This is a new blog series we are introducing to our community. Our hopes are to expand it so that you can soon join us on the sofa. Our first piece: About a month ago I was preparing to experience the second year of my father’s birthday without him being here physically. I dreaded this day as much as I dread any major date without him being here, but for some reason this year I was really struggling to pull it together. So my friends offered to come over so that I wouldn’t be alone, I am blessed to say these same friends came the first year as well and we sat on the sofa unapologetically eating every carb we loved. Well this year we turned the night into a festivity and we called it: Tequila, Tacos, and Tears…on a Tuesday. The four of us gathered in the kitchen to collectively cook a meal. We laughed at one of our friends who went ballistic in the supermarket, in order to get shrimp (to suffice my pescatarian needs). Her experience is something she will never let me live down, but I love it, it’s what makes her- her. We sat in my cozy kitchen designed for occasions such as these, and enjoyed this meal together. We made margaritas as if it was Friday night and we had no care in the world. I was able to suppress my feelings until we realized how quickly 7:00 pm turned to 12:00 am. Then it was time to face why we were really there. They each shared their stories of grief and the recent loss of loved ones who played huge parts in their lives. They realized how much their loved ones existence defined their own. Then my friend said, “Elle, this is about you, we have all shared our stories and our tears it’s your turn.” But I didn’t want it to be my turn because I hate being vulnerable I felt I cried last year, and on every other occasion that reminded me of him. Then I shared how I was taught to hold it in, be strong and not cry, but then I realized how much that suppression never really allowed me to deal with my pain. I then remembered hearing TD Jakes say he would hope that his wife and daughters experience an absence similar to the ones he had seen so many women state they have, when he passes away. Because that pain and absence serves as a tribute to the life of the ones we lose. I began to talk about the pain I feel and how it is hard to even breathe somedays because the pain is so severe. But I was ok because I had my friends, my sisters, who had experienced this depth of pain, with me. We left with the belief in our hearts that our loved ones: my father, her mother, her grandmother, and her grandfather, were all smiling down at us and happy that we had one another during a time like this. We needed that time together. All women need this time together. Whether your seat is in the kitchen, or your office, or your sofa. Know it’s important and needed. So please grab a few of your friends and host a Tequila, Tacos, and Tears night, and let us know how it goes. -Elle Harris
I think back to 16 year old Elle, and if I really would have taken advantage of a book that told me what to look forward to when I went to college. I still haven’t figured out the answer, but had I been given an article with at least 5 things that were necessary I think my experience would have been even greater. So here are 5 things that are necessary: Attire. There are important garments that we all should have in college. Something I always preach is before you have a physical business card you are your business card. Someone may not remember your name but they will remember how you looked. So it is extremely important that you have these things. A nice tailored suit would be a good investment for career fairs, interviews, and convocations. It will set you apart from the people with slacks and a blouse. A nice solid color formal dress is needed for functions held at your school that includes alumni and other benefactors. Please stray away from multipurpose club/church pieces, it sends the wrong message in these settings. A nice pair of black pumps says a lot about a women. It shows that she’s mature and that she means business. Stay away from wedged or platform pumps as much as possible. Those shoes can be used for more casual affairs. A nice pair of small gold or silver earrings with a matching necklace are great jewelry pieces. This keeps you in the safe zone especially if you consider pledging, you do not want to show up at a sorority event draped in diamonds or pearls. College Conferences. I learned so much in the past few years about how there were all of these wonderful conferences being held around the world for college students while I was in school. Some were tied directly to organizations such as fraternities and sororities, and others were specific to the industries in which students wished to enter upon graduation. Take South by Southwest for example, it’s been around since 1987 and it’s designed to help creative people achieve their goals. It’s the perfect place to network, pitch ideas, and develop professionally. Find a conference specific to your major, you can't go wrong attending. Internships immediately. Start interning as early as you can. Some people wait until it's time to take the internship class before they start looking for internships. This is all wrong. Take as many internships as possible and understand you may not get paid for it. The real purpose of it is to give you experience in your field and help you fine tune your craft. Reach out to your dream companies to work for and volunteer your time. It could pay off tremendously when you graduate. Make sure your professors know your name. When my stepfather dropped me off at school he said make sure all of your professors know your name. I thought to myself, yeah right, it’s too many students for that to happen. But I made it happen and it paid off because I was able to call on so many of my professors later in life for professional references or advice. And today I am able to return that favor by providing their students with internships and even writing letters of support for their tenure packets. Joining meaningful organizations. I think all organizations have a purpose but I mean meaningful in the sense of what can it do for your future and what can you add to its mission. You can make life long connections and partnerships by joining the right organization. This is also an opportune time to see of you are a leader. So seek to take a leadership position in whatever organization you join. It is better to know now if you can deal with the pressure, than to spend your life hating a leadership role. I thought I was too cool for this in college and I slightly regret it today. I did enlist in the military while in college and the connections I formed there were life changing and helped me complete my undergraduate degree literally. Don’t sweat the small things it’s a short term stay. These years will fly by, you will gain friends and you will lose friends. So cherish the moments you can and do not give power to things you cannot control. Have fun these are the years to do it- just not too much fun. Trust me I know! -Elle Harris
It’s been almost 2 years since I set down to write anything for World Wide Women Group. Excuse me if I’m a little rusty, lol. My writing over the past two years has been limited to reports, dissertation preparation, and analyzing quantitative and qualitative data- such joy (in the most sarcastic tone ever). To be completely honest pursing my PhD has been the perfect excuse for me to BS and suppress my need to write. Had I taken the time to write, I would have realized that a relationship I invested so much into emotionally, financially, physically, and mentally was failing. And death was near. *Turns on The Internet Pandora station- Get Away is playing, puts in headphones, exhales and…* It was the summer of 2015 right after the 2nd Return to Royalty Weekend when I began to resent WWW Group. It was sucking me dry literally. I felt I was putting so much into this thing, I thought was my dream and my purpose and I was getting nothing in return. I was so pissed off about all that the weekend had brought to light. I saw division, hate, jealousy, cattiness, lack of support, messiness, chaos all the things I thought I would never experience again. I saw all of this at the Rally which was the exact event created to unify women, spread love, and support. I remember the moment I planned my escape. I had left the gifts at home (30 minutes away) for the first place winners. I told my mom I had to go home and get the gifts. She wouldn’t let me go. Instead she and my stepdad took the 45 minute ride (they didn’t have an EZpass) to get the purses from my house. I stood there in the middle of the field and I felt as if I was having an outer body experience. I could see all this craziness happening around me. I saw a few people I asked to be a part of this event turn into pre-Madonna's right before my eyes. Yet I still smiled and accommodated their many requests. I saw many of my volunteers becoming preoccupied with activities completely unrelated to the tasks at hand and I saw how many of our vendors and guests were left unattended to. I wanted to scream. Now there were good parts of this event, our contenders enjoyed themselves thoroughly but I couldn’t completely accept that in the moment, I was too angry. Maybe 5 minutes before it ended I shared this special moment with Princess DeOWNa. We cried together, because we knew what the completion of that day had meant, as I was in such a bad space emotionally and mentally. But she whispered in my ear and said, “I promise Elle if you don’t give up we can do this again next year and you won’t go through any of the things you had to experience. We can do this.” And I believed her. So I pulled myself together got on the stage and thanked everyone who came out in the nasty rain and stayed to the end of the event. I then said the craziest thing and I remember the gazes and shocked facial expressions that came from my team when I said, “We hope to see you again next year!” WTF. That was August 2015. I did nothing again until December 2015. I was excited because we started to plan for 2016. We had great creative sessions and we had a list of great things we were going to do. Then it was time for the first event the “Kinks and Curls” panel. I stepped back and let my team take on this event I showed up literally 5 minutes before it started and I was underwhelmed. I felt so bad when finding out that my event coordinator had to do everything on her own. So bad that I didn’t even speak at the end of the event. I was so upset that once again I didn't listen to my intuition and provide a level of support I felt was needed. I am sure the people who came enjoyed themselves but behind the scenes it was complete hell. So I began to rethink all these cute events we had planned and I said no! Cancel! Cancel! Cancel! And I went back to the drawing board and thought about what else we could do, so we started the Influenc-HER Profile Series, and that felt good. We began to interview all of these amazing women who were flourishing in their careers and their stories were so motivating. It was everything that we stood for. Then it was time for the 3rd Annual Return to Royalty weekend. The pressure, the lack of attachment was felt. I was sitting on the floor having a conversation with my husband and I remember saying I refuse for what happened last year to happen again. I am not putting all of this energy and money into something that does not reap a harvest. I’m tired. And he asked me the toughest question ever. “What changed?” There was a time when I would stay up all night not caring about losing sleep or burning my candle at both ends. I thrived off of the pure excitement of watching my visions coming to life. But my dream had become a burden, and I was no longer in love. I had my hand in so many things and I was helping so many others but I wasn’t nourishing this relationship that had been my first love. I loved her before she was fully developed. She was with me before I began dating my husband. I let life and all these cool ideas I wanted to pursue and work and people push us further and further apart. Until I didn’t have anything left to give. I had to make the decision to let it go completely or give it another chance. So I gave it another chance. The 3rd Return to Royalty Rally turned about to be the best one ever. It was because of the effort I put in it because things had to change. I had to believe in WWW Group as much as God believed in me. And it was everything I dreamed it would be. I couldn’t return to business as usual, after that weekend. WWW Group had to be completely different and embody all the things I envisioned it would be. I got so caught up in what everyone else thought it should look like that I forgot what I wanted. Like most relationships, the grass looked greener on other sides and I wanted WWW Group to look like the green I had been exposed to. But how crazy was that idea? I’ve never wanted to mimic someone else’s uniqueness and there was no need to start now. I felt smothered and everything felt dark and heavy so I said, “it needs to be lighter and airy.” My fair brand mother delivered just that. She took all of the components that make up WWW Group and created one unifying W. I then begin stripping away initiatives and adding others so that they all embodied what I wanted to say to the world. What I believe God wants me to say to the world, and I plan to do just that and run this world. Many people will say that the mixture of business and emotions is the reason why many businesses fail. I get it, I do. But I disagree. When your business is the reason you exist- your purpose, it will be impossible to draw the lines. Unless you hate why you exist, but that’s another blog for another day. -Elle Harris
Check out our montage of this year's Royal Soiree it was a beautiful evening and we are thankful for the support of our WWW Group family, volunteers, and supporters.
I recently saw a post on Instagram that said it’s the year of the side chick; I thought that was a rather interesting proclamation. Not for the said side chick, but the woman that stays in the relationship knowing that she is not his only love interest. I will not spend much time on the other woman for two reasons, one because as I said before she does not owe you anything you entered the relationship with him not her. Secondly, because any woman who intentionally goes after a man in a relationship has a deeper issue that requires much needed attention, a class of self-worth, and an entirely different blog series.