Hundreds of women are expected to convene at the Hilton East Hotel for Saturday’s Business Breakfast Industry Meeting, with a red-carpet Mix-and-Mingle for regional celebrity personality, Pam Chatman.
“Women from all over the southeast are expected at Saturday’s empowering event,” said Anner Echols of Dreamland Productions. “Some will be with the entertainment industry, but most will represent the regional business community. Aspiring entrepreneurs and entertainers will also have a strong presence. We have worked hard to produce an event to help women walk away feeling like they can do anything. However, we welcome men as well.”
Chatman, a former television news director, is the chief purveyor of a moniker she embraces – “Oprah of the South.” She will share her journey of personal triumph. It is a story of a young, African-American girl from the Mississippi Delta “breathing in the stench and tyranny of poverty.”
“Sugar Ditch was in my front yard,” said Chatman. “I grew up in stark, rural surroundings with mostly elderly people who scrubbed clothes on a washboard and hung them out on a clothesline. They made hoecakes out of flour on a wood stove, and that was our meal.”
Chatman is also Coca-Cola’s 5by20 Initiative Partner. Women from myriad parts of the world have been selected to sponsor empowerment-driven events to inspire and encourage women to entrepreneurial endeavors through business mentorship and higher education opportunities.
“Coca-Cola wants five million women worldwide to be touched by our efforts, especially in oppressive, rural societies in other parts of the world. We will reach our goal through the power of sharing our own stories about our challenges and how we overcame them,” said Chatman. “My story would not be possible without the grace of God from the very beginning.”
Working for years as one of Greenville’s most popular news personalities, Chatman has learned the power of storytelling.
Raised by her grandmother in Choctaw, Miss., a community were the adults were “real neighbors” that looked “after all us children,” Chatman said her confidence sprang from there.
“I would look in the mirror every day, and I believed that it was my right to be seen and heard. Despite my color and despite my size, I was raised with the kind of love and encouragement that would make you feel like you can do anything in this world. I want to pass on that mindset to women everywhere.”
She rose to prominence as news director at two major networks in Greenville, Miss., starred in the reality series “Breaking Greenville,” made national appearances on “The Today Show” and “The Talk,” which opened doors for a long-held dream: to own her own broadcast network.
Chatman is set to launch her own network, which can be accessed on any computer, tablet, or smart phone.
She turned down the invitation to launch her enterprise in the storied tradition of Hollywood.
“Some of the most talented singers, actors and stage entertainers have come from the south,” she said. “I decided to stay here because Memphis continues to grab the attention of movie makers and production companies. Lots of indie projects will be set on location in Memphis. So moving to Hollywood was just not in the cards for us. We want to be on the cusp of Memphis’ big breakout.”
The Business Breakfast Industry Meeting and red carpet reception affair is the first of a number of events being planned by Chatman.
“Memphis is the place to be. The next ‘It’ place for movie sets, stage production, and blockbuster books. This is it. Many industry people have seen this coming for a very long time. We’re all going to make it happen, and women are going to be right on the front lines of this exciting movement.”
Chatman authored her autobiography, “I Made It Through The Storm” and plans an innovative line-up of “quality programming with inspiring and uplifting content.”
Her digital network will have viewing capability in more than 200 million homes across the country.
Tickets and reservations for Saturday’s event are still available.
(For tickets, reservations and more information about Saturday’s event, call AJE Dreamland Productions at 901-650-4955.)