformational life coaches, beauty salons and wellness professionals to homeless shelters with a singular goal: they matter. A conference and a podcast exploring the people who have and how you can marry your passions with your purpose will be launched in Fall 2017.
Originally from Jamaica, she resides in Brooklyn, New York.
Jamilah Lemieux, VP, News & Mens Programming, InteractiveOne
August 2016 Geenie
Jamilah Lemieux is the Vice President of News and Men’s Programming for Interactive One, where she is spearheading the editorial re-development of NewsOne.com and working on the launch of an exciting new platform to make it’s debut later this spring. She is also a renowned cultural critic with a focus on issues of race, gender and sexuality.
Prior to joining iOne, Jamilah was the Senior Editor at EBONY magazine where she helped lead the reimagining of the brand’s website and was an integral part of the print operation.
A leading millennial thinker, Jamilah has appeared as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, ABC and BET, and on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, as well MTV2's Uncommon Sense. She has given countless radio interviews on NPR, the BBC and the CBC, and Revolt/Power 105.1’s wildly-popular The Breakfast Club and her written work has appeared in host of print and digital properties, including The Nation, Essence, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Colorlines and Mic.
In 2014, Lemieux was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, as well as Fortune's list of the most influential women on Twitter and was a finalist for an NABJ Salute to Excellence Award.
In 2015, she penned the forward for the re-release of Michele Wallace's groundbreaking Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman and also received the Maggie Award for Excellence in Commentary from Planned Parenthood and the Ivy Award for Social Engagement from the Delta Rho Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Her numerous speaking appearances include panels and keynotes at Columbia, Vassar, SXSW Interactive, Georgetown, NYU, the Brooklyn Museum, Penn State, Morehouse, Harvard and Stanford, as well as the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X in Harlem.
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