Reported By Women: June 1


We've been hitting up the hottest spots in the city and these past couple weeks were no different. Our team ventured to various places around Cincinnati for events that enlightened, celebrated, and encouraged. We went to Girls in Government Day, hosted by Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard, at City Hall – where we learned empowerment and government goes hand in hand. Then Morgan Owens's Professional Pretty Conference caught our eye as she shared what it means to be a "boss babe" in the business world. And we can't forget the 2018 Midwest Regional Sweet and Natural Fest at Washington Park, where colors, cultures, and creative celebrations drew a fun and energetic crowd. At the end of it all, we topped off the weeks' events (quite literally) at Queen City Radio with our favorite brews and favorite pups. 

Girls in Government Day

Reporting by Erin Finn. Photography by Angie Lipscomb.

My day started off early – 7:45 a.m. – and surprisingly, as a teen, I managed. I was dropped off at City Hall, not sure what to expect from Councilwoman Dennard's new Girls in Government Day, but I was treated to fruit and mini muffins. Then we all went into a huge chamber. There, I saw Tamaya for the first time, and the Macarena was playing. She went on to talk about her staff, and all of the “fricking amazing” women there. One by one, those women stepped up to talk to us about their jobs, how they got there, and how we might get there, too.

First we met Monique Gilliam, Tamaya’s director of community strategy, along with Tara Keesling, Tamaya’s chief of staff. Monique was super energetic, and down for having a good time. Tara was more down to earth, but still seemed ready to face any challenge. It was interesting to learn how they split their time to make sure someone was always in the office and how they shared their individual responsibilities.

Then we met Maraskeshia Smith, director of public services. She was really inspiring, as she talked about being in what’s considered a “man’s job.” And she’s also a college basketball referee; talk about multitasking! It was really nice to know that women can do anything they want to even if it’s not a “girl’s job.”

Additionally, we met Cathy Bailey, who is the director of Greater Cincinnati Water Works; she loves tap water. She talked to us about some of the things she’s accomplished and how great the water system is here in Cincy; apparently, even Northern Kentucky drinks Cincinnati water.

Next, we met Umeirra Savani, who is 24 years old, and fresh out of college. She’s the scheduling coordinator for Mayor Cranley, but she went to college for pre-med. Three years in, she decided she wanted to go into politics. After college, she worked on a campaign, and now she plans the mayor’s day.


Last but not least, we met Kelly Carr, who is the assistant to the city manager. Her main advice to us was, “Never say no to an opportunity; embrace it wholeheartedly.” And it’s your attitude that matters; if you always work hard and have a good attitude even on your worst days, people notice.

Then we did some icebreakers to get to know each other better. It was a really great way for me to see what like-minded girls think. We were asked two question. The first: What is your superpower? And the second: What is a leader to you? There were some great answers to both questions. Some girls said that their superpower was their voice, their courage, or their ability to make people smile. Maraskeshia said hers was resilience: the ability to power on no matter if people like you, agree with you, or support you. It’s what you think that matters, and I found that super inspiring.

After the icebreakers, we met Commissioner Denise Driehaus, who is also the VP of the Board of County Commissioners for Hamilton, and the only woman to ever have held that role. She was awesome and inspiring. Driehaus proves that women can do whatever they want, and that if they do things differently, it’s not a bad thing.

During lunch, we met Marissa Reed, who is Keep Cincinnati Beautiful’s director of community programming. She talked about how you can be anything, any background, and still find a place somewhere in politics. She mentioned how she went to school for architecture, and uses those skills in the arts program to help design graphics for posters and presentations.

Resilience: the ability to power on no matter if people like you, agree with you, or support you.

Throughout the day, we did a lot of activities, but my favorite was a simulation of being on the Council and trying to get things funded. My job was – with a team of girls – to convince the Council to give us money to fund our project. Our theme was public service: so recycling, composting, litter, and graffiti. We got almost all of our ideas funded, and could have gotten the last one, which was the graffiti, if we had pushed a bit more, but we were satisfied with the results anyway. It was really cool to see how the girls all worked together, and made arguments for what they thought was needed and right. It made me realize how much work it takes to get something past the Council.

My experience at Girls in Government Day was awesome, and it taught me how politics work and how underrepresented women are. I loved it, and would recommend it to any girl who has even the slightest interest, because it is worth getting up at 7:45 in the morning for. Just go to bed extra early the night before.


Professional Pretty Conference

Reporting by Kristyn Bridges. Videography by Nicole Mayes.

The Professional Pretty Conference, founded and organized by one of Women of Cincy’s features, Morgan Owens, was a huge success. On Friday night, the conference kicked off with a VIP networking event at Blush in downtown Cincinnati, where drinks and appetizers were provided. The all day conference on Saturday was held at the University of Cincinnati’s African American Cultural Resource Center. The day was filled with plenty of delicious food, a powerhouse panel, and enlightening workshops; all guests left with the tools to help us become the boss babes that Morgan knows we all can be.


2018 Midwest Regional Sweet and Natural Fest

Reporting and photography by Sandra Okot-Kotber.

Sunday, we made our way to Washington Park in OTR for the 2018 Midwest Regional Sweet and Natural Fest, a celebration of culture – or melanin magic, to be more precise. The weather was hot – the sun had clearly mistaken the day for summer – but masses of folks showed up for the festivities nonetheless. Local businesses and visiting vendors from around the region lined the park with a wide range of offerings including natural body scrubs and soaps, African Kitenge, homemade hair products, and stellar jewelry. Aside from the marketplace, attendees indulged in the beauty lounge, yoga, musical performances that filled the green, and the AfroSwag Fashion Show featuring local designers. We certainly can’t fail to mention the pop-up natural hair show. Both men and women modeled their natural locks for the crowd after being hand selected by the show’s organizers. We may be biased, but the ladies stole the show – hands down. These goddesses of Cincy filled roles of both entertainment and spectators. We captured some of our favorite looks in case you missed out on the festival; see for yourself!


Yappy Hour with Women of Cincy and Applehead City Pet

Reporting by Lindsay Combs. Photography by Sandra Okot-Kotber and Chelsie Walter.

There are few things that sound as enjoyable as drinking a beer while petting a dog. Last Tuesday, we gathered at Queen City Radio for our monthly Boozy Hour, except this month we were joined by all the dogs you could ask for and delicious doggy treats for our favorite fidos from Desh Rain’s Applehead City Pet.

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