In honor of Women’s History Month, rolling out is recognizing female professionals who are making a difference in their fields and our community. Lashawn Dreher is the founder of BlkWomen Hustle, a digital platform providing resources and networking opportunities and events that provide a safe space for Black women.
What is BlkWomen Hustle?
BlkWomenHustle is a one-of-a-kind, global networking platform designed for Black women. Through this space, I provide Black women entrepreneurs, professionals, and creatives endless personal and professional content and resources to grow their brands, including entrepreneurial workshops and business resources. I also host “The BlkWomenHustle” podcast, a business-oriented pod featuring some of the most influential and innovative entrepreneurs who encourage women to tap into their passions, monetize, and make a positive impact on the world.
I started BlkWomenHustle to defy the negative experiences I’d heard about from Black women who’d previously had unsuccessful partnerships and projects with other Black women. I love us, so seeing each other in such an unfavorable view didn’t sit well with me. So, I launched BlkWomenHustle to establish unity for us to work together and support one another along these journeys. Life is hard enough as it is, and as entrepreneurs we carry much of that weight alone, but I knew with this venture we wouldn’t have to.
What are some challenges you face as a Black woman in the workplace?
Though I’m no longer in spaces where I’ve experienced the most challenges, I’ve been addressed about my attire at work because of my figure. This one is more of an irritant because as Black women, we’re still constantly penalized for our natural features. I’ve also experienced verbal harassment from members of management, but that didn’t last long. I’ve always had very little tolerance for disrespect, so I’m always relieved when I learn of other Black women with the same attribute. The longer we stay silent, the longer we’ll suffer the consequences of it.
What does women’s empowerment mean to you?
It means reminding women of who they are, not who people tell them they’re “supposed to be.” We’re always tied up in all that’s going on in our lives that we forget just how strong, resilient, beautiful, and powerful we truly are. The terms have become more of a cliché these days with people using it so loosely and not actually displaying the act, but it means something to women who genuinely need and offer it.
What is one of your proudest achievements?
Curating sold-out networking events and entrepreneurial workshops in metro areas like Atlanta and the DMV [Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia]. I’m not from either of those areas, so for women living there who don’t know me to think enough of my brand to support so heavily, it’s mind-blowing!