Beauties With Brains - Iyanla Vanzant, Eva Perry, & Lashawn Thompson

Updated: Jul 24



“You can do something for a little while….,” is a paraphrased statement made by Iyanla Vinsant during her keynote. I eventually had to put down my phone and my camera, stop recording, and just take in all the knowledge and tools Iyanla was equipping the women (and some men) in the ballroom at the Raleigh Crabtree Marriott.

When you walked into the space, the Beauties With Brains team ensured guests were greeted with fun and fellowship. Participants could take pictures in the IG box or with the photographer in front of the BWB Balloon area. After checking in, there were vendors as you entered the ballroom area grooving to the smooth sounds of the band in the outside lounge. Taking the flair all in, participants could retire to the ballroom, glowing with pink and purple lights and stage stamped with the Beauties With Brains brand, balloons, and the infamous loveseat. You know; the one you lay in as the psychiatrist listens to your worries and concerns and helps you with life!


It is here where the guest speakers shared their life stories, shared their practical advice to achieve goals, encouraged the women, and empowered women to release the fear and go for their dreams! It is here where women could go “From Trials to Triumph,” the Beauties With Brains’ theme for their 3rd Annual Empowerment Event. We heard from entrepreneur, Eva Perry, First Lady Lashawn Thompson (World Overcomers Christian Church), real estate investor, Aliyah Dukes, and breast cancer survivor and performer, Colandra McDowell. Whatever your flavor, whatever your interest, whatever your goals; participants were fed with inspiration and practical advice to triumph on their journey. Along every journey, there are stumbling blocks and trials.


Check out interview below with Iyanla Vanzant.



One of those trials in life can be a sudden illness. Iyanla began her talk by sharing a story of a sudden illness she experienced on the plane. She was taken to the hospital from the airport to find she had a ruptured colon. She knew she had one ovary, but found out the other one, now a black mass, had plugged the hole in her colon and kept her from a fatal death. After it all, the doctor told her she would have to use a colostomy bag for a couple of months. It was not for life but just for a couple of months. She tied her ordeal to life. Sometimes in life, to get where we want to be, we have to do those things we don’t want to do for a little while. This resonated with me, and still sticks to my gut everyday!


Many of us are working in the 9-5 while sitting on our dreams and what we are called to do in life! I saw an ant one day carrying a crumb in the parking lot of my job. I was so jealous of that ant because everyday it does what it is purposed to do in life! In having an informal conversation with Indira Felder, the founder of Beauties With Brains, I asked her how she arrived to this point at the Raleigh Crabtree Marriott, having Iyanla Vinsant as her keynote speaker. I shared with her my dream and asked how do you take the next step. She responded to get over the fear. I believe some of our fears are that we will fail or that the beginning is smaller than what we envision. My huge takeaway, looking at the success of the event, and taking in the words of Iyanla, was that you have to learn to poop in a bag for a little while. You have to do for a little while what you don’t want to do in order that you can be free, healthy, and equipped to do what you are called and purposed to do in life. It may very well mean, you gotta take that pay cut from the 9-5 to pursue your own dreams. It may mean you have to sacrifice for a little while in order to be successful in your dreams in the long run.


Check out interview below with Eva Perry



Story by Aya Wallace

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