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Joymaker 2020 made the case that words matter

The Joymaker 2020 virtual event hosted by Lori Spicer Robertson produced a glossary of words, terms and phrases connected to uplift and empowerment.

Robertson, founder of Wundher, a digital media and in-the-flesh platform designed to empower the Renaissance woman and mother to rediscover their joy, presented Joymaker last  Saturday (June 6), with the virtual gathering carried on the BlueJeans, conferencing platform.

Narrating resilience, work re-engineering, curating the unexpected, the human side of enterprise and a new kind of patriotism were phrases that punctuated the virtual summit.

An inspiring collective of motivators made use of the terms, spreading a message of joy and gratitude in the age of COVID-19.

The summit consisted of five different sessions that involved a mix of panel discussions and keynote speakers.

Moderator and panelists during “Connection – The Power of Reconnecting.” (Photo: Screen capture)

Randi Zinn, host of the “Going Beyond Podcast” and Ryan Robertson, a Memphis native and innovative and multicultural marketing executive, covered narrating resilience.

“The solutions are just as varied as the problems themselves. It’s all about finding new ways of accessing, approaching or thinking about things,” said Robertson.

“A lot of times, people only view innovation as the big breakthrough and disruptive ideas, but it can also be simple solutions that make everyday things easier for us. And that’s both beautiful and inspiring. We can’t escape it.”

Patrice Tanaka, founder and chief joy officer for Joyful Planet, LLC., and Brandon Williams, vice president at NBCUniversal, discussed careers and work re-engineering.

Tanaka shared how defining her life purpose and pursuing it with courage not only influenced the evolution of her leadership style, but how it’s essential for all to become the best leaders possible in our work and lives overall.

Brandice Daniel, Memphis native and founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Harlem’s Fashion Row, spoke on curating the unexpected.

“I never doubted the success of my staying power, but I may have doubted the potential of what it took to sustain all the challenges that come along with being an entrepreneur and starting a business from scratch,” Daniel said.

“I was a fashion outsider with limited resources and connections to the right people and the right audience, and that was a major concern. Although most of my challenges were internal, I knew if I could fight through them and find the strength to keep HFR moving forward, it would sustain itself because it’s needed.

“Our organization is special because we not only provide incredible opportunities for designers but we’ve also become a place that honors people of color in this industry.”

During a dance break, popular local Zumba Instructor, David Quarrels IV, showcased a lively cardio-dance workout with music and choreographed steps.

John Knightly, chief marketing officer at BlueJeans by Verizon, and Verizon’s Managing Partner Candace Morgan helped explore “Connection – The Power of Reconnecting.”

The panel, moderated by Amy Stack, director of Strategic Partnerships, Integrated Strategy and Solutions for ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospita,l focused on the power of reconnection, the tools that help sustain our bonds and why our professional and personal relationships are worth the work.

Stack asked Morgan, “What element of our human connection has been most refreshing to see as our world leans more into tech?”

Morgan responded, “Seeing the human side of enterprise.”

Desiree Barnes, former aide to President Barack Obama, and Keesha Middlemass, professor in the Department of Political Science at Howard University, discussed A New Kind of Patriotism.

They spoke about the challenges of navigating being black in America. They addressed the racial climate amid the pandemic.

“I think that words matter. I think that the current administration should be more concerned about the rhetoric they put out there,” said Barnes.

Middlemass agreed, describing the maze of legislative regulations that revoke, restrict or retract public benefits for prisoners re-entering society.

“America has a long history of using incarceration as a form of addressing anyone who violates social norms, including addiction and mental illness,” Middlemass said, noting that the United States leads the world in incarceration rates with 1.1 million citizens in the prison system.

Proceeds from the event went towards the homeless teen moms and children of The Hagar Center.

Robertson said, “If more people are able to talk about how they found joy during trying times, that helps shift perspectives and creates a safe space for others who may be having a difficult time.”


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