Sisters4Sisters Networking, Inc., Connect at the Annual Networking Conference

Mary Wells | 7/8/2009, 11:19 p.m.

A group of entrepreneurial-minded women from Maryland, interested in connecting with others who share their passion for business, rendezvoused in a state known for its peanuts, pecans and peaches during a three day convention in Atlanta, Ga.

Forty Sisters4Sisters Networking, Inc., members, plus seven Bowie State University students, converged on the Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown Atlanta to learn the secrets of effective networking during the Eighth Annual PowerNetworking Conference.

The three-day event, sponsored by author and networking authority, George Fraser, kicked-off on Thu., June 25 through Sat., June 27. The event attracted about 1,000 participants.

Sisters4Sisters Networking, Inc., headquartered in Prince George€s County, is a non-profit organization established in 2001. The organization is dedicated to helping women and girls succeed in the field of commerce.

Sisters4Sisters members said they would never have missed an opportunity to learn from a leading expert in the networking field. Neither would they have missed out on an opportunity to hear first-hand how thriving entrepreneurs got their start.

€This is truly a powerful and moving experience. And, we must work together to help spread the PowerNetworking mission to get this conference to National Harbor so that our Black brothers and sisters in small businesses can be empowered,€ said Peggy Morris, 42, president and founder of Sisters4Sisters, Inc.

Fraser€s five-year tour in Atlanta is slated to end in 2010. Three locations, that include the Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor in Prince George€s County, Md., are being considered for his next five year stint along with venues in Chicago, Ill., and Houston, Texas.

€We have a big task in front of us and we need each of you, as members of Sisters4Sisters, to play a part in bringing the conference to National Harbor in 2011,€ Morris said.

Les Brown, one of the top motivational speakers in the nation, served as the keynote speaker during the conference. Rev. Leon Moss, the father of Rev. Leon Moss, Jr. who replaced Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Ill., provided parting words for enthusiastic participants. He joked that when he had the occasion to visit the District in the past, he marched by the White House.

€Now, I can go in the White House and sit down,€ he said to rousing applause.

During the symposium, participants attended a host of training courses designed to enable them to promote their small businesses. Workshops included €Caught Between a Dream and a Job;€ €Grow Your Business in 90 Days, Part I;€ and €Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way.€ College students benefited from workshops that included €How to Write Your Own Ticket in College and Beyond€ and €Student Program: Finding the Leader in You.€

€It was absolutely empowering and an amazing experience. I will definitely attend upcoming Fraser PowerNetworking Conferences in the future,€ said Christina Heath, 21, a Bowie State University student. Heath traveled for 14 hours from Maryland to Atlanta to learn about the art of closing a business deal.

The conference offered something for everyone from writers to top chefs.

Lisa Nichols, of San Diego, Calif., the author of numerous books that include, €No Matter What!: 9 Steps to Living the Life You Love€ and €Chicken Soup for the African American Woman€s Soul (Song for the Soul Series) co-hosted €PowerLuncheon I: A Salute to Phenomenal Black Women.€ The panel included economist, author and syndicated columnist Julianne Malveaux, Ph.D. and restaurateur, Bev Smith. The well attended luncheon drew crowds, eager to glean tips on how these women found a niche in the market and seized the moment.

€We will be back next year and then, we will help to bring the conference to National Harbor for five years to motivate Black men and women who own small businesses,€ Morris said with a smile.