Black Women’s Confab to Focus On Balance and Wellness
By Lashawn Hudson Contributing Writer | 9/13/2013, 6 a.m.
The Third Annual National Black Women’s Life Balance and Wellness Conference (BLWB) is expected to draw nearly 200 attendees from across the country, to Spelman College in Atlanta, Sept. 14-15 to participate in a open a dialogue, discussing various ways black women can achieve healthier balanced lives.
Shanesha Brooks-Tatum, Ph.D., a visiting scholar at Agnes Scott College and Carrie Sawyer, a usability researcher at Qualcomm created BWLB in 2010 after several ongoing conversations with friends about the struggles that black women confront while trying to achieve life balance in pursuing their career goals.
Co-chair Dr. Brooks-Tatum told The Atlanta Voice that the conference will be like no other.
“This is not the type of conference where the speakers will talk at you,” she explained. This is the type of conference where you’ll have the opportunity to participate in the dialogue. We want women to walk away refreshed. We want them to be able to walk away with something that they can share with others. I think this will be an experience that women will not be able to forget.”
Sawyer and Dr.Brooks-Tatum set out to design a conference that would provide a platform where black women could fully equip themselves with the necessary practical strategies to make healthy life choices.
“Every woman has her own set of balance and wellness challenges,” Dr. Brooks-Tatum said. “It is vital that we come together to talk about experiences so that we can better prioritize our physical, mental and emotional health. It’s important that we take this weekend to heal in an honest space.”
The two-day event on Sept.14-15, is tightly packed with a full agenda. Each day will consist of speakers, panel discussions, vendors, networking and interactive breakout workshops all aimed to nurture and promote health, financial literacy, spirituality, sexuality, career development, motherhood and family.
The conference will kick on off on Saturday, with opening words from Akilah S. Richards, a certified family life educator and the founder of The Life Design Agency. Her presentation: “Nurturing Women Breakthroughs: From Aha! To Action” focuses on women moving from their patterns that harm to those that heal, explores how women can keep the momentum going after the “aha” moment in their life happens.
“I’m going to talk to women about long-term positive change,” Richards said. “I want women to see themselves behind their work. We can accomplish anything, but I want us to beware of our feelings, while we’re doing the work and how that work might be affecting our families and our own lives.”
Other conference presenters include Dr. Portia Jackson, founder of Active Steps Coaching, and Spelman President Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum. There will also be a live spoken word performance by the internationally-acclaimed performing artist, Red Summer.
For more information about the conference visit: www.lifebalanceconference.com.
“Black women have been taught to be super women,” said Summer. “ We’ve been taught to handle it. To do it all and if for any reason we decide to take time for ourselves we are selfish. That’s just unrealistic and unhealthy and it leads us to live unbalanced. I’m going to take sometime this weekend and listen in on the workshops to decide on the series of poems that I’m going to perform. ”
College students, professors, retirees, professionals and stay-at-home mothers will congregate at the Spelman College Cosby Auditorium to join in on the multi-generational dialogue.
Sunday’s speaker, Dr.Portia Jackson said that she’s looking forward to the collaborative learning that will take place.
“I’m very excited to speak,” said the life coach. “However, I think I’m going to learn so much from the women in attendance. It’s really a privilege to participate in this collaborative learning experience.”
Committee planers suggest that every woman in attendance is encouraged to embody this year’s theme: “sharing intergenerational wisdom” by listening, learning and understanding that other women share similar experiences.
“A lot of the challenges that black women face are historical,” said Brooks-Tatum. “Many of our great- grandmothers, grandmothers, mothers and aunts sisters have faced similar issues. There’s so much that we can learn across generations.”