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BWW Review: A CONVERSATION WITH STACEY ABRAMS at Ovens Auditiorium

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BWW Review: A CONVERSATION WITH STACEY ABRAMS at Ovens Auditiorium
Influencer/Host Ohavia Phillips Interviews Stacey Abrams

"A Conversation With Stacey Abrams", located at Ovens Auditorium, felt like a cozy "chat" amongst friends, lounging in pajamas, positioned on pillows, while perched in front of a warm fireplace, on the living room floor. Moderator Ohavia Phillips gave Stacey the "spotlight" to share up-close and personal information along with some great wisdom that I call "Staceyism". I learned some intricate details about Stacey the person, that I did not know before I arrived. I am still in awe after being in the presence of greatness. I must admit that I had never heard of a "Stacey Abrams" when she emerged on the scene as a Georgia gubernatorial contender, in 2018. At that time, my response to the news that we had a Black woman running for governor in Georgia was "Stacey who?". But now...she needs no introduction. Not only do I know who she is, she has become one of my favorite "She-roes" along with Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Maya Angelou, and my forever first lady, Michelle Obama.

It is evident in listening to Stacey that she has established a healthy balance between her professional and personal life. So many times, we witness stanch political leaders who are top-heavy in their professional lives but off-balanced in their personal lives. Her expressions were very grounded and relevant.

It was such a joy to learn about her parentage and the struggles they overcame to become what Stacey describes as her "super heroes". Her mother, Carolyn, dropped out of school at an early age because her family could not afford to send her to school. However, when she went back to school...she excelled and graduated as the class valedictorian. In her father's case (Robert), no male in his family had ever gone to college. This fact was complicated by the discovery that her father had Dyslexia. Did that stop him? No! He memorized his way through school. Yes, memorized EVERYTHING! And yes, he was the first male in his family to attend college. In fact, both parents are United Methodist ministers who receive their graduate degrees of Divinity from Emory University. Stacey's parent instilled in the Abrams' children a strong desire for service and education. I love the fact that she stated that she uses servitude and education as "guiding lights". Her strong bond with her siblings is clearly an important factor in her life. This strong compassion led the siblings to form a book club because one of the younger brothers was experiencing some challenges. That "call-for-action" to rally the troops to do whatever is necessary when a family member needs an "uplift" is an admirable sibling trait, especially since I am an only child.

Politically, Stacey Abrams have had many "firsts". Stacey is the first Black woman to run for a major party gubernatorial nominee in our nation's history. She is the first black woman to deliver a response to the State Of The Union Address. And she is the first black woman to lead either party in the Georgia General Assembly. She founded the New Georgia Project, which submitted more than 200,000 registrations for voters of color between 2014 and 2016.

Stacey is a prolific author...who has written eight romantic novels, which have sold over 100,000 copies under the pen name Selena Montgomery. I had her novel "While Justice Sleeps", which she wrote under her own name, in my purse in hopes of getting an autograph (maybe next time).

Ms. Abrams is co-founder of NOW Account - a financial services firm that helps small businesses grow. Stacey has helped create and retain jobs in Georgia. As an entrepreneur, I could relate to Stacey as she transparently spoke of her failed business ventures that did not cripple her but made her better. I can definitely relate to this statement, "When you are responsible for yourself, you have no one else to blame BUT YOU!" Her explanation on why one of her business ventures failed was also enlightening, "We didn't fail because we could not deliver...we failed because we could not grow!" She also reiterated a fact that I know to be so true...Most businesses fail because they cannot "finance their dreams enough". Capital is a huge factor in success or even failure. Yes, it takes money to propel a business. As she also indicated, failure does not mean that you are not enough. "You are MORE THAN ENOUGH!"

Stacey's outlook validated my belief that failure is a lesson-learned and could be an integral stepping stone to lead to success. She further constituted my belief that failure is not my final destination, and it is not the end of the world. Even her failed run to become the governor of Georgia, did not break her. In fact, it fueled her to fix an enormous 'age old' problem, voters' registration and suppression.

As a result of this candid conversation with Stacy Abrams, I walked away with my head held up a little higher and my chest stuck out a little farther. As a woman, I was proud to sit the presence of a woman who is feminine, funny, and frank. As an African American, I was so proud that this woman who has made so many strides in politics and life "looks like me". I cannot tell you what a notch in my own belt I felt at this moment. What a gift Ms. Stacey Abrams is to the world. I am so glad that we spent this incredible evening together. I hope there will be opportunities for many more!


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