summit21 21ninety
summit 21

Kela Walker + I

The incredibly smart, successful + beautiful – Danielle Leslie


@Alexuscrown + @ColourCrateMedia

I am finally back from Atlanta and I’m so glad I’m getting a chance to write this wrap up.
Guys, Summit21 was LOVELY! It was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more. I left feeling so full, proud, INSPIRED AF and so on and so on.

For those of you, who have zero idea what I’m talking about.. here’s the breakdown…
Summit21 is a Women-Centric Conference dedicated to the Personal + Professional Development of all women, predominantly African-American women. It is hosted by 21Ninety, which falls under the Blavity family umbrella!
I heard about this conference last year and I was actually in Chicago (the city that it was held) when it was happening and was literally kicking myself for missing the boat. I knew that next year I’d be on top of things, get ahead of the scheduling and GO. So of course, when I saw that the early bird sale was announced, I was on THAT.

That brings up a great point – if you’re ever even considering attending a conference, always cop the early bird ticket because you can always sell that ticket later, if you decide not to attend.

I wanted to write this post not as an advert for the event but more of the why and to give you something to think about.

I believe in the value of connection.

I believe in the value of investing in myself – both time + money. The reason why I knew about this conference ahead of time and not on someone else’s social is because I seek. Events like this don’t fly into my inbox, I seek them out.. I’m looking for these type of events. I’m constantly hearing that “Toronto women” this or that and I literally flinch in frustration when I hear the negativity roll off the tongue or read it on a screen. It bugs me because, you saying that – is doing what exactly? Are you making a positive point? How do you contribute to this problem? I know it may seem like I’m rambling but my point is… positivity prompts positivity, period.

Here is a great example (& my girls who I was with) of an example of women making the investment in ourselves, in our growth, in our network and ultimately in our professional lives to be better and become great. There is a risk involved with that – one I deem worthy.

People are always so quick to say “know your worth, then add tax” (honestly, I hate that saying but that’s for another day); but I challenge you. Do you know your worth? If so, how do you increase that year by year? How do you INVEST in your knowledge and betterment? If you’re simply increasing your rates because you’re a year older – you’re doing it all the way wrong.


The one message I want to leave you with is to continue investing in yourself (conversations, dates, e-mails, pitches, classes, workshops, events, conferences). Be committed to EXPANSION!
Continue to take risks – that could mean introducing yourself to a stranger and starting up a conversation.. breaking up with your deadbeat boyfriend or finally moving out on your own.

Something I do to regularly check in and make sure I’m aligned with who I want to be, is I ask myself…
Am I making this decision, from a fear-based position?
(Also note that fear could be feeling scared but it’s also rooted in insecurity, jealousy, envy, spite etc.

I would’ve missed out on this amazing experience if I had let fear dictate my decision making. When I bought those early bird tickets, I bought them solo – no friend, no crew, nada. Sure, I told a couple of people about it when I first saw the dates but no one was really biting or delivering strong commitments and I knew that I didn’t want to miss out on what seemed like a great opportunity to expand myself and my network because no one else was interested? I mean not really. I wasn’t sure how to feel about attending it alone but that wasn’t my concern. I wasn’t going to sell the value to anyone because that isn’t my job, my role is to show up for me and show up I did.

Things don’t always feel good when they are the best things for you.

The reason why I’m talking about this is because how many times do you attend events and feel like they were a bit lame or weak afterwards? I have, several times.


If I’m being radically honest with myself, a lot of times (not always) it’s because I didn’t make the most of the situation and make it work for me. Take control of your dynamic and YOUR experiences. Meet people, engage, be interesting, BE INTERESTED. Connect across and talk about more than what you’re wearing or what The Shade Room has posted last…

There’s a great quote that says if you want to be a better writer, be a better reader (completely agree). If you want a stronger network, be a better connect! Engage for the sake of building real connection and not for selfish endeavours. Extend yourself before being asked and let people know via words but most importantly ACTIONS, that you are genuinely invested in them and you absolutely will receive the same in return.. and if you don’t, you’ll realize it quickly enough and you move on – but you’ll ultimately be stronger for that experience.

I didn’t want this post to be a review of the conference because frankly, it’s pretty subjective. I really wanted to drill down why I attended, why I likely will next year, the value of overall CONNECTION and what I feel is the missing link in a lot of our lives.

I’ll leave you with this.. If everything you do is comfortable – you’re not growing. Let’s commit right here, today to always be evolving – we don’t need a new month or a new year to commit to ourselves. We anoint ourselves and can change the tide for our lives each and every day.

This was quite different than my typical posts and truly a massive mash-up of my thoughts, but if you enjoyed it, please let me know on Instagram.. as always I love to get your feedback!

ps. I need to be involved in the conference next year – totally gonna manifest that, thank you God in advance!