By Shaniele Brown | For AC JosepH Media
PHILADELPHIA — On Saturday, May 13, the Hey Girl! Conference will be back for another year, entirely in-person.
In 2021, the event started as a virtual experience with over one hundred attendees. The theme, “I See You,” focused on women coming together and letting their guards down. In 2022, 60 attendees gathered in person in Woodbury and others online to “Choose Life.” Things will be “GOING U.P.” this year from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at The Story Factory PHL on 1600 N 5th Street, in Philadelphia.
“Hey Girl! Conference was born out of the void of spaces where women who looked like me with similar experiences could be their authentic selves,” said Cassandra Burnett. “It is about being able to say to someone else, ‘Hey Girl!’ I got you, and I see you.”
Cassandra Burnett, a deputy attorney general for New Jersey, founded Hey Girl! Conference for women ages 35-55; however, any age is welcome to attend. This event provides a safe space to let your guard down and shifts the focus from one’s everyday role in society.
Women are free to let go and be themselves around like-minded individuals who want to see them accomplish their desired goals. Burnett has created an environment that helps build foundations, elevates, teaches, and supports.
“I feel hopeful, optimistic, and overwhelmed simultaneously,” said Cassandra Burnett as she reflected on her day and the upcoming Hey Girl! Conference.
This year’s theme, GOING U.P., will help ladies to utilize the resources given to figure out how to find ways to accomplish more. A panel of eighteen guest speakers will be separated among the four conversation suites and leading sessions. Brittney Shipp, meteorologist for NBC10’s First Alert Weather Team, will host the main morning session.
Dr. Portia Lockett, Tosca Blandford-Bynoe, Esq. and Crystal Herring will discuss “GOING U.P.: Unapologetic Process. Excuse Me, I’m Grieving.” Cheldin Barlatt Rumer, This Is It Network CEO and executive producer, will host the main afternoon session. Dr. Michelle McNair, Kaysie Getty, and Brittnee N. Smith will discuss “GOING U.P.: Unaddressed Pressure. Queen Down, Putting Down the Crown to Pick UP Yourself.”
The event will feature all women-owned vendors, raffle prizes, a swag bag that features PATTERN, a beauty line created by actor Tracee Ellis Ross and a musical performance by Carla Gamble. Brittnee N. Smith, a graphic designer, brand strategist, and podcast host, will interview attendees as they move about the conversation suites.
Chef Malik Ali, a Philadelphia native, will prepare mini chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, bread pudding, and other delicious brunch food for the event.
Guests can come hungry and leave feeling like their bellies and soul have been full. “This is an open invitation to all women … women that want a safe space to reveal themselves and get fed well both nutritiously and soulfully,” said Burnett.
Other “Going Up” topics include “Make Peace of your Mind a Priority. Let’s Flow!” “AM I up for Sale?” “Unapologetic Peace. Protecting your (blank) At All Costs” “Unparalleled Promise, What God Has Put Together.” Kim Avant-Babb, Sadiyyah Maamoon-Means, Nova Smith, Youma Kabia-Williams, Marnee Jackson, Dr. Kimberly McGlonn, Tamika D. Otis, Summer Willow Fitch, Tara M. Cuff, Shakur Parker, Jasmine Phinex and Deidre Rhodes will be speakers for the Conversation suites.
Attendees will receive the resources and support needed to grieve their old selves. The goal is to one day be able to grab your old self back and bring her to the top with your new mindset. You can grieve your old self to get her on the journey one day when you have reached a desired dream.
“I want women to leave feeling elevated, have the specific tools, make connections, network, and feel supported,” said Burnett.
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