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‘A Seat at the Table’ — Soft Launch Dinner Party for Sistas in Sales

Sistas in Sales, founded in 2018 by Chantel George (pictured above, right), is a community for women of color in sales and business. Its mission is to build a community for black female sales professionals to network, advance their careers and most importantly find sisterhood. Chantel created an environment where women of color in sales positions would be welcomed, motivated and inspired by each other. Where together they can dispel the “old boys club” that exists in institutions today, and show the world that women of color are not only powerhouse sales women, but are out there cashing checks, moving up the ladder and living their best lives.

Chantel stated, “Those are not the narratives we see in the media, and I have made it my purpose to change that. Sistas In Sales LLC, is the first community of its kind for women of color in professional sales. We provide the safe haven necessary, along with sisterhood and access to successful women of color that are at the highest echelon of their career.” Chantel celebrated her idea coming to fruition by hosting an intimate dinner/soft launch party entitled, “A Seat at the Table” on the evening of Thursday, April 26th 2018.

“A Seat at the Table” is an amazing concept that was executed beautifully by Chantel. She gathered a dozen successful sales/business women of color to drink wine and break bread (literally) with one another while sharing their own personal journeys towards success in corporate America. Much of what was shared had one similar theme: women of color are undervalued, under-appreciated and not respected in sales. The main goal of SIS is to change that narrative and educate people who do not believe we exist in corporate America. Among the attendees was Menen Missailidis, a Client Engagement Associate for Dataminr. Menen said, “I have never been at an event so catered to my career and I felt extremely supported and understood.” She also mentioned that it was nice to be in a room where she was surrounded by such successful, hardworking, bold, black saleswomen, who were “risk takers,” and unapologetic about their stance and position in corporate America. This was something that I personally felt the moment I walked into the room, and that echoed throughout the night.

There was an amazing display of food created by Chef Samir Selmanovic, who hosted the ladies in his beautiful Harlem home. Chef Samir, being of European descent, was both shocked and impressed with the stories shared, having never been made aware of our professional struggles. He said he strongly believes that SIS is headed towards the right direction, and is fostering change with its initiative.

Imani Holland, President & CEO of Brmani Marketing Communications LLC, and Alexandra Angrand, Sales Director at Mary Kay, felt that it was an evening well spent with, “intelligent, like-minded women.” Alexandra made an important point:

“SIS gives us the support we need to be bold with our education, talent, areas of expertise and sales skills, as we multitask through our professional and personal lives. It is important to have this community because women of color are far, few and in-between as we pursue our greatness in the business world.”

Being in the room and hearing these thoughts was eye-opening, revealing that there are other women with similar experiences. With each statement and story shared, we felt empowered with the knowledge that a sisterhood was being created. As a result, we now have each other’s backs. As they say, ignorance is bliss — but once you know, it is pertinent to take action, especially if it is something that tugs at your soul and your life’s purpose.

The atmosphere in the room was one that provided a surge of energy, inspiration, motivation, and confidence to accomplish any and everything. Not one person was too shy to speak up, state their names, professional roles and share their side businesses and passion projects with the room. In fact, the photographer for the evening, Raven Tucker, was able to book a photography gig with the Special Olympics, just because she was in the right room at the right time with black professional women. This is a room that most white men or women would look at and assume we were chatting about hair and fashion (since everyone was dressed so nicely), but in fact, we were the top women in our organizations, holding impressive professional titles, and running the show.

One of the women making a name for herself is Rahdiah Barnes, an Account Manager for Spectrum & the VP of The National Association for Multi Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC). Rahdiah said:

“SIS is so important and much needed as it provides a community for women of color who feel they are alone in a white-male-dominated industry…SIS allows for fellowship and support of one another while we continue to be bold in our everyday moves. Which means being courageous to do what you want while having the confidence in yourself to know that you are capable.”

Confidence was another key theme of the evening. Even if they were not the most confident outwardly, every woman in the room exuded confidence in some way, whether it was the way they carried themselves, or how they spoke about their trials and tribulations. Tianna Kenney, Wholesale Account Executive for PVH Corp commented, “It was awesome to see how much we had in common, yet also how different we were and how a lot of the ‘side hustles’ and interests overlap.” Tiana foresees both “new business partnerships and friendships coming from the bold women of SIS.” And, to be honest, we all saw them forming at the table and it “was truly a beautiful site to see.” According to Tiana, being bold did not mean being fearless, but “being prepared to face those fears head on.” She stated that, “I don’t fear failure because everything that looks like failure is just an opportunity to learn and do better or act differently next time.” If Chantel had operated in fear when creating SIS, this amazing community would not have been created, and black women would not have a safe space to address their concerns and the unfortunate common themes of non-inclusion and a lack of diversity in the sales industry.

Overall, the soft launch of Sistas in Sales was an amazing success. Even more so because of the bonds created at and away from the dinner table. This is the beginning of something that promotes and exposes the black girl magic that every black woman possesses, and will empower them to trust and believe that they too have “A Seat at the Table.”

The Seats at the Table

– Chantel George, Enterprise AE for Dataminr/ CEO of SIS, LLC

– Myrna Datilus, CEO of A Colorful Dreamer & Elite AE @ Yelp

– Tiana Kenney, Wholesale AE at PVG Corp

– Raven Tucker, Photographer

– Menen Missailidis, Client Engagement Associate, Dataminr

– Imani Holland, President & CEO of Brmani Marketing Communications, LLC

– Rahdiah Barnes, Account Manager at Spectrum & VP of NAMIC, The National Association for Multi Ethnicity in Communications

– Alexandra Angrand, Sales Director, Mary Kay

– Mykal White, Freelance Consultant

– Jolanda Porter, Senior Consultant for roundCorner

– Belissa Savery, Enterprise Local Client Partner at Yelp

– Alicia Lee, Sales Coordinator at Outfront Media

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