By Marlissa Collier
On Saturday, November 11, 2023, Dallas Weekly joined the Dallas-based speaker agency, 24 Carats as the firm hosted its inaugural Women of Power Symposium, drawing over 100 women for a day of “powerful women, bringing powerful messages that change the world.” The one-day symposium, boasting the overarching theme, “Walk in Your Power”, was held at the Destiny Pointe Christian Center in Arlington, TX.
The day’s sessions took place inside the Destiny Pointe Christian Center sanctuary, with the pulpit doubling as a panelist platform. The sanctified setting, understandably, drew entrepreneurially spirited women, dressed in business and church casual attire, as sure enough, Dress for Success Dallas was one of the day’s sponsors alongside Plano-headquarter carmaker, Toyota. Inside the sanctuary, vendors lined the walls, a handful of whom were speakers under the representation of the 24 Carat agency.
The day’s agenda was packed with opportunities for attending women to hear from panelists about self-care, self-determination and self-elevation. The lineup of panelists included public speaking stars such as Deya Smith Taylor of the SuperpowHER Podcast and Mercedes Ramirez Johnson, one of four survivors of a commercial plane crash that killed 160 people, whose message encourages others to go from surviving to thriving.
But between panels, Dallas Weekly was able to catch up with the brains behind the symposium, Dr. Lawana Gladney, affectionately referred to as Dr. G, Founder and CEO of 24 Carat Speakers, and Dr. Renee Denise Fowler Hornbuckle, Overseer and Founder of Destiny Pointe Christian Center.
Dallas Weekly: Ladies, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. This seems like a fantastic event that has drawn women seemingly from all corners of the DFW area. Let me ask, where did the idea come from?
Dr. G: Thank you for coming, it’s so good to meet you. We’re happy you’re here. Well, long story short, God gave me the idea while in prayer. I was told and instructed to put together an event to give ladies a platform – one to help people to understand their power.
Dallas Weekly: Well, it certainly seems you’ve accomplished that. Now tell me, how did you and Dr. Renee end up teaming up on this.
Dr. G: I called Renee to tell her about the idea and how I wanted women to engage with one another over personal development and empowerment. In fact, Dr. Renee is the founding Pastor of the very facility that we are sitting in. So, I knew that if Renee said the idea was a good one, that it would happen. I trust her opinion. And it was extra that she offered up her facility. I knew then that today would be a success.
Dallas Weekly: That’s fantastic. Truly a testament to women helping and lifting up other women. Dr. Renee, what sold you on the concept when Dr. G called to take your temperature?
Dr. Renee: I knew it was something that was needed. For women in particular. Bouncing back from COVID had been challenging and I knew that the two of us needed to show the bounce back and show women working together. I knew that the two of us partnering on this would show that women could still work with other women, even after a long period of isolation.
Dallas Weekly: I look around and I see just that. Women huddled at tables over lunch, collaborating and making connections that will hopefully grow into relationships similar to the one you two seem to have. In fact, about this relationship. How did you two connect?
Dr. Renee: Oh, we’ve known one another for a long time. From the ministry to the marketplace, we’ve been friends. In fact, I was in the public speaking marketplace for a while but jumped out and dove into ministry. But I just named a successor for the church, because I believe in passing the torch. So now, I’m getting back into the marketplace for speaking, and Dr. G is representing me.
Dallas Weekly: Wow! Congratulations on the next phase and for finding your successor. I’m sure that wasn’t an easy decision to make.
Dr. Renee: No it wasn’t, but he’s great. And I really do believe that it’s time for the next generation to begin to lead, because things are changing and we need to pass things on.
Dallas Weekly: You know, Dr. Renee, you mentioned COVID taking a toll on collaboration, but we also know that it took a toll on the economy. Right now, more people than ever in our country are living paycheck to paycheck. This is a paid-registration event. Did you all find it tough to get people in the door?
Dr. G: We had to work for it. We really did. I ask all the time, “why won’t people invest in themselves?” People don’t always understand how important education is. I think in our culture, we let things serve as signs of success, instead of education and knowledge. Plus, in today’s fast society, people are looking for anything that will lead to fast money, but don’t want to invest in themselves to get there. We wanted these women to understand that the investment comes first and that true success takes education and time.
Dallas Weekly: As a member of the fast-money generation, I have to agree with you there. But speaking of fast, I heard that this event was put together fairly quickly, correct?
Dr. G: We started planning in September 2023. All I had was an assignment. And I knew I wanted to provide a space so that women could receive tools from speakers. I wanted them to leave with reasons to walk in their power.
Mid-interview, Dr. G and Dr. Renee were approached by an attendee who wanted to share the news that her son’s mother-in-law had just passed of cancer and that she would need to leave to be with her son. Dr. G and Dr. Renee paused the interview to comfort and pray with her.
Dr. Renee: I’m sorry about that. We just needed to do that.
Dallas Weekly: No problem at all. I appreciate that you all did that. I’m also sending good things to the family. I’m going to wrap it up so that you ladies can continue your lunch. Last question – what’s the one thing you want the women here to leave with today?
Dr. G: I want lives to be changed. I want them to see themselves differently. I want self evaluation and for them to ask themselves how they can be used by God. Want them to be likable women. Because women don’t always like other women.
Dr. Renee: I want them to be realistic about what they can apply today. Like, what’s one thing they can do today to put them on the path to where they want to be. I want them to realize that success doesn’t happen overnight. And I want them to consider how they can draw certain types of friends. The kind of friends they really want.
Dallas Weekly: Thank you both for having me today and for the work that you are doing. I appreciate you sitting with me. Now, let me let you all go eat lunch. It smells so good.