Quotable women at the Black History Month Panel

“I am proud of all women,
whether at the level of Oprah or local entrepreneurs.”
~ Dori Wilson

Last Tuesday the Women’s Innovation Network held its second annual Black History Month Innovation Panel. Moderated by LeeAnn Trotter, the panelists included artist Makeba Kedem-Dubose, author Dawgelene Sangster, and PR Entrepreneur Dori Wilson.


Attending a panel by African-American women entrepreneurs is quite relevant, as the trend of a decade ago has not slowed down:

“Between the years 1997 and 2002,
the number of businesses owned by minority women
increased faster than those owned by non-minority women,
with minority women-owned firms accounting for
more than half of the increase in women-owned businesses.”

~ Women-Owned Businesses in the 21st Century October 2010 report

All women were shaped by life events, which then propelled them forward and led them to their current businesses. Some paths were created by fortuitous opportunities, others by necessity, and each step along the way provided growth.

“When we want to learn how to change something,
we have to unfreeze that way of thinking.
I have to embrace change.”
~ Dawgelene Sangster


Makeba said she is grateful for all the trials and tribulations in her life because it took her to a new level. When facing curve balls:

“Don’t give up. I had no money and now I’m fine. 
I had lived a different life. I realized I can’t go backward. 
You have to keep going, and I kept going.”
~ Makeba Kedem-Dubose

Dori echoed that sentiment, and said that her life path will not be the same for someone aspiring to follow in her footsteps.

“It isn’t about how I got started, it is about the circumstances you’re in.
It’s about survival, it’s about persistence,
it’s about hanging in there, it’s about being able to change. …
Being able to take the ‘nos’ without taking it personally.”
~ Dori Wilson


Perspective and a willingness to change were touted as key ingredients to success.

“We can re-do anything we want to do.
When stuff hits me in the face today,
it is not near as important tomorrow.”
~ Dori Wilson

“Just wake up every morning and reaffirm to yourself ‘I can do this’.”
~ Makeba Kedem-Dubose

“Sometimes when things happen to me and I am frustrated
I look at it from a different perspective.
I change my focus and I see what I didn’t see before.”
~ LeeAnn Trotter

“Remind yourself every day
‘I’ve been here before and I got through it, I can do it again’.”
~ Dori Wilson

When asked about how to press on when a significant other isn’t supportive, the women all affirmed that one has to be true to oneself first, regardless of the response from others.

“We have to have our own determination
regardless of anyone else.”
~ Dawgelene Sangster

Dori stated that sometimes that person is supporting you in the best way they can, and you have to accept them for who they are.  Makeba added that communicating your needs to that person is important too. They may not know how to support you, so expectation management is in order.

“Your personal happiness is not contingent on anyone else.”
~ Dori Wilson


LeeAnn stressed that groups like WIN can provide a community from which to draw the support a partner might not be able or willing to provide.

“Sometimes you have to look
at places outside the relationship for support.”
~ LeeAnn Trotter

The evening included savory appetizers by Cedars Mediterranean Kitchen, some bubbly to toast each other with, delicious sweet potato pralines by La Parisianne du Chocolat, plus cakes and pies by Classic Cobbler.

Delicious treats at WIN

Posters about inspiring African American women created by Kindergarten students were on display.


More pictures of the evening can be perused on Facebook.

In conjunction with the PBS Series MAKERS: Women Who Make America a Nebraska news outlet published this Owning It feature, highlighting another black woman entrepreneur.

“Know who you are, 
own who you are 
and don’t let anyone change that.” 
~ Dawgelene Sangster

For additional reading, the panelists recommended the following books:

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.


1 thoughts on “Quotable women at the Black History Month Panel

  1. Makeba Kedem-DuBose says:

    Peace Maike,

    Thanks for documenting the WIN Black History Month Event for which I participated as a panelist. I believe that one quote, attributed to a different panelist was actually stated by me, but it’s all good either way. It was a wonderful event, and experience, and I’m please that you were present and wrote about it. Feedback is always wonderful! Thanks again…


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