October 2009

I was recently invited to be a panelist at the Women in Technology event at the very prestigous Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. I am very honored and this is an exciting event. This event will be held on Monday, November 9th at 6PM EST. And rumor has it there will be a LIVE WEBCAST of this event too.

Make sure you check me out at the Darden-UVA Women in Technology Panel Nov. 9th


Here are the details:

Darden- UVA “Women in Technology” Panel

November 9, 2009 6:30-8:30pm

Abbott Auditorium The Darden School

Hosted by Paul T. Harper, Director of Special Programming in Diversity, The Darden School

The purpose of this event is to bring recognition to a relatively invisible but important population in technology entrepreneurship. The women on this panel represent different styles of engagement with social media technologies. They are also great examples of the new business strategies that social media technologies have enabled. Please join The Darden School for what promises to be an eye-opening evening.

Moderator: Sonya Donaldson, Editor-At-Large for Technology, Black Enterprise Magazine.

Mary Spio, founder and President of Gen2media, created the digital media technology behind Star Wars Attack of the Clones, Ocean’s 11, and Planet of the Apes.

Adrienne Graham, Founder and CEO of Empower ME! Corporation, a professional networking company for women.

Shireen Mitchell, an entrepreneur who is also chair of Media and Technology Task Force of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

Angie Brement, Entrepreneur and blogger for “C’ville Entremoms.”

This event will be webcast live.

Please RSVP at: http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dGs0U2NkS1ZvZzlHZnZjOUJaZlRfcHc6MA


womanshakinghandsNominate a Power Brok(H)er

She’s savvy, successful and WELL CONNECTED. She always gets the job done and there’s nothing she can’t negotiate. She closes deals and never uses the glass ceiling or the “Ol Boys Network” as an excuse for her not to succeed. She is fearless and accountable. She takes no prisoners!

Do you know her? Maybe you ARE her!

Empower Me! is hosting the Power Brok(H)er™ contest. We are looking for women who personify just what it means to be a power broker.

Entry is relatively easy. Prepare a short video (under 5 minutes, no exceptions) showing key highlights of what makes you or your entrant a Power Brok(H)er™. It can include day to day business or job activities, closing deals, networking with key influencers, mentoring others, etc. You only get one shot, so make the video as meaningful and powerful as you can. Remember, it’s about Power Brok(H)ers, women of influence. It’s not for the timid or shy! The video must include the person being nominated, the reason why they are being nominated and what makes them a Power Brok(H)er™. We want to feel your message!

Go to our YouTube Channel and submit your video. You must SUBSCRIBE to our channel, add as a friend, and sign up for the newsletter to have your submission accepted. When you submit your video, please leave a comment on the page introducing your entrant and the video. Videos are accepted through November 30, 2009. The winner will be announced December 5th.

What’s the prize you ask?

Well one lucky winner will receive the Power Brok(H)er™ Package. It includes: a one year scholarship to the Power Brok(H)er™ Club ($25,000 value), be a guest on Views From the Top Radio Show, be a guest blogger on our Blog to chronicle her journey through the program, and be in a feature article in Fearless Woman Magazine. We’re talking MAXIMUM EXPOSURE! For more information about the contest, please email us at info@empowerme.org. Good luck!

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ocoverFirst of all, let me acknowledge that I am late. I should have made this post last month. But better late than never. It’s no secret that Oprah is one of my role models. I may not agree with everything she says or does, but it doesn’t diminish my respect for her. You see, I can agree to disagree with her and not hate her. But in the end, she is always a shrewd business woman, a compassionate human being and a powerful force to be reckoned with. She is someone I aspire to be like. I don’t want to replace Oprah. I want to be a media mogul in my own right without trying to step into her shine. I just want to give women the tools they need to experience professional growth and empowerment through media.

Why am I writing about Oprah today? If you’ve already read the September 2009 issue you would know why.  I remember the day I was in Barnes & Noble looking for some business books when I happened by the newsstand section. I don’t subscribe to a lot of magazines and I don’t subscribe to O (sorry Oprah!). I only buy magazines off the rack that resonate with me or move me to pick it up. Sometimes I’ll get O sometimes I don’t. This particular day I was feeling so lost and down. I felt like I had hit a wall and all the motivational nuggets I shared with people were no longer working for me. I felt like something big was pressing up against my chest (literally) and I panicked because I didn’t know how I would defeat it.

As I walked past the magazines there it was. Standing out front and center with the words that made me want to pick up this magazine. “You’re Stronger Than You Know“.  That’s all I saw, no other headline on O or any other magazine in its vicinity. At that moment, tears started rolling down my cheeks. As I read on underneath the headline I saw “How to tap into your true power and really make it work for you”. The tears turned to sobbing as people started looking at me. I didn’t care. I started reading that first page of the article. I knew right then that I had to buy this and take it home to devour. So I rushed to the register, paid for the magazine and rushed home. By the time I was done reading that article, I was a wreck. I hadn’t cried that much since my Dad died in 2002. But strangely I felt this cathartic experience. I wasn’t sad or angry. I didn’t sit and drown in self pity. For the first time in a while things started to click. I rushed to the computer and emailed every woman in my inner circle and told them the needed to pick up this issue and READ it. I also told them for the first time that I had been going through some things and I was fighting some internal demons. I didn’t think about it or ask for any responses. But you know, the funny thing is, I felt like I was giving birth!  All the baggage I was going through felt like it was being peeled off by the layer!

The article or my experience wasn’t about Oprah. It was about me facing whatever I was dealing with and picking up and pressing on. That article made me dig deeper into myself and figure out what it was I wanted to do and what I needed to do. My next step was to take ACTION.  See, we can have all the rah rah motivational nuggets shared with us as we can stand. But if we don’t MOVE on it, we will forever stay lost. Reading that article inspired a new found motivation in me.  I had to learn how to take back my power and don’t put much stock in what other people think of me or say about me. I can’t live for them, I have to live for me. Power is not making tons of money or hob nobbing with the wealthy. It s satisfaction of knowing that you are living the best life and living in positivity. It’s about being unafraid to be you regardless of what others say or think. It’s about being able to touch people and give them hope and motivation to want to do better for themselves.

I did get around to reading the rest of the magazine (recently) and it’s a great issue. But I had to marinate on that Stronger article for  while. I can’t describe in words the renewed energy and positivity (and most importantly motivation) I now feel. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you call a friend who buys or subscribes to the magazine and get reading! Always remember, when things look bleak, you have an amazing strength inside that’s just waiting for you to tap into it. Be present in your power. Embrace it and own it.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham

ATTN: Linda Johnson Rice & Johnson Publishing Staff

Hear me out and heard me good. I’m about to get extremely real and possibly offend. But it’s worth the risk.

ebonyobamaI first heard about the impending sale from an email a friend forwarded to me yesterday. I had mixed emotions when I read it. On the one hand, I thought “here we go again. Selling out just like Essence. Well if they didn’t care about their readership, then good riddance”. On the other hand I thought, “wait a minute. Not again! We are losing our publications! Something has to be done”.

See, I grew up with Ebony Magazine. It was a staple as was Black Enterprise and Essence. Well of the holy black trinity, Black Enterprise seems to be the last man standing. Those magazines represented part of my culture. Ebony especially was dear to me because of Mr. Johnson and his struggle to bring to light his vision and show little black girls like me that we can be glamorous, beautiful, smart, sophisticated, successful. It was dear to me because he had broken so many barriers. In fact, his story drives me as I create my own media empire.

Please don’t sell. This is the time to restrategize, get new talent, and implement new ideas. Not jump ship on a legacy that Mr. Johnson created. We live in an advanced technological society with wildly creative individuals. There’s a plethora of talented writers & savvy social media strategists that can breathe new life in Ebony (myself included).

Although it has declined over the years (let’s be real), I still supported it. Not so much for the content, but for what the company represented. I know it can be turned around. Hell, I will come write for the magazine myself!  Just don’t sell out. I can tell you as a reader what the core problems are from a consumer standpoint. Your articles lack creativity and freshness, they are not up with the times, and lack that motivational spark they used to have. The same stories are rehashed over and over. What happened to the real stories of real people that could be held up as role models and inspiration? Why so much glamorization of celebrities? Real Black Folks want to be motivated and inspired and see that they too can achieve those goals. We don’t care that Jay Z & Beyonce (although I like them) are a Top 10 Couple (are you kidding me with that?). What happened to the “black experience”, the lifestyle magazine that used to hit the heart of Black people everywhere? Mr Johnson created this publication because others wouldn’t give us a chance to tell our stories. Well, the world has changed, this is true. But we still need to see our stories from our eyes and our perspectives.

Mr Johnson went through too much and broke down many barriers. Symbolism alone is what kept me loyal. Linda Rice Johnson, I’m calling you out. Challenging you to reinvent the brand. Bring the magazine up to 2010 standards. Black folks are technologically savvy. Get on that social media wave. We are in top corporate spots. We are leaders, visionary, pioneers, trendsetters. Show that! Become that motivational tool that it once was.  If you sell, we’ll get what we got with Essence Magazine (yes said it publicly).  Watered down recycled versions of the “why my man left me” type articles.  Now, Essence Magazine, before you send your goons after me, I do note that you are TRYING to improve. But some of those alerts I get from you on Facebook make you lose those points. But this isn’t about you right now.

Johnson Publishing is a legacy. While I am not happy with how the magazine has nosedived, I think it can be turned around and saved. Linda Rice just needs to step back and re-evaluate and make those tough decisions to get the right people in there to save it.

So what do you say Linda? Will you take me up on the challenge? Are you open to listening to public opinion? Will you reorganize the company that your Dad worked so hard to build and give it a new 2009 flavor? Will you clean house and bring in some fresh new talent to kick start Ebony into a new era? What do you say? I’m open to discussion. (678) 698-6206. I don’t waste my time on minute issues. I only go after causes I firmly believe in. The challenge has been made publicly Linda.  Let’s chat.

Til next time.

Adrienne Graham