Monrovia — 2020 may be the year that changed the world and slowed down growth on many frontiers, especially for black women following the COVID-19 pandemic.
But it's most likely not repeating itself in 2021 as the boutique international public relations firm, MBL Int'l and Essence Magazine have teamed up to launch the inaugural edition of 'I Am Speaking: Listen' summit.
The summit is being held virtually and will be broadcasted by Essence Studios and on Facebook live. It features several African women playing leading roles in their respective fields, including Nobel Laureate and former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Wadei Powell, CEO of Srimex Oil &Gas Dr. Williametta Simmons, President, PA Psycological Association, Gina Yashere, comedienne and actress, Funke Adepoju, creator amongst others.
According to the CEO of MBL Int'l, Barkue Tubman Zawolo, the event is meant to celebrate the sisterhood of black women across the diaspora and unify their collective voices on pressing issues.
"I felt it was important to share a platform like this with black women in Africa, in America, and across the diaspora," she said. "I feel like when we connect, it actually makes our voice more powerful and stronger and we have more to offer each other working as a unified tribe than separated."
The event, according to Madame Zawolo, will give the all-female panel a strong level of understanding of their collective personalities, the challenges besetting them in their respective fields, and the symbiosis of their relationship.
"You grow your network, you grow your net worth. But you must do it by pulling along the next generation."
Scheduled to be broadcasted at 9 pm, one panelist is already stoked about the virtual summit.
"I look forward to the 'I Am Speaking' summit this evening and taking part in a dynamic discussion about the importance of sisterhood and what it will take to advance women leadership across the African continent and beyond," President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf posted on Twitter a few hours ago.
Wadei Powell, CEO of SRIMEX Oil & Gas, said she feels honored to be amongst those lined up to speak. "... very much a learning experience and also empowering."
Ms. Powell, an MSc holder in Information Technology Systems Management from Capitol College and amongst the few handfuls of women in the Liberian oil and gas industry, highlighted that it is pertinent for women to share their stories as well as becoming framers of their narratives.
"Black [women] are doing great things--we need to shout about it and celebrate it."