Recap of The Dare 2 Aspire Conference (Atlanta)

In my line of work, I’m seldom shy of opportunities to celebrate women who move forward in spite of any fear, and commit to stepping out on faith.  Last Saturday, while guest blogging at the Dare 2 Aspire Conference in metro Atlanta, I enjoyed several of those opportunities.




The intimate gathering of driven and tenacious women was organized under the leadership of fellow Execumama, Tosi Ufodike, whose life is a great example of a woman who embraces my motto: Go ahead, risk expression!

Tosi, Founder and CEO of My Good Nanny decided to take a bold step when she launched the Dare 2 Aspire conference this year.  She wanted to create a space where parents get tools and resources to start or grow their small businesses—I love it!

Here’s the line-up of speakers + my top takeaways from the overall event.  Of course you know my top takeaways will be heavily focused on Life Design + Radical Self-Expression because that’s what you and I dig most.  Fortunately, the conference had an abundance of both, so let’s dive right into the richness of my experience at #Dare2Aspire2012.

Luther Ragsdale – @LutherRagsdale

Luther Ragsdale

Luther opened the conference with a spirited talk about wealth-building.  He discussed the tools and the mindset he used to earn the title of self-made multi-millionaire before age 40.  Luther’s stand-out element for me was his insistence that entrepreneurs learn how to use their talents and strengths to build their business, and create income and opportunities to outsource their weaknesses.

Oftentimes, we’re told we need to be “well-rounded” and that we should work harder to get better at whatever we deem our weaknesses.  Luther made it clear that he always knew his weaknesses, and that instead of trying to do it all, he focused on his talents, and created the type of wealth that allowed him to hire a talented team to help him run his companies and compensate for any skills he didn’t have. That’s totally a Life Design mindset, and I appreciated Luther’s enthusiasm on that particular topic.

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Desiree Miller – @StressFreeBaby

Des Miller

This former national television producer turned global entrepreneur is best known for her social media savvy and the production of her wildly popular event, The Atlanta Baby and Child Expo, held annually at the fabulous Fox Theatre.

Desiree reminded us that an important part of networking is promoting other people!  You know I talk all the time about this village I feel you and I are part of, right? Well a part of that village mentality is the celebration of our sister’s progress; not judgment and ill will.  I’m so happy Desiree put that out there for us to consider as we build our businesses.  Here’s a Life Design statement I snagged directly from Desiree’s site: This site is all about living your authentic self…a guide of sorts on living the life you want to live.  #SheSpeaksLifeDesign

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Crystal Washington – @CrysWashington

Crystal WashingtonShe had me right away with her beautiful head wrap and fierce copper-brown natural hair. But of course, her business savvy as a successful marketing and social media consultant turned a good first impression into a positive lasting impression.  Crystal served up several gems about how to maneuver the often confusing waters of social media.

Her knowledge has been tapped by companies, associations, and entrepreneurs worldwide, as evidenced by Crystal’s full roster of clients, and her international bookings as a keynote speaker and workshop facilitator through her company, Black-Market Exchange.  Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Crystal:

Social Media Simplified: “LinkedIn is about ME. Facebook is about YOU. Twitter is about CONTENT.

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Nkoli Aniedobe – Franchise Expert
CEO, NEK and NEX Holdings

Nkoli AniedobeNkoli was clearly well-versed in the art of wealth-building through strategic franchising.  She and her husband own several franchises, and use their knowledge and experiences to mentor entrepreneurs on the topics of leadership, customer service, and solid brand-building strategies.

I absolutely loved that Nkoli and her husband created and maintain their wealth collaboratively.  Dare 2 Aspire hosted several successful couples, and as Kris and I apply and refine our own wealth-building strategies, it’s wonderful to experience the successes of other enterprising young couples.

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Tamara Eckles – @JemoftheSouth

JEM of the SouthBelieve it or not, Tamara’s personality is even warmer than her disarming southern smile! Part professional baker and part radio show host, Tamara creates opportunities (both online and in her kitchen) for us to “Discover something sweet.”  Tamara spoke to Dare 2 Aspire conference goers about the value of networking, and offered one of my favorite “Jems” of the afternoon. It’s uncomplicated and simply sweet (much like Tamara herself)…

Network in larger communities to expand your reach. Just jump into the pond, then start paying attention to which streams you want to follow.

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Agatha Achindu – @YummySpoonfuls

Yummy SpoonfulsAgatha’s story tugged at my heart (and my belly!) as she and I shared the desire to feed our babies healthy, nourishing food.  As the founder of Yummy Spoonfuls, a company founded on the simple idea of creating delicious and nourishing baby food.  Agatha and her husband took their life’s saving, pulled out their 401K, and set out to turn their idea into a viable business.  Fortunately, for the millions of babies now happily noshing on the 25 varieties of nutrient-rich options, the couple succeeded.

Agatha spoke fluent Life Design as she reminded us that no idea is too crazy to pursue if we’re truly passionate about it. “Start small and think big”, she said, and boy did that resonate with me! I commend Agatha for being willing to risk expression by not only feeding her own child well, but endeavoring to offer that same alternative to women the world over! Now in several stores, including Whole Foods, and also available online via, Agatha can safely assert that she’s defined, design, and is living the life she deserves!

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Dominique McClain Barteet – @DominiqueBartee

OneSole.comIf you read my blog regularly, you know that my two favorite concepts are CURIOSITY and TENACITY; Dominique has both of those in droves! The registered pharmacist who operates a multi-million dollar pharmacy, decided she no longer wanted to spend her 12-hour days standing behind the counter in uncomfortable shoes.  She also traveled extensively during her days off, and got frustrated with having to schlep around several pairs of shoe.  Those two problems inspired Dominique to get curious about what it would take to make shoes that could easily go with any outfit as well as ease her 12-hour standing time at work.  Her tenacious D-I-Y spirit took over, and several prototypes, many failed attempts, and an appearance on the popular NBC show, Shark Tank, Dominique’s idea, now called Onesole Shoes, is an immense succes. Hundreds of stores, both locally and internationally, carry OneSole Shoes, and Dominique could not be more enthusiastic about the success of her idea.  She credits tenacity and good karma as keys to her success, and it was a pleasure to have Dominique remind us that staying the course, and committing to seeing our vision come to life is ALWAYS an option!

Tosi and her team did a fantastic job with the first Dare 2 Aspire Conference, and I’m looking forward to seeing just how fare Tosi’s aspirations will no doubt take her!

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