Washington, D.C.’s Hilton Hotel & Resorts kicked off this past Mother’s Day weekend with an engaging tea party for girls. As part of Hilton’s support for the U.N. Women’s Empowerment Principles, which promotes gender equity, the renowned hotel sponsored The Sister Accord Leadership Enrichment Tea Party. Hilton’s sponsorship of the event is also part of the brand’s 2017 multicultural marketing initiative, Celebrating Our Stories, which is geared toward the African American consumer.
Master of ceremonies, Sonia Jackson Myles, founder of The Sister Accord, partnered with Hilton Worldwide’s director of multicultural and diversity marketing, Andrea Richardson, to showcase the foundation’s essential global initiatives. The Sister Accord Foundation has three global pillars: educating girls, enlightening them on the power of sisterhood and eradicating bullying and violence.
Women were asked to attend with a mentee for a day of learning, fellowship and positivity. Highlighting the importance of successful African-American women in mentorship was a key principle given for success in producing great women leaders in the Black community.
Guests were amazed when actor-singer Leon, best known for his role as David Ruffin in the TV movie, “The Temptations” (1998), joined the panel. Leon, in turn, was surprised to become the first-ever male recipient of The Sister Accord Leadership Award. The award was given to show that “men should be a part of the conversation and movement,” expressed Myles, after the ceremony. She added, [He is] “a model for fathers and one that we want to see replicated as we look to raise strong girls who are comfortable in their own skin and who understand the power of embracing and loving themselves fully.” Leon shares a daughter with model and “Real Housewives of Atlanta” reality show star Cynthia Bailey.
Featured panelists included keynote speaker Kelli Richardson Lawson, CEO of JOY Collective; Edna Kane-Williams, SVP of multicultural leadership at AARP; and Elizabeth Nalunga, a student leader at Georgetown University and Disney Dreamers Academy graduate.
This tea party ditched the fancy white gloves, crumpets and finger sandwiches to focus more on providing a safe space for women and girls to have the ability to share their stories, goals and dreams. Consultant and protocol expert Jacqueline M. Baker of Scarlet Communications lead a presentation on national and global dining etiquette and educated the youth on employment engagement. Melodic selections were sung by Caroline Bennett and as a treat for their participation, guests were able to enter a raffle for prizes such as gift cards and complimentary Hilton Hotel stays.
While the emcee recited The Sister Accord resolution, the mentees were presented with pearl bracelets from their mentors. The bracelets symbolized the creation of pearls, explained Myles. Like pearls, “they will have irritants in their lives, and they can learn from them and still progress and move forward,” she said.
The next stop on the tea party tour is Chicago on July 15.