Women on the Rise 2018

When I walked into Fig & Olive's atrium last week on a very rainy Thursday I was BLOWN AWAY by how Jennifer of Soirée had transformed the room into a beautiful space that was warm and inviting with just the right amount of pink and a few custom prints designed by Brenda of Sweet Llamita was the finishing touch!


Two minutes later, I realized the zipper on my dress had broken; my whole side and bra strap were exposed. #YouHadOneJob

What do you do when you have a wardrobe malfunction at an important event, but the show must go on? You find the MacGyver of your tribe and pull yourself together in less than 90 seconds, that's what! 

Guests were arriving in 15 minutes and no one had a safety pin. Argh! Then Jennifer found a paper clip, opened it, bent and twisted it to hold the two sides of the dress together, so thankfully only my hips were now hanging out instead of my entire torso. So be it... neither rain nor indecent exposure were going to stop us!

We began with a warm welcome from yours truly (left), and Xochitl Hernandez (right) spoke about Dress for Success. Catherine, a Dress for Success Alumni (center), attended as well. She has completed the entire Dress for Success program and is now the national DFS West ambassador. 


The food was delicious! We laughed and drank rosé. (Meanwhile, our photographer Monica Linda was busy capturing the event and made sure to position me in order to conceal that my dress was wide open. Thanks, girl!) 


Standing at the pink podium, I proceeded to address the elephant in the room and acknowledge the fact that yes, my dress was wide open, but more importantly, we had some amazing ladies to recognize.

Kathy Schuh was honored as this year’s Woman on the Rise. Trying not to get choked up, I shared how Kathy was with me when I was first developing BRA, and it was through her support and encouragement that it is the network you see today. Woman on the Rise is given to a founding BRA member who has worked with or been hired by the most members. Kathy’s worked with or been hired by more of you than I could have imagined via Kathy Schuh Photography, and many of our members joined us at her recommendation. She lives the BRA mission in her business life – to hire within our network first. 


Next was Toni Purry, our Empowerment Leader. She really got me to tear up too when she shared how collaborating with me for the My Hype Workshop was the bridge between her publishing a book and implementing its core message. During the workshop, Toni taught us how to celebrate our achievements, no matter the size, with help from her book, My Hype Book. If that doesn’t scream Empowerment Leader, I’m not sure what does. But Toni also embodies another piece of our mission – collaboration over competition – by telling each and every one of you that you are leaders and you have greatness in you.


Last, but absolutely not least, was our Visionary Woman of the Year, Elena Vasilevsky. Not only has she created her own successful business at INLOVE magazine, but she also gives back to her community and has a real social impact. She teamed up with Sublimitas, a nonprofit organization, and donates proceeds from the magazine to this organization. Sublimitas helps socioeconomically marginalized children and youth in Ukraine, her birth place, develop their potential through education. Thank you for joining us, Elena, please keep up your amazing work as a female entrepreneur and a philanthropist. You really do inspire us all to achieve our full potential.


Behind the scenes, it TRULY does take a village to make an event like this so successful. A special thank you to:

  • Monica Linda of Monica Linda Photography for the beautiful photos featured in this email. Check out dozens more WOTR pictures on our Facebook page!
  • Jennifer Currier of Soirée, made the day beautiful and has such an attention to detail that not a single thing was out of place, and she’s handy with a paperclip!
  • Naomi Newman for the wonderful scarves that were gifted to every attendee
  • Ashley of Pulp Pantry for the yummy treats
  • Amy Brownstein of PR Studio USA who helped bring eyes on BRA to further the advancement of all us in the network.
  • Nadine Shelton of All For One, GP (website pending!) who I contacted to video the event just FOUR days prior and she hustled to make it happen, she was ON IT

And of course, thank you to everyone who purchased tickets and showed up; we sold every single available seat! It was such a beautiful afternoon and I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome. Speaking of which, drum roll, please...


We reached our goal, raising a total of $1,500 for Dress for Success! Last year we donated clothes; this year we created a lasting partnership and were able to give even more. Next year, I plan on doubling it! 

Finally, as we were leaving and basking in the afterglow of a perfect event despite the rain and broken zipper, Lori reached into her coat pocket and found two safety pins! Figures, right? Lol