Giving Thanks: 2012

Around this time last year, I posted a blog entitled, Giving Thanks. As I said last year, I can’t wait for one day of the year to give thanks, just like I can’t wait for New Year’s to make resolutions. But in this season of giving thanks, I have to stop and say a few words to the This and That With Calandra massive!

First of all, I am especially thankful for my family, my job and my health. This year, I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given through this blog, such as writing a weekly column for the online magazine, MortarNBrique, and being invited to participate in the 10th Annual Women’s Business Leadership Conference and sit on the Women’s Business Committee of the National Minority Business Council (read about it here). I have been blessed to meet so many wonderful friends this year, and become closer to others I met previously through social media. 2012 was a year of transformation for TTWC, as we ventured into the world of independent music, where I was allowed to act upon my love for music by writing about it more and starting the Independent Artist Spotlight. Many thanks to Ahmed Sirour and Jua Howard for gracing TTWC with interviews. These are the first of two talented musicians we will continue to highlight here at TTWC. And I am grateful to friends Mr. Fresh and K. Parker for hooking a Sistah up! Many thanks to all the great musicians I have met this year, who have exposed me to so much beautiful music in 2012.

My best friend and I formed SGF Events and hosted a few beauty events, most recently partnering with Ginger Ormond of Make Beauty Your Business to co- host our first of many “Cocktails and Class” beauty events in the Maryland area. Look for our next event on December 15, 2012 in Laurel, MD! We will also be announcing a new beauty business venture in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

Every day, I wake up and thank God for the blessings of my life. And to my This and That With Calandra family – thank you, thank you, thank you for ALL of your support! Many thanks to the 152 subscribers to the TTWC page on Facebook, especially the last 20+ who joined our family over the past week alone.

Wishing you and your families and Happy Thanksgiving!

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I’m Not Great at Networking, But…

With fellow Social Media panelist, Nicole McGarrell, owner of Sunny Day Marketing.

On Thursday, October 25, 2012, an amazing group of women and men assembled at the BNY Mellon Building in Lower Manhattan to attend the 10th Annual Women’s Business Leadership Conference, sponsored by the Women’s Business Committee of the National Minority Business Council. The theme for the day was Reflect, Rekindle, Refocus, Resolve, and featured Vera Moore, President & CEO of Vera Moore Cosmetics, as keynote speaker.

A few months ago, I was asked to become part of the conference planning committee, as well as one of the social media panelists. I had a great time meeting new people and feeling the energy in a room full of entrepreneurs. I surveyed the land and saw eager faces, picking up new ideas, especially from Laurana Edwards, author of My Business Plan Book: New Venture Starter Kit. Even those who were already in business for themselves were able to benefit from Ms. Edwards’ wisdom.

Social Media: The Alternative Marketing Strategy is the panel I served on, along with 3 other women who are involved in social media education and social media marketing. I felt a little bit like a fish out of water, considering my social media “work” is strictly personal and I spend very little time actually promoting my side business. However, I was able to introduce the concept of blogging and how I became interested in it. As I prepared for the panel discussion, I realized how many nice people I have met, and cool opportunities have come my way since my brief three years in social media world, especially in the last two years since I started this blog. And for you, my This and That With Calandra family, I think I represented TTWC well!

Crowdfunding: Is it Right for Your Business? featured a panel of individuals who were owners of crowdfunding sites as well as actual business owners who ran successful crowdfunding campaigns. Personally, I have supported a few Kickstarter projects and I think it’s a great resource. The sites represented at the Conference were Lucky Ant and RocketHub.

Duane Reade LOOK Boutique location, courtesy of Vera Moore Cosmetics

But for me, the highlight of my day was meeting Vera Moore! She is an absolutely beautiful, charming and witty woman whom I have come to admire for her years of dedication to the cosmetics industry, as well as her business acumen. She recently completed a deal with Duane Reade/Walgreens, and her cosmetics line is being featured in selected stores’ LOOK Boutiques. What I loved most about meeting her is that despite all that she has accomplished in over 40 years in business, she has such a humble spirit about her. She is so encouraging of others and their business aspirations. She said to me, as she said to many others who were in attendance, “We need to stay in touch! Don’t forget now!” She understands the true value of networking.

The day was a great experience and I look forward to continuing my work with the Women’s Business Committee. I have to give a special shout out to Dawn Henning, who introduced me to the WBC and invited me to participate. I’m happy to say that she is a regular subscriber to This and That With Calandra AND we actually met through Facebook connections! Now how’s THAT for social media networking! 🙂